I stand in the middle of an ice rink at Boston College in high heels with my lovely guest, Amber Lilyestrom, having just finished our interview. "Just another day at the office!" she says cheerfully.
We sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" together, and I relish this completely spontaneous, though seemingly odd moment at center ice in the empty Conte Forum.
The freedom, the laughter, the power, the love... it feels energizing and completely liberating.
Amber and I talk about her Mama Revolution course that we discussed in the Waking Up In America interview. Truth be told, I wish I'd had access to it (and all the accompanying support) when my kids were toddlers and I struggled to balance my full-time career with being a mom. My biggest challenge was to be the mom that I wanted to be, and not try to fit in with the moms I was surrounded with.
That's why I am drawn to Amber's story and how through her own awakening, she is now inspiring others to live their freedom and align themselves with their truth.
Amber was a successful college athlete who transferred her passion for sports, marketing and teaching into a career as a collegiate athletics marketing administrator. She was climbing the corporate ladder fast, but began to experience a tug inside.
She explains, "I was chained to a job that required me to be there 40-50 hours per week and I didn't have the time or freedom that I wanted in my life to explore the other things: the spiritual part of my life, my true heart's calling and passion, and the writer part of me."
During the Cesarean birth of her daughter, as the anesthesia affected her ability to breathe. Amber felt a sense of surrender, but also an urgency to wake up and live the life she was created for: "I had this moment of surrender where (I thought), OK, whatever is gonna happen is gonna happen, but no matter what, when I leave this operating room things are going to change, right? I am going to make a change."
It took some 'scary steps,' as she says, to make the actual change to begin building her new career as a soul based branding and life coach. But she is doing it!
I watched her interacting with some of her old colleagues at Boston College during our taping, and I could feel excitement, confidence and gratitude exuding from her.
She speaks with enthusiasm about the Mama Revolution and the other programs she has created, and I can sense her passion for serving and empowering others on their journeys.
I posted a quote today on Facebook, it says: it's impossible to feel present and guilty at the same time. And I think this is really important, specifically for the moms, because you can be sitting at your desk and... feel that pang of guilt creep in, like, oh I really want to be playing with my daughter right now, but you know what? I'm gonna be more present when I play with her because I had my time to do this (work) right now.
The thing Amber is most passionate about sharing with others is this: "You must first give yourself permission to want what you want in your life."
As we wrap up and I say goodbye to Amber, I reflect on her words. Am I giving myself permission to want what I want in my life? I truly think I am. I want to be doing exactly what I'm doing: traveling, helping amazing people like Amber tell their stories, writing, singing and speaking.
I feel alive and present when I do, and not a bit guilty.
Well, most of the time.
On my way to the car, I check my email and find a message from my son's high school that he was absent. I call my mother-in-law, who was with my three boys, and she confirms that he was, in fact, on the bus that morning. I feel an onset of panic and a pang of guilt. "What am I doing giggling on the ice rink in Boston? I should be home instead making sure my children are OK."
I pause to breathe. I bring my awareness inward and calm the voice that is causing my anxiety. I surrender my need for control and I proceed to (somewhat) calmly find out what is happening... reminding myself that if I needed to, I could always catch the next flight home.
Fortunately, it was nothing, a miscommunication, as my son explains to me via text.
I sigh in relief and feel even more grateful for Amber's reminder that when we operate from a soul-based space, it's impossible to feel guilty and present at the same time.
I drive away looking forward to garnering the tools she provides in the Mama Revolution course and connecting with other mothers through her Facebook group Live Your Freedom Mastermind. Perhaps I'll see you there?
Amber Lilyestrom is a soul based branding and business coach, creative entrepreneur and writer. Amber's goal is to help her clients connect with their personal definition of freedom and from there build business that communicate authentic messages and change lives. Her Mama Revolution Course can be found on her website amberlilyestrom.com.