From the Orange County Register, Tuesday January 18, 2005
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Tuesday, January 18, 2005
She'll find your hidden creativity
An Anaheim life coach helps women escape midlife ruts by unleashing their inner 'locas.'
By JUSTINO ÁGUILA
The Orange County Register
They stand in a dark room meditating. Candles glow across the faces of more than two dozen women searching for their inner locas.
Inner loca, as guide Nancy Marmolejo puts it, is about finding creativity within, a free-spirited energy that can help boost a woman out of the mundane grind of daily life.
"They may be in a rut," said Marmolejo, 40, of Anaheim. "They may need something to help them jump- start their lives again. I want to help fuel that creative energy."
About 600 women subscribe to Marmolejo's Web site for a dose of inspiration. Helping them release their inner locas is one way that the life coach offers support through www.comadrecoaching.com.
Workshops guide women through a series of exercises such as creating works of art and sharing their personal connections with the Earth's four elements. Music plays in the background as Marmolejo seeks to create an atmosphere of self-assurance.
Comadre (co-MAH-dray), which usually refers to Latinas who have close friendships, is a term Marmolejo uses to help women of all colors connect. Most of her business comes from her Web site.
"A comadre issomeone youcan trust, someone you can talk to, someone who is pulling for you," Marmolejo said. "And a true comadre will tell you if your butt looks big and ask you if you're sure you want to wear something that's not flattering."
Marmolejo, who has bachelor's and master's degrees from San Francisco State University, was a teacher for about 15 years before launching her business.
Through her Web site she created an e-zine, Pocket Comadre, which is updated regularly with ideas for creative rituals, resources and anecdotes in blog form from Marmolejo's life. Although some services are free, such as subscribing to her e-zine, others, like one-on-one coaching, can cost $100 to $400 a month.
In some cases, people who come to Marmolejo are looking to launch projects, change careers or find time to take care of themselves. A corporate trainer wants to be a filmmaker. A graphic designer wants to create handbags. An event coordinator wants to make specialty pillows.
"I think that being able to simply talk right now is a way of releasing my inner loca," said Lupe Lopez, a workshop participant and director of Alianza Indigena, a nonprofit group in Anaheim. "There are a lot of women who can't even pick up a microphone."
Fear is the greatest barrier for all of us, said Yasmin Davidds, the author of "The Latina Seven Principals." Now, the writer said, women more than ever need to look deeper and learn to get away from those fears, which is difficult but not impossible.
Davidds, who has overcome child abuse and poverty, speaks to women across the country about surmounting obstacles. She applauds those like Marmolejo who have created support systems such as Comadre Coaching, which, through technology, can reach more women. Davidds does something similar with her site, www.yasmindavidds.com.
Marmolejo, who dreams of appearing on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" someday to help spread her excitement about the chispas, or the sparks, that help motivate, knows that many women need that extra push.
The e-zine creator recently helped a woman consumed by routine family life. Getting a screenplay project off the ground didn't seem realistic.
"We worked to organize her life," Marmolejo said. "Once we were able to find the time, she was able to start writing her screenplay. Now she even has a writing partner, and they have time to meet."
Some of Marmolejo's clients are as far away as the East Coast. Ruth Kunstadter, 46, a Spanish teacher in Montclair, N.J., wanted to create a video project, but she didn't have time and didn't think a personal coach would help.
"Then I met Nancy," Kunstadter said. "After a phone conversation we understood each other very well. I never really considered (having) a coach because I didn't think someone would understand me. Without her I wouldn't have been able to get this far."
Kunstadter is now writing articles for several publications, in preproduction for a series of Spanish-language videos for teenagers and poring over ideas inspired by Marmolejo.
"She is able to ask you questions to help you focus," Kunstadter said. "She's practical, too. And she connects you to invaluable resources."
Marmolejo hopes to spark circles of women across the country. "Life Coaching with Corazon," is her site's tagline.
"Women just want to be themselves," she said. "My role is to let them know they can do it and be creative and successful at the same time."
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