|Pathways to Success for Youth Project|
pathways to success for youth blog
by Mikayla Cerney
Team Leader, Pathways to Success for Youth Project
My first exposure to Jack Canfield was when I was 11 years old. My nana and great uncle died within a few weeks of each other and my mom gave me a Chicken Soup for the Soul book to help me through my grief. That was the book that launched me into reading novels that featured "real" people with real world issues and writing about my own personal experiences even though I wasn't quite ready to share them.
The Success Principles came into my life ten years later when my mentor, Trish Jacobson, stumbled upon the audio book version of this master compilation of life lessons and proven success strategies. I remember her telling me about the different principles she was learning and how they were being reinforced by her past and present experiences. She was so moved by Jack's work that she decided to attend his Breakthrough to Success (BTS) live event.
When she returned she told me about some of the most profound moments of the week. Among those she shared was the Silent Hug Process. The Silent Hug Process is done in a group, the BTS group being about 350 people. Different elements of the activity were introduced over a few days until the final product is this:
Everyone stands from their seats and silently mills about the room while beautiful music is played. Pairs of participants embrace one another, left cheek to left cheek in a Heart Hug, and breathe deeply together matching their in and out breaths a few times. Once the hug feels complete the two participants step back, join hands, and look each other in the eyes. Then you part ways and find another partner to hug.
She described the process as somewhat magical and the connection that formed among the group as very powerful. She recalled the question Jack asked on the last Silent Hug Process on the last day of the event. “What if the entire world began the day with heart hugs? Every home, every school, every workplace …”
What was a profound experience for Trish sounded like a terrifying task to me. I was not comfortable with the idea of hugging my own friends and family, never mind a complete stranger. My aversion to this activity was a direct reflection of my unwillingness to truly connect with the people around me. After a turbulent childhood and the loss of my mother at 18, I was a very closed off individual. But I was willing to give it a try. After all, Trish was someone I deeply trusted and she was clearly moved by the experience and had chosen to incorporate it into her daily life. She didn’t pressure me, but her invitation to try the silent hug thing remained open. So after some resistance, a few swear words and some eye rolling on my part I gave and received my first proper Heart Hug. I'm sure that Trish's hug with me after attending BTS felt like she was hugging a lamp post.
Slowly, very slowly, I showed more interest in what Trish had learned at BTS. The different principles allowed me to digest the content little by little as I discovered that most of what I was learning felt truly useful. Trish led me through The Passion Test and helped me discover my Life Purpose. I learned how to set "how much, by when" goals that I could stick with because the results were always something tangible. You knew when you had succeeded because you chose the real life indicator that would show you it was complete. Discovering The Law of Attraction peaked my curiosity and I started reading about it on my own. The power of positive thought and intention started to show itself in my every day life. I was even occasionally asking for a hug.
For the first time in my life I felt like I had a purpose, a direction. Whether I was at work interacting with people, at home communicating with my brother, or building my relationship with myself I felt connected. There was an invisible web woven around me full of passion and purpose, of positivity and intention, and of 100% responsibility for my thoughts and actions.
When planning for the Be Kind Fest came around some months later I suggested that the Teen Clinic give out free hugs. Trish thought I was joking at first but soon realized I was serious when I asked for money to pick up art supplies to make Free Hug signs. When the day of the Fest finally arrived I was nervous to offer hugs to people passing by. What if they think I'm crazy? What if they make fun of me? A lot of people walked straight by avoiding eye contact. Then one person stopped with their arms open. Then another. Then a whole group. I was gaining confidence and momentum, even asking people if they wanted to learn how to make their hugs more powerful by doing Heart Hugs. My doubts disappeared. There were numerous memorable moments from that day and one very profound experience that helped me to realize the importance of compassion and of true connection. (read more here)
As time passed and without me even realizing it, Jack Canfield and The Success Principles had affected my life on all levels. I was still experiencing a few undesirable situations that I wasn't ready to let go of yet but overall my personal growth since first listening to Trish talk to me about BTS was tenfold. Because of these self discovered revelations and my willingness to process my grief with a counselor, I was finally able to start the process of healing and become the confident, strong version of myself that I always wanted to be.
To learn more about Trish Jacobson and get a closer look at what else she's up to visit http://www.trishajacobson.com
Pathways to Success for Youth Team
Patty Aubery, Trisha Jacobson, Jack Canfield, Mikayla Cerney
Marissa Maitland, Molly Mullins, Marianna Robinson, Grace Remillard, Jack Canfield, Trish Jacobson, Mikayla Cerney, Meg Perrin & Faith Jacobson
Jackie DiFonzo, Olivia Belanger, Kelly Sharp, Marianna Robinson, Chance Bousquet, Meg Perrin, Lea Thelemarck being interviewed by Patty Aubery, President of The Canfield Training Group
Team members not shown: Nichole Tomacelli, Jen Collard, Whitney Pray, Drea Kasianchuk, Chelsea Latham