She’s A Woman on Fire! Introducing…

Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to each other.  She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…


Andrea Dowding

Dresden, Ohio

Women on Fire Member: #00004

Member since November 2011

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

My husband, Dave, and I are empty nesters for the first time in our 19 years of marriage and our collective 44 years of raising kids … his, hers and ours! August marked was the first time in 27 years that I didn’t have to fill out the never-ending and dreaded “back to school” forms and fees. We are loving finding our new normal.

I am an executive director of sales field learning and development at Thirty-One Gifts, the 28th largest direct selling company in the world. I work with an amazing CEO, Cindy Monroe, and an amazing staff that celebrates and supports a sales field of over 90,000 women.

What are you “on fire” about? 

Taking back my health, one walk-run, one bike ride, and one lap in the pool at a time. I am a four-year survivor of carcinoid cancer, and 2015 is the first year that I have been surgery- and treatment-free. I believe that every woman — no matter her size, shape or circumstance — can begin to reclaim her heath!

I am launching a closed Facebook group called Powerful … Not Perfect to encourage women to journey with me, just as they are, starting right where they are. It is such a relief to show up willing rather than to stay behind waiting.

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

Rob Berkley! Rob was my amazing executive coach, and I met Debbie during Vision Days, first in Naples, Florida, and then in Martha’s Vineyard for a group Vision Day. Debbie and I talked one morning over breakfast at the Harbor View Hotel in Martha’s Vineyard, and she shared her incredible vision for Women on Fire.

I knew instantly that this was the kind of support and community so many women needed and would benefit from. After I received my executive coaching certification, I worked with Debbie and offered Women on Fire teas and the first Women on Fire  coaching groups in the Columbus, Ohio, area.

What one thing are you the most proud of?

In August, I rode in Pelotonia — the bike tour that raises funds for cancer research at the Ohio State University — and am happy to say I crushed every goal, riding 50 miles in four hours or less, with only one stop, and raising $4,000.

In April, I didn’t even own a bike in April, and I was scared to put my goal out there publicly. I wasn’t sure that I had it in me to do it. It felt good to start from ground zero with my training and then to meet or beat every goal.

I highly recommend setting a big — maybe even scary — goal. It moves you forward to another place. 

What is your big dream?

I think my dream is now unfolding, four years into my journey back from being so sick. My dream manifested into helping women (especially those over age 50) try new adventures, maybe for the first time working to take back their health and possibly their life!

Along the way, there has been lots of fun, lots of encouragement, lots of laughter and much celebration! It doesn’t have to be perfect to be powerful!

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

A doctor or a writer. That ambition may have merely manifested in a different way than I imagined. I love to see healing occur and hear the stories that come from the journey toward wholeness and full potential.

If you had the opportunity to teach a child one strategy that would help to guide her life, what would that be?

Be adventurous and explore with curiosity and confidence, fully embracing and owning your journey along the way. We have a hand-carved mirror in our home that says it this way, “Go out for adventure and come home for love.”

Where do you find inspiration?

In the stories and success of others.

What is your favorite time-management strategy?

I have learned to manage my energy rather than my time, and it has made all the difference.

Name another Woman on Fire who has inspired you and tell why.

Amy Marzluff is someone I greatly admire. She is wonderfully talented at her craft and continually meets women right where they are and lifts them. She has a passion and a drive to help women in their health journey, but does it in such a way that makes them feel safe, educated and empowered with new information and always, always celebrated.

Amy is a lifelong learner, which I admire, and generous in heart and spirit in sharing her expertise and wisdom. I love her dearly.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve ever faced? How did you overcome it?

My divorce and the events that led up to it. I wrote about it in the first Women on Fire book. I had so much work to do on myself to recover and heal. I had to silence the negative voices and find my own, which was really tricky with young children and all the stress that came with a corporate job as a single mother.

I really had to learn to do things on my own terms, which wasn’t easy, and I wasn’t always successful at it. The biggest lessons learned were to celebrate my strengths, admit my mistakes, be quick to forgive myself and others, and be open to any repair work that needed to happen along the way.

Who cheers you on?

My husband, my children and my family and a handful of friends. I am very grateful and blessed to have a wonderful community within my close circle of family and friends.

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

It is from a speech called “The Man in the Arena” by Teddy Roosevelt, which hung in my father’s office until he died. Now it hangs in mine.

     “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


I always have room for…

kids and grandkids!

I’m picky when it comes to…

hanging pictures.

My favorite component of the Women on Fire membership is…

hearing other women’s stories.

My favorite go-to self-care strategy…

silence in nature.

I dream of visiting…

Greece and Italy.

I can’t wait to return to…

Hilton Head and New York.

I’m getting better at…

saying yes to me first.

I still need to work on…

putting big dreams in the forefront.

I would love to have lunch with…

my mom, all of my daughters, and my sisters and their daughters. What fun!! I can hear the laughter now!

I’m always up for…

a bike ride.

I have a soft spot for…

teenagers and young women starting their careers. I think in that order (smile).

I have no sympathy for…

self pity.

The top three songs on my iPod right now are…

I could spend hours…


I believe in…

new beginnings.

I never forget to celebrate…

a goal or dream realized! I love to celebrate that journey!

I don’t leave the house without…

my confidence and compassion.

I never developed a taste for…


I’m always on the lookout for…

a new, wonderful, BIG idea.

My biggest pet peeve is…

the phrases “I am so jealous” and “you are so lucky.”

The best thing I ever did…

was giving birth and being a mother to my incredible children

More about Andrea Dowding …

In addition to her work with Thirty-One Gifts, Andrea is a leader in the innovative field of executive and life coaching. She specializes in coaching and supporting professional women and top leaders in the $34 billion industry of U.S. Direct Sales.

She is an accomplished keynote speaker and workshop facilitator, whose insights and life strategies were highlighted in the chapter she wrote for Women on Fire, Vol. 1.

Andrea formerly served as the vice president of sales and executive director of product innovation for The Longaberger Company as it grew to be a billion-dollar direct-selling business. She developed and oversaw the new product lines and was co-inventor on 27 products that received U.S. patents.

Andrea resides in Dresden, Ohio, with her husband and one of their six daughters.

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November’s Inner Circle Sneak Peek w/ Belleruth Naparstek

We have a sneak peek of what’s coming in your Women on Fire members’ package for November.

As many of you know, Debbie has a set of wise, accomplished women in her life that inspire, uplift and support her. Their wisdom is priceless, and we thought it was high time we shared some of the wealth of knowledge and love. :)

This month, we are featuring one of Debbie’s wise women.

A highly respected psychotherapist.

A pioneer in the use of guided imagery.

An entrepreneur.

An author.

A mother. A grandmother.

Belleruth Naparstek has dedicated her life to helping people heal and find relief from pain and trauma through guided imagery, and she’s sharing her best strategies, biggest challenges and brightest ideas with you.

Today, we’re giving you only a tiny nugget of all the inspiration Belleruth shared. But in the full interview you’ll discover:

  • How the power of guided imagery can transform your life
  • When and how to use guided imagery
  • The best way to express your greatest gifts over the course of time
  • How Belleruth balanced running a business and taking care of two kids
  • Her strategies for healing after her husband died

If you’re not yet part of our membership inner circle, please be our guest and listen today for free to a clip of Debbie’s interview with Belleruth.

Press PLAY for a quick (2:30) audio clip of this inspiring and intimate interview.

If you are already a member of our Women on Fire inner circle, enjoy this preview of what’s coming to you early in November!

If you aren’t yet a member and want to receive this Women on Fire exclusive, make sure to join us today. You have until Sunday, November 1. Less than 48 hours left!

BUT WAIT… there’s more! :)

Belleruth didn’t want you to walk away today without getting a small taste of what guided imagery is, so she is giving you a FREE sample of one of her most popular audios. Click here to listen to your free streaming guided meditation on Self-Confidence,plus a little something extra!

Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on Belleruth’s brilliance.

P.S. A little birdie told us that there may or may not be a very special gift from Belleruth included in November’s membership package. You’ll just have to join to find out! :)

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3 Ways To Ease Your Grief

On any given day, loss can sneak up on you and grief takes over.  And what do you do when that happens?

In this week’s video, I discuss how grief can feel like an internal car accident. You may look fine on the outside. But inside you may feel as though you’ve broken your arms and legs.

If that had actually happened, you’d be in a hospital resting, healing and receiving medical attention. The same must occur if you’re grieving. You must take exquisite care of yourself and find the care and support you need to heal.

Recently, in one week, I lost two very wise women in my circle of inspiring friends, Trudy Taylor, 92 and Olga Hirschhorn, 95.

Nancy Aronie, the brilliant writer and Chilmark Writing Workshop founder, reminds us, “when you find a woman in your life who is just a few years older than you and has experience, it’s life-changing. You want to grab every bit of wisdom from her.”

That’s how I strongly I felt about Trudy and Olga. They were life-changers. I soaked up every bit of their wisdom, knowledge, and humor. And now that they are gone, the void hurts. I tear up at even the mention of their names.

This is not the first time I’ve lost someone precious to me in my life. And I imagined you’ve had your share of losses, too.

With each loss, we face a new grieving process we must lean into.

From experience, here are three strategies that have helped me and my coaching clients:

I hope you’ve found even just one of these strategies helpful as you heal from any of your own losses.

“Joy shared is doubled; grief shared is halved” is sweet relief that you may find comfort here in sharing your own road to healing from grief.


P.S. If you are in the New York City area, BookTheWriter is hosting a Women on Fire evening and workshop, 7:30-9:30PM Tuesday, November 3 for 20 women at a private home. Cost is $40. Only a few seats remain. Check out details and registration here. I hope to see you there!

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October’s Book To Live By

This month’s book choice was recommended to us from one of my favorite inspiring women.

Sheri Salata, the president of The Oprah Winfrey Network, was the subject of our featured interview in this month’s Women on Fire membership package.

If anyone knows the best and latest book to recommend, it’s Sheri, and she didn’t disappoint!

Our October Book To Live By selection is….


Find Me Unafraid: Love, Loss and Hope in an African Slum by Jessica Posner and Kennedy Odede is the true story of two young people from entirely different worlds who fall in love — and change the world.

Jessica Posner is a Wesleyan College graduate from Denver,and Kennedy Odede is a young man from Kibera, the largest slum in Africa.

Together, their work has changed the lives of many in Kibera’s most vulnerable population: girls.

They founded Kibera’s first tuition-free school for girls, a large, bright blue building, which stands as a bastion of hope in what once felt like a hopeless place.

There is intrigue and suspense in this book, and it’s impossible to read it without feeling uplifted for what is possible for the human spirit.

Mia Farrow called the book “an astounding story of love, hope, inspiration and triumph. It is a mesmerizing love story; two young people from very different cultures join forces to build a life together—and a new life filled with promise for others. I don’t think either of them understand the word ‘impossible.’ ”

Please order your copy today and let me know what you think. It’s a perfect book to curl up with this weekend.

Thank you, Sheri Salata. This book is such a winner!


P.S. Please join me in New York City on Tuesday, November 3 at 7:30PM for an intimate evening, workshop and discussion of the Women on Fire book series.

Sponsored by BookTheWriter at a private home, the evening promises to be fun and inspiring! All information to register is here. I hope to see you there!

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Who is the CEO of your life?

When you think about someone being a CEO, what comes to mind?

And how does that apply to you?

In a quick survey, here’s what women in my life said a CEO is responsible for:

  • ˜ Is in charge of the direction
  • ˜ Holds the vision, values and goals
  • ˜ Knows how and what to delegate
  • ˜ Builds and sustains a great team
  • ˜ Holds the ultimate responsibility and is where the buck stops
  • ˜ Leads everyone through good times and bad
  • ˜ Is the one in charge who doesn’t give up when others do
  • ˜ Has tough skin to receive criticism and either ignores it or uses it for growth
  • ˜ Figures out complex issues
  • ˜ Knows when to take charge and when to let go

Unless you are currently the CEO of a company, you may not think of yourself as a Chief Executive Officer.

But I urge you to carefully read each statement above, and I think you may look at being CEO a little differently.

No matter your job or your position, at the very least, you are the CEO of your life and your family’s life!

In today’s video, I ask three questions that will help you to see how well you are doing at being the CEO of your life.

Use your answers to the questions in the video as a starting point to begin taking charge of your life in a way you might not have done before.

With this new knowledge and power, what is one change you’re going to make this week?

However you decide to fully express your CEO capabilities, we are here to cheer you on!

Now…about that private jet 😉


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Up close and personal with the woman behind Oprah

We have a sneak preview of what’s coming in the Women on Fire members’ care package for October!

If you attended the Women on Fire Retreat in Chicago a few months ago, and if you’re like most of the women who were there, you fell in love with keynote speaker Sheri Salata, the president of the Oprah Winfrey Network.

So many of you were so inspired by what she said that you asked Debbie if her talk could be made available for you to hear again.

What a genius idea. :)

So for all of those members who wanted to listen to this again — as well those of you who weren’t able to make it to the retreat or who are brand new to Women on Fire — today you are in for a treat.

We’re giving you a wonderful taste of Sheri’s interview that brought down the house at our 2015 retreat.

In the full interview, you’ll discover:

  • Sheri’s recipe for life
  • The incredible story of how she got hired to work for Oprah and rose through the ranks to be OWN’s top executive
  • What Oprah’s really like to work for
  • Why you should never give up before the miracle
  • And SO much more, including a candid Q+A with audience members

If you’re not yet part of our membership inner circle, please be our guest and listen in today for free to one of the many inspiring moments from Debbie’s interview with Sheri.

Press PLAY for a quick (2:30) audio clip.

If you are already a member of our Women on Fire inner circle, enjoy this preview of what’s already coming to you in early October!

If you aren’t yet a member and want to receive this Women on Fire exclusive, make sure to join us today.

*** You have until midnight EST Friday, October 2 to sign up and receive Debbie’s full interview with Sheri. ***

Sheri touched our hearts and inspired our minds at the 2015 retreat with her insight, love and authenticity. So if you’ve been thinking about becoming a Women on Fire member, this would absolutely, positively be the perfect month to do it!


P.S. Are you struggling with something big? Something small? Something you just can’t get your head around?

Want Debbie’s help?

TUNE IN to Debbie’s live monthly Members’ Master Class and Chat on October 13 at 8 p.m. EST where she’ll be answering YOUR questions LIVE!

Join us for a very special live chat this October where you can Ask Debbie Anything and receive personalized coaching on whatever you’re struggling with.

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What I wish someone would have told me…

Last week I returned to my alma mater The Ohio State University to lead the 3rd annual Women on Fire Day there with 100 young women.

The idea of such a day – where experienced women share wisdom and strategies with younger women — came from the students themselves.

It truly is one of the most rewarding and inspirational days of my year.

Here I am with this year’s panelists of wise women sharing their knowledge: Jordan Davis, Amy Marzluff, Cindy Monroe and Dr. Gladys Gibbs

My keynote talk this time was “What I Wish Someone Would Have Told Me In College.”

The incredible team who made our Women on Fire day possible: Meredith Schoenberger, Yvonne Dulaney, Ashley Sinram, Tracy Stuck, Molly Pierano, Chelsea Burrell and Neha Patel (Photo by Eve Esch)

I can imagine that you have some powerful thoughts on this subject as well. Here are a few that I shared with OSU students. Did you wish for any of these yourself?

I wish someone would have told me early on that:

You are the CEO of your life

No matter what you do for a living or your position – whether you are married, widowed, divorced or single and whether you work, stay at home with kids or both — you are in charge of your life.

You are responsible for creating your own destiny.

I was in my mid-30s before I learned and accepted that I am the CEO of my life. When I did, a peace and calm came over me.

I realized I wasn’t a victim of circumstances.  If I wasn’t happy or didn’t like something, I had the power to change it!

Your heart will get broken but you will survive

My early boyfriend heartbreaks and girlfriend betrayals were utterly devastating but nothing like the grief from loss of loved ones and divorce that I later experienced over the years.

Sometimes it felt I would die right along with the loss that had occurred. Eventually, I learned that I could survive from loss — and even thrive.

And often loss or heartbreak meant not the ending of something but the beginning of something new – and even even sometimes something better.

Who you are in this world – and what you stand for — is way more important than the way you look

Countless times I held myself back because I thought I was too fat or didn’t look right or didn’t have the right clothes.

What a waste of energy! It is truly my only regret in life.

I was in my late 30s before I owned who I was in the world and embraced my qualities and why I was here:  to help people express their gifts, strengths and talents.

The more I focused on who I was and how I could help others, the less it mattered how I looked or dressed or whether someone liked me or not.

One of my favorite quotes on this subject came from actress Rashida Jones who said:

You can’t really invest in your looks as your only thing because it’s a depreciating asset. It’s like putting money into a stock that is going down. Invest in your brain, invest in your talent; those things can appreciate and they get better as you get older.”

Find and surround yourself with the greatest people you can to work with and learn from

Pay attention to the quality of people you associate yourself with.

Small-minded people talk about other people; big vision people talk about making the world a better place. Hang with big vision people.

Don’t ever think that someone is too big for you to meet or get to know or even work for.  Somebody has to take those jobs in the White House, including being the President!

Don’t ever compare yourself to anyone else

Unhappy people compare themselves to others. Happy people compare themselves to the goals they’ve set for themselves.

Comparing yourself is always a losing battle. Always someone wealthier, smarter, prettier, more accomplished and with better behaved children!

Stay in your own lane and stay focused on your own goals and dreams.

Do not ever let anyone hijack your dreams

When I was a little girl, I poured over National Geographic magazines and dreamed of going to Antarctica.

As an adult, I decided to make my dream come true.  I saved and studied and planned for my trip to Antarctica.

And, here’s the response I received from most people:  “Why go there? Wouldn’t you rather go to Australia? Why would you pay to be cold?”

This is my dream! I told them.  Go focus on your dreams!

Your job is to stay true to your dreams.

Your dreams are nobody’s business but yours. Never let anyone take them away!

So as you look back to the time you were 18-22, and venturing out into the world to make a difference, what do you wish someone would have told you?

Share your comments below. I’d love to hear!


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She’s a Woman on Fire! Introducing…

Welcome back to our ongoing series to introduce you to each other.  She’s a Woman on Fire! member and we want you to know her.  Please say hello to…


Lara Ann Riggio

New York, New York

Women on Fire Member: #00146

Member since September 2012

Please tell us about YOU, your family and your work.

My hubby, Joe, and I live in New York City by Central Park with our puppy, Chulo. :) We married a year and a half ago, late in life; we were both 40. We found each other at the perfect time. If we had met any sooner, we wouldn’t have made it past a first date.

My Dharma and his Greg wouldn’t have jived any sooner. (He’s a Catholic, Republican banker, and I am a spiritual but not religious, Democrat energy healer.) We each had life experiences a few months prior to meeting that opened us up and allowed our unlikely connection to grow.

It was divine timing. The same weekend I met my hubby, I set out to open my dream studio. I opened The Lara Touch Wellness Center in New York in October 2012. With our classes, videos and private sessions, we have helped tens of thousands of clients receive the healing benefits of energy-based therapies such as acupuncture without needles.

Our clients have overcome emotional stress and anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, pervasive negative beliefs, side effects from medications including chemotherapy, and muscle and joint pain.

What are you on fire about? 

I am on fire about being able to help my mom and my family through my mom’s cancer treatment. My family had read my blog and had heard about how energy work has helped my clients, and they had seen it help me conquer chronic fatigue.

Still, I always felt they were kind of skeptical about it because it’s not yet in the mainstream. But after seeing my mom become remarkably stronger after energy work, my brother and father asked me to show them how to do some exercises with her.

It warms my heart to not only be able to help my mom, but also to have my family really GET why I love what I do and to share in the magic!

How did you originally connect to Women on Fire?  

My good friend Terri Cole met Debbie randomly in a restaurant in New York. Terri invited me to a Women on Fire afternoon tea. I felt wrapped in the magic. I left that evening with new friends and a sense of love and support. I immediately signed up for the next tea. I was hooked!

What one thing are you the most proud of?

I am most proud of how far I have come with my business. As I was preparing for a Group Vision Day with Debbie and Rob this month, I remembered where I was before my last Vision Day with Rob in May 2012. I was in the process of looking for space in New York to open my center, and I was filled with fear about every aspect of opening a brick-and-mortar business in The Big Apple.

The first two years were rough. I was transitioning from the mindset of a sole practitioner to a business owner. The way I think and react in similar situations has changed so much from what it was then.

I often marvel about how things that used to bother me no longer do and how much my capacity has expanded. Having to do more in less time has taught me how to be more efficient. I’ve learned to not “sweat the small stuff” because there just isn’t time. Using my stress relief exercises really helps with this too.

What is your big dream?

My big dream is to expand my work with veterans nationally. Working with veterans with PTSD has been my biggest and most rewarding client challenge to date. My primary focus is helping them to overcome the symptoms of emotional stress.

I have been so inspired by teaching them how to notice their stress triggers and to calm themselves during those moments. Even everyday situations — sitting in a restaurant, walking down a crowded street, hearing a baby cry — can prove harrowing at times. Being stuck in traffic, for example, may be a stress trigger for someone whose jeep was ambushed in Iraq.

Bringing peace to these vets has been so fulfilling. I hope to create a nationally recognized, veteran-run program that supports veterans helping veterans with these methods.

As a child, what did you want to grow up to be?

I wanted to be on the show Fame with Debbie Allen! In some ways, that dream put me on my current career path. Back then, I didn’t know that the work I do now even existed.

When my sciatica — which had ended my dance career — was cured by a muscle therapy, I became a personal trainer and learned that technique. When my chronic fatigue was eliminated by energy medicine, I learned about it.

Being fascinated and inspired by everything that worked, I developed a toolbox that has enabled me to help so many people. I now do work that doesn’t feel like work. What’s that quote by Joseph Campbell? “Follow your bliss and the Universe will open doors where there were only walls.” It’s true!

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in God, love, nature, bike rides, music and my work.

What is your favorite time-management strategy?

Wunderlist!! It’s my favorite new app! It allows me to make and share lists on my phone. I can get my to-do list out of my head and pass tasks on to my assistants, who can keep track of my responsibilities all on one list. It saves me so much brain space!

What is your favorite go-to self-care strategy?

I love the Head Hold, a simple stress-relieving exercise where you place one hand on your forehead and the other on the back of your head. When you have a fight-or-flight response to everyday stress, extra blood rushes to your limbs to power your escape.

Holding these points sends a signal to bring blood back to your brain and reverses the stress response.  Doing this simple pose for three to five minutes after you get in bed calms your reactions to stress so you can have a more peaceful night’s sleep. Here is a video that demonstrates the technique.

How do you pick yourself up after a bad day?

Energy work! :) Here’s a FREE link to my Daily Detox Rituals. I do these super-quick exercises all day long to let go of stress and to stay energized.

What is something that we might be surprised to learn about you?

Most energy workers are against Western medical practices. But I have seen the value of Western medicine first hand. My mom wouldn’t be alive without it. I find that by using the two in combination, one can reap the benefits of many Western medical approaches, while strengthening the body’s ability to handle any side effects.

Name another Woman on Fire who has inspired you and tell why.

I met Shannon McCaffery at my first tea, and we became good friends while at a Women on Fire Retreat. She is a marketing expert, and she has inspired me to put my business online.

She has made what once seemed impossible and daunting to me (marketing!) feel easy. She helped me get over my fears about sharing the elusive world of energy work online by helping me simply talk about how it benefits my clients.

Share a special Women on Fire moment or experience.

I will always fondly remember my first dinner date with Ms. Holly Getty, who I met at my first Women on Fire tea. We planned a night to go out and support each other flirting in New York City.

We had so much fun eating boiled peanuts and lamb burgers at the bar. We attracted the attention of several men, and we haven’t stopped giggling, sharing, loving or supporting each other since!

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

From Rumi: “Open your hands if you want to be held.”

When I visited John of God in Brazil, I had a palpable experience of the love and grace of God. In one moment, I realized that if I could connect to this love and grace regularly, I would always have enough to give. The challenge for me is taking the time and remembering to open my hands, to sit and to receive it.

Quick-Fire questions:

I couldn’t live without…

Energy work.

I always have room for…


I’m picky when it comes to….

Food and my clients’ experiences.

My favorite component of the Women on Fire membership is…

Access to the loving support of the community. :)

I dream of visiting…

My husband and my favorite spot — Capri — every year.

I’m getting better at…

Setting boundaries.

I still need to work on…

Setting boundaries! LOL!

I would love to have lunch with…

Oprah Winfrey.

I’m always up for…

A great meal/good food.

I have a serious soft spot for…

My hubby and my puppy.

My biggest guilty pleasure is…

Netflix and my Farm Saga Heroes game.

I’m still afraid of…

Looking stupid.

I could spend hours…

Bike riding.

I believe in…

The healing and motivating power of love.

I’m counting down the days until…

I work only three days a week.

I never forget to celebrate…

Good food and good friends.

I don’t leave the house without…

My iPhone and a credit card.

I never developed a taste for…

Sea urchin. My husband loves it. Yuck!

My biggest pet peeve is…

When people stop after walking up stairs with lots of people behind them.

The best thing I ever did was…

Marry my husband. He is nothing I ever expected and everything I always dreamed. Glad I waited. :)


More about Lara Riggio…
Lara Ann Riggio is the founder and owner of The Laura Touch Wellness Center in New York City, where she uses a combination of Eastern and Western healing modalities in classes and private sessions “to free your mind and energize your body.”

Lara graduated summa cum laude with a B.F.A. in dance and a minor in psychology from State University of New York, and she holds advanced certifications from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), the American Council of Exercise, Muscle Activation Technique (MAT), Eden Energy Medicine, Psych-K, EFT and Essential Oils.

She has been featured in The New York Daily News, Elle and Women’s Day, and has made appearances on FOX News and CW11’s Morning Show. Lara contributed to the exercise section of the book 100 Questions and Answers about Migraines by Katherine A. Henry, M.D., and Anthony P. Bossis, Ph.D.


Silence is not an option

Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Today, I want to talk about something that all Women on Fire need to be aware of. And an issue I invite you to consider working to eliminate: racism and hate crimes.

In a Facebook post from our beloved and respected Women on Fire sister Sophfronia Scott, she told us about an unthinkable crime that was perpetrated against her brother, a U.S. Army veteran.

What you will see in this video below is how gracefully Wayne Scott responded to a disgraceful, revolting act of violence.


At the time his home was defaced and his safety violated, this kind and gentle man was out of town, taking care of his elderly mother. He served and was injured in Iraq and still copes with chronic physical pain.

I marvel at how he responded.  I’m not sure I could muster the courage to be as forgiving as Wayne. Could you?

He certainly inspires as a role model for Dr. King’s great wisdom:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

This video was shared thousands of times on social media, and I personally received many public and private messages.

Some people were surprised these racist activities continue; others expressed fear and hopelessness; and nearly everyone asked what can be done.

Honestly? I don’t know.

But what I do know is that I am not going to remain silent.

And I hope you won’t either.

I stand with Wayne Scott.

And I stand with every single person who has been discriminated against for the color of their skin, their country of origin, their sexual orientation, or their religion.

It is shameful this goes on in the world. Enough already.

Secondly, I hope if this video moved you that you will simply share it with your family and friends by email or social media.

In doing so, you are saying that you too stand with Wayne Scott.

In a recent interview with Paul Costello of Stanford University, former President Jimmy Carter lamented that we have “let down our guard” after a feeling of accomplishment and self‑congratulations from the civil rights movement’s success.

He urged our government and society to “readdress” and correct these discriminatory issues and behavior.  He concluded, “we have a long way to go to do away with the last vestiges of racial discrimination.”

And Dr. King left us wise counsel by telling us that the greatest tragedy is not “the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”

All the more reason to speak up today.

Thank you for being a force for good and for standing up to make this world better.


P.S. Please always feel free to share your comments below.

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Who celebrates you?

Even though it’s not officially fall, today marks the day most of us say goodbye to summer.

And it’s also a special day here because it’s my husband Rob’s birthday. And I’m dying to show you his surprise!

He’s an amazing photographer and I thought he deserved a cake that was “picture perfect.”

The cake was so much fun and gave us so much joy (not to mention that it was delicious with gluten-free vanilla layers filled with chocolate ganache and vanilla mousse!)

The inspiring cake made me think of the many converations I’ve had with women who’ve discounted their tremendous creative gifts.

  • I just like to bake. There’s no money in that.
  • It’s what I do. Nothing special.
  • No one would be interested in what I have to offer; anyone can do that.

I don’t personally know the woman on Martha’s Vineyard — Cakes By Liz — who designed and made Rob’s unique cake. But I hope she knows that by sharing her gift with the world it created a ripple effect of joy and delight for us!

So the next time you choose to discount or ignore that thing that you love and do so well — please remember your gift, strength or talent means the world to the people waiting for it.

OK, today’s SPARK!  is about finding your “people” — or your tribe. What is the result for you when you answer these three simple questions?


Keep the quality of the people in your life high and notice the difference.

Last week I laughed at a post I saw on Facebook that illustrated the point of surrounding yourself with the best people.

It said: “I’d rather have four quarters than 100 pennies.”  To which, one very funny Woman on Fire wrote: “I’d rather have 100 quarters.” Agreed!

I wish you always to be surrounded by many great people who uplift you.  Have a fantastic week and keep me posted on you!


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