Salt Lake Ninja on the Loose

The job of giving away toys has long been filled by Santa Claus.

The role of delighting millions with laughter and much needed support has been keenly played out by Ellen.

So what does one do with a enlarged sense of giving when two of the top positions are taken?

You become a Food Ninja. Well at least if your name is Elif, this is what you do.

Having been the benefactor of many a stealth mission I can say this local Ninja has caused a quiet yet stir with her process of giving.

Recently I inquired of Elif to explain what makes her food gifting tick. Here is her reply.

Being a Food Ninja is an extension of my core character. I feel that everyone should have a moment in which they feel loved, validated, cared about, and thought of. In my own way, I try to become stealth like a ninja and leave something by someone’s door who may need a smile. It is not about recognition for me but for recognition of the recipient that someone cares about them.

I have always been a “giver” but I began to get more serious and organized after reading the book “29Gifts” by Cami Walker. The concept is to give 29 gifts in 29 days and see how your life can change. If you want to live in a more caring world, then you need to actually put more “Care” out into the world. Is it a movement? Yes, people need to learn that kindness and caring toward each other is more valuable than criticism, greed, and selfishness. When someone is given an unexpected gift, it brightens their whole being and they, in turn, do a nice deed for someone else. Maybe someone is a “coffee” ninja and buys the stranger behind them a coffee and quietly leaves the cafe. My venue is food because I love to cook. As I went through the 29gifts process, my daughter and I one day baked up cupcakes in Ice Cream Cones on a snowy Valentine’s day. We walked down the street with 2 dozen cupcakes and handed them out to whoever we met. The warm energy, love, and appreciation from everyone was so palpable that my 3 year old exclaimed: Mama, it may be snowing outside, but it is so warm in my heart with everyone’s smiles as they eat their cupcakes.

Slowly, the Food Ninja concept began to take shape. Make up extra food and leave it by friends and family’s doorsteps for them to come home to after a long day’s works. I am a mother, so I am also concerned that those that I love are eating well. If I knew that a friend was having a difficult time at home, I would cook up a full meal and leave it by their door or in their refrigerator if I had the key. At least, I knew they were eating well one night a week. Friends who go on vacation, come home to a full fridge and an easy to bake meal because I understand how tiring it can be to travel. Who wants to go grocery shopping and cook after a long day of traveling?

People work so hard in their daily lives that sometimes they just need to take a break and have someone care of them. If I could feed the world, I would. It bothers me greatly that kids do not have home cooked meals or what it is like to have a wholesome meal around the table with their family. It hurts me that families have to work so hard to make enough money that they don’t have enough time to be present with those that mean the most to them. The meal, for me, is the connection that brings the family together. If I could provide an outlet or support for busy people with my food so that they have more time connecting and loving their family, then I will have felt successful.


If you would like more information on Elif Ekin I suggest you check out her blog: Mostly Happy or perhaps read her book: Mostly Happy, A Stay-at-Home Mom’s Journey through Divorce.



Mischievous College Sophomores

In Junior High, I took a keyboarding class with a smart young lady named Laurie Ann Richardson. At the time, she was the shortest girl in the entire seventh grade class. I noticed such things because prior to attending Junior High School, I was often the shortest girl in my class. Unlike me, Laurie’s stature had nothing to do with genes. It had everything to do with being such a smarty pants that she had been advanced a year in school. Shortness in seventh grade was due to being much younger than the rest of us.

Laurie and I sat next to each other during keyboarding. I usually got to class before her and noticed that she headed straight for the book shelf before sitting down. She needed two large books on her chair before she could reach her keyboard.

As time went on I decided to be a good neighbor and grab two books off a nearby shelf and place them on her chair before she got to class. It became a sort of unspoken custom.

As the years passed on, Laurie grew tall and thin and surpassed my height by several inches. Our camaraderie continued and we became room-mates during our sophomore year at Brigham Young University.

During this time at BYU everyone in our dorm was studying Spanish. Somehow we came up with a crazy idea to “crash” the Mormon Training Center reserved seating during devotionals and pretend to be sister missionaries headed to Spanish speaking territories.

I remember the event as a chance to harmlessly tweak a rule at the stout and undaunted institution we attended. Now, I find out Laurie’s true intentions in our “crash” plot. And, I find them, by no small coincidence through her use of those keyboarding skills we both learned in seventh grade.

I’ve always admired Laurie’s sense of humor and her practical sense of life. Now you can enjoy her side of the story as it was recently published in a BYU magazine.

Becoming a Missionary the Old-Fashioned Way
By Laurie Richardson McIntosh (BS ’81), Spring, Texas

As a young freshman, I was awed at the quantity of young, earnest-eyedmissionaries everywhere. Rules being quite different then for MTC missionaries, they strolled down the hill through Heritage Halls, loitered in the BYU Barbershop, and sat en masse in a great pie-shaped section of the Marriott Center at devotionals.

My equally enamored roommates and I positioned ourselves strategically at the devotionals to get the best view of these handsome and righteous youngmen. Oh, we knew they were off-limits—I was way too shy back then even to flirt—but we enjoyed the scenery and our dreams of someday having an RM of our very own.

Once, we contrived a plan to surround ourselves with dark-suited, white-shirted splendor: we’d make nametags for ourselves and impersonate sister missionaries! Our goofy coed dream was to sit through the next devotional in a sea of priesthood wonder.

It wouldn’t be hard. Nametags back then were color-coded Dymo-taped strips attached to an easily aped pin. We even put “Hermana ________” on the tags, because we were enrolled in Spanish 101.

When it came right down to it, we chickened out. Bad enough to be deceitful, but worse to be dishonest by posing as servants of the Lord.

Later, after graduating from BYU and working for a year, I found myself legitimately among the ranks of missionaries as I accepted a call to serve in the New Zealand Auckland Mission. Young elders surrounded me at the MTC and in the field, but by then my heart was focused elsewhere—on the great work of learning and sharing the gospel. Thank goodness I’d grown up a little since those freshman days at BYU!

10 Things I have Learned From Being Coached By Lyn

As a coach my job is to show up, see my clients as capable, apply my training and experience the best I can, and support the client in their unique quests. Never do I determine the outcomes. Every once in a while a client pauses their work to capture the gemstones they are carving out for themselves in our coaching process. So it is fascinating for me to see things reflected back from the client’s perspective. Thank you, Marcie Collett (Reinventing My Career Client) specifically for sending your list. I’m proud of you. And I take great delight in sharing your thoughts on my blog. I believe there is something useful tucked in here for just about everyone.

10 Things I Have Learned from Being Coached by Lyn

  1. I must commit to myself before being able to commit to anyone or anything
  2. I must be the health and renewal I want to see in the world-and in my next job
  3. It is better to be a hedgehog doing one good thing extraordinarily well than a fox that has several clever ways of escape
  4. Strength is something that makes you feel stronger; a weakness makes you feel weaker-even if it’s something that you are good at
  5. Happiness and friendship are my ultimate goals, and a healthy way of life is the best means to those ends
  6. The more the higher goals are met, less is needed to meet the lower goals
  7. Failure en route is expected and necessary; test & earn & learn rather than plan & implement
  8. Having a good day begins with my choices the night before
  9. Gratitude is the easiest way to bliss, and it’s the new economy
  10. When you are happy say thank you, more please

Lyn Christian Named Fittest Female Executive over Fifty

We are proud to announce that Lyn Christian has been named Fittest Female Executive over fifty by the Utah Business Magazine. This wasn’t just some random appointment. The team at TOSH (The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital) put all of Utah’s applicants through what they call an ultimate fitness test.

The test included skin fold measurement to determine body composition, a VO2 Max test that indicated cardiovascular fitness, a vertical jump and pro agility test. If that wasn’t enough, flexibility was measured, press jumps were administered and each applicant had to prove themselves in a good old-fashioned push-up series too.

While Lyn took first in her age division, insider information indicates she surpassed the fitness of several contestants much younger than she.

What seems most impressive to us at SoulSalt is that this wasn’t a random contest Lyn took extra time to prepare for. She maintains a philosophy about being strong and true in all areas of life, which include not just the physical but also the mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions. She believes that regular routines and practices of healthy living in theses areas are critical for enjoying and having optimal experiences.  She says, “If you want to do well in your work, in your relationships, and in your life you must be well.”

For more information read the Special Report in this month’s edition of Utah Business Magazine and watch for other postings and comments concerning this topic.

The 2012 SoulSalt Courage Award

Two strong constructs within my work are to:

  • Support people to clarify and align with their core value system
  • Support people through the process of career reinvention

This year’s Courage Award goes to a woman whose story embraces both and has unfolded right beneath my nose. Susan McLaughlin, my partner in life has simply yet bravely earned this award.

Having her livelihood placed on the line, Susan chose to leave a job in order to remain aligned with her personal values. This daring move has required that she quickly reinvent herself in the world of entrepreneurship (something she is approaching with as much skill and thoughtfulness as I’ve ever witnessed). Her story is best told by her own pen:

Recently I experienced a big shift in my life that has made me wonder.

 I wonder, what is it that drives a person to initiate a big change?

What is it that allows a person to take the next step, to change careers, a relationship, even a residence?

I took a big step…. no, I took a leap this Dec, 2011.

I have been practicing physical therapy since 2001. Four years ago I established myself as an outpatient physical therapist with a top notch healthcare company. I had an ideal position with a decent salary, potential to develop a pelvic health program and move into a leadership role.

During my years with this company, minute incongruencies clashed with my core values and began to take its toll. I had been packaging and storing these differences in a way that manifested as stress in my body. I started to observe that I mixed up words when I spoke, I transposed words when I wrote, I couldn’t finish my sentences, and I started to revert back to the childhood days when I couldn’t say my “Rs”.

I also noticed that despite all of the hours of stretching and restorative exercise™ during the week, my muscles just wouldn’t let go….Although I could feel that I was carrying more tension in my body than was healthy, I didn’t want to admit that my current job was contributing to this condition.

I now realize that my stress was caused by the friction of internal struggle. I have a belief that our bodies will heal if given the optimal environment. I wanted to work from my soul. However, I was working within a system where healing is something done to us and we wait for people to get sick, and then “cure” them with surgery and pills. I would have continued to work with this subtle inner struggle, but my company initiated a new policy that challenged me to really look at my core value of health and wellness.

You see, it is becoming a national healthcare trend to initiate a mandatory flu shot policy for all workers of large healthcare systems. My company followed suit this fall 2011. I had to make a decision: Do I sacrifice my personal health and compromise my immune system, or do I sacrifice a “good job” and a paycheck?

I realized that if I continued to make compromises to my core values, my physical body would eventually revolt, and then where would I be? I had to ask myself an important question: How could I stand for health and wellness when, by taking the flu shot and working for this company, I would be out of my personal integrity? 

I chose not to get the flu shot and I left my company. I was able to take that leap and land on my feet because I have an inner conviction that I know that my body has everything it needs to be vital. I stayed aligned to what I believe in. It wasn’t popular, nor was it profitable, however, I am committed to health and wellness and I will support others to do so as well. So I formed my own company and aptly named it, Align Integration and Movement, PLC. I intend to thrive and I intend to work with those who want to thrive as well.

Please feel free to visit and be sure to check out the class schedule. If something within Susan’s philosophy resonates with your own outlook on wellness, I recommend that you attend one of her Restorative Exercise™ classes now being held in Salt Lake !

Fourth Time is the Charm

 SoulSalt Persistence Award Goes to Shannon Dee

It has been documented that your IQ can predict about 7 to 20% of our capacity to succeed and lead a satisfying life. This leaves about 80% of our success and satisfaction to other factors. Daniel Goleman, psychologist and former science reporter for The New York Times, gave us the research that outlined the “other predictors” of having a wonderful life in his Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence publications.

Back in the 90’s when Goleman’s first book came out I instinctually knew that what he was saying held great value.

Time and time again I stand as an observer to lives that are transforming. The greatest amount of traction is gained by those who have strong E.Q. – emotional intelligence. The best news about Emotional Intelligence is that it can be learned. You don’t have to be born with it.

E.Q. is often witnessed in the following dimensions:

  • Our ability to motivate our own self
  • Our ability to calm and sooth one’s self
  • Our ability to control impulse and delay gratification
  • Our ability to empathize and have hope
  • Our ability to persist in the face of obstacles

And it is this final concept of persistence that I would like to recognize today. Most of us buy into the myth that when someone else succeeds, their path to victory was easy. That is truly a myth. Very few ever cross a finish line without putting forth effort and a display of one or more of the E.Q. traits.

So I would like to honor Shannon Dee, a tremendously genuine woman who has recently faced off with obstacles. She is the recipient of our SoulSalt 2011 Persistence Award. I could not portray Shannon’s grit and dedication any better than by sharing with you her own description of a grueling process:

As a wife, the mother of four and a successful career woman, life is not exactly full of free time and relaxation. 

For the last year and a half, I have been studying for one of my securities licenses.  I would get up at 4:30 a.m. every morning before work and study for ninety minutes and then I would come home most nights and study once my kids were in bed.  Every weekend morning I’d let myself sleep in until 6 a.m. and then spend the next twelve to fourteen hours studying. 

I studied, I tested, and I gave up precious time with family and friends. I missed out on fun activities and I failed miserably 3 different times.  Only needing a seventy two percent to pass, I kept telling myself, “you can do this!”  However, after my second attempt and second failure, I thought, “Maybe not. Maybe I can’t do this.”  

I kept missing the mark by only 1 to 3 points.  I was so close, yet that finish line seemed so far away.  In fact, after my second attempt and failure, the finish line wasn’t even in sight any longer.  What was my problem I wondered?

In my prime, school was no big deal at all!  I barely studied and I always passed with flying colors!  Age must have caught up with me I thought.  For a year and a half, I had been stripped of my pride numerous times, questioned my own intelligence and had been the most ornery person to live with (I am sure of that!). 

But after each failure I dusted myself off and got back on the horse.  I didn’t want to, but I had a company counting on me and my own kids were watching me. I had to be a good example as much as I despised the challenge. 

Today I can say that perseverance has paid off.  On my fourth attempt, I did it!  I passed with those old familiar flying colors and still had forty-six minutes to spare on the test clock!  I can proudly say that I didn’t quit, although there were many times and defeats where I cried my eyes out and wanted to quit. 

I realized that I needed to heed all of those pep talks that I had been giving to my teenagers and friends and family for years.  I had to keep trying until I was successful.  A business associate and I were talking after I finally passed the exam and he said to me, “you know Shannon, no one is ever going to ask you how many times you had to take the stupid test to pass.  All they will ever think about is the fact that you actually did.”  He’s right.  All that matters is that I kept trying and I succeeded…finally.


Hat Tip to Susan McLaughlin at Align, Integration and Movement

This morning the alarm went off at 0-crack-hundred-hours. It really didn’t need to. However, I wanted to be sure to make it to a ground-breaking event. Salt Lake City’s first ever Restorative Exercise™ class was starting at 6:30 a.m. And I not only wanted to be there, I wanted to walk there.

Actually it was my partner Susan’s idea to walk the ten minutes to Sugar Space Studio for the event. I agreed. This was a fitting way to honor the practice of integrated wellness that Susan is bringing to Salt Lake.

Susan McLaughlin P.T. is the mastermind who discovered Katy Bowman’s work, then trained and certified in Katy’s Restorative Exercise™ program. Susan’s company, Align Integration and Movement is the pioneering company that is bringing this exciting gift of health to Salt Lake.

The theme for this month’s classes is “Trim Your Waistline” and that we did in a very wise, effective manner this morning. Muscles all over were activated mindfully, bones in our feet were gently spread, nerves were mobilized and flossed in both hands and arms, and waist-lines were lengthened and reduced.

It is hard to describe the glowing feeling experienced upon leaving the class. It is not unlike what you sense after yoga and not unlike what one has after a hard workout and yet it is decidedly unique. The best I can say is this: Restorative Exercise™ leaves me feeling aligned and subtlety stronger. It supports me with a deep awareness that I just did something extremely good for myself. I just made an incremental, solid deposit in my own personal bank of wellness.


Read a related articles on Susan McLaughlin P.T.

Dealing With Pelvic and Neck Pain By Jasen Lee, Deseret News

Tension, Bad Posture May Be To Blame For The Pain By Lois M. Collins, Deseret News

Incontinence, Back Pain can Be Alleviated By Carrie A. Moore, Deseret News

Hat Tip To Andy

My first encounter with the concept of a modern-day “curmudgeon” came while watching 60 Minutes with my grandfather.  Somewhere toward the end of a segment this guy Andy Rooney came on complaining about the tiny amount of actual flakes and grains that come inside a big cereal box. Within the first 20 seconds of his spot, I sat up with delight. It was clear to me that one of the evening’s reporters was not like the others. Since that time I have enjoyed reading and hearing Andy’s opinions.  He lived to be 92 and in view of his recent passing I would love to tip my hat to him:

Thank you Andy for giving us laughter and an occasional whack on the side of our provincial thinking. In a world where very few humans are angelic, and we all stumble from time-to-time, you didn’t mind being direct and real about it all.


Author’s Note 

Another legendary recently passed on from this T.V. portal provided by my grandfather. In 1970 Joe Frazier became boxing’s undefeated heavyweight champion. I watched the fight with my Grandpa Morris. I could see the twinkle in his eye when Frazier won. I loved feeling the energy buzzing around him as he watched the fight unfold. Something was alive and youthful with Grandpa that I hadn’t experienced in him before. So thank you Joe Frazier for allowing me to witness a part of my Grandfather that I would otherwise never discovered.



SoulSalt is Moving

SoulSalt Inc. is moving. She is purchasing her first brick and mortar presence in Salt Lake City. Watch for the unveiling of our new location sometime in November.

We are saying good-bye to our Murray/Holladay Road location on the last day of October. Those of you who have loved this accessible and wonderful office-space please spread the news that it is available for rent.


Rock Star Mackinder

One of the most dynamic members of the creative class that I have had the honor of working with is the dazzling Vivienne Mackinder.  Currently Vivienne is the Fashion Director of Intercoiffure (American/Canada) and recipient of numerous accolades including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Hairstyling Awards.

The woman and artist that I know her as could win an unlimited amount of acknowledgements as long as they include words like: Most Driven, Quite the Undaunted, and Outstandingly Consistent When Delivering Super-Star Quality Work. So if you are a foundation or organization that honors such individuals, I nominate Vivienne.

It is with no surprise when this radiant lady sent me notice of her newest accolade – the 1,000 year old Irish Hairdressers Federation “International Icon” award.

Vivienne I take my hat off to you. You are an important and enduring symbol to us. You constantly push excellence in art and fashion to the next level. You are an icon of grace, fearlessness and humor. I don’t know anyone who can blend those three elements so beautifully together like you do. You are endlessly my red-haired, dynamo example.

Keep leading the way for creative types all over the globe. We need more mentors to show us how to earn a living by harnessing the talent that flows between our hearts and minds. We need to absorb your insights and wisdom in order to make talent explode out our fingertips as yours does.

Hugs! Kisses! And fireworks to you Vivienne “the Great” Mackinder!


Watch as Lyn takes Vivienne through a creativity coaching session. Click on the link below and select the “Inside The Artist Mind: The Creative Process” movie (to the right of your screen)