A hand shake, a diamond ring, a signature, a tightening of the abdominal muscles, an intense pose or just an intense eye gaze…there are various ways to ENGAGE. But, to stay engaged, you must commit to one thing.

Be ridiculously in charge of your attention this weekend…because what you look for will be enlivened in your awareness.” ~Sarah McLean

These were my instructions this past weekend. Sounded easy enough. I should be able to control what I pay attention to…right? The complexity arises when we ENGAGE over long distances. Especially, a certain, exceptionally long distance…

The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart.” ~Unknown

In taking this journey, we connect one level deeper to the essence of who we are and why we are here. Soul-level questions. How-to-live-life-fully questions. What does that look like for you? How do you know you’re on the right path? Easy…ish. You ENGAGE. You truly engage.

Motivation doesn’t work because motivation keeps you up in your mind, in that place of what you should do. Shoulding yourself is not being kind to yourself…it’s leading yourself down the path of self-sabotage, self-hatred, and stuck in a place of unworthiness.

That’s why we have Motivation Monday, New Year’s Resolutions, and a gazillion dollar weight loss industry. Motivation does not get to the heart of the matter. We are not taking that all-important journey from head to heart. When we engage, we are. We are connecting the two. Closing the gap. The gap within ourselves. Alleviating that dull pervasive ache associated with not living the life you were meant to.

I still think like a fat girl…it’s letting go of the negativity and even though that is a good thing, it’s still like letting go of an old friend.” ~Anonymous

We all have a fat girl persona. Send her love, light, and respect. Give her air time because she’s not going to die if you don’t…actually, she’s going to act out like an angry toddler if you don’t.

Controlling yourself to be perfect or ideal in some superhuman sense is NOT the way. Unless you’re looking for meltdown, breakdown, or any other kind of letdown, do not proceed with this self-denial. We are all things…including the things that irritate us most.

I detest laziness. I would be momentarily furious if you called me lazy. As a result, I have a tendency to spread myself too thin and become borderline neurotic about my productivity. It does not mean, however, that I am not lazy. It means I’m denying Lazy Lana…the lazy girl within.

When we realize we all have the full spectrum of emotions and personality traits, it becomes easier to accept others and, more importantly, to self-accept. It’s not that we desire to be fat or lazy, it’s that these personas have a message for us. They are delivering a desire or need that we are not fulfilling for ourselves.

Our human conditioning is corrupt, not our soul…ENGAGE long enough to return to the essence of who you are.

Conditioning goes like this: Every action produces a memory…a memory of experience. This memory then triggers a desire…a desire to repeat or a desire to reject…also known as the yum or yuck response. Of course, we may misinterpret. We may think it was the doughnut that made us feel better. But, as long as we pay attention, we gain awareness and neutrality. Self-awareness to see what we are doing and the separation to assess why we are doing it. From that place of neutral self-awareness, we can choose to repeat the behavior or, we can stop and choose a different behavior that feels more nurturing and nourishing to our inner being.

When we associate so personally with the undesired behavior, we can’t separate and stay neutral. This triggers unkind feelings of shame, embarrassment, and guilt. We become the behavior rather than merely the experience of behavior.

Engage your inner fat girl. Listen to what she needs to say.

The word, engage, originally meant ‘to pawn or pledge something’. By the 16th and 17th centuries, the definition embodied doing something, such as signing a contract, involving oneself in an activity, or entering into combat. A promise of sorts. A promise to the fat girl to take the next best step in life. A promise to your fiancé that you are one step away from the altar.

When we engage, we take a stance, we sign up for the race, we strike up a conversation, we put ourselves out there. But, most notably, we send a smoke signal up to the Universe that we are ready for the next set of directions…and to ourselves that we are one step away from the ultimate goal…our expanded happiness.

Do you want to explore ENGAGE further? Click here for quotes, mantras and our willPower dedicated weekly exercise.

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah is a studio owner, fitness instructor and competitor. She is a former investment banker and equity research analyst with her MBA from the Wharton School and her MA in International Affairs from the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah is fluent in Japanese and consults with Japanese companies on corporate governance, finance, and investor relations. Sarah's interest in Japan stemmed from her first tour with Disney On Ice as a professional figure skater. For more info on Sarah and her studio, visit