Winter 2024

Resolutions: Serving Our Deeper Commitments

by Sahar Azarabadi

As we actively engage with 2024, I have become curious about the idea of resolutions and the implications of setting them (or not). In some parts of the world, the turn of the calendar year is a time to reflect, take stock of life and for new beginnings. Many people begin the year by making resolutions. A recent Forbes article cited that 62% of respondents felt pressured to set one. Resolution topics are noble and well-intended, yet one research article reports only 9-18% of respondents kept all their resolutions by the end of that year!

This Forbes article reported the top New Year’s Resolutions for 2024 are:

  • Improve fitness (48%)
  • Improve finances (38%)
  • Improve mental health (36%)
  • Lose weight (34%)
  • Improve diet (32%)
  • Make more time for loved ones (25%)
  • Stop smoking (12%)
  • Learn a new skill (9%)
  • Make more time for hobbies (7%)
  • Improve work-life balance (7%)
  • Travel more (6%)
  • Meditate regularly (5%)
  • Drink less alcohol (3%)
  • Perform better at work (3%)


Does any of this resonate or sound familiar? After being asked by a few people at the beginning of January about my resolutions (of which I had none), I started to wonder about the dynamic of feeling pressured to have a resolution, the sorts of resolutions that are made, and the fact that only a small portion are fulfilled over time.

To be clear, I’m not asserting that there is anything inherently wrong with resolutions. I’m more interested in the pressure that’s felt to declare one (or more); and the implications of that pressure on how we craft, relate to and ultimately take on our resolutions (or not).

It seems to me that part of what contributes to our challenge with resolutions is our predominant future orientation and mechanistic view of ourselves, others and the world, so our resolutions often take the shape of (and, dare I say get reduced to) goals. What I mean by future orientation is a promise of an idyllic future state where things “work out” if <fill in the blank>. And by the mechanistic view, I mean an orientation to ourselves as if machines where what is centered is performance and productivity. All we have to do to realize the promised future is work more, or harder, or smarter, or faster. The trouble with this way of making sense of things is that for the 82%+ of us who don’t keep our resolutions (per the research, and likely even those who do), doubts about our value, worth, competence, and capacity start to creep in (i.e. there must be something inherently lacking, deficient or wrong with me).

While goals imply a boundary, endpoint or limit, the word resolution is derived from the Latin resolvere which means, “to loosen, undo, or untie.” How might things shift for us and our resolutions if we were to shift from solely identifying an endpoint (goal-setting) to loosening or untying ourselves (from patterns and habits of attention), recognizing that we are ever-unfolding? What if our resolutions were crafted from an animist rather than mechanistic perspective? What if our resolutions were vehicles that gestured towards a deeper life commitment rather than the endpoint themselves? What if our resolutions were imbued with our longings? Might these shift how we relate to and, thus, how we step into our resolutions?

Perhaps rather than tasks to check off a list, our resolutions can be invitations. Invitations where we experience our aliveness more fully, connect with ourselves and to others more deeply, and see possibilities to serve and make a contribution. And rather than an annual reflection, our resolutions can invite us into a life stance of inquiry, reflection and practice where we loosen, undo and untie ourselves from our delusions and misunderstandings repeatedly. What if, in a world fraught with division, diminishing capacity and burnout, our resolutions can be resourcing so we can be present with more skill, wisdom and compassion?

Mary Oliver reminds us:

“You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.”

What does the soft animal of your body love? What are the resolutions that you are living already?

May your resolutions more fully steward your essence into this world.

With love and blessings,


Practice of the Quarter

The Deeper Commitment

As we continue our journey in time deeper into the calendar year, I invite you into an inquiry on resolution(s) and deeper commitment(s). Please allocate 5-10 minutes daily for this practice and reflection, taking notes or recording a voice memo on the prompts to support you.

Take a moment to connect with your body-heart-mind, allowing yourself to soften more fully into your experience without the need to change anything. Bring into your awareness a resolution that you currently have or have had in the past which still feels relevant today. (Feel free to reference the list in the article for ideas):

  • What is the resolution?
  • What do you notice in your experience (thoughts, feelings, sensation) as you presence this resolution?
  • What is the deeper commitment which underlies this resolution? (i.e. For the sake of what?)
  • What do you notice as you realize the deeper commitment (thoughts, feelings, sensations)?
  • What new learning is emerging from these reflections?

Poems of the Quarter

Blessing the Threshold by Jan Richardson


This blessing
has been waiting for you
for a long time.
While you have been
making your way here,
this blessing has been
gathering itself,
making ready,
biding its time,

This blessing has been
polishing the door,
oiling the hinges,
sweeping the steps,
lighting candles
in the windows.

This blessing has been
setting the table
as it hums a tune
from an old song
it knows,
something about
a spiraling road
and bread
and grace.

All this time
it has kept an eye
on the horizon,
keeping vigil,
hardly aware of how
it was leaning itself
in your direction.

And now that
you are here,
this blessing
can hardly believe
its good fortune
that you have finally arrived,
that it can drop everything
at last
to fling its arms wide
to you, crying


Symmathesy by Nora Bateson


Each one of us is a crooked tree,
Reaching for water and light,
Bending ourselves around obstacles,
Scary thoughts, hurtful moments,
darkness & thirst,
Finding a way to breathe in the sun and hold the soil,
Our branches are kinked and twisted,
Because that is what it took to be here,

The ways of learning to be in our worlds,
Have shaped responses,
Our many experiences are speaking through every gesture.
Our loves, and broken paths, a tenderness, a criticism,

Learning always,
Yearning always,
In crooked beauty…
To be a home for those who may find comfort
In the asymmetry of our belonging,
A nest cradling new life,

Tucked into an old log teeming with creatures,
learning to be in each other’s reshaping.

Book of the Quarter

This compelling book by Gabor Maté is imbued with hope and compassion, offering readers practical methods for addressing ADD and finding healing. Maté’s characteristic compassion shines through, creating an atmosphere of hope, humility, and possibility. One of the book’s most valuable aspects, consistent with his other works, is its ability to foster a sense of energetic holding that serves as a supportive container for navigating the challenges often associated with ADD.

Graduate News

Dear Graduates,

I hope to find you all well and thriving at the beginning of the new year! Although 2024 has just started, I can’t believe we’re already in February! Where did the time go?

How much has happened in the six months since I’ve been your Graduate Steward is unbelievable. Many of you have reached out, and I have connected with others by phone, over Zoom, WhatsApp, messages, and emails. You have shared incredible and touching stories with me. I have come to learn about you and those you’re in relationship with. I feel I’ve known you for ages – as friends who enjoy each other’s company, share vulnerabilities, listen to each other, and have fun together.

As some of you may already know, we intentionally engage our energy toward expanding and nurturing our Graduate Community. We are pleased to share some of how this beautiful movement is taking shape and coming to life. Maybe a sparkle of my excitement can reach you – I can imagine some of you smiling from where I am.

Since last December, I have invited PCC cohorts to gather again in their original configuration to be in community and share experiences. If you graduated over the last couple of years, you will likely be hearing from me sometime soon. Hosting these calls and holding space for such meaningful encounters is an honor!

We have also been in touch with local community organizers and fellow integral coaches who are skillful in making connections and bringing people together around a shared purpose. Contact us if this sounds like you or if you are looking for community! We would like to know who you are, where you are, where you meet and what we can do to support you.

We would also like to identify and capture those of you leading groups of interest, affinity groups, big or small. We want to hear from you, learn with you, and strengthen our relationship. What would you like to see more of in New Ventures West? How can we collaborate?

So yes, this is a call as well as an invitation. Drop me a line, let us find a moment to connect, explore possibilities, and act together to serve the whole.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

With love,


Welcome New Graduates!


Ari Hertz, Seattle, Washington
Carrie Wilson, Berkeley, California
ChanChan Aye, Edmonds, Washington
Dorothy Boudreau, San Luis Obispo, California
Holly Streblow, San Pablo, California
Jason Rodich, Minnetonka, Minnesota
Jordan Nahmias, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Laura Harnish, Kensington, California
Matt Turley, Corte Madera, California
Nicole Lenzen, Brooklyn, New York
Ryion Pun, Singapore
Shefali Mehta, Alexandria, Virginia
Xinyu Xu, Singapore



Addy Roff, Aptos, California
Annie Korenjak, Denver, Colorado
Areyla Faeron, Los Angeles, California
Beatriz Aguirre Gutierrez, Phoenix, Arizona
Carmelle Ellison, Oakley, California
Christie Folck, Antelope, California
Corinne Aparis, San Diego, California
Cristina Bernardo Kullberg, San Diego, California
Dani Cirignano, San Francisco, California
Delena Gutierrez, Long Beach, California
Emily Hannenberg, Oceanside, California
Jennifer Pancholi, Bainbridge Island, Washington
Kelly Ehret, Mill Valley, California
Liz Smith, Seattle, Washington
Peter Brandenburger, Portland, Oregon
Sheralynn Magallanes, Oakland, California
Vicki Gersten, Narragansett, Rhode Island
Zack Corral, Danville, California

Attention Colorado Graduates

As a recent graduate, I wondered how I was going to stay in community with fellow integral coaching practitioners after completing the New Ventures West program. Erica Bovaird (also a Colorado resident) and I began the conversation in May 2023 of what a local group of coaches might look like. Several months later with a list of NVW graduates in hand, we had our first virtual gathering of curious coaches looking to expand their coaching community, locally.

We’ve had a handful of gatherings online and each has been a special point of connection for coaches, both new and tenured, each with compelling paths and open hearts.

This spring we will have our first in-person gathering. Please join us for a lightly-facilitated, retreat-style gathering in Loveland, CO. Our hope is that each of us feel more nourished and connected by the end of a half-day spent tending to our bodies, hearts, and minds in community. The gathering will include a nourishing potluck; connective activities (to self, place, each other); creative making; and movement practice on the land. Tentatively scheduled for May 11, 11 am – 3 pm.

If you are a graduate in Colorado and interested in attending our in-person gathering, a virtual gathering or would like to join our Slack channel – please reach out to [email protected]

Karin Stewart

News and Updates

This quarter we celebrate an upcoming retirement (Mary) and welcome a new team member (Nick).

Our beloved longtime registrar is following her heart and moving onto the next part of her journey – retirement. We have been extremely lucky to be in relationship with Mary throughout the years and witness her unrelenting support of our work.

She has been the quiet, integral and solid shoulder that kept everything moving smoothly for our students and the team throughout the years. She has made us smile with her contagious energy for storytelling. We are excited for her new adventure. Please join us in sending her love and good wishes for this milestone event. She will be dearly missed.

When considering writing a farewell to Mary, I felt like I was drafting the blueprint for the ultimate office MVP. Over the past 26 years, Mary has been the glue holding this place together through 3 stints as registrar, totalling 17.5 years on the job. She’s the unsung hero who’s kept this school running as smoothly as a well-oiled machine though eras of incredible change.

Back in 1998, when she first graced us with her presence, she was practically family, having been a friend (and former roommate) of the Flaherty’s for years. She jumped onboard during a period of rapid expansion, after the school was accredited by the International Coaching Federation in 1994. Her second stint in the mid aughts coincided with a national wave of interest in coaching as a profession. During this final third term at New Ventures West Mary has been stewarding the school through the pandemic and a transition in leadership.

Mary is truly a remarkable person to work with. Her ability to juggle cognitively complex tasks astounds me, especially considering that they are often directly in the middle of relational systems that require grace and diplomacy. And let’s not forget her hidden talents—her classic movie reviews and Bay Area real estate horror stories are the stuff of staff meeting legend.

As Mary leaves, let’s acknowledge that being the most reliable, competent, hard working member of a staff may not always be fun for that person. However, I can’t recommend highly enough being the coworker of that person. It’s not just about the way you benefit from their skills and expertise; it’s about the way the radiant glow of their awesomeness makes everyday so much better.

Thank you Mary, for truly elevating the atmosphere for so many years. We will miss you.

Jessica Phillips

Working alongside Mary, until she retires in a few weeks, we’d like to welcome Nick Cederlind to the NVW team! He will be our new Registrar and we are thrilled to have him onboard! Nick is passionate about coaching and integral theory, and brings his experience of being a steward and administrator of student registration and curriculum management to the team. Prior to joining New Ventures West, he was formerly Assistant Registrar at the California Institute of Integral studies. A former midwesterner, Nick has lived in the SF Bay Area for over 20 years and holds an M.A. in Consciousness Studies from John F. Kennedy University and his B.G.S in Psychology from the University of Kansas. He enjoys skiing in Tahoe and recently learned how to surf in Hawaii. He has also been a background extra in a few Hollywood films. Please join us in welcoming Nick to the staff team and our broader community!

Around the World

Convivium’s January Professional Coaching Course in French (Formation des Coachs Professionnels) has kicked off with a group of 21 participants! We are very excited for them to embark on their Francophone coaching journey. This year also marks Convivium’s 15th PCC. A big congratulations to our partners! To many more!


Congratulations to Lizzie, Matthew and Vesper Winn, on the arrival of their son and little brother, Zinzan! What wonderful news to hear of his safe arrival into the world (born November 29, 2023). May this special time be filled with joy, love, and countless cherished moments. We wish the Winn family all the happiness and blessings in the world.

Class Calendar

Professional Coaching Course 

Begins Apr. 18 (Blended Virtual / SF)
Begins March 12 (Cape Town)
Begins June 13 (London)
Begins June 20 (Blended Virtual / SF)


Foundations of Coaching

Mar 7, 2024 – Mar 8 (London)
Mar 12, 2024 – Mar 14 (Virtual Pacific)
Mar 21, 2024 – Mar 23 (Montreal, French)
Apr 16, 2024 – Apr 18 (Virtual Pacific)
May 14, 2024 – May 16 (Virtual Pacific)
May 23, 2024 – May 24 (London)
Jun 11, 2024 – Jun 13 (Virtual Pacific)
July 18, 2024 – Juy 19 (London)


Coaching for Development

Live Virtual (South Africa Standard Time)

Module 1: 15 – 17 May 2024
Module 2: 24 – 26 July 2024
Module 3: 21 – 22 Nov 2024


Free Meet the Leader

March 6, 2024
March 20, 2024
April 3, 2024
April 10, 2024
April 22, 2024


Free Coaching as a Guest Client

April 13, 2024


Free Integral Learning Lab

February 24, 2024
April 6, 2024
June 8, 2024


Graduate Community Gathering

April 3, 2024


Book Study Group

Begins April 30, 2024


Integral Coaching Forum

March 19, 2024

May 1, 2024


Thwarting the Inner Critic 

Begins April 18, 2024


Facilitating Coaching Circles

E-course available on demand

Workshops scheduled upon request


Coaching Supervision

Start any time


Upcoming Courses

Unless otherwise indicated, programs take place virtually in Pacific Time.

For the full class schedule see here.

New Ventures West