From Mindful to Light: 16 Words to Shape 2015

Jan 26, 2015 4:00:00 PM | student success From Mindful to Light: 16 Words to Shape 2015

I asked some of the ACHS staff members to share their words for 2015, and they have some great ones! I am truly honored to work with such inspirational colleagues.

From Mindful to Light: 16 Words to Shape 2015 I am not one to rely on grandiose plans. Or rather, I should say, I prefer action and deliverables to big ideas that only remain, well… ideas. That is why I was so inspired when I saw a fascinating Listly by Kelly McCausey. Every year, Kelly encourages writers to choose a word to shape their lives in the year ahead, blog about it, and then add it to her list.  

I love the concept of directing intense focus around one powerful word. Those of us in the holistic health field know how powerful a one-word mantra can be, and focusing on the right word can encourage us to stay centered and driven toward progress for the year. I enjoyed Kelly’s list so much that I asked some of the ACHS staff members to share their words for 2015, and they have some great ones! I am truly honored to work with such inspirational colleagues.

MINDFUL Kelly Johnson

From Shipping Manager Kelly Johnson

In choosing to be mindful. I am choosing to be aware. To be conscious. To be awake. I am choosing to pay attention to others, the task at hand, and myself. I have a pattern at times of simply bumping along from one project to another, not finishing, not completely paying attention, just brushing through half alive. In choosing to be mindful I am choosing to focus my energy on what’s happening here and now. Focus on what’s right in front of me, right now. I am choosing to focus on my breathing and my body, and to release tension when it arises with a few simple breaths. To be mindful in 2015 is, for me, choosing to be my best self. 

ACTIONMelissa Trujillo

From Admissions Advisor Melissa Trujillo

My word for 2015 is action. To me, action means doing more than what I have done before. It includes getting involved in causes that are important to me and to my family. It means responding to the things that move me versus hoping that something will change. It means going the extra mile, reaching out to others, making time for things and people that are important to me and devoting myself to these things. 2015 will be my year of action!  

FLOWLauren Shapiro

From Dean of English, Communications Manager, and Press Coordinator Lauren Shapiro 

My word for 2015 is flow. To increase flow, my intention is to let go of control and embrace ease, heartsease, peace of mind. To create greater and greater fluidity in my life—from the mundane tasks of daily living to attracting the big-ticket items, heart’s desires—by releasing resistance. To just create more. Period. To release resistance … to get out of my own way … to be more fully, uniquely me … to be more fully present and available to/for what is most unique about fully living. To flow masterfully. (A flow master?!? I like it!)

HONESTYSuzanne Kent

From Business Office Manager Suzanne Kent 

Honesty is the most important trait to me. Without honesty, you cannot be true to yourself, and you never know where you stand with people, or how they really feel. Honesty can bring pain with it, but I feel that is much better than never knowing the truth. It could be about something you are unaware of and might want to change, once made aware. It might be something that cannot be changed, and can be hurtful. Either way, at least you know. It also brings along respect for the people being honest with you, whether you like what they said or not. I have full respect for honesty. I do not believe in being honest for the sole purpose of being hurtful, where absolutely no good could every come out of it. In those cases, it’s just best to not say anything at all. Not saying anything is fine too, as it is not lying.

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BALANCEHeather Baley

From Dean of Students Heather Baley 

My word is balance—being able to successfully schedule my time so that I can be sure that I meet all of my goals in my personal and professional life.



From Director of Instructional Innovation and Design Ephraim Ross 

My intention is for 2015 to be a year of foundation. Last year my life was in a constant state of change. Most of it positive, but all of it disruptive to the normal order of my life. Having recently moved back to Portland, started a new position with the College, and moved in with my new fiancée, I am very much hoping to feel settled and build a healthy amount of balance, routine, and security back into my life. I’d like to rediscover my natural rhythms between work, sleep, exercise, diet, and social community presence. I’d like this to be a year of finding firm, healthy, fulfilled ground beneath my feet. And using it as a launchpad into 2016.


From Communications Specialist Renee Long

My word for 2015 is compassion. The true meaning of this word goes beyond simple kindness and sympathy, and is defined as the emotional response to suffering which triggers a desire to help/act. I sometimes find myself worrying a lot... about the hurt in the world, my family, friends, the environment, my own life... and worrying helps no one and gets nothing done. In 2015, I am hoping to cultivate true compassion by being intentional and loving with those around me (going further than the "Hi, how are you?"), volunteering with Write Around Portland, as well as practicing self-care and self-love.


From Assistant Director of Compliance Susan Yirku 

In 2015 I want to look back upon the experiences in my life, good and bad, and consider all the wonderful people I have been lucky enough to meet. There are lessons to be gained from all that is around us as we move forward into the new challenges of the future.



From Director of Instructional Technology DW Wood

My word for 2015 is intentional. My world—and maybe yours too—is quite complex with too many demands on too few resources. And… I fully understand that both my personal and professional success depends on my ability to calibrate those demands and intentionally direct those resources. Sure, it means that I’ll say “no” to the wants and “yes” to the needs. But, it also means that I’ll be challenged to thoughtfully prioritize those needs and engage in a lifestyle “reduction” of sorts. For me, 2015 is about deliberate action. And, as in cooking, I expect my “reduction” to thicken and intensify the flavors in my life. Join me? 

SUCCESS & RESPECT Dominic Aiello

From Social Media Specialist Dominic Aiello 

My words for 2015 are success and respect. Success to me means more about what you do in life, how happy it makes you, and less about a position of wealth or power. I want to ensure I continue to strive to achieve the best I can both professionally and personally. Not just for the feeling of self-empowerment, but for a much deeper purpose. I feel striving to be a champion of the tasks handed to you, in every aspect of life, shows a high level of respect to those around you.  


From Dean of Admissions Amy Swinehart

I believe that I am already an accomplished person in many ways. However, for 2015, I have some goals that I am hoping to reach in order for me to move on and move forward. With these accomplishments I know I will feel healthier, happier, and more motivated to accomplish even greater things in my life, and most importantly to form stronger bonds in the relationships that surround me! 

BETTER Kathryn Stone

From Director of Financial Aid Kathryn (Katie) Stone 

My word for 2015 is better. For me, better is the antithesis of complacency. Through a concerted effort towards the act of continuous improvement, I can avoid stagnancy. So, in the next 365 days, I will focus on surpassing the 2014 me. I want to better my relationships, better my family, better my health, and better my work. I’m going to focus on doing the little things better, knowing that they will create a ripple effect throughout my life and the people around me, leading to an even bigger better!

IMPECCABLETanja Kaneshiro

From Executive Assistant to the President Tanja Kaneshiro 

Impeccable. Every thought and action creates an intention. Some manifest readily, simply, and some do not. In the coming new year, I want to interact with all people in an impeccable manner to aim for the highest “good” in each interaction. While I do my best to be straight with people, I want to improve on my quiet judgments and allow each person her or his truth. Especially if I disagree. :)

HARMONYTiffany Stout

From Production Lead Tiffany Stout 

Harmony in 2015. This word resonates with me in a few contexts. It’s my intention to harmonize my responsibilities with my passions. To harmonize my energy with the energy around me. I am hoping to regain a bit of balance between work and play, and to grow in my creative life as I’ve grown into my work/study life. This year is filled with a couple major transitions: moving into a new home, finishing a Holistic Nutrition program, expanding the production department at ACHS (yay!). I believe that if I can remain in harmony with the passing moments, the balance achieved will develop into easy adaptations of my new time and space expansion.

GRATEFUL Tracey Abell

From Director of Operations Tracey Abell

Grateful! As I reflect back on the last year, the word that comes to mind is grateful. I am grateful for my health and the health of my loved ones, above all, and also for all of life’s gifts. The past year has given me many opportunities to renew my appreciation for how “rich” my life is with friends, family, wonderful co-workers, and being part of a community that is always striving to do more to make the world a better place.

NIMBLE & LIGHTDorene Petersen

From President and Founder Dorene Petersen

I have two words…nimble and light. In 2015, more than ever I see the need to be nimble in the sense of being aware, wide awake, and alert to all possibilities. Being observant and aware of the unique opportunities and delights each day brings. Nimble is being able to adapt quickly with full perception. Light is not just feeling light in my heart and soul, but being the light. Seeing the best in every situation and person, solutions focused. Plus, I am super excited about being in a position to distribute solar lights on our ACHS study abroad trips to those less fortunate with no lights…. More to come on that.

What is a word that will shape your life in 2015? We’d love for you to share with us.

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Dorene Petersen, ACHS Founding President

Written By: Dorene Petersen, ACHS Founding President

Dorene is the Founding President of the American College of Healthcare Sciences (ACHS). She has over 45 years of clinical teaching and lecturing experience in aromatherapy and other holistic health subjects. She has presented papers on essential oils and clinical aromatherapy at the International Federation of Essential Oils and Aroma Trades Annual Conference (IFEAT) in California, USA; the Aroma Environment Association of Japan (AEAJ) in Tokyo, Japan; the Asian Aroma Ingredients Congress (AAIC) and Expo in Bali, Indonesia; the International Center of Advanced Aromatherapy (ICAA) at the WonGwang Digital University in Seoul, Korea; as well as the AAIC Expo in Kunming, Yunnan, China. Dorene is a founding member of the Aromatherapy Registration Council (ARC) and served as its chair until 2023. Dorene is also involved in the distance education community and has served as a volunteer, committee member, and standards evaluator for the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC). Dorene is a travel junkie, and has led ACHS Study Abroad programs to India, Indonesia, Greece, and Hawaii!