Mind over matter can work, says this Sausalito mom
Photo by Tim Porter
Even if you haven’t met Holly Seeler or her young children Jack and Tess, you might have heard them.
They’re the ones running up to shoppers reaching for a head of lettuce in a grocery store and bursting out, “I just want you to know I’m so happy today,” or yelling from their car windows, “We’re happy!” to startled out-of-towners casually strolling along Bridgeway in Sausalito.
“We get some people who think we’re crazy,” says the Sausalito resident cheerfully, “but we also get people who want to engage with us.” Either way, it’s fine with her; she and her children are just planting. “I’m big on seeds,” Seeler explains. “What you plant one day will soon blossom, so every day we plant a ‘seed.’ Spreading joy and happiness—that’s my new thing, and it’s fun to watch the kids do it, too. They love it.”
It wasn’t always this way. For 25 years Seeler has been a high-powered producer and creative director for large events and product launches, including stints as vice president of Dick Clark Corporate Productions in New York City and her own company, Mercury Rules, which counts Dell Computer, Harley-Davidson and the Oakland Raiders among its clients.
It was the stress involved, she believes, that contributed to her diagnosis of progressive multiple sclerosis. “It’s taken me seven years to know I was storing emotions in my body,” she says. “I firmly believe that I created this condition for myself and I also firmly believe I can heal it.”
She attributes this new attitude to intensive instruction she received through SRI Coaching, a method that combines neurology, physiology, use of language and inner focus to create meaning for oneself and attach it to one’s own experience.
Now a master “neurostrategist,” she shares the skills and tools of this approach with her husband, Victor Fisher, their two children and even their goldendoodle dog, Roxie. “You can connect with animals the same way you do with people,” Seeler says. “It’s about your words, your tone of voice and being present with them just as you are with your kids.
“Our words are powerful,” she says. “We create our own experiences of life every day by the words we use.” These include what we say both to ourselves and to others, she adds.
“I teach my kids that when they’re grumpy, they have a choice, with the snap of their fingers, to change their mood,” she says, “anchoring” her words with an audible finger snap. “It really works.”
She’s seen positive results. Nine-year-old Jack, a third-grader at St. Hilary School in Tiburon, has earned praise from his teacher for “a complete turnaround” of playground behavior arising from issues typical for boys his age. Now other parents have asked Seeler to show them how to achieve the same, and teaching others has become her new passion.
She’s developed seminars for parents, singles and couples aimed at gently nudging them to monitor their words, shift body language and focus energy on creating positive experience. She also helps students nurture their intuition or sixth sense, which girls and young women often ignore.
“We learn when we’re outside our comfort zone, so I help people get uncomfortable,” she says. “If you’re doing the same thing [as usual], you’re not learning. When you’re confused, your brain is searching for something and when someone tells me they’re confused, I say, ‘Fantastic, that’s wonderful, you’re not defaulting to an old way of thinking.’” She then pursues a line of easy questioning that’s designed to provoke thought and insight.
“Every single day we have a choice about how we’re going to show up in this world,” Seeler says. “If you say, ‘This certain thing happened to me today,’ you abdicate personal responsibility and there’s nothing you can do to change the outcome. Situations don’t happen to you, though. You create them.”