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Self-help book discovered at spa
Success sometimes begins in unassuming places. On a rare spa visit, literary agent Margaret McBride noticed a few copies of a self-improvement book and immediately prophesied that it would be a number-one best seller.
Marta Monahan's new book, "Strength of Character and Grace," was discovered at Gaia Day Spa in La Jolla and is the epitome of an overnight success.
"She's a bright new voice in the area of human potential," McBride said. "No one else talks about people running away from their own brilliance."
McBride was so excited about Monahan's freshly explored territory she flew off to Los Angeles to meet the author, then brought "Strength of Character and Grace" to a tradeshow in Chicago that week where it was the most talked about new book, according to publisher Vito Sanzone, Simon and Schuster has already made an offer on the book.
In fact, McBride was not the only one to see potential in Monahan's book. In September 1996, while Sanzone was vice president of marketing at Iwerks Entertainment in Burbank, he heard Monahan at a seminar. He immediately began using her new ways of thinking at work. With a strong desire to have her message heard by the public, Sanzone quit his job in January of 1998 and started his own publishing company, Vittorio Media, Inc. in Los Angeles.
Monahan's book is his first publication, and he already has several others to be printed this spring.
Rhana Pytell, owner of Gaia Day Spa, met Monahan more than 10 years ago at a workshop she was leading in San Diego. Since that first meeting, Pytell has supported Monahan. "A lot of what I have today is due to that workshop," Pytell said. "This is her life's work—to rid the world of mediocrity."
Pytell has sponsored two workshops with Monahan in La Jolla over the past few years. She even bought copies of her new book for the entire spa staff last Christmas.
Response from her staff was positive. Employee Rebecca Ewing said it was one of the best books she has ever read.
"Marta is so wise and evolved as a person and woman," Ewing said.
Now a flight attendant for United Airlines, Ewing has passed along the book to a co-worker as well as to a women's group for further reading and study.
"She really has some advanced concepts for personal accountability and her levels of aspiration are somewhat uncommon," Pytell said.
Since her spa is "all about improving the way you feel," Pytell was thrilled to be connected to the book's discovery.
Her business has been full of serendipity, "happening upon something that changes the course of your life," according to Pytell, who never thought of opening her own spa until meeting Monahan.
The workshop improved Pytell's self-image and helped her make conscious choices of change and improvement.
"I gained a whole lot of strength, and character and grace," Pytell said.
Monahan started out lecturing and giving speeches on character refinement 25 years ago. She then coached students in private lessons and group workshops. Now she has brought her ideas to print, with plans for upcoming books on related character refinement issues. Next spring, "Your Bouquet of Beautiful Things" will be available at bookstores.
Monahan teaches people how to clarify their lives and overcome stagnant situations.
"If your life is not satisfactory, it's because you need to upgrade the quality of what you do," she said during an interview Oct. 10 while on her way to a book signing in San Diego.
She encourages people to do something they don't ordinarily do, to create new habits and take intelligent risks.
"By nature we are lazy, violent, self-indulgent and resist change," she said. This lack of change results in mediocrity, according to Monahan who speaks from experience.
"My life had become dull and flat," she explained. "I wasn't doing anything wrong. It's in the things that I wasn't doing."
Her suggestion of making five improvements each day takes less than three minutes, but is a lifelong commitment, she said.
The goal is to improve in small increments, not to be perfect.
"The strength of my character had stopped at medium," admitted the woman who once fantasized dark revenges in her head, killing off those she disliked.
"I'm writing so that other people don't go in those places," she said.
Monahan now takes every opportunity presented to her and faces every challenge. She has developed the attitude that propels her forward.
"I jump into it like a head-on collisions," she said.
She warns that mediocrity leads to dishonesty, then further into deterioration.
"Before you can get out of it, you need to know where you are," she said.
From therapists to executive CEOs in Singapore, Monahan's students come to her knowing they are missing something in their lives.
"They want to do more with their lives," she said.
Originally from El Salvador, Monahan comes from a culture where people do not talk about themselves. Her family questioned her career choices, until now.
She teaches people "how to use their jewels" and "virtues with intelligence and strength."
La Jolla Village News
Marta Monahan steps out of a place and time when honor and dignity of oneself and others was the rule, not the exception.
She brings that knowledge through time with her mind and heart communicating it's universality of application to one's every decision and action in every day life.
When I took her courses on "Brilliance", "Etiquette", and "Relationships", I felt as if I was being instructed on how to be a Royal: how they act, how they think, and the meaning and effect of being refined and dignified in my own life.
I found the more refined and dignified I was to myself, the more honorable and authentic I felt about myself. The ripple effect of five honorable acts a day had others treating me in more honorable and refined way, as well as attracting like minded people to me.
I was also more conscious about every one of my resources, whether it was my time, my attention, my money, my gratitude, or my gifts being expressed in such an easy way that no one ever saw the work that went into making things seem easy. But I knew. And I was proud of my internal work. It was like a secret.
Since taking Marta's courses my life has gotten easier, void of chaos, filled with order and clarity. It has become more precise, focused and efficient in expressing the best I have to offer the world. I understand now what Marta meant when she said one minute small act can change not only my own life but others lives that I touch.
While I am not royalty, I realize anything less than royal behavior would be blasphemous to the creation of my life. I have Marta to thank for her knowledge, her courage to cut to the truthful core of my being where I have rationalized mediocrity. She gently encouraged my honorable actions to change the tide of my life. This truth has set me free.
I would highly recommend Marta's courses and her book, "Strength of Character and Grace".
I have never seen this information taught anywhere else in the world. I truly doubt this rare information will be available to many future generations.
Like much ancient knowledge it has been taught by teaching through story, and handed down generation to generation. When the stories stop, the true knowledge of language becomes extinct.
Do take advantage of this knowledge before it becomes extinct. Better yet, commit to modeling and behaving with brilliance so our world will have hope for our next generation.
Thank you again Marta for the most precious of gifts, permission and the methods to seek my own brilliance.
I will never forget.
© 2013 Marta Monahan