Stacey Prillaman, MA, HMCC
Stacey enjoyed a career in finance for two decades. After graduating from Wake Forest University, she accepted a position in corporate banking. Later, she attained further credentials in money management as a Chartered Financial Analyst®. In 2007, she experienced an internal awakening which led to a commitment to spend the remainder of her life exploring and supporting the evolution of consciousness on our planet. She has a Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica.
Stacey is the Founder and Principal of Conscious Empowerment, LLC. She is a HeartMath™ Certified Coach, and continually explores educational opportunities. Over the past 5 years she has received training from David Berceli (Trauma Prevention), Joe Dispenza (Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself), Thomas Hubl (Transparent Communication), as well as from Daniel Siegel and Jack Kornfield (Mindfulness and the Brain).
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean to practice living from the inside out?
Physicist and philosopher Thomas Kuhn coined the term ‘paradigm shift’ in 1962 – basically when new understanding shifts our perspective regarding how things work in the world. Experiencing life from the inside out is a type of paradigm shift.
When we are moving unconsciously through life, our mind is in a reactive state of being. From this point of view, what we’re feeling or thinking is generally attributed to what is going on outside of us. Our reactions are externally driven. Living from the inside out, we assume radical responsibility for what we’re experiencing internally. The only person who can initiate a thought or emotion inside of you is you. This isn’t philosophical; it’s a biological fact. When we live from the inside out we explore what outside events might actually be mirroring back to us regarding unconscious belief patterns or un-integrated emotions.
Neuroplasticity shows us that focused attention changes the brain. So if you allow the outer world to control how you think and feel, you’re unconsciously allowing your environment to program your brain.
How does the coaching service work?
Conscious Empowerment Coaching relies on experiential learning. While individual sessions are powerful and informative, it’s how you integrate the material into your life that drives an experience of transformation. Coaching packages are recommended. There is an initial intake session to discuss the process as well as your goals and intentions. This is a complimentary session. Five additional sessions are then scheduled at your convenience. Limited email and phone support is provided in-between sessions. At the end of the last session, you can decide whether to continue with individual sessions or initiate a new series of five.
Services I Provide
Conscious Empowerment Coaching
Albert Einstein is famous for the quote “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” Conscious Empowerment Coaching (CEC) is a practice of reframing how we relate to and interpret the world around us. It’s an inside out process that reverses our normal interpretation of reality.
CEC combines three powerful practices – Mindfulness, Radical Self-Compassion and HeartMath™.
The first step of the process is an exploration into Mindfulness, the practice of being fully present to the current moment, on purpose and with no judgment. Neuroscientists have recently discovered that a practice of mindfulness actually changes the brain, eventually evolving a more focused and calm brain and nervous system, with more emotional resiliency and increased capacity to respond to people and events with expanded perspective and choice. Mindfulness is also a powerful way to viscerally discover that we are not our thoughts. Thoughts are constantly being generated by the brain, and it’s only when we unconsciously believe and become entangled with them that we find ourselves plopped into an emotional state of stress and unease.
Advances in neuroscience have also revealed that while our brains have a natural bias for empathy and connection with others, the same does not automatically apply to how we relate to ourselves. We can be caring and compassionate with others, but then turn inward and invariably run into the Inner Critic. The most critical relationship we have in our lives is actually our relatedness with our own selves. Radical Self-Compassion is a practice that enables us to turn towards the inner emotional upsets, fears and anxieties instead of avoiding them, pushing them away or projecting them onto others. Radical Self-Compassion dives into the journey of directing our inner capacities for unconditional love, true care and appreciation towards our own selves.
Being in a human body is actually a bit of a conundrum. For example, humans are born with premature brains. By comparison, a horse can walk on the first day of life. Because the rational, reasoning part of our brain does not begin to develop until later in our childhood, as babies and young children we make associative meaning about ourselves, the world and what is or is not possible for us. Scientists call this implicit memory. As adults we don’t recognize implicit memories. They’re actually embedded within our mind/body, and they simply feel like who we are – part of our personality, so to speak. These memories tend to be definitional and self-limiting as to who we think we are and what we believe we can achieve in the world. Our conscious mind thinks it’s in control, when in actuality unconscious memories that we can’t even recognize as memories are unknowingly initiating emotional states in our body, which cause us, in turn, to unconsciously react to the world around us. I’ve dubbed this our ricochet mode of being. It’s as if a there is an unconscious map of self-identity, floating beneath our conscious awareness, leaving us clueless as to why we seem to loop through the same stuck experiences with regard to relationships, money and career (to name just a few).
When Mindfulness is partnered with Radical Self-Acceptance a powerful synergy becomes possible. It becomes possible to discover and integrate these younger implicit memory structures within our consciousness. Working with Mindfulness, we become more familiar with our patterns of thought and begin to label them – worry, judgment, guilt, anger, planning, etc. We begin to pay attention to the architecture of our thought process. We also begin to notice subtly embedded emotional and mental patterns that are influencing our experience of reality.
Radical Self-Acceptance brings us into the journey of radical unconditional love for ourselves. We are not our patterns, thoughts or behaviors. The essence of our soul or spirit is love, and it is priceless and unique to each of us. Instead of turning away from feelings of unworthiness, we learn to turn towards the feeling, imagining that a younger part of ourselves is in need of care and love. The more that Mindfulness and Radical Self-Compassion become anchored into our experience of reality, the more our hearts expand. We are more and more willing to turn towards any emotional or mental upset, with patience, curiosity and unconditional love. We are also expanding and growing our mental and emotional capacity to tolerate discomfort and embrace change.
CEC seeks emotional integration. The coaching focuses on emotional balance and intelligence. What are the emotions you either avoid, or get stuck in? What happens when your emotions lead to overwhelm? Emotions are meant to be felt, and it’s how we relate to them that determines our experience of them. CEC plays in Rumi’s field: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Emotions are not right or wrong. Being in a human body requires experiencing a range of emotions, and if we shut one down, we automatically numb our capacity to feel the others. CEC operates from the perspective that clients are not broken. Sadness for example, does not need to be healed; it needs to be held.
HeartMath™ is the third component of CEC. The Institute of HeartMath has been studying and researching the heart for more than two decades. They are an internationally recognized research and education organization dedicated to helping individuals reduce stress, self-regulate emotions and build resiliency. They have also discovered that the heart is much more than a cardiovascular blood pump. Our heart is an information processing center for our body. It actually sends more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart, and it has the second most complex nervous system in our body next to the brain. Although not as extensive, the heart also contains the same neural cells found in the brain.
The brain is literally engineered to take over bodily processes when it senses anything that it identifies as a potential threat. In fact, at the unconscious level, the brain is continually scanning the external environment for danger. Fight/flight/freeze responses are not under our conscious control. The perceived threat is initially diverted from our prefrontal cortex (the newest, rational, reasoning part of our brain). From the brain’s survivalist point of perspective, we don’t need to think, plan or contemplate, we need to run.
When practiced over time, HeartMath™ protocols build emotional and mental resilience and heart/brain coherence. HeartMath™ practices enable us to recognize upsets more quickly and automatically begin to shift and reset into Heart-Focused Breathing. The more we pattern these protocols into our mind/body, the more accessible they become to us. HeartMath™ opens us to the intelligence and the intuition of the heart.
CEC is a challenging coaching program. The brain is a gas guzzling organ, so to speak. Although it physically occupies a relatively small part of our body, it consumes 25% of our energy stores. The more deeply patterned a habit or emotional pattern is wired into the brain, the more challenging it is, mentally and emotionally to change. When you attempt to change these patterns the mind will experience cognitive dissonance – the uncomfortable disturbance we feel inside of us when incongruous beliefs and attitudes bump against each other. It’s simply the brains way of informing us – hey, you’re about to step off a well worn path – are you really sure you want to do this?
That said, CEC can be a life altering experience. It is a journey of self discovery. It offers you the opportunity to free yourself from negative thinking and feelings of unworthiness. It illuminates the real source of conflicts, fears and anxiety – both in our individual lives and in our relationships. It empowers us to recognize when we have unconsciously taken on the role of victim and provides valuable assistance and support so that we can take back our personal power. CEC guides you to uncovering childhood traumas and wounds that are unconsciously miring you down and then lovingly offers best practices that lead to emotional integration and a found sense of wholeness and internal spaciousness. Most important, CEC grows equanimity – a capacity to maintain peace of mind no matter what’s happening in the moment.
The Institute of HeartMath™ (IHM) is an internationally recognized research and educational organization dedicated to helping individuals reduce stress, self-regulate emotions and build physical and emotional resiliency. IHM has discovered that the heart is much more than a cardiovascular pump.
The heart is an information processing center for our body. It actually sends more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart and has the second most complex nervous system in our body next to the brain. Although not as extensive as the brain, the heart also contains the same neural cells found in the brain. This life supporting organ actually emits more energy to support our body than it takes in, producing life supporting hormones such as atrial peptide (a stress reducing agent) and oxytocin (frequently referred to as the love hormone).
The heart is an electrical organ. In fact, it is the strongest source of bioelectricity in the body –- 40 – 60 times stronger than the brain. Our heart creates an electromagnetic emission that surrounds our body 360º. Using magnetometers, scientists have determined that this electromagnetic field can be measured at least 8 to 10 feet beyond our body into space. The electromagnetic field emitting from our heart is about 5000 times stronger than the brain’s capacity to do so.
The energetic quality of the heart’s emission is dependent on our emotional state. When we are experiencing negative emotions and reactivity, the energy emitted by the heart is chaotic, disruptive and unordered. IHM describes it as incoherent. Contrastingly, when we are experiencing emotions such as care, compassion, love, patience and tolerance, a coherent energetic spectrum is generated. Our heart rhythms become smooth and ordered into a coherent sine wave pattern. Regardless of our awareness of the state we are creating and experiencing, we are literally and continually broadcasting an electromagnetic wave of energy that is either coherent or incoherent.
The more time we spend in a state of coherency, the more our body benefits. Psycho-physiological coherence is a physiological state that occurs when our brain to body communication comes together in a healthy way. We’re smoothly firing on all cylinders, so to speak. When we’re maintaining a coherent pattern of love based emotions in our body, we’re building and enhancing our body’s resiliency – our capacity to bounce back from stress states.
HeartMath™ coaching teaches simple and straightforward science based protocols that change the way your body’s physiology responds in stressful situations. When practiced regularly, these protocols become naturally accessible – meaning that automatic stress reactions won’t dictate how you feel, respond or perform. Gradually, you build a healthier state of resiliency – the capacity to prepare for, recover from and adapt in the face of stress, challenge or adversity.
In many ways, the heart is a master organ in the body. When we’re unconsciously stuck in reactive, stress based patterns, we automatically bypass the wisdom of the heart. Slowing down and patterning new ways of recognizing and addressing stressful states, creates access to heart based responses. These new responses source from a determined, proactive state that gives access to perspectives and insights sourcing from the love based wisdom of the heart.
“Mindfulness” describes a mental state of nonjudgmental attention to and awareness of the present moment -- along with calm acknowledgment of feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations as they arise. Mindfulness can also describe a type of meditation practice which cultivates this awareness, a quality all human beings possess.
According to Mindful.org, “mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”
Mindfulness meditation comes from early Buddhist traditions over 2500 years old, developed to foster
- clear thinking
- open-heartedness, and
- the alleviation of suffering
Despite its Buddhist origins, mindfulness meditation requires no special religious or cultural belief system. In fact, Jon-Kabat-Zinn PhD is internationally known for bringing these practices to the West – creating a research-based program called “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction” that has benefited people from all walks of life. This program has been a helpful ancillary form of treatment for many patients with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, anxiety, psoriasis, and other chronic conditions caused or exacerbated by modifiable lifestyle factors.
As one aim of mindfulness is to take greater responsibility for one’s life choices, it may both strengthen one’s internal resources for optimizing health, and evoke greater engagement with one’s health care too.
Ample research documents effectiveness of mindfulness practices in avoiding relapse in depression, addictions, and also in many forms of anxiety. Studies of its applications in trauma survivors are underway as well. Some forms of psychotherapy which use these practices include Dialectic Behavior Therapy (DBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), and Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. It is not a panacea, though. Psychiatrists and therapists keep aware of potential pitfalls with certain types of people, conditions, and timing. For instance, actively psychotic patients may worsen with long periods of silence in an extended mindfulness retreat. Once symptoms remit though, the person may be well able to participate and benefit from such programs.
Mindfulness can be taught as part of formal meditation practice, and also as integrated into everyday life situations. It isn’t about changing what you think or feel – but about becoming gradually more aware of these things in a moment-to-moment way. Through mindfulness practice, you can develop a wiser and more compassionate relationship with your own mind and body. This pays dividends not only in how you feel personally, but also in the quality of your relationships with others.
All Optimal You professionals apply some form of mindfulness principles or practice in their work.
I can be contacted by phone or email:
Stacey L Prillaman, MA, HMCC
Braden, Gregg. Resilience from the Heart
Dispenza, Joe. Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself – How to Lose Your Mind and Create a New One
Hanson, Rick. Budda’s Brain – The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom
Hendricks, Gay. Learning to Love Yourself
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Wherever You Go There You Are
Lipton, Bruce H. The Biology of Belief – Unleashing the Power of Consciousness, Matter and Miracles
Rossman, Martin. The Worry Solution – Using Breakthrough Brain Science to Turn Stress and Anxiety into Confidence and Happiness
Siegel, Daniel. Mindsight – the New Science of Personal Transformation
Siegel, Ronald. The Mindfulness Solution
Simon, Tami. The Self-Acceptance Project
Singer, Michael. The Surrender Experiment
Stone, Hal and Sidra. Embracing Ourselves
Goleman, Daniel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTfYv3IEOqM
Masters, Robert. https://robertmasters.com/writings/spiritual-bypassing/
Stacey Prillaman, MA
Conscious Empowerment, LLC
“Fear is the lock, consciousness is the key,
and love is on the other side of the door.”
Conscious Empowerment is a coaching platform inspired by the wave of transformative energy accelerating through our planet. While this energy can create challenging and even chaotic upheaval, the opportunities for growth and transformation are breath taking. Three pillars of practice support the platform: mindfulness; radical self-compassion; and HeartMath™. The intention is to provide a passionate commitment to approaching transformation from the inside/out. Every individual has the inner vision and wisdom to transform past hurts and unhealed wounds, integrate emotional discord and reconnect with heartfelt yearnings. What is the unrealized potential that is seeking to actualize itself through you? As we transform individually, we collectively birth a new world of connection, love and unbounded possibility.
- Wake Forest University – Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, 1978
- Southwest Institute of Healing Arts – Associate of Occupational Studies Degree in Holistic Healthcare with Concentration in Transformational Psychology, 2012
- University of Santa Monica – Master of Arts in Spiritual Psychology, 2014
- Certified Level I TRE™ Practitioner (www.traumaprevention.com), since 2012
- Certified HeartMath™ Mentor/Coach (www.heartmath.com), since 2014
- Participant, Feminine Power and Feminine Power Mastery community (www.evolvingwisdom.com), 2010 to present
- Level 2/3 training with Dr. Joe Dispenza (www.drjoedispenza.com), Progressive Workshop: Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, spring 2012
- 16 week Peace Ambassador training with James O’Dea (past president of the Institute of Noetic Sciences), summer 2012
- 13 week coaching internship with the Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS, Phoenix, AZ, summer 2012
- Online graduate, The Art of Transparent Communication with Thomas Hubl (www.thomashueblonline.com), spring 2016
- Online participant, Mystical Principles with Thomas Hubl, fall 2016 to present
- 6 week Mindfulness training with Mindfulness First (www.mindfulnessfirst.org), spring 2016
- Online Mindfulness training with Mindful Schools (www.mindfulschools.org), ongoing
- Advanced Mindfulness Training – The Art and Science of Self-Compassion with Robert Rosenbaum, Phd, June 2016