“I believe we ALL have Four Pillars of personal health and happiness:
Mind, Body, Spirit, and Social Connections.” Founder, Cheri Christiansen
When we are foundationally strong in all four pillars, our purpose and passions come alive. I’ve brought all of these activities together under one roof, to give people a place to find their balance, grow on their individual journeys, and celebrate their successes. My goal is to make the mind-body-spirit and personal growth industry mainstream and fun!
A Journey of Discovery: The story of the path that led me to Four Pillars
Long story short, many turning points and life experiences lead me to a point where I felt alone and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the second half of my life. I interviewed in every field of my education and work experience and nothing moved me.
It was at this point, that I attended a conference in Arizona titled “Live a Divinely Inspired Life.” The speaker, a Harvard lawyer and author named Tama Kieves, said, “When you’re not sure what direction you should take in your life, go outside in nature and ask. Take a pen and paper with you.”
I was intrigued, and I’ll never forget the morning that I heeded her advice and decided to ask the universe what is my purpose and gift to share with the world?
I listened intently, with my paper and pen. Five hours of ideas and inspiration later, I sketched the first drawing of what would become the Four Pillars building.
As I gained excitement, energy and momentum, visions emerged of bringing a natural, positive retreat center to the southeast, where people could connect and grow on their journey, just as I had in the southwest.
It hasn’t always been an easy journey, but I believe everything in life happens for a reason. Beginning at 12 years of age, I learned entrepreneurial spirit, positive thinking, and business skills from my mother who risked everything to open a skincare franchise, Aloette Cosmetics of Kansas City. I learned about training, sales, shipping and finances.
My experience watching my mother go after her dream and build her business sparked my interest in Business and Accounting and I went on to earn top grades in school, after which I was offered a position at one of the big-six accounting firms. I chose to specialize in the healthcare industry and completed a master’s program in hospital administration. I left public accounting to pursue a career with the nation’s largest pediatric hospital doing accounting, budgeting, and the financial analysis and debt financing of a massive expansion project and loved it.
Family eventually became a priority to me and I decided to focus on raising my sons full-time. I was fully engaged in their learning and continued to teach myself new things. I studied Spanish for 4 years, loved Spanish culture, and hosted 9 exchange students from Spain.
As time went on, my husband became increasingly busy with his physician practice. I was the accountant for my husband’s practice and took an online certified financial planning course. We were striving to live “the American Dream.”
Then, we unexpectedly lost both our fathers. Losing your parents can often stir things up inside you that you can’t understand until things begin to fall apart.
After that, like so many married couples, we stopped openly communicating. I felt alone and I started moving in a different direction. Then, I made one of the biggest, and possibly scariest decisions of my life: to leave the security of my marriage to follow my heart and “find happiness.”
I started seeking happiness through traveling, a new house, a new city, and by pursing a passionate new relationship. Needless to say, it wasn’t working out.
This realization made me seek within myself.
I had a vacation home in Arizona and on my visits there I sought guidance and worked with spiritual life coaches and attended speaker conferences and Unity church services. I dug deep to learn about life patters, life lessons, valuing yourself, interpersonal relationships, and life purpose.
I loved the Arizona retreat atmosphere, brimming with spiritual teachers, yoga and hiking energy. My time in Arizona was such a huge influence on me as were many of my international travels. Traveling and reading exposed and connected me to many of the people and ideas that not only became part of my personal journey, but now have become part of Four Pillars.
I learned to open my heart and to have more patience and compassion for myself and others. That everyone is on a journey, experiencing life through their own perspective. It’s not personal, everyone is simply navigating their day. Rather than making assumptions, ask questions and express your needs. Open, honest, and clear communication is the key.
By not doing these things I lost my family and suffered a lot of heartache. It is through these types of life lessons that you gain wisdom and understanding.
I also found that as I learned a non-judgemental approach to spirituality, my happiness continued to grow. I felt more connected with God than ever and discovered the benefits of meditation.
With the shift I experienced and time spent connecting in nature, receiving massage, taking yoga classes, reading personal development books, working with coaches, and attending speaker conferences, I connected with a deeper love and appreciation for myself and found that I now enjoy who I have become.
My experience was so profound that I wanted to make all of these things easily accessible to others in my community. So I decided to begin Four Pillars and return to school again to become a certified professional life coach. Developing this business is a daily growth experience that I look forward to enjoying for life!
Through sharing what I have learned, and talking with others, I discovered the joy of making a positive difference in people’s lives.
I found my life purpose and the internal happiness that I was seeking.
“True and lasting inner peace can never be found in external things. It can only be found within. Once we find and nurture it within ourselves, it can radiate outward to others.” Buddha
I really believe in tremendous capability of the Lakewood Ranch, Sarasota, and surrounding communities. I continuously meet a growing network of people with many gifts and talents in the mind, body and spirit industry, and with emerging ideas that need to be shared with the world.
There’s a remarkable energy that created each of us. I’m excited to build a place where we can all come together and create positive change in our world.
Come visit us and you’ll see the meaning and details in everything built within Four Pillars. We are on this journey together! Let’s have a great time talking over a cup of coffee or tea, learning and growing, relaxing in the spa, doing yoga, eating healthy, and socializing!