Finding Happiness: Superbwoman Ellen Atkins

This article highlights a "Superbwoman", and is based on live interviews shown via the webshow, Superbwoman Sundays at 7. To see the original show, go to

There is something to be said for security and consistency. Of having a good stable career and doing well at it. That's what Ellen Atkins, founder of The Suburban Monk, believed and what led her to a successful 30-year career as a CPA and accountant. Then, one day the thought came to her: "What if I got to the end of my life and never tried anything else?" Here is what she had to say about her life as a "Superbwoman:

How did she get from where she began to where she is now?
As Ellen tells it, this indescribable feeling kept coming up - and she kept pushing it away. Here she was a respected CPA who made good money. She had no idea what else she could possibly do. Years went by before she finally realized it was time for something new. "My soul had stopped growing," Ellen says, "Although I didn't use that word back then." She quit her job and set off on a journey, with no idea where it may lead.

At first Ellen decided she needed to begin by cutting all strings to her past life. She decided she'd dive into being the "perfect mom". After a try at that, she realized that she couldn't use her brain to figure out what she wanted to do. Instead, she became hyper-focused on anything that made her feel good.

One of these things was a laughing buddha statue. She'd dress the ones she'd purchased to reflect the holiday or occasion - anything to make her happy. She realized that if this kind of statue made her happy, perhaps it could help others as well. As she says, "If someone had said to me when I was a CPA that I would one day develop a 2 thumbs-up buddha statue and a business built on positivity, I'd have said you were crazy! My idea of being creative then was putting a new column in a spreadsheet."

But create a business she did, one step at a time. With the help of her son and others who appeared on her path, she created The Suburban Monk, a business which sells small, multicolored laughing buddha statues. She became so hooked into her happiness that it overtook her practical side.

Who influenced her?
Ellen says that hers has been a supportive journey - someone always shows up when she needs them. Early in her journey, a weekend conference sponsored by the Omega Institute opened her eyes to new ideas. "I'd never done anything like that before," she says. "I figured that if I didn't like it I'd just order room service and shop." But a talk by Michael Beckwith of Agape helped introduce her to meditation, visioning, and a whole new community.

Superbwomen have realized that "shoulds" contain the guilt we often feel. What is one "should" Ellen has learned to release?

"Perfectionism," Ellen says. "I was always doing and trying to live up to something." Now she is learning to let go of that need. "For example, I am letting go of the fact that I'm still not a great cook - but I love to entertain and I can still be a good host." Ellen has also discovered that for her doing a gratitude list could provoke guilt and a list of "shoulds". "I've learned to tap into being inspired first - and then the gratitude follow naturally," she added.

Ellen's mission is to share her happiness and joy, and her goal is for Syd, her 2 thumbs-up smiling buddha statue, to be the symbol of happiness. Here's a thumbs-up to that as well!

Ellen Atkins - a true Superbwoman!
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