The Kenwood Press
: 05/01/2015

Inspired down to your bones

Donna Colfer

While having dinner with a friend recently, she asked, “How did you become interested in dance?” My mind began to roll back to 1972, when I was 16 years old.

My best friend in high school needed some extra credits and enrolled in Social Science, a summer course. She begged me to take it with her, so I did. It was nothing like regular classes during the school year. It was all field trips!

All trips were taken in the Chicago area: visiting a lush Japanese garden, writing haiku poetry in a forest then painting our poems on a rock, experiencing a local zoo and afterward discussing the pros and cons of having zoos, and a two-day camping trip collecting plants and herbs to make tea (which tasted horrible). Finally, we went to a Greek restaurant in Chicago’s Greek town to experience their cuisine, with entertainment from a belly dancer who happened to be our teacher’s wife.

At the Greek restaurant I had a profound conversation with a fellow student about her experience with ballet lessons. For some reason, I was riveted by her story. I had this immediate longing to take ballet lessons and started wondering why my mom never sent me.

The next day I leafed through the Yellow Pages until I found “Dance Lessons.” That’s right, no internet back then; just the good old fashioned phone book. I started lessons that week at the Donnie Jo Biddle School of Dance. I was always tall for my age and here I was 5’9” in a beginner ballet class at age 16. Most would say “why bother, you’re too old, too tall, and the 12-year-olds have been dancing since they were five.” I didn’t care what anyone thought. I loved the music and I was moved from within to dance it! I needed guidance and experience and I let it unfold.

In less than a year, Donnie Jo suggested I audition for professional classes at a ballet school in Chicago. I was incredibly nervous but I did my best and was accepted. I took three classes a week; two years later they chose me to be in their Lincoln Theater performance. Even though I would never be a soloist, I was in the corps de ballet with a partner. All of this exceeded any expectations. I had accomplished a great deal in a relatively short period of time by following my heart’s longing to move with grace to music that inspired me down to my bones.

This passion was intense and short-lived. By age 22 I knew I needed to move on. Ballet was hard on the body, I was getting older, and I needed a career that was sustainable. A few years later I moved to California.

Interestingly, I noticed a pattern: I was always hired to take care of the money. I decided to go back to school and study accounting and psychology. Numbers came naturally to me, and I was hired as an operations manager or head of the accounting department for various companies over the years. Though I made money through my skill with numbers, I realized my new passion was human behavior and spirituality; in other words, knowing myself and others. At that point, I didn’t see how to blend my passion with my income-producing skills. My passion was always in the background, without expression.

By the time I was 47, feeling unfulfilled, it was time to stop commuting and working for other people so I started my own accounting service in Sonoma Valley. And one serendipitous day – again through one conversation, this time with a client – I was introduced to the Money Coaching Institute. I enrolled and studied the psychology of money using archetypes, behavioral finance, and neuroeconomics. (Neuroeconomics is the study of decision-making, and the ability to consider numerous options and subsequently follow a course of decided action.)This steep learning curve changed my life and career in profound ways. I continued co-facilitating workshops and trainings around the world. I was finally able to bring two of my very separate worlds together: my passion for psychology and spirituality blended with my skill for numbers. I’m turning 60 this year and living a fulfilled, gratified life.

This story is part of my money biography. What is your story? Can you see patterns around money? What comes easily and naturally, and where do you shine? Are you able to earn money from your skill and your passion?

Learn more about your relationship with money: visit and take the complimentary “Money Type Quiz.” Only you see the results. Or contact me at