courage

My Summer of Reinvention & Transformation

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Hey there, friends!

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged. And what huge changes my life has been experiencing this summer. You may have noticed and heard some things, I’ve shared some with you already.

I’ve been in reinvention mode this summer, allowing life to unfold, practicing surrender, learning new skills, “retiring” my relentless drive to hustle…  and changing, big time, in the process.

Here’s what’s different about me. As I’ve shared recently, I have made some big decisions to pull back from producing events and group programs, including the Burlesque Experience. I am still life coaching privately, working with several clients, and open to more! Coaching is something I love with a passion and hope to continue well into my golden years. As I grow, heal, shift and change, I also become a better coach. I’ve never loved the work as much as I do now, and I’ve never been this good at it! And I will keep getting better and better, as I continue to study and add skills and experience to my “toolbox.”

I’ve also been working on a new “side-hustle”.. you are not gonna believe this. I just obtained my license to sell life insurance as a part of the Dynamic Insurance Services team. Yep! Can you believe it? ME? A Life Insurance Agent? (I prefer the title Senior Benefits Advocate!) The path has been arduous (including passing a state exam and studying like crazy for the first time in 30 years!) Weeks of training and lots of learning. Lots of “rookie” mistakes and discomfort… and while I still have much to learn, I’m up and running and really enjoying it. This work is fulfilling and rewarding, and the part-time work-from-home hours fit in so well with the lifestyle I desire and the dreams I have for the future. If you need life insurance, let’s talk! (Can you believe I just said that?)

I’m trying to find my writing groove. I have books in me, that want to be written, and I’m coming up against what every single person I coach (and know!) comes up against when they begin to nurture a creative dream: resistance. Yep, I am not exempt or immune. My resistance has a favorite disguise: not enough time. Ideally, I’d love big old blank expanses of time to write, whole days, preferred. What is actually realistic is making time from the small pockets of blank space, an hour here, an hour there. And schedule the occasional writing day or weekend or week. In the meantime, I need to stop making excuses and start writing!

The final semester of the Burlesque Experience has begun, and we are off to an exciting start. I love these women, their courage, their inner and outer beauty, their desire to tap into parts of themselves and commit to themselves in new ways. They inspire me in so many was.

The wrapping up of such an enveloping, exciting part of my life is bittersweet and emotional. I have waves of “what the hell am I doing, letting this go?” yet on another level, I know that the next step of my life, the next chapter of my story, the next level of impact that I long to have in the world requires I create space for it. And so creating space is what I’m doing.

I’ve given myself permission to step back from weekly blogs and emails. I will be blogging and sending my Quickies more sporadically now, I’m allowing myself some slack there. Let’s stay connected.

If you’ve considered working with me as your coach, let’s set up a complimentary Discovery Session so you could get a taste of what it’s like to be supported in this way.

And if not, that’s okay! Either way, I want to hear from you. Let me know what’s going on in your life! What changes have you been making? What resistance are you moving through? What is your life asking of you? While you might be seeing “less” of me, it’s an illusion. I’m still here. I’m more ME than I’ve ever been, and I’d love to keep the conversation going.

It’s still my deepest commitment to be of support, inspiration and encouragement to women, continuing my life’s calling of offering women access to their innate magnificence, power and radiance. Some things have changed, yes. But that never will.

 

 

Resistance: Your Bratty Kid Sister

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Here is the plain, strange truth: I’m resistant to pretty much everything.

This includes, but is not limited to: things that are good for me, things that I want to do, things that I waited for, things that I chose, things that I planned, things that light me up and fill my soul, things that I love.

As I’ve spent years talking to women about their resistance, I am somewhat comforted by the fact that I’m not alone, and this is common, really common.

The resistance usually feels like this: UGGGGGGGHHHHHHH. I don’t wannaaaaaaaa. UGH. Do I have to? UGGGGHHH… Dammit.

Familiar? Most of the time, I can move through my resistance, but other times, it has stopped me.

There is a part of our brains whose job is to keep us alive.  Often called our lizard brain, our amygdala  is programmed to keep us alive by keeping us safe, by keeping us the same. Why keep us the same? Because same = safe. If we are not changing, moving, growing, exploring, or risking, nothing bad will happen, right? That’s what Amygdala, we’ll call her Amy for short, believes.

And at the sight or smell of perceived danger, Amy gets to work, often using resistance as a strategy. It’s a quite effective one, after all.

I’ve had two huge breakthroughs recently with resistance and I owe it all to a shift I made in the way I think about my resistance.

Instead of thinking of my resistance as something in front of me, blocking me, something that I need to push through, I moved it over, turned it into something small and predictable next to me, my bratty kid sister, Resistance.

This idea came to me out of nowhere, as many of my best ideas do, while talking with a client, an artist who’d developed quite a resistance to painting, although she is most alive when she paints.

This client is a brilliant artist, yet she hasn’t been making art. For weeks, we have analyzed and dissected her resistance, so that she could understand it and move through it, and made little progress. And then one day recently, the words just popped up and out:

Bring your resistance along, like a bratty kid sister.

We often think we need to move through our resistance and this daunting task actually keeps us stuck.

What if instead of moving through it, we took Resistance’s hand and moved her to our side, to walk with us?

What if we brought her along, knowing she was part of us, part of the experience, not the enemy, not something to annihilate, but more of a traveling partner? A sidekick? Very vocal, but no longer in power. One that might whine and complain the entire time, sure.

So what.

Once my client moved her resistance from in front of her to the side of her, guess what? Guess who spent the weekend painting? My brilliant artist client, that’s who.

I’ve been practicing this myself, thinking of my resistance as my bratty kid sister, and wow… what a difference.

I never had a bratty kid sister, but as a girl, I remember having friends with bratty kid sisters, and we were often “stuck” hanging out with them. And we did not let them stop us. We still managed to have fun.

What if you just acknowledged the fact that your bratty kid sister, Resistance, is coming along for the ride?

What if you just took her with you, because you have a life to live, you have risks to take and experiences to experience?

You came here for the ride. For the risk. For the adventure. For the experiences.

Within the last two weeks, I have moved my resistance to the side. My bratty kid sister is no longer in the way, she’s along for the ride.

I have taken up learning the piano, after years of telling myself “it was too late” to learn an instrument.

I have returned to writing fiction and started writing a novel, after years of telling myself writing fiction was not a noble or important enough way to spend my time.

And my muse has been responding. I am inspired and ignited and feeling more creative and joyful than I have in a very long time.

Trust your bratty kid sister, resistance to show up, to be there with you. Don’t let her block you anymore.

Take her hand, move her aside and bring her along for the ride.

Might as well, right? It’s way more fun than staying stuck.

Have you forgotten? You are a wild one.

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“Wild Women of the Woods” by Nikki Simpson

 

“Underneath it all, we are wild and we know it.”

– Reggie Ray, Buddhist scholar

From the time you were a little child they’ve been trying to tame you.

They told you how to sit, they told you how to behave. They told you what nice girls do and don’t and when you acted wild, they told you that you should be ashamed of yourself.

So you were.

They told you to sit still.

They told you to quiet down.

They told you to play nice and stop being bossy. They told you to not get dirty. To not be naughty.

You learned that if you were gonna get by in this world, your wild animal self would need to be trained in the ways of the world. You acclimated. You adapted. You shut her away.

You’ve spent your life trying to be good. They love you more when you’re good. But when good becomes false, your true self grieves. When playing by the rules becomes sacrificing your heart’s desires, death is slow and secret. You’re smiling on the outside and dying on the inside.

I declare a Reclamation Proclamation on your wild and fiery spirit. I dare you to untame yourself. Just a little bit. Or a lot.

What does that mean? I don’t know! It will be different for all of us.

For some of us the Reclamation will involve a complete purge of objects, relationships, old familiar ways, burning through the old, to grow new from the ash.

For some of us a Reclamation might be as simple as one single NO.

No I won’t be attending the event.

No I will not entertain this damaging thought.

No I will not feel guilty about taking care of myself.

No I will not work for a company that requires the women to wear panty hose every day.
For some of us, the Reclamation will be in the form of a YES.

YES this is what I want.

YES I will swim naked in the moonlight.

YES I will take a lover.

YES I will travel alone.

YES I will do the unthinkable.

Whatever your unthinkable might be.

You might stop shaving your legs, if that suits your fancy. You might go without panties for a week, to see how that changes the way you move and experience the world. You might quit your job. You might leave a marriage. You might start a marriage. You might parachute, para-sail, para-glide. You might release a relationship, renew a promise, set fire to the old. Give birth to the new in you.

Dance. Sing. Scream. Run. Stay. Do the wild thing.

There’s a new movement sweeping the country, thousands of women have stopped shaving their legs. They’re taking pictures, they’re sharing them online. It’s bold, it’s definitely a Reclamation Proclamation of the wild one!

Although I don’t think I’ll be going to such extremes, (only because I don’t feel pulled in that direction, it doesn’t titillate me) I do occasionally allow them to grow unruly because I just don’t feel like shaving and it’s sort of fun to marvel at their prickly stubbly layer of hair that will most certainly grow wild if I let it.

Your wild child is begging you to let her out. She needs to live. She needs to breathe. She needs your respect and adoration.

You do not have to be good.You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. “

– Mary Oliver

Did you get that?

You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves.

Your wild one is calling out. Untame your spirit. How might your world change? How does your wild spirit want to reveal herself?

Do something wild. I dare you. Love what you love. Burn what needs to burn. Set fire to your tameness. To your jaded holding back, keeping it down, guarding your heart (as if.)

It’s not working.

You were born to be wild.

 

 

 

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Originally published Summer, 2014. Taking a short break from writing, be back soon!

If you’re waiting until you’re “ready”…

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I want to tell you today, you will never be ready.
There will never be a perfect time.

That dream you have, you know the one I’m talking about, has been patient, that longing has persisted, yet there are still so many hurdles, so many shifts, so many decisions and actions and tasks and choices that will need to be made before you’re ready, or so you say.

And so the waiting continues. The dream may persist, or it may even get put on a shelf, growing dusty and forgotten, and you’ll find other things, so many other things, to distract yourself with.  There’s work, of course. Family, friends, commitments, car repairs, house repairs, moving, changing jobs, getting married or getting divorced, raising kids, and let’s not forget the PTA.

You’re just not ready yet.

Or perhaps you’re waiting until you get the confidence, feel brave enough, get strong enough, lose the weight, “get your shit together”, get the braces on or off, have the right computer, or the right software, “figure out the details” or find a new excuse… It’s just not time yet.

Is your dream persisting? Or has it ducked into the shadows, neglected and tired?

Your days of playing small are numbered.

You feel it, you know it. But you don’t know where to start. It’s daunting and terrifying, taking a dream, an invisible, intangible idea and pushing it into reality where it becomes a living, breathing extension of you.

So the excuses come in handy. And oh, they are abundant, aren’t they?

Like a box of tissues, you can pull out one, and there will be another one waiting right behind it.

Whatever your excuses are for not doing your dream, I’ve heard them all before. And I’ve also seen them smashed to smithereens by one thing and one thing only: Action.

Make one choice today. Just one little choice. Begin to move. Let your dream seduce you, engage you. Brainstorm. Take notes. Doodle your dream. Tell someone. Buy a domain. Schedule that meeting.

Something.

Anything.

Action.

I want to tell you today, you will never be ready.

There will never be a perfect time.

The only time is now.

You owe it to your dream. Your dream is your duty.

It is not an accident that you are the one that wants what you want.

You are the one with that particular fantasy. With that particular desire.

And guess what? You are also the one with the exact set of experiences, talents and abilities to make your dream happen.

It is not an accident it’s yours.

It chose you.

Now choose it back.

 

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Originally published September, 2015. Busy getting ready for tomorrow’s Burlesque Experience Bust-Out! See you there!

Rise and Shine

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Yesterday was a dark day, for millions of us. Many of us stayed up the night before watching the dreadful reality happen, electoral vote by electoral vote, state by state. Around one in the morning, I finally gave in to exhaustion and went to bed, overcome with dread, but holding onto hope.  The next morning, I woke at 5:30 am to check the results, in case it had all been a bad dream. It wasn’t.

I know that there are some of you reading this that voted for Trump, and I want you to know love you. I still love you. I’ll keep loving you. I am grateful for you, because I know you are good. I know you have a heart full of love, and I know you want many of the same things for our country, for our families, for our future that I do. We are more alike than we are different, and I thank you for your presence in my life, to remind me that we are in this together. In a climate of “sides” where each so easily villianizes the other, I am looking for our common ground, because of you, because I love you. And I trust love. So thank you.

I told a friend last night the title of this chapter is “who knows?!?” None of us knows how this will play out. None of us can predict what’s ahead. We can choose fear. We can choose worry, more division, more finger pointing, blaming, hating, or we can choose to connect, to unite, we can choose to love. I can’t choose for you. I  can only choose my actions. My thoughts. My responses. You get to choose yours.

I am writing this for those of you who may be feeling, like I was yesterday…

  • Hopeless
  • Terrified
  • Distraught
  • Worried
  • Disappointed
  • Betrayed
  • Angry
  • Sad
  • Despondent
  • Traumatized

There are millions of us. All sharing many of these same feelings as we move into the reality of Trump as President. I was there yesterday. But I cannot live there. I was worried yesterday about my inability to feel hope. I couldn’t access it. But I trusted its return. I don’t know how to live without it. And today, with the rising sun, my hope returned. What about you? Where are you today?

Feel your feelings. Allow them space. Grieve. Rage. Cry. Let those feelings move through you. They want to move through you.

And then, rise.

Rise and shine.

Because here’s the truth: No matter what side you are on, there is only one real side. Humanity. We’re all in it. And humanity needs your light more than ever, right now. The world needs you to stop playing small.

Those of us who voted for Hillary may have lost the election, but we are NOT defeated.

We are only growing stronger. We are only bolder, fiercer.

Our commitments are solidifying, our resolve fortifying, we will protect these rights we have fought so hard for. We will protect each other.

We can no longer play small. We must no longer diminish ourselves. We will no longer dim our light.

So cry your tears and feel your grief, and then, after you’ve cried, and raged, and vented, I implore you. Rise. Rise with me. Shine with me.

Commit with me to never, ever play a smaller part than the role you were cast for. You were cast for greatness. No more smallness. No more bit parts in your own life’s script. You are here to play the starring role in your life. We must not live our lives in fear. We must not let fear win.

We must rise.

We must shine.

The world is watching.  Our children are watching. Our country needs us to rise and shine. We cannot stay down.

Rise and shine.

The time is now.

This is what we came here for. This is not a dress rehearsal. It’s show time.

First we must rise. Rise up out of our defeat, rise up out of our despair, rise up out of our fear.

Then, we must shine. Shine like we have never shone before. Band together, shine like diamonds, shine like the sun, casting warmth, casting light, casting magic. We will use our voices. We will use our gifts. We will use our power. We will create. We will stand. We will not sit down. We are here for great, big things. The time is now.

Rise and shine.

I Hate Vulnerability

 

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It was a crossroads moment. I was feeling hurt. A few friends were planning a special get-together, and I couldn’t make it on the night in discussion, told them so, and hoped another date would thus be chosen. It wasn’t.

There they were… those sucky feelings from way-back-when. Even though I’ve “done the work”, they still live deep within, and sometimes, when triggered, they still show up. I know on a cerebral level that they are ancient, childhood wounds, I know they don’t apply to this situation. I know my friends love me. Yet, the hurt feelings were there.

At this crossroads, I thought of just sweeping my hurt under the carpet. God knows I’d had many years of practice doing this, it’s a most effective tactic. (NOT.) But I’m “good” at it. Or at least I used to be. I could put on my Tough Girl cape and plow through my hurt feelings and no one would be the wiser. And it would certainly be easier than my other option… Telling my friends my feelings were hurt. (UGH.)

This is how I know I am changing: I chose UGH, over “easy.” Instead of doing it the old way, I chose to reveal, to be vulnerable, to express what was alive and current for me, as messy and embarrassing as it felt to do so.  I did this because my friends challenge me to be brave. They support what is real and true, even if it is not easy or sweet, even if it is messy or ugly. And since I’ve been hanging with these particular folks, I’ve been learning to do this, too. They make me braver.

With the loving nudging of a friend, I swallowed my Tough-Girl pride (my name is Lisa and I’m a recovering Tough Girl.) I stopped pretending everything was okay, and I shared my hurt feelings with them. UGH. This happened more than a week ago and I still cringe. Because here’s the truth. I HATE VULNERABILITY. Not yours, of course, I think yours is super cool and beautiful and all that.

I hate MY vulnerability.

It’s sticky. And messy. And embarrassing. And I feel so… naked.

In vulnerable moments, my armpits sweat, my hands get clammy, my chest gets tight. I want to cry. (In fact, I did, in this instance. Double UGH.) I feel like a baby. I feel embarrassed. I want to hide. Once the reveal is made, I want to rewind.

Yet, more and more, I’m choosing it.

You know why? Because vulnerability is brave. Because I am becoming braver and braver, and ironically, that means becoming softer and softer, toward myself. It means letting the people that care about me know when I am hurting. Because hiding my feelings, sweeping them under a rug is no longer the “easier” choice. It’s becoming more difficult to pull that off. And because on the other side of a vulnerable moment, with the right people, there is deeper intimacy. And intimacy cannot happen without vulnerability. And because I want intimacy.

And, of course, these friends received my vulnerability with tenderness and openness. They didn’t stop loving me, in fact, maybe they even love me a little more, because of my vulnerability. They heard me, they explained scheduling challenges they were working with, they even expressed gratitude, for being let in to what was true for me. They were grateful for my vulnerability. And so was I.

So yeah, I hate vulnerability. And I love it, too.

What about you? Where can you be more vulnerable? Where in your life can you speak the truth, even though it’s messy and uncomfortable? Where and how can you be braver today than you were yesterday?

Maybe someday, I’ll write a blog called “I Love Vulnerability.” Not yet. But today, I can say this.  I’m willing to be vulnerable.

Stop trying to be fearless.

Photo credit: RKO Radio Pictures
Joan Crawford, Sudden Fear; Photo credit: RKO Radio Pictures

 

Fearlessness is total bullshit.

There. I said it.

I have yet to meet someone who is fearless. If they claim to be, well, they’re either hiding it, or sleepwalking through life.

And here’s a confession: I nearly cringe when someone calls me “fearless.”

And another: I’m scared all the time.

But I’ve taken that to mean something awesome is on the horizon. I take it as a signpost: adventure ahead. Fear is inevitable if I am moving forward. Period.

I don’t want to be fearless! I think our constant striving to be fearless is a big ol’ waste of time. Let’s focus our energy on better projects- like being brave!

I’d rather be brave than fearless.

Fear lets me know I’m alive.

Fear informs me.

Fear tells me that I am moving.

If I am never scared, I am probably playing way too safe. I am probably just existing. I am likely not adventuring in any way.

Fear is my teacher. Fear is my friend. It means well. It protects me when it needs to, by sounding alarms and manifesting signals and messages in my body and mind.

Yes, it sometimes gets unruly. Sometimes it’s completely unreasonable. It can keep me up at night, if I let it. But it means me no harm.

Its only intention is to protect me.

Then why does fear get such a bad rap? Why does it have such a lousy reputation?

Because sometimes, unfortunately, we give fear far too much power in our lives.

We let fear make our decisions.

We shut down our gut feelings.

We disconnect from our true desires.

We disengage from life because the vulnerability that fear requires is too intense.

Think of fear as your back-seat driver. It pipes up if your turns are too sharp, if it thinks you’re driving too fast, going the wrong way, or not abiding by the ever-so-boring rules of the road. And sometimes, even the most annoying of back-seat drivers have a point. But we don’t need to let them take the wheel. We don’t need to relinquish the driver’s seat. Because what fear really wants to do is pull over, park and stay put. It’s just safer that way.

But you and I, my friend, we have places to go, people to see, things to do, a world to change.

So, we’ll let fear be the back seat driver, we’ll listen when we need to (okay, maybe I WAS going WAY over the speed limit…) but we gotta keep driving.

So let’s ease up on Fear. Fear is not the bad guy.

The simple truth is, we are our own saboteur when we allow fear to run the show.

When we stay when we need to go. When we say yes when we mean no. When we quit because it gets too scary. When we never start because its already too scary.

This notion of fearlessness to me feels like a sort of zombie-like state to be in… a life with no fear? Sounds like a terribly boring time. I’ll take fear, thank you very much, and I’ll continue to cultivate my courage by taking brave steps, by continuing to risk in life, in love, in my work, in my art, in relationships.

This is my mantra: Fear, I hear you. Thanks for your concern. But I’m doing it anyway.

 

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Originally published April 2014, as “Fearlessness is Bullshit”.

I’ve made a huge decision.

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The word “decide” means, in its barest essence, “to kill.”

Think about it: Matricide. Genocide. Suicide. Homocide.

In order to choose the powerful decisions that will propel our lives, something else has to die.

I’ve made a huge decision, and I want to tell you about it.

But first, a quick back story.

I have spent many years of my career avoiding that thing they call “niche.” Ugh. There was so much that interested and intrigued me! I didn’t want to feel boxed in. I wanted the freedom to create and offer whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. And so I did.

I’ve coached and developed programs and facilitated workshops on pretty much all the topics, as they relate to me, to women. If I’m interested or inspired, I create a program. I write a blog. I teach a class.

If it was something I was into, I’d package it and offer it.

This “farm to table” approach to my business has definitely satisfied my craving for variety and freshness, but the plain fact of the matter is this…

I have watered down my own message.

I have watered down my life.

In my efforts to be all things to all women, I have diluted my very essence.

I finally realize, the more I water myself down, the less effective I am, in all areas. It’s time to shift.

What I’m about to share with you is vulnerable, and raw in the way that only deep truth can be. I feel a slight trembling in my stomach while I type. But I want you to know exactly what is going on. I feel like I owe that to you. We owe each other truth.

“The world owes us nothing. We owe each other the world.” – Ani DiFranco

2016 has offered me profound change in my inner world, and in the way I relate to my outer world.

Its also offered me deep, incredible healing opportunities.

And its offered me the chance to actually internalize the offerings I have spent years offering others, specifically around the topic of body image and self-esteem.

Wow, imagine that, huh? Wait, what?

The plain truth was that by diluting myself, I got away from my message, in my own life.

Even though a large part of what I have been doing has been focused on “selling positive body image for a living”, my own body image had become terrible.

See, the path to full-bodied love and acceptance doesn’t end when you get up and strip for a theater full of people. In fact, that’s only the beginning of the work, if you dare continue.

Positive body image was for everybody else, but not for me. Sure, I felt good sometimes, with the right lighting or outfit, but feeling bad about myself and my body was becoming more and more pervasive.

I was withholding from myself the very freedom I celebrated and inspired in others. Yeah, pretty effed up, right? Shameful, even. After all, I wasn’t “supposed” to have these kinds of issues! So I buried them deeply. And they festered.

Over the years, my inner world got dark. My self-esteem continued to sink. The inner chatter became nearly constant and very cruel.

But I discovered a fun and convenient way to shut down those mean voices, right under my nose.

I drank.

Having been a social drinker/weekend party girl all of my adult life, I noticed, without noticing, something cool happened when I was lit.

When under the influence, there were no insecurities, no cruel chatter, for a few hours every couple days, and more hours on the weekends, there was relief. I felt free. But that wasn’t freedom.

I now know, it was the opposite of freedom.

I wasn’t drinking to escape my life. My life was great, after all!

I was drinking to escape myself.

As my drinking began to escalate over the following year or so, so did the repercussions. Lots of hangovers, lots of shame. Lots of pain.

At the end of 2015, I decided to quit alcohol. And can you guess what happened? Yep. Those insecurities I had worked so hard to stifle were right there, waiting for me.

But now, I would finally deal with them, bravely.

Now, I was really ready to tackle this, to heal these patterns and wounds, for me.

This wouldn’t just be something I offered my clients. I would actually turn inward and offer this healing work to my most important client. Me.

And I can say, with humility, pride and deep gratitude, I know what real freedom is now. I’m living it.

It’s a winding path, bumpy at times, but I am 100% committed to staying on it.

Sometimes we have to test ourselves, our commitments. I dabbled this summer with being a “social drinker” again, after several months of abstinence. Yeah, the Great Moderation Experiment.

I decided relatively quickly that I needed to be sober— even better, I would rather be sober. I recommitted to this path. This path is current, it is now. So hot off the press, it’s not even off the press yet.

I am on it, I am in it, working fervently, facing myself in brave ways, examining my beliefs, patterns, triggers and self-talk like never before.

And simultaneously, my work in the world is preparing itself to become the most honest, brilliant and accurate reflection of the work happening within me.

There’s a new incarnation of my business gestating within me.

But first, more healing.

First, more purging, more clearing, more letting go.

First, some deciding. And decide means “to kill.”

As this new chapter of Lisa Carmen, LLC continues to gestate, I prepare, the way a mother does while she waits for the birth of her baby.

Uncertain of exactly what to expect, she is excited, nonetheless. She prepares the nursery. She clears clutter from the home. She nests. She nurtures herself.

And when it’s time to give birth, she knows.

I’m not there yet, but I promise, you will know when I am.

I know this will be the most personal work I have ever offered. I know it will be amazing.

To clear space for this new chapter, I’ve decided to let go of many of the programs and offerings I’ve spent much energy creating and offering.

You’re going to notice some events being canceled. You may notice my offerings lightening on the website and in my weekly Quickies.

I am pulling in my energies. I will no longer water myself down.

Be patient. Be kind. Be excited. Something great is coming.

Here’s what will continue:

  • The Burlesque Experience programs and Unleash Your Inner Bombshell workshops will remain, as is, with more being scheduled. I’m also growing my teaching team this fall, to be equipped to scale and schedule more classes.
  • Monthly Power Circles group coaching will continue through the end of 2016. If you bought a multi-session pass, use it or lose it, baby! (Or receive some credit for future stuff.)
  • My private, one-on-one life coaching programs will continue, exactly as they are, for the time being.
  • I will continue to take on new private clients. Current coaching clients will still have the opportunity to extend/continue after their terms are up.
  • The Embrace film screening is still on.
  • The October Goddess Getaway Retreat is still on! (Can’t wait!)

Pretty much everything else will be cleared away, to create a welcoming space for what’s to come.

This feels terrifying and exciting to share. (Many of you know, I have a word for that- TERRICITED!)

It also feels entirely, completely right.

I trust this stirring. I trust this healing. I trust this journey.

I look forward to our next adventure.

I hope you do, too.

 

**********

photo by Dee Hill, HAMU by Vivienne Vermuth

Inclement Weather Announcement

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I’m not sure if you clicked and opened this link because you usually do, or if the subject line piqued your curiosity, but either way, I’m glad you did. There’s something important I want to share.

When I worked at MoveStudio as Marketing Manager, I was responsible for the community email that went out to several thousand people each week. On average, our open statistics were par with industry averages, about 15 to 20%.

Unless there was inclement weather.

In  Dallas, when it snows or ices, the city basically shuts down. Schools, government agencies, businesses, everyone wants to know, what’s open, what’s closed. We burrow and watch the world fold into itself. I love this about Dallas. Coming from Chicago, driving to work through piles of snow and ice, it’s a relief that we just don’t do that here.

So here’s what’s fascinating. At MoveStudio, if we sent out an inclement weather studio closing email, our open statistics went through the roof. Even though, I guarantee, most of those opens were not people who had planned on coming that night.

Thousands of people wanted to read about our decision to close the studio for dangerous conditions outside. We typically had maybe 75 to 100 people walk through our door each night for yoga and dance classes. Not thousands.

Then our regular studio communications would resume, most people would go back to scrolling past our emails, just like the research shows, what most people do with most weekly emails.

Why was that? What could explain this strange phenomenon?

Although I haven’t worked for the studio in a few years, this curiosity always stuck with me.

And I realize, people love inclement weather closings. Whether they are affected by them personally or not.

This week, over lunch with my wise and perceptive dear friend, Jessica, a friend who is also in the helping profession, we talked about vulnerability, revealing our truth, admitting to our struggles and the impact these brave practices have on our businesses.

I wondered aloud, does vulnerability hurt my business?

I am certain there will be more opens on this post than my average.

I have also noticed I get the most click-throughs when I am revealing a struggle, a pain or a personal issue.

Why? Part of me wants to center the explanation around about people’s love for drama, that they actually enjoy watching someone struggle. That there’s a spectator in all of us that loves to grab the popcorn and watch the show.

The other part of me wonders if it’s something deeper.

The question of how vulnerability impacts my business has become increasingly relevant lately because I am learning more and more, to be vulnerable.

I am learning to reveal what is true, what is current, what is alive in me, and that isn’t always pretty, or comfortable, and it doesn’t always fit with the image people have of me, or the persona I have created.

I’ve been meditating on this lately, because it matters to me more than ever.

Do people love my inclement weather more than they love me?

Is it okay for my business if I reveal my own struggles, my own journey, my own humanity?

Will you still hire me to support you, if you know that I’m still working through my own shit?

Here’s what I think will happen, the more I reveal to you, the more I share my vulnerabilities and struggles with you…

Some, just a few hopefully, really do just want to watch me fall, with sadistic pleasure. These are the ones that revel in other people’s failures and struggles so that they can feel superior. In today’s lexicon, we call them “The Haters.”

Some will be disappointed, and withdraw or disengage, because I am not living up to whatever they were projecting onto me, and my human flaws and frailties and struggles become unappealing, in their search for a hero, an icon, a one-dimensional caricature of what they wish I was, projections of what they wish they were.

But, I want to believe, that some, hopefully you reading this, will draw closer to me, and my work, when they understand that I am always in process, just like them. And any projection of perfection or “having it all together” placed on me was one that they created, and that I perpetuated, (and the other way around) in order to feel safe.

They are the ones that might even breathe a sigh of relief, and they will feel a little less alone in their struggles.

I am a little nervous to find out which you are. No matter what, I’ll be okay.

If you find yourself in the last group, thank you. I’m glad you’re here.

Now let’s take care of one another.

Because I am in it, with you.

We are in this together.

I’ve been doing a hell of a lot of work this year, in supportive community and on my own. I told a group I’m in that I feel like I am dissolving. But really, upon more thought, I said: It’s my shellac. It’s crumbling off. This shiny protective covering I’ve worked so hard to maintain, it’s losing its hold. It’s becoming obsolete. I am no longer interested in presenting just that version of me to the world. There’s so much more under here.

But that’s scary. Terrifying even. And exhilarating, too. It’s a striptease of the soul. What if you don’t like what you see?

It’s not that what you’ve seen up til now, if you’ve been following my work, isn’t real. It’s simply that there’s so much more.

Just like you.

What do you show? What do you reveal? How do you decide?

This is how we do it: One truth at a time. One reveal. One vulnerable moment. One brave share at a time.

Let’s do this together. I’m committed.

So yeah, it’s getting’ real up in here. You have been warned.

Inclement weather perhaps? Maybe some. I’ll bring the flashlight. You bring the candles. Let’s take cover together, and ride out the storms.

Through it all, we’ll feel more alive, more connected, more real.

Are you with me?

What These Women Have Taught Me

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I promise, you can do this!

I am more in love with my work than I have ever been. One of the most beautiful parts of my work and my life is The Burlesque Experience. Running now for five and a half years and 22 seasons, around 230 women have come through this program, and  I gotta tell ya, it doesn’t get old. In fact, tomorrow, another group is finishing their program, the end of the line. Tonight, the last sleep tonight before Bust-Out.

And I have fallen in love with each of them.

Could I love this work any more than I do right now? I doubt it.

It starts with a strut.
It starts with a strut.

Like any marriage, my relationship to the Burlesque Experience has been challenging at times. At one point I even wanted to leave it (some of you may remember, Last Year’s Burn-Out…) But I realized that what I really needed was rest. I know now that I must do my best to keep my tank filled, keep my head on straight, focused, adulting, dedicated. I know that if I stay awake, stay present and in service to the group, it’s a sheer delight.

I’ve learned (the hard way) that impeccable self-care is the key to being good at what I do. It’s not just a novelty or ‘good-to-do’ kind of thing. It is paramount. And when I show up fully, I get the most out of it. I get to spend an exciting six weeks with a group of brave women who transform, bond, blossom and bloom in seriously palpable, sustaining and powerful ways.

I have the best job in the world. And I don’t just teach them. They teach me, too.

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Am I really doing this?

Here’s what these women have taught me lately…

  • We are so much more than we think we are. Every semester, week one, women come to that first intro circle, uncertain, curious, wanting more. They also come with their stories about who they are or who they are not, and sometimes even who they think they can never be. And then, I watch, as they shed those stories and prove to themselves they are so much more than they ever thought.
  • We need each other. Each semester, I watch a bunch of strangers sheepishly approach one another, wondering who will they like. Will they be liked? Do they fit in? By the time they reach their Bust-Out, they are soul sisters, they are intimately connected and they trust each other. They hold each other up, they wipe each other’s tears. They show up for one another in such inspiring ways. No one does this alone. In life, and in the Burlesque Experience.
  • We can be afraid and do it anyway. People who wait for the courage to arrive, before they say yes to their Burlesque Experience may be waiting forever. The courage comes while you are doing it. And afterward, you are more courageous than you were before you did it. That’s how courage works.Tomorrow, the Spring/Summer 2016 class busts out. Are they excited? Hell yeah. Are they terrified? Of course. Will they do it anyway? I have no doubt. Fear is part of the package. We don’t get to skip it. But we can move through it. When we start to realize we can do brave things AND be afraid at the same time, the world opens up for us. We become unstoppable.
  • We can do anything we set our minds to, even if a part of us thinks we cannot. Around week three, this group, and the ones before it, realize what’s ahead, and it feels insurmountable. Freak outs begin. Meltdowns are common. Fear works overtime. Overwhelm kicks in. I plead with them to stay with me, it’s possible, we can do this. And most of the time, they stay. But it’s not my pleading that convinces them. It is they, themselves. They work their tails off, they practice, they create, they stay connected to each other and dedicated to the process and to themselves, and then, they reach the end, and lo and behold, they do it, and hot damn, they do it well.
  • We all want to be seen. We all are meant to shine. I’ve worked with every type of woman you can imagine. Shy women, open women, closed women, wounded women, loud women, quiet women, younger women, older women, sweet women, sour women, and we all share so many things in common. One of them being this deep desire to be seen. To stand in a spotlight, to bravely say, “Hey world, here I am! Notice me!” This requires great bravery. And they have it. And every woman is capable of shining brightly. It’s not just reserved for a certain few. We all have it in us. In class, I call it our inner showgirl. We could also call it our essence, our spirit, our bright shining soul. We are meant to shine. Marianne Williamson said it best…

“We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine… It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

It’s almost showtime.

I hope you will be there with me. It’s so much more than a “show.”

Hold space with me as we watch these women shine, as they are liberated from their fears, and in doing so, liberate others.

Cheer with me as they boldly step onto that stage and into the powerful glow of their very own light.

I am in awe of these women. I couldn’t be more proud of them. I couldn’t feel more blessed.

I think they're ready.

They’re ready. Let’s do this.     

Photos by Sunset Hoots Monroe & Dee Hill.