purpose

Sister, It’s Time.

4626657_origThe first women’s group I started was under the slide at recess, when I was eight years old.
Okay, we weren’t quite women, but we were future women. It was a a dance club, and we had big dreams of performing for the entire school in the cafeteria.
We had it all planned. I’d request a meeting with the principal, and show him what we’d put together. He’d approve it, of course, once he saw our moves. No worries that there was no stage; we’d put a bunch of lunch tables together and make one. Never mind about the safety hazards.
We never got to the principal’s meeting, but we did put together one fun routine, to Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough.”
It’s a complicated time in our culture, everything is shifting (or crumbling.) The rules have changed. The country’s in peril. As I prepare to march at the State’s capitol this weekend, I think about some of the challenges we face and  this new wave of feminism that we’re experiencing.
I’m grateful for the fights that have been fought by the generations before me. Without them, I wouldn’t have many of the freedoms I have today. Yet, that those freedoms are in jeopardy scares me and I know we’re not done.
For millions of reasons, we’re not done. And I’ll be marching with thousands of those reasons on Saturday.
What I love about today’s new wave of feminism is that we are not backing down from our right to be sexual, sensual women. To express ourselves and our sexuality in ways that suit us.
We are not backing down from our right to dress in ways that please us and turn us on, and this gives no one permission to touch us, disrespect us or shame us. We are declaring, TIME’S UP.
This new wave of feminism is marching with not only our sisters, but our mothers, our daughters and granddaughters. And if we feel like wearing fishnets while we march, so be it.
We’re not turning our backs on the joys of being woman in order to be allowed in some crumbling “boy’s club.” Those days are over.
Old paradigms like rape culture, slut shaming, and patriarchy in general are all crumbling before our eyes. It’s time for us to rise.
We knew thousands of years ago that we had power. We knew thousands of years ago how to gather, how to create sacred space, how to solve communication problems, how to create compromise and how to make magic. We lost our power for a while, it was necessary. The history and herstory of our society needed to be written this way, and now we are remembering. Now we get to write the story.
We’re remembering our power, we’re remembering our magic, we’re remembering that we are royalty and priestesses and goddesses.
We’re remembering that we need each other. We’re remembering that when we come together, we are even more powerful and more magical, and it’s our turn. The world is in desperate need of healing. And we’ve already begun our work.
After that fourth-grade dance club, I’ve started many more women’s groups over the years. There was the first book club I started, in 1999, when I first moved to Dallas and was hungry for connection, and friendship. There was Spark!, a membership-driven community of women I started with together with my partner, Jackie. That’s where I met one of dearest and nearest sister friends, Angela, also known to many as Violet O’Hara.
From there, Angela and I discovered the sexy, body-positive, women-celebrating art form of burlesque. Enthralled and inspired, then came Les Femmes Aplomb! Then came the Burlesque Experience, when group after group of women showed me the staying power of community, and the deep desire and innate gifts we have to support each other and be supported. There was SacredSexyU. BodyLove Affair.
Through all of these communities, all of these women, hundreds and hundreds of women whose lives have intersected with mine, for a season or a lifetime, I have always known this: I am here to connect women. To themselves, and to each other.
I, myself have been different women through these seasons. I’ve been no where close to “perfect.” Sometimes I burn out. Sometimes I need a break. Sometimes I pull back, as I fumble through my humanity, practicing (often by falling on my face) self-protection, boundaries, trust, courage, surrender and the delicate art of walking away gracefully.
Now, it’s time for something new. Now the me I am is intersecting once again with this part of my purpose, and I’m calling you. I’m calling you, my sisters from every corner to join me, because our time has come. Come hither.
My siren’s call is not for wimps. This is not a Girl’s Night Out.
This is a warrior tribe of women who are finally willing to make peace with themselves and each other, so that we can heal one another, ourselves and the planet.
There may be some Girl’s Nights Outs, I’m certainly not opposed.
But sisterhood is far more than happy hour and bottomless mimosas.
It’s more like giving birth, or being born.
It’s more like being held from the inside out, it’s more like dancing through pain or crying together through life’s tragedies.
It’s more like being the mirrors we hold up for each other, when we forget who we are, to say this: YOU ARE EVERYTHING. YOU ARE MAGNIFICENT. YOU ARE POWERFUL. And you can have what you desire.
It’s more like staying when you want to run.
It’s more like saying I SEE YOU. I really, really see you. And you will not scare me away.
My call to you is to show up, exactly as you are, and become part of this dream, this SacredSexy Sisterhood. The world needs us. And we need each other. Everything I’ve done, been and experienced has led me to this.
SacredSexy Sisterhood is ready for you. Are you ready for it?

My name is Lisa and I’m in a Shitty Mood

linux-babies-angryPerhaps there are some people that prefer a crappy mood over a joyful one. I am not one of them.

I woke up this morning in a god-awful crappy mood. I was physically sore and achey. Low back pain, hip and sciatica called out “Morning!” as I reluctantly crawled out of bed. My allergies were wreaking havoc. My hormones may or may not be in the P phase of PMS, no comment. A few other irritating details that I won’t go into, but you get the idea. I went into my morning rituals, coffee, stretches, reading, journaling, eagerly, desperately working to escape my bitch-on-wheels status.

Wrote for a moment about my lousy mood, then began writing a prayer, to whoever might be listening…

“Lift this lousy mood. I want to experience joy, peace. I want to feel love. Not this…”

Like many spiritual people I know, I prefer those positive, high-vibrating emotions like peace, love and happiness.

I also think there’s still some residual gunk left from my teenage church days that believes that to be in a good mood brings me closer to the Divine, and being in a crappy mood separates me from the divine, and as an unfortunate by-product, my penalty is missing out on the blessings from such. Like stepping out of the goodie line.

Be a good girl.

Wipe that look off your face.

Cheer up.

In Law of Attraction teachings, we are taught that positive feelings attract positive things. Negative feelings attract negative things. And god knows, I don’t want to attract negative things.

So of course I get wiggly and uncomfortable when a bad mood arises. I don’t want to separate myself from the divine. I don’t want to miss out on blessings, or even worse, attract shitty circumstances into my life. GET ME OUT OF HERE!

This morning as I scrambled to find my way out of my crappy mood, (Think good thoughts! Write good thoughts! Light and love, light and love…) a voice of love and clarity came through…

Choose real over perfect. I wrote. Be with what is real.

I began to remember that the divine does not desert me when I am in a crappy mood. I desert myself.

We are not designed for or planted on this planet to be joyful and light all the time. It’s just not possible.

I signed up for the real when I came into this physical plane. As an embodied spirit, yes, I have access to all things divine… but when I’m trying to ditch my human experience and trade it in for love and light, I am abandoning my very purpose here… to feel it all.

And when I realign myself with the truth that my spirit knows….

that there is no way I can separate myself from the divine, but there is a way I can separate myself from this rich and complex human experience…

that numbing myself with platitudes of love and light is a form of self-abandonment…

that I am holy, even when I’m in a shitty mood

funny thing happens to that shitty mood… it begins to shift.

How can you be with yourself and what is real for you today?

What if for one day you traded in your numbing, escape-hatch platitudes of love and light for the real and full experience of what is here, what is now, what is your current experience, in all of its messy, gooey, sticky and moody glory?

What might shift?

Our opportunity to feel it all is also our obligation to Life.

There will be plenty of time for existing in your glorious full love and light status when you are ethereal cosmic dust floating around the ethers, eternity perhaps.

But right now, in this moment, here you are. Here we are. We get to feel it all. So let’s.

We can be holy and hole-y.

We can be divine and dirty.

We can be light and shadow.

We can be whole and wounded.

We can be in a shitty mood, and still be blessed.

I am “divinity in a shitty mood”.

Well, I mean… I was in a shitty mood, past tense. Before I gave myself complete and utter permission to be in one.

Funny how that works.

Your Great Unplanned Plan is Unfolding

154548_473033623472_4513434_n“I moved here for him. Uprooted my life. Left a secure job.” My client explained. “I’m here three months and he dumps me.” She was bitter, blaming and feeling like an ass.

Another client described to me the amazing dream job that she quit her long-term mediocre, paper-pushing job for, and how within a year the company had folded and now she had no idea how she would earn her living, and was terrified.

Over cocktails with a friend, I find out how brave she had been to move here nine years ago “for a boy…” so the story goes. They parted ways within months of her relocation. She stayed in Dallas and built a new life. An unexpected one, and one full of joy, rich friendships and career fulfillment.

This is what I have come to learn about life: Being that we are small little human beings, with small little perspectives and limited views and ideas of what life should be, we cannot begin to fathom or understand the big picture of possibilities, twists and turns, miraculous shifts, behemoth breakthroughs, in clever disguise as identity crisis, job loss, divorce, even death.  We only see what we want to see, we are so attached to our desires, our plans, our ideas of “how things should be.” We think we know the way the story will go. And when it doesn’t, it sucks.

Yet, there is a bigger, greater intelligence, a creative power, a divine design, with plans and arrangements and possibilities unlimited. We can trust that.

We may not know the details, but we know that the universe is conspiring on our behalf. You ever hear that saying “We plan and God laughs”? While I certainly don’t prescribe to the idea of a God laughing and pointing at our foiled plans, disappointments and heartache, I totally get the idea that hey, we don’t know what will happen. We don’t know how the story will go. That is what they call the Mystery.

When we say “I do” at the altar, and really, really mean it, at the time, and then years later, we realize we don’t mean it anymore… that does not mean we lied. Or even that we were “wrong.” That is life’s unfolding plan. We don’t know it ahead of time. We can’t skip ahead to read the end to see how the story will go. All we can really do is trust the unfolding of our story.

Are we slaves to destiny, being pushed and plopped into story lines not of our choosing? No.

Every choice we make is critical to the unfolding of the story.

AND there is a path, a design, that unfolds in its mysterious way, completely and entirely unknown and uncontrolled by our conscious understanding.  Yet it’s ours, our creation, our unique expression, and it’s perfect. Whether it feels perfect or not.

That’s why it’s important that we make choices aligned with our desires, our values, our core essence. Because, trust me on this, a life that is a product of choices made that are out of alignment with our truest desires, values and core essence is bound to suck eggs.

Paying attention to signs, synchronicities, clues, we become detectives in our own life’s mystery. It’s a captivating adventure story, full of unexpected twists, main characters, supporting characters, and some characters that come and go, leaving nothing more than memories. And we follow the unfolding path.

When your “reason” for doing something brave and big falls apart… chances are, that wasn’t the real reason for doing it. There are bigger reasons, yet to be discovered.

Trust life. It knows more than you do, and it’s plotting and planning a wonderful, exciting and beautiful adventure for you.

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Photo by Dee Hill

“There is a Brilliant Path Within You” An Interview with Tama Kieves

When you begin reading a new book, and one of the first things you read is this, you know this book’s gonna be a game-changer…

“Let’s face it. There aren’t many voices in the world that will encourage you to follow your inner rock star or anointed one and get out there on the window ledge of ordinary life, mock gravity and fly.  We won’t succeed through traditional means because force, fear and standard projections do not motivate us. We are moved by bold ideas, big love and intuitive, flawless direction… We did not come here to do what’s been done before. We came here to expand, inspire, heal, express create and realize the exhilaration of being everything we are meant to be.”

A game-tama1changer it was, “Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Exceeding in Your Life’s Work” by Tama Kieves. It rocked my world. So much that I couldn’t stop talking about it, posting about it, prescribing it like medicine to my visionary clients, buying extra copies as gifts and quoting from it in my blog.

One such inspired blog post got noticed, by Tama Kieves’ publicist from Penguin Publishing. Imagine my overwhelming delight, awe and wonder when I was invited to interview Tama for my blog. Pinching myself, I dove in to the opportunity.

Funny (incredible, magical, wondrous…) how things happen. I’m delighted to share the interview with you now. And you should run, not walk, to your nearest Amazon.com and grab a copy for yourself. And a few extras for your friends. It’s that good. And no, I have not been paid for this endorsement. Enjoy!

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Photo courtesy of Jason Coviello

Me: Tama, you’re no stranger to leaving what feels like security and jumping into the unknown. There are so many who tolerate misery five days a week, 8 hours a day, living for the weekend, praying for the days to go by faster. What advice do you have for the “gainfully-employed”, yet mostly-miserable?

Tama: You are meant to succeed in the work you love. I am sad that so many put so many hours of their lives into something they don’t love, and so little attention into what they do love. I believe this needs to be a paradigm shift.

If you knew what living an inspired life could be, you’d put every waking second into it you could. You’d run toward this joy. So meanwhile… I always suggest that you start doing something that you love right now. Do anything you love. It will change your brain chemistry, make you feel more relaxed and happy, open you to creative ideas and brilliant insights. It will make you feel spiritually connected. You will remember that you’re not alone. You’re not small. You’re not limited. And that you do have an element you belong in. Once you taste this kind of love, you won’t settle for anything less. It doesn’t mean you have to quit a career. I just want you to follow your passion now, maybe on Wednesday nights, maybe on the weekends. Let it begin to heal and compel you. It will transform you. And you will know your own next right steps.

Many people I know are finding themselves almost “thrust” into the unknown, perhaps after getting laid off or quitting their 9-to-5s. What’s the first thing people should do when trying to figure out what to do with the rest of their lives?

Do not try to figure out your whole life. Find a way to decrease your fear. This is a spiritual journey. Find a way to get in touch with a Love and Power that gives you strength. You are not alone. There is already a path for you. I tell my clients, “You’re not going to figure this out. You’re going to let it out.”  When you think about what you want to do with your life, don’t think in terms of a job or a definition. Blurt out crazy desires. The soul speaks in the language of hunger and joy. The mind craves the known. The soul will lead you to the unknown—the infinite strength and freedom you already have and you most want to experience in this lifetime. This isn’t going to be a linear path. It’s going to be a path of following the bread crumbs, one moment at a time. Just stay in the moment.

In your book, you talk about how following our calling has little to do with our mood or feelings, and that often, pushing through when we’re not in the mood offers us growth and opportunity. What tips do you have for pushing through on those days when we’re feeling low or uninspired?

It’s taken me a long time to realize that my work is medicine. I don’t feel good before I do it. I feel good after I do it. I always tell my coaching clients, “You do not empower the gift. The gift empowers you.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve driven up to a speaking engagement, thinking ‘oh my God, how can I say something inspiring right now?’ And then I start speaking the truth, I start falling in love with the participants, and I’m carried on a stream. I leave feeling high and strong and totally convinced of my mission. Same thing with writing. I don’t always feel inspired to write that day. But I know that if I write, I’ll be stronger. I’ll stir the magnetic forces. So over the years, I’ve learned from contrast. On the days I avoided my calling, I had a rotten day. On the days when I did anything towards it, I felt great. In my first book This Time I Dance!, I talk about giving something 300 seconds of devotion…as in commit to showing up for at least 5 minutes and then let the activity take you in.  The work will make you feel like working.

I’ve noticed that many on the verge of great things will somehow invite self-sabotage into their personal or professional lives, perhaps as a way of staying small or safe. I’ve done some of this myself. Why do you think this happens, and have you had personal experience with this?

Sometimes I think we call things sabotage, when perhaps we’ve been doing the absolute right thing all along. I don’t believe we can ever sabotage our good, for real. I think we can beat ourselves up an awful lot. There are times when I “blew” an opportunity or it didn’t come through. But I now believe that everything is in right timing. There is nothing but grace. I may not have been ready for that opportunity or it may not have been the opportunity I thought it was. I also believe the Universe is an Unlimited, magnificent force of endless good. It doesn’t know lack. So I can “blow” an opportunity, and there will be a thousand more. More importantly, there will be the astonishingly perfect one for me.

In the book, you quote frequently from your personal journals. I’ve also been an avid journaler since I was a teen, and it’s been a fundamental tool for my development, my soul, my healing path.  What’s interesting is that many of the things I have since learned are journaling techniques were just innate tools inside of me. Did you have a similar experience? What role has journaling played in your life? And how can a non-journaler become a journaler?

I journal to explain life to myself. Also, as you know in Inspired & Unstoppable, I teach the journaling technique of Inspired Self Dialogues, as a way of helping someone tap their most brilliant direction, guidance and the counsel of their own inner success coach. It’s a technique I’ve used for years and it’s saved my life. It pulls me out of the darkness and exhaustion of my everyday limited mind. It reminds me of my mission, my power, and all the wonder that has already taken place in my life. Writing helps me tap back into feeling and knowing. It’s different than just thinking about something. It’s knowing something on paper. My journal is the best therapist on the planet.

As far as non-journalers becoming journalers…I’d say two things. One, drop the fears of journaling. Don’t think about it as writing. Talk on paper. The other thing I’d say is that if journaling isn’t your thing, don’t make it your thing. You have your own inspired way to find your voice. You have your own divine way of listening and receiving. Maybe it’s meditation or mountain biking or yodeling in the shower. It doesn’t matter. Just pay attention to how you connect with yourself, how you receive your best ideas and shifts. That’s what you’re looking for.

What advice do you have for someone who is overwhelmed with choices and possibilities of directions, desires, opportunities. How can we release the fear of making a wrong choice and just choose?

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Photo courtesy of Tama Kieves

I deal with this question in every one of my retreats and workshops. I have a thousand things to say. But I’ll just spit out some quickie thoughts for now. I would always say, stop trying to define your path, and start discovering it instead. Follow the energy of what speaks to you in this minute. Please don’t think you need to define it, brand it, franchise it or dismiss it because it “doesn’t make money” or so you think. There is already a brilliant path within you. Just follow what you want to do right now. Your head has a thousand ideas. Your soul or heart does not. If you follow what you really want to do right now, it will lead you to a next step and then another and then another. Your calling will emerge and evolve. It’s not something you define immediately. You have to play, explore, and then allow yourself to be hooked. You will be guided every step of the way, if you stop trying to analyze it and fit it into a box and a guarantee right away. Also, please give yourself permission to change your mind at every turn. If you do not have permission to change your mind, then you are not following guidance, you’re following will power and that’s a different path.

What are some of the greatest changes you’ve experienced in your own inner life between writing “This Time I Dance” and “Inspired and Unstoppable”?

I think the biggest thing that happened is I found my own inner authority. I used to have a really strong aversion to being called an expert in my field. I didn’t want anyone to feel as though they needed an expert, because I believe they have their own inner genius. But really, I also think I felt uncomfortable owning my authority and talent. Something has really shifted that way for me. I think in writing Inspired & Unstoppable, I took in how strong and brave I really am, and how much I have accomplished through inspired and unconventional means. I’ve also now worked with thousands of people and seen the same results every single time and something has finally gotten through to me. So…I finally feel like I truly am a leader and visionary. I finally feel as though I’ve got this fire and knowing within and that I’m not just “making it up” or getting lucky. I’ve got a track of record of success, and more importantly, I’ve got a track of record of dealing with my own uncertainty and fears and a faith that has grown through years of staying true to my heart and instincts.

If you could pare down your mission, your message, into one juicy statement, what would it be?

I can’t! So I’ll just blurt out a few things. I want you to know that your dreams aren’t frivolous. They are instructions. They are imperatives. They are what you came here to do in this lifetime.  You have more strength than you know and you will only know your true expression by following what calls you.

I am also here to legitimize creativity and spirituality. I am here to help build a new mainstream where everyone is doing the work they’re meant to do—and following their inspiration instead of their fear.

Thank you, so much Tama, for your time, and inspiring me to be Inspired and Unstoppable! What a gift!

Lisa, thank you so very much for supporting “Inspired & Unstoppable” and my work in the world. I am so grateful for the strong, intelligent, creative souls this work reaches. I am grateful for YOUR work in the world. I know how much courage it takes. And I want you to know I am rooting for you all the way.

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Wow, do I feel blessed and lucky. This is one of those blogs I’ll need to read over and over. So much deliciousness!

If you love what you’ve read, you can get continuous on fire support with Tama and her tribe at TamaKieves.com where you can download a FREE “Unleash Your Inspired Power” tool kit, to help them find their true direction and let go of fears right now. It also includes a subscription to her monthly e-newsletter. And also join us on Facebook and Twitter daily.