trust

Support for When Things Suck

 

“Life always gives us exactly the teacher we need. Watch for the guru.”

Let’s call a spade a spade, here. Sometimes, life just sucks. Sometimes pain takes over and ruins everything. Sometimes shitty things happen. Sometimes watching for the guru feels impossible. Sometimes, screw the guru.

In the middle of our muck, our dark nights of the soul, when our lives are falling apart at the seams, when we’ve lost the very people or things we trusted most, whether we have infections, diseases, chronic pain, migraines, nosebleeds, bug bites, lay-offs, miscarriages, death, break-ups, any of these crappy things, finding the light, finding the good, claiming “everything happens for a reason” in the middle of some very sucky everythings… is just not humanly possible.

There it is: humanly possible.

And guess what we are? Souls walking around as human manifestations. What if we accepted that during certain times, it’s okay to wallow? It’s okay to surrender to the suck.

“Look for the bright side?” Eff you.

But what we can trust is the other side. There is always movement.

We are always moving toward the other side.

Sometimes it happens on its own, microscopic and minute, like the blooming of a bud, unseen with the human eye. Sometimes we work hard at it, like a construction crew with a deadline and a strip mall to build.

Sometime the only thing required to move out of the muck and the suck is to surrender and trust in the natural unfolding and healing salve of time.

In the meantime, if you need to whine, whine. Find your support team that will love you through.

If you need to scratch the rash, scratch it. Do what you need to do that will give you even fleeting seconds of relief.

If you need to cry, let the tears flow.

If you need to curl in a ball, retreat from the world, stop showering for a few days, go on, curl. You’ll save money on hot water.

If you need to destroy property, well, you might want to rethink that one… but you get my point.

Feel your broken heart. Grieve. Gripe. Groan. Give in to what needs to be felt and experienced.

So much of our pain comes when we are resisting our pain. When we are thinking that as spiritual people, we should always find the gifts in our pain, after all, we chose our pain, we created it, as some spiritual teachers will have us believe. And maybe sometimes we do. It’s quite the mind-numbing paradox.

But sometimes, suck just happens.

Over the last few years, one of my gurus has been a chronic nerve pain condition in my hip, back and leg that has sometimes debilitated me, sometimes turned me to a crying sack of gloom, has slowed me down, has pissed me off, has enraged me, has cost me lots of money, has shut down my life and kept me from the things I love to do… how the hell am I supposed to bless this guru? As a human being, how can I love this pain?

Yes, I am human, AND within me resides the infinite power of the universe. So sometimes I can access that, and use the Big Love when mine falls short. But, mostly, it’s when the pain subsides. It’s when a flare-up flares down.

It’s only when I’m on the other side, I have said, wow… I learned so much. I slowed down, I practiced exquisite self-care. I re-prioritized. I rested. I learned to count on friends. I practiced asking for help, receiving. I grew. Thanks, Guru, Chronic Pain.

But until then, when I am in the suck… it sucks, okay? Let’s stop trying to fool ourselves about that.

Be with your pain. Be with your suffering, be with your suck. Allow yourself to feel every ugly or pitiful feeling you need to feel. Wallow if you need to, cry, scream, whine, fully occupy your humanness and all of the messy, crappy, sticky, stinky, painful things that come with that.

Trust the other side. You’re always moving toward it.

Somewhere Between

defaultA couple of months ago, I had a dream. In the dream, I was playing the keyboard and making music and experiencing great pleasure. In real life, I didn’t play any instruments. And I woke up with a longing. It wasn’t the first time I’ve longed to make music.
One time, around seventeen years ago, I wrote three songs in one late-night frenzy and worked with musician friends for a couple of pot-fueled nights after that to set them to music. We did, they were great, at least I thought so, though I can’t for the life of me remember any of the three songs. I blame it on the pot. Mostly, I’ve ignored this longing to make music that pops its head into my consciousness every now and then. Not this time, though.
Something has shifted inside of me, where it has become too difficult, too painful, impossible to ignore my longings. Hiding from myself is no longer an option. Denying myself of what I want and need has become unacceptable.
Not every longing is something I need or want to leap into blindly, mind you. Some come and go, like clouds in the sky, changing formation, or dissolving altogether. But I’ve come to believe that every longing deserves my attention, my curiosity, at the very least. And every longing has information for me, a message.
Back to the keyboard dream: That day, I could not stop thinking about playing the keyboard. I kept talking to Matt, my fiance, about it. “Buy a keyboard.” He said, jumping on Amazon to find one immediately. Guys are such problem solvers.
Two days later (thanks, Amazon Prime!) I met my new love, and she has 61 keys. And so, for the last couple months, I’ve been tinkering. I’ve watched tons of tutorials and pounded along on my keys, I have experienced true bliss and even deep meditative states while engaging my new hobby. I literally get high from it. It feels really good to have a new hobby. And I’ve written a couple songs.
It’s with great vulnerability and a little trepidation that I share this one with you. I’m a beginner, I’m teaching myself chords, I know pretty much nothing. I’m no Alicia Keys or Tori Amos. I know that I am at “kindergarten” level as far as skills go.
But I am proud of myself. I’m following a longing. I’m engaging my heart, mind and soul in a new way.
I listened. And that counts for something.
I wrote this song to express where I am right now. Major transitions (more about that next week!) happening in my life have me in a deep state of discomfort and mystery. I’m diving into the unknown. I’m scared. It’s hard to describe where I am right now, except to describe it as “Somewhere Between.” So I did. I hope you enjoy it.
And I’d love for you to ask yourself, is there a longing within you that wants your attention, your curiosity? I challenge you today to turn toward your longing and ask it “What do you want to tell me?”

A Real Pain in the Ass

ASS-PAINI woke up this Tuesday morning, stepped out of bed, and within my first couple steps, I was staggering in breath-taking pain. WTF. Sharp, intense, shooting up my back and down my leg, and centralized in my ass, right side, this pain has made a rude and unexpected appearance back in my life.

I am immediately filled with anger, resistance.

NOT NOW. NOT welcome. NOT okay. TOO BUSY. Too much going on. I immediately began my hip and back stretches, Matt helping me, though it hurt like hell and some stretches literally were impossible.

May I repeat, WTF.

See, this sciatica and I have a long history together, but so much time had passed, three or four years, and while I am always in some level of daily pain and soreness in my back and hips, not like this.

NOPE. I’m not having it. I resisted. I complained. I argued. I felt disappointed in my body.

Here’s the worst part. I felt betrayed by my body. As you may know, body acceptance, embodiment practices, body awareness, they’ve been my thing lately, and me and my body, we have a love affair going on. So more WTFs. I’m not pleased with this, not one bit.

All day Tuesday, all day Wednesday, going through the whys, through the questions, What have I done to bring this on? Why now? What’s the lesson? What’s the message? WHY? WHY? WHY?

Thinking of my calendar, my life ahead, remembering how a few years ago, this situation was chronic, for many, many months, and it shut my whole life down, so now, I’m scared on top of everything else. The implications. I can’t stop working. Fear, anger and disappointment, more resistance, all creating a mad, spiraling tail spin.

And then one of my dearest friends, my truth-telling sister Angela chats me up on Facebook. I tell her I might need to cancel her birthday date night tomorrow. It’s too painful to sit, drive, stand, move. She sympathizes, gives me love, asks what she can do and encourages me to ask for prayers and healing energy from my support system. (I’m asking for them now, please. Whatever you’re into, whatever you believe in, I’ll take whatever you can spare!)

Then, she helps me remember how futile resistance is, and how surrender is always a better choice. As a7LdaP9Fzr-8stubborn as I am, as difficult surrender can feel at times, it’s always the best choice. Because here I am, in a vicious, unexpected pain cycle. YOU ARE HERE, the mall map of my life would point with a big red X, right here, in this pain.

Today, in my morning reading of “A Year of Conscious Living” daily meditations book by Gay Hendricks, wouldn’t you know it? The entry for today is about physical pain. About resisting and surrendering, and I’m stunned. I feel held, seen, cared for by the Divine. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Shaking my head at divine perfection and the way we get what we need, exactly when we need it, I read these words…

“I know what to do now. Stop resisting the pain. Flow with it instead of fighting or fleeing from it. Just breathe. Just flow.”

And now, I remind myself, I don’t have to know “WHY.” I can just be with what is.

I have two choices here. I can focus my energy on being with myself, taking care of myself, tending to this uninvited guest like a good host. Or I can resist.

So I treat myself tenderly, giving myself the utmost attention and care. I immediately begin doing the things I’ve learned to do, through trial and error a few years ago. I’ve earned this wisdom through pain. I trust these practices. I do the things that help.  I clear space on my calendar, to make time for rest and recovery, to make a welcoming place for this surprise guest.

I feel the surrender, as it shifts from resistance, and it feels like freedom.

It feels spacious and loving, and I can feel restoration already happening within me.

If there is a lesson for me here, it’s surrender.

If there is a message here, it’s tend to yourself.

There is no need to find fault or blame. My body hasn’t betrayed me. This pain is a set of responses, facts and data, signals. My body is not at fault. She is hurting.

My body is loving me through this. Can I offer her the same?

So with my breath, I return to flow. Even with this pain, I return to my BodyLove Affair. Is this pain an invitation to love my body better? Ohhh… Well then. So shall it be.

I will love my body better.

I will love her through this.

I am on her side.

The Truth About Changing

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“Nothing happens, and nothing happens, and then everything happens.”
– Fay Weldon

There’s a recent shifting, a new understanding in me that has basically turned my world on its head.

It’s challenged everything I thought about life, about change, about habits and healing. It has turned my business beliefs upside down, it’s shaken up my entire coaching practice and belief system, and yeah, it’s big.

And it’s so awesome. So liberating.

I feel an opening within me that has become bigger than me, I free-fall into it. I’m still not 100% sure how to integrate this new understanding into my business, and exactly how it will impact my life coaching practice, and my life in general. It is monumental.

I do know my work is becoming much richer with this new understanding,  much more loving, and compassionate, and effective.

Wanna know what it is? It’s this:

Everything is perfect. There is nothing to fix.

Your path is your path. Your unfolding is yours. There is no reason to force yourself into changing. In fact, it won’t work, if you are forcing it.

Having built my business on helping people change, as you can imagine, this is a game-changer.

Lately, I wonder if much of the self-improvement culture we live in today isn’t a bunch of bullshit. By our relentless pursuit of being “better”, we can never be enough.

If I witnessed a flower bud, and said “Flower bud, you are perfect, just the way you are. Don’t change!” would I stop it from blooming, at its own natural time? NO. It was designed to bloom.

If I witnessed a flower bud, and said “Flower bud, open. Open now. You were meant to bloom. Work harder. Push. COME ON! Why are you still a bud?” would it open any faster? NO.

Yes, it was designed to bloom. But at its own perfect pace.

Just like us.

Is an unopened bud any less perfect than an flower in bloom?

There is no forcing evolution. Evolution will not be forced. Emergence cannot be rushed. Blooming happens when its meant to. Not a minute before. Not a minute after.

The problem with much of our self-improvement thinking is that we are spinning our wheels, spending so much time, energy and money trying to shape ourselves into better versions, new and improved, always, relentlessly trying to change. Wondering why we can’t change. Wondering why we can’t shake this habit or that dependency. Frustrated as hell that we can’t reach that same goal we’ve had for 20 years, or that we haven’t succeeded manifesting our deepest desires and are still not the people we want to be.

We are missing the point.

And we are missing the perfection available to us in the present moment.

Am I saying don’t try? Of course not. Your desire, your intention, your trying is how you will get there, when the time is right, after all, but we also need to take into account the natural, organic ways we shift, when it’s time to shift.

We change when it’s time to change.

A caterpillar when it cocoons does not weave its humble abode around itself to cozily sprout wings and emerge all butterfly-beautiful, oooh! No. It’s a much uglier process than that.

The caterpillar first must deconstruct, actually deconstituting itself into black liquid. Caterpillar soup. From those cells, something new begins to take shape. But not without becoming complete mush before then. And here’s something new that I just learned… in that black soup process, the old cells fight the new cells.

While the new cells struggle and work to become butterfly, what is old, familiar, outdated is still struggling for survival. Can you relate?

When making the changes you want in your life, there will likely be struggle. It won’t be easy. Sometimes you will be fighting for your life. I’m not saying don’t fight, don’t work, don’t try.

I’m saying trust the process. Trust your own evolution.

I also know that you can’t crack open a cocoon anytime you want to set the butterfly free. I’ve learned the hard way, when I was 10. It was devastating and I felt like crap, I had destroyed the butterfly before it was even ready to be born, by trying to rush its perfect process.

So this is the great paradox… when you want to change, work at it. But know that if it’s not time for change, it won’t work.

Everything is perfect. Nothing needs fixing.

When it’s your time to let go, you will let go.

When it’s time to release old habits, you will be able to release them.

When it’s your time to make painful decisions, you’ll bravely make those decisions (not without being scared, don’t get me wrong. Bravery and fear are by no means exclusive of one another.)

When it’s time to leap, you will leap.

When it’s time to know, you will know.

When it’s time to crack out of your shell, you will fight for your life to break free.

And when it’s time to bloom, you will bloom.

Applying this level of acceptance and trust to my life and to the lives of those I care for and work with has been challenging at times.

We want what we want, and we want it now.

But luckily, becoming this new version of who I am brings with it the capacity to accept and trust life, on life’s terms, and I know, when it’s time… it’s time.

“The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud
was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
– Anais Nin

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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

Buzzing and Blooming, Flowers, Bees & Me

bee-flowerSomewhere, at some point recently I began entertaining the sweet notion of attraction rather than attainment, magnetism over motion.

I decided I wanted to be the flower, and not the bee. I’ve spent most of my working life being a bee. Buzzing, buzzing from flower to flower, looking for nectar, making honey. It worked, sure. But it was exhausting as hell.

I began to learn from various teachers, messages, signs and synchronicities that there may be a better way, an easier way. I decided to experiment with the practice of being a flower.

A flower stands proud in its fragrant, vibrant essence. It need not scurry, hustle, chase or pursue. It releases such a sweet aroma, by simply being what it is, that the bees take notice and are drawn to the flower’s irresistible perfume. Then the magic happens.

And yep, just like magic, my shift in thinking, my change in focus, my recommitment to simply doing what I do, as sweetly and naturally as I can has drawn enchanted, miraculous events, people and opportunities my way. Here are just two examples that blow my mind and rock my world…

  • For years, I have thought the Burlesque Experience would make great reality TV. I’ve had some conversations with producers in the last couple years, but the chemistry was off, they didn’t really get the heart and soul of the work, and even though they were interested in going further, my heart was saying “wait.” Recently, a seasoned and gifted producer found my business card and contacted me. We’re currently in conversation and planning a demo reel for her network contacts. She gets it. She loves the work, she understands the transformational power of it and how it can translate into compelling TV.

    I don’t know what will come of it, I’m optimistic, yet unattached to any outcome. I fully trust in things unfolding as they are meant to. Here’s the crazy part: I’ve never even set foot in the print shop where she picked up my card, from a community bulletin board.

  • Lately, I’ve been sharing, recommending and quoting from like crazy, this phenomenal, game-changing book I’ve been reading called “Inspired and Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding Doing Your Life’s Work” by Tama Kieves. I haven’t been this shaken and stirred by a book in years. I fantasized about having Tama as a guest on my upcoming internet radio show, SacredSexyU Radio, but had no idea how little-old-me could snag such an opportunity.Within days of that fantasy, sitting in my inbox was an email from her publicist from Penguin Publishing. She had found me through my blog where I had quoted from the book, and asked if I would be interested in interviewing Tama, both in my blog and on my radio show. Holy YES. Yes, I pinched myself. Yes, this is happening. Flower-energy does it again.

Yet, in all of my fragrant flower-energy experimentation, there is still something vital and undeniable in me.

It is also in my nature to be a bee.

There is bee energy in me. It is also my purest essence.

To buzz toward what attracts me, to hustle, to seek.

As a bee, I am aggressive and hungry, and I scan and work and create and connect. I cannot lose this part of me. I don’t want to.

So, I’ve decided to embrace both my flower self and my bee self. I’ve decided I am a hybrid creation. I am calling myself a FLOWBEE. What do you think? Catchy, huh? I thought so, too.

I can proudly and lovingly embrace and claim these varying facets of myself; they actually work well together. I want to be both.

So I’m off to do some buzzing and blooming now. Join me, won’t you?

Are you a bee, a flower or a Flowbee?

Whatever you are, when you stand in your most natural essence, being exactly who you truly are, magic happens.

Because I am Worth It. And So Are You.

How do you know when it’s time to take a break?

The Universe, in its divine wisdom and wicked sense of humor, has many curious ways of leading me to a resting place. Some more dramatic than others. Last year, around this time, a chronic pain situation became a serious, full-blown shut-everything-down-crisis.

Lately, it’s more subtle. I’m having trouble writing. And focusing. I’m feeling overwhelmed much of the time. I’m forgetting deadlines. Weekends go by too fast, and I’m not as excited as I usually am to start a new week. I’m tired.

Last year, my body made the decision for me. I took August off. This year, I’d like to do the same thing, but not because my body says so. Just because I say so.  Because I am worth it. I feel like it will be a way of honoring myself, of refueling and allowing my ground to lay fallow for a while, to clear, to quiet.

One of the biggest challenges of being me is that I love creating, inventing and facilitating so much that I have a hard time stopping. It feels like “my natural state”. But from a quieter, deeper place, I know my natural state is NOT doing, It is being.

While I will still need to get certain things done, in August, I’m going to take a break from blogging, from creating new things, from networking and from most events and duties.

I’m going to give myself time to be fallow. I’m resting.  And over the next two months, I’ll be doing everything I can in preparation, to ensure that I can take a nice juicy break in August.  Because I want August to be my vacation month, each year, from now on. Last August was a crisis response. This August is a proactive act of self-care. I want to recharge. I want to renew. I want to be able to give you the best I can. And If I never stop, if I’m always going, if I’m spread too thin, I just simply can’t do that.

The world will not stop spinning without me. The Universe supports my self-care.

Let’s join forces and commit to our care together. What decision can you make, on behalf of your self-care, this summer? Because you are worth it.

I feel lighter already,

Oops, I did it again.

You can imagine my delight, when I started feeling better at the end of February.

After months of inactivity and a dramatically different life because of a chronic pain situation,  I’ve been like a kid in a candy shop.

I had a procedure that took a great deal of pressure off the nerve that was causing me so much pain, and it feels like my life has been returned to me. Every day without pain, I am awash in gratitude and joy.

These days, I walk different, I dance more, I smile more. I’m happier.

Happiness is a practice. Practicing happiness while in pain is a great and brave endeavor, and I have immeasurable respect for the masters who achieve it on a consistent basis.

I am not one of them.

I haven’t been completely pain-free since the procedure, but I’m finding if I stick to my stretching regimen, avoid sitting for long periods, and take good care of myself, I can keep the pain level pretty low.  When it flares up, it’s usually a message that I am either overdoing it,  doing things I don’t really want to do, or not listening to my body.

And then, last week, with a full-blown case of spring fever, I decided to walk 30 minutes, every day.  By the fifth day, I was experiencing a pain flare-up more intense than I remembered. The kind that had me in bed, on ice, canceling plans.  I was angry. Those five days of intense walking had been joyous adventures, a return to a long-lost friend, a sort of homecoming.

I felt betrayed by my joy. I was pissed at my body. I even pissed at God. Like I was being punished.

Dammit. I thought I learned all I was supposed to learn during my pain period. I thought this was done. I thought I’d passed the tests, got the diploma and moved on to higher education. WTF?

I responded immediately, as best as I could. I rested intensely, (not like I had much choice.) I took care of myself, I worked hard to send love to the pain, instead of anger.

The pain is now subsiding, and I am coming to terms with the fact that this may be an ongoing situation that I will have to attentively navigate for longer than I’d hoped, maybe even the rest of my life.

But I do know this: There are gifts in this, and every painful situation.

I am learning exquisite self-care. I am getting opportunities to discover and practice balance, true balance. Forever, I’ve been an over-doer. My poor body has bore the brunt of much of this over-doing. I am developing an attentive, loving relationship with body, where I listen deeply, and respond quickly.

I think of the pain flare-ups as a divinely intuitive alarm system, informing me of my danger zones: doing too much, working too hard, spreading myself too thin. If this is the way it needs to be, until I learn to listen without pain being the communication system, then so be it. Here I am. Where I am.

I am learning to love and accept it all. It’s all for my highest good. It’s all good. Even when it’s not. Even when it hurts.  I trust. I’m listening.

When you’re just not feeling it…

I was sore. I was tired. I was having a bad hair day.

I was not feeling it. But in 90 minutes, I had to teach an “Unleash Your Inner Bombshell” burlesque intro workshop to a room full of women.

Helping women tap into their inner sexy, to move in new ways, to flirt with themselves, to have fun with their bodies, to connect to that part of them that may be dormant is one thing I was born to do.

But that didn’t matter at that moment. I was not in the mood. I began to get ready, going through the motions, fixing my hair, putting on my red lipstick. Ugh… I was thinking.  Bleh… I was feeling.

Just get yourself there, Lisa. I told myself. Once you are there, you know what will happen.

Yes, I knew. And yes it did. Once I got in the space, surrounded by women, some nervous, some excited, all eager to learn and willing to risk with me, something kicked in. Within a couple of minutes, I was feeling great. I began to feel sexy.  We danced. We laughed. We played. We had a wonderful time together.

After class, I told my workshop assistant, Scarlett Rose, “I have no idea where the hell that came from. I didn’t think I had it in me today.”

But the more I think about it, the more I know this to be true:

When we are doing what we are meant to do, when we are tapped into our divine assignment, when we are giving from the gifts that we have been given… it’s not about us.

It’s not about what we have in us. It’s about what we have flowing through us.

When we are plugged into Source, and show up for the gig, Source takes over and fills us with everything we need… energy, spirit, joy, passion… we get in the zone and we forget that we were sore and tired and having a bad hair day.

All that matters at that moment IS that moment- we are fulfilling our holy contract. The Divine takes care of the “how”.

What calling, practice or offering have you been holding back from the world, because you don’t know if you have it in you?

Guess what? You have everything you need to bring your gifts to the world. You will be given the tools, the details will fall into place, the energy will flow through you because you are assigned by the Divine to deliver your work into the world as no one else can.

Woody Allen said that about 90 percent of your success is just showing up. I think there’s truth to that.

What are you being called to express or deliver? How are you being invited to show up?

Remember, it’s not about you. It’s about you doing what you were meant to do, and being who you were meant to be. You cannot fail. Just move. And once you are moving, your Divine Super Powers will kick in and juice you up for the assignment. Even on a bad hair day. Trust me on this.

Everything is an Invitation

Some days are louder than others. Some days are a cacophony of distractions, voices, chatter, noise. The feeling of being pulled in too many directions is one of my least favorite feelings.

Yet, if everything is an invitation, which I believe it is, then this feeling… even this low-grade anxiety, this uneasiness and spread-too-thin feeling that comes over me at times is an invitation.

The cool part is, I get to decide what the invitation is for. I simply have to check in, go within, to discover what it is. Might be an invitation…

– to get quiet
– to take a break
– to take a walk
– to take a nap
– to get centered
– to choose wisely
– to lead bravely
– to pray
– to play
– to take myself less seriously
– to take something off my plate
– to have that conversation I’ve been avoiding
– to dance
– to sing
– to take a hot shower
– to drop into my body
– to remember that I even have a body
– to forgive
– to notice
– to release
– to write
– to breathe

Funny, it seems all moments, like this one, and otherwise, are invitations to breathe. Breathing is always the invitation. And in this moment, I accept.

What if, right now, my only invitation is to breathe? I breathe into the simplicity of this invitation. And chuckle at the irony. Do I have any other choice? Can I go deeper into my breath, to feel it, really feel it, coursing through my body? Can I exhale more fully? Can I inhale so deep it reaches my toes?

If everything is an invitation, what are you being invited into, in this moment?

This moment is an invitation. Open it, read it. Respond.