Thursday, September 25, 2014

Peace. Patience. Prosperity.

Yes, please.

Those three words popped into my head as I was walking my pups the other day for their morning outing.

I have been having a trying time (to say the least) with September.

It's not September's fault, mind you. It has been one of my favorite months for many years...but this time it's a little different.

Do you ever get the feeling that something big is coming, some sort of change is afoot? You feel heavy and uncomfortable...like something is pressing down on you, or pulling you in a million directions at once?

It has you questioning every single thing you are about.

What the hell am I doing all of this for? Where am I going? Isn't this supposed to be better, bigger, easier, etc?

Whoa. Take a breath.

So that's what I did. Took some deep breaths and heard this sweet mantra come thru me...

May there be peace.
May there be patience.
May there be prosperity.

Nice! Sometimes when we're down in the dumps we get a little gift from the Universe.

I need the 3 P's right now and in honor of these three little magical words I created a guided breathing meditation just for you (and for me).





3 P's


Peace
It begins with us. Notice how peaceful the leaves on the trees sway in the gentle breeze. Notice how peaceful the blue sky is against the white puffy clouds. Notice how peaceful you feel when you inhale and exhale the quality of peace.

Patience
Yes, you can have it. Yes you can generate it every single day. Notice how patient you can become when you focus on deep breathing - through any situation. Imagine yourself going with the flow of life, surrendering to what is in front of you and trusting in the divine way of things. Oomph! This is a big one for me.

Prosperity
Let's get out of the way and allow more prosperity and abundance in our life. We are the only thing stopping prosperity from coming in. Prosperity = ease, comfort, security, well being. Prosperity is a state of mind. We are ALL meant to be prosperous in this life. Take a deep breath and imagine yourself opening to prosperity.

I love you. I support you. I believe in peace, patience and prosperity for all.

Hang in there, little love bug. Life is meant to be FUN!

XO
Lisa

Monday, September 15, 2014

Are you expanding or contracting?

artwork by Paige Bradley

Oh I'm not talking about your waistline or the number on the scale.

I'm talking about consciousness.

I'm talking about feeling your heart wide open to all that is, right now.

I'm talking about trusting in the process and allowing life to FLOW, instead of clutching, cleanching, wrenching, holding, struggling to make life do what you want it to do.

Are you focusing on lack or abundance?

What dominates your thoughts these days?

The word "expansion" has been a theme for me these past several weeks.

And it is no accident that it keeps coming up.

Before I embarked on my recent adventure to Kauai, I listened to a lot of Abraham-Hicks You Tube recordings and videos and felt my life (as well as my body) completely OPEN to the magic.

I was in complete TRUST and FAITH that all is working together for my good.

It felt so wonderful.

I felt EXPANSION.

I felt that there was no need to worry or doubt or stress out.

I witnessed miracles and I focused on what felt good and I focused on gratitude.

The expansion continued and multiplied while I was in Kauai.

Abundance was everywhere and in everything.

And here I am today...

Feeling a little less than.

Feeling a little contracted.

Feeling the old patterns and stories of worry, doubt and fear creep back into my mind and body.

So I write this note to remind myself and remind YOU that it is our choice to suffer or to thrive.

We can choose to be a witness to our thoughts and to what is in our present situation and simply observe, calmly allowing the wave of worry to pass through us.

Or...we can choose to allow it to define us, make it our story, obsess about it, do everything we can to push it away or make it change, and inevitably take over our life.

We can choose to move away from contraction and open up to expansion.

We don't have to suffer. This can be fun.

Because life is so abundant.


The universe loves us so much.

We have armies of angels and guides who are cheering us on and waiting for us to ask for guidance and support.

And even in those times of contraction, where it feels better to go within, be in the silence, and recalibrate...we can expand.

Yes, we can expand in the contraction.

Fall and winter are upon us. This is the natural time to go inside, burrow, nest, contemplate and reflect.

But we are not to shrivel up and atrophy.

We can expand and open to the magic that lies in the darkness and in the quiet.

I invite you to choose to expand inside of whatever you are going through right now.

And I'm going to choose expansion today.

I'm going to follow the thoughts and emotions that feel delicious and supportive.

I'm going to witness the worry, should it come up, but breathe and allow it to pass through like a wave. Ahhh....

And I invite you to do the same, darling!

I believe in YOU.

Let's expand together!

~ Lisa

Friday, September 5, 2014

My love letter to summer...

Dear Summer ~

When I look back at all of the incredible moments since May of this year, I am filled with such glee I can barely contain it. So I won't.

I'll let the glee burst forth and explode into a million sparkles in the sky. 

I'll let it pour over everyone and everything. 

I'll let it seep into the earth and decorate the trees and buildings. 

I'll sing it from the rooftops and let go of any traces of guilt or feelings of bragging and boasting. Blah!

I'll dance it. I'll drum it. 

I'll revel in the golden memories.

The smiles on my beautiful Panzumo dancers' faces as we performed up State St on June 21. 
photo by Josh Munsch

Tears of joy and healing streaming down the face of a new female drum student at one of the San Luis Obispo workshops. 

Laughter and excitement at the awesome challenge of learning new Mali rhythms from Moussa Traore during his week-long visit in SB. 

Giggles in the cabin at Camp Fareta with my dance sisters, the glorious sound of drums by some of the best djembefolas and dundunfolas in the world, and the ongoing connections with drum and dance teachers and students. Priceless.

Sisterhood connections made while teaching at the Women's Drum Center of Minnesota and in a private drum workshop I led in Bloomington. 

Reconnecting with childhood friends who were incredibly instrumental and influential in my life as a young person. These friendships are rare and extremely special. 

Complete awe and reverence experienced while studying Odissi with my beloved teacher. Emceeing her exquisite performance at the Hindu Monastery in Kauai. Learning how to wear a dance sari. JOY!

Experiencing a samvahana ayurvedic oil massage treatment for the first time. Nothing compares to this.

Smelling, tasting and reveling in the fertile, wild and wondrous land of Kauai. Her golden and turquoise beaches. Her thousand shades of green. Water from the sky, the ground, pouring over rocks and trickling out of the cliffs. 

Falling madly in love all over again with my man of 14 1/2 years. Laughter. Joy. Relaxation. 

And throughout the entire summer I jumped into Josette's Zumba classes as much as I possibly could. I danced on stage when she invited me and every time celebrated the power of music and dance for all ages, sizes and abilities. I love the community. I love to see so many men dancing. I love that her classes, like mine, are ALL about JOY, and ZERO about PERFECTION and COMPETITION. 

I made so many new friends this summer in dance and drum and during my travels. 

I invested in myself more than ever. 

I was incredibly inspired by my teachers and mentors. 

I got my priorities in order. 

I let things go. 

I made space. 

I chose to let gratitude and appreciation dominate my thoughts. 

I continued to be vulnerable and courageous (saying "yes" when fear showed up as resistance). 

I let my heart be my guide. 

I had ups and downs but I chose and I choose to focus on the ups (that's the secret sauce right there). 

So you see, summer, the gifts I received from you are the biggest ever. I can't thank you enough. 

Actually, I can't thank ME enough. 

Now I am crystal clear that WE MAKE OUR LIFE, and whatever we are experiencing right now (good, bad, ugly, beautiful, painful, joyful) is a result of what we've chosen to focus on in our thoughts and feelings. 

And...there is no time for regret or self-punishment. 

Only making new choices. 

Life will be shitty sometimes. That's why we signed up. 

Growth. Transformation. Expansion. 

As my friend and teacher, Anne Van de Water says (paraphrased), "we need shit to fertilize new growth."

So I love you so much, Summer of 2014. 

I thank you. 

I thank me. 

I thank the Universe. 

I thank the Divine. 

I thank that incredible source of power that fuels all of life.  

Love, 

Lisa

PS: If you feel inspired, please share the joys and gems of your Summer 2014. What were your most wonderful/blissful/joyful/challenging-but-important/aha moments? 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Create miracles. It's easier than you think.



Dear Miracle Maker ~

Is there anything kicking your butt right now? Finances? Relationship? Family issues?

Do you know that when things REALLY seem difficult, it is the most important time to believe in miracles and believe that things are about to get really, really good?

Take a look at the picture above. It is a miracle. It represents something that I didn't even know was a possibility.

That I would be invited to teach at a drum center for women in my home state?

That the two workshops would be full (to almost overflowing)?

That I would be invited to stay in a beautiful home where I was honored and celebrated for my music and teaching gifts by a gracious, generous and incredibly loving hostess and new friend?

It may seem like a shock to you that I didn't think this was possible, but I didn't and I have to wonder what other possibilities I may be ignoring or refusing to consider in my life and career?

Hey, I didn't even know that a Women's Drum Center of Minnesota even existed. Wow. Just, wow.

When I think back, though, I realize that the past several months have been pure magic and a few important factors stick out in my mind that I want to share with you as you create miracles in your own life:

  1. Self-care has been numero uno. Rest and rejuvenation have never been more of a priority for me. My desire to feel joy, free, fluid, connected, and aliveRULES every decision I make and direction I go. 
  2. Gratitude has been abundantly flowing out of my mouth, in my writing, in my thoughts. I have focused more on gratitude this year than ever before, and I'm not afraid to share it. 
  3. I am listening to my inner wisdom and intuition more by saying "no" when I need to and saying "yes" to opportunities that scare me (in a good way)
  4. I am opening my heart to love...by giving it, receiving it, celebrating it, generating it...more than ever. 
  5. Last but not least, I am making friends with the darkness and shadows. I am noticing the uncomfortableness, frustrations, and stagnation. I am being with whatever is coming up. Breathing it. Trusting that it is a part of the important journey that I am on. 

I could probably list more things here, and I could tell you about how lost I sometimes felt last year as I was trying to figure out how to move forward with this work and my career, continue to do what I love AND make a living at it. Many times I considered giving it up.

But...I didn't give up. And when I was at my very lowest, a little voice inside of me told me that it was going to be alright. "Keep going" the voice said..."you are on the right track!"

And because I've made a commitment to focus on self-care, gratitude, deep listening, cultivating an open heart, and trusting in the the process, I continue to create miracles and be totally "wowed" by life. I want that for YOU!

My life is a miracle.

So is yours.

Believe that anything is possible.

ANYTHING can turn itself around and upside down in ways you have never even considered.

Stop the limited thinking and open yourself up to ALL possibilities.

Consider things working FOR you and not against you - no matter how it appears right now.

Consider the possibility that the ugly stuff and the heartaches and frustrations are part of your road to more GOOD than you could ever dream.

If I can do it, anyone can!

And I have a long way to go, dear friend. So let's help each other and share in the ups and downs.

I'm here for you. I believe in you. I adore and love you.

What miracles are happening in your life?

What possibilities are you not considering for yourself?

Open up and enjoy the ride and let me know how it goes. I want to celebrate with you!

Love,

Lisa

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Capacity to Love.




Are you willing to fully open yourself up to love and express love?

Are there limits to your capacity to love or do you feel like your heart is capable of holding, absorbing, expressing and sharing endless amounts of love and joy?

Are you willing to let it all in, no matter how much fear or resistance shows up?

Can you let yourself feel it...no matter how "out of control" it seems, no matter how much you've been hurt before?

This year has been powerful in terms of my own personal capacity for love.

I am still processing all that has occurred since early spring.

I am blown away as I recall the dreams and desires I put forth this past December and January and how quickly and magically I've manifested these desires in this year of the wood horse.

That, in itself, is so wonderful. Manifestation is real. Visioning is powerful.

But what I did not anticipate was the amount of love I would be able to experience and hold in my body and spirit as I moved forward.

I called for an abundance of support and love from the dance and drum community. It brings me to my knees when I truly feel into the love I have experienced over the past several months.

Last week while I was attending my beloved Camp Fareta in the Sierra Mountains I experienced a lot of uncomfortable and intense feelings...especially at night as I lay in my tent before falling to sleep.

I felt confused, overwhelmed, raw, and alone.

How could this be possible? My dreams were and are coming true.

I had had the most successful and heart opening Summer Solstice season to date.



I felt profound connections with my dancers and the musicians.




I experienced another level of connection and love for drumming during our teacher Moussa Traore's stay in Santa Barbara and at Camp Fareta.



Mali djembe has entered my heart and I long for a deeper study and future travels to Mama Africa with this extraordinary teacher. 




I have made connections with women in other communities and am sharing music and dance with a greater audience. 

I am co-creating and collaborating with more folks who truly inspire me. 




I feel more supported. 
I feel more on track. 
I feel more organized. 
I feel my heart spread wide open. 
I feel a stronger connection to others. 

And sometimes it scares the shit out of me.  And sometimes it hurts. 

Thus...the confusion, overwhelm, rawness, and loneliness. 

At one point in my little tent, I had an "a ha". 

I realize that I am being cracked open. 
My cells are reorganizing themselves. 

The layers of resistance and "protection" that I have built up for all these years continues to crumble down and melt into mother earth. 

I am simply feeling more. 

The tears flow more easily... in unexpected places and at times when I would usually suppress them. 

I'm letting them flow. 
I am hugging more. 
I am speaking my truth. 
I am looking deeper into people's eyes. 

I am loving for the sake of loving...not to get anything out of the other person or expect them to feel the same way about me. 

I am being with all of the feelings and I am allowing myself to be loved and to love. 

No matter how scary or how unfamiliar or how exposed and vulnerable I feel. 

I am letting it in. 

My capacity to love and be loved is limitless and eternal. 

And the more I express my gratitude (in prayer, meditation, writing, teaching, sharing with friends) the greater my capacity for love and joy becomes. 

Holy wow. 

Thank you God/dess. 

Even when it's hard, and even when we're wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so intense that we're afraid to let ourselves feel it. It's these moments in life that demand we show up - that we let go of who we think we're supposed to be and embrace who we really are. ~ Brené Brown















Friday, June 27, 2014

Time to exhale.

Dearest Beauty ~

It is time for this girl to decompress...



Exhale.

Release.

Rejuvenate.

Receive.

The only way we can live sustainably is to create space and time for silence, rejuvenation, processing and integration.

Especially after a BIG push.

I have fully entered this phase.

While I am still teaching and putting things out there, more than ever I am prioritizing R&R.

Listening to my body's needs and paying attention to the signals.

I began this phase earlier in the week. I drove 1.5 hrs to Sycamore Hot Springs near Avila Beach and soaked in the tub for an hour. Afterwards, I drove a few miles towards the beach and found a cozy spot under my umbrella with an espresso, big jug of water, and my journal.

It was heaven.

The sound of the ocean, dolphins frolicking in the water, warm sun on my skin and the sand beneath me was the exact medicine needed to begin my decompression process.

I meditated, shed tears, laughed out loud at some college-aged girls flying a kite and having a tough but fun time of it, wrote a love letter to my solstice family, braved the cold water (up to my belly), watched pelicans dive for fish, and breathed deeply.

Later I took myself out to dinner and then joyfully devoured an ice cream sandwhich fromBatch in San Luis Obispo (coconut ice cream in between two gluten free chocolate chip cookies).



Did I feel guilty? Hell no. Was it delicious and worth every bite? Hell yes.

This past Saturday was a BIG birthing event and I feel raw, tender, emotional, proud, releived, sad, grateful, honored, and satisfied...all rolled into one.

Mama bear to 40 dancers and nearly 30 musicians, surrounded by almost 100,000 people, I am giving myself plenty of down time to feel all of the emotions and feelings and process all of the events from the past few months.

Even though I have expressed the importance of R&R over and over again...I'm reminding you that we're in SUMMER MODE. Go to the beach. Take a solo date to your favorite art gallery. Go for a sunset hike with your best buds. Sit in silence under an oak tree. Sleep in once in a while.

Treat yourself. This is the time and the season!

Thank you for being a brilliant star in my life. Whether you were rocking your dance and drum on State St last week or not...I know you love what music and dance and community does to your spirit. I know that you are a part of the LBL community because you are a game-changer, creator, and artist who wants to bring more beauty into this world.

Revel in it!

I love and support you FULLY~

Lisa

Friday, June 13, 2014

Take a load off.

"There is time for everything; a time to MAKE the BEST and a time to TAKE a REST..."~ Israelmore Ayivor




Dear Mover & Shaker Extraordinaire ~

As much as I am all for pushing yourself beyond your limits, going for the gold, becoming all that you can be...I must stress the importance of giving yourself a frickin' break every once in a while.

I'm giving you FULL permission to make time for a break every day. Can you do it?

I've been taking at least 5 min daily breaks to rest, daydream, unload, refresh, etc. and it has been wonderful. If I can do it, you can do it! As busy as I am right now with Summer Solstice a week away, down time is non-negotiable.

The busier and more "in demand" we are, the more we need to commit to taking a little break every day.

Here are some of my current favorite ways to unwind...


1. Nature is Medicine


Drive/walk/bike to your favorite nature spot (beach, park, etc).

Leave your phone at home (or at least in the car).

Get a blanket or beach towel and lay it down in a pleasant spot.

Stretch out on the blanket and gaze at the blue sky and clouds above.

Allow your thoughts to come in and pass through your mind without holding on to or obsessing about any of them.

Observe the leaves on the trees, birds flying overhead, or the reflection of the sun on the water.

Be with the sounds and sights of nature...give yourself a break.

10 min - 1 hour is ideal.



2. Animal Healer


I am the very happy co-parent to two dogs and a cat.

Often during my daily "break" I will lie down on the bed or couch and get as cozy and cuddly as possible with my pets.

Giving them my full attention (again, phone is not accesible), I pet and love them up completely.

I am immediately reminded of the ways in which they teach me about loyalty and unconditional love.

My nervous system immediately relaxes and I soften into the present moment with my pup or cat child.

5 - 20 min is ideal for me (any longer than that I will most likely fall asleep).



3. Sweet Slumber


Not that sleep is a bad thing. Cat naps are awesome.

20-30 min is the max I like to do, otherwise I wake up feeling groggy and fatigued.

Set the alarm, close the shades, close your eyes and revitalize with a lil' nap!

If you can schedule an afternoon nap in once in a while, your body will thank you!

You don't even need to sleep. Just shutting your eyes, calming your mind and stretching out your legs will feel like heaven!



4. Bathing Beauty


I'm taking fewer baths right now since we are in a drought, but when my muscles and mind need some serious relaxing, this is the best way for me to let go.

Hot water, essential oils (lavender, rose, eucalyptus), epson salts, Karsh Kale Pandora station and a few sprigs of rosemary from my garden and I am in bathing bliss.

No more than 20 min for me (otherwise I turn into a prune or get overheated).



5. Get lost in a Story


Turn your phone on silent and/or put it in a drawer in another room so it doesn't bother you.

Turn your computer on "sleep" or completely off.

Stereo, tv, all other distractions off.

Pick up a favorite novel or short story and read.

Give yourself a break. 30-60 min is ideal.



Unplugging is Necessary


I stress the importance of silencing or turning off your phone, computer, stereo, tv, etc. because I personally need to unplug from these distractions and I know you probably do, too.

I love my smart phone, but boundaries are necessary in every "relationship"!

And we can't truly unwind the mind, body and soul if our focus is even a little bit connected to an electronic device.

We just can't.



More on R&R


I've written a few blog posts on the importance of rest if you want more inspiration and guidance towards a more restful and rejuvenative existence.


The Art of R&R

The Sunday "Funday" Challenge

Nourish Thyself

Calmness of Mind





Enjoy your down time and watch as you are able to get more done and feel more energized becuase of it!

Love,

Lisa