SQEEEEEEE — Brave Girl Symposium News!!!!!

Have you heard the news yet?  Do you know about the inaugural Brave Girl Symposium happening in July in Boise, Idaho??  SISTERHOOD is just getting better and better!!!! Well, let me tell you more about it……and share my big news!!!girl-in-car-GET-THERE-2-symposium-640x952

It’s going to be the most magnificent MAGICAL CELEBRATION and gathering of women from all over the country and the world!  Members of the Brave Girls Club (and if you don’t think you’re a member, I say you are but you just don’t know it yet), teeheehee.  People who have taken the online courses and are yearning to meet their kindred sisters face to face.  Others who follow the good works that BGC is known for and want to revel in the celebration!!!  ART!  SOULFUL SPEAKERS!  MUSIC!  SHOPPING!  COLLABORATIVE PROJECTS!  HUGS!  YOGA!  GIFTS!  SURPRISES!  It’s going to be a total BLAST!!!!!

Learn more details here:  Brave Girl Symposium 2016

OK, so my BIG NEWS is that I am have the huge honor of being one of the speakers!!!!  How awesome is that?  I can hardly believe it!!!  The theme of the Symposium is WHAT CAN LOVE DO?  I will be telling my story about my journey with Soul Restoration and helping homeless people and a whole lot of other things that are all about what LOVE DOES ♥  I do SO want to share this all with you!!!

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So maybe you have concerns about the Symposium?  For instance:  you don’t want to come alone and you don’t know anyone else who wants to join you?  Well, let me totally reassure you that you will NOT be ALONE as soon as you step into the GORGEOUS Riverside Hotel in beautiful downtown Boise.  That is what sets the Brave Girls Club experience above all others, imho — you will be WELCOMED with open arms and surrounded by loving women from that moment until the end of the event.  And by then you will have had so many profound HEARTFELT experiences with them that you will be leaving with a whole boatload of new lifelong friends.  I. Am. Not. Exaggerating.  I have seen it happen hundreds of times!

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If you have any questions, I would love to answer just about any of them, and if I can’t, I will direct you to someone who can.  Just go up to my “Contact” tab above and send me a note!

I really REALLY hope you’ll follow your heart and come to this amazing unique event!  It’s the first one of many annual events to come!!!  It’s not a convention (though we will be convening).  It is an enormous CELEBRATION of women and bravery and art and FUN and sisterhood and LOVE .  It’s like nothing else you’ve ever experienced, and that is my personal guarantee.  It will be so much better than I can even describe!!!!  

Register here:  Brave Girl Symposium 2016

microphone-ad-640x640 I hope hope HOPE to see you there and experience this wonderfulness together!!!!!! xoxo

 

 

 

SISTERING gets BETTER and BETTER!!!!!

SISTERING.  In my journey with this blog, no post has come even close to getting the knowing, positive reactions and shares that his one produced.  SISTERING.  It’s a concept and a dream that is long overdue.  I am sistered by so many, and I do my best to sister others.  And so today I am re-publishing this post from October 23, 2013.  Because it continues to spread it’s message around the world, and it is A MESSAGE THAT IS NEEDED NOW MORE THAN EVER.  It is all about LOVE.  We are in this TOGETHER.   I hope this helps…………………………….

October 23, 2013

IMG_4650  There’s an old-fashioned term used in wood building construction called SISTERING.  I’ve always found it to be an interesting term, especially in this predominantly male-centric endeavor, the world of building structures.  It means to repair weak floor joists by attaching new joists right along side, to provide the extra support the older joist needs.Sistering-Floor-Joist

The older joist is not removed and discarded, it has support added by its sister joist.  So the two become stronger than one.  They help each other.  The new one doesn’t have to take on the whole burden alone.  It is considered an economical and efficient way to repair sagging or weakened joists.  Well smack me upside the head, what a metaphor is that?????  IMG_4846As a woman in this business for over 30 years, you’d think I would have looked into that term a little deeper.  Interesting indeed that this kind of function was given a feminine name.  Even men recognize the need that women have to support and be supported by each other.  To help support………IMG_4744I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately.  Participating in different types of circles, retreats, journeys, art workshops.  All exclusively with women.  In most ways its refreshing and so healing to be surrounded by all that feminine energy.  To be brought back to my essence.  To circle with kindreds who get it.IMG_4633To learn from each other.  To teach each other.  To acknowledge each other.  To celebrate the beauty within us, and all around us.  And in so doing, to acknowledge the sacred feminine core within us.  I have learned so much in these past couple of months, that I am still processing and digesting.IMG_4913Buoyed by all the positivity.  Ignited by all the wonder and love and passion around me and within me.  I created the most beautiful piece of art that I have ever made.  It really felt like it was just channeling right through me.  My intuitive self was fully released.IMG_5003I have been sistered all right!!!!!!!!

But there are infinitely more every-day ways that we are all sistered, if we pay attention.  Dear friends who listen to our woes.  Others who encourage our dreams and aspirations, without envy or negativity.  Acquaintances and neighbors who simply live their lives in gratitude, and therefore spread that feeling all around them.  Female relatives who we help and nurture and protect.  Girls who just wanna have fun!IMG_5108And so in going to these various gatherings, instead of looking at it like I am searching for something, I look at it as though I am just honoring my deepest soul’s yearnings for feminine connection.  Through shared creativity.  Through laughing.  Through being in beauty with others who see what I see.Sacred Circles groupI mean, I live on a ranch out in the country.  I work mostly with men, with wonderful people.  But I, like most women, get so caught up in the day to day, the chores, the deadlines, in all the roles we play (mother, wife, worker, etc.), that we never seem to have time for the girl in us.  And it is essential for our emotional and spiritual health to regularly take time for these gatherings and play dates.  It’s not a luxury.IMG_5198

So the quickest way to get back to that place, that girl’s soul place, is to open your heart to another woman who meets you there in that same place herself.  And you have an automatic friend for life.  A kindred soul.  Who gets you.  IMG_4735

And all is suddenly and again right with the world.  That’s my prescription for world peace.IMG_4613Write more notes.  Send love and beauty to those who live far away.  And to those who live near.  Don’t hold back your love.  Because the more you open up, the more you share it, this amazing world will continue to open wider and wider.  This here is my love note to you.IMG_4832Sistering is the key.  To unlocking all that ails us.  Don’t you think?

I created the most beautiufl pieWhat does SISTERING mean to you?

 

I have a Zazzle Store now!!!!!!

Where you can buy products with images of my “My Deer” painting!!!

I am asked all the time where people can get my ipad cover or my mug with these images. So now I’ve created a store at Zazzle, called Lisaville, natch!!!!

Here it is:   Lisaville on ZazzleIMG_6694 And I’m going to add more products over the next few weeks.

Like t-shirts!!!!  Don’t you just love this???

holiday_t_shirt_my_deer-r96c1075d02e34f4886dfcc5f6a305945_jfs4d_512IMG_6697 And there are mugs and iphone cases and so many other items.  Perfect for holiday gifts, for others, but mostly for YOU!my_deer_mug-ree47cc3268de40f8be9e2fe8f64b0af0_x7jg5_8byvr_512

I just love how this colorful painting makes everything so special, with its gentle beating heart.❤❤❤

Please go check it out  Lisaville on Zazzle

And let me know what you think!  And if there are any other products you would like, please let me know.  I’d love to provide them for you!!!!!

Happy Fall, y’all!   XOXOXOXOXO

The More We LOVE Outside of Our Comfort Zone……..

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For the past few months, I and a small group of my beloved soul sisters, have been teaching a short course on SOUL RESTORATION at an emergency women’s shelter here in our community.  I have so many emotions swirling around this effort, and it’s hard to put into words.  We have learned so much.  And it’s safe to say that all of our preconceived notions of what we would be doing or not doing, in this work, were pretty much false.  It is so much deeper and more profound than any of us imagined it would be.

I made one attempt to tell our story, here on a blogpost I did for Brave Girls Club:  Love Outside of Your Comfort Zone and I invite you to go check that out for lots more details.IMG_4884Bottom line is that “there but for the grace of God go I”.  We are all walking this path of life at the same time, and we are all at different stages of our own journeys.  All of us are 1 or 2 tragedies away from this circumstance, as much as we may like to tell ourselves that this would never happen to us.  And that’s all it is, a circumstance.  This is not the definition of the guests who live at the shelter, any more than any of our labels define us.  As souls.

It is this concept of being a soulnot a body or an age or a career or a family member or a parent or anything else, that grabs the attention of the women.  A soul who inhabits a body.  A body that is continually changing throughout our lives.  Who sometimes has material wealth and sometimes starves, is young and is old, is sometimes comfortable and sometimes in pain, who suffers and who creates.  Who has love, has loneliness, happiness, fear, joy, anger, despair, the whole gamut of human emotions, our souls experience throughout our lifetime.  And if we look at ourselves, our life histories, as a constantly evolving continuum, we can see that at any point in time, our circumstance is a temporary thing.  Things will change.  They always do.  Helping these students wrap their heads around these truths and witnessing the moment when they understand them is breathtaking. IMG_4673 Because for them, this all points to hope.  I mean real hope.  Not the kind of hope of being rescued by someone else, or by being “lucky”, or looking to something outside ourselves to solve our problems.  The deep soul-grabbing kind of hope that we have when we realize that we are not stuck, we have self-determination, we have power, we can change our circumstances.  Things can get better, maybe in a different way than we imagined, if we give ourselves permission to listen to our souls.

Meditative personal practices such as journaling and making truth cards, when elevated to a level of importance, not diminished as much of society would have it, have deep effects on these students.  A way to organize their thoughts, to be honest with themselves in a way they perhaps never have been before.  Many write and write and write and tell us they have never written this much in their lives!  They never saw the value.  These are simple practices to teach.  Any of us who do these things can easily teach others.  And I think we very much should.IMG_4883 Another big important idea that we teach is the truth that we are all becoming.  It ain’t over til it’s over!  Everything is just a stage in our lives.  I have been creating a big collage sign over these months which is itself becoming…..something, I don’t know where its going to go, I just keep working on it.  It is meant to symbolize our lives’ process.  Every time I show up with it, people say how much they love it, just as it is.  And that is the point:  that at every stage of our lives we are beautiful and beloved and perfectly imperfect and becoming.  So just because our circumstances may be temporarily broken, that doesn’t define our souls, they are still beautiful and beloved and perfectly imperfect and becoming.

The biggest lesson for me personally on this journey has been really understanding how much we all need community.  It’s not an extra bonus, or a want.  It’s a need.  We all learn from each other.  Every person on earth has something to teach us.  Too often, in our mistaken belief that to be strong means to be detached, independent, solo, and not vulnerable, we miss exactly that which our souls are meant to learn from others.  And we need the support of others in our community, just as much as they need our support.  We aren’t whole if we are isolated.  That’s not how we’re designed to be.  Especially when our circumstances are at their low points, that is when we need community the most.  I learn so much from these students.

This truth card was made for me by one of the guests, after she heard my talk about my journey in life.  She saw that I am just like her.  My life circumstances might be very different than hers at the moment, but as souls we share 99.99999% more similarities than we do differences.  I still can’t look at this card without welling up.  It means the world to me.  Little did I expect or even think about receiving this kind of a soul gift through doing this work.IMG_0246We are continuing to teach at homeless shelters and other venues this fall.  We have big plans and we feel led to expand our circle.  Like a snowball, the more people witness this stuff, the more people get involved.  If you’re interested in doing something like this, please know that if you use any curriculum or materials created by the Brave Girls Club, you must get their written permission.  And if you are moved to do something like this in your community, please feel free contact me with any questions.  Or if you already do similar work, I’d love to hear about it!  This is all a work in progress and I want to learn how to do better!!!!

BGU is OPEN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It’s the most fun and amazing BACK TO SCHOOL time like you’ve never had!!!!!    BRAVE GIRL UNIVERSITY is open for business TODAY!!

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I am so honored to be given the opportunity to teach what I know, things that people ask me about all the time, and now I have the classroom to do it in!!!

My first course is up and running, check it out —–

SOULFUL CREATIONS WITH POLYMER CLAY (the Basics) 

Learn basic skills and easy techniques to create 4 or more of your own soulful expressive pieces out of versatile art medium of polymer clay. We’ll make jewelry and book covers and other artifacts that will feed your creative soul.  And most of all, we’ll have FUN!!!!!

You can enroll here:  ENROLL IN BGU

There’s a lot more coming to my classroom in the next few months, so STAY TUNED!!!!

I am so excited to teach these classes and would love to hear your feedback, along with any questions and requests for future classes.  Just send me a message under the “Contact” tab at the top!

See you in class!!!!! XOXOXOXO

RESERVE YOUR SPOT!!!!!

YAHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!  It’s official!!!!  Today is the first day you can save your spot for when Brave Girl University opens its doors on September 1!!!!  All you have to do is just click on the photo below and it will take you to a page to enter your email address — there is no commitment or obligation!!!  But that way you’ll hear lots more about what BGU is about over the coming month.  I hope you will enroll and support me by using my photo link here!!!  I’ll be teaching and I’d love for you to join me there.  I talked about this in yesterday’s blogpost, and now I’d like to tell you more……

So what is Brave Girl University?  Well, let me back up a little and tell you about Brave Girls Club.  It was started from scratch 6 years ago by sisters Melody Ross and Kathy Wilkins, a big dream to, quite simply, change the world.  To help brave women around the world find each other, help each other, have fun together, or as they say “with good news, good ideas, good people, and good times.”

They first started by holding retreats up in the beautiful mountains of Idaho, where they pampered the women with art and soul lessons, scrumptious homemade food, lots of laughs and lots of deep connections created.  As word grew and more camps were held, they started producing online courses by Melody so that other women could receive these messages of hope and healing.  The first course was Soul Restoration and, to me, it’s still the gold standard for self-healing work.  Taking that changed my life.  If you know me, you know that I am an avid Brave Girl!!!!

I have been blessed to have attended many camps now, first as a camper and now as a staff member.  The miracles I witness every time, the healing and sistering and connections and fun, well you just have to go there to experience it for yourself!  It is a safe, loving and magical place.  Now the camps are held at Melody’s exquisite Brave River Ranch north of Boise and it just feels like home to everyone who comes.

From seeing and learning from this camp experience, I have been inspired!!  I realized there is so much need for this all over the world.  Not everyone can come to camp!  And the need is particularly acute for people at risk in our local communities.  So I took the plunge and developed a “mini” soul restoration course for a local emergency women’s homeless shelter (see yesterday’s post for more on that).  But I digress……

So back to BGU and its formation.  Among the many deeply creative world-changing ideas hatched by Melody and Kathy, this new platform stands out as a real game-changer.  Brave Girls Club now has something like a quarter of a million followers around the world!  Realizing this gift, and knowing that there are so many soulful creative teachers and guides doing their thing out here with nowhere near the support and reach that Brave Girls Club has, they created a place for all to gather!!!  The vision is a one-stop place for a myriad of diverse teachers and subjects to hold courses.  The only common denominator is that they are soulful.  For a modest monthly subscription, followers will have access to ALL of it.  And that includes all the content from the Brave Girls Club!!!!

I am so excited to be developing art and soul classes for BGU!!!!  Over the years, I have learned so much that I am constantly asked to share with others.  And having come of age before the internet onslaught, I have been slow to jump on this bandwagon.  I think the internet is wonderful and I have taken many online art and soul classes myself, but never had the time or knowledge to create any myself.  It’s like a teacher without a classroom.  So this new platform that Brave Girls Club has created is perfect!!!  I can create my courses and they hold the space!!  I don’t know how many other creatives have signed up yet, but I know it’s a lot.  And the beauty of it is that it will keep growing!!!  I am scrambling to get my first course done in time for the September 1 launch.  And I have plans for almost a dozen more over the next year.

So stay tuned as I continue to revive this little blog of mine.  And please click on the photo below, or the one above, to be taken to the Save A Spot page.  These are my links, and your support means the world to me!!!  You keep me going!!!  And if you have any questions or class suggestions or requests, please leave me a comment below or send me a message.  I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU!!!!!!!  XOXOXOXOXOXOX

Summertime at Lisaville means BIG NEWS

BIG THINGS ARE ABOUT TO HAPPEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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It’s time for me to revive this beloved blog of mine!!!  Life just keeps happening and there are so many platforms I use for sharing it.  I need to apologize to this blog and my followers here for being absentee for the past 6 months.  So let’s do a quick catch up.

IMG_5054 Summertime here on the ranch is just breathtaking!  From serene quiet sunrise to clear blue warm sky to spectacular gorgeous sunset, I can’t help but be reminded that every day is a gift.  I never feel closer to God than when I’m in nature.

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My husband and I are working on a BIG HUGE DREAM of mine that I’ve had for many years.  An ART BARN!!!!!!!!!  He’s converting our unused 100+ year old sheep shearing barn into a big lovely work space and gathering space for me.  We’ve been working on this for the past 3 months.  Well, I’m there for consultation and some clean-up and refreshment service, but he’s doing all the work.  Every day after work, every weekend until it’s done.  He is obsessed with this dream of mine.  And yes, I know I am beyond blessed.  He sees the value and the healing and the soul connections that happen when I gather folks here to do art and commune with this incredible place we live in.

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While the hubs has been busy with that huge project, I have been working on my own after-work project.  I’ve been teaching 3-evening courses on soul restoration at a 30-day emergency women’s homeless shelter.  Along with a small group of my soul sisters, we are witnessing unbelievable miracles and shifts and transformations among these students.  It is the biggest blessing to be able to do this work, and it feels really important, that we are using our lifetimes of experience to guide others back to their soul’s purpose.  We are so excited to have MORE BIG PLANS to do this at other venues that serve other at-risk communities, so stay tuned for that……….

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So now to the HUMONGOUS NEWS that is directed at you, my followers!!!!!!!  Tomorrow I’ll be announcing my affiliation as a teacher in the new BRAVE GIRLS UNIVERSITY which will open for enrollment on September 1 !!!!!!!!!!  Tomorrow I will have a link here for you to go save a spot for yourself.  So please come back tomorrow to sign up for that.  It’s not a commitment or an obligation, it’s just a way to save yourself a spot when and if you decide to enroll.  And I hope that you do!!!!!!!  And I’m going to tell you why.

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I am developing close to a dozen courses for BGU !!!!!!!!  Courses about soulful art techniques, soulful photography, how to go junking and repurpose stuff, how to make things like lamps, art and color theory, crafts like polymer clay, and more.  Things that I have been teaching people informally for years.  Things that people ask me about how to do it all the time!  Well, I’ve kept pretty good mental notes and I’m going to have a basketload of soulful art/photography/crafts courses for you all in one convenient place!!!!  

And even more close to my heart are the soul-tending courses I’m developing…..How to teach like what I’m teaching at the homeless shelter…..no shame, no blame……sistering…..and more courses that reside in my heart’s experiences that I hope will help others.  This is going to be an amazing platform that the even more-amazing wonder people of Brave Girls Club have developed, and I think it will rock our world!!!!!!!!!

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So please check back tomorrow here when I’ll have the SAVE YOUR SPOT LINK for you to use.  And please leave me suggestions for courses or questions about any of this in the COMMENTS below.  Everything I do here I do with LOVE, and it is for YOU because…..

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It’s OK

So what is Lisaville, you wonder?  Or maybe the question is, why is Lisaville?  Is there some grand scheme here?  Some commercial plan?  It’s kinda mysterious…….

I don’t have a well-conceived answer, other than it’s a place for me to put forth ideas and images that I feel might point to the wonder and goodness of this crazy world of ours.  I try things, and I share them.  It’s a place for play.  I am inconsistent and share when the mood, or need, strikes me.  There is no organizing agenda, no secret plan for social media domination.  Whomever this touches, then that is what is meant to be.  It’s my little world and I invite you in to share it and participate.  I don’t have a manifesto — too much work — but if I did it would include proclaiming gratitude, love, faith, belief in the innate goodness of every human being, the need for community and healing, our responsibility to help others and always always filling life with color and fun and laughter.

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In that vein, I started this little series I’m calling “It’s OK”.  What inspired it was listening to some friends talk about their hopes and fears and questioning how to move forward.  It seemed like they knew the answers already, but the negative whispers and self-doubt kept creeping in.  We do tend to over-analyze an awful lot, don’t we?  I certainly do!  Often to the point of paralysis.

And so when I think of words that soothe me, voices from my past, and what often grounds me, it’s these two little words:  It’s OK.  As a child being cuddled by my parent or grandparent, as a spouse being hugged by my husband, even as a mother being soothed by my child.  Those two words have such power.  For me, they tend to wipe out the doubt immediately.

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So the the words on these signs are deliberately ordered like this:  Word of action (with feelings of doubt popping up immediately), soothing reassuring (it’s ok), then reducing it all to the simplest clearest thought (just do-whatever-the-word-is).  It’s a quieting of the negative whispers, of all they reasons one has for not doing the simple pure action of that particular word.  For example:  TRY.  I tell myself I need to TRY something, and immediately come up with a dozen reasons why I can’t.  Then the reassuring words:  it’s ok.  And finally the deep serenity, the reducing to its simplest meaning of JUST try.  I actually hear a soothing voice saying these words to me.

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I love to take photos.  And I live in a place with an incredible number of photo ops.  But really, we all do.  It’s all how you look at things.  And so I love to share these photos on Instagram (find me @welcome_to_lisaville) and attach words the images evoke in me.  It’s fun and I love it when it touches someone.  There is no grand plan, no secret scheme.  It’s me right here right now.

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I may continue this series, or I may not.  Lisaville is all about the freedom to do what is in the moment.  It probably comes as a reaction to my career as an architect, where schedules are long, organization is paramount, and commitment to the outcome is sacrosanct.  I guess its a left brain vs. right brain thing.  And these past few years, my right brain is definitely winning!!!!!!!

And so I encourage you to just go for it!  Try something without having any agenda for its outcome.  For purely the fun and the joy of trying something that speaks to your heart and soul.  Whether or not anyone else is touched by it.  But guess what, if you continue to go for it, someone will be touched by it.  I know this for sure.

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HAPPY NEW POSSIBILITIES

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

On this Day One, I am just so jazzed about all the possibilities and opportunities I feel and hear and see coming in this year!!!  I think this feeling comes from all the inner work I’ve been doing this past season: practicing gratitude in a deliberate intentional manner, working on being dead honest about all that bothers and vexes me about me, shedding chains and garbage that have been weighing me down for so long.

IMG_2129My word for the year is PURGE.  Getting rid of psychic garbage that clogs my soul AND the real material clutter that weighs me down.  I will share much more about that as the months progress, and I love stating that intention coupled with the warm feeling in my gut as I start doing it right this moment.

This has been my mantra for the past few months, and I think it will remain so the rest of my life……

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And what it means to me is not at all about beating myself up for not doing well yesterday.  Like I need to start over because I’m a failure.  No, it’s about recognizing and celebrating the clarity with which I intend to start each day.  The “doing” may be all internal, or it may be real action.  I want to feel a sense of accomplishment more often, rather than my usual gut-wrenching feelings of I didn’t do enough, I blew it, people are just being nice to me but they don’t really mean it, I’m a fraud, I’m lazy, all that negative self-talk.  Otherwise known as GARBAGE.  I want to feel satisfaction with myself more often.  And then build on that.

So in that vein, I did a blog post for the Brave Girls Club a few days ago.  It is called “6 Walls Between Us”.  It’s all about stuff that has been percolating inside me for a long time.  About how we use words, state intentions for more connection with others, yet our behavior often sabotages that very real need.  This is the dead honesty I’m talking about, as I step back and observe my own actions and and own my own not-always-so-pretty behavior.  And I think a lot of other people feel the same way.

I invite you to read more about it on the beautiful Brave Girls Club website:

http://bravegirlsclub.com/archives/24619

Or read it here:

6 Walls Between Us

Are you a lurker in life?  Do you hold back?  Do you believe it’s best not to engage too deeply with others?  If that is your bliss, then read no further because this post is not meant for you.  But if you have a yearning to be better connected with others, to be heard and understood and accepted, and somehow this seems to be out of reach, then maybe something here will ring true for you.  What prevents us from connecting?

Brave Girls Club - You Belong and so does SHE

The need for personal boundaries gets a lot of traction these days.  And rightly so!!!  I heartily agree that they are absolutely necessary for a joyful life, and I have a lifetime of experiences to prove that.  Boundaries are for protection.  Protection of our souls, our tender hearts, our sanity, our peace, our relationships.  But if we’re not careful, we can take the notion of boundaries too far.  That can cause separation, disconnection, isolation, and depression.  Healthy boundaries should not be impenetrable walls.  Protecting our wounded souls at the expense of our very basic human need for connection need not be an either/or notion.

Over the past few years, I’ve participated in many circles of women, at Brave Girls Camp and at other art and spirit retreats around the country.  I’ve witnessed, and experienced, countless aha moments of deep connection, of soul restoration, of release, of utter honesty, of sistering.  In all the stories I hear, one thread keeps bothering me.  And that is the feeling shared by so many of us that we are alone, forgotten, unimportant, inconsequential, disconnected.  As I hear these stories and witness how people behave, including myself, I’ve noticed some pretty interesting things.  Things that people do that probably help perpetuate their feeling of disconnection — the very thing that we don’t want!!!!  I’m going to call these WALLS.  And please know that at some point in my life, I have constructed each of these walls.  I am trying really hard to pull them all down now.  Let’s see if any of these speak to you.

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Here is my list of THE 6 WALLS BETWEEN US —–

1.  SHYNESS

Shyness is probably the first wall of defense we put up as young children.  It is a comfortable place to be when we’re put in new and unfamiliar circumstances.  It is driven by fear.  As children, we don’t have the life experiences to be able to predict what might happen in any new circumstance we find ourselves in, so we hide behind our mother and peek around her legs, don’t make eye contact.  It’s kind of cute.  We’re not yet at the point of feeling the need to make connections with others.

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As we grow older, shyness becomes something more.  It is still based in fear, but now it’s preventing us from engaging with others.  It is self-protection, but at the risk of being closed off and isolated.  It’s really a pretty selfish state of being, isn’t it?  I love the term “navel-gazing” because that pretty much encapsulates it, and it’s not very cute anymore.  Shyness is all about me, my fear of what you might think of me, or say to me, or do to me.  There is no empathy here.  It’s not at all about you, about what you may be feeling or wanting.  Shyness does not help us connect with others.

One thing I know for sure is this:  if we are thinking of others, their feelings, their discomfort, giving our attention to them, listening, extending a hand, we won’t have time to waste being shy.

2.  PRIDE

There is healthy pride and there is unhealthy pride.  I think healthy pride is that feeling you get for a job well done.  It is a very personal and intimate emotion, a rewarding well-earned satisfaction with yourself.

But the wall I’m talking about here is the other kind of pride.  The outward, almost aggressive need to toot your own horn a bit too loudly and too often.  Feeling superior, being smug, cynical, competitive with others, voicing your opinions as gospel, never apologizing — these are all sides of the same prideful coin.  Of course, we know these behaviors come from a deep hurts, a deep need to be acknowledged, a deep feeling of not being good enough.  Overcompensating for that in, let’s face it, a not very attractive way.  If inflating one’s sense of one’s self helped one make connections with others, then we wouldn’t see others avoiding us.

One thing I know for sure is this:  if we deflate our sense of ourselves and come back down to earth, we’ll be surrounded by so many others who would love to connect with us at a mutual level.

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3.   LABELS

This is the sad wall of missed opportunity between us.  It is so simple:  we are so much more than the labels we put on ourselves, that society puts on us, that others put on us!!!  Especially in these times, when religious and political labels have become so divisive and toxic and hateful and deadly.  We are not our name, race, job, gender, religion, dress size, family, country, political affiliation, tribe, favorite flavor, age, education, music, neighborhood, style, productivity, team, or any other words used to describe us.  Yes, really, we are not.  Labels are so limiting!  We are human souls.  Every single one of us has soooooo much more in common with each other than all the labels we could ever assign.  To meet another person on a soul level is the greatest of gifts, of love.

Through my own life’s journey, it has been shown to me over and over and over that I can learn something from every single human I meet.  Something good and unique to that person.  Even if on paper, the words that describe us are opposing.  Perhaps ESPECIALLY if the words that describe us are opposing.

One thing I know for sure is this:  if we only stick with the familiar, with those who share the same labels as us, we’re cheating ourselves out of potential soul-lifting or soul-shifting connections.   And we’re clipping our own wings.

Brave Girls Club - time to rest

4.  WHITE LIES

Relentlessly cheerful.  Shallow chitchat.  Cocktail chatter.  Ingratiating compliments.  False flattery.  Idle gossip.  Tact at the expense of betraying one’s sacred beliefs.  The wall I’m talking about here is the wall of the well-intentioned untruth.  The patter we slip into so easily when sort of attempting to make a connection, but without the risk of revealing anything deep and true about ourselves.  White lies are seen as the way to politely test the waters.

But something happens, or I should say, doesn’t happen when we never leave that white lie world.  They may be “harmless” fibs, but really they are false representations of who we really are.  They leave nothing for anyone else to really connect with.  Shallowness is defined as “not caring about or involving serious or important things.”  Being open and vulnerable is hard, and I’m certainly not advocating diving in all the way (see #5 below).  But a little bit of authenticity can open the floodgates of connection.  How many times have we spent talking to someone in a social situation and then afterward not feeling like we know them any better than before?  Do we really need to just pass the time this way?

One thing I know for sure is this:  if we don’t go any deeper than the surface when trying to make connections with others, we will reap what we sow.

5.  OVERSHARING

We’ve all experienced this from someone else, and we’ve all done it ourselves at some point, right?  It often comes from a place of genuine excitement, a need to be heard, to spread the news.  The wall I’m talking about is when there is no conversing back and forth, just a monologue.  When someone talks at you rather than with you.  It becomes inappropriate when too much detail about one’s personal information is shared on and on as a method to forge a connection.  When that monologue is a whining pity party, you lose your audience.  And if the sharer doesn’t come up for air, it leaves no space for mutuality.

Another way of saying this might be “UNDER-LISTENING”.  If every time you listen to someone else’s story, you can’t wait to trump them, butt in, share your own, then you leave them in the dust.  If your need for sympathy is greater than your sense of empathy, your desire for connection with others will be difficult to achieve.

One thing I know for sure is this:  if we slow down and pause for a breath, or three, we can learn so much from listening to others.  Often, we can learn a solution to the very thing that is vexing us.  And sometimes, we may be able to help them.

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6.  NONRECOGNITION

Being a gracious receiver is just as important as being a giver.  Many people I know are expertly excellent GIVERS.  They can’t do it enough and it makes them feel great.  YAY for that!!!!  Yet many people also have a great deal of difficulty being receivers.  I mean to the point of paralysis, especially if the gift is unexpected or mundane.  They don’t know what to say, so they say nothing.  And by ignoring those kindnesses, whether out of embarrassment or feelings of unworthiness, brick by unacknowledged brick, a wall is constructed.

I’m not talking about material gifts, necessarily.  I’m talking about any gift, such as time, teaching, friendship, listening, supporting, cheering you on, the list is endless.  Of the 6 walls I’ve named here, this one is by far the most important one, the one that can separate us most deeply.  Express gratitude every single chance you get.  Acknowledge the kindnesses of others.  Voice your appreciation of their thoughtfulness.  Tell them why you’re grateful they’re in your life.  There is always something for which to be thankful.  Don’t hold back.  Just say THANK YOU.

One thing I know for sure is this:  WE CAN’T EXPRESS GRATITUDE ENOUGH.

IMG_1577Our need for connection is not only a basic human need, it is SACRED.  True connection is MUTUALITY, meeting our own needs while accepting how others tick.

We can’t do anything about other people’s walls.  Or can we?  Maybe by taking down our own walls, opening up that space, we give others the opportunity to let down their walls.  Let’s see if that’s true.

post by lisaI hope you’re excited about 2015!!!!!  The possibilities are endless!!!!  Let’s do this!! xoxoxo

This is my life

 

 

All this month of December I have been participating in a daily practice, billed as “Brave Girls Club December Dare”.  What started out as a fun exercise soon became something much more.  As these kinds of practices usually do.  IMG_2076Once the fun lark of it wears off, then the challenge becomes sticking to it, making it fresh every day.  BGC gave us a list for a specific dare for each day.  And since everything I post on Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr is totally public, it was usually a challenge to find something that was both personal yet guarded mine and my family’s privacy.

For example, “#1 I love this” and “#4 I made this” were pretty simple to come up with.  Actually there were too many choices.  Yet dares such as “#12 This comforts me” or “#13 This is who I am” went much deeper.  I made it a personal challenge to stick with the first thought that came into my head and be totally honest about it.  And sometimes that was quite an emotional conundrum: how much is it safe for me to reveal?  And what to pick? Always, in anything I post, my intent is to be uplifting, genuine and try to present ideas in a way that might help someone else.  And so often, I went out of my comfort zone.   IMG_1834And the reactions and comments I got absolutely amazed me.  The more revealing, the more it touched others.  I have been told that my presence on Facebook is kind of mysterious.  Sweet and uplifting, but I guess not very revealing about the person behind the posts.  That has never been my intent.  I need to loosen up!  So OK, challenge accepted! IMG_1872My criteria for my posts has always been “would I mind if it was on the national news?” And now when I think about that phrase it makes me laugh.  Because to me, that refers to the national news in the 1960’s, when we as a society were so much more innocent.  Nothing in the news really shocks me anymore, having just about heard it all.  So why do I think that anything I might share would be inappropriate?  I think I trust myself enough to have discernment.  We shall see……..IMG_1842I have learned a lot from this month of dares and it is going to make me a better blogger and post-er.  It’s been another way of practicing gratitude.  And so I highly recommend doing some sort of daily simple word and visual practice.  It’s turned out to have been an excellent and big mental exercise and commitment, especially for my aging ADD brain.  So I will forge ahead, go deeper and relate more of my experiences, in the hope that it will help more people.  IMG_2025STAY TUNED!!!!!