At the beginning of this pandemic, I went outside, stood on our deck overlooking the mountains, and I asked the Divine, “How can I help? What do you want me to do?”
Later in the day, when I was in the kitchen fixing lunch, I felt/heard it, “Lisa, use your poetry to nourish people.”
I didn’t want to just write about hope: I knew I was to lead people through an experience of hope. Somehow I felt it: combine poetry and meditation.
I have to be honest. People often are surprised when I tell them that I get nervous when I create an offering for people. I always wonder, “Will it speak to people? Will it really nourish them? Will people join me? Will I be enough?” I doubt myself. I’m done being ashamed of that. Doubt is part of our human experience. But courage can show up right alongside doubt. And when courage comes forward even just a bit, a seed of hope gets planted.
So I would get up early before the rest of my family and I would record meditations + poetry. It would take me a lot longer than one might think to record a meditation. I’m a recovering perfectionist. At first, I would record and then re-record. I wanted to get it “right.” But then one morning, as I sat there in the darkness with a warm shawl wrapped around me, Sherlock (our dog) on the couch in my office with me, and I was critiquing myself, I heard it: “Lisa, just speak from your heart.”
I started to SHOW UP and LEAD from my heart. I started to let go of perfection. I started to loosen my grip on wondering how others would judge or perceive my offering. I even started to let go of how many people would or wouldn’t sign up for the meditations.
As I softened and surrendered, I started to speak my heart into the microphone and record “Calm in the Chaos.” You can listen to the Welcome message and also one of the meditations, Beside You, for free!
As I showed up and led from the heart, I felt it: hope blossoming. Recording the meditations became such as nourishing an experience for me as I’ve heard from listeners that it has been to listen to the meditations! I surrendered and experienced hope.
Hope is tenacious. It will keep reaching for us and keep abiding with us until we notice its presence. And where hope is planted, it will take up residence and it will blossom. That’s what started to happen within me as I recorded one meditation and then the next. Hope was rising. Hope was growing tenaciously within me.
I blessed these meditations and sent them out into the world with the hope that they would nourish people. And I have heard from some of listeners how this series has really helped them. To my surprise, they haven’t just been morning meditations. Many people have told me that they listen to the meditations at night to help them calm their anxiety and go to sleep. This makes me think of how feeling safe and held (because that’s what so many of the meditations are about) helps us to sleep. And in such a good sleep, hope gets planted within us!
After recording the four weeks of meditations, I needed to take a break. I needed to “go within” and be a bit quiet. That’s what is necessary right now for all of us – balancing action and contemplation. Balancing being of service and nourishing ourselves.
Then last week, one morning as I was waiting for the water to warm up and take a shower, I was looking out window at the mountains behind our house. Suddenly, I found myself experiencing this overwhelming desire to be of even greater service! I felt nourished and restored. I felt safe and full of trust. Hope and trust go hand-in-hand.
Hope started to show yet another blossom in my heart as I sensed it, “Lisa, you have decades of mindfulness and compassion practices/experience. You have somatic practices that you’ve learned and practiced that can so help people feel safe, settled, and gently inspired. And your poetry – Lisa, start to give people ‘poetic experiences.'”
So, I started a YouTube channel! (I put on a cute ivory sweater blazer and necklace because one of my best friends, Maria DiLorenzo, of MFDStyle, is a fabulous stylist and right now she is preaching to us about what you wear to all those Zoom meetings can uplift people just by looking at you!). On my channel, I can share therapeutic embodied practices to help more people have access to somatic healing that settles and soothes our nervous systems! I can share self-compassion, compassion, and mindfulness practices that both soften and strengthens us! I can share poetry that inspires hope, connection and delight!
I have one video up! The first embodied practice I lead you through is “noticing beauty.” It sounds so simple – and it is! And yet noticing beauty has a profound impact on your nervous system. It orients your attention in a particular way. It creates room for hope to be planted and for it to blossom. And when you notice beauty with all your senses, it really has a nourishing impact on your nervous system.
Let me be honest yet again: doing these videos brings up ALL MY STUFF – all my insecurities and doubts. Am I good enough? Will I appear too “this or that”? Will people see how much experience I have and how I’ve spent decades dedicated to this work? What if this fails? What if no one finds anything interesting about my videos?
But here’s something I learned recently while being 10% braver in skiing that has translated to now every area of my life: being courageous and hopeful doesn’t mean we don’t feel afraid! It doesn’t mean we have to “conquer” fear. It doesn’t mean we have to “conquer” self-doubt. It actually means we SURRENDER fear and we SURRENDER doubt to Something Bigger than us and in service of a cause bigger than our fear and doubt.
And when we surrender ourselves in such a way, hope begins to take up residence and blossom in us. We don’t THINK our way to hope. We EXPERIENCE our way to hope.
Let hope blossom through experiences of hope.
That’s what I’m about this month – embodied practices and inspiration for cultivating and experiencing hope.
Let Hope blossom through experiences of hop. Come experience hope, courage, calm, resilience, and passion with me!
As a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, I love showing clients how to befriend our bodies and honor them with mindful and compassionate movement and practices that restore nervous system regulation. When we move out of “fight or flight” (and even “freeze”), we can “rest and digest” both our food and our experiences. And then we can even begin to experience what I call “soften and savor.” We can soften into the present moment, we can soften our anxiety, we can soften within one another, and we can savor the good, the beautiful, and even the holy around us. And hope blossoms organically.
I’ll also be reading from my book, Gems of Delight. You can also find it on Amazon. You might want to pick up a copy so you can read along and read more! People have been telling me that they have been coming back to having this book on their nightstand and even their kitchen table as a nourishing guide during this pandemic.
So Dear One, be nourished with experiences of hope and sense hope blossoming within you – inspiring you to courageously share YOUR light with the world. I’m with you!