Yearly Archives: 2019

What Shape Waits in the Seed?…..

We experimented in one of the gatherings from last month…. This led to the following rest. Enjoy!

The rest included an excerpt from David Whyte’s “What to Remember When Waking”D

What to Remember When Waking

In that first hardly noticed moment in which you wake,
coming back to this life from the other
more secret, moveable and frighteningly honest world
where everything began,
there is a small opening into the new day
which closes the moment you begin your plans.

What you can plan is too small for you to live.
What you can live wholeheartedly will make plans enough
for the vitality hidden in your sleep.

To be human is to become visible
while carrying what is hidden as a gift to others.
To remember the other world in this world
is to live in your true inheritance.

You are not a troubled guest on this earth,
you are not an accident amidst other accidents
you were invited from another and greater night
than the one from which you have just emerged.

Now, looking through the slanting light of the morning window
toward the mountain presence of everything that can be
what urgency calls you to your one love?
What shape waits in the seed of you
to grow and spread its branches
against a future sky?

Is it waiting in the fertile sea?
In the trees beyond the house?
In the life you can imagine for yourself?
In the open and lovely white page on the writing desk?

— David Whyte

Our Connective Dance of Fear, Hopes and Dreams.

This was originally titled on the Living Inquiries web site as “Fear, Hope and Dreams… and Connection

Fear, Hope and Dreams… and Connection

These words plopped into my system one afternoon when I was in “way deep”. By way deep, I mean in communion with the raw essentials of life – that place where the universe whispers wisdom. 

I could feel the universality of these words as they dropped in my lap, so to speak.  Amidst all the differences that humans possess, it seems to me that we all have these three flavors running around in our being to varying degrees. 

More than that, they are often co-existing and happening at the very same time.

That felt profound because we often try to have, or create homogenous experiences. In other words, we have beliefs or ideas that X is bad, and Z is good. And so we strive. We fight. We push and struggle to try to have a certain kind of experience whilst trying not to have another kinds  of experience. So, we may try to be “all happy”, for example, with no sadness. Or, we may try to feel “all good (comfortable).”  A hidden assumption is the idea that if we have some sadness, all we are is sad, or if we have some discomfort, we have no comfort.

The reality is that humans are vast, and varied. We have the capacity to hold many resonances at once – even conflicting ones. We can be both hot AND cold. We can have some pain, and some experiences of comfort. We can be sad, and ok. All at the same time.

Being conscious of this frees us from having to resist or constrain our experiences. When we leave the restrictive and limited territory of either/or, and enter the vast territory of AND, we find a very different relationship with life. And, in the process, we discover allowance and kindness. 

So… when it became clear to me – from the depths of my being  – that we can have fear, AND have hope, AND have dreams all at the same time, something big popped open and my system felt safer than it ever had.

There was a time when life was different for me – when fear wasn’t allowed, and when safety was not a lived reality.

FEAR. Hope? Dreams?  

For most of my life, I lacked a conscious relationship with fear. Instead my system had built up a habit of denying fear. Rather than acknowledge fear, I got lost in hope and dreams, and stayed disconnected from the reality of my experience. 

This may not sound like such a bad way to live, except that to live in denial is to live in separation. Because I wasn’t able to connect to fear, I had to stay disconnected from my body, and I had to live in my head. My fear of fear kept me out of my body, and as such, kept me out of full participation with life.  The hopes and dreams that I had weren’t embodied – they were rather superficial, lacking substance of being, and were mental replacements for being fully engaged with life.

It is not possible to fully participate with life when one is in one’s head, when one is trying to discount the human experience, and when one is pretending one’s way through life. 

In trying to avoid fear, I fawned, faked and fucked my way through life in a way that helped me survive, but didn’t help me thrive.  From the outside I seemed fearless. On the inside, I didn’t really acknowledge that fear existed. I was disconnected from my body to such an extent that I had very little self-awareness or conscious relationship with my experiences. I was involved in a façade that even I was unaware of. 

Fear. Fear. Fear. Hope? … Dreams?

A series of things happened in my life that woke me up and brought my ability and desire to pretend to a screeching halt. As my psyche fell apart, so did my strategies. I went from being disconnected from fear, to being consumed by fear. All the ways I had maneuvered through life were gone. It is devastating when a personality loses its way- when all the pretending and strategies don’t work anymore. 

I think back to those days, which I think of as my own personal hell, but which others have named “the dark night of the soul.” The hardest part of that time period was the over-abundance of fear, and minimal sense of hope or dreams. During that time, I could not see through my fear. Hence, the dark night reference. 

When we’re in a dark room, we can’t see what is coming, or where we’re going. And it can be terrifying. As my psyche crumbed, my lack of knowing if things would ever get better, and the fear that they would not, led to constant suicide ideation.  

It was a compassionate friend and loving somatic therapists who allowed me to keep going, to see what might happen…  to have a sliver of hope. The love and support they provided was a balm to my nervous system, keeping the flame of hope and shadows of dreams a possibility. 

The gift of heart connection was powerful in ways I didn’t fully understand then. It allowed me to keep on keeping on, whilst wanting to be done (i.e. dead) every day. 

Fear. Hope, Dreams, too.

It took me a while to get real with fear. It was uncomfortable, humiliating, terrorizing, destabilizing. It was a scary time. Until it wasn’t. 

Slowly, over time, I started to have spontaneous moments where small resonances of hope started to pop through as things started to feel different. It was as if, even in the darkness, some light had made its way through. The darkness became less threatening and less suffocating. I started to experience space. 

This makes me wonder if it’s programmed into our DNA coding to hope, and to dream, amidst fear and darkness. Maybe it is our ability to imagine – to dream – that allows the chemicals needed to boost hope, even when the reality of our lives is dismal. Maybe it is in honoring fear, that these others once again find life. And maybe it is through connection that these sparks of hopes and dreams stay lit. 

Fear, Hope, Dreams

One day the fear of fear switched into a sincere and safe relationship with fear. The over-abundance of fear softened, the resonances of hopes and dreams increased, and a trust in life revealed itself. No longer were hopes and dreams a way to evade the present moment, or to fake my way through life. Instead hopes and dreams were the resonances of life and creation in motion. 

As my system is now safe to acknowledge fear’s existence, my system feels so much stronger, so much more empowered and has a deepened sense of trust.  It is strange to think that getting honest about fear can lead to empowerment. After all, wouldn’t it just yield more fear? In my experience, no. 

Waking up can be an unbelievably counterintuitive process. When I fully acknowledge fear, instead of turning from it, hope springs forth with ease and playfulness and curiosity. It doesn’t come as an escape, or as a bypass, or as a strategy to feel ok. Hope comes as a form of creation, birthed from creation.

From creation comes something deeper – dreams. Perhaps it takes some safety to dream, to have vision. We’ve all likely either been in difficult spots ourselves, or known someone, or seen movies with characters, who have had their dreams beaten out of them. Trauma can do that to a person.  However, I have a hunch that it is in our human coding to dream, and I think, even in those darkest times, something lies dormant, in-waiting, that sustains the existence of dream energy. 

I’m thinking of a time in my life when vision melded with dream energy, hope, and fear. It was after the experience of a miscarriage, a time that was filled with much confusion and devastation. On the heels of that experience, a life-altering vision came my way. I was gifted an understanding of how trauma works as a part of the human matrix, and it became my dream to connect with people using this new approach. It was this vision that birthed my private practice, which I named Integrative Healing. 

There was also fear during this time: I was beginning a new business, utilizing an approach that didn’t have reputation or proof, and moving from mothering full time back into a potential career for myself. It felt as if hope and fear held a tension that catapulted me into a great adventure.  I didn’t let fear hold me back, but met it full on, as I stayed true to the hopes and dreams that were birthing. Honoring the fear, as well as the hopes and dreams, allowed me to move deeper into my passion of building connection with people and with life. 

Fear, Hope, and Dreams… and Connection

I wonder if science will one day find a way to measure the accuracy of this. I can only go off of my own lived experience, and the experiences I have as a somatic therapist. I’ve been in dark places. I have had clients in dark places. Did we have hopes, and dreams, amidst our fears? While sometimes experienced as dormant, it seems to me that yes, we did. In the darkest of times, the power of love and connection brought me back to possibility over, and over, and over again.

The more conscious we become of that which holds us back – fear – the more hopes and dreams are free to birth themselves into creation. We are at a pivotal time in history – it is the perfect time to learn how to develop a healthy relationship with fear, rather than be immobilized by it. 

May we all move towards accessing the creative energies necessary to birth a better tomorrow. May we all learn how to tap into the resonances of embodiment. May we all feel safe to be with the magnitude of being human, and learn how to connect with each other – to support and love each other together – in our dance of fear, hopes and dreams. 

December Gathering: Receiving Support in Community

Van Gogh Deconstruction No. 1 https://www.alexispmorgan.com

December Embodied Gathering: Being in the World, Being of Love

We live through relationship. In relationship to air, to ground, to form, and the formless, we live, love and grow. A safe community is the perfect place to discover our never-ending relationship with life.

Belonging, community, connection and a healthy nervous system are crucial for our well-being. We gather to become more intimate with, and more available for, our life.  For those who would like support in their journey, this is an affordable option.

These gatherings are sacred spaces where everyone is welcome. People going through their Dark Night of the Soul experiences, survivors of abuse, people who have had awakenings and want community, people struggling in their life in various ways, and/or people simply wanting connection along their journey are likely to find home in these gatherings. 

Gatherings focus on practical and experiential exercises specifically designed for the development of self-awareness, self-love, safety and a healthy nervous system. Each gathering is organically shaped around attendees’ needs and wants. Each gathering includes a guided rest, time for questions and sharing, ways to heal the nervous system, and ways to engage in self-inquiry. Participation is always optional.

In this group we honor our experiences and we learn that we don’t have to pretend, or hide, or run. We gather together in a welcoming space where we are allowed to be exactly who we are, exactly as we are, and through slow, simple experiential practices we realize that profound safety can be found right here and now.

Safety is important. Our bodies, our spirits, and our psyches function with more well-being when safety is known from within.

We live in a culture that often disempowers and creates stress, a culture that conditions us to find our well-being in people, places, and superficial activities and things – without teaching us sustainable, empowering safety from the inside out. As such, we often don’t know how to cope with existing in an overwhelming world, or how to recover from traumatic experiences. Many of us have developed post-traumatic stress as a result, and have forgotten that safety is possible.

We can learn. By providing a safe environment for this deliberate purpose, we can slowly and gently learn what it’s like to feel safe. 

We come together to find safety in our experiences and discover that we are safe – even when we have trauma or loud core stories and emotions. 

All are welcome here regardless of political affiliation, sexual orientation, race, gender or background. You are important, and appreciated, whoever you are. 

Upcoming dates:

December 1, 3pm EDT

December 15, 7:30pm EDT

You can come to one, or both!  We will meet for 60-75 minutes on Zoom. Each call will be recorded, and yours to keep. Please contact me with questions, concerns or future dates: LLMEUSER@ME.COM

Investment: Sliding scale, what you can afford – $10-25 per gathering. To sign up please send a PayPal payment to LLMEUSER@ME.COM, subject line “Gathering” along with your email address so I can send you a link.  

No one turned away due to insufficient funds.

Minimum participants required: 4 

Maximum: 15

From past participants:

Lisa is like a cocoon for expansion and love.  I really love working with her.  She walks her talk and creates a space for acceptance and non-judgment and I’m better able to accept and not judge myself and others.  My heart has opened in my work with her.  So grateful.  

 It is quite breathtaking to experience you working with a group; watching and listening to your communion with who-they-really-are. You have a gift, Lisa.

 You represent what Adyashanti talks about:  “A safe place for the world to come and rest.” You are that safe, benign presence in the world.

I have listened to the recording many times since our gathering. It continues to support me. 

Free with Deepening Courses. Email me for details. 

About me.To read more about embodiment check out my blog.

The Inclusion of Love

Artist: Stefan Armoneit https://www.facebook.com/stefan.armoneit

Sometimes people assume my politics, my hobbies, my background, or other aspect from my life such as my race, gender or sexual orientation may restrict my ability to support some people who are suffering or are in pain- or that I only see a certain “kind” of client.

My clients know that this isn’t true. They have come to know that the unconditional presence, support and guidance I offer is for everyone who comes my way. Yes, everyone. Love knows no bounds.

Who are my clients? I see all kinds of clients and what they identify as, and what they struggle and want clarity with, is very vast. All classes, all races, all genders, all ages, all sexual orientations, many disabilities. All political perspectives, all religious, spiritual, or non-religious affiliations. A wide range of addictions, including what the addiction stems from and what it entails. A wide range of mental health experiences. Some are “woke” and/or are waking, while others could care less about that. People from all over the world.


I realize that the paradox is rich, and yet I am constantly amazed by what is possible through paradoxical relationships and connection. In my reality tunnel, unconditional presence, support and guidance are helpful *for all* as we journey on this earth. No matter who you are, or who you’ve been- If you find yourself wanting support, reach out. If we don’t match up, I will support you in finding someone who does. You deserve well-being, and you deserve support. Love is available, and is for everyone.



Deepening with Each Other

https://www.alexispmorgan.com

“Deepen, that is where your reality lies. That is how you will find your place, and how you will find your true center.  You are created matter… You are part of the great plan, an indispensable part. You are needed; you have your own unique share in the freedom of creation.” Madeleine L’engle, “A wind in the door”

I have been quiet lately. By quiet, I mean I’ve not written much on FB, or much in general. This has been a time of deep listening, learning, and engaging from that place of learning. 

This has been a very rich time. I’ve been saturated. More than normal. 

In addition to my already full life of clients, students, family and inner work, I’ve been participating in a diversity intensive[1], engaging in more social justice in my community, and furthering my experiential learning of Relational Cultural Theory/Therapy with people in my community. 

From Quiet, to Engaged.

After spending years quietly focusing on family, clients and students, and self-study, my scope for 2019 widened. I didn’t know what I was moving towards; I only knew that I had been separate from engaging with life, and that my nervous system was ready to be more of a participant with life.  It’s not that my life had become easy or even boring, but there was certainly complacency on some level that was keeping me from fully partaking as a human being on this planet, and something in me could feel this. It was time to grow up, and out. Easy to say, but no small step for me! Moving out of the nest of familiarity can often be challenging, as it requires a willingness to be in new terrain and in beginner’s mind. Hello uncertainty! Hello discomfort! 

I tend to gravitate towards the familiar – to what is known. A friend from my ashram days – where I spent some of my 20s and 30s – recently reminded me how insular we were. We lived in a tiny town, focused on our own internal growth, and were disconnected from the well-being of the world. Disconnected indeed. 

As I look back from what I see now, I recognize the dysfunction and the privilege – and I also see how we were rooted in the dominant narrative. In our chosen deniability and separation, we did not consider intersectionality, inter-dependence, inclusivity, collaboration, or a global sense of community. As my friend reminded me, “we were rather self-interested.”  Moreover, the practices were rooted in hierarchy, competitiveness, secrecy, and us/them thinking.  

Of course, I didn’t know anything about that then. It has been over the last few years – the last one particularly – that I’ve awoken from a deep slumber of cultural denial. As shared in my blog post “Loosening the Grip of Oppression,” it is so easy for us to cling to these dominant narratives when we’ve been born and bred to accept them as truth. My various teachers always moved from this paradigm, collecting many followers along the way who were eager to fix themselves and be told how to do it using various linear approaches.  Yup, that was me. 

Although things are different for me now, I still am discovering how to embody a different way. Luckily I am surrounded by people who are interested in similar evolutionary trajectories. We stumble and learn in practical ways together – returning again and again to beginner’s mind, collaboration, transparency, inclusion of all people, and focus on connection and relationship. 

Waking Up out of the Dominant Narrative 

Life brings us just what we need, and for me Brig Feltus, my Heal Thyself teacher, was just that. I had been eyeing the Heal Thyself Diversity Training for months, but was too immersed in teaching my own courses. When summer came and I found myself in between training groups, something in me knew that although I was still busy, it would be the perfect time to do this course. 

I was only days into the course when I started to realize how the dominant narrative had a hold on me in very subtle yet impactful ways. I saw my insecurities, I saw my fears, and I saw my strategies. I watched myself trying to “do it right” (a binary approach), rather than embrace the vulnerability and curiosity of beginner’s mind. I found myself ignoring my own truths and adapting to others so as to decrease conflict and make things “easier” for the group, forgetting that with integrity, conflict can be growth-fostering. A few times I noticed I was being competitive with myself, trying push myself to meet deadlines, rather than admit that I was struggling and needed to engage in self-care.  

I was able to notice all these things rather quickly because I already have a practice rooted in self-awareness, but also because Brig had lovingly created a beautiful container for us to explore and grow in.

As tends to happen, what I was learning in her course immediately became applicable all areas of my life, allowing me to participate from a deeper level of honesty, and from a deeper place of connection and Love. I was able to get more real with all of the engagements of my life, as well as be more in integrity with how I was participating.  

Deeping Into My True Center

Patterns get in the way of us being in true integrity with ourselves, and keep us from being connection with Love. Connecting to these patterns in myself was exactly what I needed, to deepen even more into what Madeleine L’engle names as my “true center.”

The dominant narrative of our culture, in which we’ve all been raised, keeps us separate from life, and separate from ourselves. It does not teach us how to participate with our whole beings; it does not want us to find our true center. When we embark upon a journey to wake up, to transform, we discover a life of learning (1) what we’ve been taught, (2) what possibilities exist, and, (3) if we’re lucky and have good teachers and guides, how to get from what we’ve known, to what we want to know, live, and Be. 

am lucky. 

I no longer gravitate towards modalities, teachers or people who move from the dominant narrative of self-improvement and self-bettering in an individualistic or capitalistic way, and I am no longer that kind of teacher or therapist. Instead I am surrounded by people who value and acknowledge that humans are genetically designed to be in relationship with life, and in relationship with Love. We live and learn together. 

Being in the world and being of Love

My intention for this year – “Being in the world and being of Love”- continues to invite me to deepen, deepen, and deepen some more. Relationships with people are deepening, my level of participating with my community is deepening, the way in which I connect with my clients and students is deepening, the way that I’m being in integrity with myself is deepening, and the way that I’m being “of Love” continues to constantly deepen. 

I am always learning. It is humbling to be a forever student, and in my experience, we must constantly assume beginners mind if we are to truly deepen. This can feel counterintuitive and challenging, but when we have support, our nervous systems become more resourced, and we can learn with more ease. 

Many of you reading are my clients and students, and I am deeply appreciative that we journey and learn together. What an amazing life this is!  I am profoundly grateful for all those I connect with: I know how privileged I am to have this life. 

May we all have the support to deepen, to find our true center, for we are all a “part of the great plan, an indispensable part. You are needed; you have your own unique share in the freedom of creation.” Blessed be. 


Side note: For those radicalized as white… from any part of the world…  at any age…

Are you interested in participating in well-being, while being more woke to the oppressive culture we all live in? If so, I highly recommend this course. There’s so much I could say, but for now…  Brig Feltus, Heal Thyself teacher, lives from an integrity that is wise, loving and, connected. She has the capacity to hold space for all who show up at her table, and does.  If you know me, you’ll know that it is rare that I recommend other teachers. I’m so grateful for Brig, and her sacred vision. This next course begins November 1! If you have questions, feel free to reach out.


[1]https://www.intersectionformankind.com/remember-institute-courses/healthyself

Thank You to the Trees


A culture birthed from oppression: 

forced drama of boisterous absurdity 

co-mingling with 

forced dull zombie like obedience.  

*****

How captivating, 

by design. 

Have they “got ya!”?  

****

There is a space in between:

neither this, nor that. 

Something real, 

not egoically contrived 

nor beaten down by submission, 

but burning a.l.i.v.e.

****

The bright colors of fall 

wake 

me 

up 

from the trees lined neatly in a row. 

****

The trees!

that can sometimes gently lull me to sleep

in their greens and browns,

are grabbing me and shaking me, 

alerting me of unique beauty and 

ever present aliveness 

that oppression and absurdity have not killed… yet.

****

Thank you to the trees

for reminding me 

to reconnect

to a home

I never left.

November Embodied Gathering: Being in the World Together

We live through relationship. In relationship to air, to ground, to form, and the formless, we live, love and grow. A safe community is the perfect place to discover the our never ending relationship with life.

https://ray-dahlia-t5zf.squarespace.com/store/fall-on-mirror-lake


We live through relationship. In relationship to air, to ground, to form, and the formless, we live, love and grow. A safe community is the perfect place to discover the our never ending relationship with life.

Belonging, community, connection and a healthy nervous system are crucial for our well-being. We gather to become more intimate with, and more available for, our life.  For those who would like support in their journey, this is an affordable option.

These gatherings are sacred spaces where everyone is welcome. People going through their Dark Night of the Soul experiences, survivors of abuse, people who have had awakenings and want community, people struggling in their life in various ways, and/or people simply wanting connection along their journey are likely to find home in these gatherings. 

Gatherings focus on practical and experiential exercises specifically designed for the development of self-awareness, self-love, safety and a healthy nervous system. Each gathering is organically shaped around attendees’ needs and wants. Each gathering includes a guided rest, time for questions and sharing, ways to heal the nervous system, and ways to engage in self-inquiry. Participation is always optional.

In this group we honor our experiences and we learn that we don’t have to pretend, or hide, or run. We gather together in a welcoming space where we are allowed to be exactly who we are, exactly as we are, and through slow, simple experiential practices we realize that profound safety can be found right here and now.

Safety is important. Our bodies, our spirits, and our psyches function with more well-being when safety is known from within.

We live in a culture that often disempowers and creates stress, a culture that conditions us to find our well-being in people, places, and superficial activities and things – without teaching us sustainable, empowering safety from the inside out. As such, we often don’t know how to cope with existing in an overwhelming world, or how to recover from traumatic experiences. Many of us have developed post-traumatic stress as a result, and have forgotten that safety is possible.

We can learn. By providing a safe environment for this deliberate purpose, we can slowly and gently learn what it’s like to feel safe. 

We come together to find safety in our experiences and discover that we are safe – even when we have trauma or loud core stories and emotions. 

All are welcome here regardless of political affiliation, sexual orientation, race, gender or background. You are important, and appreciated, whoever you are. 

Upcoming dates:

Nov 10, 3pm EDT

Nov 17, 7:30pm EDT

You can come to one, or both!  We will meet for 60-75 minutes on Zoom. Each call will be recorded, and yours to keep. Please contact me with questions, concerns or future dates: LLMEUSER@ME.COM

Investment: Sliding scale, what you can afford – $10-25 per gathering. To sign up please send a PayPal payment to LLMEUSER@ME.COM, subject line “Gathering” along with your email address so I can send you a link.  

No one turned away due to insufficient funds.

Minimum participants required: 4 

Maximum: 15

From past participants:

Lisa is like a cocoon for expansion and love.  I really love working with her.  She walks her talk and creates a space for acceptance and non-judgment and I’m better able to accept and not judge myself and others.  My heart has opened in my work with her.  So grateful.  

 It is quite breathtaking to experience you working with a group; watching and listening to your communion with who-they-really-are. You have a gift, Lisa.

 You represent what Adyashanti talks about:  “A safe place for the world to come and rest.” You are that safe, benign presence in the world.

I have listened to the recording many times since our gathering. It continues to support me. 

Free with Deepening Courses. Email me for details. 

About me.

To read more about embodiment check out my blog.

October Embodied Gathering: Being in the World, Being of Love

October Embodied Gathering: Being in the World, Being of Love

We live through relationship. In relationship to air, to ground, to form, and the formless, we live, love and grow. A safe community is the perfect place to discover the our never ending relationship with life.

Belonging, community, connection and a healthy nervous system are crucial for our well-being. We gather to become more intimate with, and more available for, our life.  For those who would like support in their journey, this is an affordable option.

These gatherings are sacred spaces where everyone is welcome. People going through their Dark Night of the Soul experiences, survivors of abuse, people who have had awakenings and want community, people struggling in their life in various ways, and/or people simply wanting connection along their journey are likely to find home in these gatherings. 

Gatherings focus on practical and experiential exercisesspecifically designed for the development of self-awareness, self-love, safety and a healthy nervous system. Each gathering is organically shaped around attendees’ needs and wants. Each gathering includes a guided rest, time for questions and sharing, ways to heal the nervous system, and ways to engage in self-inquiry. Participation is always optional.

In this groupwe honor our experiences and we learn that we don’t have to pretend, or hide, or run. We gather together in a welcoming space where we are allowed to be exactly who we are, exactly as we are, and through slow, simple experiential practices we realize that profound safety can be found right here and now.

Safety is important. Our bodies, our spirits, and our psyches function with more well-being when safety is known from within.

We live in a culture that often disempowers and creates stress, a culture that conditions us to find our well-being in people, places, and superficial activities and things – without teaching us sustainable, empowering safety from the inside out. As such, we often don’t know how to cope with existing in an overwhelming world, or how to recover from traumatic experiences. Many of us have developed post-traumatic stress as a result, and have forgotten that safety is possible.

We can learn. By providing a safe environment for this deliberate purpose, we can slowly and gently learn what it’s like to feel safe. 

We come together to find safety in our experiences and discover that we are safe – even when we have trauma or loud core stories and emotions. 

All are welcome here regardless of political affiliation, sexual orientation, race, gender or background. You are important, and appreciated, whoever you are. 

Upcoming dates:

Oct 6, 3pm EDT

Oct 27, 7:30pm EDT

You can come to one, or both!  We will meet for 60-75 minutes on Zoom. Each call will be recorded, and yours to keep. Please contact me with questions, concerns or future dates: LLMEUSER@ME.COM

Investment: Sliding scale, what you can afford – $10-25 per gathering. To sign up please send a PayPal payment to LLMEUSER@ME.COM, subject line “Gathering” along with your email address so I can send you a link.  

No one turned away due to insufficient funds.

Minimum participants required: 4 

Maximum: 15

From past participants:

Lisa is like a cocoon for expansion and love.  I really love working with her.  She walks her talk and creates a space for acceptance and non-judgment and I’m better able to accept and not judge myself and others.  My heart has opened in my work with her.  So grateful.  

 It is quite breathtaking to experience you working with a group; watching and listening to your communion with who-they-really-are. You have a gift, Lisa.

 You represent what Adyashanti talks about:  “A safe place for the world to come and rest.” You are that safe, benign presence in the world.

I have listened to the recording many times since our gathering. It continues to support me. 

Free with Deepening Courses. Email me for details. 

About me.

To read more about embodiment check out my blog.

Embrace your Dance, Embrace your Life

This blog piece originally was published as “The Dance of Life” on the Living Inquiries website.

I went to a 5 Rhythms[1](5R) retreat over the weekend.  If you’re unfamiliar with 5R, it is an organization devoted to freedom, utilizing dance. As with all sacred work, the 5R container is carefully crafted to invite, invoke, ignite, inspire… mind, body and spirit. 

5R uses music to tap into resonances that live through all human beings, but often get blocked, denied, ignored, numbed, or stuck. Different words can be used to explain the resonances but in the 5R world they are named as “Flow, Staccato, Chaos, Lyrical and Stillness.”

Just as all emotions are crucial to know the expression of wholeness, all rhythms are important in the human journey of embodiment. They all have their time and place, depending on the contextual moment of an individual. There is no “wrong” rhythm, or “bad” rhythm. Phew!

If you’ve read my posts before, you might be seeing how this practice aligns so much with whatis already woven throughout my life. 

  • Deeply inherent in this practice (and my life) is the movement away from the dominant narrative that is rule bound, controlling and linear, to the transformative narrative which values inclusion of expression, both/and perspectives, and connection.[2]
  • There is a focus on embodiment- of allowing what is, to be felt, expressed, and honored. Another way of saying this- it is deeply alivening. 
  • There is an honoring of the human experience, in all its flavors: hard, soft, contracted, spacious, rigid, flowing, contracted and divine-and so much more.
  • 5R is a kinesthetic practice – I love involving my body in conscious engagement! 
  • Sacred space is important in this practice. We are waking up in the collective, uniquely. Safety, trust and love are inherent.  
  • The practice is rooted in simplifying, connecting with the ordinary and practical (which ime is often profound), and being in direct experience. Too often we are distracted by the conceptual mind, and what is literally right.here.and.now is disguised. 
  • Empowering the participants is a primary focus. Participants follow what feels right for them and are not forced or required to participate in any particular kind of way. No agenda. No fixing. In that space of no agenda, worlds open up, and what hadn’t been seen, comes into view… what hadn’t taken form, finds wholeness in being. 

Gifts of the Rhythms 

My life is set up to support me in connecting with my un/subconscious- habits, conditioning, patterning, strategies, and so on that may exist outside of my attention. This practice is similar, in that by exploring the different rhythms I one may connect below the surface level into those subtle layers of uncharted territories. 

Flow

Take Flow, for example- the first of the 5 rhythms. Flow energy is that kind of adaptable, fluidity that can be considered a feminine energy. Think of how a woman’s hips can move with a certain kind of expression that may not be as innate in men. In the dance it is distinguished as flowing, continuous movements.  In my life, I’ve often had too muchof an ability to flow- or adapt. As a survivor, it became a strategy to adapt to those around me- to become who they wanted me to be, or to try to be a certain kind of someone- so as to avoid rejection or abandonment. As a young person, I learned to adapt to stay safe, but then later in life that adapting no longer kept me safe. Too much fluidity made me ripe for abusive dynamics when I was an adult. To help shift that conditioning, I’ve needed to learn about and to employ staccato energy in my life.

Staccato

Staccato energy is another of the rhythms. It is more of a masculine energy by nature, and can be distinguished by more rigid movements in the dance. Staccato energy teaches us how to have healthy boundaries, to stay true to our own wisdom even when it feels risky, and to stay in the simple clarity of Love. This is a resonance that I lived most of my life without. It has been extremely empowering to discover this energy- and to know that I can be fully open in my heart, connected with Love, while having boundaries. 

There was one paired exercise where we were invited to be in staccato energy while staying in our open hearts. I so appreciated being able to engage in this in such a kinesthetic, full-bodied way.  Too often the mind is trying to manage us into a homogenous experience. “I need to say YES to everything to be a loving individual!” As such we get caught in a trap. The mind says that if we have boundaries, or say no, it must mean we’re not being loving. Although it may be the belief, this is simply not true. With practice, we can discover that we can say no, set a clear boundary, AND be open hearted. Embodying paradoxes is powerful! 

Chaos

Another powerful experience was being in the rhythm of Chaos. As the name might give away, chaos can be rather whirlwindish. For survivors, we often detest this energy because it was the energy of our childhood. And yet because we dislike it so much, we wind up creating or being involved with dramatic (and traumatic) lives and people because of our inability to have boundaries. In the chaotic rhythm we learn that we can have both flow AND boundaries. We learn that it is safe to be in chaos, out of strategy, and in the disruption of old patterning. We learn that in life there is a creative flow that awaits our participation- if we can open to it, it is ours!!!

Many times the chaos rhythm took me towards immense states of freedom- old ideas of myself falling away effortlessly as more of me was available to the expansive energy of the creative field. 

Lyrical and Stillness

Dancing through chaos, I fell into the rhythm of Lyrical, where a sense of space opens up for integration, and a sense of lightness emerges. And then finally, into the rhythm of Stillness, where completion reveals itself in slow, if not motionless, expression.  

Many times, on the other side of Chaos, I found myself in an awe inspired ecstasy with God- in a union with the utter vastness of grand design. Tears falling down my face, in the holiest of the holy- in the Magnificence itself. 

Another paradox revealed itself to me through the weekend. While Stillness does have it’s own rhythm in the practice of 5R, stillness also can be maintained throughout all of the other rhythms. I remember one times, in the energy of Staccato, where I was connecting to anger and rage, there was a sense of stillness running through me at the very same time. Said another way, it became clear to me that Love/God co-exists with everything. EV.ER.Y.TH.ING. The embodiment of paradoxes is profoundly transformative. 

Embrace your Dance, Embrace your Life 

Over the course of the weekend we were summoned to engage with the energetic resonances that live deep within our being. This is no small task, but it is a task that we choose to fall into, with guidance, support and love[3].  

Although it may seem like it, this isn’t an advertisement for 5R. This blog post is about the celebration of life as a human being- and the dances we engage in. I invite you to engage in your humanity in whatever way allows you to dance, metaphorically or literally, with your humanity. 

I invite you to know the expressions, or rhythms, of your human self, and to experiment in and with them, with conscious curiosity. Many of you do this with me in 1:1 sessions, in trainings, in gatherings, and/or in deepening courses. I look forward to our continued dance, in deep courage, compassion, and love. 


[1]https://www.5rhythms.com

[2]I wrote about the dominant/transformative narratives here.

[3]Thanks to Visudha de los Santos(and David Watters for brining 5R to Bloomington).

Including our bodies in Social Justice: Voices that Teach

www.alexispmorgan.com

What if?

Recently I was recently at a vigil to end human detention camps. While standing amidst the crown I started to wonder if any one else’s heart was hurting. Mine certainly was. 

If you are aware of the detention camps throughout the United States, inundated with inhumane conditions, not to mention rampant sexual, physical and emotional abuse for children and adults alike, a somatic/visceral/physical response when taking a moment to consider this predicament would be quite appropriate. 

If you’re willing, take a moment now to recall what you’ve been reading, watching, and hearing about the detention camps, which are now commonly referred to as concentration camps due to their abhorrent conditions and the violent circumstances in which they exist. 

Does it make your heart break open?

Does it make your heart close down?

Do you feel your stomach clench?

Do your hands ball up in fists?

Do you shake your head?

Does your body tighten or shut down a bit?

Do you hold your breath?

Do you feel a surge of adrenaline?

Do you feel a bit frozen?

Does your body want to physically turn away in some way?

Do you want to go into denial?

Any such responses would be valid, appropriate and understandable. Emotions such as sadness, fear, or anger that might come along side the physiological responses would be appropriate, too.  

It is natural to feel a bodily response when we are connecting with pain, injustice, and suffering. These responses remind us that we’re human, and connecting with the plight of other humans. These responses tell us that we have the capacity for empathy and compassion. These responses remind us that well-being is important for us, and that love and nurturing is a human necessity.

Back to the Vigil

After the speakers were done, it became time for anyone to speak. I wondered what it would be like if we could get real about what we were feeling. What might it be like if we could consciously give name to the emotions and sensations we were feeling in our body, as we were connecting with the atrocities of the United States Government

I imagined how it might be if the crowd was asked: 

“Who else’s heart is breaking?”

“Who else’s stomach is gripping?”

I wondered what it would be like for us, as a group gathered together, to feel the anger, the disgust, the sadness, while also paying attention to our bodies? I wondered what it would be like for the crowd to be guided into their bodies, so they could safely connect to their human selves. 

Including our Somatic Bodies

Underneath any emotion there is a bodily response happening, and yet because our culture is not somatically intelligent we often don’t recognize these bodily sensations, or know how to safely include them. We don’t talk about these aspects our humanity nearly enough.

I wondered what it would be like to include our full human selves, consciously, together, as we were gathered in the solidarity of wanting humane conditions for our brothers and sisters. 

I wondered what it would be like for us to consciously acknowledge that under the anger, there was also some heart break – and that perhaps that’s why we were really all gathered together. 

I wondered what it would be like to consciously include our precious and wise hearts, which are hurting because others are being violated.  

I wondered what it might be like for us to realize that we feel pain, and everything else, because of Love: we gathered together for our love and value for other human beings. 

I wondered what it would be like if we all know that it is a wise heart and a sacred heart which feels pain when others are being oppressed. I wondered how it would be to validate each and every person’s wise and sacred heart for showing up in Love.

I wondered how amazing it would be to consciously feel this sacred pain in our hearts, and discover that although it may be immensely uncomfortable, we are safe to feel such honest and sincere responses. We are safe to be in Love.

What would it be like if we all consciously knew we were safe to feel, safe to be fully human, and safe to love? I imagine a crowd of empowered individuals, enabled to utilize the heartache, the anger and the love they feel to help others. As I imagine a group of people who feel embowered in their being, I see a new expression of humanity that can bring great change into this world. 

Heart work and Action

I think there are often chasms within social justice efforts. Generally speaking I notice that there are those who do what I might call heart work, and there are those who do more direct action or involvement. 

Sometimes those who do heart work stay away from direct action as they assume it will be full of violence or they don’t feel safe to participate, or because they are uncomfortable with conflict. Sometimes those who do direct action stay away from heart work because they don’t think it’s effective, or don’t know how to do engage from this place amidst conflict. While I find those perspectives to be valid- I myself can flip flop between the two- I’m coming to learn that there is another way.  And, more than that, I think this other way is necessary in evolving past the dominant narrative into a transformative valued system. 

There is a way to participate in non-violent direct action **and** heart work. This territory is so very unfamiliar that it’s rarely acknowledged as even a choice, but in my experience it is a choice, and it is something for us to consciously move towards.  I see few role models and the “how to” is scattered amidst various resources. I too don’t have a guidebook, or a manual. I have more questions than answers. And, I have a deep and sincere passion to move from Love, and in my experience there is nothing more wise than that. We can learn together. 

My journey

The desire to move from Love is a central part of my life in every way- including activism. I began writing about my journey with heart work and social justice a year ago, and have been writing about it ever since. I haven’t yet found a way to convey this journey in linear, logical way- instead I offer you my own discoveries and experiences in this ongoing exploration of listening, learning, and acting. You can read them hereherehere , here and here.Indirectly related, is also this post.  

My first steps in returning to the area of social justice from a more embodied place started slowly. It started by exposing myself to different people, perspectives, and ideas. I read and listened, and I felt. I noticed what my body was doing while I was coming up against ideas I’d never thought of. I noticed what emotions were emerging as I read perspectives that were so different to my own.  I noticed my guilt, shame, defensiveness and denial. I noticed confusion, disorientation, and uncertainty. I kept reading, listening and learning. I engaged in somatic inquiry. I connected to my wounds. I connected with others who were doing similar deep work. Over time I noticed increased connection, empathy and compassion. And, over time, I noticed a very different relationship with safety and Love.

I am committed to listening, learning and then acting. This is ongoing, as I continue to look at my own conditioning from my family of origin as well as my conditioning as a privileged white female from the middle class. 

Voices That Teach

I have been reaching out to some of my favorite people on Facebook over the last few months, asking them for their favorite resources in learning about racism and social justice. The rest of this blog post shares those resources, as well as some of my own resources. This is not an inclusive list – just a small sampling. 

I’d love to hear back from you on what I’ve missed. Let’s keep learning with each other! 

Facebook, in no particular order  (may also be on Twitter or Instagram) 

Generally speaking, I find it good Facebook etiquette to “Follow” people that I’ve never been exposed to and want to learn from. I also find it good etiquette that while learning, I don’t say much, and act as if I am a guest in their home. 

Brig Feltus 

Ericka Hines 

Desiree Adaway

Lace on Race

Nicole Lee

Ally Henny

Tada Hozumi

Mary Ann Canty Merrill

Andréa Ranae Johnson 

Jackie Summers

Staci Jordan Shelton

Bakari Parrett

Soyara Chemlay

Irami Osei-Frimpong

Saira Rao

Tania Singh Bhatia


Dimitra Stathopoulos

Books, in no particular order 

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo 

So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo 

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

Unapologetic by Charlene Carruthers

Stamped from the Beginning by Ibrahim X. Kendi 

How To Be An Antiracist by Ibrahim X. Kendi

They Were Her Property by Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers.

Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen

An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

We Want to do More Than Survive by Bettina L. Love

The Privileged Poor by Anthony Abraham Jack 

Dying of Whiteness by Jonathan Metzl

Racism without Racists by  Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander 

Between You and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 

Learning to be White by Thandeka 

Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari

Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good Peopleby Anthony G. Greenwaldand Mahzarin Banaji

Mothers of Massive Resistance by Elizabeth Gillespie McRae

Homegoing Yaa Gyasi

Heavy by Kiese Laymon

Barracoon, The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by  Zora Neale Hurston

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

I’m Still Here, Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A list of books recommended by Irami Osei-Frimpong: https://medium.com/@iramioseifrimpong/ten-books-i-wish-my-white-teachers-had-read-75bdb8543279

Podcast series, in no particular order

Hidden Brain “Implicit Bias and Police Shootings”

Seeing White

Code Switch 

Intersectionality Matters 

Movies, in no particular order

10,000 Black Men Named George
Norma Rae

When They See Us

I Am Not your Negro