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Mental Health

Why I'm Doing a Dance Documentary

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Why I'm Doing a Dance Documentary

A few days ago, I was talking with a filmmaker friend of mine. I was telling her about how excited I am to be performing at the St. Louis Salsa Bachata Festival and how big of a deal it is for me. You see, I'm 42 years old and I’ve been out of performance dance shape for a long time. I told her about how awesome it would be to step out on stage, feeling completely fierce - back in dance form, head to toe, maybe even better than I’ve ever been before. I told her how empowering and affirming that would be for me - especially after all the frustrations of this year.

I told her about how this entire year has been one difficulty and disappointment after the next (when it was supposed to be a step up from last year) and how it’s resulted in me feeling like I’m completely rebirthing myself - walking through the fires of disappointment again and making peace with certain things about my life while still stepping up to the plate and trying again with old dreams and goals. Even despite my battles with anxiety and depression, I’m rising every chance I get and doing my best to say “maybe it could work this time” instead of “nope, been there, done that”.

I told her about my plan to “go hard” in my own way to prepare for St. Louis. That in the midst of relaunching my makeup line, launching my skincare line and generally trying to live a productive life, I was also going to get “badass dancer” Leah back too. I was going to get back in dancer shape. I was going to lose the weight and the lethargy. I was going to find my energy and unshakable stage presence again and I was going to perform so well that I high-fived myself. Because why not? Why not take it all on. Life is to be lived afterall.

And she said Leah, this needs to be a documentary and I’m going to shoot it for you. And so here we are, with me launching a GoFundMe campaign and setting off on this epic adventure :).

The video below talks more about the project and you can view and share the GoFundMe page here. Much thanks and so much love <3!

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5 Signs that Dance is Your Soul's Language

Dance has always been a part of my life. I was the little girl dancing in the mirror in my bedroom, creating choreographies for me and my friends. At sockhops and high school parties, I was always the one that couldn’t stop moving, reciting the songs and moving to the beats in one big ball of expression. Maybe you were something like this too?
 

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I didn’t realize until much later that dance was an integral part of my essence - one of the major languages of my soul in fact. It took honest and reflective conversations with friends and deep introspective time with myself to come to the realization that dance was not just something that I enjoyed, but was a transformative method of healing for myself and through me, for others.

 

I know that I am not the only one that has been given this gift either. I know that there are many other souls who speak through the language of dance. Whether they dance professionally, around the house, on the weekends or just in their own bedrooms, dance moves them and speaks for them in a way that is truly unique and special.

 

My guess is that if you’ve been drawn to read this article, you might be one of us.

 

But how do you know for sure? Well these 5 signs below are clear clues that dance could be a primary language of your soul. Welcome home if so <3! I’m creating a community just for us - to nurture and nourish the dancer’s soul - mind, body and spirit!

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1. You can’t help but dance - even when you’re sitting down.

Whether it’s bopping around in your car or sitting down for dinner, you can’t help but move. Friends and family often point out to you that you are dancing around to music that only you can here. You probably don’t even notice - it’s just an involuntary response, the same way someone twiddles their thumbs or taps their foot. Your body just needs to move and express itself, even if just slightly.

 

2. When you are happy, you dance.

This is another one that you probably haven’t noticed until someone pointed it out. When you are happy, you start dancing. Eating food you really enjoy? You start bobbing your head or shimmying your shoulders. Just got some good news? You break out into a little dance jig of celebration. Dancing is definitely one of your soul’s way of expressing happiness and it’s your default all the time.

 

3. You could watch dance videos - instructional or performances - all day long.

You watch dance videos the same way people watch music videos or gaming videos - video after video, hour after hour. Each one excites you even more, eliciting deep emotions within you - from tears to high-fives. What’s more, you imagine what it would feel like to be doing those actual moves. You envision how awesome it would be to learn the routines and you might even find yourself walking through some of it - rewinding that video just a few more times until you get at least one part of it down.

 

4. When you hear music, you automatically see choreography. In your mind’s eye, you are constantly seeing different ways to express the emotions you feel in songs.

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You can envision huge ensembles and solo acts to your favorite music. You can sometimes even feel the ache in your bones to give a song a visual interpretation. You probably have a secret list of songs you would love to create your own choreographies to. I know that I do :-).

 

 

5. You were the closet/mirror dancer as a child.

You were the child upstairs in his or her room, pretending to be Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Chris Brown, Ciara, Beyonce or any of the world’s other pop dance icons. You imagined yourself in your own music video - not singing, but *dancing*. You memorized all of the moves from their latest videos and performed them over and over again for yourself and whoever was willing to watch. You probably did a few family reunion and neighborhood talent shows too. You could spend all day happily dancing.


If you identify with even a few of these, dance is much more than just movement for you. It’s a need to move that feeds your soul. It gives you life just as much as you feel that you express your life through it. It is the ultimate form of nourishment and nurturing for your soul.

 

Oh if it were just that though. But dance also has its shadow side. In the pursuit of dance, we also run right up against our insecurities, fears, doubts and secret worries. In the expression of dance, we lay ourselves out in the most prostate and vulnerable of ways, exposing ourselves to the opinions and approval of others and challenging ourselves to be unaffected and undeterred by them. Dance lovingly gives us the opportunity to love, sometimes with toughness, on ourselves and face all of the things that make us want to shrink head on.

 

Its gift is multifold and dynamic in its highs and lows.

This is why I’m creating the Dancer’s Bliss Community - an Academy to Nourish the Dancer’s Soul - Mind, Body and Spirit.

With dance as our vehicle and connection, DBC will help you to navigate the terrain of growth that dance inevitably will introduce you to. No matter if you are an amateur dancer in love with social dancing as many nights as you can, a dance major auditioning for your first paying gig or a weekend professional dancing on stages to the wee hours of the night on Saturdays and punching a clock at your 9 to 5 on Mondays, this academy is where you can grow within a community that understands you, your passion and your desire to evolve and expand.

Simply put, I get it and together we get it.

The doors to the academy will open very soon and I would love for you to know as soon as they do. If you’d like to be notified, just click here and leave me your email address.

I promise, you will be first to know :-).   

As a special thank you, I'll also send you my Woowoo Resources for Dancers Guide with two powerful resources to help you embrace the magick of dance even more!


Sign up below to be notified when the Dancer's Bliss Academy opens!

Dancer's Bliss Academy coming soon!

Please enter your name and email below! Thank you!

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What Failing at Whole Foods Felt Like

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This post is completely in honor of the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse and the fact that I am a different person now, transformed by the fires of my experiences, really and truly dancing on the ashes. It may sound a bit poetic, but it is the absolute truth. 

I'm soaking in the effects of yet another major change and it prompted me to look back at other tower moments in my life. Failing at Whole Foods was one of them. The beauty of being transformed though is that I no longer have to carry shame about that story and I no longer have to identify with that story. I'll admit, that last part has been and still is a work in progress. But progressed it has - so much. 

So, in honor of being free of this story and able to release it to the world to help someone else, here is the post I wrote on my personal blog 2 years after Etniq Minerals was pulled from Whole Foods here in Little Rock. 
 


What Failing at Whole Foods Feels Like
Posted on April 6, 2015
This is something that I haven’t talked about really with anyone. I’ve just kind of swept it under the rug. I went on with a hopeful face and acted like everyone wanted me to act – still hopeful, still determined, still engaged, still resilient and full of belief in myself. You get knocked down you GET BACK UP. I acted like I got back up. And I sort of did.
I sort of dealt with it. I definitely felt like I gave the impression to everyone that I was understanding of the need for change. I gave the impression that I was willing to keep trying no matter what. I admitted that I did my best and I decided to keep it moving.
I was broken though. I don’t know if anyone cared that I was broken. Or maybe noone knew how to deal with the brokenness. All they could muster to say was, that’s ok leah, things happen for a reason..this is probably better anyway. You’ll turn things around. You’ll be able to get your sales up and get right back into Whole Foods.
Two years later, no not yet.
In truth, I tried not to tell anyone. I didn’t tell my family until they just finally kind of realized it. I didn’t tell my friends until they too just noticed that the products weren’t there anymore. I didn’t tell anyone really. I just felt like such a failure. Such such such a failure.
On top of my depression, on top of just the horridness of what it feels like to fail, this was a major major failure.
Whole Foods was my holy grail. I went to Whole Foods years and years and years before it was cool. I loved Whole Foods. Back home in Chicago, I was the weird girl in the early 2000s that only shopped at Whole Foods. The BROKE weird girl. *I* was the one that knew about organic food and holistic living and herbs and natural medicine. *I* was the one that loved everything Whole Foods stood for and tried to introduce my family and my friends to it. *I* was the one that figured out how to shop cheaply there with coupons and following the sales. *I* was the one that would get an Odwalla or Naked smoothie, a 365 milk chocolate bar with hazelnuts, and a slice of cornbread on period days. And pizza. *I* was the one that told Little Rockers what they were missing and came here and felt so sad that there was no Whole Foods (and then there was one and I felt Happy that at least there was one, even a small one, here).
I did workshops at the Whole Foods in Oaklawn back home as an esthetician about natural beauty. I would drive way out of my way to go to the Whole Foods in Durham. MY lotion was 365 brand and MY herbs came from the bulk bins. I, ME, I was the naturalista, the granola girl, the weird black girl that liked all this natural stuff.
So to FINALLY have products there OMG. Can you IMAGINE what a major boost to my fragile ego this was??? Can you IMAGINE??
People who knew nothing about Whole Foods were like oh hey there’s this natural store around here..some new kind of stuff..it might be cool to have your products there. The person who initially introduced me to the idea that my products could ever be there had no idea how big Whole Foods was. She had just casually emailed them about hers and got a response. WTH.
I would have NEVEr imagined that I could have been a vendor at Whole Foods. NEVER. and then BOOM it happened. ANd then BOOM I let it fail.
And now I know a little bit more keenly that a lot of the things I beat myself up for about with the Whole Foods venture (and with all my ventures) had to do with my depression. Depression is horrible. Depression made every single thing so hard. Depression and low self esteem made demoing horrid. Depression kept me from trying full out the new ideas I had for growth. Depression kept me from feeling good about what *was* happening. I fought the depression but the fight was so hard. So very hard.
So today was a bit of a triumph – actually setting foot in the same Whole Foods – seeing the old managers – having the awkward moments – feeling like shit. I haven’t been to that Whole Foods in the two and a half years since they dropped my products.
ok maybe once.
I had a good convo with my boyfriend today though and i think it’s a reasonable goal to want to get back in that Whole Foods. All they want to see is sales. That’s it. If I have considerable sales in the Little Rock area, they will be willing to take a chance on me again. This new whole foods is bigger. it’s attracting more people. It’s more possible now. people may be more into makeup now. I have better resources now. and a better support system.
I have to remember that what’s in my head is not always reality. this is another one of those – you can be defeated leah or you can be triumphant.
it’s hard choosing. I’m trying to choose though.
I kinda need some support with keeping my head up about this…I’m glad that I finally wrote it all out though :). I’m sure there are more feelings to digest but at least this is a start. Thanks so much for reading :).

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Why Being a Go-Getter Will Get you NOWHERE

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Why Being a Go-Getter Will Get you NOWHERE

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If you want something you have to make it happen right? You see what you want and you go after it. That’s how it’s done. Hustle, strive, grind hard. Right? WRONG.

 

Hi, My name is Leah and I am a recovering Make it Happen girl :-).

That in fact used to be my motto. If I wanted something, I would go after it. I wholeheartedly believed that this was the only way you got what you wanted.

 

And I’d love to be able to say that this way got me everything I wanted. And I can say that it got me some things for sure. But what I can also say is that this way is definitely the hard way. And so I want to pose a question to you. Why are you making yourself do it the hard way?

 

This is what I need you to understand. The Go-Getter, hustler chick within you - she is driving you like cattle. She is whipping your tired little back and scolding you for tripping in the dust and taking too long. She is not your friend. She is not going to celebrate when you get to where you thought you were supposed to be going. She’s going to just be driving you even harder to the next promised land.

 

Going after things in life from an external, cattle-prodding place isn’t sustainable. It doesn’t create happiness. It rarely even creates real success (and if on the off-chance it does, you can rarely access the joy of it anyway). What it does create is a subconscious loop of stress, strain and the need to do more and more and more. It keeps you constantly feeling like you aren’t doing it well enough (and might never be), which actually blocks you from getting what you really are after.

 

Now yes, people may praise you for your drive and tenacity and go-getter gungho-ness. I let this blind me too. Unfortunately, this is just fuel for the erroneous thought pattern. It encourages you to keep driving yourself, even though you’re actually really getting tired and approaching burnout and disappointment (again) fast..

 

And though you are afraid to admit this might be true, I’m going to go ahead and say it outloud - this way is just not going to get you there. Where you are really trying to go.

 

To get to where you really are trying to go, you have to get to the point where you actually don’t care. What I mean is that you have to get to where you know that there’s not one more thing you need to do to get there. *THAT* is the key to getting there. It’s really like those floodgates they talk about. It will pour in AND you won’t be doubting if you are worthy.

 

Basically, it has to come from the inside out.

 

When I indulge in things that have no external purpose or in them NOT for their external purpose, that is when I change. That is how I create evidence.
 

 

Recognize this now. The way you have been taught is not working. It is instead the very thing that is keeping you married to anxiety, sadness and disappointment.

 

It’s not that you can’t achieve the things you are after. It’s not that the superwoman you see yourself as is impossible. It’s that you can not approach becoming her from a deficit. When you are in the place of thinking you need to “do more” to become her, instead of just allowing her to rise from within you, you keep her outside of you, a little past arms-length, almost reachable but just out of touch.

 

Instead of more tensing, it requires more relaxing. It requires more settling in than striving out.

 

So here is a little thought experiment for you to begin exploring this idea for yourself.

 

I want you to get in touch with what a reframe of not having to do anything external to be worthy does for you. I want you to explore how that shifts you slightly and initiates a lightness and perhaps even an exhale.

 

What would it be like to not seek nor need anyone’s approval?

 

What would it be like to have the audacity to do something just because you wanted to, not because it would get you anywhere?

 

Do either of these feel odd to you? Uncomfortable? Purposeless? Stupid? How does it sit with you to know you are doing something for purely selfish reasons?

 

Does selfishness feel wrong? Does being self-involved and self-indulgent feel like a negative thing?

 

Now, consider for a moment that YOU are in fact the MVP of your life and so it’s actually expected that you get special treatment from yourself. You get to have all of the attention and energy focused on what you want. See what happens when you embody the role of the deserving celebrity. How would you treat the one that you admire and would actually bend over backwards for to make comfortable and happy?

 

Think you deserve that? I do :-).


So as you might have guessed, this is just the tip of the iceberg, the beginning of the self-discovery and potential changes for the better in your life. It’s all possible and with the right perspective shifts, you can get to where you want to be as the authentic superwoman that you actually are. I have many ways to support you and I’d be delighted to step in and walk with you on this path.  

Here are a few ways I can below:


To keep this line of inquiry and inspiration top of mind, enroll in my free daily mentoring text club by texting Audaciouslife to 87365.

To engage in a community where we discuss these ideas and I am there to guide thought experiments and personal inquiries into how we are choosing to go after things in life, join my online community at Dancing on the Ashes. <--click on the words to join.  

And if you are ready to have some 1-on-1 time with me where we break through some of your own personal barriers and talk about your unique path to actually getting what you want, book a complimentary Discovery Call with me by clicking here.


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Healing old daddy issues...

Still smiling because perspective is everything!

Still smiling because perspective is everything!

It has been one heck of a week. On Tuesday, I put a big pause on a relationship that I thought was going somewhere. And that opened the floodgate of all of my old fears and doubts. I could feel the creep in of “omg Leah, really? Another fizzle? AGAIN? What is the deal?” The “why are you trying” track started vying for airtime. The “look at how everything *isn’t* where you want it to be” track started getting louder. And the ever so popular of the last 5 years “You are getting old Leah. You are 41 (this year). And you still think kids and marriage are in your future? Really?” track began beating a dull drum in my head as well. Not to mention the standard “where is the money honey?? Where is the wild success chica?? When are you going to have something to write home about for real girl??” symphony.

 

By now though, I know not to put a lot of attention on those thoughts. I can’t always stop them but I can at least acknowledge that this is just my old stuff being really loud and annoying at the moment. I can acknowledge that it feels draining and that I need a rest from life as scheduled and in that same moment also still ask the Universe for some deliverance, a change and shift in my perspective plus my sunshine mojo back.  

 

And I really have to give the Universe all the credit that it is due. God/Goddess really carried me this week. Like I said, I was drained and so my ability to be intentional, at least purposefully, was really low. But I did have enough energy to ask for guidance and to pay attention to signs.


One sign led me to reach out in two of my online groups about two different exercises I hadn’t had a chance to complete from previous courses. One was a money mindset exercise and the other was a psychic development exercise. I randomly had the impulse to reach out and whichever morning it was, I did and promptly found two partners.

 

Another sign led me to reach out to another intuitive friend of mine for some support and I have to admit, I actually got really bratty and ‘omg not this again’ with her lol. But again, the Universe was directing every step, because had I not gotten bratty and whiny, I don’t think we would have gotten to the tiny kink that was messing with my flow. She saw that my kink, the hidden snag that has been tripping me up for so long (think short-lived relationship time and time again, think promising success and then disappointing stagnation, think really great highs and really horrific lows DESPITE incredible amounts of effort) had to do with unresolved stepdad issues.


I was not happy to hear this to say the least, mostly because I could have sworn that I have been working through deciphering those issues for at least the last decade. I know there is always more stuff to uncover, forgive, work through, but I really thought I had been diligent about that work and not ignoring guidance. Nonetheless though, I said I would sit with it and journal it out.

 

And in my journaling I did discover some hidden truths. I realized that I was still carrying around that thought that there is a prerequisite to being worthy. Like you have to prove it first and then be treated as such. And that once you get that approval going, you better work hard to keep it. And you better not get comfortable feeling like you deserve all the accolades that come with worthiness because you could be proven unworthy at any moment. And you probably would be.


As silly as it sounds on both ends, I really didn’t know I was still carrying that. I really thought that I had dealt with the need for validation. But even as I type that, I’m realizing that this and validation are slightly different. This feels more like the King on the Throne bestowing upon you value and then deciding to taketh it away at a whim if you disappoint him. Or even just arbitrarily once you begin to bore him. Validation is more like needing your fellow servant boyfriend to keep telling you that you are awesome.

 

So yes, I still had that sticky fly paper stopping my progress. And I made a significant but real shift with that realization. If manifested in me feeling all of a sudden free of needing to care about said significant other’s emotions or reasons for this or that. All of a sudden, I realized that it was his job (or the next significant other’s job) to make me care, not my job to just dole out care because I'm an empath and I get what’s going on. That’s major.

 

But there was still something. And the Universe still carried me right through to it. This part of the journey involved connecting with my partner for the psychic development work. We were to do intuitive readings for each other, with no assistance from any tools. So for me, that meant no tarot cards.

 

I’ll admit that no tarot cards is challenging, not because I’m a blank without them, but because they are like a warm security blanket. If I feel unsure in my own intuition, my cards are there to back me up. But it’s a challenge that I’ve been feeling very drawn to since at least the beginning of the year. So when this mini-course showed up, it was perfect affirmation.

 

So when my partner and I connected, I gave her reading first, which was very affirming and eye-opening for me in understanding how my gifts work - definitely a topic I will share about on another day. But what’s relevant for today is what her reading revealed for me.

 

It uncovered the very last strand of the kink - the issue of feeling abandoned by my biological father.

 

This Affected Me because I realized that I had never really dealt with this head on. I hadn’t made the connection at all really that this was something that could be affecting my adult relationships. Realizing my stepfather’s effect was easy. But somehow, I never noticed that never knowing my biological father and no one ever talking about him or really addressing the fact that I’ve never even met him would create some unresolved issues. And my goodness. Talk about the worthiness thing. Not even worthy enough to stick around for and save from growing up with my stepfather.

 

Nina, my practice partner, is a wonderful healer by the way and how she took me through the steps to clean up all of the gunk that came with my father issues was magical, simple and beyond effective.


And that next morning, things shifted majorly. Ground-breakingly. That whole week, I had to remind myself that I was excited to get out of bed and do what I get to do all day. Throughout the day, I had to remind myself that THINGS ARE BETTER. WAY BETTER. My inner dialogue repeatedly fell back to “See? Look at this Leah, and do you see this? Things are so much better and getting better all the time!”

 

And then, like a fog dissipating out of the blue, I felt my power again. I can even say that I felt *new* power. Like what an angel must feel like spreading its wings for the first time (if there ever is a first time for an angel). Lighter, bouyant, freer, clearer, more me than I’ve ever let myself experience before. Straight up magickal.

 

And so here I am, welcoming this new expansion and curiously awaiting it’s evidence to continue manifesting. The only thing that I know about how it will unfold is that I will endeavor to pay attention so as not to miss my signs. The beautiful thing about signs though is that the Universe will continue sending them until you notice them and act. I’m a firm believer in that. There really are no messups.

 

We really are just all in the lane of evolving - at whatever pace is right for us right then.

 

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Recap of the WINMind Fit Workshop

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Recap of the WINMind Fit Workshop

This past weekend was magickal. I was a guest speaker at the WIN MINDFit Workshop. It's really difficult to explain how healing and beautiful it was. I can say though that I am beyond honored to have been a part of it and I am so grateful to be able to continue to be a part of it. I am so looking forward to the next installment on June 9th. 

My talk was all about your ego and how it really is doing the best it can trying to protect you. Once you have an awareness of that, it's so much easier to have compassion for yourself and to stop yourself from falling into knee-jerk responses of fear, self-loathing and ultimately projection. 

Speaking at #WINMindFit&nbsp;

Speaking at #WINMindFit 

The theme of this workshop was finding the WILL to change. The next will focus on sustaining change. If you are curious about joining us, you can find more information at www.winwoman.org/mindfit  

 

If you know you are ready to make major changes and are in need of support, remember I'm always available to help you create your game plan. Just message me and we can schedule some time to chat. 

 

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Reminding myself that it's ok to not be perfect.

So I had a really interesting experience this week. It's opened me up to so much growth! It's really interesting because in sharing my truth, I still pissed off some people LOL and really touched and blessed others 😊. So it just continues to prove my point 😊.

I hope you have a moment to listen to my message and remember that you too don't always have to be great or perfect or liked by anyone for that matter, but definitely not by everyone. 😊

Here's to staying as happy as you can !  

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Second Episode of My Podcast - I Thrive!

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So finally, the timing was right and my second podcast episode happened! I created I Thrive to give inspiration to people (women especially) who are overcoming depression and anxiety. and thriving despite it. I took a tiny break and now I am jumping back in :-). This episode is about the benefits of learning your personality type and how that has affected my life. I would love for you to give it a listen, subscribe and share it with someone! Thank you!

P. S. It's also findable on Spotify, Apple and Google music :-)

 
 

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