Tag Archives: personal growth

All About Love – Unpacking the L Word

Heart of Imagery Painting

"Heart Shines On", acrylic on canvas, 16"x20" by Lisa Chu

Why is "love" such a hot button word for so many of us? It seems we remain as divided with respect to this word as we are on so many other issues. There are "hopeless romantics" and there are "anti-Valentine's" party hosts. There are those who sprinkle the word "love" over every communication with strangers or friends, and there are those who use it sparingly, like precious strands of saffron reserved only for the finest occasion.   We never said the word "love" in our house, so during my childhood, I formed the belief that something was missing from my experience compared to the outer world of suburban midwestern America I lived in. We didn't talk like the characters on The Brady Bunch. The emotions expressed in my family were much more raw, more volatile, so close to the surface and not easily contained. The love I experienced was unrelenting, filled with the need to protect me from constant imminent danger, and would never let me off the hook. Over a lifetime of accumulating ideas of what love is - from what I was told, from what I experienced, and from what I imagined - I decided, other-than-consciously, that it was not safe to love fully. Continue reading

Red Pill or Blue Pill?

MatrixBluePillRedPill There is a scene in the movie, The Matrix, in which the main character Neo is offered a choice between the “red pill” and the “blue pill”.
This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill—the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill—you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more.
Does it excite you to imagine discovering how deep the rabbit hole goes? Or do you notice a resistance toward leaving the comfort of your current reality? In the movie, “truth” at first appears as a chilling image of the planet taken over by machines, living off the energy of human beings who are lying unconscious inside jars of gelatinous solvent. Towards the end of the film, it is love received from his beloved which finally wakes Neo up to the reality of his own illusion. That he has believed in everything within the Matrix, and through that belief he has created his own truth. With new eyes touched by love, he sees everything as it actually is: a construct of his own consciousness, where elements take on only the meaning he assigns to them. Awakening to choice - realizing in any moment that you have a choice - is a moment of connecting to your creative power. Notice that your power to choose always resides inside you. You choose whether to activate your own power by choosing to choose. No one, no thing, no place, no circumstance outside you can, without your consent, take your power away. You may have been taught to give your power away in the past. Forgive yourself and choose now to be your own power. The most powerful choice you have is to awaken to the love that you are. Survival and “getting through life” may have hardened you to this truth. You may have learned to protect your core from fully receiving what you feel. By protecting yourself from what you feel, you have denied yourself love. You have refused to shine the light of love on certain aspects of your experience, while insisting on exposing only the so-called acceptable parts. When you encounter a situation that brings you close to touching what you feel, do you stay or do you run? Continue reading

Why everyone should poop in the woods…at least once

I firmly believe everyone should have the experience - at least once in their life - of pooping in the wilderness. Of digging a hole at least six inches deep, dropping trou, and watching their own poop land in the hole. Then filling it with soil, packing it down, and returning the surrounding earth to its original state.
sunflower

What we'd rather imagine than pooping in holes.

I believe this not just because pooping in holes has become second nature since I started backpacking, but because I experienced real compost in my friend Lydia's yard yesterday. From start to mulch. When you see one too many potted plants or cut flower arrangements in your life, you forget where it all really comes from. Not just the postcard pictures of a farm with a guy in overalls posed casually leaning on a fence that you see from the side of the road. Not the beautiful bins of colorful, washed produce (definitely not GMO and definitely organic) at the farmers' market. No, I'm talking about what dirt really is. How our bodies - the stuff of our skin and bones - are ultimately the same stuff as dirt. How the plants growing prettily or wildly in the ground are also the same stuff as dirt. How if you have the chance to take a shovel and pull up some plants, move them to the compost heap, then come back a few months later, you might see something that looks nothing like the original plant but a lot like dirt. Continue reading

Leaning in…to what?

woman leaning illustration There's going to be some talk about leaning in. I’d like to speak about “leaning in” from the perspective of a woman who learned the men’s rules and did pretty well for awhile. I picked up all the cues about how I was supposed to behave, what I was supposed to do to play the game, how I could win. I earned a seat at the boardroom table, surrounded by men. I am grateful for the doors that were opened for me, when I behaved a lot like a successful man. I rode the bus for a few rounds before I got off and started the process of sitting in front of the blank page, making up my own game, creating my own rules, and teaching myself a whole new way of "leaning in". When we talk about “leaning in”, we have to talk about what that really means for individuals. To me, “leaning in” is about going toward the places that scare you. The real question is, “What scares you?” Most of us are living in remote places that are carefully designed to be far out of reach from what really scares us. We have concocted our plans based on meticulous avoidance of everything that really scares us. We believe that this construction project actually spares us the feeling of being scared, but it follows us. It never leaves us. It camps out in dark corners inside us. We dart, we duck, we hide, we layer on coats of paint and makeup and accessories and postures that we think – hope – will cover it up. But it plagues us. We seek relief, but we also secretly believe we’ll never find it. We think this is as good as it gets, so we keep pointing in the same direction. So what are we leaning into? Continue reading

Teaching

Current Offerings

Coastal Wildflower Day & Earth Day Festival - Saturday, April 16, 10am to 4pm, Half Moon Bay State Beach Audio Classes For Download Audio Class: Imagination ExpansionLearn why imagination is not just for artists, but is VITAL for your health, success, love, and joy. Learn what you can do to activate and expand your imagination. Explore what we THINK is imagination versus what true imagination is, and go through an exercise in which you create your thriving year, already fulfilled. Audio Class: Renegotiating Love - Learn about the silent agreements you have made about love, how these agreements actually create what you've been trying to avoid, and how to renegotiate these agreements into the love you have always desired. Includes 60-minute mp3 and 3-page pdf worksheet.

Past Offerings

Breema Bodywork & Art Retreat on the Coast - Saturday, March 12, 2016, a two-part retreat. You may choose either one or both parts of the retreat to participate in. New Year New Vision PLAYshop 2016 - Saturday, January 23, 2016, 1pm to 4pm, at New Leaf Community Classroom, Half Moon Bay. Renew and Reclaim Your Vision for 2016… Workshop presentation at Imagery International 7th Annual Conference: The Heart of Imagery - October 30-November 1, 2015, Vallombrosa Retreat Center, Menlo Park, CA. Workshop title: "Imagining From Your Wild Heart". Fall class series at New Leaf Community Classroom Half Moon Bay:
  • Whole Body Listening - September 2015
  • Mental Hygiene - October 2015
  • Renegotiating Love - November 2015
  • Reclaim Your Heart's Highest Choice - December 2015
Free classes at New Leaf Community Classroom Half Moon Bay:
  • Unleash Your Purpose & Passion - May 2015
  • The Blank Page - June 2015
  • All About Imagination - July 2015
  • The How of Courage - August 2015
WORKSHOP FOR WOMEN ARTISTS & CREATORS: Creating From Presence - Explore Mind, Body, Feelings & Your Art-Making, Sunday, April 12, 2015, 1pm to 4:30pm, at The Breema Center. See photos of this event here. 17th Annual Integrative Medicine Network Annual Conference at UCSF  Saturday, April 11, 2015, 8am to 5:30pm -  "The Healing Power of Sound and Listening" workshops and participation in the Integrative Medicine in the Community panel.WORKSHOP: Listening & The Language of Love  Free Friday Talk: Receiving The Love That You Are - Friday, February 13, 2015, at Prajna Center for Yoga & Healing Arts, Belmont, CA New Year New Vision 2015: A Vision Board PLAYshop - Saturday, January 24, 2015, Half Moon Bay. Imagine and create your best 2015...NOW. Artist Open Studios, November 22-23, 2014, Colony of Coastside Artists, Half Moon Bay, CA Sixth Annual 50|50 Show at Sanchez Art Center, 1220 Linda Mar Blvd, Pacifica, CA. I made 50 small artworks (6"x6") in 50 days, and they will be on display (and available for purchase) from August 22 through September 28. See details of the show here>> Creative Conversations 2014 - FREE monthly telegatherings to dialog about living creatively and awakening to your own creative potential...one moment at a time. See list of 2014 dates & register>> The Energy Gardeners' Club - Experiments to cultivate the seeds of magic in your life. Inspired by the success of the E-Squared Book Club, this series will continue the practice of energy experiments to cultivate the seeds of magic in your life, while connecting in nature, and creating a circle of support to empower your actions. Learn more & register>> Play The Wrong Note: Daring Adventures in Learning, Failure & Creativity - Presentation at Bay Area Society for Organizational Learning. Friday, September 19, 2014, at The HubSF. Learn more here>> Moments of Presence: A Traveler's Art - Slide presentation and art installation from 7 weeks in Thailand and Laos. Two showings: April 17 & April 20, 2pm to 4pm, Half Moon Bay. Planting Seeds In Your Energy Garden: A Vision Board & Creativity Workshop - Saturday, March 29, Prajna Center for Yoga & Healing Arts, Belmont, CA. New Year New Vision PLAYshop - Sunday, January 12, 2014, Half Moon Bay, CA (Coastside Photography) Monthly free Q&A calls in 2013 - Join me on the phone each month where I will answer YOUR questions! E-Squared Book Club: 9 Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments in 7 Weeks - Exploration of Pam Grout's New York Times bestseller. Bring your curiosity for how your thoughts can create your reality. Each week we conduct one of the energy experiments from Pam's book and share our results. Beyond Knowing: Many Paths to the Present Moment - November 1st to 3rd, 2013, Half Moon Bay, CA. Oceanside Retreat with Dr. Lisa Chu. Limited to 6 participants. Explore whole-being presence, engagement of the five senses, and practice embracing the beauty and terror of Not Knowing. Living Your Vision: A Workshop To Bring Your Deepest Visions To Life - Workshop teaching how to amplify the effects of a completed vision board and use energy to bring your deepest visions to life with ease. Inviting Joy, Cultivating Courage series - Practice everyday courage and invite joy into your life by entering the present moment. Each session will explore a gateway to the present moment and give opportunities to practice everyday courage, through experiential exercises.Bamboo body+soul, 799 Main Street, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019. Generosity-based offering. Experience Breema - The Art of Being Present. Free experiential open house presented by Certified Instructors from The Breema Center. Bamboo Body+Soul, 799 Main Street, Half Moon Bay. Download the flyer here>> Speaking Engagement for The Awareness Network, at Community of Infinite Spirit 1540 Hicks Ave., San Jose, CA. Talk entitled: "Learning To Play The Wrong Note: Discovering the Power of Sound for Healing and Liberation". SoulBodyMind Salon series - Discover practical ways to connect with your body’s wisdom, cultivate mental clarity, and take actions toward your soul’s true desires. Each evening will focus on a different theme: Your Body's Truth, Cultivating the Garden In Your Mind, The Art of Soul-Care, Listening With Your Whole SoulBodyMind. VISION BOARD WORKSHOP: Envision Your Authentic Self, Create Your Authentic Life at Prajna Center for Yoga & Healing Arts, Belmont, CA, Download the flyer here>> New Year's Day "Living Life True" at Prajna Center in Belmont, CA - meditation, gentle yoga, storytelling about living an authentic life, and creation of New Year intentions/offerings. With Yiwen Chang, Priya & Francisca Friday-Pabros, and Jovani. Yoga and Healing Sound class with Yiwen Chang at Prajna Center in Belmont, CA - a gentle flow yoga class, taught by Yiwen Chang, accompanied by live improvised music and healing sounds that I provide. The Whole Person Retreat All-day retreat for women, co-led by Johanna Beyer and Eliska Meyers, at Stillheart Institute, Woodside, CA. Photos from 2012 here>> "A Place To Play" - Community circle of creative expression and collaboration, using sound, voice, and music improvisation. Healing Sounds: Study & Practice of Tibetan Sound Healing for Self-Care and Creativity - Sound-based meditation class Physician Burnout: Get the 411 Before It's a 911 - FREE coaching calls for medical students, residents, fellows

Resources for Physician Burnout and Wellness>> - free downloadable recordings and links to helpful articles

Music Improvisation for Everyone - public 3-hour workshop Elements of Music Improvisation: Class Series - 6-class weekly series on elements and practice of music improvisation IMPROVisE Your Life with Music Improvisation - 5-class weekly series on applying the principles of improvisation to improve your daily life Sounding for Self-Care Circles - community building through healing sound, voice, and music practices