Get out of your own way

I used to be someone who was constantly, chronically even, in her own way.

For years, I dreamed about painting, writing, being my own boss and building my own successful business, traveling, adventuring, helping other people get out of their own way and live a life that exceeds their most beautiful and bold dreams, and working with amazing, inspiring, world-class, FUN colleagues, mentors, and clients.

I used to dream of these things but they seemed so far off and, frankly, often times pie-in-the-sky impossible.  Every now and then I’d get fleeting feelings and visions of what I was capable of and who I really was, and I’d be encouraged and inspired and work with renewed enthusiasm to create my dreams….but eventually and invariably I’d get in my own way.  

It began to make life feel less like life and more like a life sentence, one where I was to have these desires in my heart and sight and, most painfully, I had a very clear understanding that I was the one who had erected these prison walls yet I had no idea how to break free.

Fast forward to today. I am free and most definitely living a life that previously I only dreamt of living.  It’s not that I never get in my own way anymore.  Yes, I might get derailed now and then, but never for long because I trust myself to know how to get back on track.  After more than a decade now of studying and practicing what works and what doesn’t, there is a world of difference in my life.  I no longer feel trapped and confused, nor am I weighed down by self-doubt – and if I am, I know what to do.

Most days these days, I feel free, clear, focused and confident that if I can dream of something, then I will do it.

For example, this morning, I’m writing this blog post.  When I’m done, and I’ve had some sweet morning time with my family, I have a session with a world-class client.  Every time I leave working with this client, I pinch myself.  Dream job!

After that, I’m finishing up a couple paintings that I’ve already sold so I can have them complete before I leave tomorrow for Paris – for fun, for adventure, for meeting up with world-class clients, colleagues, mentors, and friends.

More pinching, more dreams come true.

On top of that, in the past year I’ve tripled my painting sales, my coaching business has quadrupled, I feel my ability to tap the kind of Creativity I know is available to me is only just beginning and getting stronger, and in the last several months I’ve been to Napa twice, Colorado twice, and, again, am headed to PARIS tomorrow.

I tell you all of this because if you are someone who currently gets in your own way, I want to do more for you then to state the frustrating obvious – GET OUT of your own way.  You know that.  If you knew how, you would have done it already, right?  (At least, that’s how I always used to feel!).

I wanted to write this in case anyone out there reading is feeling frustrated, stuck, confused, or despairing because they can’t figure out how to get out of their own way.  I wanted to offer you today three of my favorite ways for getting out of your own way.  And I wanted to tell you what the results have been for me because I know what it’s like to receive advice and yet you’re wary of trusting it because you don’t want to try one more thing that’s just left you disappointed.  

I’ve shared with you the results I am experiencing and now here are a few of the things I have done that have not only worked, but have been the most impactful.  Some of the effects are immediate and I can promise that the positive effects will just continue to snowball if you continue to practice them faithfully.

Don’t give up on yourself or your dreams but wholeheartedly give these three things a try.  They’ve worked miracles in my own life:

1. Learn to embody ease while doing hard things.  
Become a student of doing challenging things with a spirit of ease.  Your dreams will always require that you do hard things, but if you can learn to do hard things with ease in your mind and spirit, you will be amazed at the results.

An easy (sorry, couldn’t help myself!) way I practice this when feeling challenged and frustrated is to ask myself these kind of questions:

Where is the ease here?  What would ease do?  How could I make this easier?

2.   Ask for help
This seems obvious, but it was one that kept me stuck for years.  I didn’t like asking for help even when it was offered and free (especially if it was free as I hated to inconvenience anyone).

For example, I didn’t want to invest in coaching, mentors, or a mastermind community because I didn’t think I was “there” yet – as in, hadn’t earned it, wasn’t successful enough yet, wasn’t making enough money yet, etc.  Long story short, I finally got over this…and wondered why I had waited so long.

Enlisting the help of those who are the best at what they do who can help me become the best I am capable of becoming has been some of the best money I have ever spent.  Hands down.

Every single part of my life has improved tremendously since hiring a coach, investing in trainings, and joining masterminds.  Beyond the improvements, I also feel that I’ve grown in ways – and with a speed- that I’m not sure I would’ve experienced otherwise.  Yes, there were some duds in those experiences, but what investment doesn’t have risk?  Furthermore, every experience that wasn’t so good made me a more savvy and selective investor. And the cumulative return has been so, so worth it.

Spend time researching coaches and programs to find a good fit for what it is you are trying to accomplish- but be onto yourself if you find yourself in a long, holding pattern, “just waiting” for exactly the right time and exactly the right coach or program.  If you’ve been wanting to do it for over six months and haven’t pulled the trigger yet, I’d say chances are you are just making excuses.  In the words of Karen Lamb,

“A year from now, you’ll wish you had started today.”

I still find myself experiencing major fear every time I invest in a coach or something similar.  If I would’ve listened to it, I would’ve missed out on three life-changing experiences this year, not to mention countless other extraordinary and beautiful experiences and accomplishments.  There’s always going to be fear – expect it and trust yourself.  (A great coach can help with that, by the way).

I also wanted to share the example of hiring help for household chores and childcare because I know many of my readers are working to raise families and dreams side-by-side.  Although I had to work through feelings of guilt and wondering what other people would think, eventually I came to the realization that everyone must find their own way.   For me this meant owning that in order for me to feel healthy, happy, and at peace with myself, I needed a certain amount of time to paint, to write, to coach, and work on my business.  And to do this, I needed help.  

Now I am so grateful to the sitters who have so lovingly helped our family and the part-time nanny I currently have is a God-send.  Literally.  The harmonious and loving energy she brings to our children and our home has helped all of us is something I am deeply grateful for…and now it’s hilarious to me that it was something I ever felt guilty about and waited for so long to do!

3. Give up perfection and give yourself permission to suck at it.
I know this dream in your heart seems way too precious to let your work toward it, on it, in it, your creation of it be anything less than perfect, but consider this:

Perfect is impossible.  Therefore, aim for perfection and you have just set yourself up for inevitable failure.  Interestingly, a part of you knows this and that’s precisely why it’s insisting, “Oh no!  I have much too high of standards and this is way too important for anything to be less than perfect!”  Don’t be fooled.

Your dream is way too precious, way too important, for it to have to be perfect.  Perfectionism will kill your dream and your spirit.

You can do better than perfection.  Your dreams can do better than perfection.

I am constantly challenging myself and my clients to find what is better than perfect.

Here are a couple things to think about:

Done is better than perfect. 
(that one is allegedly a mantra at Facebook – seems to be working out okay for them…)

And, for those of you whose egos get sneaky and sophisticated and who claim you know perfection is impossible, but you just really want to be excellent — beware!

If aspiring to “excellence” has helped you make a TON of progress and you are honestly sitting in your dream life right now because “excellence” has guided you there – wonderful.  Keep doing what you’re doing.  This next part doesn’t apply to you.

If, on the other hand, you are someone who has been aspiring to excellence, and yet you are making little to no progress, you’re feeling very frustrated with what you’ve been able to create, and you’ve got miles and years to go before you get the results you want, this next piece is for you.  It’s something I picked up years ago from an article or blog post by Bungay Stanier and I have it written down in my journals and sometimes even write it on the wall of my studio to help me get unstuck:

Forget about being excellent.  I just want wanting to be f*&!ing amazing.

You can substitute whatever two words you like for the ones I’ve underlined.  These are the two that often work for me because I don’t ordinarily cuss, but when I do, I know I mean business.  This puts me in a space where I know I’m no longer messing around with my little excuses about wanting to be create something that is perfect/excellent/quality, etc.  I see right through those and just get to work doing the best I can with the best energy I have to offer.

 

***

Again, these three things, undertaken with a fierce, deep commitment to honoring myself and my dreams and my desire to live the life I know I am capable of living and to become the person I know I am capable of becoming, have honestly helped dreams come true for me.  It’s felt nothing short of miraculous.

And I’m still practicing them and putting them to use every single day (as I have a lot of life and dreams left!).   

It is my deep, deep wish and my prayer that you take them and work miracles with your own dreams and life.

If you have questions or comments about anything I’ve shared, or if you have your own insights about what’s helped you get out of your own way and unleash your potential, please leave a comment below.  I’d love to hear from you!

Here’s to getting out of your own way and getting on with the real work of your life!

XO-

Leah

PS- If you have a dream that you want to bring to life – but haven’t yet – my next round of private coaching (beginning in late October) may be for you.  It’s called EPIC and it’s specifically for people who have a vision for what their life could be and they are ready to ditch the waiting and commit to making this next year the year it happens.  It’s not just about the one career/relationship/financial/health goal or achievement either – this is a holistic program.  I want you not only to write your book, land the dream job, fall in love, get in the best shape of your life, travel the world….I want you to fall in love with the world and your entire life and have it be the most remarkable year of your life.

And that is why I’m calling it EPIC.  ;)  

Nothing less.

Because of the nature of the program and the intensive way we’ll be working together, I’m keeping the number of clients I’m taking for this work small, so if you’re interested, be sure to sign up for my newsletter to stay in the loop or send me an email with EPIC in the subject line to be added to the first-to-know wait list.  I’d love to help you create a year that, when it’s all done and you’re celebrating, you can look back on and say, 

“YES. That. Was. EPIC.”

 

 

 

Keeping the Faith By Doing the Work

painting mess

I have been SO creative the past couple weeks.

I’ve spent more hours than I want to count writing and rewriting.  After initial rewrites and edits, I ended up with 40,000+ words.

Of those 40,000 words, I cut it down to 2,900 that I will probably actually use.  I sent a rough draft to a mentor and received feedback (very trustworthy, valuable feedback) that I need to cut it by at least a third.

I’ve spent hours and used lots and lots of color painting.  I have at least a dozen canvases going.  And It’s a pretty generous assessment to say that eleven of them are looking worse and more confusing than when I started.

At times it’s been a dream.  A day where I got to paint and write is a dream day in my book.  (But let’s be clear, the “and” is key there.  Just a writing day with no painting…not quite as dreamy.  Now you know where my bias currently lies!)

At other times, I would’ve called it agony except that I think I was too exhausted to feel agonized.  Mostly my eyeballs just hurt and I dropped into bed.

What keeps a person going when things just don’t seem to be going?

For me, it’s running, yoga, meditation, prayer (constant), mentors, the grounding love and immediate needs of my family, the voice of my mom on the phone, a call from a friend, wonderful care for the children so I have time for these things, a last minute, end-of-the-week and after-both-our-kids-are-asleep girls’ night out that involves a couple cocktails, a fire pit, and a beautiful September evening…

But if none of these things trip your trigger, here are some brilliant lines that also are miraculous to me in times like these…

“You are entitled to your labor, but not to the fruits of your labor.” (Krishna)

And the following from my man Rilke:

“I have faith in all those things that are not yet said.
I want to set free my most holy feelings.
What no one has dared to want
will be for me impossible to refuse.”

How can you not keep on keeping on after reading that?

“I want to set free my most holy feelings.”

YES.  That is what I want.  I want my labor AND if it takes 4 MILLION words and stacks and stacks of canvases, so be it. (tho let’s be clear, God – that’s not actually what my first three preferences would be….)

I’d love to hear how you keep the faith when up against your greatest challenges, creative or otherwise!  If you have something that you turn to, please share in the comments below.

Onward in faith and creativity-

Leah

 

My Mantra for Growing Soul

silver pink sunset on Lake Michigan

I absolutely love swimming in open water.

And I am also absolutely terrified of swimming in open water.

This has been the case all my life but it was when I was in my mid-twenties and training competitively for triathlons (I wanted to make it to the Olympic trials) that I had to face this fear head on and find a way through it. I didn’t make the trials but I did, eventually, become a stronger open water swimmer – even with bodies thrashing all around me, often times swimming over me and receiving many kicks in the gut, face, and goggles along the way.  I’ve swam in open water countless times and, in fact, it’s even on my “bucket list” to swim in beautiful, open water whenever I can.

I’m also absolutely still so terrified that I have to coach myself through almost every new encounter with the deep so that I do not panic and drown.

I’m sure some of you might be wondering,”Then why in the hell would you keep doing it?”

Because I love it.  There is something about swimming in open water that to me is healing and magical.

And I also do it because I know that at that place where a strong call or an inner push intersects with great fear and resistance is an opportunity to grow soul and to really, truly live.

I want to make a habit of saying yes to those opportunities.

But even more than it being a habit, I want to be someone who, as a rule, just lives by her inner Yes. 

So, this past July, during our annual family vacation to the western shore of Lake Michigan, I made it a special point to swim in the sunset every evening.  I love sunrises and sunsets so the beauty of the setting sun + the beauty of the Lake Michigan = too exquisite an opportunity to pass up.

On the first evening, I stood on the shore watching the setting sun beckoning me, even laying down a wake of rose light for me to follow out to the buoy.

It was glorious.

And I was paralyzed.

Something deep in me is inextricably drawn by the invitation to experience life in this way, the beauty of this opportunity, and yet so much of me – most significantly my body and mind- becomes involuntarily gripped with extreme fear.

Yes, part of the fear is totally irrational… I can talk myself out of my fear of a giant, man-eating carp lurking just below where I can see or a sudden rip current in perfectly still waters.

But the fear that I cannot reason with is the one that washes over me when I’m surrounded by water, the one that comes from the sense of the vast and profound, sublime deep and power of things that is easy to forget when you are on land but impossible to ignore when you are away from shore and your feet can’t touch bottom.  That kind of fear, the existential kind, gives a disdainful ha! and spits on logic.

What I am trying to get at is that there are always competing voices in me.  Standing there on the shore was the voice that says,

“Ignore the call of the sun, ignore the pull of the water, ignore the beauty, ignore the possibilities, just stand here where it is warm and dry and safe and you still get to watch the sun…it’s not such a big deal if you don’t get in and swim.”

And yet another part of me is taking in the invitation and whispers,

Yes.

This is life again and again.  Life opens a door, unfolds an opportunity, extends an invitation - and what do you do?

I don’t think we are punished for not saying yes, for turning down the invitation.  That’s free will.

And I don’t think things are easy once we say Yes.  I don’t think that means that that was the one act to cure our fear and clear the obstacles.

That’s not how it works for me anyway.

Like that evening on the lake.  I ran in, dove below the surface, and, for the first twenty strokes, swam like mad. I pulled and pulled with my arms, and kicked and kicked my legs, trying to get a head-start on my terror.  But it was still there, squeezing my lungs so that I had to swim awhile with my head above water.

After I was too tired to keep swimming like that, I slowed down, and then again slowed even more deliberately.  I went moment by moment, experiencing my hands reaching forward and dipping into the silvery pink water that also seemed to have the consistency of liquid silver.

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I swam in the trail of the sun, letting myself feel as much of that profound depth below me, all around me, as I could without it overwhelming me, and I let myself grow, expand and expand to hold all my truth in that moment- the love of beauty, the feeling my body moving through the water, the exhilaration of the experience…AND the terror.  And to be able to contain it all and keep breathing and keep moving and stay anchored to peace, I came back to the mantra that has been my unfailing companion and the source of much strength and courage, again and again, whether I’m swimming in the deep, painting, taking a leap in my business, mothering, bringing another part of my soul into the light of the world:

This is terrifying

and this is Beautiful.

 

This is terrifying

and I so want to do this.

 

This is terrifying,

This is Beautiful,

And I am doing this.

 

I am doing this.

 

I am doing this.




IMG_6392

 

Is there something beautiful that is calling to you that, at the same time, terrifies you?

If so, please leave a comment!  I’d love to hear about your experience and ways you have made your way through fear and into the land of truly living!

With love,

Leah

 


elijah 2My son Elijah.  He wanted to accompany me out to the buoy but he is still learning to swim.  Maybe he’s pondering that “someday” from the many times he hears “someday you can come along” here…

 

“The Lotus and The Rose”

The Lotus and The Rose copy

“The Lotus and The Rose”
Leah Campbell Badertscher, 2014
36×40 original acrylic on canvas

(The original has sold but you can find beautiful reproductions of this piece and my others, in a variety of sizes and materials, here in my Society6 shop.)

 

I have been meaning to share the final photos of this painting, “The Lotus and The Rose,” for awhile.  I actually finished this one- and sold it- this spring and then uploading this to my site drifted down my to-do list, but here I am today – better late than never!

I also wanted to include a bit of the story behind this painting.  I’ve heard from many people that they love hearing the story behind the art.  And what I wrote here also tells not only about this specific piece, but is revealing of my process in general (and I, for one, am crazy about hearing about other people’s creative processes!!).

What follows is an excerpt from an email I wrote to the lovely woman who inquired about this piece and then ended up buying it (and it is one of the best feelings ever to have a painting going to someone who loves it as much as I do!).

So, here it is, a little impromptu story about “The Lotus and The Rose”…
I love how this one has evolved – and its final evolution!  And I love that you love this piece.  There are many layers here – obviously the wings, the rose, the lotus, the birds, the words (including, “expand outward, expand beyond your limits, love, you are love, you are not your limits, you are love…”) These are all actually mantras I have adopted and practiced myself (including while working on this piece!) in order to continue to evolve from feeling like an artist in my soul to actually being an artist.  Mantras to evoke my soul – and I hope that energy translates and is imparted to the viewer and is something they can use on their own journey.
And I love to include words in my paintings because I think of them as “sacred functional art.”  They serve to remind you as you go about your daily life, in a beautiful and inspiring, loving way, of who you really are and how you want, then, to live.
To me, this painting is very much about a spiritual journey, is particularly evocative of and expressing divine feminine energy, is about the evolution of a soul…how do you go beyond your *known* limits…how do you “grow” wings…how do you evolve…you must have some sense that you are not your limits, that you are love, and be able to tap into that somehow…the painting isn’t just a representation of that but I actually feel like my best painting, like this one, comes from a place of letting go of my limited self and letting something else be expressed, embodying love, embodying something more than my limited mind has access, too…something greater than me but that also feels so much like the fundamental, deepest, truest me…
 The rose and lotus are, to me, particularly feminine and divine feminine at that, also representing beauty, unfoldment, awakening, allowing…  It’s surprising even to me what images “show up” because the way I paint these days is not to plan or conceive of ideas – it’s just to paint, and to feel, and to “see” what’s there or what seems to want to be there.  I think the wings for me, too, are my desire to make physical the presence of invisible support and love I believe/sense is there…and also to make physical our spiritual evolution as humans.  The rose and lotus, I was amazed to see and then not at all – I think it’s the natural marriage of east (lotus) meets west (the rose – the Blessed Mother…who I now understand in a radically different way from the way I was taught in my traditional Catholic religious ed classes growing up).  And then there are all the birds…I really have a thing for flight, birds, wings, soaring…  the motifs show up often!
And that is the long story short!  I’ve been working on this one for almost 2 years – it’s definitely changed a lot and I’ve had times of putting it away for awhile and then coming back to it when it (I) felt right.
So, believe it or not, I could actually go on and on (there’s a lot of time to think and not think when you’re painting!) about the stories in this one painting…and then there are all the things other people tell me THEY see and feel from it… but I will now get to the details you asked for!

***

You can probably gather from what I wrote in that email that this piece is a very significant one for me (they each end up holding a strong meaning for me, in their own ways…).  I didn’t mention it above explicitly, but “The Lotus and The Rose” has also been very emblematic of other breakthroughs I’ve experienced this year and am still experiencing.  I think, in fact, the very act of making that painting helped to guide me through some terrain and past certain of my own previously established boundaries, and then the finished painting felt like an important breakthrough in itself.  Then the fact that someone else was drawn to the very essences that I felt went into the creation of the painting was pretty flat-out-amazing.  And, again, each time someone loves a painting, buys it, owns it, and then tells me how much joy or magic or wonder or love or inspiration or miracles or peace or happiness it brings them…I just am moved to tears grateful.

Painting, at the best times for me, feels like being filled with the breath of God.  I have to believe that that doesn’t end with me or with the painting, but lives on through the painting to whoever enjoys it, stops to appreciate it, takes it in.

The themes of breakthroughs and big leaps keep showing up in huge ways in my own life and in the lives of my clients this year – in fact, so much so that it has very much informed the design of my upcoming coaching program – EPIC – which begins in October.  (Just sign up for my newsletter if you want to stay in the loop or email me at leah@leahcb.com with EPIC in the subject line to be added to the waiting list!).  

All of this energy swirling around breakthroughs and big leaps has me wondering – is this happening for you, too?  If so, I’d love to hear about that as well and how you are navigating that exciting though often challenging experience.

As always, thank you for reading and being in my orbit!  I love that you are here.

And for all of us – here is to continuing to move beyond and rise above our “limits”!

Love,

Leah

The Trifecta of a Magical Morning, The Formula for Getting Your Day off to a Brilliant Start

st. mary's lake at dawn

I stopped during one of my runs this week to take this pic of the sun rising over St. Mary’s Lake on the campus of Notre Dame at dawn.

While I believe of making the best of any day in any circumstances, I can’t deny there is this magical trifecta that, for me, never fails to create an amazing morning and sets me up for a brilliant day.  (I’d even go so far as to say it I feel utterly magnetized by this kind of morning and I have plenty of stories to back that up, but those are other posts for another time.)

Here is This is the trifecta of a magical morning for me:

Early Morning + Nature + Movement = Magic

Also, there is another topic that is related to this that I have been dying to talk about but as of yet haven’t figured it out how to say it succinctly in one (or several) blog posts.  My clients have been hearing more and more about this though and it is something I’ve been pouring out in my book writing.

But I think I’ve narrowed it down to a place to begin sharing it with you, so that what’s up next on my blog post docket – another magical trifecta!  So, stay tuned…

Until next time, have a wonderful weekend!  And, if you get a chance to give my magical trifecta a try, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. Also, if you have your own go-to practice that sets you up for amazing days (and an amazing life), please share that as well!

P.S. Beginning in October I will be accepting a limited number of new private clients for my new coaching program.  This is going to be Epic.   I’ve had some incredible, incredible experiences that have clarified and intensified my vision about the work I’m doing, including the people I’m meant to coach.  This next round of coaching is about this work and is for these people.

I will share more details in the weeks to come, but for now I will say that this coaching will be for people who feel they have a capacity for creating something really incredible in this world, they feel they have the potential to be a creative, soulful genius but that, for a number of reasons, they haven’t been able to tap that source of creativity or wisdom effectively or in a sustained and successful way.  These people feel they have a star rising within them, a star just reaching for the dawn, people who may have been holding back but want to dream again, and dream big and who are willing to dare and hold nothing back in creating that dream.

This program will be for people who are ready and hungry to learn how to tap, embrace, and follow their own unique vision for their life and their world.  These people must be ready (or at least ready enough to leap in and) do the greatest, most amazing, profound work of their lives in a spirit that embraces and masters the art and skills of playing to one’s edge,  dropping the drama of struggle and playing small, and instead creating and living from a place of flow, ease, joy, elegance, power, and authenticity.  Coaching will begin in October, will be nine months, and I’ll begin taking applications for clients in two weeks.  If you’d like to get on the waiting list, please send me an email at leah[at]leahcb[dot]com with “Epic Coaching” in the subject line and I’ll make sure you are the first to receive information about how to apply!

As always, thank you for reading!  I love that you’re here.

XOXO-

Leah

 

Go with All Your Heart!

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I just received this card in the mail today and I can’t think of a more perfect message to share with you today.

For almost a decade now, I’ve been on this inner-journey of following my heart and doing so with ever-intensifying honesty, enthusiasm, and courage.

In the past few years, following my heart has also led me on several literal journeys. I’ve traveled to numerous workshops, trainings, retreats, and conferences, all with the intent of unleashing my own potential and honing my skills and my craft as a coach, as a writer and artist, and as an entrepreneur.

This past year I’ve traveled more than ever (in just the past few months I’ve been to Napa twice, Telluride, Durango twice, savored an idyllic week on the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan with my family, not to mention a number of trips back to visit our families in Iowa and Nebraska) and the adventures have been rich, profound, beautiful, magical, and just plain crazy-fun!  Up next, I’ll be traveling to Paris at the end of September.  There I’ll get to spend a week living my dream of doing work that blends my loves for beauty, empowering and inspiring others, being a life-long learner, food, wine, art, deep friendships, belonging to a community of kindred spirits who dream big and walking their talk and are doing incredible things in the world, exciting adventures – and more!- in a city my heart fell in love with when I was a college student studying abroad in San Sebastian, Spain. Though I haven’t been back to visit the City of Lights in the fifteen plus years since and am an Iowa farm girl (born and raised!) something about this upcoming trip and everything that has led up to it feels like coming home.

Which is what I think inevitably happens when you follow your heart.

There is no where your heart will lead you that will not, in the deepest part of you, feel like home…even if the road there is raw, uncertain, one upon which you frequently overhear yourself saying, ‘this is the hardest…and most amazing…thing I’ve ever done…,” one upon which you’ll often hear bystanders hurl their judgments, doubts, and criticism your way, and one which can, very often (in my case, anyway), be just as terrifying as it is beautiful and exhilarating and deeply satisfying.  It can hold a deep peace of knowing you are doing what you are meant to do…and it can, nearly simultaneously, make you want to curl up in a ball and hide – from the world and from your own biggest ambitions and deepest dreams.

And this brings me to the real message I had for you today – the whole reason I wanted to share the message of, “Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart!”

Because every single time I have said yes to my heart and said yes to going with my whole heart, I have felt some degree of terror, from a twinge to profound trembling, the next day my body often seized with regret and wracked with the urge to vomit just thinking about what I’d committed myself to doing.

And I can honestly tell you that every single time it has been so, so worth it.

For so long I’ve been wondering why saying yes to my heart and following through on it created such a life or death response in me.

I think it’s because every little opportunity you make to listen to yourself and to choose the next step that is right for you and your life, it is a small-death – a death to the you that was living by default and according to other people’s plans and expectations for you (no matter how big, small, or nonexistent they were, no matter how big, small, or nonexistent other people think YOU are).

And each of those decisions of following your heart is was saying yes to you, the REAL you, to your life and your commitment to really, truly LIVING it.

If you want to really, truly begin not only listening to your heart but following it no matter where it takes you – and going wholeheartedly- you will want to stay tuned in the days and weeks to come as I release more information about some things I’ve been working on, quietly and behind the scenes, for the last several months.  I have never been so excited about the work I’ve been doing (in all areas of my life – coaching, art, writing, mind/body, lifestyle, family, spirituality, adventure/travel/experience, beauty), the progress that I’ve been making, the things I’ve learned, and I cannot wait to share it all with you!  This has been a year of many breakthroughs for me and I am so on fire to begin working with more and more clients who are ready for their own breakthroughs and miraculous shifts, who are ready to realize and realize (really live!)  more and more of their own true potential.

Again, more details will be coming soon, but in the meantime, I can tell you that I’m nearing completion of my book (something I’ve always wanted to write about and is also the final criteria before I receive my MASTER Coach certification); nearing completion of a free three-part Soul Revival coaching program; nearing completion of my first downloadable e-product (an in-home retreat entitled “Your Seven-Day Soul Revival”), a brand new program for one-on-one coaching clients (the most exclusive and EPIC way to work with me yet!); and also researching several options for one-on-one or small group luxury retreats (think super fun girls’ spa weekend away meets badass breakthroughs on a variety of topics – body/business/creativity/relationships/wealth/lifestyle meets breathtakingly beautiful locations meets soul-stirring conversations over bottles of wine shared during gorgeous, sumptuous dinners that last long into the night…all which will give way to meeting yourself-and life- in such a way that you will go home a changed woman, and yet…you’ll have the strangest, most delicious feeling that you’ve never felt so much like yourself in your whole life…).

If you’d like to stay in the loop and not miss out on these offerings and others, you can just sign up for my free newsletter in the right sidebar by entering your email address.

So, please do check back for more details and in the meantime – go with all your heart, my friends!

XOXO-

Leah

One of My Favorite “Feels Like Magic” Creative Genius Tools for When You’re Blocked

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If you’ve ever been wanting to get into the flow of your creative process but everything just feels out-of-whack – you’re not feeling inspired, you’re stuck, you’re frustrated, or, heaven forbid, you let yourself say “I’m blocked,” (I don’t believe in blocks, but I know that’s a common myth in our current creative paradigm, so I’m using it here…more on that another time!) – here’s a tool I use that works like magic.

Consider that the fact that if, right now, whatever you’re doing creatively doesn’t feel right, that this is actually REALLY GOOD NEWS!

Think about it – if there wasn’t already within you the vision or other-felt formed potential of what IS to be, you wouldn’t have this discordant feeling signaling that what ever you are currently doing, it ISN’T it.

If something in you knows what feels wrong, then TRUST that same internal guidance to lead you to what feels right.

Experiment with letting go of thinking and judging and instead drop into how your creating experience feels.  Let the visceral experience guide you.  Let yourself be led by your felt (body/spirit) experience.

Not only can you play with allowing the feelings to take the lead and then following them, but you can also get more intentional by picking a thought, a mantra, that has a powerful resonance for you.  You can then experiment with creating by following the resonance, the emotion – the vibration in the body- created by the mantra you chose.

If you have any thoughts on this technique or other out-of-the-box tools and practices you use to tap your creative genius, I would so love to hear about them!  This, my friends, is the kind of thing I could talk about for hours and hours…

XOXO-

Leah

 

Wanting “The More” and a letter from a client…

I’ve been blessed to have some incredible clients.
This past spring, I got really clear about who I wanted to work with and the kind of work I want to do.
What’s interesting was that I’ve known from the beginning – and long before I started coaching, really – the kind of person I wanted to work with and the kind of work I wanted to do.
The lack of clarity was a unconscious but deliberately created confusion on my part because I had a fear of admitting and owning what I really wanted and what I truly believe I am capable of.  Deep down, I’ve always known what I want and who I am, but for so long I kept that hidden behind a synthetic fog of confusion because I lacked  courage…or so I thought.
This has been a profoundly tremendous year for me.  I have had so many experiences and revelations that, to describe as anything less that life-changing, would be to do them a great injustice.
One of the results of these experiences is that the strength and trust with which I know who I am and believe in what I am doing and what I am capable of doing, has grown by leaps and bounds (interestingly enough because this is the year in which I took some major leaps of faith which required trust in myself and in God).
So, to return to the story of my clarity about my clients and the community of people I’m meant to work with and serve…
Once I got clear, I declared (to myself and to a circle beloved friends, colleagues, and mentors) that I wanted to be world-class.  That I do believe that is possible for me, that I do believe that’s who I am.  And I set the intention that part of that vision of doing world-class work involves working with world-class clients, people who are at the top of their game- “peak performers” and the elite- people who want to grow and evolve by connecting to something greater than themselves and who want to live from their soul to do the sacred work they feel they are being called to do.
Not two months after setting this intention, I began working with three brand new clients, all who have had great success operating top of their game in their respective fields (and all their fields are vastly different) and all who also felt drawn to something more, something that they each articulated very differently, but something that I describe as “The More.”  To be clear, this isn’t the more as in more money, more house, more status, more recognition, more fame.  Not that there is anything wrong – at all – with these things, but for these clients, that is something they have in the bag.
It is “The More” which I can most simply describe as “More Life, More Real Living.”
“The More” is something which I’ll continue to talk about in posts to come, but for now I wanted to share with you a letter I received from one of these soul athletes in which she describes her experience of working with me this past summer and tapping into her own version of “The More” by experiencing more of her own true and creative nature.
Here is the letter I received…

Leah,
I have so much enjoyed my summer of writing and working with you. Although the time has felt too brief, I know it’s impact will be lasting, and that I will forever be grateful for your pivotal influence in my work.
Without question, in four very short months, I have grown as a person and as a writer.  Even the reference to myself as a writer, without inhibition, is an amazing fast-forward to where I was just a few months ago.  Your graceful presence during our calls, and non-threatening way of prodding deeper, has helped me uncover my creative spirit in a way in which one might re-aquatint with a childhood friend.  I revel in the amazement of what has unfolded beautifully, unexpectedly, and naturally.
I recall one of our first conversations, when you were trying to get me to verbalize my belief in spirit without directly asking the question.  I was growing frustrated in the obvious lack of connection in your ask and in my response.  My twenty plus years of Corporate America conditioned thinking couldn’t get past the surface to the subtle.  I struggled to move from the concrete to the spiritual.  You kept patiently reframing the question in a non-direct manner, awaiting for my synapsis to connect.  You knew they would eventually.  You were not attached to the outcome.  You were committed to the process.  Finally you asked the question in a way that pulled me out of my head and into my heart.  You framed the question to be about my boys, knowing that when I speak as a mother, I speak my truth.  It worked.  Looking back, I think about the genius in that first session.  How you instinctively knew in order to maximize our work, we would need to go deep.  How you knew it’s impact would be greater if discovered by me than spelled out by you.  How with grace and wisdom you orchestrated that awakening to me unknowingly and early on.
Thank you for so openly sharing your creativity, beauty, wisdom and heart. Thank you for fostering a safe place for me to discover another piece of me in the process of our work.  To my surprise, I kinda like the person I found, and may just keep her around for awhile.  :)
Love and best wishes,
M. from California
(corporate exec, writer, mother)
 
XOXO-

Leah

“LIFE” – A new painting and it’s story

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“LIFE”
original painting by Leah Campbell Badertscher, 30×30 acrylic on canvas
Available Friday, June 20, 5-8 PM per silent auction, Floyd County, Iowa
value: $1,800, painting will go to highest bidder
If you are not able to attend the auction but would like to place a bid by proxy, please contact me at leah@leahcb.com.  Please note that if you win the auction and would like to have the painting shipped, there will be an additional $150 required for S&H.

 

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

-Mary Oliver (from the poem When Death Comes)

This is a painting that I created for a Relay for Life silent auction fundraiser in Floyd County, Iowa.  I was honored to be able to contribute something to this event.  Not only do I believe deeply in the cause but because I grew up in Floyd County (and was even once the Floyd County Queen!) it is extra special for me to be able to give back to the place that gave me so much.

I began this painting as I begin all my paintings – with a prayer.  I open my hands and lift my heart and ask God to allow me to remember that I am the vessel and not the Source.  I also ask that I be allowed to do the best that I am able to do and that it might somehow bring something beautiful and useful, necessary even, to others.  Sometimes I even write the words of my prayers onto the blank canvas so that that intention becomes the very foundation of the painting.  I also spend a good amount of time “gathering Inspiration” for any given painting and, again, I ask to notice the Inspiration I am meant to see.  This painting was no exception.

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I try not to have any preconceived notions about what my paintings will look like before I begin.  I much prefer to get lost in the process, carried away by the flow, and be surprised myself by what happens.  I did know, however, that one of my deep intentions for this painting was that it be so, so, so very full of life and a reminder of the miraculous, divine nature of the gift of our lives and this world.

I know cancer can cause so much fear and many times results in tremendous pain, loss, and nearly unbearable grief.  I have known too many people who have in some way been affected by the disease, either had cancer themselves or they have loved ones who have had cancer.  My grandfather died when he was 43, before I was born, of cancer.  I have aunts and numerous friends who are breast cancer survivors and I’ve also lost two family members in just this past year.

These people, those I know and love and those I don’t know and yet send so much love to, were very much in my mind and in my heart when I created this piece.  For them and for everyone who loves them, I didn’t want the emphasis to be on the loss of life or threat of losing life or fear.

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Instead, I made it my intention to come from a place of being heart-centered, true to my profound belief in the innate goodness and miraculous nature of Life, aligned with a deep joy of living and love of life- all of life.  I wanted to paint as a bride married to amazement! I even wrote those words (though they’re mostly hidden now) into the painting, and other words that, to me, represent and embody a similar energy of aliveness and love, words like ” believe in miracles,” “choose love,” and more…

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I was in the middle of contemplating this painting (meaning that I was holding it in my heart and being open to inspiration) when my family and I took a trip to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.  As we toured the Egyptian exhibit, a certain symbol kept catching my eye.  I knew I’d seen it before but couldn’t recall what it meant.  I also had a hunch it was something I was meant to use in this painting even though I couldn’t remember the meaning.  I sketched the symbol in my journal and then looked it up when we got home.

The symbol was that of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic “ankh,” also known as “key of life.”  (If you google it you’ll get a much more in-depth and fascinating history).

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It was the inspiration for the vibrant orange symbol you see in the painting.  At first I thought it was something that would eventually fade into the background of the painting as I added more layers.  But I like to let my paintings speak to me and dictate the course of things and the symbol not only wanted to remain, but it demanded to be dominant, foreground, and a strong, vibrant, alive orange.

It also, as you can see, is not exactly like the “ankh.”  Whereas the “ankh” has one solid line bisecting the vertical line, my symbol has two shorter lines running perpendicular to the horizon of the painting – like an equal sign.  To tell you the truth, I have a hunch or two what this might mean, but I’m not entirely sure.  I had a strong feeling though that it was meant to be that way and so I’ve learned to trust those instincts and have left it.  I suspect further meaning will reveal itself in time – or perhaps it will speak to the viewer in ways I could never have imagined and could not explain.

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I love to leave room in my painting process and the paintings themselves for something unexpected and something unexplainable.  To me this is directly related to how I want to live – as if life is, at the origin and all through, something sacred and as such, something mysterious and ineffable.  I believe that when remember this and keep our hearts open to wonder, mystery, and love, that’s when we experience what it means to be truly, deeply alive.

My greatest hope for my paintings is that they inspire in the viewer a connection to the energy and experience I had when creating them.  I have a deep passion for helping people become more fully alive and flourishing – no matter the circumstances, I think at all times we are invited to choose love as a way of strengthen our spirit and our capacity to love and experience Life.  I hope this painting can serve as a reminder that when life delivers a very, very difficult hand, such as cancer, that one response available is to fall more madly in love with life and live, live, LIVE.

In the words of Mary Oliver…

Do not merely visit this world, don’t merely inhabit the world.  Marry yourself to amazement!  Take the world in your arms.

Live your life truly alive.

With love and deep admiration to all affected by cancer,
and with a special dedication and in loving memory to my father-in-law, Roger Badertscher, and our nephew, Braden Badertscher, who lost their battle with cancer this year and who we will always remember for the way they lived  and loved-

Leah


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A letter from a client…

lotus close up

I’ve also taken some time away from my blog in order to finish several paintings.  This is a close-up of a detail in the most recently completed, “The Lotus and The Rose.”  (sold to a beautiful owner and off to live in Canada!  Exciting, eh?! ;) )

 

Dear Friends-

I’ve been away from my blog more than I’d like, but it’s been to make room for a lot of exciting opportunities and to do some deep, meaningful work – including coaching clients in some of the most transformative, profound work I’ve been blessed to do yet.  For those of you who would like to know more about my coaching, I’m posting a letter here from one of the amazing women I’ve had the honor of working with this year.  I give anyone who writes a testimonial for me the opportunity to remain anonymous as coaching can be such close and private work, though the woman who wrote this letter also said she would be glad to serve as a referral and speak to anyone who is seriously interested in working with me.

***

I met Leah through a continuing education class for coaches.  She was one of a dozen women whom I met with via phone once a week and communicated with daily over email for three months.  Initially, I thought of Leah as just a fellow coach looking to build her skills and her practice who also happened to be a talented painter.  Sometime over the course of that 12-week course, however, I noticed that Leah often had stunningly poignant insights on the issue we were discussing with the group.  She said and wrote things that made my ears perk up or my mind do a backflip or the hair on my arms stand up.  I started wanting to hear more from her…

Somewhere along the way, I also discovered that she was a lawyer, although no longer practicing as I hoped to be one day.  Still later, I realized that she was not only a painter but also a writer, as I hoped to be one day too.  How had I missed this information for the past 10 weeks?  I couldn’t have imagined such a perfect mentor but luckily Life did and I asked to work with her.  The next 12 weeks working with Leah directly followed a similar pattern:  I started to notice things that had been right in front of my eyes that I hadn’t seen before; things about my past, my work, my loves, my writing — mostly about myself.  I often came away after speaking with her or after reading one of her tremendously generous emails asking myself:  “How did I not see that until just now?”

I have worked with many coaches, taken dozens of classes, read hundreds of books and listened to thousands of hours of audio and I’ve learned something from most of them.  My experience with Leah was entirely different.  Working with Leah doesn’t feel like learning. It feels like knowing.  It is the experience of seeing something and, having seen, no longer being able to look in the old way now that it has revealed itself to you.  And just to be clear, I am not talking about the typical “Ah ha” moment that everyone is so fond of and that I’ve had plenty of myself.  Leah’s work goes much, much deeper.

It’s as if while I was myopically groping in the dark corners of a cave, Leah was quietly tending the fire and painting a picture on the wall  –  a picture that Life has been wanting me to see for a long, long time.  This is not to imply that Leah is afraid of dark corners.  Just the opposite. She told me at the outset of our work together that the very reason she was here was so that I could “dig with both hands” while she held the lantern.  That’s also what it feels like to work with Leah — like someone at a kitchen table in a place you’ve never been is keeping a light on, steadily holding that lantern.  I still have this sense with me today and I doubt it will ever leave.

Sometimes I have to give it to Life for a hand well-played.  Of course the “coach” I always needed was a visual artist.   How else could I have seen?  Who else could have helped me draw the map or flesh out the picture of what Life and my own heart wanted me to know?

Beauty

Love

Grace

Goodness

Surrounding me

In me

Of me

 

These things can’t be taught.  They can only be seen and thereby known.  For that, you need far more than a coach.  You need a very great artist.  I am blessed beyond words to have known such a one in Leah.

***

If this letter speaks to you, and you think I might be the coach you are looking for – whether to evoke your creative spirit, develop your inner artist, realize your potential,transform your career, reignite a spark in a relationship, create more abundance and wealth – with ease and integrity, or simply to learn how to really, truly wake up every day and fall more deeply in love with life, please send me an email at leah@leahcb.com.  If you’ve been waiting for just the right person to help you live the life you know in your bones you’re meant to live, I offer a free 20 minute consultation and we can see if we’d make the dream team you’re needing to start living a life that exceeds your boldest and most beautiful dreams.  Don’t wait and don’t let your gifts remain trapped inside of you – I’ll hold the lantern and the exciting, deeply rewarding work of inner-excavation will begin!

With love,

Leah