The Trifecta of a Magical Morning, The Formula for Getting Your Day of 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.




Go with All Your Heart!



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!



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

ideas for evoking lots of brushes image
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…




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…

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)


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

photo 5

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  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.

photo 5

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.

photo 3

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…

photo 1

photo 2

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).

photo 3

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.

photo 1

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-


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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?





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  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,


“AWAKE” : The story of a painting

40×40 original, acrylic on stretched canvas
Leah Campbell Badertscher, 2013, All Rights Reserved


(prints still available by contacting me directly and  prints and canvas reproductions available through my Society6 Shop as well)


Does this piece speak to you?
If yes, this letter is for you.
Dear Kindred Spirit,
I created this piece for a woman who is on fire to live.
For a woman who believes life is worth giving our blood, sweat, tears, heart, and soul.
An on-fire woman who believes in the deeply sacred work of being AWAKE to our lives.
I made this art for someone who would recognize it when they saw it.
I made this piece for someone like you.
Someone who wants every day to be meaningful.
Every time you walk through your home and your eyes touch this piece, you’ll know you’re seeing something that’s a powerful physical manifestation of your interior landscape.
This piece will help you, every day, to wake up and remember who you really are.
I want you to be able to have that.
My teacher once told me
“You need to believe in yourself more than anyone else.”
That was an awakening of its own.
I took that home and figured out how to grow that kind of belief in myself and embody the kind of love that belief requires.
This painting is a direct embodiment of some of the best things I have learned. To be able to  tap into what it really means to be AWAKE, to believe in myself, to love myself, and to believe in and love what I have to offer the world.
In all my paintings, I write a message or messages. A message you can see if you look very closely, hidden beneath the beauty. In this painting, one of the messages is: My Whole Heart (you have it).
I know you have tapped into what it means to live wholeheartedly. Felt in your bones and with every fiber of your being that there is a powerful reason you are here and that you have so much - so much - to offer the world.
That’s why this painting speaks to you. Touches you.
I’m an attorney turned artist.
A doubter turned believer.
As I created, I doubted (my potential, myself, God) and struggled (against expectations, my own fear, my lack of experience) and through it made something beautiful.
Through the years, as your eyes land on this painting in your home, you will also doubt and struggle and I want you to know that, inevitably, you are creating something beautiful.
Together, through one piece of art, through my hours of creation, and yours, we will be connected.
We will be collectively connected to each other and the women who share the experience of original sacred art in their homes.
Your most sacred and intimate space deserves something not just stunning to look at, but imbued with energy that travels through your eyes to touch your heart and soul.
There’s power and magic and life in surrounding yourself with the original work of human hands backed by a human heart.
That’s what AWAKE is– sacred functional art.
AWAKE – on fire, on purpose, all in.  The fragility of the blossoms (of a human life) but the incredible power, and bold, fierce beauty of the AWAKENED mind and spirit.
Do you absolutely need this kind of art to live?
You can get by without it.


But you aren’t the getting by kind.


P.S. If you are interested in AWAKE or any of my original pieces, you can contact me at
Also, I’m very excited to announce that I am creating something very special for the collectors of my original pieces!  Everyone that buys one of my originals will (if you like) receive the story – the personal history- of their painting and become part of a special community of my art collectors.  I’ll offer exclusive benefits and first-hand looks at new pieces and behind the scenes videos and information about my creative process and my art.  You’ll also be able to become connected to the truly amazing community of people who have my art in their homes and lives.  This is about more than pretty paintings – this is a movement I like to call Joy Rising.  If you are a modern day Renascence woman or man, I’d love to have you join us!   XO- Leah

Guest Post: The Power of NO…with Susan McCusker

Hello, Dear Readers-

Someone once told me that saying “No” when it’s what you really want – it’s your truth- is not a rejection of the other person, but staying in integrity and saying yes to yourself.

That was a huge moment for me and I love, too, and so when I saw that the radiant Susan McCusker was blogging about “The Power of NO!” I asked if I could share it with the readers of my blog.  You can learn more about Susan and her great work at Enjoy!



The Power of NO…

MARCH 25, 2014


Hi Lovelies…

This week’s post comes as the result of a lot of emotional suffering, blood, sweat, and tears.

In the past month, I’ve agonized over two “big” talks I had to have.  Both of them involved me saying NO:  No, I can’t. No, please don’t.  No, I don’t think so.

Hard stuff.  I am a people-pleaser.  Saying no can feel excruciating for me.  I can’t even tell you the number of times I have found myself in a situation that I cannot even believe I’ve allowed, simply because I’ve been too scared to say no.  I have spent money I didn’t want to spend.  Gone on trips I didn’t want to go on.  Ate food I didn’t want to eat.  Accepted invitations to things I didn’t want to attend.  Concocted crazy lies, excuses, and stories.  All this, to get out of one simple little word.  All this, to avoid speaking my own truth.  All this, because I’d rather “protect” someone else’s feelings, or avoid their judgement.  All this at my own expense.

That last sentence is the most painful to write.  Because it’s so totally true.  When we don’t say NO to the things that we don’t want, the only person we hurt is ourselves.  We basically tell ourselves that we are not worthy of actually saying what we want.

The two incidents that I mentioned above were both things that in the past I would have said YES to.  I would have said yes, gritted my teeth, paid my money, or given my time.  I would have done all of this rather than look two close friends in the eye and say: NO.  Not this time.  I don’t want to.  I super appreciate it, but I can’t.

It took me almost a month to work up to saying no to the first friend.  It was a month of emotional dread.  I thought of every way to say NO.  I decided exactly what I wanted to say.  I rehearsed.  Yet time after time, when faced with the perfect opportunity to speak my mind, I didn’t.  I postponed.  Avoided.  Decided to talk to her at a “better” time.  Essentially, I put it off.  Again and again.  So, it sat on my emotional radar for weeks.  So much suffering.

The funny, and of course unsurprising thing, was that when I finally had this conversation, it took all of two minutes.  And my friend was completely OK with my response.  All that turmoil was so unnecessary.  Inspired by this, I had my second difficult conversation the very next day.  The result was the same.  My friend was very understanding.  She even told me that she agreed with what I was saying.

I am flying high right now my friends.  I have spent so much of my life afraid to say no.  And truthfully, it feels amazing to put myself first.  I know that not every “NO” will go this smoothly; the risk of saying NO can be hurt feelings, and maybe hurt relationships.  And for the first time ever, I think I am ready. I am willing to put myself in the driver’s seat.  Speak my truth.  Say the NO word frequently.  And see what happens.

I’m calling the next week “The Week of No”…I’m going to be saying NO to as many things as I can.  Join me!  Let me know in the comments below how you feel about saying no.



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Susan McCusker is on a mission to create the perfect life. Failing that, she can be found avidly reading self-help books, teaching classes, and hanging out with her family. A native of South Africa, she considers herself a global citizen and currently resides in Cincinnati, OH. She is a certified coach, and holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Notre Dame. You can check her out at


REVEAL: An inside, close-up look at my coaching

For those of you, dear Readers, who are either curious about what it is I do as a coach or you’d like to know because you’d like to work with me, below is a recent excerpt of some email coaching was doing with someone.  I think it offers a beginning taste of what I am about, why I coach, and the kind of coaching you can expect from me.

Always feel free to send me an email if you have questions or would like to inquire about private coaching. I currently have three openings remaining for new private clients. (leah[at]leahcb[dot]com)


I also want to offer this:

I sense two things when I read your five items above (and drawing on some other posts) – vagueness and carefulness (tell me where I’m wrong)- sometimes they overlap and the carefulness creates vagueness.

I think vagueness (wanting clarity) is a corollary of believing you are confused – and you are not.

But I think the carefulness is also contributing to the sense of confusion.

So, if you take the Top 5 Outcomes exercise as being this – imagine that you are at the end of your life – let’s say 90 – what would you want to be able to say to yourself about how you lived?  How would you want to feel looking back over those years?  And how do you need to be living (thinking, feeling, creating, doing) to be able to feel that way?

Just an example, sometimes my visualization of this changes, but I want variations of this:

“God damn, you did it girl.”

I want a deep, deep sense of satisfaction.  I want knowing I always played to my edge.  I want to know I dared.  I want to know I never dreamed too small.  I want to have had exquisite every days and extraordinary experiences.  I want to have been not a small, polite, nice presence in people’s lives – but a big, fat, powerful blessing.  I want people’s worlds to be better, their lives, because of our encounters.  I want to give, give, give.  And I want to know that I just kept on doing this all even though some people did not like what I had to give, did not like me, didn’t get it or me, or even had a strong distaste for me.

I imagine I’m sitting on some hilltop I’ve hiked (and yes, I’m 90) watching the sunset.  What comes to me when I put myself there and look back over my life are:

I’ve pioneered a movement for a generation of women – Joy Rising – is the undertone I get.  It’s because I sensed this swell of something – some kind of great love/joy – divine energy, divine feminine energy, even- that wanted to come into the world and it wanted to come especially through the increased realization of the potential of women.  And through the increased realization of the potential of these women (they were no longer obsessed and held back by their small selves and small self problems), they went on to love, create, heal, lead, and be in the world in all the ways in which the world wants to evolve.

The way I did this was through communicating this message and energy through my art, through my writing, through my poetry.

I did it grass roots – one woman (or man) at a time through my coaching, or several women (men) at a time through workshops/retreats/teaching classes at universities.

I did it through training other coaches/artists/healers/leaders/mothers/fathers – so that the ripple spreads.

I did the blood and guts work of creating it in my everyday life – with my family, my most beloved, in my home, in my community – I treasured and cherished and savored and fell deeply in love and created and channeled inspiration even when it was so easy to feel uninspired and daunted.

I lived FULLY ALIVE.  I loved, danced, I swam, I ran, I yoga’d :), I hiked, I adventured, I laughed, I saw and tasted and drank in the world and its many experiences. I looked for places in the world I hadn’t been – and went there.  And looked for places in myself that I wasn’t sure existed – and explored them as well and discovered that the boundaries of myself kept moving out and out and out. I loved it all and it loved me.

And sometimes I’ll play with this Top 5 Outcomes and imagine that this is the last day on the planet.  How, then, do I live today so that I still get to know I did what I came to do?  I once really believed I was going to die (guess you’d call that a near-death experience) and it was clear in that moment what I was about.  I have lost beloved people, including a close friend who had been very influential in my life, and sat through their funerals and in those moments it was clear what I was about.  If thinking about yourself at 90 is still too vague and careful feeling, bring that deadline really close in – like tomorrow.  What would you be doing and how would you be doing it today?

I don’t know what your response to this will be:

I am sharing, though, because I don’t believe in accidental encounters.  I believe that if I have the opportunity to coach someone (and think of all the things that had to happen for you and I to be brought together), that it is because they need my kind of coaching.  And my kind of coaching is to realize potential – like potential with a capital P.  My coaching is to help people discern, to intuit, to connect to their highest and most sacred call.

My coaching is like this badass but also grandmotherly guardian angel spirit who really, really, really wants to create a space and a scenario in which your soul is drawn out and leads you in the world, that you start to operate from that big, higher self.

I will say that while I’ve read your posts and listened to you on the phone, I sense myself doing this, “waiting, waiting, waiting….”  Like I can feel this part of you that is here for a very specific reason and I’m waiting for you to just come out and say the thing that is in you really wanting to be said.  It’s there, I can totally feel it.  And I know this sounds audacious, but I really don’t doubt myself on this stuff anymore.  It’s there.  What is it?  What do you really want?

Lots of love to you, Love-



Inner-Pilgrimage: On Trust

ATTEND, UNFOLD, Stained Glass Magnolias Painting, Leah Campbell Badertscher

48×48 original acrylic on canvas, Leah Campbell Badertscher, 2012
TRUST and light/sun/shining motifs are recurring themes in my life.
More and more they make their way into my art.
And now Trust is the practice I’m employing to venture more deeply into my writing.

Inner Pilgrimage Resumes on the Topic of Trust:

While I catch up on things here on the blog, I thought I’d share this painting and post from the archives of my former blogsite, (June 4, 2013).  You’ll see the theme of Trust has been with me for awhile!

my shining, your shining life draws close, draws closer, 
God fills us as a woman fills a pitcher.

Those lines are the final lines from a poem called “Trust Me,” written by Jean Valentine.

I could live off those two lines for weeks.  I have, in fact, been reciting them to myself for weeks now and they just get better and better.  Not only are they so achingly beautiful, but when I read them, they so perfectly and profoundly express something I am both seeking and yet also already know to be and in a such a visceral way that it seems to me that I am not just reading someone else’s words but that it is a reverberating truth coming from deep in my bones and vibrating, reaching out.

The entire poem is powerful, if not a little difficult to begin with, but in a fascinating, mysterious, mystical sense – not a cleverly obtuse one.  It’s a wonderful illustration of a creative process that is anchored in the sublime, and a perfect context for discussing how to tap into a deeper, more profound wisdom and creative voice, something that my mentor Fran Quinn calls “the Second Voice,” the “voice” (or creative energy) that can move you beyond clever but the rather boring personal level to creating something more profound and universally meaningful.  It’s a topic I’m writing about in greater depth in my June newsletter (which, if you are interested, you can sign up for at

If you haven’t already, you might try finding a time to be alone and reading those two lines aloud and then allowing yourself a long pause after you finish.  You may have to give it several tries and makes sure you are really connecting, as a whole (not just intellectually, not just reading the words) with the poem.  See if you don’t feel some sort of change in the quality of silence that follows and a powerful resonance within yourself.

my shining, your shining life draws close, draws closer, 
God fills us as a woman fills a pitcher.
With love, and drawing closer,