it’s a blog tour!

When I was invited by my friend Michelle to join in a blog tour, I immediately said yes.  No matter that I had only been back to blogging a few months.  Or that I had no idea how I would answer the questions below.  Michelle is quite simply a light in this world; you can see her responses to these questions here.

So here we go.

What am I working on?

For 15 years, the heart of my work has been to bear witness and be a voice.  Whether I worked for the state domestic violence coalition, a national violence prevention program, the University of Kentucky or my own coaching company, my desire has always been to be a conduit for change.  I just finished my first online course, Brave Hearts, this winter.  And the project that has my heart on fire these days is my 1966 Airstream travel trailer.  I hope to have it on tour this year to collect even more brave and true stories.

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How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hmmm.  There are so many amazing coaches in the world and so many world-changing advocates {both professional and not}…and I am blessed to place my work in their camps.  If anything, people tell me that I am very mindful.  I guess that’s what happens when a Virgo, first-born, introverted philosophy major grows up!  And so this means that I am incredibly intentional with my work—and all of my life.  I read once about the Buddhist notion of Right Livelihood as being the aim to live all of life ethically.  I take that to mean I must show up in every area of my work—my coaching, my teaching, my writing, my mothering, my partnering—with my soul.  And so I don’t become a different person when I am in a coaching session.  I’m just Tisha.  And I don’t take off the coach hat and put on the Mama hat each afternoon.  I just continue showing up as me.  Intentional.  Mindful.  Soulful, I hope.

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How does my writing/creating process work?

Audre Lorde said, I am my best work—a series of road maps, reports, recipes, doodles, and prayers from the front lines.  Yes, this!  I think my best work is born from listening to those I serve as well as myself.  Listening for what wants to be written.  Listening for what is not always seen or honored in this world.

And so my process is organic and alive.  I am learning to listen for the words and projects that are ripe and ready to fall.  I keep a notebook in which I capture loose pieces–a random phrase that pops into my head, a clipping from a magazine, a quote on Pinterest, a line from the weekly Anthropologie e-newsletter.  I let the bits gestate and trust that the stories or projects that want to be born will come at just the right time.  I write morning pages just to spill ideas out of my head each day and I also create vision pages in a vision book, a process I learned in Hannah Marcotti‘s Magic Making Circle.

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Why do I write/create what I do?

Such a delicious question.  Whether I am writing on the blog or coaching with a client, I work to be of service.  I work to hold space for people to be in their process.  For example, I woke one morning during Brave Hearts to a post in our private forum from an advocate. She wrote about her experience being called to the hospital in the middle of the night to sit with someone who had been assaulted.  Reading her words and feeling her experience reminded me that those acts of compassion are so powerful and gorgeous.  And I want all of us to have a space to be seen and honored and heard.  I work because I know we all have stories of courage and transformation to share.

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And now to continue this stroll!

The dear souls below have been part of my my magic circle this last year.  These friends will take the next leg of the tour on May 5th.

Hayley Hunter Hines  is a culinary nutritionist, lifestyle design coach, motivational speaker, and soul sparking adventure seeker dedicated to helping you fall in love with your life.  She also leads workshops and retreats focused on helping others create an authentic expression of themselves and find passion and purpose in life and love.

Kerri Kettle is an audacious story-teller and a passionate pleasure-seeker. She guides women back to their center after difficult times, but really she’s a cheerleader for your spirit.

Melissa Mulligan is a singer, songwriter and vocal coach. She is the owner and head of vocal coaching and artist development of MMVS (Melissa Mulligan Vocal Studios) with coaches in Connecticut, New York, California and throughout the online world. She is a passionate believer in dreams, free spirits and creative self-expression.

Carrie Saba, Health and Lifestyle Coach, is an open-hearted listener of your truth, leading you to love and embracing ease and flow in your own life. She is not afraid of the edge and will take you hand as she guides you to yours.

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truth telling

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“She was beautiful.  but she was beautiful in the way a forest fire was beautiful.” author unknown

Today is for truth-telling.  And so today it’s time to talk about these lips.

These lips have been a mouthpiece on behalf of those who couldn’t find their voice.  They have spoken words of comfort, acknowledgement and fire.  They have opened and closed when it was best to be still and simply listen.

These lips have led the women’s issues club and advocated in courts and preached violence prevention across the country. They have dripped with poetry and tears as formerly incarcerated women finally sat in circle together, free. october5 004

These lips have been pried apart from a surgery that still leaves them numb today. These lips are still waiting to know their own beauty.

These lips have also taken vows to love for all their days. They have been painted cherry red and dusty rose. They have read silly love stories instead of feminist prose. These lips have said, yes you can be a princess for Halloween; you get to choose.

IMG_1995These lips have said fuckyeah! They have said no and they have said yes.

These lips will read, I AM a ray of light.  I’m not a lost cause.  I am stepping out with wild abandon.

These lips will say over and over, a hundred times over, yes; you get to choose.

 

The photo of my lips was taken as a photo prompt in Hannah Marcotti‘s Sexy & Sanguine course.  It was in that class that I let myself begin to explore my own beauty through my camera and on the page.  I write this post today as part of a prompt from Alisha Sommer in the Our Word online writing course.  A prompt of telling our truth.  I’m in deep gratitude to beautiful Hannah and Alisha as well as both courses for giving me a way to unravel some of my own truth-telling.

40 ways to get your groove back

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This is for the days when you need an advocate, too. Here’s a list of tips and tricks gathered from advocates all around.  Advice from the trenches on how to get your groove back one moment at a time.

  1. Write it out.
  2. Make some art.
  3. Take a walk.
  4. Move.
  5. Sing loud and proud.
  6. Go back to school.
  7. Find your own shelter.IMG_2540
  8. Be your own beloved.
  9. Go to group {find your tribe}.
  10. Create a room of your own.
  11. Hug your kid.
  12. Take back the night.
  13. Listen to your heart.
  14. Tell someone.
  15. Believe yourself.
  16. Play.
  17. Pour another cup of coffee.
  18. Find your prayer.
  19. Eat.
  20. Turn up the music and dance.
  21. Get outside.
  22. Take five breaths.
  23. Put your hand to your heart.
  24. Speed vision.
  25. Make dinner.
  26. Get a massage.
  27. Write a letter (whether you mail it or not).
  28. Take a selfie.
  29. Go on a scavenger hunt—for light and beauty. IMG_2016
  30. Take a bath.
  31. Light a candle.
  32. Read what inspires you.
  33. Make a gratitude list.
  34. Send a text to someone you love and trust.
  35. Clean something—your room, your desk, your car, your heart.
  36. Create a morning ritual.
  37. Find your supporters.
  38. Get a haircut.
  39. Make your bed.
  40. Take your medicine, whatever it might be.

pot stirrers and conduits

from Tiffany Peterson, TheLighthousePrinciples.com

from Tiffany Peterson, TheLighthousePrinciples.com

There are shades of advocacy.

Every day moments.

You and me, choosing moment by moment, to speak. Or listen.  Or write.  Or do something.

family dinner 2014

family dinner 2014

To call the teacher and ask for a meeting.

To take the dog home from the pound.

To press the Pay Button on her campaign page.

To deliver diapers and bags of sweaters to the shelter.

To listen when she is in tears and needs a place to land.

To feel the relief when the domestic violence order is granted.

To recycle our yogurt cartons and newspapers.

To call the electric company when we need one more week to pay the bill.

To buy the candy bar from the boy down the street for his fundraiser.

from the VIP Center's TBTN

from the VIP Center’s TBTN

To take back the night.

To sit on the PTA.

To wear a Green Dot shirt.

If advocacy means to be a voice, a conduit for change, I know without a doubt that we are each, in our own way, an advocate for something.

Many dear souls have the job title of advocate at shelters and crisis centers the world over; these brave hearts have my love always.

I coach them, I train them, I befriend them.  I sit over coffee and laugh with them until tears roll down my cheeks.  I stay quiet on the phone with them and press my hand to my heart when they cry in frustration.

Advocates are my circle. They are my people.

And each day I am realizing more and more that we are all brave hearts with things that set us on fire.

All of us, advocates {maybe} with a lower case a.  Not a job title, but a calling.

Brave Hearts 2014

Brave Hearts 2014

And whether we heed the call with quiet letters to the editor or status updates on Facebook or marches in the street, we decide.  We decide that that thing, that nag/that tug/that whisper, is big enough to lead us into new ways.

We decide to be the pot-stirrers.

We all carry within us the things that stir our hearts.  The things we will be brave for.

Find your something.