Hi, I'm Lisa.
I teach awakening as a natural ability that can be learned by anyone.
It begins with being fully present in the body and fully present with the emotions, stories and patterns that arise in your experience.
Awareness of the body, mind, thoughts, beliefs and emotions you hold about yourself, others and the world.
The emphasis is always on Presence, observation and inner investigation - being aware of thoughts, feelings, patterns and habits as a way to end suffering, sickness and limitation.
The experience of being physically sick with pain and an "incurable" autoimmune disease and the healing that occurred taught me more about healing than anything I ever read in a book.
I'd been on a spiritual path studying and practicing A Course in Miracles since 1992. I was 24 living in New York City and before that I was interested in self-help books.
My very first self-help book was Shakti Gawain "Living In The Light" and my second introduction to metaphysical ideas was Wayne Dyer "You'll See it When You Believe it".
That one really blew my mind! The idea that the world "out there" isn't actually "out there" but is mirroring our inner thoughts and beliefs.
These ideas set me on a path to find out for myself if this was actually true.
Back then I was constantly trying to improve my life and the way I did it was with positivity, positive affirmations, being a good person and through using this idea that our thoughts "create our reality"
I was on the self-improvement bandwagon!
I grew up in a small town in New Hampshire with a love of books, a love of food, a love of animals, a love of people ... and a curiosity about the "invisible" realm.
I had a lot of metaphysical experience as a child where I would leave my body at night, see the Lisa body laying there in bed and I would travel outside the body, outside the house. I was this gelatinous blob that was still aware and intelligent even though I wasn't in the body anymore. It was all very normal to me until my parents started commenting on my weird behavior at night - lol - and there was talk they were going to take me to a doctor. That was it. I shut it all down and I started staying in the body.
Behaving. Being a good girl. Playing by the rules. Being quiet.
I had a great childhood and a happy high school experience. I was the party girl.
Then I went to two colleges - Champlain College in Burlington Vermont in 1986 and got a degree in hotel/restaurant management and then I went to Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton Florida in January 1989 and I got a degree in journalism and communication - and that was fun too.
I was the party girl.
Then I moved back to New Hampshire, met an awesome guy and we moved to NYC in 1992 and I got a job in publishing in Manhattan.
Again, super fun.
But during my stay in New York, working in publishing, I started to be aware of a feeling of heaviness.
A heaviness to hold onto the job, pay the bills, hold onto the relationship.
My go-to solution for relaxing back then was vodka tonics after work and on the weekends.
Around 1995 or 1996, everything started to shift and change. The relationship ended. We left the great apartment. And my drinking and overeating escalated.
My attitude back then was: "Why bother?" and "Who cares?"
The consistent thought was "All things end eventually, so why bother doing anything?"
But fear kept me holding onto the job, showing up every day, going through the motions.
It was a dark period. I had never really experienced depression or hopelessness before, but there it was.
There were rats in my apartment - small rats, but still.
I had a job and was making money but there was no money left after paying my bills for the apartment with rats, subway, lights, heat, water, food.
The whole time was this constant feeling of "SOMETHING IS SERIOUSLY NOT RIGHT"
It was like: Okay, we're born, we go to school, we follow the rules, we get a job, we go after our goals, we make money and for what???
I am very grateful for several friends who were there for me during those years.
I look back now and see that those years (1995-2000) were a time when the entire construct of the world I had built and made was crumbling. I was exhausted from "holding" everything together.
I still put on a happy face every day. I still was working a job. Hanging out with friends. Living my life. Moved to Cape Cod for a while. Moved back to New York. Moved to a different apartment (no rats, yay!)
But there was always an underlying feeling of: What the fuck?
I started smoking cigarettes again.
I was still only in my 20s. Was this my life?
Struggling every week with no money?
Drinking every night? Smoking cigarettes? Waking up hung over?
Spending every moment waiting for the weekend to arrive so I could drink vodka all day, read books and watch movies in my apartment.
Was this it? Is this all there is?
Struggling? With brief moments of peace and happiness?
I wrote all about this in my book Gorgeous for God - when on July 4, 2000, I stood in living room in Brooklyn New York and said: God, I'm all yours.
If you're there. I'm all yours.
A lot began changing after that.
I didn't even believe in God. But I didn't know where else to turn. I didn't know what else to do.
Six days later on July 10th, I lost my NYC publishing job due to the company being bought out by some other company.
That was funny to me. I thought: Okay. Okey-doke. I declare my life belongs to God and I lose my job six days later. hahaha.
Nothing much else changed at first, but I felt that something significant had happened.
I cruised on unemployment until that ran out. Then I took out my 401K and lived on that until that ran out. Like 9 months.
I left New York in March 2001 and moved to an academy in Wisconsin for A Course in Miracles called Endeavor Academy. It was supposed to just be a 30 day retreat, but I knew on my first day there and I would move there and I was there until 2010. There were 250 of us there and I loved it.
Alcoholism and cigarette smoking fell away the instant I arrived - March 2001 - and has never returned.
I was feeling happier than before, but I was still overwhelmed. I was sober and I'm grateful for that but I still was experiencing constant fear, anger and self-doubt.
Mostly the feeling and thought was that "I'm doing something wrong."
I felt powerless.
i was reading in A Course in Miracles that "I'm not a body" but I sure felt like one! It sure seemed like this body was real!
Back then my practice was asking God, Jesus and Holy Spirit for help - and mostly I felt my requests for help and happiness were going unanswered.
I thought I was being tested and held back by God. No joke.
It's funny to me now that I believed so strongly in a power outside of me, but the struggle was real!
I was doing all these spiritual practices, doing everything I thought I needed to do to "wake up" to my true nature - to be in peace and happiness - and nothing ever seemed to change. I was being kind and loving. I was doing constant forgiveness work: forgiving everyone and everything. I was seeing everyone as myself. I had dedicated my life to God in 2000. I wanted to be a light in this world and to serve, shine, give, help and inspire. I kept saying "Here I am! I'm all yours!" and I was still me. No angels or light or voice was showing up, which is what I was expecting.
I laugh now because it's all so clear to me - I was identified with the seeker which is the false body-self - but at the time it was not clear at all.
In 2013, I got sick with flu-like symptoms and pain and that went on for years. It was eventually diagnosed as "an incurable autoimmune disease" which no treatment or method could cure. I tried everything. I spent over $20,000 trying various things to heal - traditional, conventional, alternative & spiritual. I read every book on healing. I worked hard at changing all my limiting beliefs to ideas of truth. I meditated, did positive affirmations and "acted as if" what I wanted was mine.
I felt that if I could just "change my mind" then the body would change, the world would change and my life would change.
I was super confused.
I was on a mission to crack the code on healing and failing completely.
But I couldn't give up. I knew happiness, health and healing was available to me and to everyone.
I told myself that I was already healed, whole and perfect.
I did "healthy" diets trying to heal (gluten free, vegetarian, vegan, clean, no processed, no packaged, no dairy, no sugar, all organic, local and fresh), took supplements and antibiotics, went to doctors and naturopaths, said affirmations.
Then I went the "I need do nothing" route, which was still me trying to heal. Trying to do nothing to heal is doing something. lol.
I was so desperate to emerge from chronic pain, conflict and physical symptoms.
I would have momentary relief at times, but I wasn't healing. I wasn't getting any better.
In October 2018, my husband Bill Free asked me if I could "welcome" the pain and physical symptoms.
This was a turning point for me.
Up until then I had been fighting, resisting, trying, doing. Inside, there was an inner battle and that was the real sickness! That's what needed healing.
Starting in 2018, I began to learn about Advaita Vedanta and non-duality. My first exposure to these ideas was Rupert Spira and Francis Lucille - and I was very excited by what I was reading and hearing! I started to learn that Consciousness and Awareness is our true nature.
Then I went directly to their teachers: Jean Klein and Atmananda Krishna Menon.
Those teachings are the basis of everything I teach now.
I resonated with these teachers because of how DOWN-TO-EARTH they are, using the body and mind to know the Self.
With the welcoming idea and non-duality teachings from Jean Klein and Atmananda Krishna Menon everything began to change in my life - healing occurred - and now I share this with others. .
There is no such thing as "healing yourself" because the self that wants healing isn't real.
But you can allow healing to occur.
Healing happens naturally when you stop fighting yourself.
I absolutely love A Course in Miracles and I still teach some of the ideas from it but I have mostly moved away from the Christian language contained within A Course in Miracles (Son, Son of God, Christ, He, Him, Holy Spirit) with the understanding that God = Consciousness = Awareness = our true Identity = Infinite Being = the changeless Self = Presence = I.
Healing is not something you "do'
Health and happiness is what you are.
Healing (and awakening!) occurs naturally when you stop fighting & resisting what is showing up in your life.
There was never a grand awakening for me, no bells or whistles.
Healing and awakening was a slow and gradual "process" that came about from the recognition that Awareness - pure Presence - is what we are, our shared identity.
And needs no healing!
The only thing that needs healing is the belief that you are a body, limited, weak, frail and powerless.
You are definitely not powerless!
My approach is down-to-earth, practical and simple because just saying "I am pure consciousness" and "I'm not a body" never worked for me. It was too abstract, too conceptual.
In my own healing, I needed to work with the mind and body -investigating and inquiring into inner thoughts, beliefs, emotions and habits - and slowly & gradually things began to change.
Therefore my approach works with the body and emotions. The way I teach about healing begin with the "false" self" - with the "you" that you believe is you - until the realization and recognition of consciousness as the Self as What You Are is your living reality