Leah Lovelight Michael
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 00:02
Oh boy. So, you heard my introduction of this amazing woman, Leah. Hello, how are you?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 00:10
I’m doing good, thank you, Cheri, how are you?
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 00:13
I'm so good. I love when I get to be and share some space with one of my favorite people and true transparency here. Leah, was one of the first I recorded and I goofed up, I goofed up the tech and so, Leah and I, this is the benefit is we get to sit down and have another conversation. And you know what's amazing is I know that it may not be anything like what we talked about the first time but that's what I love about this kind of format, where we're going to sit down and talk about what Leah is bringing out into the world and how she's living on purpose and so I'm excited for you to hear the story, whatever she decides to share today. So, how do you feel about being here a second time?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 00:57
I'm really just always basking in your glory so it's good.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 01:01
It is always fun
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 01:02
You were good when you said oh I messed up, I was like great, I can’t wait.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 01:05
Let's do it again. Well, Leah, I do want to follow some of what we did the last time because your story is one of someone who has deliberately made some choices in your life to take it in a certain direction. You have clearly made decisions to not live on default, by default, not settle and so where do you want to start in that story? What's top of mind to share today about that part of your journey?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 01:38
Yeah, you know, I think that all journeys kind of begin in the present moment and also where also began and so it’s something within me and I'll call it my soul, my spirit, that has always known that I wanted to be somewhere else than where I was already. And I grew up in an impoverished childhood and in that experience, I went through a lot of trauma and abuse and just societal hardships and I always was striving, like it never felt right and never felt good. And so for me, this innate like, life is, there's something inside of me that knew life is supposed to feel better than this like and that I can't settle for where I'm at. And so, I've been on a constant journey of trying to figure out what life is supposed to feel like and you know, in my path, I've really learned that heaven here is on earth and so is hell in that sense. And so really for me, that journey began from birth, it started right away, you know and obviously as a young one, you don't know how to articulate that and we get inspired through those early developmental ages but from a very young age, I've been on a path of like, what's next, what's best, how can I be more?
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 03:14
So, I'm curious. I'm sorry, I interrupted you there. I'm so curious about how, what was it as a child that made you see that? I mean, was that model to you in any certain way? Where did you get that message?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 03:35
Yeah, I honestly think that it came from within, I don't know if it was necessarily modeled. I just knew looking out into my external world, there was a lot of suffering. And like, I'm a natural protector and I'm a natural like, I want to fix things, I'm a natural fixer and I've always wanted to help and looking out into my reality. Like, I knew people weren't meant to suffer like this.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 04:03
You just knew it.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 04:03
Like, it just didn't make any sense to me. Like, how can it be so painful all the time? It doesn't make sense to me even now. I mean, like, obviously, people are still living in this really, horrible, deep state of suffering. We as humans suffer.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 04:19
Yeah. I have a sense that more people are suffering than those who feel good. I mean, I don't have [cross-talking 04:26]
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 04:26
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 04:27
Yeah, I think that though, there are more who are in a place of suffering and suffering is different than maybe experiencing pain. You know, suffering is when you're got roots in it, right, where you're stuck in it? So, you had this awareness at a young age yet you were living in a situation that was at least from the outside and from the incident, traumatic and abusive. How did you reconcile this living in something that was painful and knowing that that's not the way it was supposed to be? Where did that take you?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 05:00
Well, I definitely went down the path of like, reactivity and like, going against society. Like, I rebelled you know, I'd love to say that I've lived like this, like really nice, holy life but you know, I went down the wrong road really young at 12, like I started experimenting with drugs and alcohol. I really started to rebel against my exterior world and I got in trouble. I mean, the greatest thing that ever happened to me was ending up on probation and when I was in my eye, Mike McLean was my probation officer and I was in his office one day and he's definitely one of my guardian angels in life. I was in his office one day and he just looked at me like, right across the table and he was like, society doesn't care about you. He's like, they don't, I'm sorry, nobody's going to change this. He's like, you come from the wrong side of the tracks. You are just not what people believe and he's like, but I see you, I see that you have a 4.0 GPA, I see that you're trying, I know that this isn't the path that you want to be going down and you are at a point where you have to make a decision. And it was really in that moment where this man that was supposed to be like, making sure I stayed in line gave me this like remarkable gift of like, I get to believe in myself and that's really where my ‘design my life on purpose’ started, was when I recognized that it wasn't come, yes given to me, like I have to do it and I really shaped up and shipped out after that you know, being on probation and paying restitution and going through the stigma after that. Like really, I didn't want to carry that with me and so, I ended up graduating a year early from high school, working full time, I moved out on my own when I was 16, almost 17. So, I really started adult very young in order to, you need to, I think the responsibility kind of demanded that I step up the game a little bit for myself.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 07:18
You know, that's something I at least witnessed in stories and sometimes when folks come from really hard times and there aren't adults who are loving them correctly or taking care of them, they have to learn to take care of themselves and my goodness to have this man speak to you so lovingly and so firmly, that got your attention. Basically, he's saying if you're going to do it, you have to do it. You know, it's 100% your responsibility to turn this around, no matter even if that's fair or not. Right? My gosh, Leah, I was talking last night at dinner with my dad and I, we were talking about this idea fair, that doesn't exist. You know, it's not fair that maybe you have this particular life experience and I had a different one, fair didn't even come into the equation. Right? So, what we do have in common is we've got to take responsibility for where we’re going to go and you had to step into that or chose to, you chose to step into that pretty young. I also want to just say for listeners that this sense of and you used the word ‘the wrong path’ maybe we could say it you know, a difficult path, the challenging path, the path that society labels is wrong but those were just coping strategies, right, Leah? You were just trying to cope with the cards you were dealt, right, that takes us in the process.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 08:46
Yeah, I love that perspective because there is no, I don't believe there's a right or wrong, you know? I believe that there's an element of the greater good and not but yeah, there is no right or wrong. Like, we're all on the path that we're meant to be on and it's that self-responsibility that I love that you brought forward that's so empowering and impactful and also really painful because when we take complete self-responsibility for whatever situation we're in, that is when we get to rewrite the narrative. We get to rewrite the story because when we are pushing back through our pain and our victim, we can be stuck in that but when we take the responsibility for the situation, no matter how hard it is to find that I know that there is a way. Like, how can I be responsible right now and it's in that moment that we get to redesign our story in that very space and time and self-responsibility is scary and a lot of things.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 09:48
It is so, it's scary. It's also the only pathway to happiness. I mean, that's a pretty bold statement but I almost believe this is that, when you take 100% percent responsibility, you then claim 100% of the power to change it. If you gain anything else, then you're getting the power to change it over to a pandemic or the politics or a partner or your bank account or your appearance or whatever, wherever you give that power to but when you take it, I have 100% responsibility for what I do, you get to the boss of things, right? And but you're right, it's not always fun, I remember when I was single, I would joke back in the day I was a speaker and I would tell the story of Mike and I, I still pick out the blinds to see if there's a man on the white horse but damn it, there never was. So, I got my own trash and go on my own living but that didn't keep me from looking. Right?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 10:52
Yeah, I used to kiss frogs as a kid.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 10:52
Will somebody stake one? But you figured this out and so tell me more about this journey as this unfolded. So, you starting to realize that yeah, I'm worth more than 100% responsibility, society's not going to come and change for me. I'm on my own, I'm a pretty smart cookie. Where did you go from there?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 11:16
Yeah, so I kind of went down what society says we're supposed to do, I worked really hard, I got a degree, I moved to a big city. Like, I got into corporate America, I found the guy, I got married, I bought the house.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 11:33
You did them all.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 11:34
I did it all, I checked all the boxes, the only thing I didn't do is have a baby but I was big sister, three big brothers, big Sisters which is [unsure 11:42] organization, I got the kid feel and other ways and not in all of that you know, like I did everything I was supposed to do check. There was a moment where I was like, I am unhappy. Like, what is wrong like, none of this is right and in that awakening of like, not really being happy of like, what society says I'm supposed to do, I realized I was doing it for society and not for myself, you know? Like, that was the prescription that everybody said we're supposed to have and once we get that, life is great and it was good, I had such a beautiful life. My partner was really great, the job was really awesome. Like, the house was wonderful, like all of it but inside of me like, I have this yearning of happiness and I think that's kind of always been my path of like, I want to feel good and I want to be happy. Like, those are two things that I think that a lot of us can take for granted but they're really sacred, precious gifts and I actually made the decision to completely blow up my life. I had a little bit of a breakdown, not a little bit of a breakdown, a pretty significant breakdown in this like awakening of like, what the ‘F’ are you doing, doesn't make sense?
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 13:12
Because, sorry. No, I just said because you, on the box from the outside world, right? It all looked good so you were even second guessing yourself on some level, right?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 13:21
Absolutely. I've always had a narrative like, who do I think I am, like in the back of my mind, that was said to me a lot as a kid and it's a little pain in the butt that kind of rides on my shoulder every once in a while. And I like just let that go, I just had to say no more to it and I had to just 100% like, say who do I think I am? I'm me, I'm living this life for myself and so that's what I ended up doing. I went after it and I held it open and I ended up blowing up my relationship, asking for a divorce, I quit my job, I purchased a one-way ticket to Nairobi [cross-talking 14:13]
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 14:16
Right. You don't just do it a little girl, you decided to go big or go home right?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 14:21
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 14:26
So, I’m curious and I'm thinking about listeners listening to this. It's like, okay, do I have to do it that big? Whatever big is you know, I'm qualifying it but for you that's what it needed. Right? Tell me, I mean you could have done it a 100 ways, why Nairobi, take us through that process?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 14:46
Yeah, I definitely don't think that any anyone needs to do it that big? I think that there's ways of making baby steps. I think for me what had happened was I was just so lost in my trauma. I was lost in, I was really lost in my victim experience and you know, we all have a victim within us and our victims do need love in order to be able to heal. And I really, I didn't see any other way out other than complete destruction. There was like this like, bomb within me that needed to like erupt in order for me to break open the protection that had been around me for so long. I carried this like armor of protection and I didn't know how to take it off without basically just destroying everything. I needed to be somebody completely different than from what I was.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 15:48
Gotcha. And so you know, what's happened through my head, Leah is that when we talk about destroy or breaking it down well all of a sudden I had this vision was a cleansing forest fire, you know what I mean? That sometimes that we call that destruction but it also cleans and clears and you know, you get rid of stuff that's extraneous and unnecessary and unhelpful. So you know, that makes sense to me and also, I'd love your acknowledgement, that trauma and all of us have trauma, whether it's little T trauma, big T trauma but some of us have a whole lot more than others, which requires a heavier dose of healing. And it sounds like that, you are getting nudges from spirit, if you will to do it, to go for that healing in a big major way. Is that a right, is that an appropriate assessment?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 16:40
It is, a 100%, at that point in my journey, I definitely didn't know spirit. I didn't know at that point but I was being divinely guided but yeah, I mean like, I think sometimes we can stay, I call them invisible prisons, I think sometimes we can stay within our invisible prisons too long. And the universe or God or spirit will nudge you and tell you no more, it is time to move forward. So, yeah, definitely. Absolutely.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 17:15
I love that the calm, invisible prison and yeah, I think, to my belief system and you may agree or not but that we get little nudges and then we get bigger nudges and then we get big ass nudges and then we have two by fours. And yeah, you know, so it's like, okay, you're unhappy and the wise person is the one that pays attention and you did. And so, this transformation, so you're in Nairobi, tell me the next chapter, kind of leading up to where I am on my own?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 17:50
Yeah, so you know, at this point, I ended up in Nairobi and I went on about a year and a half walkabout. So, I went through the southern part of Africa, I went to the Middle East and Southeast Asia, Australia and it was a few months and gosh, actually it wasn't even a few months into it. It was like probably a few weeks into the travel and I was in a hostel in Rwanda and I was laying there in this bed and it was an open hostel. Like, we didn't have different rooms, it was like cots, we were going to go see the mountain gorillas the next day and I just laid in this bed and I cried and I just like everything broke open inside of me. And what I recognized in that moment in time was that the life I was living wasn't making me sad, like I was just sad on the inside. I had assumed that changing my external world was going to change my internal world and through the path of spirituality and self-work, I now recognize and I know in my soul that like, it's our internal world that creates our external world, not our external world creating our internal world. And at that point in time, I was just so unbearably lost in the ‘what in the world am I doing’? And I melted again, it was like that next layer of like, release and surrender and that's what really that journey taught me, that year and a half was the two primary lessons are like surrender, although I didn't know about word at the time but surrender, like going with the flow. I did everything on one-way tickets, nothing was ever really planned. So, I meet people along the way and they would invite me and I would go to these different spaces and places because of that and that the external world is not something to live for. Like, it's something that we get to enjoy by or suffer by bringing that work back in but our external world isn't the reality, it's our internal world that's really who I am, who we are, I believe. And so, it's an internal game more than an external game, we start working internally with our experiences, our external world will be inspired and will aspire to different changes.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 20:31
Gosh, I'm struck by the truth of that and how we often have it backwards that way. I mean, I'm realizing I even have podcasts out there that talk about shifting your space, so you can change your insides and I still stick to that; clean your house, you'll feel better, you know, but in the big picture, right, it's really about the work on the inside that allows us to create our external experience. So you said, release and surrender, tell me more about what the release was about. What was the release?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 21:11
I think the release was about the expectations, you know? Like, being told at a very young age that no one cares about you and that you have to do it on your own. As much as that was a truth for me, it also created this like, unbearable expectation upon myself, you know of like, creating you know, whatever it was that I was creating to younger than age, in all honesty. And then the releasing of the expectation of what society wants or what society says and so like, I think one of the most powerful lessons and this goes to design your life on purpose is like, what is it that you want? What is it that you desire? What is it that like, and I can even say here like, what is it that I want? And that question still feels really scary to answer because once that questions answered, it can create an expectation of this drive forward into something and so the release I think is really around the expectation in order to be able to align to what it is that's important for yourself.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 22:29
Okay. Yeah, that makes so much sense. So, the word that keeps coming up to me is that you must have had to have had and you might not have been able to say this at the time, some level of trust to I mean, maybe wouldn't have said that in the time but this idea of that, just you know, get the ticket, just go to the next place and then you break down and you cry. And I don't know, would you have described yourself as in a place of trusting at that time?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 23:07
Yeah, you know in retrospect, absolutely. Like, I looking backwards can really, truly say that I do trust myself and I do have faith in myself. And those are two really powerful words because they're both invisible like, how can you prove trust, how can you prove faith? You can't really bring those feelings, they're definitely an internal experience and I do have this and I do have this faith and I am also a recovering control freak. And I used to try to control all of that, which doesn't actually really learn to trust or faith but yeah, trust is definitely this like internal state that I think blends to being able to have faith. Yeah.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 24:06
Well, and I've opened when I think about faith, I'm like you know, I really don't need it until the shit hits the fan. You know what I mean, when everything's going along really well, I can use the word but when you really know you have it, it's how you feel when everything's breaking down. You know, that's when you really take stock of that particular thing you have and to know yourself, I'm just going to tell you, there are days I don't know that I can tell you I know myself as fully as I want to and my clients come too, I mean, I think that the human existence is there’s more people who don't know themselves but you Leah, chose, were given, were gifted, were awake enough to say, I matter and now you, even if I remember you said people's happiness matters. You know, you saw that at a very young age. So I'm curious, I want you to talk more now about as you, what has that lead you to be doing right now because I'm excited, I know some of these pieces but I want to make sure you get to talk about that and to connect the dots and into your important work you're doing right now.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 25:23
Yeah, so I mean, I'm a true believer that everything does happen for a reason and then we're given these gifts. I call my pain points, truly actually gifts because I can harvest golden lessons from any moment and that's a skill that is practice and like, it integrated and reworked over and over again. You know, and so I went through my journeys of my trauma and my abuse and the way that I grew up, I do truly believe in order to be able to hold the lighthouse for those that are still in that space. And so, my journey and my path of spirituality led to writing my book, ‘modern fear, the invisible prison’. And that really, I just share very openly and honestly about my experiences growing up and it provides a framework of learning to really recognize our dark side and our light side, you know? Like, to truly know oneself, we have to be willing to like, look at the fact that maybe we don't like all parts of ourselves and that's okay, you know? I dislike the word hate but there was a large portion of my life where I didn't like myself and in fact, I hated myself in a lot of ways. I didn't like who I was in order to be able to survive because when we're in this survival brain, we don't have the ability to access compassion or the higher purpose. And so I've done a lot of ugly things in life and my book really talks about that and like, the path of forgiveness to self, the path of love for self and it wasn't until just a couple of years ago that I truly experienced love for the very first time. And what I mean by that is like, conceptually, I've always been able to understand what love is, like I was always able to witness it, I was always able to mimic it, I was always able to like, logically interact with love and it wasn't until where I live in the middle of the woods and then its mountains and this open space that I was out on my land one day and I was walking around and I was looking at everything and the sky was beautiful and the birds were singing and my dogs were playing and the wind was coming in from the north and it was just one of those spiritual moments that brought me to my knees. And I had so much gratitude for a life that I never even possibly would have allowed myself to imagine that much peace and that much love and not much serenity. And like, I fell to my knees in gratitude and like love came through me, I felt loved for the very first time, it was very miraculous to the point where it's so undeniable that I know what love is. And that really, truly was like the birthing of love light because I am a person that doesn't believe that like, we can't live in love and light all the time because I do believe that the shadow is so necessary but it was this thing where like, I was like, oh, this is what love is. This is it and I want to be a beacon for love and I want to be a lighthouse for love and I want to take that into the shadows and I want to be with people in their discomfort in order for them to be comfortable there so that they can be comfortable other places in life.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 29:06
There’re so many rich things that you just said right there. I mean, just like oh my god, I can't wait till I get the transcript and circle and circle and highlight all the things that you just said there, that this sense that, that we're whole right, we hold the light in the dark. And some of us have over identified with the dark or some of us try to stay in the light because we're afraid of the dark or that the light is actually more pleasant, you know? It's what we reward but they go together, right and there's so much richness in the dark, in the shadow, we’re not whole without it. Right?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 29:47
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 29:48
We're not whole without it. Yet, this is my take on it and please correct me if I'm wrong, you had spent a fair amount of your time in the dark so it was really time to swing the pendulum over. For true balance is to actually spend more time in that light, would that be a fair? It sounds like you were [cross-talking 30:07].
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 30:07
Yeah, it's really fair. Yeah, I appreciate that perspective, I've always talked about the pendulum swing I’ve never pinpointed it to that so thank you for that reflection.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 30:19
Yeah because you know, if we're looking for balance and they both exist, sometimes folks are born into just really harder times, right? Or have come in the world with more burdens, more darkness and so that light and that becomes a way of being for some, you know, by design or by just circumstances. So, crafting and designing and creating opportunity for light is a noble pursuit. You know, I mean, it's not frivolous, it's not fluffy and that word love I wrote this down, this is what love is when you're talking about a night and I had this thought that love is a word we throw around a lot but when I was listening to you speak, Leah, you're talking about capital L.O.V.E, love not yeah, the power of that. So, you changed your name even or you added to your name, you're walking your talk? Yeah.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 31:24
Yeah, it's a legal claimed name.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 31:28
Legally claim name. So, tell me how folks and I see you as a healer and when I say wounded healer, I don’t want to say wounded because sometimes we use that as a phrase who someone who has not done the healing work, you have been wounded, your message comes from your mess and I'm doing a little air bunnies, you know, we all have messes. You have taken what life gave you and absolutely transformed it, transmitted it and turning that into healing energy from where I stand. Yeah.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 31:57
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 31:59
Yeah and what I've seen, my take of you is that you had to look and accept the truth. I mean, you've even said I did some did some bad things but whatever bad means you know, you've done some acceptance and that until you do that you can't really transform it can you, you can't really transmit it?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 32:18
No, we can try to shove it down and we can try to push it away and we can try to deny it but it's going to stay with us always in our body you know, our body keeps score, that's a really fabulous book.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 32:31
Our body keeps score?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 32:33
The body keeps score, I'm drawing a blank on the author's name but it's a great book, especially for anyone who's going through trauma. It's an insight and it really like, that notion is what led me down but I'm doing the air bunny quotes now too like, the healing path because we will often try to go through our healing journey just in our mind to try to like logic and rationalize, understand and explain but until we are willing to actually start to feel those memories or those reasons or those experiences again to create space for them to be released from our body, we're never going to truly heal from them. They're just going to change and you know, our body carries a lot of pain and it carries a lot of like, inks and ouches and pooches and like you know, once we start doing this healing work, specifically around like trauma or anytime that we contract you know, when we think about like what happens within our being, if we're like uncomfortable or something's done something to you or somebody said something that makes you feel uncomfortable, we all live in this constant state of contraction right now which amplifies any other thing. And so our body really is the holder, the keeper, which is ultimately the work I laid down is healing through communicating with the body, learning to be in our body when it is uncomfortable so that it can become comfortable.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 34:17
Right? Yeah, again so many things you just said there that our bodies are both, they tell us where we're stuck, they take all the trauma and the drama on, right? There are also the pathway to the healing, is what I'm hearing. So, I know a little bit about how you have helped folks reconnect, I'm using the word reconnect you might use a different word maybe connect for the first time with their bodies, talk to me about that. Tell us about that, your experience.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 34:57
Yeah, so you know, it's really an embodiment practice so learning to feel again. So, most of us are thinkers, we're all really good at that and not all of us are feelers and so there's a lot of communication now about moving into your heart and all the science that the heart involves. And so, we start to practice moving from the mind and to the heart, we find a lot of health benefits in that practice and when you take it a little bit more expansive and you realize that the mind and the heart are both encapsulated in this beautiful creation, that's like literally trillions of cells and organisms like in agreement to create you, me, you know? Like, it's just really fascinating and so when we start to think of our body as us, I think a lot of times people are so disconnected from the fact that the body is actually what allows us to live, you know? It's this vessel that, it's our temple at all point in times and we know we're supposed to take care of it like, workout, eat, right but we can also communicate with it and we can hear its needs and we can support it just like we would support someone else. And in that process of supporting our body and supporting what we're feeling, truly feeling, it allows for us to live like a more holistic life and so I work with people one on one specifically around coming home into their body, in order to be able to release really what's no longer serving and in that releasing, reclaiming what has been given away and then helping establish like a practice in order to help rewire old programs and patterning because as much as I would love to say like, healing you do it once it's over and like, everything's going to be sunshine and rainbows like that's so far from the truth. Like, everything lives on a spiral, it all cycles back and so learning to recognize when our body starts to respond to something that's cycling back before that cyclers even come, you know? We talked about this before, we started recording like, how do we learn to intuit a change or an old programming before it ever actually comes back? And I do believe that it's through communication with the body.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 37:34
Yeah. So, I'll tell you the thought that's going through my head and it could be my own projection, my own struggles and works around my own body stuff but I have a feeling that there are so many people who are completely disconnected from their body. And when they are connected, there is not a very loving relationship they have with their body and I'm not just talking about necessarily body image but just in general, that there's this disconnect that we've overvalued the mind. And when we talk about the body in our culture, we do it in such limited way I think that, would that be fair to say that this is a foreign concept to a lot of folks?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 38:19
I think it's a completely foreign concept and I think you hit the nail right on the head as far as like what society says because when society tells us the body is supposed to look a certain way, be a certain way, feel a certain way and so the beauty industry is like, crazy like, how they keep us like trapped in this like, disconnection from truly what our body is and creates this expectation of what it should be. And so, when we learn to be an acceptance of our body and recognize that our body like, it's a state of our choices. And that's a hard pill to swallow but really, we are at where we're at because we've made the decisions to be here, consciously or unconsciously and coming home into the body can feel very scary because there are a lot of feelings there that our mind, our brain is literally designed to like, keep us safe. And so, if we're uncomfortable in our body, our brain is going to say, well, let's go like watch some Netflix. Like, that makes you better.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 39:31
You know right, I need to go create a new meme for Facebook?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 39:35
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 39:38
And eat corn chips, I'm convinced.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 39:40
That sounds really delicious and get the fiend about while you're at it.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 39:43
Right? Well, I remember I took Taekwondo for about a year, this is a long time ago well, before I get married anyway. And I was doing these certain things with my body which were very foreign to me, moving my body in certain ways and Tony came over and was working with me and he moved my leg in a certain way and I just started sobbing. And he just touched me in a certain way and I just realized that there were so many emotions and things in this body of mine that I had just and I was taken Taekwondo to try to connect more to just my body that I had neglected even, just even the physical tissues that it just held this trauma even. You know, I don't even know that but it was snotty tears, it was not pretty tears, Leah, you know and I just realized it was one of those things when, oh my gosh, my body is holding stuff. It also has so much to teach me, has so much that it is a vehicle now, that doesn't mean I'm fully into it. I mean, I admit I'm still working on this for myself but you are reminding me and the listeners that this body and what you're teaching your clients; this embodiment practice is a pathway to self, to wholeness. Right?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 41:12
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 41:13
Yeah. Wholeness, get that word, wholeness.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 41:17
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 41:18
Yeah, we are so compartmentalized and fragmented and bent and twisted and squishy you know, by society, by our expectations, by trying to check all the boxes like, you did earlier in your life or we're off trying to buy one way tickets to places you know, all that is you know, we're just running and chasing and coping and avoiding right, all the time and it's when we come back to home. So, you do this thing called reveal and then you work one on one with clients. I want to give you the opportunity to say more about that and then I also want you to talk a little bit about the reveal retreats, I want to hear that from your own mouth.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 41:59
Yeah, so thanks for bringing reveal into this world, into this conversation. So, reveal is a beautiful collaboration with a photographer, her name is Jenna Nord and we were in conversation one day and she asked me she said you know, ‘would you like to do like a photoshoot, I kind of want to do these things, I want to call sensual skins’? And I was like, okay, I'm a yes person. And like, in my mind, I was thinking, what the heck? Like, why would she want me to do like sensual skin, like that feels so weird because at that point, I was still really identifying as being a very traumatized person. I didn't want to be sexy, I didn't want to be woman, I didn't want to like create that type of sense about me because it still didn't feel quite safe. You know, I didn't really feel whole as a woman. So, I did the photo session. It was fun, it was kind of like stretching, I definitely put on like a persona and went in there and just kind of like, let it all go. And then it was a whole moon cycle, she sent me a text, a tease and I saw this picture and I was like, who is that? And I was like, oh, it's me and it was one of those moments where I saw myself and I was like, oh, wow. And then I got all of the photos and like, it was so fascinating because I've spent like the majority of my life not really thinking about being pretty and not really thinking about being like a beautiful person. And when I saw these photos like, those lies I had been telling myself were melting and like all of this, like identity around my trauma started to dissolve and I really saw myself as a whole powerful woman. And so, I went to Jenna and I said, there's something more here and I was talking to her about it and so we created reveal because reveal is a way to be able to see yourself as you've never seen yourself before. It's an opportunity to give yourself permission to be seen, to be witness, to be felt like in ways that you've never allowed yourself before and the reason why the coupling with the photoshoot is so powerful is we do this body work. We do embodiment work, we do reflective work during these retreats and then we also couple it with a photo shoot and you don't have to necessarily have like a sensual skin photo shoot during the experience but to be able to witness your transformation because we catalog and capture the experience and then it's coupled with the photo shoot but it is truly a really special gift to even recognize the resistance that you might have as the photoshoot approaches, you know? This is almost a climax of being able to witness your transformation in your journey through this process of embodying women and being in our wholeness you know, our masculine and our feminine, our spirituality and our body, witnessing ourselves through other women as well as witnessing ourselves through our own story and then having this actual tangible experience where you get to see yourself in your rawness. It's really a special experience.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 45:36
So, let me just say when we get the recording of this podcast, we're going to cut that little section out right there and let you use that as a promo because the way you just talked about that was so incredibly succinct and so powerful about that experience, Leah, that I can't wait for you to hear that back to you as you describe that experience. And the words, I just want to repeat these words that have been the theme of your whole sharing here and have sort of culminated in what your work is now, transformative, embody, wholeness, revealing, witnessing, to reveal, to see yourself as you've never seen yourself before. Oh, my gosh, that's the work you're doing in the world and how that ties in to this podcast and what we're doing is that every one of us has the capacity to do that. Don't wait, every one of us can decide to wake up a little you know, open our eyes a little bit wider, ask ourselves those questions, acknowledge that pain just a little bit more openly and honestly, release. What did you say the other words, release and trust and surrender, all those pieces you've been doing, don't take this wrongly but you're not special. Right? You're not, you know what I mean but we can all do that. Right?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 47:06
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 47:06
Every single one of us can ask ourselves those questions, step in, acknowledge that those invisible prisons that we've either by choice been put into or by choice chosen to stay in, right and make those choices.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 47:23
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 47:24
Gosh, Leah, you are such a gift and I feel like I have gone even deeper with my love and appreciation for you, which I didn't think was possible because I already love and appreciate you so much but it's even more clear to me what you're doing and how that is changing the world. So, I want to say this to anyone who's listening to this and I've said this at the end of several podcasts but I mean it so clearly today, if you're being pinged, if what Leah has said to you has resonated and pinged with you, please reach out to her. There'll be stuff in the show notes, this is everyone can wake up, everybody can find more of that love that Leah has been talking about. Leah, a couple of questions, final questions for you. First of all, is there anything I've not asked you that you want to share?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 48:25
No, I just want to express gratitude to you, Cheri for taking this mission of designing your life on purpose and really bringing it out into the world. There's such an intentionality behind it and I'm just so grateful to be able to share this path with you and just say thank you.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 48:47
Thank you, you know, I think I said this in the introduction on this podcast but I knew when I met you like, zing ping, Leah and Cheri need to be together.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 49:04
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 49:04
So, let me ask you this, if you had to reduce your or put in a few words, your core belief or the thing you'd most want folks to know if you're like on a bumper sticker, what would that be?
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 49:23
A bumper sticker, I think it would just be to love openly and forgive compassionately. Yeah.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 49:35
I love that, love openly and forgiving that includes self-forgiveness, right or just others? Yeah and forget and last but not least, is it dark chocolate or milk chocolate, I’ll give a choice.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 49:48
Oh, dark. Dark is always good, dark all the way.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 49:52
We can stay friends, that's what I say, we can stay friends. Leah, I love you so much. Thank you so much for sharing, truly your heart, your journey, your bumps along the road, your healing, your trauma, your whole self. Thank you for being your whole self and bringing all of that to us today.
Speaker: Leah Lovelight Michael 50:12
Yeah, thank you.
Speaker: Cheri Honeycutt 50:16