Recently, I went to my friend Jeff’s indoor cycling class at my gym. It was a regular old Tuesday in the winter — grey and rainy outside — the kind of day where you could find plenty of reasons to stay in or crawl back under the covers.
I love this class, though, and go every Tuesday at lunchtime because my friend teaches it and he’s incredibly talented and motivating. What I really love is that it’s like dancing, but on a bike. If you’ve been to spin classes at places like CycleBar or Soulcycle, they have a similar vibe.
About 20 minutes into the ride, a song I love came up on the setlist. It wasn’t just a song; it was a powerful anthem, and the whole room knew it.
That song and my delight and love for it was bigger than my thoughts about it — my body had to move for it, and my mouth had to sing with it.
I sang at the top of my lungs, danced, and bobbed and weaved through the whole thing. Unapologetic and joyful. Like I was by myself, but still surrounded by people and their energy.
There was a time in my life not so long ago when I wouldn’t have done that. I would have felt all of those feelings inside — being moved, delighted, soaring and joyful — but I would have held back expressing them outwardly.
I wouldn’t have done anything remotely extravagant as far as moving my body noticeably, and my singing wouldn’t have been that apparent.
How and why would I go from being subtle around six years ago, to being so much more expressive today?
The answer is this:
I made a promise to myself that I will not back away from moments in this life that delight me.
I will not back away or hide when I am moved, or something lights up my soul.
And I will do more than that: I won’t just hope these moments happen to me or that I am a lucky bystander; I will seek and create these opportunities in my life.
It can be as simple as singing out loud in an exercise class or letting myself cry when I step onto a balcony in a villa and witness the outright splendor and beauty of the Amalfi Coast for the first time in my life.
That promise to myself is not just about outward expression, but also letting myself love what I love and want what I want inside of myself. The words, laughter, tears, singing or exclaiming are the results of doing that and how I let my personality show up in the world.
I spent too many years believing I was “too sensitive” or “too emotional” for this world. I got those messages from people around me and in other ways as I grew from a girl into a woman.
Through years of simple and significant changes I’ve made in my life, I’ve come to understand that my big heart is my greatest advantage; it will lead me to everything I want in this life.
It isn’t meant to be tamed or watered down — not for me, and certainly not to gain the approval of others.
And connected to that, my work with women is centered around helping them release the weight that keeps their spirits muted.
That might mean the weight of emotions or life situations they are experiencing; or it’s the weight of always trying to tame their bodies so that it fits into a certain size or shows up as a number they want to see on the scale. Maybe it’s the weight of a career that’s bearing down on them.
Whatever it is, I want to guide women to moments of beauty, clarity, and delight that help them feel free.
I want to curate experiences that help them meet themselves in a way that will feel like it’s new to them, but it’s really an arrival into a part of their spirit they’ve had since they were born; they just got really good at tucking it away for different reasons.
One of the best moments in my work is when I see women walk into the room at one of my seasonal Lavish dinner and coaching events.
I purposefully and lovingly select those sites and make sure how they look and feel is executed in a fashion that is breathtakingly beautiful, intimate and welcoming.
I see their faces change and light up as they realize the gift they’ve given to themselves by participating in this event and meeting like-minded women who also want to invite these voluptuous, transformative experiences into their lives as a means of propelling them forward into whatever way they want in life.
This delights me — to serve and teach in this way: offering a lush environment, laughter, powerful questions and discussion, and beautiful and nourishing food.
Do you want to give this to yourself? Well, it is time.
The next Lavish dinner / coaching event happening:
WHEN: SATURDAY, MAY 13TH, 2017
WHERE: WILTSHIRE ON MARKET, 636 EAST MARKET ST., LOUISVILLE, KY
TIME: GREETINGS & COCKTAILS AT 6:30 P.M.
DINNER, COACHING & CONVERSATION BEGINS AT 7:00 P.M. (we’ll wrap up around 10 p.m.)
COST: This $349 investment in your beautiful self will get you:
A “I’ll never forget this night ever, ever, ever” gourmet meal, drinks, dessert in a gorgeous dining suite I’m totally in love with (it’s our own urban, chic apartment for the evening with a private chef and bartender — luxe and comfortable)
Powerful coaching, questions, and conversation with 15 women who are stepping up to this evening for themselves because, no matter what their station in life, they want to explore their creativity, get inspired, make plans, and engage in making genuine, ongoing connections with other women who are similarly motivated
Some Lavish “pre-work” I will email you to prepare you for the evening
An invitation to join your Lavish group’s secret Facebook group where you can remain connected, encourage, celebrate one another, and share how you’re making your lavish plans come to life in the days, weeks, and months to come
To secure your seat at the Lavish table, go to www.laura-wagner.com/lavish to make your $49 deposit for that night.
This night is a great labor of love for me; I believe that when we invite more beauty and joy into our lives, it enables us to see ourselves with even greater depth and breadth — and we act on that and grow beyond what we once thought possible.
I find it interesting that this is one of my offerings that ignites great excitement when I create it and invite women into it — they sign up with great relish and enthusiasm — and I love that. Yet, somewhere along the way, as the event draws near, I start to see a pattern…
Some women email me and say something has come up that’s an obligation or bigger priority than this evening they’ve said “yes” to and paid for (they give up their Lavish ticket to someone else when they cancel — see my refund policy on the Lavish page).
Or that they simply can’t do it that night because life has become too much of something in some way, and they decide they’re just not going to make it.
These messages come in the days, hours and even minutes before the event begins. This fascinates me, and makes me wonder…
We say we want these moments — these evenings of splendor, connection and doing something for ourselves because we desire it.
We want it.
We know it’s the stuff of life — that we don’t want to say on our death bed that we wish we’d finished one more PowerPoint presentation; stayed home and watched one more rerun of The Real Housewives of Orange County; or if only we’d acquiesced and gone to just one more of our neighbor’s kid’s graduation parties because our spouse didn’t want to go alone … and well, it’s just an obligation… what we’re supposed to do.
I’m gonna be straight and in-your-face right now: If you look at me, how I live, and how all of that connects to the kind of life-changing work I offer women — and it moves you and you want to tap into some of that moxie, spirit, creativity, and courage to see what it would mean for amplifying your life?
Then you’ve got to start saying “yes” to yourself more and blowing up some of these rules or self-imposed barriers you’ve been creating for yourself.
If an opportunity makes your intuition sing and your heart pound, listen to it. Quit ignoring it or filing it away for “later.”
Stop thinking that if something doesn’t allow you to get ahead by helping you earn your CEUs or if it doesn’t give you a step-by-step, didactic map to a job promotion, then it’s not as worthy of your time and money.
Ladyball up. And for no one else but yourself.
If your intuition pulls at you and you feel you need to be a part of something that excites and delights you, but doesn’t make practical sense, it’s never a bad time to listen to your gut.
When I first starting promoting Lavish and inviting women to it, I found myself trying to tie in all of that “answers” for how it the night could impact them in some measurable way — to the point where I felt like I was getting statistical.
I so believe in the magic of that night and the women who say :”yes!” to it, that I now say fuck all that “data.”
Lavish. It feels good. It’s beautiful. It’s meaningful. It’s fun. It’s sumptuous. You will learn things that you will never find in a book or PowerPoint presentation. The value is immeasurable.
Let THAT be reason enough.
You know how I make more time and money? Investing in things that bring me joy, let me play, and make deeper connections with myself and other people.
And I’m sure there will be all kinds of people who’d like to argue with me and give me the “well, that’s easy for you to say,” and “privileged,” and nah-nah-nah-bullshit — that’s all just noise to me, and I’ve learned to let fade away while I live the way I want to live. This is one of my sacred truths and one that I’ve seen it come to life for other women, too.
I didn’t wake up to a life of joy, soul, health, adventure and bravery one day by canceling on myself or shrinking away from new things that scared me a little, but were a magnet for me to be a part of in some way.
You want to be fearless? Ha — people tell me all of the time that they think I am fierce and fearless.
Goddamn y’all — I’ll let you in a little open secret of mine, and it’s this: I’m afraid almost every fucking day. Sometimes little niggling fears and sometimes big-leap fears.
Fears of “will they understand me or like me?” or “is this risk going to be the one that means I will fail?”
I am afraid every single day in some fashion, and I stare it down, connect with my deepest desires, and then make and act on decisions that mean I will live up to the spirit that is within me. That’s what makes me fierce and fearless.
Things come up in life — an inconvenience, a crisis — but on the whole, when I say yes to something that is important to me, I am fierce. Fiercely committed.
I’m asking you to go all in with yourself and see what that would mean for you — and not just for Lavish (it would be grand to see you there, of course), but for other choices in your life that mean something about the woman you want to be — not the woman you are to other people and what they want or need you to do.
Decide that you will not back down from things in your life that delight you, move you, inspire you, and motivate you.
Decide you will be an active participant in your life and say “yes!” to opportunities instead of hoping they happen to you — and, for the love of God and all that is holy, stop canceling on yourself. On your soul.
Phew. That’s some passion right there, now. I mean every word of it.
I think it’s so much easier in this culture we live in today to shoot the text message or email and say, “I’m out. Sorry. Bye.” drift away, and lean into our to-do lists instead of personal development work that has the potential to expand our lives.
Say yes to yourself. And if you do that, and find yourself backing out later, ask yourself why and get clear on the answer.
I am looking forward to the women I will meet on Saturday, May 13th who walk into Lavish with heads held high and open hearts — a clear and spirited “yes!” to that night. To themselves.
Commit at www.laura-wagner.com/lavish and I will see you there.
In the meantime, in the spirit of joy and commitment, I leave you with a few moments of car karaoke, where there is not a shred of doubt that I am ALL. IN.