November 13, 2012

Non-Conformist Women Unite! An Interview with Hay House Author Lisa Marie Selow.

Photo: Selow

A rebel chick mystic talks positive rebellion.

TIS: So tell me about this Rebel Chick Mystic book you’ve recently had published through Hay House. What’s it all about?

LMS: It’s a self-help book for nonconformist women (or those who want to be) who desire to stop letting their inner good girl run the show. The main theme of my book is positive rebellion, which is my term for harnessing one’s inner rebel for creating lasting transformation in life.

I noticed in my 20-plus years of doing personal development work, there’s weren’t many products or books for women like myself who think, act, or dress differently than most of society. Tattoos, piercings, and fishnets aren’t required though. Positive rebellion is mostly in consciousness, something that is internal, including a rejection of the negative or limiting beliefs that we’ve inherited from our families of origins and from growing up in society.

There’s exercises and quizzes that help women to create a new, positive mindset. I also encourage my readers to create their own definition of womanhood and reclaim their true selves, apart from their many roles in life.

The book also helps women to set boundaries in relationships and get their needs met, since so many women of all ages tend to be people-pleasers. I’ve worked with many women in my life coaching practice who try to be Mother Teresa, Pollyanna, or June Clever–or all three! It’s crazy.

I walk the reader through steps to create her own guide for living, since no book can really tell you how to live your life. I facilitate the reader finding more of her life purpose and carving out her very own spiritual path.

Even though this is a book about shifting the crap that still holds you back in life, I did my best to make the process enjoyable. I figure if it’s not fun, why bother? I also only give personal growth assignments that I’ve personally done, since I’m a big believer in walking my talk as a spiritual teacher and life coach.

TIS: I find it super impressive that you won your publishing contract with Hay House. Can you tell me about that experience and how it all came together?

LMS: Oh, thanks. You are so kind.

At the end of November 2010, I realized I was getting close to a really big milestone birthday and yet, I hadn’t written the book I had inside of me for 15 years.

I saw that Hay House had these classes, Movers and Shakers (which I think is called Speak, Write, & Promote now) and the Writers Workshop. I registered for the one in February 2011.

It was all a huge step outside my comfort zone, since the classes were held at sea on a cruise. I always hated the idea of being on a big ass boat in the middle of the ocean, but my purpose was calling to me too much not to go.

I thought I’d take the classes to get organized for writing my book. I always figured I’d self-publish. Part of the class requirements (really, they were optional) was to create a book proposal and video and submit it to Hay House. I decided to go for it and figured that I would be ready to write my book, not really attached to winning at all.

Imagine my surprise when I won a book contract! I found out that I won on my late grandma Edith’s birthday, July 25, 2011.

Then, I wrote my book and polished it, sending in my manuscript in March 2012. It’s really the hardest that I have ever worked as a writer or person, even more so than my college days at the University of Michigan.

My book, A Rebel Chick Mystic’s Guide: Healing Your Spirit With Positive Rebellion comes out November 26, 2012. It still hasn’t sunk in for me yet that I made one of my biggest life dreams come true. It’s such an honor that I’ll get to be of service on a larger scale.

Photo: Selow

TIS: It seems to me like much of the tide of spirituality is shifting from much of the old dogmatic and rigid practices and beliefs, though much of it is still very much alive and well too. Can you tell me from your own experience what you see happening overall in spiritual communities these days, both the good and the bad?

LMS: Thank goodness for the shifting of the shit, huh?

I think that the internet has been a big blessing for spiritual communities. It’s great to be able to connect to people all over the world through websites like yours, online forums or groups, Skype, and email. I also love the website, Meetup.com—it’s amazing how many spiritual groups are out there.

One of the big messages in my book is that as a rebel you don’t have to be a loner too. It’s great to find your peeps and tribe! It’s so important to feel connection, which is a huge part of the spiritual path. I have some female friends who find huge spiritual connection with their roller derby teams or burlesque dancing troops. So, you don’t necessarily have to find community at a typical, “spiritual” place.

I’ve noticed over the years a bit of elitism in some spiritual communities. I’ve observed and heard some ego things like, “My diet is purer than yours,” or “my guru is smarter than yours,” or “I’ve taken more classes or read more books than you.” I think this is really seriously fucked up shit. In the past, I used to feel as though I didn’t fit in at certain yoga studios in my area, since I don’t have a $80 pedicure or $100 yoga pants. It’s my stuff, I know, but I guess it’s all about what works for one person. I tend to be very down-to-earth as a person and authentic. I’d be the one to let out a loud fart in yoga class…ha ha ha! Releasing is good for the spirit, right? I tend to just go to places and not worry what others think about me any more.

I do think that some people take themselves way too seriously, which is strange ‘cause I always thought the most enlightened teachers I’ve experienced were lighthearted, happy, and had a sense of humor. I like to get serious when it comes to eradicating my mental afflictions and the world’s suffering. That’s about the only time I’m serious as a spiritual practitioner.

TIS: While your book is written for women, what message, if any, do you have for men on the spiritual path?

LMS: I love this question! I think that everyone has male and female energies, regardless of gender and sexual orientation. Male energy is giving and female energy is receptive.

I think that at times, I’ve been very much in my male energy, which is about being a go getter and getting shit done, things like that. I give and give until I’m exhausted. Yet, the female principle in nature is about allowing and receiving.

When male and female energies aren’t coordinated, things in our lives can get out of balance. My kind, sweet hubby Jan reminds me to receive by letting him cook me dinner now and then. It’s sometimes challenging to remember that it’s a dance, the whole giving and receiving bit.

I tend to think that women and men have far more things in common, but I appreciate there are some differences. I really feel for men ‘cause they often are not raised to be okay with expressing emotions and feelings, unless it’s anger. I think many men still feel the pressure to be breadwinners or make their marks on the world with their careers.

So, my advice for men on the spiritual path is to embrace both your female and male energies. Allow yourself to get familiar with and express your emotions and feelings. Be okay with a gentler form of personal power at times. Work on communicating your needs to those who love you. Be okay with receiving from others, instead of give, give, give. Take some time for yourself daily to relax, meditate, or just be. Accept and love yourself. Find what resonates with you when it comes to books, teachers, or classes.

The advice for men is so similar to what I’d say to women.

Photo: Grosso

TIS: I know your publishing journey has not been the easiest regarding relationships in your life, finding out who your true friends are and who aren’t and I was hoping you’d tell me a bit about what you’ve learned through this process?

LMS: Oh, yes, there’s been a bit of growing pains. At first, it really upset me to experience these friendship shifts. However, when I looked back in my life, I noticed that this has happened before when I’ve made huge changes in my life.

I’m doing my best to have compassion for myself and others. When you make a big dream come true, it amplifies everything in your life. The people who really love you are there even more. The ones that don’t approve get even more snarky or just naturally fall out of your life. The neutral ones start to comment–ha ha ha!

I’ve had to deal with a tons of unsolicited advice. I’ve had people (even friends) write me to tell me that they don’t like my hair or makeup in my video blogs. Stuff like that cracks me up.

The other stuff I’ve had to deal with is a bit difficult emotionally ‘cause I’m sensitive. I’ve had a few people write me with very hurtful, disparaging comments. I’m learning to just see both the compliments and criticism as the same thing. It helps me not take myself or life so seriously.

TIS: I know you have a deep love for music and play guitar as well, so can you tell me about the relationship music plays on your spiritual path, both the listening and playing aspects?

LMS: I think music is the language of the soul, for sure.

My own musical taste is all over the map, since growing up my parents and grandparents exposed me to a wide range of genres. Growing up in Detroit area and living there all of my life, it’s hard not to be affected by music.

I’ve always turned to music since a very young age for solace and to process my own emotions and feelings. I studied music theory, choir/singing, and organ and piano from a very young age. This is thanks to my parochial school background of nine years growing up (the one benefit, right?).

I always turned to my musical instrument or singing or listening to records as a refuge. It probably saved me from even more years of therapy or going down a dark path of addiction, that’s for sure.

Later, when I started to study healing (massage therapy and energy work), I noticed that the music played in sessions really could positively affect someone, helping them to relax and let go. I studied as much as I could understand about the human nervous system and the Eastern chakras. It felt natural to me to do self-studies about sound healing and dabble with it here and there.

I tend to bring music into most of the work that I do. Songs come into my mind for my coaching clients that seem to be relevant or help them to heal or process the stuff they are going through in life.

It’s interesting for me as someone who is highly intuitive and tapped in ‘cause I’ll hear song lyrics or melodies. I really need to tap into this more, since I do want to write songs one day of my own. I think most creative people are tapping into a source or just channeling. Many have asked me to teach about how to do this, but it’s really such a natural thing. I think most of us do it, without realizing it.

I always wanted to play electric guitar growing up, since around age eight. I finally bought my first one around five or so years ago. I took to it rather quickly due to my music background. Most of my guitar work was about the muscle memory, since guitar is such a physical instrument. I consider it releasing and healing to play though. My husband and I do that most nights together to unwind. He started playing at the same time I did. It’s great to share this path with your spouse.

Photo: Selow

TIS: I also know you are an avid concert attendee. Can you give me your top three best concerts and why?

LMS: Oh, gosh, this is so difficult to do!

I recently joked that I needed to come up with a new bucket list! I went to this American Music Masters concert in October 2012 that was honoring Chuck Berry in Cleveland, Ohio. It was an all-star type of show with Joe Bonamassa, Lemmy, Rosie Flores, David Johansen and many others. It ended with the man himself, Chuck Berry doing two songs. It really rocked and struck me with awe!

Another one of my favorite concerts was seeing Wanda Jackson for my first time in May 2011. She’s one of my musical heroines and imagine my thrill when I shook her hand. I’ve always had rockabilly in my heart ‘cause of being named Lisa Marie and being born the day before Elvis’ birthday.

Another one of my favorite concerts was in 2011 too. I went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s benefit concert in Cleveland. At the time, they had this kick ass exhibit called Women Who Rock to honor female musicians past and present. The concert had so many of my personal heroes, including Cyndi Lauper, Ronnie Spector, Darlene Love, Wanda Jackson, etc. I don’t think my eyes were dry the entire night.

I’ve been to tons of concerts, but these were the most memorable…so far. I still haven’t seen Motorhead play live yet, after all.

TIS: Who are your top three favorite guitar players and why?

LMS: Oh, no! This is so impossible, but I’ll do my best to answer.

There are so many that I appreciate, but I decided to pick the ones that I aspire to play like. (Randy Rhoads is a huge favorite in our household, but I think we’d need a few lifetimes to play 10 percent as good as Randy!). I’d be happy to channel a bit of the three below, mixed with a bit of Joan Jett and Tony Iommi. (Oops, cheating there a bit with mentioning more than three!)

Chuck Berry: He’s really the innovator of electric guitar for modern rock and roll. Of course, rock and roll came from gospel, blues, and rhythm and blues and I do enjoy those genres too. If you listen to pretty much any rock guitar player and you’ll hear some version of Chuck’s style and techniques. Thank goodness for Chuck and Les Paul, or we might not have some of the tone and style in rock and roll. Chuck is a great songwriter and poet too, if you think about it.

Keith Richards: I just love Keith! (Of course, Chuck Berry is one of his main influences.) He’s so unpretentious in his playing. Yet, he created this unique sound. It wasn’t until recently that I became a huge Rolling Stones fan. (I used to answer the Beatles or Stones question with the Clash, on a side note.) I tend to want to play music that is good old-fashioned rock and roll, with a bit of blues influence, so Keith is one of my main guitar gurus.

Johnny Thunders: I think Johnny was channeling a bit of Chuck Berry and Keith Richards with his guitar playing. Even though Johnny didn’t consider his music with the New York Dolls or the Heartbreakers as “punk rock,” Johnny really is the godfather of punk rock guitar. I think he was the real deal as an artist, along with being a great songwriter with so much versatility. He did some solo stuff later in his life on acoustic that was gorgeous. He also did brilliant remakes of songs. I covet his tone more than any other guitar player.

TIS: In close, what do you have I store for 2013 and beyond not only as an author but also guitarist, surfer/skater etc? What’s on your horizon that you’re really excited about?

LMS: I’m hoping to do some speaking and book signings, traveling a bit, when it comes  to the author bit. I have some products and coaching programs in development. It makes me happy to help others in these ways!

On a personal level, I really need to get caught up on some life things such as cleaning my closet and decluttering my basement. When you’re writing a book, things just pile up. I also could use a vacation. I’ve been such a workaholic. These are the things that really excite me! It will be a relief to be a somewhat real person again.

Guitar wise, I’m working on developing my skills with singing and playing at the same time. My hubby and I are thinking of putting together a garage band of some kind soon, with me singing and playing guitar and with him either drumming or playing guitar. I’m sure my glam rock side will come out a bit with that, ha ha ha! We’re huge T. Rex fans in our house, need I say more?

With the surfer/skater bit, it’s funny ‘cause how did you know about the surfer aspect? I’ve been wanting to go to an all women’s surf camp for a while now. I need to get over my fears of the water, especially the ocean. I want to be able to get out there with my hubby too. I keep telling myself it’s either this or a tattoo as a reward for my hard work of the past few years.

Skating wise, my main goal is to stay vertical, ha ha ha! At the end of summer 2012, I received my first longboard as a gift. Those things really go! I’m used to just cruising around at five miles per hour ‘cause I’m old school. I used to get around Ann Arbor, Michigan in my college days on a skateboard and maybe tried a few tricks here and there. But, longboarding scares me a tiny bit. But, I can’t help myself. I do want to get faster. I have a bit of a daredevil gene and used to race my mountain bike and road bike back in the day.  I think everyone needs an outlet to let off steam. I find that just cruising slowly on my longboard clears my mind. It’s highly meditative. It’s spiritual, for sure.

Motorhead –  Motorhead


Ed: Kate Bartolotta

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