From Holy Crap to Holy Wow: Self-Publishing, Crowdfunding and How Everything Fell Apart

from holy crap to holy wow: self-publishing, crowdfunding and how everything fell apart

Less than two weeks ago, everything fell apart.

Lori Portka and I were tired. We’d just spent countless hours preparing the pre-order campaign for our upcoming book, Infinite Purpose: Care Instructions for Your True Calling. And something didn’t feel right.

Back in January, when we decided to self-publish through Wise Ink, we knew it was a huge financial risk. We’d have to raise funds through pre-orders to help cover the cost of mass-printing this book; an 8×10 full-color, hardcover with nearly 200 vivid pages of divine guidance and gorgeous artwork. So we’d signed on with PubSlush, which specializes in crowdfunding for indie authors, and we diligently worked on our campaign materials – from shooting a short film about the book to creating “perks” for those who support the campaign.

But in the week leading up to our pre-order launch, we kept encountering speed bumps. We had a feeling something was up, but we were so eager to kickoff the campaign that we ignored all the little signs. We sent the link early to a bunch of friends, asking them to check it out and to start sharing the campaign with others on Wednesday. Many of them placed early orders, which was fantastic – but also revealed more glitches in the system. Ack! That Wednesday morning, we had to delay the launch by several hours while we waited to hear from PubSlush. With each passing hour, we grew more anxious. We were too blinded by worry to see that the universe was purposefully and lovingly running interference.

I decided to step away from the laptop and check in with Spirit, who encouraged me to be patient (not really what you want to hear when things are falling apart). We would launch, Spirit said, “when the sun meets the moon.” Completely baffled by this, I figured I was so stressed that I wasn’t hearing them correctly. So I dismissed their guidance.

And then the shitty-shit-shit hit the fan.

INFINITE PURPOSE: Care Instructions for Your True Calling by LIv Lane & Lori PortkaLori called and asked if I was sitting down. I braced myself. “The glitches don’t even matter,” she told me. “PubSlush is going to shut down and we have to get out ASAP.” For a good 30 seconds, we muttered every effing swear word that exists. And then we sprang into action.

We didn’t have any more time for sulking, for swearing, for wondering why. We had people to contact and refund. We had to keep folks from sharing the link on social media. We had to find a filmmaker to edit PubSlush out of our short film. We had to re-think our financials. And we had to move all of our content over to crowdfunding site INDIEGOGO. Running on sheer adrenaline, we did it all in less than 24 hours – and then we didn’t know what to do.

We were so tired, we had no energy to officially launch and explain the new pre-order campaign to people. We weren’t even sure we’d gain any traction on such a big crowdfunding site. We went around in circles; should we launch the next day? the next week? or just go into hibernation and launch the book in 2016? With no clear answer, we sat on the phone saying almost nothing to each other. We were that fried.

And then I remembered that weird guidance from Spirit: to move forward “when the sun meets the moon.” Praying it might offer us some clarity, I googled it – and my eyes just about popped right out of my head. I read aloud to Lori as I scrolled through the first site that grabbed my attention. It said there was going to be a new moon the next day – Friday, August 14th – and that this would be a time when “the sun and moon rise together, the sun and moon set together, the sun and moon cross in the sky.” 


We both gasped in awe. 

We immediately looked up the astrological implications of that particular new moon and were wowed by the insight from Mystic Mamma: “A roaring New Moon in Leo is upon us, sparking creativity and originality and igniting our passions with soul aligned purpose.” 

Whoa!! It all made sense. Our timing was not aligned with God’s timing. We had plowed forward despite a bunch of glitches, despite all the delays, until the universe finally stopped us in our tracks and forced us to take a detour. By the time we’d moved everything over to INDIEGOGO, we had to wait until Friday to launch. Online marketers say Fridays are awful days to introduce a new iniatiative, but we didn’t care; it suddenly felt like the perfect day to us!

And, indeed, it totally was. The sun and moon danced, and the campaign kicked off with such a bang that we were trending on the homepage throughout that day! Meanwhile, PubSlush got happy news, too; as they prepared to shut down, they were acquired by another company. We all went from holy crap to holy wow in a matter of days.

Looking back, we realize that when it felt like everything was falling apart, everything was actually working in our favor, for the highest good of all. Once we trusted this, our energy levels shifted and we went from feeling totally fried to fired up.

Now, with a week and a half to go, we’re over halfway to our funding goal and totally delighting in every single pre-order that comes through and in a state of wonder over the divine orchestration of it all. Want to join the magic? You’re right on time. Pre-order your Infinite Purpose book and check out all the cool perks at the IndieGoGo campaign!

i can’t believe this is happening! (dreams. do. come. true.)

Red typewriter. (LOVE) Book announcement from Liv Lane and Lori Portka

Exactly one year ago, I got brave and shared a dream of mine here: I felt ready to write a book. I didn’t have a timeline, nor a story or theme I was desperate to write about. I could just feel the book making its way to me, and I knew giving voice to that dream would pull it closer. And then, quite honestly, I forgot about it. Lots of other things took priority, from work stuff to family stuff, and I put that dream on hold.

But the universe didn’t. With a million little twists of fate, it made that dream come true at the speed of light. And now, I am over-the-moon excited to tell you that my soul-sister-friend Lori Portka and I are writing a book together. WHAT!?

Many of you know that last fall, our worlds turned upside down and inside out when Spirit – the circle of ascended wise ones on the Other Side whom I work with during my intuitive readings – swooped in and teamed us up. Lori had just texted me, feeling deflated because a publisher she was working with on a big project had just rejected eight of her paintings. As soon as I saw her text, it felt like a lightning bolt jolted through me and I heard the voice of Spirit saying those paintings were for us, for a new project called Infinite Purpose. They provided detailed instructions for leading an eight-week online program featuring Lori’s artwork and Spirit’s words (transcribed by me).

To be honest, we both thought it sounded kinda crazy. But it also felt so big and powerful, we couldn’t say no. Lori and I were shocked when 250 people signed up, fast as lightning, eager to step deeper into their callings. And as we sent out a new message from Spirit and the corresponding painting to participants each week, we were blown away by the magic that transpired in their lives and ours.

Seriously blown away.   

Not long after that program ended, Spirit appeared again with a new vision. Those teachings were to become a book, they said – with personal stories, room for reflection and more gorgeous art. All of the pieces fell into place within days and we found ourselves giddy with excitement, toasting over Skype, as we signed contracts to birth this book into the world.

We have spent the last couple of months totally immersed in making INFINITE PURPOSE: Care Instructions for Your True Calling a total treasure for you – a gorgeous, full-color, hardcover gift book/guide book/journal/life changer. Because it will be so different than anything on the market, and because we know it’s meant to be birthed into the world lickety-split, we’re self-publishing this book with the awesome blossoms at Wise Ink. They are total pros and they’re keeping us on our toes in order to release this book on 11/11/15. Holy wow. 

There’s a lot more work to do. And we’ll need your help along the way. So, we’ll be sharing fun behind-the-scenes magic, plus inspiration from the book on our brand new Facebook page (Facebook.com/InfinitePurpose). We’d be so grateful if you’d “like” the page and become part of this wild and wonderful journey with us!

how to get unstuck (my favorite solution!)

you are all sorts of awesome. (a post on how to get unstuck)

The next time you feel stuck, I hope you think of me. Because I’ve got a trick up my sleeve that could catapult you out of the muck and into your next big thing. Ready for it?

Write down the best compliment you could ever receive.

That’s right. Look at the project or challenge in front of you, and imagine precisely what someone who’s awe-inspired by your efforts might say to you. Don’t settle for envisioning broad and bland praise – like “I really like your blog” or “I love the way you decorated this room” or even “I’m impressed by how you handled that situation.” 

I’m talking about a compliment that rings so true it could move you to tears.

So many women on a mission to light up the world say they just want to inspire people. But when I ask them what they want to inspire others to do or be or feel, they often stammer. Why? Because they haven’t peeled away the layers to get crystal clear on what kind of light they want to create.

You don’t even need to know how you’re going to do it. When someone utters your ideal compliment – the one that makes you buzz from head to toe – it means that you will have served them/helped them/inspired them in a powerful way that is aligned with your innate purpose. So let the vision of that perfect compliment serve as a guidepost; a litmus test for each step you take. Consider what you’d need to do to attract a glowing compliment like that.

I can’t tell you how many times I have used this tactic at the start of something new – and been amazed (and choked up!), down the road, when someone expressed the very sentiment that had been my lighthouse from the beginning. It’s incredibly powerful. So say the words you want to hear, and let them lead the way.

a crash course with the angels (the day they saved our lives)

a crash course with the angels

I am so glad to be alive. Two weeks ago, the universe had a chance to pluck me and my little guy right off this spinning planet. But instead, we got a crash course in divine intervention. Thank God.

Two Fridays ago, I was on the phone with a friend who’s been slow-dancing with the shadows of trauma and depression. I shared some stories with her that I haven’t talked about in ages. The ones from 11 years ago, following the traumatic birth of my first son, when I was stuck in the tight grip of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Back then, the littlest things could trigger vivid visions of my child dying in every gruesome way possible – “like a terrible car crash,” I told my friend. I would try to shake them off, think of something happy…but those visions insisted on playing out from start to finish in my mind. It took a long time – and lots of good help – to win the battle with my wounded mind, to realize the visions weren’t real or threatening, and to understand I had a choice: to give in to the dark shadows in my head or fully trust that the light of God was at work in my life. That healing shift, I told her, literally saved my life.

what do little white feathers symbolize?While my friend and I talked on the phone, Tru was downstairs playing with his five-year-old buddy. The doorbell rang; it was the boy’s mom, arriving to take him home. As the little boy walked to our door to put his shoes on, he stopped and said, “Here, this is for you.” In his small hands, he held a tiny white feather. A TINY WHITE FEATHER! I don’t know where it came from or why he felt like I should have it (instead of his own mama!?), but I received it with a full heart.

White feathers are a sign I’ve encouraged so many of my ecourse students to watch for as evidence angels are around. You would not believe how many white feathers they find once they tap into that awareness! It is awesome. When this little boy handed that feather to me, I felt the power of the timing…of receiving it just after sharing on the phone how protected and safe I now feel. It felt so special, in fact, I took a picture.

It was probably an hour later when the angels swooped in to save our lives.

Tru and I went to our favorite nursery to pick out spring flowers. He asked to go outside and all the way to the back – to a shady area full of hosta plants. It was quiet and peaceful there, with no other customers around. And that’s when it happened.

We both heard a loud boom. I looked up to see a car zooming straight for us; I don’t know where it came from, but it had already hit something (thus the loud boom) and there was no time to move – or even to think of moving. I felt like I was outside of my body for a moment, watching myself watching that car speed toward us. Why was there even a car in the nursery!? It was just like my old PTSD visions, only this time it was real. And then I felt it: a shift in energy, a slowing down of time, a force unseen altering the moment. The out-of-control car would have taken mere seconds to plow into us, but instead it hit a water tank and then the staircase on the side of a nearby garage, tipping on its side just enough to somehow stop abruptly. We stood there in silent shock, until I realized we were okay.

HOLY SHIT. WE WERE OKAY. I felt myself breathe again. 

I ran to the car (it was much closer than it looks in the picture), and found the driver inside holding her head in confusion – but without a scratch on her. Tru startedCaution: #Angel Crossing screaming with worry for me, so I went back to him as staff members ran up to help the driver. Tru and I walked around in a daze after that; he kept saying, “that was a bad accident…” and I would follow it up – in amazement – with, “…and everyone’s okay.” 

The vision of that day has yet to leave my mind. It comes to me almost daily, asking me to re-live it, inviting me to be amazed by it. It is the opposite of my old visions, which left me riddled with fear. This one has no shadows; it’s a miracle in motion and leaves me feeling eternally grateful and cared for.

I don’t believe any of it is a coincidence – the telling of my shadow stories followed by the gift of that feather, followed by the divine roadblocks that kept us safe from that speeding car. And the opportunity to share it all with you is just another step in the divine order of things, I believe. Because if I tell you, and you tell others, somebody along the way is going to feel moved to make more space in her life for angels, for divinity, for magic. There are miracles happening every day. Pass it on…

 

the big reveal: my new dream (and how to give yours wings)

you can dream. so dream out loud. - U2

So many women I know are holding on to a deep secret, keeping quiet about something that could change the world – or, at the very least, their lives.

The secret is a dream. 

A dream of doing something more, something different, something that’s been calling their name. Is there one inside you?

Why all the secrecy? Because these dreams are mirrors to our soul. They reveal what we long for, what really matters to us. They ask us to feel worthy of them. They challenge us to follow them regardless of how the people in our lives react.

And when we say them out loud, we make them real.

They dangle in the air in front of us, clear as day. Not so easy to ignore as when they were buried inside, shrouded in doubt and fear. When we say them out loud, to real live people, those people might have questions or opinions or – gasp! – ideas to help us.

Eight years ago, I decided to be brave about revealing a dream of mine. I’d been blogging for a year about beauty in our midst. Taking pictures, writing about what I saw, feeling increasingly connected to the universe, and nervously protecting a growing longing to turn my reflections on beauty into a book. I could see it in my mind’s eye. I could feel it helping people. I could imagine it being really popular. But it felt audacious, preposterous to think I was ready for that or worthy of that. Still, that dream chased me. Kept popping up when my guard was down.

One day, I went out for coffee with Anne, a smart and spirited woman who had mutual friends with me. We talked about our backgrounds, our work. And then, like an angel in disguise, she looked at me lovingly and asked if I had any dreams she might be able to help me achieve. And that’s when I said it, just like that.

I said my dream out loud. I gave it wings. 

And do you want to know the craziest thing? She had just met with a local publisher the week before who said he was looking for the very kind of book I described to her. The universe is freaking amazing when we speak our truth, isn’t it? Anne connected us, the publisher gave me a book deal, and I relished every second we worked together on that book.

A couple of years later, two weeks before the book went to print, the publishing house closed its doors without warning. My book never saw the light of day. It was sad, of course, but I already knew deep down my dream was morphing. I already had other hopes gaining steam inside me. Experiencing the power of giving voice to that book dream gave me confidence to speak up about other fantasies for my life. And the death of that book gave me the space to launch my first ecourse. I wasn’t sure I was ready to or worthy of teaching anything to anyone, but it was another little dream that wouldn’t let me go. As soon as I said it out loud and wrote it on my blog, I set the wheels in motion. And today, I am so grateful for the brilliant women who have come together for my classes over the years. I’ve learned as much from them as they have from me, if not more.

Saying my dreams out loud – the ones that reveal who I am and what I want and ask me to stand in my own light for all to see – is still daunting. But, because my friend Andrea Schroeder asked me to share here today how I give a dream wings, I’ve decided to be brave. To tell you about a new (old) dream. To say it out loud, to release it to the universe on wings and a prayer. To set the wheels in motion. Here goes…

I’m ready (again) to write a book. A best-selling book (squeeeeeal!). A book that cracks hearts wide open to fill them with hope. A book that brings us all closer to the Great Beyond. A book you can’t put down because you hear the voice of God, the swirling universe, the dancing stars, the stirring of your soul every time you open it, leading you to your happily ever after. 

It’s a big, bold dream. Audacious, yes. Preposterous? Maybe. But possible. Totally, wonderfully possible. Because everything is. It feels awesome and awful to put it in writing, unsure if you’re rolling your eyes or clapping your hands. That’s the way it always feels, and it’s kind of exhilarating. I so hope you’ll try it, too. Your dreams are pulling at your heartstrings because they have something to say, because they need to be in the world, because they’ll help make your life feel worthwhile. Saying them out loud is like pushing them out of the nest; until you do, they have no chance to take flight. So what are you dreaming of, love? Ready, set, fly…

 

wingsbutton

The Give Your Dream Wings Blog Hop is a peek inside the process of how inspiring people make the magic happen. We’ve got some of the internet’s most inspiring bloggers sharing how they give their dreams wings – what they do that supports, nurtures and encourages their tender dreams to come to life.

This is happening in celebration of the new e-course of the same name by Andrea Schroeder of the Creative Dream Incubator. The Give Your Dream Wings e-course shows you how to nurture and grow YOUR dream, for free, in only 10 minutes a day. You do not have to wait until you have more time or money!

Click here to find out about the free e-course, and to read the other (crazy inspiring!) posts in this Blog Hop.

cruising past the big kids: inside my life as a fly girl

Spread your wings and #fly | LivLane.com

When I was a little girl, I could fly.

I’m not talking about the times my dad would lift me in the air and twirl me above the crowd, nor about my great big imagination carrying me off to faraway places.

I’m telling you heart-to-heart, hand-to-God: I flew. I realize it sounds preposterous, impossible. I don’t understand it myself, but have such vivid memories of it that I’ve never doubted it. And that’s saying something, because I’ve doubted a lot about my lifetime of paranormal, hard-to-believe experiences.

I can still feel myself, primarily while I was four- to eight-years-old, sitting on the front step of my childhood home, frequently aware of otherworldly beings in my midst – loving protectors, ethereal guardians. They kept me company, made me feel safe and sometimes, on my favorite days, they helped me fly. Only up and down the sidewalk of our tree-lined avenue, mind you; they were very respectful of my parents’ rules – no leaving our side of the street! 

All I had to do was move my arms like I was swimming the breaststroke to pull my body forward. I could see the sidewalk three or four feet beneath me as I’d make my way up and down the block. It was the most incredible feeling; I was absolutely giddy, my whole body buzzing with glee and awe. Were they out-of-body experiences? Astral travel? Lucid dreams? I have no idea. They felt real – and they still do, all these years later.

The last time I remember it happening, I reached the end of our block and looked across the street to see a bunch of the cool neighbor boys driving their Big Wheels and bikes in circles on a driveway. One stopped cold and looked straight at me. I felt instant panic, my feet fell to the sidewalk and I ran home. I remember how heavy my body felt as I ran down the block, and how my heart ached, unsure what he saw but sensing that I’d done something wrong or abnormal – and that he might tell others. That fear kept me from flying again – literally and metaphorically.

Heart - Born to Fly on Swing hi-resI clipped my wings, so to speak; dimmed my light. I was very cautious about whom I shared my not-so-normal experiences with, growing quieter as the years passed. But I never forgot the flying.

Over the past few years, I slowly came back into my own, embracing and sharing the gifts of my intuition and connection with the Great Beyond. The past year has been particularly big on that front; I started 2013 by choosing THRIVE as my word of the year, feeling ready to bloom in new ways. But I had no idea how transparent I’d actually become about this deeper awareness.

Has it been scary? Absolutely. Has it been worth it? Without a doubt. For the first time in decades, I feel like I’m taking flight again. I have no plans to zoom down the block anytime soon (ha!), but I want to keep close the complete joy and fearlessness that felt so natural all those years ago.

So, it seems only fitting that my word of 2014 – the one that will guide me in my decisions and attitude this year – is FLY. I want to feel free, uninhibited, and filled to the brim with amazement for where I’m going, and the support I have to get me there. No more worrying about the big kids telling on me; I’ve got nothing left to hide. Ready, set, fly.

 __________________________

Want to fly with me this year? I’d love it! Here are some fun ways to stay connected in 2014…

Did you choose a word of the year for 2014? I’d love to hear it and what motivated you to choose it. Wishing you a brilliantly light-filled year, dear ones.

the secret nobody knows: finding my way back to abundance

finding my way back to abundance: the secret nobody knows

My hubby bought a new jacket and matching snow pants last week, perfect for sledding with the kids. He looks like a million bucks in them, even though they only cost $18 – at the Goodwill. Oh, how we’ve changed.

A decade ago, the only reason we had to visit a Goodwill store was to donate clothes and household items we no longer needed, in hopes they might find a second home. We never imagined one day we’d need – much less choose – to shop there.

Back then, we both had full-time jobs that paid very well; we wouldn’t have batted an eye at buying Brad’s snow pants and jacket at a high-end store…at full price (a discount would have been a victory, not a necessity). We went out a lot – for dinner, to shows, to family events. We paid loads of money for our young son to attend a full-time, top-notch daycare. We finished our basement and added a bathroom in our urban bungalow. And when that house felt “too small,” we moved to the ‘burbs – into a house with plenty of space (and a great big mortgage). We said we were blessed…but I’m not sure we really knew it.

I was pretty awesome at manifesting whatever we desired: more money, great trips, new opportunities. I trusted the universe would take care of us and frequently set my intentions on creating more material goodness in our lives. It was easy to do when things felt easy.

Eventually, I longed to leave my high-stress communications career; it was wearing me out, and I wanted more time with my son. So I envisioned all I desired – flexibility, creativity, financial stability – and trusted it would come. And it did. I left the corporate world in 2007, able to make even more money doing freelance work, writing my blog and hosting a new radio show. For more than a year, all I’d envisioned came easily, but my energy was off. I had a hard time adjusting to working from home and frequently felt worried or isolated.

This is what almost no one knows: that our precious little life caved in on us. The recession hit in 2008 and I felt it big-time. Clients pulled their projects. Radio sponsorships dried up. My income dropped by 80% and, as we lived our two-income lifestyle on one income, thinking it was temporary, our savings disappeared. In the meantime, I had a baby (oh, bliss! oh, bills!). Soon after, I needed minor surgery. And then the furnace broke. And the washer/dryer. And the air conditioner. The hits just kept on coming – hits that would have been tricky to manage even with my old income. We got by on credit cards, assuming we’d bounce back to our old normal sooner than later, and that we’d be able to pay all quickly-ballooning bills with ease. But reality set in as creditors started to call; every unrecognized number on the caller ID made me sick to my stomach. I considered going back to work, but our youngest son’s mounting special needs left us perplexed and paralyzed, unsure how and where to place him all day long; the thought of it weighed heavy on our hearts.

We borrowed money. We leaned on my parents (hardest request I’ll ever make, but they were amazing). We sold books, toys, jewelry, baby clothes. One day, I pawned a ring Brad had given me years before just so I could buy groceries. I was a ball of nerves, trying to keep up appearances while feeling like a total failure. 

Saving money turned into a part-time job: clipping coupons, finding deals, shopping at secondhand stores. And you know what? I got really good at it. Getting a cart-full of groceries for $50 or a kid’s Halloween costume for a buck was an energy high. I felt good figuring out new ways to help my family and increasingly optimistic about our ability to climb out of debt. I was reminded of the buzz that comes from feeling productive, being resourceful, trusting the universe. And I made a conscious decision to follow that high.

when you focus on the sweet stuff, the sweet stuff multiplies. via livlane.com

I started focusing more on the blessings in our life (there were still so many). Instead of feeling disgruntled when Facebook friends posted pics of their tropical trips or expensive family outings, I chose to be genuinely happy for them. I sought out learning opportunities with payment plans and scholarships, determined to figure out how to turn my creativity into revenue. I started tapping into the power of intention again, envisioning our family beautifully secure and content. I fed off every moment of inspiration, every bright spot in each day. 

My small business was gradually reborn; I leveraged my marketing expertise and keen intuition to mentor women who felt clueless about marketing or intuition. I taught classes. I sold my art. I gave speeches to whomever would have me. I made mistakes and brushed myself off. Every step felt big, every sale I made felt like a miracle (still does, quite frankly).

It’s been a bumpy ride, to be sure, but so much goodness has flowed into our lives as we’ve intentionally focused on gratitude (best fear-fighter ever), cultivated positive energy, revamped our relationship with money and created new sources of income. Now, to pay for something we need or want – whether secondhand or high-end – is so much sweeter now, having known the crippling anxiety of serious debt. I still clip my coupons and get jazzed seeing the price go down at the register. We still high-five over perfectly good snow pants found at the Goodwill. And I thank my lucky stars that Brad and I grew together through this, rather than apart.

Until now, almost no one knew this chapter of our story. But over the weekend, I got choked up while finalizing a payment plan for Project Light Year in response to many women wanting to join but needing some help to do it. I realized the powerful shift from once needing such assistance to creating it for others. As I sat there, breathing that in, I realized I should tell you I’ve been thereI get itI know the shame of it and fear in it. I realized I should tell you that even though things could always be worse, they can also get so much better. I realized that should I reveal this piece of my journey, it might provide a little light for yours.

(Note: For info on the payment plan for Project Light Year, just scroll to the bottom of the info page here. I’d love for you to join us!)

here’s who i’m spending 2014 with (squeal!!!)

Christmas star ornament

Merry-making is at full tilt around here. Our boys are so excited – love watching them delight in the magic of it all! But gosh, isn’t it shocking to realize 2013 is almost over?

I love the week between Christmas and New Year’s because I intentionally review my year and plan ahead for the next one. It’s so powerful. I’m already buzzing with excitement for 2014 because, for the first time, I’m leading a YEAR-LONG program designed to help brave hearts like you soulfully create your brightest year yet – and be in community with each other, exploring and sharing and adding light to your lives. Project Light Year is going to be amazing.

Project Light Year with Liv Lane and 8 "dream team" contributorsAnd today, my heart is so incredibly full as I get to introduce you to 8 amazing contributors; a virtual dream team of teachers and visionaries, intuitively and artfully helping women create their best lives. And they can teach it because they have lived it; every single one of these women has transformed her life to do what she loves, to grow from grief and hardship, to live with great purpose. Ready to meet them? Drum roll, please…

Lori Portka: Lori is pure light; she is a brilliant artist whose vibrant paintings honor the beauty of life, cultivating “happiness through art.” Her inspiring work around the art of gratitude will play a huge role in Project Light Year; if you don’t know her yet, you will fall in love with her pronto. Promise.

Susannah Conway:  Susannah is an awesome photographer and author who’s led thousands of women around the world through her soulful online classes, dedicated to leveraging creativity and self-reflection for deep healing. Totally pinching myself over her being here.

Leigh Hopkins: After two decades of working in public education reform, Leigh realized her amazing intuitive gifts could be leveraged for another kind of reform: helping women achieve a greater sense of well-being and connection to their intuitive wisdom. As founder and director of Viva Institute, Leigh is a beacon of light for so many; can’t wait for her to help participants step deeper into their inner knowing!

Kelly Rae Roberts: If you’ve stepped into a gift shop in the last several years, chances are you’ve seen Kelly Rae’s life-affirming work, given that she’s one of the most successful licensed artists on the planet. She’s a girl with a deep, giving soul; her art shows it…but I also know it. Her being here is such a gift.

Laurel Bleadon-Maffei: If it weren’t for Laurel, Project Light Year might not even exist! During an intuitive reading with her, I received guidance to bring this idea back to life – the one I’d sketched out but put on hold. I was instantly energized to finish what I’d started – and I knew Laurel had to be part of it. The messages she receives and shares from angels and spirits are beautiful (no wonder over 60,000 people have followed her on Facebook!).

Rachel Awes: Rachel is like a walking rainbow. A gifted psychologist and soulful artist, her work lifts up people from their most vulnerable places and illuminates goodness in all of our journeys. Her words are like silk on your skin and her joy is contagious. Can’t wait for the ways in which she’ll color our year together!

Michelle Stimpson: Michelle is a one-of-a-kind life coach, guiding women through positive change for over a decade with tremendous success. I’ve never met someone with more integrity and with such passion for living life to the fullest. And the ways she manifests magic in her life is so awe-inspiring; prepare to be wowed!

Carissa Paige: I have maintained for years that Carissa is a real-life fairy, feathers and glitter tucked in her knapsack along with her paintbrushes. The way her intuition and dream life lead her through art-making and storytelling mesmerizes me, and her courageous heart inspires me. So thrilled she’ll be sprinkling her fairy dust on all of us throughout 2014!

See what I mean?? Total dream team. If you’re ready to join us for 12 months of magic-making, soul-deepening, intention-creating, spirit-guiding, purpose-finding content and connection, then click here for Project Light Year. Can’t wait to shine bright with you, all year long.

the soul of instagram: do you see what i see?

The soul of Instagram: what does your feed reveal about YOU? (includes a bunch of great folks to follow!)Can I tell you a secret? I’ve become a peeping Tom. But my intentions are pure, I swear. Truth is, I love to see people – really see them – by looking at their Instagram feeds. Not just one picture, but their life strung together in little squares, telling a story they may not even realize they’re telling. Wanna see what I mean?

First, if you’re not on Instagram, it’s a mobile photo-sharing app. You take pictures of whatever strikes your fancy, write a little something about it and use filters (if you want) to alter the photo’s light exposure or color before sharing. Your followers can like or comment on your photo and, to me, it just feels like a more intimate community than other social media hangouts.

But here’s why I’m particularly head over heels for it: I can see the essence of you, just looking at your feed. A collection of the latest photos you’ve shared, tucked inside nine or 12 little boxes, I see so much. What’s happening in your life, what’s important to you, what colors you live your life in (really! from black-and-white feeds to some full of vibrant, primary colors). For most people, these connected dots are not conscious decisions, and I love that authenticity so much.

Sometimes, I look at my own feed to be reminded what has struck me as beautiful or meaningful lately. My family. Nature. Light. Art. I’m often surprised by the flow and consistency of the colors and content.

I’ve selected a range of Instagram feeds to share with you; notice how they each have their own unique essence, their own soul. Click on any one of them to reach their real-time feeds…

Carissa Paige on Instagram Lisa Leonard on Instagram MustafaSeven on Instagram Andrea Schroeder on Instagram - Creative Dream Incubator
Mahogany Hair Stylist Mpls on Instagram Faith Evans-Sills on Instagram
Heather Lalley on Instagram - FlourGrrrl Andrea Scher on Instagram - Superhero Life
Artsyville on Instagram - Aimee Dolich Jewelchic on Instagram - Megan Castran

So cool, right? We all see and capture the world around us in different ways. It’s a beautiful thing. Looking forward to seeing the true you on Instagram!