062 The Divine Self-Care Mentor, Interview with Elena Lipson
On her way up the corporate ladder, Elena suffered an illness that resulted in time at home. This led to the revelation that there were other lifestyle choices that she found attractive. This self discovery led her to her new career path.
REad the interview Transcript
Alright dreamers, it's time to get curious. Today we are talking to Elena Lipson, an amazing woman who is going to share her story with us today. Elena is the Divine Self care mentor, a speaker, writer, transformational coach, and retreat leader. She's the creator of 66 sacred rituals and the divine self care circle mastermind, which is a year long journey for women who are ready to say yes to igniting their divine feminine, and dropping the hustle in exchange for creating a life they love with ease and grace.
Alright Elena, first of all, thank you so much for being on our show. So now that we now what it is that you do professionally, do mind taking a couple of minutes... what about you? Tell us about you...
E: Yes, thank you for asking. It's funny, every time I get asked this question I feel like different parts of my story light up based on what is needed most, so I think we all have amazing stories, but the one I think resonates most with women, I think it's really important to speak to, is that I started, like a lot of people- well, not a lot of people, but my story- is I decided that I was going to go into the corporate world, and I was going to work my up, and I was going to have a job and do really well at it and conquer the world. It didn't quite work out that way, just like most things don't. I actually really love the corporate world, I don't have anything against it. I wasn't someone who was trying to escape from the corporate world. What happened to me when I was a corporate trainer, I was going down the direction of being a teacher in the classroom in a corporate setting, which I love to do. I think I was born a teacher, and wherever I am I like to break things down and to share them in a way that is exciting and story based. I love that connection when you're teaching something.
During one of my jobs that i had at this really great company, it was a real estate software company where they taught people how to get their real estate licenses, they brought in this great team of two women to do a management coaching training. That's when everything changed for me. These two women were teaching communication and coaching, and I just thought "wow, this is really different" I thought you basically... I got my degree in organizational psychology, and I figured that was the path I was going to go down. When I saw these two women doing this thing- training all of us managers at this company, something about it ignited a part of me that was very entrepreneurial and I wanted to do what they were doing. I quickly after the training hired one of the women to be my personal coach outside of the company. I also had her hired for me within the company, so I was working with on these two different paths. Knowing that I wasn't quite ready to leave corporate yet, but I also wanted to figure out how she got to where she was. I started my coach training with her and then I eventually got my coach u certificate for life, and executive coaching, I was doing both.
This is where my story starts to get connected to where I am now. Not only was I working a full time corporate job, I was also starting a coaching practice on the side like a lot of people do. For me, this meant waking up early, going to networking breakfasts, and sharing what I do, and doing my job and then going home and trying to get clients, and going to networking meetings... handing out business cards, and fulfilling my hours of coaching to get certified... all of that for a long time.
G; Very busy
E: Very, very busy. But on the one hand busy has gotten a bit of a bad rap. I was in my early 20's, I had the energy to do it. I was doing a lot. That's the time that you're building and creating stuff in the world. I had't met my husband yet, thought I was about to. I had no kids. I had a lot of time. I enjoyed the idea and the feeling of creating and getting stuff done. I was building this business, and I was traveling for my job. I was getting a lot done, but when I look back and see now, what was happening was every few months I would get sick. Sick to the point where I couldn't get out of bed. I thought I had something called seasonal flues. I literally thought that every time the season changed I would get the flu. I was ok with that, because that was just what happened to me. I had no idea that what was happening in my body was that my immune system was telling me "slow down, girl. slow down."
Even on vacation I'm not the kind of person to just sit. I do stuff. I'm not a "type a". I just like to do stuff. I like to feel creative and useful. I like to feel like I'm doing something and that permeated my entire 20's. That was just what I was doing.
I had gotten my coaching certification, I was getting sick every quarter, I was still doing my corporate job, and then I got pregnant, I got married... well, I met my husband... I did that in that in the typical traditional order. We got married, we dated for a couple of years, we decided we were gonna have a kid, we waited a couple of years, got pregnant. I got pregnant just when I was 30. What happened to me then was pretty serendipitous because my body at that point was like "you are done, you're not going to stand anymore". After about 4-5 months pregnancy, I just couldn't do my job anymore. I couldn't stand in front of the classroom because I was getting so tired. I started working from home, and I started getting this peek into an alternative lifestyle that I'd never had before, which was much more entrepreneurial.
I could wake up when my body wanted me to. I would roll out of bed, grab my computer, go to a bookstore, do a few hours of work, and then I would go for a walk by the beach, and I was like "ooo, I like this. It's really good". I still didn't know what was going to happen next, but what I did know was that I knew that I did not want to work in the corporate setting when I had my son because I'm a bit of a rebel, and I don't want to have to ask anyone for time off. I wanted to be an involved mom, and all those things. I knew I wasn't going back to corporate afterwards, I just didn't quite know how that was going to look.
After he was born, we moved to Washington state, we were living in California at the time. Literally everything slowed down. Having this kid, I didn't know how it was going to affect my life. Sleep becomes erratic, you don't know what your body's going to do. My body started to scream at me after all these years of not having... not taking care of it, giving it time to rest, sleep and eat well, and do all the things I thought were ok, but they weren't great. I started experiencing these random pains in my body, no one could figure out what it was. That took me two years to figure out that I had an auto immune disease that was showing itself in my 20's. It was telling my body I had to lay down when I need to lay down. I wasn't doing the things I needed to do to take care of myself. It was exacerbated by having a baby which throws your whole system off.
I was forced to look at what was happening. I never stopped working, as I started my online work right when my son was 6 months old. I still hadn't learned my lesson, "oh i'm gonna sleep better, and I'm gonna ask for help when I need it" and my husband's very supportive, but I'm still gonna do my work because I love my work. It's an expression of part of who I am, so I never stopped working.
G: Would you say that this time of learning that you had this auto immune, was that one of the low points in your journey?
E: I feel like it was because I thought, here I am doing emotionally and spiritually.... honoring my family and my child, I'm not working for corporate anymore, and I have changed my lifestyle dramatically. We moved to a different state to be in this family mode, and my body... it's almost like when you're running so fast and somethings chasing you, you don't see it. Then the second you slow down, it slams right into you. I can see it clearly now looking back, that my body was finally getting enough slow down to express what was really happening. I needed to start taking some time to go back to yoga, and to just breathe, and to go for walks, and to honor me. I think a lot of moms have this... you have this baby, and if you had a professional identity, you're asking yourself, who am I now?
A lot of that is figuring all of that out. It took me several years to have... there's a couple of moments, but there's one where I was experiencing these really bad cramps that were, I thought, uterine fibroids and tumors. I did have fibroids, but it didn't end up being as bad as we thought it was, but the pain was pretty bad. I remember sitting there... one night my husband was working. He works evenings. My son was asleep, and I was up writing on my blog and all of a sudden I just stopped. I thought, "oh my God" I started literally sobbing. I thought, what the hell was wrong with me? My life is great. I have this beautiful baby who's healthy, I've got a great relationship. I've got this house, I've got family and friends, and I'm just so sad. I couldn't even figure out who... the question to who I was now was starting to really get louder and louder.
I think at that moment, that was the first time in my life where... I think my son was now over 2, close to 3, and I looked at my husband the next day and said, "you know, something has to change because I feel like either I want to run away, or I want to curl up in a ball." We actually sold my first company that I started online... sold all the inventory, and literally for the first time in my life since I was 14 yo, I didn't work. For 6 months, nothing. No even trying to. Not trying to figure it out, just not doing it. I took a 6 month yoga training course. I started leaving all day on Saturdays to go to this yoga training, and really doing the spiritual work of figuring out how to answer that question.. "who am I now?" That's when the seeds of being the Divine Self Care Mentor and working with women on reverse engineering, from the place where you think you want to be, to how is it you really do that and get the confidence and the resiliency and the presence and the health... not sacrificing that element.
So many women that I work with now comes to me because they're tired of being tired, but they don't quite know why they're tired. They've been doing it for so long they're just not sure, but they know... it's something that they see in me that's how they want to be, they just don't have words to it. That for me was the beginning of my journey teaching self care to women specifically. Mostly entrepreneurs, but not all. Women who are on this mission to ask "who am I now, how do I get to where I want to be without sacrificing my health or my wellness and still make positive change and make an impact and have visibility and do what it is I want to do minus all the hustle, the burnout?"
I don't have anything against hustle, you can tell I like doing stuff. I always say you pull it through the filter of your own life. You create containers of self care around it. The three main anchors that I teach are based on reverse engineering a little bit of this questioning, how do I want to be in the world?
I broke it down to the point of... I love teaching rituals because it feels real, in the moment. You can have instant relief, almost, of feeling disconnected. That is the foundation of my work. I always ask myself, "how do I teach people what I do so naturally?" I do it naturally now because it's been years of figuring it out. I put that all in there.
G: It sounds to me that one of the most critical things you did was take that six months and do the spiritual work, and to stop "work" work. When I hear you say that there's two things that come up for me. One is "wow, that sounds amazing, I could use some of that" and then there's another part of me that's panic, "oh my God, 6 months?!?". Last week I was sick for 5 days and I'm still feeling guilty for not working 5 days even though I was sick. For people like me, these crazy people who say "I want that but I'm so scared of it..." What are some steps that we can take to make this space for ourselves?
E: Such a great question, because the six months for me, it was almost like emergency... you hit the emergency button... that's what it was for me. I knew... I was on this several year journey of trying to figure out what was wrong with my health, I was getting colonoscopies and MRI's, and cat scans.. it was dramatic for me inside my body. On the outside I looked fine, but I knew something was happening inside. It was this question of "am I going to keep going like I'm going?" I have this child, this husband, and family who loves me and I need to figure this out. I know I'm not in my best place.
For me taking six months was sort of like pushing that emergency button. Now I don't ever get to that place of having to do that. I don't want to escape anymore. This is what I teach now. The three anchors of what I teach within my year long program is creating a system called a dream calendar. You're already giving yourself permission to create your life in a way that matches your needs.
I work with women who are in the corporate world, I work with women who are entrepreneurs, and have every excuse about "I can't change my schedule" that you can possibly hear. I will challenge that because there's small pockets of breathe and movement that can shift your day in dramatic ways. The dream calendar is one anchor.
The next anchor is magic mornings. I use the words deliberately, because when you have and start developing a morning practice, it becomes this magical transmutation. For me, and for the women that I work with, what I found is that every night when you go to sleep there's this reset button. You wake up in the middle of the night like "oh my God, what am I doing?" It's crazy. You get these fears that come up. If you're a creator in the world, you're gonna have fear. It's just part of creation. When I wake up in the morning and I do my magic morning practice, I get right back into resiliency and presence and joy and the spiritual element of my morning.
The third anchor is daily rituals. They ground you. They anchor you. This isn't anything... I'm not pulling things from the heavens that no one's ever heard. I'm just putting them together in a way that's very practical. Literally open your calendar and find what I call "self care containers".
For example, I just went to a business planning weekend with my business partners last week. Thursday-Sunday. I looked at my calendar beforehand and I didn't have anything on the calendar for Wednesday or Thursday before I left except for planning and picking up whatever last minute details I needed. When I landed on Sunday I knew that I had the entire Monday to do absolutely nothing. Nothing. I mean nothing. Lay on the couch, watch The Voice, cry, laugh, whatever. Go for a walk with my husband, go take a bath in the middle of the day. That's my landing. My integration. I built it into my calendar, and I do have that luxury because I'm and entrepreneur. But I also know a lot of entrepreneurs who don't do that, like, "oh my God, I have money to make, I have a launch to do, and I have all these things to plan". I would say, for me, I have come to connect how I show up when I'm rested and well nourished vs how I show up when I'm panicked and hurried. They're very different.
These days, how you show up, your presence, is the most important asset that you have. You are your business, you are the one thing that shows up consistently. Especially since I do video and I do audio, and I connect with clients 1-1. I need to manage my energy in a way that is really solid. The deepest meaning of self care practices and rituals is learning how to manage your energy so that you do have the presence and the confidence and the resilience to make an impact and to have the visibility that you want to make.
There's no questioning it for me. I know if I don't go into my self care cave, either on a daily basis... when we do our dream calendar, it's daily, weekly, quarterly, monthly... we're building it all in so that's there's no surprise. You don't schedule a work call on your best friends birthday. You're building it all in so that you have this spaciousness already done. The worst thing is going forward hoping everything works out, not feeling like, "when was the time I had a good laugh with my friends over dinner? When was the last time I did something because it just makes me happy? Because it has no monetary value? When was the last time I had a good orgasm?"
All these things that are the pleasure pieces of your life that inform everything else that you do, you put on the calendar. It's not like it sounds wonderful in theory, and it's a great philosophy... I want to help you ground it into your day so there's no point where you feel like you have to escape for 6 months.
If you want to take 6 months off, awesome, I plan to do that at some point, but not to get yourself to the point where you want to hit the escape button. So that you feel there's gaps of deep rest every day. you have this sense of connection with what your body's needs are moment to moment. I remember moments when I could hear my body telling me, "stop work. Go lay down". And I would push through that, and push through that until I just got sick. Whether it's a cold, or a sore throat. I believe when you're do get sick like that, and I hear that you said you got sick last week.
G: I did
E: If you and I were talking as clients, or just friends, I would invite you to take a look at, have you been pushing through? Have you been giving yourself enough rest, and sleep, and those things? Honestly, it could just be a cold bug, and that's fine. But I tend to look at things from a very spiritual lens where it's not an accident, it's asking you to look at something. It's not from shame or guilt or blame at all. It's just a curiosity... "I wonder"... just stay curious... "I wonder if my getting sick was related to me not honoring part of something that i really needed".
I know for me there are times when I just want to curl up in bed for a day, and if I don't do that, I can tell after a while my bodies like, "oh, you said you wanted to lay down in bed, here you go." So go read some magazines, go watch some shows. I have a sense of humor with it, but I'm also very tuned in to what my body needs. I can lay down flat on the floor when I need to, I can go outside for a walk when I want to, make sure I'm hydrating enough, because you are your best asset. If you take care of yourself in that way, you won't need to hit the escape button for 6 months unless you choose to.
G; Alright Elena, it's time for out Daily Insights. Why do you believe self love is important?
E: I believe that the way you honor yourself and your needs is going to be the first step to building any relationships outside of yourself. How you connect with yourself is going to be mirrored with how you connect with those around you. How you give to yourself, how you treat yourself, how you invest in yourself... it's going to indicate to others around you how they should be treating you. So I really believe that mirror piece.
G: What was the one thing that was holding you back from accepting self love?
E: Thinking that my value, my self worth, was connected to what I created instead of just because I was born and because I am. Once I got that, I didn't have to validate that with anything else besides just being here.
G: Who is one person who has changed your life for the better?
E: The person that pops into my mind was sort of the woman that I found to be... I was calling in a teacher mindfully, and I found her at this amazing time and it was Caroline Mayes who's a medical intuitive and healer. She really was the first opening of the door for me to this connection between how you show up in the world and your inner world. If you're not giving as much time to your inner world, then your outer world is gonna reflect that. Her teaching continue, to this day over a decade, have been some of the most powerful pieces that I come back to.
G: What is the best advice that you've ever received?
E: Get more sleep. Seriously. It just comes down to sleep and play and pleasure, of course. For me, when I get a good sleep, a good night sleep, I feel like I can do anything. And I do.
G: Can you share a creative self care habit that you practice regularly?
E: Yeah, absolutely. I think the one that I get to teach and get asked to teach the most is the magic morning practice. It's a three step practice that includes mind, like a mediation, it includes a physical movement, and it includes writing. This is a practice that I borrowed from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, and this has been transformative on so many levels because, and I've always been a writer. I got my first journal when I was 9 or 10 and I remember tear stained entries from when I was little. I process through words, that's just how I am. I'm a Gemini, I need to get things out, either say it or write it.
Every morning, if I can open my book, which I do, it's part of my daily practice, is to write down, whether it's my dream or my fear or my intention for the day, or my mantras... it just feels like it keeps that part of me flowing. If you're creative in any way whatsoever, that morning practice is crucial to flow. Otherwise, it gets stuck. I call it the inner cobwebs get so stuck that you can't see through them anymore, it blocks the light. It blocks the flow, it blocks guidance.
And of course, the mediation and the movement go hand in hand. You really cannot separate them. I would say if you're going to choose one to start with, choose one of those. Which one is calling for you, morning movement, like dancing or a walk or writing. I can spend a whole half hour teaching this, I'm not going to do that but, if you were to start somewhere, grab a journal in the morning and just start writing from your heart and see what comes out. That's been transformative for the women that I work with because they're actually accessing that part of them self that is intuitive and is playful and wants to have a voice. For women especially for women, our voice has to be heard whether it's on paper, or to each other, or to make an impact in the world, so much of our voice has been shut down over generations. A lot of us still carry that. It's crucial that we have access to our own inner voice so that we can if we choose, share it in our world. Even if it's just to your friends or your children, to have a voice and not to feel like you can't really connect with that inner most knowing that you have.
G: Do you have a favorite quote?
E: Yes. It's by Anaïs Nin, and it is, "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom". And that was one of my shifting quotes. It's actually hanging on my fridge.
G: I like that quote as well. Can you share with us an app or a resource that we can use in our own self care practice?
E: Yes, I use my phone as a self care practice, and here's what I do: every day if you start to build up habits, that is where the daily rituals, one of my three anchors that I teach, become really powerful. The way I use my phone, I have four different prompts that I have that come up every single day. The first one that comes up, and my son is really funny because as soon as my phone dings he actually says it out loud which is really cute. I'm training the next generation, the first one that comes up at 8am is "Something amazing is going to happen today and I can't wait to find out what it is". So imagine, starting my day like that every single day.
And then, the one that comes up around 11:45 is "What's the most nourishing thing you can do for yourself right now". I specifically put it around that time because that's the time when the temptation to work through lunch is there. Usually when I see that come, I think "well, obviously the most nourishing thing is not to stay at my computer, it's to go and get some nourishment". So it's this little reminder.
The last one that I do, another one is I have a mantra throughout the day, but that's a personal thing. At the end of the day I have another one that comes up and it says, "I receive pleasure and abundance with every breath I take". That's just a personal mantra that I put in at 10pm and it reminds me to go to bed. To start the process of shutting everything- books, journals, whatever, and going to take a bath, or getting into bed, or reading something simple that's soothing or spiritual. For me, using my phone... I always have it. The reminder comes up, and it comes up on my computer too because it's a synced calendar. I'm able to use technology in a way that reminds me to step away from it, which has been great.
Why do you believe self love is important?
I believe that the way you honor yourself and your needs is the first step to building any relationships outside of yourself.
What was the one thing that was holding you back from accepting self love?
Thinking that my value, my self worth was connected to what I created instead of just because I was born and because I am.
Who is one person who has changed your life for the better?
Caroline Myss, a medical intuitive and healer.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
Get more sleep.
What is a self care habit that you practice regularly? The one that I get to teach and get asked to teach the most is the magic morning practice. It's a three step practice that includes mind, like a meditation, it includes a physical movement, and it includes writing. This is a practice that I borrowed from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, and this has been transformative on so many levels.
Do you have a favorite quote? “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin
Can you share with us a resource or an app that we can use to help our own self care practice grow? I use my phone as a self care practice. I have 4 different prompts that come up every single day. They are positive messages that pop up throughout the day.
About This Guest:
Elena Lipson is the Divine Self-Care Mentor, speaker, writer, transformational coach and retreat leader. Elena is the creator of 66 Sacred Rituals and The Divine Self-Care Circle Mastermind, a year-long journey for women who are ready to say YES to igniting their divine feminine and dropping the hustle in exchange for creating a life they love with ease and grace.