On Ducks. And How They Help me be a Better Speaker


Look out. There’s unvarnished truth in here. No pretending. Just honesty. Cos’ it’s one thing to talk all about what we know, and what we’ve got figured out. It’s another thing to say “Hey, sometimes I’m a mess, too.”

I had a speaking gig the other night.

At a big-ass yoga studio. In front of a pretty big-ass group of people. Not that their asses are actually big. That’s just a figure of speech. The night before I speak in front of a large studio audience I wake up at about two a.m. And I lie in bed talking to my body and my mind and telling them both to calm the F down and go to sleep. Until about 3:30 a.m. when I finally surrender to their demand that I DO NOT SLEEP and I get up.

This is what happened in the middle of the night

I walk up the stairs to get a drink of water. And eat a banana. Sometimes some yogurt. And then I go back downstairs and climb back into bed. I lie on my side and arrange the covers so I have the perfect bunch beneath my top arm, the perfect bunch behind my back, and the right amount over the side of my neck. Just up to my ears, but not beyond the earlobe. Because then they make that scratchy noise.

So I arrange the covers exactly right. And then I start to wiggle my toes. Because once, when I had been awake in the middle of the night and not sleeping and fighting with my mind and my body I started wiggling my toes and kind of meditating on them during each wiggle. And I fell asleep.

It hasn’t worked since. But I keep trying it anyway.

This is when it gets hilarious

About thirty minutes later, after I’ve sent them back and forward so many times my right big toe has gone numb and my left big toe has mutinied into inertia I give up. And get up. Again. I go into the guest bedroom and drop onto the floor. Meaning, I stick my legs straight out ahead of me, my palms flat down beside my hips, and then I lift my whole body up with my arms and drop it back down onto the floor. I do this fifteen times.

Then I kneel and circle my torso around my pelvis in a circular motion, while crossing my arms across my chest. For one minute. After that I stand up and do twenty seven squats. Then I sit back down, bend my knees up, put my hands down behind me and press my hips up into the air so that I look kind of like a tabletop, with my feet and hands holding my torso up and my head dropping back onto my shoulders. And just in case anybody watching me doesn’t already know for sure that I am either high on drugs or mentally unstable, I start to do this absolutely bonkers sounding breathing I learned from a yoga teacher where you basically make yourself exhale until you can’t anymore by drawing your belly button towards your spine repeatedly. This goes on for two minutes.

Then I do it all again.

And then again.

Then, I sit cross-legged with my arms raised up overhead curved so my fingertips are touching. Like I’m cradling a beach ball. On top of my head. I close my eyes and try to let myself be breathed. Being breathed is different than breathing. Being breathed feels more like the inhales and exhales are taking care of themselves and me at the same time and they fill up my belly and my rib cage and my chest on the way in and empty out my chest and my rib cage and my belly on the way out.

I do this for about seven minutes.

Then I go back to bed. Wiggle my toes. And finally, gloriously, fall asleep.

This is what happens in the morning

When my alarm goes off in the morning the first thing I do is try not to think about my speaking gig. I slide out from under the covers as carefully as I can, eyeing my sleeping husband.

I go upstairs to make my smoothie. Chocolate banana avocado. The same one every morning.

I go downstairs and make a nest of blankets: one over my crossed legs, one around my shoulders and another one over top of all of me. I meditate for fifteen minutes.

Then I inch my way into standing, painstakingly open the door so it doesn’t creak, and slide-walk into the bedroom, which is empty because Matt has gone upstairs. I wait until he’s in the bathroom before I come out of the bedroom and race to the hall closet to put on my shoes. On my way out the door, Matt comes back upstairs, smiles his crinkly-eyed shiny-from-the-inside smile, kisses me on the top of my head and then asks “What time is your thing tonight?”

And all of my meditating, all of my middle-of-the-night body slamming, all of my calming myself the F down—gone.

Now I’m thinking about who the hell I think I am, to be getting up there in front of all of these people, like I have something to say worth listening to, like I can actually help them. My small self gets even smaller. But you know what? Shrinking that fucker doesn’t make a difference. My small self is like Ant Man—it doesn’t matter how small she feels or is, she keeps her superhuman strength.

I’m flat out on the pavement in the middle of the road, watching two semi-trucks speed towards me. And in one truck is all of my “Who do I think I am?” and in the other is all of my “How do I think I can actually help them?” and in the middle of the road is me and my small self. She’s sitting on top of my chest.

I run.

I sprint down the sidewalk, charge across a street, careen around the fountain and then plough down the walkway—dodging moms and dads dragging or being dragged by their school-aged children, newer moms and dads who look like they got punched in both eyes zombie-walking their strollers, women with pony tails and yoga pants high-knee jogging, and guys with cell phones and a dog—with hair sticking up like they were too hot and rolled around a lot the whole night. The guys. Not the dog.

I pass them and avoid tripping as I stumble down the pathway to the water. And then, I’m there. The water is there. The ducks are there. I find them so comforting that I stop everything and stand staring at them. People going by me slow down or stop, scanning to see what fascinating unusual event this woman is looking at so intently. They see ducks. They keep going.

The ducks

The ducks remind me that things are simple. That there’s a bigger picture. That life does not boil down to this one moment, this one activity. That I am making life into a much bigger deal than it needs to be—because don’t you see that you can swim and eat and nest and swim and that’s all it has to be? And when one of them laughs like Donald—or perhaps they are actually thinking of him, the poor duck who never got to wear pants and had a mismanaged temper—it makes me laugh, too. Those ducks. Always laughing.

The magic happens

I still run. But I’m not running away from anything anymore. I’m running into something. Lots of things. I’m running into the air that is kind of like mini kisses because of how the moisture hangs suspended in the early morning. I’m running along the grass and beneath the trees that cradle me and nod, tips of their branches tapping the top of my head. I’m pausing beside a bush that has iridescent purple berries that last for months and months. Way past anything that blooms or only comes out to say ‘hi’ in the spring. These iridescent purple berries are the queens of the garden—they reign even as the seasons change and other plants rise and fall, display their wares and then close up shop.

I do my presentation

That evening, I do my presentation. I talk and pause and support and answer and provide. Most of all, I try to get out of the way. I try to let my higher self be the one who shows up to touch the hearts of every person here. To help them to feel seen. Understood. Loved. Maybe even elevated.

And at the end, when I wrap up, they all stay sitting there. Breathing in and out. Settled.
When I begin to move and pack up they do, too. A girl with eyes gone big and round and a blanket of softness around her comes over to look up at me and say “Thank you so much. I feel like my soul is saying ‘Thank you for finally listening to me.’” A woman with red curly hair and a rope-braid purse tells me “Every time I see you, I want chocolate.” Which is pretty much the best compliment I’ve ever gotten. And another woman, a woman I’ve known for almost ten years, looks at me like she’s never seen me before and says: “You’re like a pillar up there. You’re so calm and peaceful. And strong.”

I don’t know how it happens. A part of me feels like I’ve done a really good job of duping everyone. That maybe I’m even duping myself.

But the other part of me, the part that is in me and also not of me, just smiles. Nods. Pats me on the back. And then goes home, falls into bed and goes to sleep.

Much love,


Nov 24, 2015 · Read More · Comment

Think you have to pick one thing? Try this instead.

a return to peace lindsey lewis libre living

Brilliant People

Some of the most brilliant people I know have at least five talents. They are great at more than one thing. They love more than one thing. Most importantly: they want to do more than one thing.

You know why they don’t?

They think they can’t.

They think they need to have one purpose, one destiny, one dharma.

And they take this to mean that they have to choose one job, career, creative outlet and make that their one thing.

Stuck People

And this feels so miserable, so limiting, so much like living in a box instead of the infinite cosmos, that they end up doing nothing. “I can’t decide on one thing, I don’t want to choose one thing, and so I’ll just do this thing I don’t really love.”

I love words like

purpose, destiny, dharma.

How gorgeous, how shiny, how juicy.

But all of this talk about finding out our one purpose, living our destiny and fulfilling our dharma can actually prevent us from doing that. Because we interpret this to mean we have to pick one thing. One job, career or creative outlet.

Which is baloney.

Existing in Perpetual Creative Response

Martha Beck, who I’m a big fan of, says this “I exist in perpetual creative response to what is.”

Our purpose is not our job. It’s not our career. Our creative outlet. Our business.

Yes, our core being can absolutely be unleashed through what we do.

But it can be unleashed through lots of things. Different jobs. Different creative outlets. Different aspects of our business.

And, it can change over time. It can grow.

Being You

There is a growing movement away from all of this talk of finding one purpose, destiny and dharma.

And towards the radical, simple idea that your purpose is to be yourself.

Find people who are doing many things. And rocking it. Let them be your living proof.

Embrace your multiple potentials and passions.

And then, become your own living proof.

Love Lindsey
(writer, presenter, entrepreneurial women coach, leadership coach, corporate coaching program leader, mindfulness fanatic, author of the forthcoming book From Darkness to Light, wife, best friend, sister, daughter, grown ass woman)

Nov 10, 2015 · Read More · Comment

Q+A: How do I Manifest Money?

Q+A how do I get what I really want

This month’s question is: How do I manifest money?

In this video I’m talk about this idea of manifesting money and the three mistakes people make that prevent them from earning more and what to do instead.

Receiving this straight to your inbox? Click here to watch the video.

Q+A: How do I Manifest Money?

If reading’s more your jam, the written version is here

Most often, if I’m asked this kind of question or in conversation with someone who talks a lot about the idea of manifesting—they’re not making very much money.

The truth is that it’s been my experience that the people who are waiting for money to show up—and this was me for a chunk of time in my life—are still waiting.

My question for them usually is: “How’s that working out for you?”

It wasn’t working out for me.

Key Mistakes

I was making some key mistakes—which are ones I see in people I talk with, over and over again.

1. Disowning our power.
This looks like saying things like “They should value my time more. They should pay me more. They don’t understand the impact of what I do.” When we’re in this place, we are completely missing the vital understanding that the power to create or earn more money comes from within us—not from someone or something outside us.

When we’re stuck in “they don’t value me,” or “they should pay me more” we’re also stuck in not really knowing, really seeing, and really owning our own value. If we were, we would set up a meeting with whoever’s in charge of paying us, and tell them why we deserve more. Or, we would begin to develop a plan to earn more in other ways. Looking for a different job, raising our rates, or negotiating a decrease in hours at the same salary.

2. Waiting vs creating.
This looks like being really good at making vision boards, talking about what we’d love to do, and then…nadda. Crickets. We wait.

When we’re stuck in waiting vs. creating, it’s like we’re running a feedback loop that instead of moving us forward by helping us see what we’ve done and how we can keep course-correcting to get where we want to go just keeps taking us to the same outcome.

Creating happens when we’re willing to look at not just how our beliefs and perceptions are impacting the outcome of our life—but also our own actions and habits.

Click to tweet: @lindsey_lewis: Manifesting happens when we go beyond thinking and take action. #letscreate

It’s like writing a book: a writer comes up with an idea, crafts a long proposal or the entire first draft, and then there are multiple queries and pitches, and tons of re-writes before the final book comes out. And the writer needs to be willing to go through that process of making something wonderful before receiving any reward. If you take a look at the people in your life who you admire because of their successes—I suspect you’ll see that they got there by creating vs. waiting.

3. Watching for symbols of affirmation.
When we’re stuck in disowning our power, and waiting vs creating, we also tend to be stuck in watching for symbols of affirmation, instead of deciding what we want to see in our life and then making a clear map on how to get there.

We make a vision board and it doesn’t include a plan on what we’re going to do to help it happen. We wander around feeling upset that things aren’t the way we want them to be, and worried about the future, looking for signs from the universe to reassure us, instead of being in action around a clear plan and then asking the universe for support.

Manifesting works—I can tell you story after story about receiving exactly what I asked for and more in my own life and what clients of mine have received in their lives: everything from jobs to homes, to life partners and money. Dreams coming true.

It works most powerfully when we avoid the three mistakes I just told you about. It works most powerfully when we step into our power, create vs wait, come up with a clear plan, ask the universe for support, and then get in action.

The best thing about this is that action cures fear. When we’re in action, we’re out of the worry-based part of our brain that prevents us from creating and we tend to activate the part of our brain that we need to partner up with in order to see our vision come true. The creative side.

Add a consistent practice of gratitude to your day and you’ll have the icing on the cake.

Good luck and lots of love.


Monthly Uplifts

I’ve got a hunch you’re leaning into an uplifted life.

One filled with a steady source of gratitude, a happiness beneath all the turmoil on the surface, and maybe even some magical moments.

The monthly uplifts help you get there. Each month, the Libre Living monthly uplift lands in your inbox, fresh from me to you.

An invitation, an intention, and an anchor-point for your month ahead.

‘Cos how we begin something is often how it keeps on going.

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Oct 27, 2015 · Read More · Comment

stop at nothing

The Power of the F Bomb This might come as a shock, and if you’ve got sensitive ears please cover them up. Sometimes, the most encouraging and impactful thing I say to myself is “F it”–except I, like, say the whole word. “F it.” Screw it. I’m going for it. What’s the worst that could…

Oct 20, 2015 · Read More · Comment (1)

feel way better

It Begins Here After a talk I gave recently a woman said “I feel way better about what I was stressing about now.” The most fun thing about this is is: what she said really had very little to do with me. It had everything to with her. All I had done was asked her,…

Oct 13, 2015 · Read More · Comment
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