Welcome to It’s Not About The Chair. I’m Lyena Strelkoff, a storyteller, performer, speaker, and coach. I believe our stories — the ones we’ve lived, that we can’t believe we made it through, or can’t stop laughing about, or just can’t stop thinking about —  are the greatest source of healing we have, for ourselves and especially, for each other. I started telling my own stories after I was paralyzed in a fall. My hope is that this blog will be a place to laugh, learn, heal and grow together. Because, ultimately, it’s not about the chair, or any other obstacle we might face. It’s about the choices we make, the spirit we bring, and helping each other thrive. I’m so glad you’re here.

The Shero Summit — Stories to nourish the soul

Are you looking for some deep inspiration, the kind that rattles your bones and feeds your soul?

I find myself, so often, wishing there was a radio program or a television show that gave me the kind of stories my heart really longs for — honestly, the kind of stories I myself tell.

In the on-line world, there is plenty of content but I’m getting a little tired of the “top 5 secrets to blah-blah-blah.” I mean, don’t get me wrong. There’s a need for great information and, in the past, I’ve created exactly that kind of content too.

But my soul is longing for something else, something that really nourishes, that cracks us open in the best possible way and shines a light in the dank, dark corners.

I’m not alone in this, am I? I think a lot of us are hungry for that kind of nourishment, something we can rest into, a place where we can remember who we are, really, at the core, and just what life is all about.

Well, my longing recently gave way to some inspired action. (Hallelujah!) I’ve spent the last two months working on this, and I’m eager to share it with you.

It’s called The Shero Summit and it’s not like anything you’ve heard or seen before.

The spirit of The Shero Summit rose from one simple fact: Twelve years ago, I was paralyzed in a climbing accident… And it turned my life to gold.

As you know, I’ve been sharing stories from my “shero’s journey” all around the world since then, and the result is always the same: People see themselves in these stories. They find strength they didn’t know they had. They refuel their faith. In the humor and heartache, they find new hope and, sometimes, profound healing.

Well over the years, I’ve come to believe that when we tell the stories that make transparent our deepest moments of transformation in a way that is vulnerable, authentic, and given from a place of love and spiritual generosity, magic happens. So, I set out to create a platform for just those kinds of stories told in just that kind of way, to inspire, heal, and bring us all closer to purpose.

The Shero SummitWomen Risen from the Ashes.

The Shero Summit is a wholly unique, on-line, storytelling series featuring seven “sheroes,” all of us brought to our knees by life at one time or another in various ways, only to find our true essence and soul’s purpose.

It’s free to participants, and can be enjoyed at your convenience from the comfort of your home.

Beginning October 31, we’ll bring you a week’s worth of transformational stories: moving video interviews with women living into their purpose after being brought to the edge. All you have to do is pre-register at The Shero Summit.

The heart of the “shero’s journey” is the idea that hidden within our most profound challenges are the keys to our most inspired being. It was true for every woman speaking on this summit (including yours truly!). And I suspect it’s true for you, whether your dark time was years ago or is happening today. Wouldn’t you like to have that inspiration reflected to you?

Because every darkness has its medicine, those gems in the cold, hard rock which, when excavated by a brave soul and brought to light, have the power to sustain, inspire, and transform us all. Who knows what medicine is waiting for you in the folds of these stories. I hope you’ll register today.

To see who’s speaking and get more information about The Shero Summit, click here.

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The cost of not

Last week I told you about the Shero’s Retreat and, in response, I got an email from someone saying in horror, “$6,000 for five days… Was that a typo??” (Hi Andrea!) Well, the very next day, I got a message from someone else saying, “Wow. That’s a great deal.” (Hi Lisa!)

Clearly there’s no objective standard for what transformation should cost. But rather than explain or argue the merits of a program, I’m MUCH more interested in talking about the cost of NOT.

I’m talking about the cost of not investing in those services or programs that speak to your heart and the requirements of your personal transformation.

(And what I’m about to say is true for ANY program or service, with ANY coach or provider, that speaks to you… So listen up! ;) )

If I look back on my own process of transformation (in this case, stepping into my soul’s purpose), here’s what I see:

Years of floating along feeling restless and just kind of lost. Then growing dissatisfaction with my life. Then chronic depression. Then making poor, very out of character decisions. Then my long time partner decided to pull the plug on our struggling relationship. Then I nearly got hit by a car. Then I did get hit by a car. Then I fell out of a tree and broke my back.

Only then did I begin to invest, in earnest, the time and money to engage my transformation and step into my purpose. Only then was I finally willing to stop tolerating what wasn’t working and start treating my life as the precious, finite experience it is.

Listen, I’m not telling you this to scare you. I’m telling you this to wake you up.

It’s actually quite comfortable to stay stuck. We know it; it’s familiar. And it doesn’t scare us as much as taking bold action to move forward. So when we’re faced with an opportunity to do exactly that, it’s easy to think we can wait.

That’s what I did. Over and over again.

It’s true, getting skilled help to move through where you’re stuck requires investments of time, money, and courage (lord-y, don’t forget courage!). But while you’re considering the cost of getting help, don’t forget to consider the cost of NOT getting help.

Believe me when I tell you, it’s higher than you think.

If the Shero’s Retreat is calling to you (but you’re feeling a little short of time, money, or courage), here’s an opportunity to get some help with your transformation at NO COST (avoid the “cost of not” without incurring the “cost of” — win-win!).

I’m giving away three (3) Soul Purpose Breakthrough sessions to women interested in the Shero’s Retreat.

During a one-hour, private session, I’ll help you identify what exactly is standing in the way of claiming your soul’s purpose and create an action plan for you to move forward. Then we’ll see if the Shero’s Retreat is truly a fit for you (because I’m not taking anyone on this retreat who isn’t a perfect match.)

WARNING: The complimentary Soul Purpose Breakthrough sessions are only available until July 10 and I’m only giving away three. So snap one up now if it’s calling you.

You got nothing to lose except the “cost of not.”

Click here to apply for a complimentary Soul Purpose Breakthrough session.

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The Shero’s Retreat

About a week ago, I asked my Higher Self what I could offer this month that would be in the highest alignment with my soul’s purpose. She said this: Create a five-day, private, ritual retreat for one woman to complete her shero’s journey so she can claim her true power and step firmly, finally, into her purpose.

I don’t usually post coaching or workshop offers on this blog, but the cosmic directives around this particular offering have been VERY clear. Someone out there is waiting for this (or so I’ve been told), and it’s my job to let you all know it’s ready. So, here it is…

The Shero’s Retreat — One week for one woman to claim her true power and purpose

There is a woman who knows in her heart there is something more for her, more for her life. She hardly dares admit it sometimes, but a purpose is calling her. And, as hard as she’s been trying, she can’t quite figure out what it is or how to manifest it. She’s been moving slowly closer to it for years but always something gets in the way — work, family obligations, fear, confusion, lack of time or energy or money. And the truth is it’s slowly killing her to live outside that purpose. The back pain, the depression, snapping at her kids and spouse, the dull sadness that greets her every morning.

This is what I know:

We’ve all been through stuff. Hard times, painful challenges. And we came through it. Just like I came through being paralyzed. And while we were getting through it, we were learning a ton.

Well, facing those challenges, learning, and getting through them, was the first 2/3 of our s/hero’s journey.

But in order to complete the journey, we have to bring back what we learned. We have to share our wisdom and expertise so our people, our tribes, our communities can learn and grow too. That’s what it means to live your soul’s purpose. That’s the mission we’ve been called to fulfill.

Well, a lot of people get stuck either during or after the first 2/3 of the journey. They feel a deep sense of purpose but can’t quite get both feet on the ground. They feel confused or scared or just plain lost.

What’s missing are two things: a sacred container that allows us to mine our experience for the details of our service; and a process of being initiated into our new selves, our shero selves: confident, clear, and ready to step fully into our service and fulfill our soul’s mission.

So I’ve been directed to offer this, to that one woman, to you…

The Shero’s Retreat:
Five healing days to clarify your soul’s purpose, be initiated onto your Divine path, and activate your unique mission on Earth.

Intended results:
* Get clear, once and for all, on your purpose, that mission you came to this life to fulfill
* Release and transform your most persistent and ornery obstacles
* Claim your true power as the creator of your life
*And activate your soul’s purpose so you can return home and begin, in earnest, living the life you came here to live

Our week together ends with a ritual ceremony to give conscious death to the old you, and give glorious birth to the empowered, fully activated you, a shero ready to serve.

Benefits you can expect (according to past clients):
* Confidence “like you’ve never experienced”
* Deep relief, “knowing what I’m here to do and feeling empowered to do it!”
* “So much more energy and motivation”
* “Huge boost in self-worth
* “Opportunities to fulfill my mission just keep coming to me”
* “It improved my relationship with my kids AND my boyfriend”
* “My depression is gone
* “Money keeps coming in”

The Shero’s Retreat includes:
* Four nights in a luxurious, private suite at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort in Central California
* Healing hot springs to release and renew
* Gourmet, local, organic food and juices to cleanse and purify
* Intuitive movement to bring you into your body and its wisdom
* Guided meditation to bridge the gap between your current self and your shero self
* Sacred storytelling to mine your experience for clues about your purpose
* And world-class, private coaching to identify your soul’s purpose and prepare you to fulfill it.

The Shero’s Retreat is only being offered this month (for scheduling in July or August). And when I “downloaded” this program, it came with a $10,000 price tag. But it also came with a clear directive to offer it now for $6,000. So that’s what it is. Lodging, meals, and all of the above included. Restrictions apply and payment plans available.

This retreat isn’t for everyone. But if you know in your heart you’re here for a purpose, and it’s slowly killing you to live outside it, this is for you.

You DO have a mission. And You CAN fulfill it. Schedule a private conversation to explore the possibilities by contacting me here.


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Good-bye to our first home

Standing outside the building, handing a check to the painter who whited out our beautiful, faux-finished walls was the last step in moving out of our old place. Nothing left now but to say good-bye.

To the bedroom, in which I lay for almost six weeks nursing a thyroid storm that took me out when we first moved in. The bedroom where Dean and I listened to the entire Harry Potter series. Where we made love countless times, where he proposed. The bedroom where my son was conceived and where I lay like a sick whale while my son happily grew inside me. The one in which we all slept for more than three years, the happiest family I could ever imagine, far happier than I ever thought I’d be.

To the office, where I received my first touring offer, and every touring offer after. Where I wrote stories and talks, started my first blog, was invited to be published. The office Dean and I and sometimes my assistant shared, bumping into each other every time we turned around. The office that housed my art desk and, later, Aidan’s changing table. The office from which I coached my clients and transformed both my and their work in the world.

The bathroom… Oh, that tiny bathroom, too small for me and Dean and then we added Aidan. The showers, the soaks, the place where Dean learned to pee and poop with someone in the room with him. There was always someone using it when you needed it. We washed Aidan’s feet in the sink.

The living room, which we rearranged a hundred times. All those countless hours sitting next to Dean on the couch watching TV. The movie marathons, and even sex on the blow up bed when Aidan was a poorly sleeping infant. The parties, the friendship, the stories shared. And Aidan’s toys…. everywhere.

The dining room, where we installed our first dining room set, where we served such good food, nourished our friends and ourselves. Where Aidan played Lego and Play-Do.

And finally the kitchen, my heart in that home, the perfect shape and size and height for me. All those dinners… Wine-braised short ribs in my then new (and utterly adored) Le Creuset dutch oven; gorgeous fruit cobblers; developing my now signature flavored custards; fresh pressed pear and ginger juice; bread baked, soups simmered; learning to can. The dropped pumpkin cheesecake.

So many memories.

The little patio where Dean laid decorative bricks so I could get out there, where we stuffed two chairs and tried to ignore the freeway noise so we could have a place to sit outside. Where I hung an incense burner and some wind chimes and planted herbs which quickly died. Where we failed twice to grow tomatoes.

Even the laundry room, out of which I fell backward out of my chair, slamming into the building and sliding down the stucco, tearing up my shoulder. The little parking lot where we jockeyed for the best place to park my then van with wheelchair ramp. The parking lot my son played in like it was a private, magical forest.

And finally, the two big trees out front, the ones who told me, “This place is for you,” the moment I drove up, who the first fall changed their leaves to such spectacular color, I knew for certain they were right. And our scruffy little cul-de-sac, with the church for Jehovah’s witnesses and the seedy landscaping on the freeway embankment, and the mix of old and new, and the trees and shrubs and sidewalk weeds winning the war against urbanization.

I sit remembering it all and, bit by bit, pulling back my energy, the pieces of me left inside and all about. It’s time to go, to really go, and be fully in our new home.

Blessings on this building and all the tenants, past, present, and future. May this home serve you at least as well as it served my family. May you laugh and grow and think and create. May you love and, everyday, thrive.



No more broken ankles!

Well, once again, my little guy is helping me learn (and teach) something important. Take a look:

Screen shot 2014-07-05 at 11.18.10 PM

So no more broken ankles!

(Apply for a free Soul Purpose Breakthrough session, or get more information about the Shero’s Retreat, here. Offer expires July 10.)


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