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 beauty of surrender at the MCC church

I had the privilege of telling a piece of my Shero’s Journey story as part of the Creative Services evening at the Founders Metropolitan Community Church this past weekend in Hollywood. It was an honor to step onto the stage with and for this community, one full of soul and love and diverse expressions of beauty. And though I was touched by many of the creative offerings that night (songs, dance, poetry, a fashion show — so not church as I’ve ever known it!), what moved me most was the heartfelt and honest offerings to our Surrender Prayer Flag.


I’d been invited to create a pre-service writing experience for congregants, and knowing my story would focus on the extraordinary gifts of surrender (as I experienced them hanging in mid-air), I wanted to create an opportunity for congregants to encounter some of those same gifts.

So I put out some beautiful paper, a few pens, and offered this prompt:

If you could lay back in the hand of God, swaying gently in the space between your life and heaven, knowing that everything was taken care of…. what would you finally, finally let go?





It was such an honor to hold this space.

So now I turn the question to you:

If you could lay back in the hand of God… Swaying gently in the space between your life and heaven…. Knowing that everything was taken care of… What would you finally, finally let go?

If you’re feeling brave, I hope you’ll share your answer in the comments below. Or write it on a beautiful piece of paper and hang it on a tree branch, railing, or clothes line.

Either way… for even just a moment… may surrender by yours.


Coming up this week on Shero Rising Radio:

Obsessive Thinking — What a lunatic bird had to tell me about the human mind

Saturday, August 15th at 9:00am Pacific
Listen to the replay here.

And please join our fledging Facebook group — Shero Radio — a place of love, healing, and support on the path of transformation…. A nourishing oasis on the Shero’s journey. There you can share and read reflections, responses, questions, a-has, and other comments inspired by each episode.  The Shero’s journey can be arduous…. Let’s walk it together.


And finally, a loving welcome to congregants from the MCC church, new to the Shero Rising community. I’m SO happy you’ve joined us. xox




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A friend’s cancer diagnosis brings new meaning to the Shero’s Journey

I found out yesterday that a dear friend has been diagnosed with cancer.


And it’s got me thinking deeply about the Shero’s Journey.

Whether you are living with a heavy diagnosis….

Or someone close to you is…

On today’s show, how the Shero’s Journey affects us all….. and how we all can benefit.

Shero Radio 

Listen to the replay here.

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This pre-injury photo exploded my Facebook page, and brought back the magic of my fall

A few days ago, I was clearing out my desk and stumbled on this photo:

That’s me, from a professional shoot in support of my acting career, taken a few months before I was paralyzed.

The photo brought up some very curious feelings — SO not the ones you might expect. And as I pieced them apart (publicly, on Facebook), one primary thing rose to the surface:

How quickly and utterly I turned my back on this life after I fell, not because I had to… but because I wanted to.

The fact is, falling was a profoundly spiritual experience for me, an opportunity I had consciously asked for just days before. It was the fulfillment of a desire and, because of that, I wasn’t falling in fear. I was falling in bliss.

Well, the FB thread exploded with likes and comments, and one particular conversation — with my friend Julia Kline — really caught my attention.

Julia’s had two primary “catastrophes” in life, one before she had a spiritual context for her life, and one after. The difference in how the two affected her was profound.

Please join us tomorrow for a very special episode of The Shero Show.

I’ll be sharing the story of my fall and the unforgettable magic that happened while I was midair, and Julia and I will have a public conversation about the way spirituality affects the experience — and healing process — of “catastrophe.”

If you’ve ever been stuck in the wake of a hardship…

If you’re longing to be deeply inspired…

This is the show for you.

The Shero Show (aka Shero Rising Radio)


We’ll open the line at the end for questions and comments, so be sure to join us live. [The live broadcast has already taken place. Click the above link to hear the replay.]

I never in a million years expected the strength, courage, or resiliency I experienced post-injury. Those moments in the air truly changed everything. So please join us for The Shero Show… I promise, you won’t regret it.

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A hefty dose of magic

I’ve just returned from the Shero’s Retreat. My family met me for a sweet reunion and mini retreat of our own, then I woke this morning to rain and thunder — in July!! And now, with the skies grey and the breeze blowing, our whole house smells like the banana bread I just baked…… I’d say it’s been a pretty spectacular re-entry!

This Shero’s Retreat was magical.

Each one is different since they are co-created not only with the participant but also with Spirit. If I had to pick a word for the one in April, it would be powerful. And this one? Magic:

The blue jay, now crowned (remember the scrub jay from April?); a major breakthrough — in hour one; deeeeeep connection with the Divine; intuition pouring forth; angels galore (and I am SO not into “angels”….. but I am now!); a gilded leaf; a past life resolved; a bird’s insanity; legions of allies; two crippling agreements found and severed; a heart retrieved (and a heart cast away); a medicine man’s arrival; a body reentered; a naughty adventure (full of giggles and even MORE angels); a glorious vision received; and a new life conceived…. All in the company of healing waters, delicious food, breathtaking beauty, and a chance to rest and be renewed. Magic, I tell you.

There are too many stories to write here, and I’ll let Cheri speak for herself when the time is right, but in the meantime, I invite you to join me next Saturday (and every Saturday after that!) for The Shero Show (or Shero Rising Radio, as I called it last week!) where I’ll be sharing the amazing stories and breakthroughs from this Shero’s Retreat (along with all the other juicy stuff from the Shero’s way of life).

Until then, wishing for you the bubbling up of magic, adding delight and a bit of spice to your life.


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Need a laugh about “worthless, unworthy, and not good enough?”


This week, I’ve been resisting all good things in the name of being “worthless, unworthy, and not good enough.” Sound familiar?

Well, it finally broke in hilarious fashion by, of all things, embracing fully my attachment to these nasty beliefs.

Tune in for a funny story about being addicted to “worthless, unworthy, and not good enough,” where we’ll get a little snarky with God and a lot truthful with ourselves…. in the name of finally being free.

Shero Rising Radio Hour 

Because we only rise when we rise together.

P.S. Be sure to tune in live if “worthless, unworthy, and not good enough” are common for you too. We’ll be doing a little healing ritual at the end to lift us all up. xox (The live broadcast has already taken place. Click the link above to hear the replay.)

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