Well, here I am on the first day of a big journey that may have begun about nine months ago, when I took myself on a spiritual retreat to Santa Fe, New Mexico, in the dead of winter, with no plans except to be alone with myself.

It was there that I fell in love with peace, rest, solitude, and began to revisit my yoga practice, abandoned at that time for almost two years. In an act of total fortuitousness, the casita I had rented did not have a hair dryer, so I was forced to face each day with my hair drying “au naturel”, flat and straight against my head. It was an image I did not like seeing in the mirror each day, but one which I grew to love by the end of my stay there. It inspired my current hairstyle and, even though my mom makes it clear to me every chance she can get that she likes it better the old way, I like my own reflection in the mirror quite fine these days.

That week in Santa Fe led me into the new year, 2009, with a newly rediscovered resolve to care for myself. I went to the Yoga Journal Conference in San Francisco and the Guiding Lights Weekend Conference on the art of mentoring in Seattle, both in the month of January 2009. It was in Seattle that I first met Gail Larsen of Real Speaking. She would capture my attention and I would return to Santa Fe in June for a full three days of immersion in her coaching experience, which guides people toward their authentic storytelling and true speaking ability.


Uncovering my own ability to speak my truth – what is current for me – was my first taste of freedom, and I wanted more. Destiny brought me the experience of Pam Slim, a Master Certified Martha Beck Life Coach, giving the very first workshop of her book tour for Escape from Cubicle Nation, in my studio space. On that day, it finally felt like the purpose for my space – to serve as a cradle of manifestation for entrepreneurs of life – was being served. I told my story – in my newly found Real Speaking voice – to a room of 35 self-proclaimed corporate prisoners looking to take control of their destinies. I shared my admiration for their courage, and knew from my heart the value of the space created by Pam’s message of empowerment for these lonely warriors.

That experience opened me to the possibility that my little life – my journey through dissatisfaction, searching, and doing something about it – might inspire others to have the strength to do the same. It showed me that when one of us has the courage to speak the truth, it can provide a nurturing sense of safety for others to speak theirs.


Several weeks later, I found myself signing up to participate in the Martha Beck Life Coach Training program. I had read Martha’s book, having been impressed by the Change Cycle model that Pam presented in her workshop. It appealed to me in its grounding in rational origins, while fully embracing the power of intuition. I felt it made sense to the part of me who had a Harvard education, as well as the new part of me I was allowing to emerge, which felt a connection to the spiritual place inside me.


There was a part of me that has wanted to understand the meaning of my business’ name, “The Music Within Us.” It was a name that came to me all at once back in 2004, as soon as I knew I was going to move to California to start a violin school. It was a terrible brand name by all conventional accounts – too long, too hard to remember, started with the word “The”, no identifying proper nouns referring to the business function. People tried to advise me to make changes to it, or abbreviate it, but I never could bring myself to do it. To me, the name made sense, even though I couldn’t fully articulate its meaning at the time. I am proud of the name  when I show my business cards to people. But I still feel that I don’t have that deep, heart-centered understanding of what it means to me in my life.

I now believe that I began this journey in order to give myself the opportunity to understand the meaning of that name in my life. The Music Within Us is the beauty within each human being – that which brings us alive, and that which has the power to bring others alive when we give it full expression in our lives. It is our purpose in life to discover and connect with our music – the universal source of beauty within us – and to share it with the world as we live.

One Saturday morning in July, I found myself at a free informational session for the Sound Voice and Music Healing certificate program at California Institute for Integral Studies. Three hours of chanting, listening, and singing later, I was signed up for the program.

Suddenly I had a framework from which to design my school year calendar, which was in bad need of a redesign. I unglued myself from several lingering toxic relationships, wrote a truthful letter to all the parents enrolling in the school for the fall, and began the year with a new sense of excitement about all the uncertainty and new possibilities that had been uncovered.

Which brings me to today, which felt a little like the “first day of school” for me. I packed a lunch, brought my books, had some fresh notebooks and pens, and was excited to get my new library card and meet my new classmates.

I’ll write about the specifics of the day in my first blog post, but I was inspired after today’s class to document this wild and scary journey of transformation that has been brewing for awhile but seems to have “officially” started on this first day of school.

I call it “Truth, Love, Beauty” with some trepidation, since it is a very personal mantra that I adopted in Santa Fe. But it is so fitting here because of the three arenas in which my personal transformation is being catalyzed: speaking my truth, sharing my love through teaching, and finding the beauty of the music within me.

All I know about the next few months is that I will be on a wild ride, digging deep, and going through changes I will want to be able to remember forever. Thanks for stopping by to share in my journey!

Smell the roses at Green Gulch

Lisa Chu, M.D.

San Francisco, California

September 12, 2009