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CwL Ep72: Lessons from My Story – Strength

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Over the past few years many people have told Lisa she’s strong.

And for sure, there’s a strength in continuing to get up and out of bed every day whilst grieving. Strength in showing up for work and for children – in whichever way is possible.

But it’s somewhere completely different that Lisa found her strength.

It hasn’t been in the keeping everything rolling, it was allowing the surrender.

Surrender to the feelings, the messiness, the loneliness, the shadows. Allowing herself to feel it all and be held by others and herself was where she found her strength.


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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here

Hi, it’s Lisa Corduff. Welcome to the podcast where you can expect inspiring, raw, energising, and transformative conversations with people on the path of personal evolution. I’m here to really live my life, and if you are, too, these conversations are just for you. I’m really glad you’re here. Enjoy.

Hey there. Welcome to another episode on the lessons so far. Today, a corker. And I am so glad personally, I’m in a space where I actually understand this concept because I think for a long time, without the events that went on in my life, I don’t know if I ever would have fully experienced or appreciated what I’m going to be sharing with you today. I think I understood the concept. I think I kind of got it, but I never really had to go there.

And what I’m talking about is where I found my ultimate strength. What strength looks and feels like to me today. The scariest thing that I had to do that really showed me I was stronger than I realised. And it’s not in the traditional sense of strength. Its kind of easy for us, don’t you think, as women sometimes to just get up and get on with it? To understand what needs to be done and just do it? But almost some of the things that are expected of us, so over the top, immense, and we find our ways and we do it. We don’t stop to take a breath. We might realise how tired we are or how this really isn’t working. And so we go on.

And people might tell you that you’re strong because they see you showing up through hard times or they see you getting through really big life things. It used to shock me. I’m like, “I can’t believe all these people every day. They’re just going about their business. Don’t they see the world is flipped on its axis? Isn’t everything different for everybody else? Oh my God, it’s not.” This is just me living this.

And somehow I’m still getting my morning coffee. Somehow those kids just went to school. What the heck? And there is an absolute element of strength required for that. But when I really sat with myself, the thing that I was most scared to do, oh, it still catches in my throat, was to surrender. Surrender to the bigness of it all, surrender to the depth of the feelings about it all. Surrendering to the shadows, surrendering to the solo-ness. Surrendering to the messiness. Surrender.

And when I realised I could allow myself to fully feel, and I could still… I could find my way through that. That’s when I realised I was strong. When I started practising asking for help saying that things weren’t okay, that’s when I realised I was stronger than I thought. Because admitting that, surrendering to that, felt like a really big thing to do. It’s easier to just keep going. It’s easier to not feel fully. It’s easier to distract. God, it’s so much easier to just keep distracting yourself. And I did that really quite successfully until I just couldn’t do it anymore. And so there’s strength in surrender.

You know, there’s women who would be listening to this podcast who’ve been to a women’s circle or have experienced what it’s like to be held by women. Whether that’s your pack of closest friends and you sit on their couch and have a big cry, or whether it’s a birthing celebration and women come together and are around you in all their wisdom, in all their openness and vulnerability to support you through the passage of bringing your baby earth side. Whatever it is. Maybe it’s that pack of aunties that you always know you’ll get honest answers from and that you can fall into a heap with. I don’t know if I ever really, before all this went down, allowed myself to do that with anyone, really, ever.

There’s a huge missing piece out of our life when we can’t allow ourselves to be held and supported by other people. I almost turned it away, actively for a long time. Like, “I’m fine. I don’t know why everyone’s worried about me. I’m so fine.” Like, oh. I was not fine. I was not fine. I’m actually still, you know, I’m okay. Everything’s okay. But I needed to actually understand that the okayness comes when you surrender.

So, as an example, I remember literally it was this feeling that I had, like I couldn’t breathe fully. Like there was a storm chasing me. And lockdown hit in 2020 here in Melbourne, and I had nothing to distract me. I was like, “What are you going to make… What do you mean I’m going to be fricking held up here. Like, no, I need people, I need things to do. What, hang on. What about our plans this year? What’s happening? Hang on. What are we doing?? And I was… I couldn’t outrun it. Like, it really caught up with me.

And I was so scared. I was scared. Because in my mind, I’d kind of compartmentalise things. I’d had some really amazing sort of spiritual moments that I thought, “Yep, yep. I can see this. I can see the meaning of it all. I can see, yep. And I’ve grieved so much.” There was so much grief before Nick passed away that I thought I’d done all my grieving. I legitimately thought, and this is why knowing… All through this, I was teaching people about the stories that they tell themselves. The truths that we live by that maybe we should just put a little question mark next to. And because I’d done all this work, it was like an unravelling of stories. And anyone who has done Ready for Change knows that you just kind of have to tip one domino and then the rest start to kind of go [inaudible 00:09:10] and fall around them.

And for me, surrendering felt like a falling of the dominoes. It felt like story after story after… You don’t need people. You’re, self-sufficient, you’re all of this. All of these ways in which I had protected myself over the years, I really had protected myself. And from feeling really, it was, I thought I understood what feeling your feelings meant and I don’t think I fully did until I let them have their way with me. I actually allowed them until they were done. And we all know that emotion is energy in motion, but it was like I’d fizzed up a soft drink and I was trying to keep my palm over the top and it just wanted to spurt out and it spurt out. And it was messy. Oh my God, it was messy. It was heavy. And it was exactly what I needed to do.

I was actually talking to a friend just recently and saying, “Oh my gosh. I mean, I haven’t created anything new in my work.” Until we just recently launched a programme called Momentum, but there hasn’t been anything else new. And I don’t think there was ever going to be. Next week will be the two year anniversary of Nick’s death. And I don’t think anything was coming through during that time, even although I wanted it to. Desperately wanted it to. But I had to surrender my normal, “Go, go, go, go, go. Keep creating, keep doing. Anything is possible.” Some of that stuff, it just didn’t… It was like, “No. Something else is at play here. And I have to surrender to it. Bummer.” Same with lockdowns at the moment. I mean, you can be cross, you can be upset and frustrated, overwhelmed by it all. But at the end of the day, there’s a level of surrender to it that brings a little bit more peace. This is what’s going on right now. And then you can work from there. That’s the surrendering to what’s real.

And I think for those of us who have been through traumatic things, it can feel hard to know what’s real. We also get really, really attached to our identity. And as anyone who’s done my programmes knows, that’s mostly subconscious. So while I could say those sorts of things to myself, like out loud before, “Self-sufficient Lisa, we don’t need anybody.” I wasn’t necessarily thinking that all the time. I was thinking how lucky I was to have so much support, but I wasn’t using it. I wasn’t surrendering into it. I wasn’t allowing that. And because at a subconscious level, I’m someone who gets it done. Or my strength to me was finding a way through. What strength ended up being was allowing it to be as shit as it was. And sometimes still is.

It’s Father’s Day coming up and his anniversary a few days later at the start of September really sucks. So I just own that now. Yesterday, went for a walk, got my coffee and was coming back. Start the day of home learning and had a little chat with Nick in my head. I was asking him about something. I was trying to work something out and it felt like we had this… we made a parenting decision together and I maybe sound like a crazy person to you, but I use him all the time, talk to him all the time. And my mask was just a puddle of tears because I miss that a lot. That other person who made your kids with you. And I have to allow it to be as sad as it is. And sometimes that’s super inconvenient when you’re walking through your neighbourhood and everyone’s out on their morning lockdown walks and you are just a mess. Gosh. But that’s definitely surrendering to the messiness.

For someone who, yeah. I mean, I’m disorganised. I’m just not that. There is absolutely a level of structure to my life. And there is a knowing that I can make things happen. So allowing incompleteness, allowing myself not to know what’s going to happen, if I just surrender and just stop holding on to keeping everything together. I mean, what? That’s very messy. That is, that is a level of messy that is even unusual for this person who can exist amongst messiness. And I think a big reason for that is a lack of trust in ourselves. A lack of trust, a lack of practise, you know what I mean? So many of us are just on that treadmill. Aren’t we? We’re just on that treadmill of, “Go, go, go.”

I mean, what happens if you actually admit that your life is moving in the wrong direction? Hang on. What? What am I meant to do with that? What about if you realise that there’s something that happened to you or something that you’ve experienced that really impacts you and you really need to unpack it, but you’re not sure. What if you just know that there’s a friendship that is not serving you, but you’re not really too sure what to do with that? Like, hang on. Let’s just keep going. Let’s just keep going. I mean, nope, too hard, too hard to change course.

And I mean, I literally have a programme called Ready for Change because I actually think that there’s a lot of people who create this stuckness, this stagnant kind of vibe in their life. What they end up being told as they are figuring stuff out and as we move through the framework that I’ve created to, to move them through that feeling of stuckness, is really that a really big part of this is that so many of us have just kept ourselves from really looking at our lives. Like what actually lights you up? Let’s not look what that what’s wrong. Let’s look at what lights you up. Let’s suss out your values. Can we do that? What do you want? What do you want from life?

And when that happens, when you actually start to ask yourself those real juicy questions, it can become pretty clear where things are a little bit off track. And then you can start looking at all of the stories you’re telling yourself about why you stay doing a certain thing or in a certain situation that maybe doesn’t serve you anymore. Maybe you just want life to feel different, but you’ve got no way to know. And, ‘which part next?’ is what the programme does. And so when we realise stuff like that, like when I realised I was suddenly in a situation that I thought, “What? How do we actually, what? How did we end up here?” I actually felt like, “Yeah, I’ve got to feel the grief.” But I actually needed to feel a whole lot more than that.

I had to see the role that I’d played in all of this. So when I referred to the shadows before, “Lisa, let’s look at, if we don’t want that particular type of relationship dynamic to happen again, well, where were you in all that? Like, there’s always two people. Let’s really own this. You’re really going to have to look at that.” And that’s going to really bring up all sorts of things. Oh dear. But what I found is you get to move through all that stuff so much faster and with so much more compassion for yourself, if you just allow yourself to feel as you go. Building in practises for how to release feelings comes up in every single round of Ready for Change.

And it’s fascinating in its universality. And that’s why I wanted to share the lesson today, because a really, really big part of my healing has been surrendering to bigger feelings than I ever thought possible. And the strength I found in surviving that, literally, that’s why we get scared. We literally think we can’t. If we go there, can I get myself out? What is this going to mean? I don’t know. I’m scared. Will I be okay?

It’s actually just like one of the biggest gifts I’ve ever given myself. And I know now, I know I’m strong because I experienced some big, hard things. And I’m not strong because I just kept going, I’m strong because I ended up surrendering, feeling, allowing the waves instead of just wishing them away or distracting them away or working them away. I mean, at the end of the day, I’ve connected with myself on a level I couldn’t have ever imagined before. And it’s actually an opportunity that’s available to all of us, all the time. That constant, that checking in that we can do for ourselves.

Like, “How are you feeling? Is this okay by you, Lisa?” And literally the programmes that I share these days, even all those little workshops, it’s all this journey of reconnecting to ourselves at a deeper, but also higher way. Because suddenly it’s like I know my highest self. My most capable, most knowing, most intuitive self. And we can’t know that if we don’t go and meet her, and that involves surrender. Surrendering to what is, just naming something as being pretty shitty and naming that you don’t know the way through, and allowing that to be okay in the moment. There’s so much relief when we give ourselves permission to not know the way. And as women, we get to feeble our way. But so many of us are out of practise. And it’s why I say, over and over again in my programmes, feel your feelings. There’s clues there. Clues to the thoughts that you’ve been thinking, clues to the triggers clues, to the trauma.

You know, you can navigate your way through something to something totally different, but you got to be able to sit with what’s real. And allowing things to be a bit messy is tough. I mean, I don’t even think of myself as a control freak in all the ways. It’s not something I would self identify as, and yet, it felt like the ultimate losing control. And I would say this: if you struggle with your mental health, get support. I had support from so many different modalities that I’d shared before. And I had people on my team. Whether I saw them once a month, once every few months, once a week, whatever it was. Make sure that there is that support around you. Because as I was explaining in the beginning, this is only really possible when you allow other people to hold you, to have you. Exploring what that felt like for someone who, I don’t know if I’ve ever really felt that, has been really interesting and really scary. I mean, right now in a new relationship and it’s surrendering into loving and being loved again and in new ways is flipping me out.

So there you have it. The true strength was in the really, truly letting go and surrendering to it all. I hope that that makes sense. I was really conscious with this topic, saying that I thought I knew what this was and I really didn’t. So if ever I mentioned that word, two, three, four, five years ago, I had actually no concept of the gift of it. The true gift. But the bloody hard path, it was not easy. It still isn’t. I’d just so much prefer to be the person who just gets on with it. Oh, I wish that was the way life worked. I would say most of my programmes are filled with women who have tried that same route and it only gets you so far. And when you want something a little bit more, or when you like things are just off track and you want something to change. Yeah. I know that feeling. I mean, I have a programme for that and it’s totally possible.

It’s just such a multifaceted path that so many of us are on and there’s never ever any one silver bullet through. That’s why there’s been so many lessons. I literally could keep doing these lessons episodes forever, but I’ve really tried to distil down the main ones so that you can sort of think, “Okay, shit. Might try that.” Or, “Yeah, she went through that. Thanks Lisa, for that lesson. Too late, I don’t want to get to that point. So I might try these things for myself.”

Of course, I love hearing your feedback, your thoughts. I think we’re all.. This one really came because so many people have said to me over the years, “You’re so strong.” And I really just wanted to, for the record, say, “I know, but my strength didn’t come from showing up all the time. My strength came from surrendering to it all and I hated doing it. I’m proud of myself. And that’s where I found my strength.” Hope that was helpful. See you soon.

I have great news! The next live round of Ready for Change is coming very soon so go right ahead and click on the link in these show notes and make sure your name is on the waitlist so that you don’t miss out on joining this transformational program that will put you back in the driver’s seat of your own life. This course has changed the lives of so many women. Make sure it changes yours this October!

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