December 5, 2021

Learning to be Luminous

I went to a gathering outside the other evening. As we are in southwest Florida, the weather was perfect, the crowd was glamorous, the bar was serving champagne and the air around us was festive. Having just flown back from New York where I was checking on a project and having some meetings in the city, I’ll admit I was feeling a bit tired and bedraggled. But I went anyway, with my ever-loving husband beside me.

While I was there, I noticed a couple of things. It’s been awhile since gathering together felt “normal” and I’m not sure I’m fully back to speed just yet. But I noted that almost everyone I spoke with was looking just over my shoulder, scanning the crowd, making sure they weren’t missing anyone, or anything. I’ve been so focused the past months on situations where I am in small groups or one-on-one with people that this really struck me as odd. I was transported back in my mind to late 2019 and thinking that was probably the last time I experienced anything like that. It’s not a very fulfilling way to exchange any kind of energy or communication with other people — I had forgotten that. 

At one point in the evening, another designer came up to me and had what I can only call a Moment. This person (bless their heart) exposed a claw with a sly smile, reached out and verbally scraped it along my skin. I’ll admit I was taken by surprise and some blood was drawn. I felt a chill slide down my spine and I froze for a moment, wondering what just happened. I looked this person in the eye, at which point they smiled again, said, “Love you,” and walked away. 

Has something like this ever happened to you? 

As I stood there stunned for a moment, my immediate instinct was to leave — you know what they say about Cancer retreating into her crab shell. So I hugged and thanked the hosts, greeted a few more colleagues on my way out and tried not to leave skid marks in the road as I drove away. 

Ugh. Why do things like that that happen? 

That’s when I noticed something else — the situation left me feeling like I was wearing a shoe that was too tight. I just wanted to get it off my foot and find some relief. 

It will not surprise you to hear that I turned to my sanctuary, both the physical space and the practice, for help. When I got home, I lit some candles and grabbed my sanctuary spray, spritzing the air around me until I started breathing more deeply. I changed my clothes so I could be more comfortable and put on the kettle to boil so I could make some tea. Switching on soft music and snuggling with my sleepy dogs, I immediately felt calmer and better. Sanctuary truly is magic in raising our energy frequency while lowering our stress and blood pressure. 

I ran a warm bath and added some of my favorite essential oils. As I sunk down into the water, I thought about the way difficult situations and people appear to instruct us. I had forgotten that part. So if this person and this experience is my guru, what is the lesson? 

I had to sit with this one for awhile. 

The truth is, I’ve changed more than I realized over the past couple of years. I’m more clear about what I want. I care more about authentic, heart-felt connections than superficial conversations. I am living in my creative zone, not a competitive zone. I want to inspire and heal the world through sanctuary, not get caught up in unimportant details or drama. 

What I am willing to tolerate is not what it used to be. And that is actually quite a good thing. The magic is in understanding it and setting boundaries that give me the space (and the quiet) I need to stay balanced and in a place of harmony. I can’t do my work in the world any other way. 


I am recognizing another gift from the pandemic — a transformation in the way I move through the world and in my ability to see what I need to be the most luminous version of myself. And luminous is most decidedly what I would like to learn to be. 

How do you cope when you run into difficult situations and people? Do you ever fall back on the principles of sanctuary to help? I’d love to hear. Share with me in the comments below.

With light, love and gratitude,


Logo flourish

4 responses to “Learning to be Luminous”

  1. Deana says:

    I had to read that again, my half asleep brain imagined someone pulling out a crab claw they squirreled away in their bag from the appetizer buffet and literally scratching your arm! Reading it again, it sounded much more sinister. There’s a Buddha saying , something like, if someone brings you a gift (an insult) and you don’t accept it, the gift (insult) still belongs to them. So they own that bad karma. I had a similar struggle this week, even though it wasn’t an overt insult, it was meant to make me feel “less than” and I desperately wanted to point out the unfairness right away (Leo’s love fairness) but wisdom told me to wait. The lesson was much larger than this exchange and I wanted to challenge myself to set it aside until I could figure out my part of it, and how best to respond.. So I went back to my office, closed the door, turned down the lights, sprayed my Grounding Spray and got quiet. I took the next 15 minutes to meditate on releasing the resentment and hurt feelings and wishing myself and this other person, more love, more peace and more patience. I might be off base, but taking those few minutes to retreat, sit in a pretty space, hush up my reaction voice and give myself a little bit of nurturing felt totally sanctuary to me – it turned my day around.

    • Lisa Kahn says:

      I love this response. And I see that you are cultivating what I think of as the art of the pause. It really does make such a difference. Sending you wishes for a happy week, from someone who deeply appreciates you. Xo

  2. Elise Black says:

    You go girl! Good to be present with your reaction and not play into that negativity!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *