TWO Iconic Self Live Events: August 19th


Phyllis Mathis and Jen Lee, the creators of the groundbreaking personal development course, The Iconic Self, reunite this summer for a power-packed, fun-filled day.




11am-3pm: Who's Driving the Bus?

An Iconic Self workshop with Phyllis Mathis and Jen Lee

Have you ever had an experience where your clear intentions were totally thwarted by some mysterious internal player?

Have you felt various parts of yourself at odds with each other and wondered how to call a truce?

Come and find out who is driving the bus, and how to smooth out the ride.

This interactive, story-rich workshop is for soulful people, artists, therapists and educators. 

Registration is $85 for this 4-hour workshop and includes:

  • new stories
  • interactive exercises
  • guided discussion
  • a gathering of kindreds
  • a light luncheon
  • a beautiful, intimate setting

Spots are limited, so register now:

4pm-6 pm: The Iconic Self Launch Party

This work has already transformed so many lives, and the journey is just beginning.


celebrate with us,
mingle with others on a rich interior journey, and join the conversation with a live Q&A session with Jen and Phyllis.

Refreshments will be served. This event is FREE, though reservations are required.

Pomegranate Place: Denver, CO

The Iconic Self LIVE

August 19th, 2012

750 Clarkson Street,

Denver CO 80218


Open Studio Hours and Essential Apparel, baby

Let's talk!

I'd like to experiment with using the Google+ Hangout feature to hold Open Studio Hours where I'll be available to live video conference with Essential Journey course participants. Whether you've completed your course or it's in the mail on its way, whether you're working on Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Story or The Iconic Self, I would love to see you and check in. What are your intentions, what breakthroughs are you having, or what questions have come up?

I will also experiment a bit with days and times--with participants around the world it's difficult to hit all the relevant time zones at once. My first Open Studio Session will be next Thursday, February 2nd, from 10-11am EST. I believe we're limited to 10 participants in each session. If you'd like to join me, send me a quick note using the contact link above, just to let me know what course(s) you are working on or may have completed. I'll send out a reminder email next week, along with some quick instructions regarding how to join us. If the timing of this first session doesn't work for you, let me know what days or times might and I'll keep you posted about other Open Studio Hours in the upcoming weeks.

The Iconic Self launched yesterday, and all the fun shirts we posted last week are also now availalble, either as part of the Home Retreat or individually:

Remember Who You Are

Essential Apparel: Iconic Shirts

$30 USD, ships free worldwide



Select Your Size(s) and Style(s)

"So Good" Vintage Tees feature intentionally distressed edges, super-soft cotton and light blue text. These run small, so size up if possible. This design is also available in our popular Curvy Girl style (Gildan UltraCotton shirt), which runs true to size (see drop-down menu).




"Closet Genius" Clark Kent Tanks are soft and stretchy with navy print. These run small, so size up if possible.




"Gentle Spirit" Clark Kent Tanks feature black print on a white background. Perfect for layering under other items, this runs small so size up if possible.



Iconic in the Making: Finishing Touches

Rejuvenate. Reconnect. Retreat. The home retreat tote, and a special delivery from The Chocolate Room.We're wrapping up our behind-the-scenes series today with the finishing touches before The Iconic Self launches tomorrow. (Tomorrow!!)

We knew a home retreat kit needed something to hold all the parts and pieces together, since it only took about two seconds for us all to imagine bits scattering throughout our homes and studios the way bits so often do. Then came the mini black tote, which made us swoon. It's the perfect size for hanging on the bedroom doorknob, for standing on the window ledge where you have your morning tea or on your nightstand. There's room to throw in your wallet, keys and phone and be on your joyful badass way.

Last but not least, as a Brooklynite I believe no retreat experience is complete without The Chocolate Room. Just a few blocks from my home, it's the Number One requested stop of all our visitors. And like The Iconic Self retreat, we found a way to bring The Chocolate Room to you, too. Sweet.

Iconic in the Making: Make it your own

Retreat notes in the form of over fifty uniquely designed stickers and labels. Affirmations, visuals, prompts, practices and exercises to work this wisdom through your journal, onto your steering wheel, into your life. A blank composition book ready to be filled with what resonates and moves you most. A craft cover that is the perfect canvas for painting or stamping or collaging this baby any ol' way you like it: Fancy. Clean. Or covered in rebellious doodles to appease your inner graffiti artist.

There are no rules here, just places and ways to express yourself and make this home retreat experience all your own.

The Iconic Self retreat notes, aka DIY sticker and journal set, arrive with a beautiful blue organza drawstring bag. Only three more days!

Iconic in the Making: The Inner Deep and Wild

April 2010 retreat in BrooklynWhat do you do when you find yourself in the midst of a conversation that's saving you? Share it.

That's where I was two years ago, making my way through a really turbulent time and doing my best to not blow up my life, or at least proceed with awareness and intention. I was changing, growing, excavating parts of myself I never dreamed were in there. It was messy. It was confusing. And I shudder to think about how poorly it could have gone without the good companionship that helped me find my way.

Phyllis was with me through the thick of it, and even though our stories and circumstances varied, it was like we were in the same boat, navigating the rapids and waterfalls. The same soul work brought us through that season of becoming, and the next one, and remains a path that faithfully draws us forward and helps us make sense of the inner deep and wild.

At first, all I knew was that these stories and experiences were weaving into a larger conversation that was saving me, and I wanted to invite others into the conversation, too. We held our first retreat in Brooklyn and tried it out in community for the first time. I think even then we struggled to say what "it" was, but our suspicions that "it" was "something" were confirmed when our kindreds took the conversation and ran with it. We planned another retreat for the Rocky Mountains that fall.

In the Rockies, November 2010By the time our November gathering came around, the material had grown and we had to cut a whole day of material from the first retreat to make room for the new stories and insights. People came, some not even knowing why, led by this strong feeling that they needed this, for real. And we watched again like magic before our eyes as something was released in that space--some healing, some balm for all of our souls. New, richer, more complex and true versions of ourselves were returning to the world after our three days together.

December 2010. A hard winter.In the winter that followed, stories kept happening to us, our soul excavation continued, and we caught and gathered them all, adding them to the treasure chest. We now had enough material that it would take us five days to work through it all in a retreat setting, and we were imagining other, more practical ways we could share it. We started dreaming of a home retreat kit, which wouldn't be limited by venue capacities or our travel availabilities. Something our friends near and far could hold in their hands, listen to and dwell with for as long as they needed.

In March, Phyllis flew out and we headed into the recording studio to catch it all. I told some stories that day that I'd previously only shared with close and trusted friends. I just kept breathing deeply, baring my heart with Paul listening in the next room. What are we going to call this? we kept asking. What is the title? It wasn't until after lunch, right before our last session when we were sitting on Paul's sofa that the title came to us: The Iconic Self.

Our beloved Paul Ruest, and our sound room at Argot StudiosI'm really so grateful for having the companionship of so many readers and dear beloved friends who have received and held and formed this work along with us. Words fail me when I think about how fortunate I am that this wisdom found its way to me before I exploded like a bomb.

Lucy and I were putting the packages together over the weekend and I was just overcome with longing. I want everyone I know to have this. I keep telling my friends, it's hard to care this much about a work--it's so extremely vulnerable. But with this project, I just feel like I've pulled my heart and soul right out of my body and I'm throwing them out into the world with all I've got. Praying every part and piece is received with open arms.





The Iconic Self is a unique four-disc journey that will be available January 24th.

Iconic in the Making: You Don't Have to Be So Good

We sit in a dark pub and I tell a story I never tell. We talk afterward about how I'll probably never tell it onstage, and then about the problem it poses to even have a category called Stories I'll Never Tell Onstage.  He understands the events as I explain them, but struggles to understand the dread that has me curled into a ball.

What are you so afraid of? he asks, and it takes me until the next day to find the words to answer.

I'm afraid of not being good. What if I'm not good, as in, a good person, good mother, good wife, good friend, good daughter, good sister, good citizen? The possibility alone makes me feel like the sky is falling--overwhelms me with feelings of doom and dread.

I spend days sitting with the realization that I've constructed so much of my life around this scaffolding called Being Good. A kind of tenderness toward myself creeps in as I see how it's run me around the block until I'm ragged and raw. Then sadness follows as I see how it's censored me and kept me from even telling the truth to myself at times.

I can't be true if I'm preoccupied with being good.

I'm hereby giving myself permission to give up the Being Good game, and I'm giving you the same permission, too. It's time to bring all the stories and parts that don't fit inside its limits out into the light.

Because goodness, like everything else we are taught, is best in moderation.

The "So Good" vintage distressed tee is available as part of The Iconic Self Home Retreat Kit, or for individual sale.

$30 USD, ships free worldwide

Liz Kalloch, by Bella Cirovic

"So Good" Vintage Tees feature distressed edges and super-soft cotton, and light blue text. These run small, so size up if possible. This design is also available in our popular Curvy Girl style (Gildan UltraCotton shirt), which runs true to size (see drop-down menu).



Iconic in the Making: Artifacts and Calibrating, or Clark Kent Tanks, part 2

I used to think that objects weren't very important. I actually regarded them with disdain, like my life would just be better if I could live without them or at least with fewer of them. Even now I struggle with caring enough about them to do something when all the measuring cups are either broken or have the labels all rubbed off. (I know which one is 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup, but my husband bristles every time he has to use them.) But I am changing my tune about objects--it's just that it takes awhile to cull through one's entire life and true up to a new belief.

By anyone else's measure, it probably wasn't long ago that I had this revelation: Objects will always be a part of my life. Every day I wake up and must put something on my body, so I might as well have the things around me be soulful, beautiful, inspiring or comforting. Now I believe that objects not only matter, but that they matter greatly. They are the artifacts of my living. If I use them well, they call me forward into possibility--who I am becoming, who I was always meant to be. It was this turn in perspective that was necessary for me to begin making good things of my own and sharing them with you.

If you've got to wear a shirt, you might as well wear one that reminds you of who you are instead of forgetting the way you so often do.

I threatened to make this shirt design for months, as a "gift" for a couple friends of mine (who shall go unnamed). As I got to know them and their brilliance started leaking out all over the place, I was astonished--not at their genius but at the way they so diligently kept it under wraps. I started blowing the whistle on their calibrating as only a fellow calibrator can.

I've been calibrating for as long as I can remember. Trying not to be too much, too emotional, too serious, too intense. Trying not to overwhelm people with too many words, or words that are too conceptual and not chit-chatty enough. Trying for the love of God to learn the social scripts and play my part faithfully even while there's no room inside of them for who I really am. Worried at every twist and turn that the belonging I crave will fall away if I let the real girl out, with all of her turbulent goods exploding all over the table. I've described myself with phrases like: "Unfit for Public Consumption" and "Terminally Serious". I've done a lot of shrinking back, holding back, swallowing hard and cringing, all along the way.

A very wise woman told me around this time last year, It is exhausting to be two things at once. I thought, You have no idea. That's what all my calibrating has won me: exhaustion. This weariness that stretches all the way down into my soul's bones. And just like I changed my tune about objects, I'm ready to do an about-face here. I've been chewing on this idea for some time now: calibrating no more.

It's not easy to change our habits. It takes some time, and it often means starting in one place--one relationship, one kitchen drawer--and moving our way slowly through the house of our life, trying on our new way of being. In the meantime, our past version, that more comfortable part of us, works furiously to forget and go back to her old ways. And it's not easy to come out and admit that we've been hiding our parts and pieces. That we've been keeping our brilliance under wraps. First we need to admit it to ourselves.

That's where this new Clark Kent tank comes in. It's to wear at the end of the day when you come home and wash your face and tell the truth to yourself in the mirror even if you haven't done it all day. It's for under your sweater at the business meeting where you promise you will speak out instead of quietly nodding. It's for those flashes of ideas that you really need to pay attention to and value, whether they seem practical to your inner censor or not.

The world needs your brilliance. So join the club.

The "Closet Genius Society" Clark Kent tank is availble as part of The Iconic Self Home Retreat Kit, or for individual purchase.

$30 USD, ships free worldwide

"Closet Genius" Clark Kent Tanks are soft and stretchy with navy print. These run small, so size up if possible.

Photo by Bella CirovicCLICK BOTH BUTTONS:


Iconic in the Making: Clark Kent Tanks, Part One

 It all started one day on Twitter.



The thing we all laugh about is how on paper, Peter Aguero (@TheBTKBand, whom you may remember from Telling Your Story) and I shouldn't have a blessed thing in common. I think Brad Lawrence once described the hypothetical combo as mixing battery acid and mother's milk, and then at our first performance together it somehow worked to everyone's surprise (except perhaps Peter's, who would say he knew it all along).


Peter is a badass if ever I knew one and I am without argument a gentle spirit, but he knows I can be a badass, too, even (and especially) when I don't. And I know without question he's one of the gentlest spirits around. So I loved this quote so much, how it spoke to the parts we wear plainly as well as the flip side we hold close to the chest.


photo by Bella CirovicBut my most immediate thought was, I need that on a shirt! That inner badass is so hard for me to reach sometimes, so hard to remember and to own that I knew I needed a reminder that she was there. So I made myself a shirt, a tank top that I could wear underneath everything. No one needed to know it was there but me, and like Clark Kent's Superman shirt beneath his suit, it would keep my alter ego ever present.


I had Bella photograph me in it, which wasn't easy. You saw a final pose, which I could actually only hold for a second. There are takes on either side of me laughing at myself. But like Brad said, a second is all you need if you can catch it. That image gives me something to live into, a reminder of who I am becoming and the parts that are making their ways from the invisible places to the visible ones, from being worn on the inside to being worn out in plain sight.


And that is what The Iconic Self is all about. I knew these things belonged together, and from the responses of my friends alone I knew I wasn't the only one who could use this shirt. Whether you're comfortable with your badass self but reluctant to own up to that inner gentle spirit, or the other way around, this shirt will remind you of your full range of capacities and invite you to play all the way across them.


The "Gentle Spirit" Clark Kent tank is available as part of The Iconic Self Home Retreat Kit, or for individual purchase.

$30 USD, ships free worldwide

Photo by Bella Cirovic"Gentle Spirit" Clark Kent Tanks feature black print on a white background. Perfect for layering under other items, this runs small so size up if possible.



2012 Essential Scholarship Program

The Iconic Self is in production, and I'm sitting at my little table in the kitchen with a pink, red and blue quilt draped over it like a table cloth trying to wrap my mind around it--the culmination of years and years of work, the completion of The Essential Journey Collection. The bulk of all I've written and taught and lived these last years finally having a physical existence in the world, a way to pass with a blessing from my hands and heart to yours.

To celebrate the completion of The Essential Journey Collection, I'm hosting the 2012 Essential Scholarship program. Open to all my beloved readers and friends, the opportunity to receive a $50 scholarship toward the tuition of any of the Essential Journey Courses (Finding Your Voice, Telling Your Story, The Iconic Self) is just a super simple application away. You have until February 12, 2012 to submit via email or postal mail and recipients will be notified on Valentine's Day.

If this work is calling you, if this scholarship would bring it into reach, please download the application and apply. We want to support your journey.

Download the 2012 Essential Scholarship Application

A Story of Love and Friendship

Phyllis in her Colorado home this summer.

The story of my work is always, at its core, a story of love and friendship.

I met Phyllis Mathis when I was 22 years old. I had been married for less than a year, and out of college even less than that. I still remember every detail of our meeting--the metal folding chairs we shook hands across, that curious banter you do with strangers, the way she stood with shoulders back, head high, her face radiating warmth and welcome. It's as if some part of my memory-making mind woke up and said, Pay attention. This moment is important.

Not long afterward I attended a retreat Phyllis led and as she spoke one morning I was overcome by this strong sense of kindredness which I wish I could say happens to me more often than the rare times it actually does. I thought, Something about the way her mind works and the way my mind works feels the same. Our journeys have been entwined ever since.

Years later, when the first thread gave the first tug that began the unraveling of my life as I then knew it, Phyllis was the first person I called. She sat across from me and watched in real time as all the pieces I had so carefully crafted and constructed fell to the floor and shattered.

She later said it was one of the most beautiful things she's ever seen.

There is not a secret in me that she has not held. Not a single place she has been unwilling to journey with me, no matter how dark or embarrased or unfit for public consumption I become before it's all over. Her friendship has been a safety net that has caught me and reassured me and given me courage time and time and time again.

Cover photography and design by Liz Kalloch, lizkallochdesigns.comThis week we're sending our collaborative project into production, and today as we do the finishing touches, I'm so present to the depth and richness of the wisdom and stories we've mined in over a decade of friendship, the ways we've helped one another weave in and understand even the stories which began long before. It's the most epic piece of work I've undertaken yet, and I am just humbled beyond belief to be able to share it with you soon.

I'm a big bundle of feelings in the meantime: excited, a little nervous, very tender, but most of all deeply grateful for this woman and this friendship which have shaped and comforted and guided me all along the way.

The Iconic Self (available now for pre-order) releases January 24, 2012.