Join Us: The Iconic Self Online Experience

What IS The Iconic Self, anyway? Watch the brand-new, 3-minute interview above to find out more.

Though this ground-breaking work has been years in the making, Phyllis Mathis and I have taken our time translating The Iconic Self into an online experience, primarily because two vital ingredients for the transformational power of this journey are presence and conversation. Early feedback of other online courses was fraught with disappointment in these two areas--primarily with the absence of instructors' presence and participation in any conversation resulting from the material offered.

We are the first to argue for the power of in-person, immersive learning experiences like the retreats we've shared previously. But up against the limitations inherent with such gatherings, we looked for new ways to share this journey in a way that remains infused with presence and conversation.

First, we went into a professional recording studio and shared the personal stories and hard-won insights that both form The Iconic Self and invite listeners around the world into this unique path--neither therapeutic or expressly spiritual in nature, and yet a welcoming and inclusive in-road to the process of soul integration. 

Having this content in the realm of voice--physical voice--brings listeners right into the room with us. It expands our circle of friendship into an open embrace. It adds a layer of humanity, expression and depth beyond what's possible through the written word alone.

We were delighted to share the audio learning program with you, as well as the home retreat kit designed to support your journey wherever you are, around the world.

Then in the last several months, Phyllis partnered with Live It to the Full to author and craft online experiences infused with her presence in the virtual classroom and a culture of conversation that extends beyond her responses to every comment and becomes contagious and fluent among the participants, as well. (If you've heard her interview on Retrospective about constituting one another in conversation, you already know this is a core value for her.)

Now, equipped with both a presence- and conversation-rich audio program AND a presence- and conversation-infused virtual classroom model (which includes a live, recorded conference call), we invite you to join us for The Iconic Self Online Experience. You can read all about it here, and register before the maximum capacity fills (only 25 participants). Our availability for live events is limited this season, but we crave your company and companionship as we sink deeply into the journey that changed everything for us. Please join us!

We are also thrilled to feature photography by Bella Cirovic throughout The Iconic Self Online Experience.

When Strangers Become Friends

Our view from the back porch, Horizon Perfekt

Things I will always remember from Integrate in the Rockies:

  • Relaxing in the hot tub while snowflakes fell and melted on my face.
  • Watching light, pretty snow falling nearly all weekend through a wall of windows and feeling like we were inside a giant snow globe.
  • Dancing in the kitchen.
  • Sitting close on the couch.
  • Coining a community line of Tshirt slogans.
  • A British tea service fit for queens.
  • Seeing the falling snow through the delighted eyes of a woman from New Orleans.
  • Watching everyone arrive as strangers and depart as dear friends.
  • Holding space together for all that comes next.

Below is a photo recap from an amazing weekend, and you can see our group Flickr pool here.

To read more, check out Amy Blum's post, Afterglow.

To receive updates regarding future Voice and Story Retreats, email me at jen (at) jenlee (dot)net with Retreat Updates in the subject line, and I will keep you posted.

It's Finally Here!

I'm about to turn in for the night, and first thing in the morning I'm heading out to meet with Phyllis and Caren and drive into the mountains for the Integrate Retreat.  I'm a little weary--I'm not going to lie--but I couldn't be in better hands.  Caren made me one of her famous healing concoctions this afternoon and I can feel this latest cold backing off just a bit.  I've had some really sweet moments with my family, and the kind of long chat with Phyllis this afternoon that puts my heart right in order.

We have such an extraordinary time planned--I can hardly wait to all be together and begin.  It's time now to take a hot shower and get some sleep. But I just wanted to say, my heart is so full.

And I'll be back in the studio next week.

To Stand Between Light and Dark

Just before sunrise on the Outer Banks, Horizon Perfekt, xpro Lomo Chrome film

Before I arrived in Nags Head, I had already heard about Jockey's Ridge State Park, and how the top of the ridge hosted great views of sunrises and sunsets.  From this high point on the island, you can see the sun rising over the ocean on one side of you, or the sun setting over more water on the other side.  The house I was staying in backed right up to the ridge.

On the last morning, I slipped out with a few last exposures in my camera and climbed to the top of the small mountain of sand to watch the sun come up.  We'd had a full moon, and it was still hanging high to the west even as the sky was dressing in morning light.

I got to the highest point and watched the horizon come alive with color.  Then the sun rose above the ocean, large and electric red and I stood suspended in between night and day.  I looked straight ahead in between the sun and moon and the light drew a line down the center of my face and frame.  To my right, crickets chirped loudly and to my left birds sang.  I tried to hold the paradox of having a foot in each world, of standing literally across the threshold of light and dark, night and day.

It was such a powerful moment for me, and such a visceral experience of my interior journey as I've worked to stand on the threshold of my own sun side and moon side, to own them both equally and integrate them into an awake and aware whole.  It's amazing to see and feel in my own body that there is a way to stand in the presence of the full moon and the rising sun, to hear at once the chorus of the songbirds and the crickets, to have light and dark draw their line down me and not be split.

Manifest the Music

Integration means the linking together of differentiated parts. So says Dr. Daniel Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, and author of Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation.


Integration is the foundation of mental, emotional, and relational health.


So how does it work?


To differentiate means to become distinct, an identifiable one among many.


To link together means to connect in a meaningful way.


When these differentiated parts come together, the result is a new entity that is greater than the sum of its parts.


Here's an example: if we summon a group of instrumentalists, some strings, some percussionists, some woodwinds, and some brass, we have a collection of differentiated parts. If we ask them to play, we get sound. Chaotic, perhaps, interesting enough, I suppose. But when these instrumentalists are linked together in a meaningful way, with the addition of a set of notations on paper and a conductor to direct the meaning, something very different emerges.




And depending on the differentiation of the players (their individual skill level), and the quality of the connection (the piece of music to be played) the result is an experience that transcends the earthly bonds of sound, performers, and audience. Music, as it was meant to be.


A similar integration can happen in us. In fact, the self is a collection of parts: memories, experiences, roles, relationships, thoughts, emotions, talents, and dreams.


When our parts are not well differentiated, we feel shut down, restricted, incomplete.


When our parts are not connected in a meaningful way, we feel pulled in several directions, scattered, chaotic.


We need a way to discover the essential parts of ourselves. And, we need a way to bring the parts together in harmony, so that we can manifest the music our souls were meant to create.


This is the magic of the Integrate Retreat.


Together we identify some parts we’ve been missing. Together we honor them, invite them to play, bring them into harmony with the rest.


As we do this together we experience others on the same exhilarating journey. In this way the retreat becomes its own integrated entity of kindred souls, making a new kind of music together.



Phyllis Mathis appreciates the virtues of being deliciously wicked and serenely joyful. Her presence grants permission for all the best parts of you to come out--even the parts you thought best remained hidden.  She has extensive training in psychology and spirituality and is a certified ontological coach, but none of that is as transformative as her laughter or the way she channels Aretha Franklin's soul. 

An Access Point to Authenticity

at Coney Island. Horizon Perfekt, xpro Lomo 200 film.

When the authenticity conversation first came our way, many of us were raising our hands and murmuring, amen.  Our trusty bullshit meters promptly sounded whenever someone was posing or hiding something, and we hated that.  "Don't be a fake" could have been an early slogan, or "Give it to me straight."  Hell yeah, authenTIcity, man.

At first, we want to be given something real or true.  But the conversation doesn't have to sit with us for long before we inevitably turn the lens on ourselves.  We want to be authentic--we don't want to be a faker or a poser or someone who ever sets off the bullshit meters of others.  We want to know who we really are, we want to give ourselves permission to be that Real Person in the world, but this is the very point on which we so often get stuck:

Which one is the real me?  Is it my private self or my public persona?  Is it the way I am with my parents, or is it the way I am with my partner?  Is it only the way I am when I'm alone?  Is it the self I was 5 years ago, or the self I am today?  Or what about the self I'm aspiring to become--doesn't she count for something?

We are a bag of endlessly differentiated parts.

We are complex.  We live in a modern cafeteria of contexts, with modern technology gradually erasing the physical divides between work space and home space, between personal time and professional time.  Instead of switching hats throughout the day, we're more likely to stack them on our heads all at once. 

Many of us share the desire for authenticity, but we haven't always been given a lot of access points into it.  There aren't a lot of clear roadmaps for how to take each part and to understand and experience how it relates to all the other parts.  How they all belong.  How they can ever form something even resembling an authentic sense of self.

This is where the integration conversation comes in.  It addresses what to do with the bag of parts.  It leads us into a place where the parts become a whole.  And from that place, we can experience a revelation in what it means to be true.

Click through for updated details about the Integrate in the Rockies Retreat this fall.