More About the Author
Lisa McCourt has always been passionate about . . . passion. Her quirky addiction to personal growth, love, and un-suppressible joy has fueled a prolific writing, speaking, and teaching career that has touched the lives of millions. In just over a decade, Lisa has published over three dozen books that have been translated into 11 languages, been featured on Lifetime TV, CNN and PBS, won seven publishing awards, and sold over five and a half million copies.
Lisa's dedication to teaching the combined arts of radical authenticity and unwavering self-adoration evolved from her earlier focus on writing parenting books and children's books that helped kids grow up feeling unconditionally lovable and valuable. A frank and dynamic speaker, she has taught her juicy-joyful, sometimes shocking, always transformative methods to thousands in her popular presentations and online trainings. Lisa lives in sunny South Florida, where she shares her ever-evolving personal-growth pursuits with her two self-loving kids. Visit her at www.LisaMcCourt.com.
How Juicy Joy Was Born
I am the poster child for the popular Richard Bach quote, "We teach what we need to learn." At age 14, I read Wayne Dyer's Your Erroneous Zones, taking copious notes and copying passages from it into my journal. I'm sure the title's wordplay was lost on me, but the book's message wasn't. From that moment on, I was hooked. In college I was so fascinated with comparative religion that a maverick psychology professor allowed me to create a credited independent study program on the overlap between modern metaphysics and ancient spiritual thought.
I went on to devour every pop-psych and metaphysical book or training I could find, taking dozens of the most notable courses and working with some of the world's top coaches and gurus. What I appreciated most about all of these experiences was how remarkably similar they were, and how their principles almost always were based in the ancient truths I'd learned from my comparative religion studies. When I discovered the spirit family of Abraham, presented by Esther and Jerry Hicks, I was thrilled to have found such a comprehensive and contemporary source of these same ancient truths, and I became an avid student of Abraham's wisdom.
My life-long passion for personal development seemed to be serving me well. It was good stuff and I was a diligent pupil. Early on, I became a powerful manifester who created an adult life that was, by all objective measures, fantastic. I had a wonderful, supportive husband and two sweet, smart, kids, a beautiful home in my favorite part of the country, stellar health; time for volunteer work, plenty of friends, and a successful, dream career as a speaker and bestselling author of parenting books and children's books that were selling millions of copies.
And I was always the cheerful one. Everywhere I went, people commented on my smile, my agreeable nature. I always looked the part--to anyone who might be forming any opinion of me, anywhere. The right suburban car, the right clothes, the right social life, the great kids in the great schools, brought up by the best parenting principles.
It's not like I even consciously felt the lie. I told myself everything was perfect all the time. It had to be. Perfect, perfect, all the time. What would happen if I stopped being perfect for a second? Devastation. If I stopped being perfect, who would love me? And without perpetual love from everyone around me, how would I survive?
It sounds ridiculous, but that was the core belief I uncovered. If I stopped smiling, if I stopped pleasing, if I stopped doing the dance everyone enjoyed me doing because it made their lives easier, or lighter, or whatever--if I stopped any of that for even a second, the love-well would surely run dry and I'd shrivel up into a hard, cold, ball of ash and disintegrate into nothing. So I couldn't stop. Ever.
And if I started to feel empty and vacuous and lifeless inside, as long as I kept playing all the right parts on the outside, I'd be okay. Maybe with the right affirmations, or with the next self-help book, or the next seminar, I'd be able to patch that up without anyone ever being the wiser. And if I couldn't patch it up, at least I was always really, really good at hiding it, and as long as it stayed hidden, everything would be fine.
I woke up one day to the regrettable realization that despite all of the work I'd done, there was a substantial layer I'd yet to crack. I'd accumulated a wealth of supremely valuable knowledge, but I'd only been applying it to half of me--the half I could bear to own, the identity I'd so painstakingly crafted. I'd been unwittingly plastering layer upon layer of spiritual platitudes over a damaged and wounded core that I had never dared acknowledge, much less dive fearlessly into.
Out of that critical awareness, Juicy Joy was born. With laser-like clarity, I suddenly knew that authenticity and self-love were the keys to the kingdom. Without them, nothing else can bring you joy. With them, nothing can FAIL to bring you joy.
How Juicy Joy Was Spread
In the late 1990's, when I started getting invitations to speak at schools across the country as a bestselling author of children's books, I talked about my books and about writing. But that didn't seem fair. The whole student body was required to attend, and evening presentations were often requested for the school staff and parents. It seemed to me that all those hundreds of people couldn't possibly be interested in writing so I switched the focus of my presentations to "creativity."
Since I was such a spirituality and self-dev junkie, it didn't take long for me to start taking liberties with the word "create." I'd gloss over the requisite blah-blah-blah about creating art, literature, poetry, etc. Then I'd launch, with relish, into what I loved best--teaching these adults and kids how to "create" situations and outcomes, how to create themselves, and how to be masterful creators of their own lives.
I was afraid the national school system would catch on to my bait-and-switch tactics and stop inviting me, but the opposite happened! Word-of-mouth about my unconventional approach to teaching creativity got me more school bookings than I could handle. The evening presentation to the adults became the biggest selling-point of my visits. Eventually, the school visits led into all kinds of adult speaking gigs at national writers' conferences and spirituality conferences. I started leading workshops at libraries, spiritual centers and stores.
During my first decade as an author, I'd felt a calling to help children grow up feeling unconditionally loveable and unquestionably valuable as their true, unique selves. All my training had pointed to the irrefutable conclusion that self-love was the ticket to healthy emotional development, so I'd felt compelled to bump up the worldwide average on the number of kids who are brought up feeling unconditionally loved. After selling over five and a half million books to parents and children, that goal felt satiated and I was ready to move on to a new passion: helping millions of adults feel that same kind of intrinsic, sublime worth and self-honoring, even if it meant feeling it for the first time.
I was thrilled to have so many opportunities to share my love of New Thought material with mainstream-thinking audiences, and even more thrilled at their apparent appreciation for my unique delivery and personal perspectives on these ancient principles. I became an enthusiastic New Thought broker. My early presentations consisted mostly of me telling my audiences about the most recent fascinating modalities I'd tried and reviewing the powerful books I'd read, always through the filter of how each concept could help one become more authentic and self-loving.
It was exhilarating to realize that I was opening up magical and promising new worlds for people! My passion for this kind of "recruiting" eventually overshadowed my other professional passions and I began shaping my plethora of adult workshop materials into the book you are now reading. I knew I'd hit upon a system for never having to settle, ever, when it came to the amount of joy and richness I experienced in my life. And I couldn't think of any greater life purpose than to help others discover that same secret.
If you want to learn the easiest, most effective ways to step into your own true greatness and love the hell out of your precious self, come hang with me. I will set you up.
Autobiographical Bit from Juicy Joy - 7 Simple Steps to Your Glorious, Gutsy Self:
A garlic-infused breeze kicks up the palm fronds beside the table at my favorite neighborhood bistro. "What do you want?" Sarah asks me. Her kids and my kids--all smart, sweet and beautiful--chase one another around the plaza fountain. Sarah gets up to bring them wishing coins.
What do I want?
I want more.
I want to crash out of this invisible armor I'm trapped in--to tear away the shackles and freefall, delirious and wild. I want uninhibited, unbridled, uncontained passion. I want to plummet naked into a velvet ocean at midnight and roll in the ecstasy of the waves.
I want to peel back my layers and hold my raw wounds up to the sun for healing.
I want to slice through these suffocating wrappings and grab onto core me--whoever that is--and never let her go; make her into the real me, the only me, for some to love and some not to love . . . and I want to not so painfully care who does and who doesn't.
I want to feel, taste, devour it all--no filters, no censors, no gatekeeper telling me what is rightfully mine to take and what isn't. I want rapture. I want free, primal, abandon at the top of a mountain under a full moon. I want to absorb me, embrace me, the light and the dark, the glorious and the hideous, and cherish it all and laugh at it all forever.
Sarah's back. "So what do you want?" she asks.
What do I want? "Caprese salad and a cup of pasta fagioul."
We close our menus and clink our chiantis as my daughter slides, sweaty and precious, into my lap.
* * *
I eventually did tell my friend what I wanted--after several years of clawing away at truths I had never before allowed myself to glimpse. Truths that tugged at me like a feverish itch, just under the skin, so close and ever-present, yet so ephemeral, so elusive when I chased them. This book represents my journey, but it's a guide to accessing your own Juicy Joy. A direct, streamlined path you can follow, in case you're wanting free of your armor, too. Come with me. We'll start right here and end up on that mountaintop. You in?