The Lighter Side of Transformation

with Lisa Wessan, LICSW

Embracing “Progress not Perfection”

Yesterday I attended a new yoga class at my gym, titled “Breathe, Feel and Flow,” not particularly daunting. Rumor had it that Ravi is a challenging teacher. I found myself feeling excited and curious to see how this class would go. My fear factor was low, because over the years I have become adept at yoga “Modifications.”

For those who are not familiar with yoga practice, a Modification is doing your Plan B for a posture that you can’t do. Plan B can be derivative of the ideal posture, or something completely different. As a recovering perfectionist, many years ago Plan B would feel uncomfortable and even shameful, as my inner self talk would say “Why can’t I do this? What’s wrong with me?” or “If only I weren’t so big, I hate my body!” or “What’s the use, why bother? FORGET YOGA!”

During Ravi’s class, he introduced several different Binds (complicated twists), and then, for a grand finale, a Bird of Paradise! Instead of feeling defeated and ashamed, I started laughing! First, I was grateful I could do at least 80% of the postures. Second, I was delighted to first see that my mindset was so clear – I was not upset to be pushed to this hard edge. Instead I felt inspired! Now I have a new goal. The Bird of Paradise is so beautiful, even sculptural (see photo below). I was elated to think that someday I will gain the mastery to do this position too. I laughed at the absurdity of me thinking I could learn that position and do it the same day. This will probably take months or years of practice.

As Neale Donald Walsch has taught me, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Yes, I love being able to embrace being out of my comfort zone and feeling exhilarated vs. sad or ashamed. That is true personal growth. This healthier mindset is also the result of practicing years of dialectical thinking, self-compassion and radical acceptance.

Dialectical thinking upgrade: I can be skillful and a beginner at the same time. I can be excited and also humbled by yoga. I can be super flexible and able to do so much, yet I cannot do it all. Progress not Perfection!

Self-Compassion: I’m doing the best I can. Each day, with practice, I can improve and get better. Look how far you’ve come! Plan B is good enough. I am content with being a good enough yoga student!

Radical Acceptance: My current anatomy and musculature is what it is. I cannot force muscles and bones to move differently. I can’t change Ravi’s class outline, it is what it is. I will embrace the whole class and enjoy the postures that I can do, and make good modifications for those I cannot do.

BONUS! After the class, I was told by several yoga students that my laughter made them feel more accepting of their inability to do these harder positions and just create more meaningful modifications during that time. My laughter also helped them diffuse their discomfort or shame in not being able to do the Bird of Paradise…As it happens, I am a Certified Laughter Yoga instructor, so it was deeply validating and uplifting for me to share that practice during this yoga class. Learning to embrace the paradoxes and absurdities of your life – rather than be a victim of them — can be so relaxing and freeing.

This is part of my clinical practice as well, although I don’t formally set up therapeutic laughter sessions for individual work, it just happens organically in the moment. (Laughter Therapy programs and groups are planned ahead and are available upon request.)

For this week, see how you can participate in life by going out of your comfort zone in some way. Yes, living on that razor’s edge between fear and excitement is where the thrills of life will delight and amaze you, and give you a life worth living!

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Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Eating dessert is one of the pleasures of life, yet I don’t want to hurt my body by eating inflammatory foods that weaken and compromise my precious instrument…so finding desserts that contain super nutrients is definitely part of my JOYFUL experience.

I did make this recipe over the past weekend, and it’s wonderful. 

I used almond milk (instead of oat milk), Stevia instead of Agave, and I mashed it in a bowl. Came out superb! 

Have fun and enjoy this delicious healthy treat💕

Onward and Upward,


Source: 05 MAY 2023

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UP NEXT: Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills training (DBT) on Mindfulness & Distress Tolerance, May – August 2023 on Zoom

Serenity is not freedom from the storm, but peace amidst the storm…


Thank you for your continued interest in my work. I know I haven’t posted frequently enough here – but that will change soon!

For today, I’m excited to be teaching the next 14-week semester of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills (DBT).  This semester we will cover Mindfulness & Distress Tolerance Skills.

🌀 Click here for the current  DBT FLYER. 

With the Distress Tolerance curriculum, your will learn valuable skills and interventions to help yourself reduce your intense stress and harsh feelings in the moment – to lower the volume on your anticipatory anxiety and catastrophic thinking. These DBT skills significantly help to reduce the escalation of your inflammatory emotions, and reduce the painful, polarized and perfectionist thinking that often cause your meltdowns. You will learn to find your peaceful “Middle Path” here. 

There are many powerful skills included in this semester’s work. It is the hope of this process that you will put together your own personal Distress Tolerance tool kit with the techniques that work the best for you.

Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” with these various techniques, so you do need to be a good scientist in the laboratory of your life and try them all out.  You will eventually find the ones that you love, and that will work quickly and effectively for you. 

Yes, I am looking forward to continuing this exciting journey towards wholeness with this next group.  I am also deeply honored to be sharing this transformative and useful educational process with you.

If this is not for you, but you have someone in mind for this next DBT Group, please have them contact me soon at my web site – currently – and fill out the Contact Form which helps them briefly tell me the best times to reach them (by phone) and guides them to check out their insurance (for the Out of Network benefit).  Otherwise this course is private pay, $980 for continuing students, $1215 for new students (includes one Intake session.)  

Onward and Upward✨

Lisa Wessan

“If you can recognize and accept your pain
without running away from it,
you will discover that although pain is there,
joy can also be there at the same time.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh, No Mud, No Lotus

Lisa Wessan, LICSW, CLYL, RM
Psychotherapist, Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Trainer (DBT)
Life Coach, Author, Speaker, Consultant

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First Day Hikes for January 1, 2023

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than one seeks.”   ~ John Muir

Every year many of our state parks offer interesting guided walks. In Massachusetts, check out some of the hikes coming up this Sunday, January 1, 2023:

May this serve you well in your journey towards wholeness and more inner peace💙

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UP NEXT: Winter/Spring Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training (DBT) on Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation

Once again I am delighted to be facilitating a new semester of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Skills training.  Starting January 17, 2023, we will be studying “Mindfulness & Emotion Regulation Skills.”

If you would like to receive a copy of the full 14-week curriculum, please request one HERE. (This is a NO-SPAM Zone, so your email will not be added to any list unless you request it.)


FEES: Students pay in full prior to start of group.  New students $1,215 (includes one intake session), continuing students $980. Personal checks or credit cards are used for fees. All intake sessions, registration forms and fees must be completed by January 13, 2023 to gain entry to this group.

GROUP ATMOSPHERE: My students are 95% well mannered, high functioning and convivial.  For those who occasionally tend to demand more attention, want to give inappropriate feedback and/or act out in any way, I do have a strong “Respectful Communication Policy” in place and several useful group rules which help to maintain a safe, harmonious and cohesive group atmosphere.  All are welcome, but there is no allowance for rude or harsh behavior.

Group members will continue to process their unresolved traumas in their individual therapy, not in this group. This is a therapeutic psychoeducation program. (It is NOT group therapy.)

Group size ranges from 6-12 students.

Student Reviews.

May this serve you or your loved ones well in their journey towards wholeness and more inner peace.

Onward and Upward🌀

 Lisa Wessan

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the Light gets in.” ~ Leonard Cohen

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Free Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Group offered at the Cameron Senior Center, Westford, MA

I am delighted to be sharing this learning opportunity with you. May this program serve you well💙

As part of a six-month program, I am presenting Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Training in person at the Cameron Senior Center in Westford, MA.  

To learn more, go to page 6 of this newsletter: 

20220701Newsletter (

Generously funded by a grant from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, even though it is free to attend, you must pre-register by calling this number: 
(978) 692-5523

You can still attend the last two sessions:
1 – 3 PM on both August 12 and September 9, 2022.
You can attend these two workshops out of sequence and still gain value.


Cameron Senior Center

20 Pleasant Street, Westford, MA 01886 (free parking)

Please do not contact me – I am not involved with registration!  They have a limited seat count, but plenty of room.  CALL NOW to reserve your spot!

Onward and Upward✨

Lisa Wessan

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How Toxic Positivity Can Affect Your Health: Benefits of Complaining

Katie Couric spoke to a therapist about how she grieved Jay’s death, the dangers of toxic positivity and the benefits of negativity.
— Read on

🌀On the importance of doing a thorough Brain Dump to release and let go of your unexpressed grief, rage, disgust and other negative feelings. You cannot do a Spiritual or Cognitive By-Pass!

🌀Tears are the language of grief, and messy, hard crying jags are on the road to wellness.

🌀After reading this article, I will never again say “Everything happens for a reason” (out loud). Mea culpa, mea culpa…

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LIFESPAN: Why We Age, and Why We Don’t Have To, by David Sinclair, PhD

Video Comment: (3 min)

FUN FACT: “The number of centenarians – people in their 100s – is soaring worldwide as life spans continue to grow. In 1990, there were about 95,000 centenarians, but by 2015 there were 450,000, according to United Nations estimates.  By 2100, the U.N. projects, there will be 25 million.” – THE NEW YORK TIMES [quoted in THE WEEK, 14 MAY 2021, p. 16]

To that end, here is my review of LIFESPAN: WHY WE AGE, AND WHY WE DON’T HAVE TO, by David Sinclair, PhD (2019, Simon and Shuster: New York):

“Aging is a disease…and it is the Mother of all diseases, the one we all suffer from.” David Sinclair has evidence that there is a cure for aging. This is the basic hypothesis of this work.

The good news: fresh from the labs of Harvard, MIT and many other top research institutes around the world, Sinclair shares the very exciting and hopeful reports which indicate that our life expectancy is about to grow — the average person will live to 150 years soon, and possibly much longer…

The less good news: there is quite a bit of resistance and kickback to this longevity work which creates research funding issues. People have economic, philosophical, religious and ethical issues about longevity. Tampering with our genes, reversing cell damage, increasing strength and brain function results in an increased life expectancy.

The first part of this book is highly technical – Sinclair enthusiastically deconstructs his research and his peers’ work on gene editing and other relevant experiments.

Approximately the middle third of this book is about longevity techniques, treatments, prevention, and ways to stay healthy. We learn more about intermittent fasting, cold plunges, dietary suggestions, and possibly useful supplements (surprisingly few). There is no true “Magic Bullet” here. Yet.

The last third of the book explores the implications of increased longevity, and how it will affect our culture (and Social Security questions). Sinclair successfully resolves dozens of serious conflicts and considerations that have been thrown at him – and this part was both interesting and annoying at times. The worst case scenarios are all addressed with positive extrapolations for the mutual benefit of all humans – so there is no reason not to send billions of dollars to these researchers to unlock the secret code to aging successfully.

I hope one or more of our billionaires get word of this book and send over a few billion dollars to Sinclair and his buddies so they can finally nail down the aging disease and, dare I say it, CURE AGING!

It was frustrating to learn here how people’s ignorance and fears block the funding for this work! Basically, if Sinclair and his tribe can slow down and even reverse aging, they will also be eliminating cancer, heart disease, diabetes and more chronic diseases which all arise from the aging process.

I agree with Sinclair, this is NOT a moral or ethical issue. Increasing our longevity is part of our natural evolution and is a natural next step.

IN SUM, there is a solution to aging, and when we find it, it will help our species and benefit all of mankind in amazing ways.

On a personal note, I have been affirming that I am going to be a Super Centenarian (110+) for decades already…so now, I’m correcting that and plan to live to at least 150 years or longer. I always knew I was going to peak in my 60s…so I’m not even halfway through this awesome adventure in living!

Sinclair has inspired me to ramp up my longevity activities – the one thing I have resisted is the cold plunge (the Wim Hof method). I’ve been aware of Wim Hof’s works for years – so for a while I was going to a cryotherapy tank every week and taking the cold plunge inside of -260 F tank for 3 minutes. That was very useful and I loved it.  

In addition, my teacher Tim Ferriss has discussed and explored this work on his podcast to the point where I feel like a fool for not doing it regularly. (Ferriss takes ice baths regularly). My version of the Wim Hof method is to walk outside in cold weather wearing a light coat or vest and NOT bundling up all the way. (I wear a hat, scarf and gloves to avoid frostbite.)

So I’m excited about the possibility of living WELL at 150+ years of life, and to empower others to do the same. Yes, it’s the TEAM WORK that makes the DREAM WORK!

May we all age well together🌟

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There is no bad weather, just bad clothing. – Yiddish Proverb

The winter storm of 1/29/22 dropped almost 2 feet of snow in my area north of Boston. I enjoy the freedom of experiencing the weather as long as I’ve got the right gear!

Gear includes warm hat, neckwear, gloves and MicroSpikes on my boots. The MicroSpikes are fabulous for walking, running or hiking on ice.

For my Walk and Talk Therapy clients, if they want to walk on trails in the winter they are required to wear MicroSpikes (or other cleats) for safety. No exceptions!

Good health is wealth, go for it💕

The joy of fresh powder!

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Loved my Breakheart Reservation First Day Hike

This was a great way to start the new year!

Check out your local town web site or Facebook page for First Hikes and other fun events near you.

Saugus, MA

I met some wonderful folks this morning – in the rain – these are my kind of people! Followers of the Yiddish proverb “There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.” One fellow shared that he has an amazing streak of running every day since November 2005, he really inspired me. He goes out no matter what. Love that!

May you and your loved ones have a healthy and prosperous new year✨🙏✨

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