Liana Chaouli

Back to Episode page

O: Hey Liana, welcome to Stellar Live Podcast. How are you doing today?

L: I’m good. Thank you so much for inviting me.

O: Thank you so much for being here. I’m super excited to share your wisdom with everybody and also on1 a personal level just to get to know you a little better. You are a fascinating human being.

L: Wow, thank you. Takes one to know one.

O: Let’s start by you sharing a little bit about yourself, who are you? What do you do in the world?

L: Who am I? I’ve been called a lot of things, and I think that as an image therapist – we’re gonna talk a little bit more later about what that really is. But as an image therapist I provide transformation through the empowerment of wardrobe. Because I believe that most women and now men also, after 35 years of doing this – most men and women don’t realize that they are a masterpiece. My process – people say, “What do you do?” I say, “I undress your spirit so we can dress your body.”

O: Oh my god!

L: Because people use clothing which is your second skin. It lives on top of your first skin; it is your second skin to the world. People use clothing as an armor. They don’t use it as a platter upon which they are presented. That’s a waste, you know. They use it to hide, “Oh my ass is too big. My boobs are sagging. I don’t have a boyfriend. I haven’t had sex. Nobody wants me.” Blah blah blah blah blah. This conversation that goes on in most people’s minds – after 35 years of doing this I can tell you that it happens all over the world, no matter where I teach – Mexico, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, China – it’s everywhere. The negative shame conversation is the base conversation that usually gets an upper hand, and my commitment is to show you a way out of that.

O: Wow, so you’re a therapist of the image from the inside out.

L: Yes. I decided many, many years ago when I first recognized this. I decided that I wanted to take the world of image, which then was only clothing – you can only do custom clothing in order to support women. Thirty-six (36) years ago, there were no fashion consultants. The only fashion consultants were couture designers, so I decided to become a couture designer. I was living in Germany, and I started in France, Italy. In Germany, I became a couturier, which is a custom clothing designer so that I could learn how to put clothing together for which person, and then I realized this thing called our body and the relationship we have to the relationship we have with our bodies needs therapy. It needs someone to guide you back home to the masterpiece that you are, and we’ve never been held in the palm of our parents’ hands. They haven’t adored us like a beautiful piece of art. Most of us did not have parents that held us in the palm of their hand and said, “You my sweet are the most beautiful, precious creation of God.”

O: Wow. That takes me to your personal story, which is extraordinary. Will you share a little bit about that? The way that you grew up and all the amazing – the amazing adventure that is your life.

L: Liana’s amazing adventures. They are amazing adventures, Orion. I feel so privileged and so blessed to get to live this life, and I often say this, my work has evolved from the ups and downs and sometimes the hell and the bliss of my life. The understanding, the noticing, the realization that every minute of life is so precious. Most of us tend to focus on that which is not working. We don’t focus on the bliss. We don’t focus on what’s absolutely amazing. You know when we focus on it? We focus on it when we see a picture from 20 years ago. “Oh my god, I used to be so thin, or beautiful, or successful or whatever,” but in the moment when it’s happening, we’re not there. We’re either in the past or we’re in the future. But in the moment, like this moment between you and me right now is so precious. The more I can be and you can be in your body, meaning I say to my clients always, “Feel the insides of your eyelids.” When you feel in your body and you don’t live 10 feet away from it, you don’t use your body as a contraption to carry your brain around. But you use your body as a vehicle for passion and self-expression and ultimate understanding of what this beautiful masterpiece gets to do in the world and gets to be in the world. That’s when you are in the moment.

O: Yes. What triggered that passion of you wanting to help people look better and feel better?

L: You just asked me about my passionate path or Liana’s great life? I was born and raised in Germany. My parents are Persian Jews. My father left Iran in 1947 and came to Europe and decided of all places to make camp in Germany. It was right after the war. I was born in 1959, and it’s interesting because we had many discussions about that. “Why on earth did you bring us here? This is such a god-forsaken country. Everybody’s angry,” but what I learned from that is I learned to be resilient. I have many, many stories about being hated because we were outsiders, and because we were different. All of that gave me strength. For me, it was an ingredient that certified me as a resilient woman. I’m really grateful for it. What happened – my father was very young when he passed away. He died at 54. I was a young mother. I got married at 16 and had my daughter at 18. I was a young mom getting divorced at 21. I didn’t really have a shingle. I really didn’t have an education where I could put up a sign and say, “Okay, this is my PhD,” so I wasn’t really working. The only thing that I got to do is all the 5-6 languages that I spoke. I got to become a simultaneous translator for the city of Hamburg. I started to see the women that I was taking care of – they were brilliant women, PhDs, spoke lots of languages, were educated in different countries all over the world, but I got to take care of the ones who came from the Middle East, or Italian, or from Israel. One day, I had a beautiful woman who is about 5 feet 2, and she was a queen in her own right in her country, had raised a bunch of children, had lots of PhDs. Her suitcase got lost, and I was responsible for taking her shopping. We walked into a store, into Chanel, and I said, “Come on, let’s go. We’ll find you something really beautiful to wear.” She was so looked down upon – both of us, because we were different. We walked into a Chanel, in a German store in Hamburg – Hamburg, no less, where everybody is much, much colder and less connected. This sales person says to my client, “We don’t make anything in your size.”

O: What? Seriously?

L: Yes. This skinny, tall, blond glass of water crosses her arm, stands very arrogantly with her hips sticking out, her arms crossed across her chest, “We don’t make anything in your size.” I watched my client, this gorgeous queen, this woman, this queen, this passionate woman who had raised 5-6 children and speak tons of languages and was a lawyer, she shriveled into a puddle of nothing and slid out of the store. I ran after her and, “Wait. Wait. Hold it. What happened?” We talked. We walked back in. I got the couturier in Paris on the phone, and I gave her the standards by which they were to make a suit for my client. “No pockets on the chest, she has big boobs, smaller buttons, blah blah blah.” What the fabric has to look like, and we created a suit for her. But what came out of that experience, Orion, was the knowledge that you can be very masterful and very powerful in 5 domains of your life, but when it comes to your own masterpiece, when it comes to your own body, life is very, very different. Self-esteem might be crushed by an old conversation from childhood. I made a commitment to the world and to God. I walked out and actually said, “God, this is gonna be my path. This is what I am doing.” I’m here to support people in finding peace in their own heart. Because world peace, which is what I really stand for, does not start on the borders of our country; it starts inside my own being. That’s what I’m here to do.

O: That was such an empowering story, really beautiful. I love how those moments of pain can put us on a path of self-discovery and even on the path of helping the world. Why do you think women, especially, feel such a disconnect when it comes to looking and seeing themselves as a masterpiece?

L: That’s a beautiful question, Orion. “Why?” is a good question. I’ll tell you why. I’ll tell you what I think. I think that for generations we’ve focused on – It’s easier for the spirit to focus on negative. If you look at leadership all over the world, if you look at how training happens, if you look at a lot of the austerity that happens in many different cultures all over the world that the belief system often is that there’s only learning through pain. I think as a people, we’ve taken that on a lot. I don’t believe that it’s helpful. I don’t believe that punishment helps people to grow. I also believe that a lot of it has to do with – look, for generations and generations we carry on patterns – patterns of behavior, patterns of language. In order to break those patterns and to become more intimate, to become more loving, to become more open-hearted and live life fully, you have to be really conscious of the fact that not living in all your talents, not living in all your beauty, and not living in all the love that your heart has to offer is like spitting into the face of God. That’s what I say. I say, “You guys have absolutely no permission especially from me – but who am I to give you permission? But you have no permission from the universe, from HaShem, from the Creator, to not live in all the magnificence that you have been given.”

O: Do you give them certain exercises on how to connect to that power?

L: Yes.

O: It sounds amazing and people can look at you and say, “Aha that’s so good. It makes me feel really good,” and then the next moment, they’re like, “That sounded really amazing, and I don’t know what to do next.”

L: There’s a path. It’s not like you listen to a podcast where you get one exercise, and that’s it. It’s kinda like Krav Maga. You don’t just go to one lesson, and then you become this kick-ass Wonderwoman.

O: It’s a practice.

L: It’s a practice. It’s a daily practice. Dressing is an embodied practice.

O: Wow. What do they do? Maybe just give them a little taste of what they can do in order for them to see themselves in a more empowered way or to see themselves in the image of God like you said.

L: You are God’s light here on earth to be an extension of God’s grace. Most people don’t see themselves that way. They think they don’t have to show up to a party. Most people think, “If I don’t show up, who’s gonna care? No one’s gonna know.” The truth is that you matter. Every single human soul matters, and you have to take responsibility for the fact that you matter. Most people don’t care. They hide, because they haven’t been valued from the outside. So in order to shift this consciousness, in order – that’s why I do my work. I don’t know. Maybe I had to go through a lot of hell, brimstone, and fire because they say that metal gets forged in fire. It does. Metal gets forged. The stronger the fire, the stronger the metal that comes out. It can take heat. But most of us are unwilling or afraid of the outcome of what happens when we get into a discourse. Especially into a discourse – an open, honest, authentic discourse with ourselves. My invitation to everyone listening is to get really real with yourself. Be really fiercely honest. You don’t have to tell me. I tell my clients all the time, “Look. You don’t have to tell me. I can see it. I can see it in the way you walk. I can see it in the language you use. I can see it in your shoulders. I can see it in the lack of the glint in your eyes. I can see it in the way you move that you are afraid – that you don’t believe in who you are. I see all that. You don’t have to tell me. But you want to be honest with yourself because between you and your Creator, there’s no one out there.” The more authentic you are with yourself – the exercise that you asked me for is very simple. I want all of you who are listening to this – I want you to take 5 minutes everyday and I want you to really notice. Put everything down that you are doing and notice everything – every sensation in your body. Are you really smelling your food before you put it in your mouth or you’re just inhaling it? You have no idea how it got from the plate into your belly. Notice your lover. Notice the sounds in your room. Notice the smell. What does your pillow smell like when you go to bed at night and you put your head on it? Because most people are not in their bodies enough, Orion, to go, “Wow, I just had this thought, and the thought was ‘My ass is too big.’ That really didn’t help. That’s not very helpful.” I have 10 business cards and on each business card, there’s a different saying. There’s a different Liana-ism. One of them says, “Be proud of your assets, not ashamed of your flaws.”

O: So pretty.

L: The act that you can do, any second, any given moment at any given time, transformation is possible for every human being. If you are interested in finding transformation or in shifting your consciousness or your relationship to yourself, or your relationship to your thoughts, look around you and notice – just notice what’s happening, and then go deep into the well of yourself and notice what conversations you’re having because the reflection on the outside of your world is definitely a carbon copy of what’s happening inside you.

O: I love that. I love how you connect mindfulness into all that. It’s so important for everyone – women, men, to take that time to connect with their bodies, move their bodies, feel the textures, feel their movements, listen to their thoughts – so powerful because that brings you present, in the moment. You are present in the moment. You don’t have your monkey brain, just talking and talking and talking, so fast that you can’t even stop to smell the roses.

L: Most of our lives are lived not in choice, Orion. Most of our lives are lived in reactivity, and that is a waste of time I think. It is.

O: Time is precious. If you just react to everything, then life is happening to you instead of for you.

L: Most of the world doesn’t believe that “I got a choice here. I can choose.” People think that they are always at the behest of what’s going on in the world. They will give you 5 million excuses of why they can’t do this, and they can’t do that. “This person did this, and then I had to do that.” I just go, “You know what? No. No.” The choices that – we all have a choice in anything. Victor Franco wrote about what his life was like in a concentration camp. I mean it doesn’t get much worse than in a concentration camp. I just made a new friend, Azim Khamisa, whose son got murdered by a young black child, 14-year-old child, 22 years ago. We were working together on forgiveness and world peace. He started 22 years ago. He said, “You know what? I’m gonna go out, and I’m gonna teach children how to be of choice and how to not get into gangs, how to not pick up a gun, how to have forgiveness.” Because this man whose son was murdered goes into prisons now and teaches forgiveness together with the grandfather of the killer.

O: Wow.

L: Don’t you guys tell me – or whoever is listening – that you can’t exercise, that you can’t forgive this person, or that you can’t do something because the human spirit is capable of such magnificent powerful, amazing choices.

O: Yes. I had an interview here with an extraordinary woman named Sally Anderson. She’s a coach from New Zealand. She’s got a big practice. She teaches leadership. The main focus of our conversation was around forgiveness. She’s been raped by a gang in New Zealand for 24-48 hours, something like that. She battled addiction and low self-esteem, but she actually met and forgave her abusers. She did it publicly on TV, and I watched the interview. I got goosebumps. Like you said, if Azim can forgive, if Sally Anderson can forgive, you can too. People think that forgiveness is something you do for the other person, but it’s something that you do for yourself.

L: Yes. I’m sharing this in the context of your question. Let’s get back to your question, “What can people do?” What can people do who are listening to this podcast and they go, “Oh, that’s really beautiful and uplifting. It’s all very inspiring, Liana, but they are just words. What can I do?” Always want to do something. I go, “Don’t do. Be.” You don’t have to do anything. Be with yourself, exactly the way you are and exactly the way you’re not because you are an amazing masterpiece, and you are a symphony exactly the way you are. God does not make mistakes. You are a symphony. You are a note in God’s symphony. We think as humanity, “We can do a better job than the Creator. I can dye my hair. I can go to plastic surgery. I can do this. I can do that. I can do a much better job than nature does.”

O: Liana, this is so interesting to me because when I think about couture fashion, when I think about looking your best, I don’t connect it to anything we spoke about until now. When I look at Vogue magazine, I don’t think I am in God’s image and I should really embrace myself. I’m just thinking. “Oh my god, this freaking model is so pretty, skinny, and she looks perfect. I wish I had her skin and her body and whatever.” This is something so powerful that you are doing, where you are working on the internal part of people. Can you share – I know you worked with celebrities. You work with so many people. You still do. What are some of the most extraordinary success stories that pop into your head right now?

L: I will tell you my most extraordinary success story. It is the reason for why I do what I do. I’ve been on this path for a very long time. I’m the oldest of three children. In the beginning, you asked me about my life, my extraordinary life. I have two extraordinary parents. My father died at 54 in 1981, and my mom, thank God, is well and thriving. She’s 76. She has great grandchildren. I’m really grateful that she’s alive. In 1995, after having moved to Los Angeles in 1985, done a lot of work here, had my own couture salon – I started to speak, and I had to give up my couture salon because I was traveling all over the world speaking about image therapy. I got invited to the Image Consultants Convention in Washington D.C., and my mother had never seen me speak publicly. She said, “You know what? Liana, I’m gonna come, and I’m gonna watch you speak.” At that point, my relationship with my mother was still very difficult, meaning we fought all the time – all the time.

O: Strong personalities.

L: Yeah. I was very close to my father. My father adored me. My mother is only 18 years older than me. There’s a lot of “Who’s gonna get the turf?” I was a difficult child. I wanted to know things and learn things. I didn’t want to obey by the rules. I’m a Gemini. I’m like, “No, I’m gonna do this my…”

O: I love Geminis. I love them.

L: “This is my way. I can do this better! I know!” Like that. It was hard, and she was a young mom. She came from Iran, from a community that loved and adored her. She was one of eight children, and suddenly she goes from Iran, from this beautiful, homogenous, loving basket…

O: To the coldness and isolation of Germany.

L: Into the hell hole, which is what she calls it. Into the hell hole of Germany with no one who loved her. No one that was there. My father was constantly traveling.

O: In our culture, there is such a strong community and family structure. That’s why people live longer and healthier lives because they’re mostly surrounded by people that loves them. When you go to different cultures where the family structure, the community is not that tight – especially she probably doesn’t speak the best of English, or maybe she’s better now.

L: Today she does, but imagine as a 16-year-old. She got married to my father; she comes to Germany. I’m only saying this to give you some sort of context. The reason why I was at war with her is because I was a free spirit. I didn’t want to obey by the rules. I didn’t want to eat kosher food. I was just a very self-willed child, and my mother did the best that she could. She did great. My sister, my brother, and I turned out okay. I’m grateful to her.

O: Yes, you turned out okay, Liana.

L: We turned out okay. She comes, and she wants to be at this convention that I’m speaking at in front of thousands of people. I’m doing the keynote, and then I do breakout sessions. I was really proud. She said, “I’m coming,” so I said, “Okay.” She comes, and I’m doing the breakout session. The breakout session was fuller than we thought it was going to be. Instead of 40 people, there were 120 people in the room. Standing room only, and I do my talk, how to make off-the-rack clothing look like custom, because these are all image consultants, and they don’t know how to fit clothes on a body. At the end, I said, “Now please go to the microphone and ask your question.” A woman goes up to the microphone, and she starts talking. My heart sinks to the floor, because she started saying, “I don’t have a question, but I have a comment.” This is my mother. What on earth is she going to say? She’s gonna totally embarrass me. I’m standing like a frozen candle. “Please go right ahead.” She starts to say, “I wanted to share with all of you – you’re all women in the room. I wanted to share with you that when I was a young woman, I was very ill. I was sick in bed a lot with covers over my head, and I couldn’t get out of bed. My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter would go into my closet, and she would pull on the dress and on the hanger, until the hanger broke. She would get the matching shoes, the scarf, the purse, the earrings, the glasses, and everything that I needed to get dressed. She would lay everything out on top of the bed that I was laying in. Then she would come to the top of the head of the bed, and she would rip the covers off my face. She would say, ‘Mommy, mommy. Please get dressed. I have all your beautiful clothes and the earrings and everything and perfume. When you get dressed, you’re gonna feel so good, and then we can go out and we could have fun together.’”

O: Oh my god.

L: And she says, “I was so sick that I could not follow my daughter’s invitation. I could not say yes to my little girl. But you can say yes to her because the same little girl that dressed me when she was two-and-a-half or three years old is the same woman that just dressed all of you. She’s amazing at what she does. I can tell you this, unequivocally because I was her first client.”

O: Wow!

L: It was quite an amazing turnaround. There we were all standing with tears in our eyes and crying.

O: Did you remember that?

L: No. I didn’t. I remembered it when she said it, and so when you say to me, where is my biggest success story? It’s not Cher. It’s not Diana Ross. It’s not Rosemary Clooney. It’s not anyone else. It’s my mom.

O: Wow. I have no words. We’re inside the interview, but I got lost completely in the story. What a beautiful, beautiful story.

L: Thank you.

O: Wow. I really feel you. I feel your heart and your commitment. It’s just so beautiful, and it’s so extraordinary to know that you started at 2 years old. “I had an early start, when I was two.”

L: This whole thing happened because – you know how I invite all of your listeners to notice. “I want you to notice. I want you to become aware and mindful,” and noticing is a huge part of that. A few times people have always said to me, “How long have you been an image therapist?” Without thinking, the answer just rolled – it just fell out of my mouth, and I would say, “My whole life. I’ve been an image therapist my whole life,” and people go, “Really?” I wouldn’t know why I was saying that.

O: It sounded good and somehow it resonated, and then you discovered why.

L: Yes.

O: Let’s go into the external image and how we can fit clothes that make us shine. It can be really confusing because there’s so many fashion trends that it just seems like everybody wants you to follow a certain fashion trend. Sometimes those fashion trends do not meet your body, whatsoever. It can look good on other people, but the moment you put it on, it’s like a no-no. How do you match – how do you find your style? How do you boldly go for it, regardless of what other people think?

L: That’s a great question. You know, Orion, when you said to me, “Oh Liana, I would never look at this fashion and these models,” and think of it as some of the work that you do, or something similar. You said, “I look at fashion, and it has nothing to do with uplifting.” It actually has something to do with detrimental engagement. I get a lot of push back on this from people, who are in the fashion industry, the hair color industry, the makeup industry, the plastic surgeon industry, because my stand and what I’m committed to is – I don’t want you to prey on people’s shame. I want the whole world to be uplifted. I want them to be picked up exactly where they’re at and then lifted up. But the fashion industry relies on your shame. It relies on you feeling less than. All of these clothing that’s being sold relies on the fact that you don’t feel good enough. You’re gonna go out and you’re gonna buy a piece of clothing, and you’re gonna make yourself feel better. You’re gonna get to dye your hair and make yourself feel better. Imagine if all of us had access to this powerful self-esteem, the love that we actually have inside ourselves – because when you look at children, they’ve got it. They’ve got it. They don’t care. You know what my grandson said to me the other day? I said to him, “Cyrus, did you do this?” He says, “Yeah.” I said, “Wow! That’s so cool that you did.” I don’t know what he did. He drew something, or he said something. I said, “You’re so great.” He goes, “Yeah, I know Nana. I’m awesome. I’m awesome.” I’m like, “Wow!” Here’s this 9-year-old, who’s like, “Yeah, I’m just awesome. I’m really, really good at that.” Now, boys have a much easier time with that than girls do. But imagine if we don’t get that beaten out of us as we’re children. If we don’t start becoming so inhibited and so armored that we can’t find our way back to the magnificence of our masterpiece, because we’ve all had it as children. When I talk to you about who you are, or when I say, “Listen, I’ve devised a method and a system, which is the process of image therapy, which contains your essential formula. Your essential formula is only valid for you. Trust me. Like a diamond, like a grain of sand on the seashore, like every snow flake, there will never ever, ever, ever, ever in the entire history of the world be another one like you – ever, so make the most of who you are. Give your gift to the world because it is needed for the world to thrive. It’s so needed.” People think that because there are 7.2 billion of us that they don’t have to stand out and shine. No, au contraire. You have to. It is your gift to the world. You have been given the gift of life in order for you to bring your gift to this universe, to this world, in that little bit of time that we have.

O: What will be your suggestion to align – and it’s beautiful. Whatever you say, it’s beautiful. I tol you, everything that you say sounds quotable.

L: Thank you, but it’s doable, Orion. I want to give all your listeners a gift, by which they can start. It’s a gift, and if you all go to lianasgifts.com, you will start – this is exactly where you’re gonna start. You’re gonna start with your own essential formula. You’re gonna understand what it is, why it makes you unique, what you can start looking for, how you can start taking little action. And if you want to learn more, you can learn more. You start with yourself. You start with your body, your hair and your eyes, your skin color, and your body architecture. What if the sound of your voice is like this, because you have a little voice like this. You’re a very different person. You can have that face, that body, and then you can have this voice. I’d be a very different person, if I had a voice like that.

O: Oh yeah.

L: You would be a very different person. “That’s really interesting. Okay.” We don’t realize that the dimensionality of who we are contains tangible, which is color, body structure – tangible ingredients in this body, physical. It’s like math. You can learn it. Then you have non-tangibles -voice. It’s pretty non-tangible because when people start talking really quickly like this, that says something about their character.

O: Usually, people that speak in a higher pitch are a little more disconnected from their core beings or their bodies.

L: Yeah, but here’s the thing, we have it a certain way, right? Then you go into a store, you put something on, and you start moving around. You go, “God, that is awful.”

O: The lady will look at you and say, “Oh my god, you look so great.”

L: “You’re like fabulous.”

O: “This is a new trend. You don’t know. You think it makes you look fat, but no, it looks amazing on you.”

L: Yeah.

O: “Seriously, this color – oh my god.”

L: I’m not for that. I say, “If it shows up before you do, put it back.”

O: This is what I do. If I wear something and it makes me dance, then I’ll buy it. Actually I listen to my body and if my body starts moving in a certain way or dancing or I look more than once in the mirror, I know that there is something to it.

L: That’s great. That’s because your intuition is speaking to you. Orion, that’s wonderful. That’s one domain in which you need to listen. But then there’s the domain of the physicality of the architecture of who you are and the coloring of who you are. You could be loving something, and it can love you, but if you love it and it doesn’t love you back, then it should be hanging on your wall. You can love it. But if it’s too loud, too busy, walks in a half-an-hour before you do, or if it hides you, or if it doesn’t appeal to the architecture of your body, which means it doesn’t up-level you, but you love it, but it doesn’t love you, then it should be hanging on the wall. You should look at it and get joy from it.

O: Frame it.

L:  Frame it. Exactly my point. When I do closet cleanse, when we clean out the closet and people have stuff in there from 1982. I go, “Honey, it’s a closet, not a museum. If you want to build a museum, rent another apartment, get a bunch of dress forms, get racks and get display pieces, and turn it into a museum and have people pay $10 entry, and tell the story.”

O: When you do closet cleanse, and people have to get rid of their clothes – sometimes it can be painful because they have an emotional attachment, a memory that is attached to that piece of clothes, or a scent, or something that makes them feel so connected to this piece of fabric.

L: I’m gonna stop you right there. It makes them connected to history. It makes them connected to an image of the past, Orion. That’s a huge distinction. Most people think that they are connected to the piece, but it’s not the piece.

O: The emotion behind it.

L: You know what else it is? You become a slave to the past. You allow the past to run your life. I’m not saying this.

O: I love it. Everything that you do is a metaphor for life.

L: I am the first person. I love things. I love beauty. I love chotchkies. I have so many things that have history around it. I love holding onto stuff. I’m gonna say this out loud, and I am very honest about it. However, if you were holding onto stuff: A, the stuff is getting more than you need, or B, the stuff is making you sad, or C, the stuff is in your closet and it’s taking up expensive real estate space that you should be using for tools that actually serve you, or it’s like a bad boyfriend. If it’s like a bad boyfriend, it shouldn’t be in your bed, it shouldn’t be in your closet, it shouldn’t be on your plate, it shouldn’t be in your life. All of those pieces are pieces that you’re gonna have to get very real and authentic with yourself, but people have never looked at it that way.

O: No. Do people do something ceremonial, like say goodbye to the pieces and “Thank you for serving me, and I love you, bye.”

L: Yes. Yes. By the way those of you who are listening, I invite you to come into a group called You are a Masterpiece. All of you who are listening, you can come in. It’s a free group. We do closet cleanse challenges in there. We talk about color. You guys get to learn more, and it is so powerful. I don’t know. Orion, were you in the closet cleanse challenge?

O: No. I actually just did my own closet cleanse about a month ago.

L: I want to tell you that everything that you just asked me, all the answers are in that Facebook group.

O: You have all the answers, Liana. People can ask you anything.

L: It’s not me that has the answers.

O: I get it. I get it. The community.

L: This is the community. All I do is invite a spark in your heart to light up.

O: Quotable. Quotable.

L: You can tweet it. You can go ahead and tweet it. I invite the spark to be lit because I believe that you are a light of God and your serving the world is your first and most important intention, but you can’t serve the world if you’re hiding. You can’t light another candle when your candle is hidden – when your light is hidden. This You are a Masterpiece group – I think we have 600 members now – it is magical and life-affirming and uplifting to witness women opening their closets, their hearts, taking all the cobwebs out, telling stories because I did a whole training on all of these. I said, “Just get rid of the black. Black doesn’t serve you. Black is not a color. It’s death. It’s the absence of color.” I’m writing a TEDtalk about it. I know I’m gonna get my ass kicked by a lot of people.

O: Yes, you will.

L: I will, but I am a stand for it. Even if you have black hair, if you wear black around your heart, it’s just going to make you heavy and tired, and it doesn’t make you look sparkly and brilliant.

O: One of my favorite shorts that I have in my closet is bright purple. It makes me so happy. Bright purple and blue. Lately, I’ve been really going strong with reds. Red used to be my color, when I was young, bold, and a rebel, and then I went through some years of, especially coming to the U.S. trying to – because I lived in Japan for three-and-a-half years. In Japan, I wore really nice clothes, and some of them were a little eccentric, but beautiful. When I came here to the U.S, I studied acting for two years, and everybody else wore just a t-shirt and simple, simple clothes. I got rid of my identity in order to fit everyone’s boxes. That reflected with me wearing more and more and more black and gym clothes a lot – just comfortable, easy wear. It didn’t reflect me or my personality, and I put myself in such a tight box that I almost forgot who I was. I feel like only in the last few years, I’m rediscovering who I am, and interestingly enough I’m going back to red – lots of red.

L: Well, I’m gonna invite you to this group, Orion, and anyone who is interested because there’s a place – you asked all the right questions, and you’re asking very important questions, Orion. The questions you’re asking all have an answer that is – it is an embodied practice. If I say to everyone who’s listening, “Please go into your closet and just notice how much black you have in there.” Then my friend Jack Hanfield always says, “Listen, Liana. If you tell me to do something for a month, I can do it for a month. I can do anything for a month.” So I said, “Take out the black and put it into a box. Put it into another closet. Put a big sign on it, ‘graveyard closet.’” It’s a graveyard. Go visit your black clothes, go mourn them, take flowers to them, cry over them. Just don’t wear them. Okay? For a month. Silent black is not your friend. You have your personal black. Each human being has their own personal black. Deep purple, deep burgundy, deep forest green, teal, chocolate brown, espresso. Those are all personal blacks of color taken to its darkest level, which is equivalent to black. But it still resonates with essence of beauty and color. It’s not silent.

O: Liana, just thinking about this, I feel tortured.

L: I love your honesty.

O: I’ll tell you what. Let’s make it personal. The image that I’m going for lately is bold, kick-ass goddess. It’s a mix of just being super kick-ass, maybe some leather, with some flowery goddess open freeflow – because what I’m teaching a lot is about the integration of the masculine, feminine. I wanted it to be reflected in my closet as well. I have some black items that I feel are so kick-ass, and when I wear them, I feel awesome. Do I just need to make them – put them in the graveyard and flowers and mourn them?

L: Are you open to some coaching?

O: Yes.

L: See? You had no idea you were gonna bring on an image therapist, and then you’re gonna be the one on the hot seat.

O: I am. I feel hot already.

L: We’re not gonna call it a hot seat because everybody else calls it that. I’m going to call it, what I call it with My Sacred Style Sanctuary, which is my year-long mentorship program. I’m gonna call it a throne. I’m going to ask you to take a seat on the throne.

O: Done.

L: I have a question for you. Do you want to stay in this picture that you’ve created or are you willing to get bigger?

O: I’m willing to get bigger.

L: Okay.

O: Did you hear the passion? I am so willing to get bigger.

L: If you’re willing to get bigger, then you have to have one ingredient in order to let this happen. What do you think that ingredient is?

O: I don’t know.

L: You have to get a few ingredients, but there is one that you want to start with.

O: More open? More vulnerable?

L: Yes, those are all great ingredients. But before you become vulnerable, what do you need in order to become vulnerable? What’s the most important basic ingredient?

O: Liana, I don’t know.

L: Trust.

O: Trust, okay. Yes. Okay, trust. Yes. Yes. Trust.

L: Trust, right? That’s before vulnerability. Wouldn’t you say?

O: Yes. When you trust, you can be vulnerable.

L: People say, “I can’t trust you, and therefore I can’t be vulnerable.” Or “I can’t be vulnerable because I don’t trust you.” Blah blah blah blah blah. Now I’m gonna strike the whole trust thing, too, because most people say, “Trust. You have to show me – you have to prove to me that I can trust you.” No, no, no, no, no. Trust in my world, in Liana land, trust is given. Trust is not earned. If you want to make the world a better place, which I believe most people do, then shutting your heart and not trusting and waiting for someone to prove to you that you can trust them is not going to make the world go around.

O: That’s a lesson that I had to learn when it came to my marriage and my husband. Then the biggest lesson that I learned – Tony Robbins says, “Trust, and a net will appear.” Only when I trusted myself and him, I was able to move forward.

L: He says, “Trust and the net will appear.” I go even deeper into yourself, because then you’re still looking out there for the net to appear. I say, “Trust is given. Trust is not earned.” Contain it in yourself and make a choice to trust. No matter what happens, you’re gonna learn. If you are in this position with me, and you’re sitting on the throne, and we’re having this conversation, then the starting point is trust. Any client that walks into my life, any friend, anyone – I say, “Are you willing to trust?” When you are, something mellows inside you. Something softens. If you’re willing to trust, then just listen to what I have to say. It’s just an offer. It’s not written in stone. No one’s gonna die. It’s not like you’re getting married. Even if you do, then you can get unmarried. Life is all about stepping into the unknown, Orion. Every single second of every single day is the unknown. I can prove to you that it’s the unknown. I died on an operating table many years ago, and I got to come back. Trust me. We don’t know what’s gonna happen in the next 2 minutes and the next 30 seconds, so trusting, in my world, means trust yourself to go out and be in the unknown, so that you can gather more wisdom, so that you can gather experiences. Because if you live your world from your come-from all the time, it’s gonna become very lonely. “I have this kick-ass leather jacket. This is my look. I have the kick-ass thing, and then the goddess.” Okay, that’s good. Are you open to a bigger version of yourself?

O: Yes. Yes.

L: Well then, maybe you and I should do some work together.

O: To be continued.

L: Yes. You have great possibilities, Orion, and I don’t want you to hold yourself small.

O: That sounds so good.

L: I also want to share with you that you’re bigger than kick-ass.

O: Thanks.

L: You are. There’s a much more empowering way of being. I’m like a recovering bitch on wheels. I know kick-ass. I can tell you that I know exactly what you want. I can hear it in your voice. I think and I know there’s a more up-levelled way of you being a goddess.

O: Wow. That is so beautiful. Liana, this was amazing, and thank you for also spending the time with me on my throne and helping me open up to new possibilities. It’s so easy to just think that you’re out of the box and just put yourself in a bigger box. The reality is that you don’t –

L: No box.

O: No boxes.

L: No box!

O: Anymore. Never ever again. Ever, ever.

L: That’s right, Orion. No box. Live life fully. Dance in it. Be with it.

O: Liana, before we finish – and this was extraordinary and amazing, and I appreciate you. What are your top three tips to living a stellar life?

L: Wow. The first top tip is to always know that you’re a masterpiece. Re-remind yourself. I don’t care what you have to do. If you have to write it in lipstick, on your mirror, so that – “I am a masterpiece” or “You are a masterpiece.” You can go online and download my book. It’s on Amazon. It’s only $0.99. It’s called You are a Masterpiece. Remind yourself of that every day. If you have to put a sticker in your car, if you have to have your ringtone on your phone – change the ringtone on your phone to “You are a masterpiece,” because we forget. That’s the first thing. The second thing is I really want you to take me up on that black thing. I do. I want you guys to practice this, and go, “Wow, really?” and then write me. Connect with me on Facebook, Liana Chaouli, Image Therapists International. We have a page. Come to the Masterpiece group, You are a Masterpiece. I wanna hear how this has been for you, because 35, 36 years of doing this, there’s been some incredible movement in people. The last thing I want you to do is I want you to every day to acknowledge another person for the amazing person that they are in real life. I want you to either pick up the phone or go on to the streets and tell people about something wonderful that they’ve done. I have a game called the I See You game. Unfortunately, I can’t show you what the cards look like, but the cards are… It’s a practice that I have been doing for 30 years with my clients. It used to be only in words, and here’s the foundation of the practice. You know how you have a thought about someone on the street? You go, “Oh, that little child looks so sweet” or “That was such a kind thing that that person did, holding the door open.” You think it, but that thought does not belong to you. The thought belongs to the person that you’re thinking it about. So if we’re to have world peace, we have to start becoming very generous with these thoughts and not keeping them to ourselves. The practice is I see you. “I see how brilliant you are.” These cards that I have – they just say, “I just want to tell you that I’m grateful for your wisdom and guidance,” that “your smile brightens my day.” All these different cards. My invitation to all of you is do it the way I’ve done it for 30 years. Go up to someone and acknowledge them.

O: Beautiful.

L: That’s hard for a lot of people to do, but do it. It will get you bigger. It will make you bigger.

O: I love it. You know I do it naturally. I usually go to people and strangers – I’ll talk to everybody. I’m just like that. It’s my personality. I like to make people feel seen. It doesn’t matter who they are. It can be a homeless. If I will see a homeless in the street, it won’t be about a dollar. It’s gonna be about, “Hello, how are you?”

L: Yes.

O: A little smile. A little exchange of something.

L: To be seen, Orion – that’s so, so special. You’re talking about this homeless person. I walked out of an elevator in Beverly Hills one day, and there were these two wonderful, amazing homeless musicians. One was in a wheelchair, and they were singing. I said, “Look guys, I don’t have any money, but I have my voice. Can we sing together?” Oh my god!

O: Your voice is so pretty, too.

L: Thank you.

O: You have such a beautiful voice.

L: We sang blues on Bedford Drive in Beverly Hills – the three of us. It was amazing.

O: What did you sing?

L: We sang Summertime.

O: Can you give me a little piece? Can you share with us? People have to hear your voice.

L:  You know what I would love to do? I would love to sing. I’ll share with them the [bracha for Shabbat on light 1:07:02]. How’s that?

O: Beautiful. Yes.

L: *Sings*

O: Amen. Beautiful.

L: You are a light in the world. May you go out and shine brilliantly, all of you. Thank you so much, Orion.

O: Thank you so much, Liana.