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The Diva Project: Redefining leadership with Alexa Linton

Alexa Linton's Diva Project is a culmination of her years of experience working as BodyTalk practitioner and with her horse, Diva, to host various equine therapy workshops in their native British Columbia. Linton is a fierce supporter of leadership and understands the challenges that women face when assuming roles that grant them more authority. The word "Diva" has been used to describe such women, which Linton aims at redefining. Why?

This project is an opportunity to re-define Diva, and how this aspect that is already in each one of us can be a powerful force for positive change in ourselves and our worlds.
Alexa Linton/BalanceWorks Wellness

"The Diva is an archetype that like all archetypal patterns carries both a negative and positive charge. Very often it is a part of us that we dis-own, suppress and deny, as the Diva can be very demanding and even contrary, with the potential to leave upheaval and conflict in her wake. In a culture that unconsciously encourages sameness and predictability, the uniqueness of our inner Diva can be challenging to love. Yet, loving and accepting this vital part of us can be the missing ingredient to a fulfilling life, a passionate primary relationship and an unstoppable business.

In the empowered state of the Diva, we find unshakable confidence and laser-like focus, loving and healthy boundaries, a zest for life and much brilliance in an inspired and purpose-filled path. On the other hand, a suppressed and denied Diva can leave us feeling stifled, imprisoned by self-criticism and judgement, out of place and alienated, needy and intensely unhappy. This part of us is not something that is easily stopped or silenced.

How would your life change if you could finally let your empowered and inspired Diva “out of the closet” once and for all?

This project is an opportunity to re-define Diva, and how this aspect that is already in each one of us can be a powerful force for positive change in ourselves and our worlds. Asking for and giving respect and reverence, setting strong and healthy boundaries, embracing our uniqueness and speaking up about your gifts is not a bad thing or something to be ashamed of. Instead, it is a very fun and liberating pathway to a life experience that is greater and way more fun than you ever imagined." (Alexa Linton)

Linton's Q&A details more about her vision for the Diva Project and the community she is building around its fundamental mission.

What is the Diva Project?

To answer that question, we need to go back about 10 years. At the time I was pretty lost, unsure of my direction and hugely self-critical. The something happened, one of those incredible moments where everything changes in a way you never thought was possible. That moment was meeting Diva. Diva, as you know, is my horse - a now 14 year old Percheron Morgan mare who very much lives up to her name. You might be wondering, how on earth can meeting a horse change your life? And this is really what the Diva Project is all about: how "seeing" life and everyone in it, including yourself, differently can change everything.

You see, Diva, through my willingness to learn, became one of my teachers and has been ever since. Obviously, her teachings were a little unorthodox, being a horse, and required me to shift how I was viewing things substantially. After all, in order to see a horse as my teacher, I also had to see her as my equal, which was, at the time, a big step. Once that happened though, the pieces began falling into place. I call this process becoming a Diva - a series of perfectly timed perception shifts - transforming my way of thinking about myself and my life from a perspective of lack, attack and brokenness to one of wholeness, joy and opportunity. It took me a few years of aha's with Diva for me to realize what kind of transformation was happening and then another several years to begin to put it into words for others. When it finally landed I was literally up all night writing, the words pouring onto the page like they'd been waiting forever. And with that, the Diva Project was born!

What was the inspiration behind the Diva Project?

Looking back at the Alexa of ten years ago, depressed, hopeless often, self-critical, tense and resistant and comparing her to this Alexa, confident, whole, self-embracing and genuinely happy, I knew that there was a role for me to play in helping others shed that old, restrictive skin. My hugest aha about all of this was that being a Diva is not a bad thing, although our society might tell us it is! In fact, being a balanced and whole Diva is one of the best things we can do, an incredibly healing and empowering process.

This is what I realized with my mare Diva through all of our years together. She was unwavering in her self-respect, her needs for freedom and bum rubs, her natural expression. She was a true Diva, not the demanding, moody, unreasonable version we all think of when we hear the word Diva. So, I went ahead and redefined Diva as a Divine Inspired Vessel of Awesomeness, and I completely believe that that describes every single one of us, whether we believe it or not.

Tell us a little more about Diva and the role she plays in the Diva Project?

Well I suppose you could call Diva the muse of the Diva Project! She really is the inspiration behind the whole thing in many ways - perhaps I would have found my way to where I am without her, but more than likely not. Diva is, for all intents and purposes one of my best friends, and a great contributor to the project. You might think, is this girl crazy? She's talking about her horse! But, after many years developing my skills in animal communication and spending hours in the saddle and on the ground with Diva I've had a fair few conversations with her. Every day the learning continues and now she gets to help me work with my clients here on FireFly Farm during our Equine Facilitated Light up Sessions and All Lit Up Private Intensives. I am constantly amazed by how she shows up so perfectly for what each person is working with. There is no other way to describe it but very very cool.

Right now, Diva and I are having a great time returning to our cowgirl roots - we've been working with a few incredible horsemen and woman learning Classical Californio Horsemanship and we're loving it! (see picture above) Nothing like pushes the limits of what's possible I find. We just love exploring the potential of partnership and how each ride can be soft, balanced and amazing with no agenda or expectations. We just see what happens and it always turns out just how it needs to. Kind of like life!

What does being a Diva mean to you?

For the longest time, I shoved my inner Diva down. Not surprising, when the way this aspect of me showed up was as the "bad" kind of Diva, throwing tantrums if I didn't get my way, moody, surly and unreasonable. So, I did my best to stop it up. What I started to understand with Diva's modeling and often difficult-to-swallow lessons, was that what I really needed to do was heal this part of myself. In other words, turn this "enemy" into an "ally".

For so many of us this is the case. We have no idea how to even ask for what we need, much less what we would ask for if we knew how, we have grown accustomed to being walked all over and never saying no, we give and give while neglecting our own care and we may even feel worthless, hopeless and undeserving of respect or happiness, much less money or love. This was me before Diva. And it sucked.

Through our partnership, life has opened up in miraculous ways. I now embrace my inner Diva, a healthy version of her, which looks like asking for what I want and need, going with the flow, feeling whole and incredible worthwhile and not broken and worthless and knowing, in my bones, that I am deserving of infinite goodness. From this place, I know without a doubt that anything is possible, which was a feeling that I never knew in the past. I love being a Diva!

You've redefined Diva. Why have you done that and what is your re-definition?

Well, most of us relate Diva to something "bad". In fact, if I was to ask ten people walking down the street what the first words that came to their mind when I said Diva were, they would probably be something on the lines of demanding, spoilt, moody, unreasonable and over-the-top. Its no wonder we resist being a Diva! So, in an effort to not be called any of those things, we don't ask for what we need, set clear and healthy boundaries, communicate honestly or even let ourselves dream of bigger, better things. We choose comfort and safety over true fulfillment.

I get it. I did the same thing for most of my life. It was safe, well kind of, and a little bit comfortable, in an uncomfortable kind of way. But, mostly, it was what I knew, familiar. Its the same reason why most of us live the way we do. I got to a point in my own life though, where it was sink or change. Thankfully, I chose change. The thing about all of it though, is that when I became willing to see the truth about myself and all the patterns and stuckness and stuff I had been "carrying" around, things started to shift naturally. My big aha came in the way I saw myself. There came this point where I moved from seeing myself as broken to seeing myself as whole and it changed everything. Once this truth became apparent, all of the masks that I'd been holding onto, all of the fakeness and pretending and armor could start to dissolve. I knew that what I was left with would be even more vibrant and amazing than before. It started a deep exploration and appreciation of my true self, a journey that still fascinates me to this day and I'm sure will continue to for the rest of my life. This understanding of wholeness and my connection to absolutely everything was what brought about my redefintion of Diva as a Divine Inspired Vessel of Awesomeness.

Why would someone want to become a Diva? Isn't that something we're taught not to be or become?

It's a great question and one I've asked myself countless times over the past ten years. Now that I've moved through the process I get it! I went into the explanation around this a little bit above, so here is a different angle.

Essentially, when we're stuck, its very possible and probable that we don't even know it. As human beings normal becomes the new normal, meaning that what we know can seem completely normal and natural to us, even when someone else would find it incredibly uncomfortable or even impossible to exist under the same circumstances. For example, for years I felt like I didn't belong or fit in, so much so that it became the normal. I would live my life from this place, believing that I didn't belong and acting accordingly. I call this particular pattern "Black Sheep Syndrome".

Not everyone is going to want to or need to change their patterns and coping mechanisms. Some people are born innately content and happy. But, for those that would like to live a life they love and not one that is better than nothing but mostly blah, the process of becoming a Diva is just one way of describing the journey from unhappy and unfulfilled to feeling great and loving life.

How did you coming up with the name "The Diva Project"?

At the time I was enrolled in a business course and re-evaluating how I wanted to move forward with my business. For years, I had this vision rumbling around in my head and heart, but I couldn't manage to put words to it. Then one night it hit me like a flash. The Diva Project. So perfect!

I noticed that you are writing a book about Diva. Can you tell us more about it?

Definitely. Its called "Becoming a Diva" and it is all about everything I've been telling you about, my journey with Diva, my own personal journey and all the wild and wonderful "A-HAs" and adventures along the way! My goal is to have the manuscript complete by the end of this year.

You talk about working with "black sheep" and "ugly ducklings". What do you mean by that?

One of my coaches always said, teach what you know. Black sheep and ugly duckling syndrome are ways of being in the world and seeing things that I know incredibly intimately. They look like feeling ugly, rejected, like you don't fit in or belong, like you're different and alone somehow. These were my stories for a very long time. Until I chose to see things a different way. So now, I love working with woman who are dealing with the same issues and helping them to navigate them and get to the other, much more freedom-filled, side.

Who do you typically work with and what are they struggling with?

I love working with woman, particularly those who are choosing to follow their hearts rather than be "normal". Again, this is my story and I can't think of anything cooler than helping one of these incredible pioneers get out of her own way, clear the stuck stuff and move forward powerfully!

How do you work with them? What techniques and methods do you use?

My secret sauce is something called the BodyTalk System. I've been working with BodyTalk for about seven years and I love it! For all my right brain creativity, I have a very solid left brain that is big on results. Most of my clients see noticeable shifts in their perspective, mood and all around joie de vivre within three to four sessions and that rocks. So, unlike just coaching, BodyTalk, because it is working with the innate wisdom of our bodies and able to get under the conscious mind, is able to unravel old old stuff that has been keeping us stuck and strengthen those areas that can help us move forward powerfully. Combined with coaching, it is potent stuff!

Another cool part is that because it's energy medicine, I can do sessions at a distance over the phone or Skype and have the exact same results with clients that I would have here in the studio.

Do you have any packages and programs to more deeply address their struggles?

Yes, definitely! For people wanting to see what this BodyTalk stuff is all about I would definitely recommend getting in on my upcoming Bonfire Session which is a free BodyTalk session for my community over Spreecast. Here's the sign up link for the Bonfire sessions for anyone interested. If you would love to work with Diva and I personally, I have private intensives available here on the farm as well as 90 minute Equine Facilitated Light up sessions and you can book in-person and at a distance BodyTalk sessions with me here. Since each of us are different, I love putting together packages for people that work with their unique set of circumstances and needs.

For a copy of Alexa Linton's "Your Guidebook to a Lighter, more Wonder-filled Life" click here. For more on Alexa's upcoming BodyTalk series "From Broken to Better than Ever", click here for more details.