A childhood under the influence

young listaI was raised in and torn between two conflicting, bipolar worlds. There was the world I longed for and lived in on weekends – my mother’s world, which was the fanatical, puritanical cult of the Moonies – and the world I was forced to live in during the week – my father’s world, which was based in sex and drugs and the squalor of life in the East Village of New York City.

I am the child of hippie parents and the product of a “broken marriage.”  I was immersed in the “sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll” culture of the 1960s and early 1970s. My parents took me to the Jefferson Starship free concert in Central Park and Woodstock (the movie, not the festival) by the time I was nine. By the time I was ten, I was a devotee of Rev. Moon – the self-proclaimed Messiah and leader of one of the most infamous cults – spending my weekends standing on a wooden box in New York City’s then seedy Times Square, shouting through a bullhorn, trying to save the sea of sinners around me.

People who meet me now have no idea of my eclectic background. Not only have I survived my childhood, but I thrive. I am blessed with a happy marriage of over twenty years, two amazing children, and a successful leadership consulting and coaching practice.

In so many ways, because of my past I now have my today. I learned, through my journey, that it’s up to each of us to create the life we want. Some of us may have more to overcome in order to do that, but it still is up to us. We have the chance and the choice. We have the ability. Even when we think we don’t.

lisa and robbbieI learned to build a very different life for myself than what I knew as a child, and to integrate my childhood experiences into my life – doing my best to find and keep the valuable while letting go of the rest. I faced at least some of my demons, and found ways to laugh or love them at least somewhat away. I can now look back on my past with a sense of humor and unexpected appreciation, and rejoice in my present.

I bring all I experienced and learned to my coaching and consulting work, helping others find their way to the life they want and deserve. I also bring it all to TO THE MOON AND BACK: A childhood under the influence, which is currently pending publication.

lisa belvedere (2)My intention in writing the book has been to find another way to offer hope and potential joy to others who may feel beaten or damaged by their upbringing or circumstances, and I therefore chronicle my unconventional childhood, my self-destructive early 20s, and my challenges, peace, and healing today. If by telling my story I can help others find their own path, it has all been worth it.

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