The Seven Questions series continues with author Alena Chapman, whose book, You Can’t Escape a Prison if You Don’t Know You’re In One: What is Blocking Your Freedom? was published in January. It quickly became an international bestseller on Amazon.com. I must disclose here that Alena is a client, and it has been my honor to work with her on bringing this book and her other resources to life.
Alena is also a singer, music teacher, speaker, workshop leader, coach, mother . . . and survivor. Here’s just a snippet of what she has to say.
1. What we now know as You Can’t Escape a Prison if You Don’t Know You’re In One started out as journaling about the transformational “tools” you’d acquired. At what point in the process did you realize you were writing a book?
Yes, I did start by sitting in a coffee shop writing in my journal. Mentors and experiences were happening so fast and I was learning so much, I really wanted to capture everything in a journal for my own memory. Soon I was giving examples of these tools being used by me and by other people. The journal entries grew into chapters with each chapter heading being the new tool I learned. One day, I took a look at all the journal entries and said to myself, “Wow, I wish I had a book like this when I started breaking out of my prison.” That is when it hit me — I was writing a book.
2. How have your sons adjusted to your more public persona since the publication of your book?
How they act with me is the same. However, when You Can’t Escape From a Prison If You Don’t Know You’re In One: What Is Blocking Your Freedom? became an international bestseller, I heard from other people how proud my boys were of me and they were telling everyone. The hardest adjustment is that I am working at home and very busy. My children are not used to me being home, but not really available. So we all have had an adjustment.
3. Describe the role of music in your life.
Music has played and continues to play an important role in my life. I started studying music at fifteen years of age. I sang classical/opera or operettas for a long time. In 1989, when traveling around the country to sing was not as feasible, I started teaching in area universities and colleges. I taught voice, gave opera workshops, vocal-coached musicals, taught music history, and directed choirs. This is when I found my love for directing.
For the past nine years, my love has been self-development and helping others grow in their awareness and their lives.
However, my house is filled with music of all types. If you see me driving by, I am the one dancing in the car.
Music raises our vibration, gives meaning, and just feels good.
4. In your book, you describe being about to close on a new home for yourself and the boys, and being suddenly overwhelmed with old paradigms about not being able to do such a thing on your own — that you needed a man to take care of you. The book tells us how you got past it, but how does an independent, 21st-century woman get to that place to begin with?
Great question! Even though women have come so very far in our country, sometimes the men have not, especially the older generation. My dad was born in the early 1940s, so his ideas had not caught up with women’s liberation. Also, he always worried about me, my independence, and my creative spirit, which he did not understand.
Yes, I was very independent. I moved to another state, started my own life — but looking back, I see there were many times in my life I would hear his voice and it would alter my decisions for my life. Why? Because he was my dad, a major person in my life and I loved him dearly — along with trusting him.
However, I found that every decision I based on what another person believes or says always turns out wrong for me. I can now say from experience: I am the only one to know what is good for me. Any time I am not sure which path to choose, I may ask others their opinion, but it is my decision what I do with the information.
Really, I need to thank my dad. In a roundabout way he taught me to be even more independent, believing in myself, and strong.
5. What makes you stop whatever you’re doing and take a picture?
Beauty — awesome, ever-changing beauty. I love vistas — blue skies, sunsets, water with the sun dancing on its surface. Every day, we receive as a gift from the universe a new sky. Did you know there is never the same sky appearing to us? Each one is new and different. But if we do not notice, we miss that sky forever.
We wake to find clouds hovering below a mountain’s peak or an innocent fawn walking in our path. The old woman who shares her stories with the lines in her face and the sparkle of her eye and the two-year-old boy who holds a handful of dandelions as if they were made of gold. This is life in its splendor. A spectacular gift which, if I am lucky, I can capture with my camera to remind me of that moment.
My world always feels blessed when I open my eyes and see the beauty, the uniqueness, and the abundance of our universe.
This is what I stop whatever I am doing, become totally present, and take my picture.
6. What was on your gratitude list this morning (that you’d like to share, anyway)?
Gratitude lists start with, “I am so happy and grateful for…” Gratitude lists are a must-do to gain/keep your perspective, sharpen your focus, and raise your vibration. I always feel happier and ready to start my day.
The one constant on my list is my children. I can never be more thankful than I am for the joy and growth they give me.
This morning I also listed:
2. My ability to help so many people live lives that they love
3. My awesome friends
4. The wonderful partner in my life
5. I have a new day to achieve my desires
6. The beautiful fall day
7. All the blessings and opportunities entering my life
8. My own growth and discovery
9. The health of my family
After I list what I am thankful for, I read through the list, feeling the thankfulness. This helps even more to internalize the gratefulness.
Next I become quiet, like a mini meditation, and I ask for guidance for the day. Then while still in this quiet state, I send love and peace to three people who are bothering me.
If you have never done a gratitude list or are trying to change your life for the better, it is best to write a list first thing in the morning and another before you go to bed. Soon you will find yourself being grateful throughout your day.
Gratitude is the attitude changer!
7. What are you working on now?
Right now I am very busy. I have a new program and course coming out in October. The program is recorded by me and includes a workbook, the CDs or mp3s, and my international bestselling book: You Can’t Escape From a Prison If You Don’t Know You’re In One: What is Blocking Your Freedom? The course is eight weeks, covers the areas in the program, and much more. Also, the course includes four half-hour private consultations with me, an empowering mastermind group with people from the course, and eight meditation CDs or mp3s. I am very excited to offer and teach these wonderful tools to people in such a great way.
Nov. 7, 2015 will be a highlight of the year. I will be having a one-day seminar at the Manchester University College of Pharmacy in Fort Wayne at 10627 Diebold Road next to Parkview Hospital. This is a great way to discover and see the opportunities and start on bettering your life or achieving your dreams. I will give you tools and plans to begin right away. If you seriously want a difference in your life — this is the event to attend. (Check www.alenachapman.com for more details and registration.)
And if all that is not enough, there is a new book just starting. It should be out in the summer of 2016.
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Many thanks to Alena for being my guest today. Check out her podcast, “Conversations with Alena,” available on her website (above) and on iTunes. Happy Labor Day, everyone!