Bright, articulate and beautiful, Lissa Coffey embodies her favorite quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Lissa exudes enthusiasm about relationships, her career and making a difference in the lives of others. In her most recent book, Closure, she exhibits a keen understanding of the power of relationships.
Like many women, Lissa’s personal and professional lives evolved over the years to include multiple roles: daughter, sister, model, songwriter, wife, mother, author, television reporter, actress, producer, Big Sister and coach/lifestyle designer.
It wasn’t until the premature death of her sister’s husband, one of Lissa’s closest friends, that she came to “understand the law of relationship and how we can use this to keep loss in perspective.” This experience was the inspiration behind her most recent book Closure.
Lissa realized that she had unresolved feelings from the amicable divorce she had gone through a few years earlier. Although happily re-married, Lissa wisely chose to explore her unsettled feelings. “I felt it was really weird because I thought [the divorce] was all processed. I realized that the grieving process is different from the closure process. [My sister and I] were going through similar issues. It took me a couple of years to come up with the ideas in the book and practice it myself,” Lissa explained.
Closure combines research and advice from a variety of expert sources, describing the five stages of closure with practical step-by-step exercises and affirmations to understand endings as new beginnings in an empowered way. “Relationships don’t end, they change. We remain connected to the people in our lives through our memories and shared experiences. Coming to terms with the changes in our relationships is what will bring us closure,” writes Lissa.
Family Life in California
Going back to the primary relationships and experiences in her life, Lissa shared some of the bittersweet details of her childhood. Raised in Palo Alto, California, Lissa had a younger brother and sister. “My parents were divorced when I was ten years old. My dad and brother moved away. I had braces, glasses, allergies, and terribly low self-esteem! I started working when I was 16 years old,” Lissa recalled. “Moving as a child from the family home to a much smaller home with a now-single working mother, I took on lots of responsibilities as a young kid.” After graduating from Henry M. Gunn High School, Lissa attended UCLA, graduating with a degree in sociology in three years. She then began her career at ABC Entertainment and married at 22.
Soon after, Lissa had two sons and planned to be a stay-at-home mom. While raising her sons, Lissa’s creative energy flowed, resulting in the writing and producing of numerous children’s musical recordings and videos. She eventually founded Bright Ideas Production. “I started an independent record label and was competing against big names like Disney, yet still managed to get airtime on Nickelodeon, The Learning Channel and Discovery Kids. Without any track record, I produced the Karate for Kids home video (now on DVD),” Lissa says. All of this happened while dealing with an ADHD diagnosis for her firstborn son, at a time when “the world was just learning about this condition.”
The experience with her son’s ADHD led her to research alternative treatments. Lissa had met Louise Taylor years back when she was pregnant with her son and dealing with morning sickness. In 1997 Lissa suggested that they co-author a book, “The Healthy Family Handbook” based on her research on alternative treatments for ADHD. Around this time, Lissa discovered that she, too, had ADHD.
Enthusiastically Embracing Opportunities
In 1994, Lissa became an anchor and reporter at a local television station in southern California. Her work exposed her to many fascinating people and new ideas. Lissa thrived on these opportunities. In 1998, after Lissa met Deepak Chopra, she became immersed in learning meditation, hypnotherapy and Ayurveda. In 2000, she traveled to India along with her sons to experience these alternative practices firsthand.
Through her study of Ayurveda, Lissa better understood her intrinsic nature and those around her. After unsuccessfully looking for books on Ayurveda and relationships, Lissa researched and wrote her own book called, “What’s Your Dosha, Baby?” Her book and website are about discovering your dominant dosha and as a result, creating better relationships and a more balanced life.
The author of five books, Lissa runs several websites, including Coffey Talk, writes blogs and newsletters on a range of topics such as health and wellness, family, relationships, home environments and book marketing. Lissa is a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild and has appeared on the Today Show. She writes for The Huffington Post as well.
“I’m lucky because I’ve been able to merge all of my interests and passions into a career. I’ve always been very interested in ancient wisdom, all things spiritual. I love music, art, culture, and style. I am passionate about philanthropy, and helping people. I love to write. I love to communicate. When I was young I used to watch The Mary Tyler Moore Show and that’s how I decided I wanted a career in television – now I’m making my own TV shows!” Lissa enthusiastically declares.
Relationships at the Core
Beyond her work, her family life is most important. “Personally, my biggest accomplishment is raising two sons. I’m really proud of my boys because they have great values – they help people, they have big hearts.” After her sons left home, Lissa felt she still had a lot of love to give and brought a new dimension into her life.
In 2009 Lissa became a Big Sister to a 16-year-old girl. “Recently, I’ve been able to contribute to society in a new way which brings me a deep sense of fulfillment,” Lissa says. “I found my dharma which is my purpose in life, doing what I love and helping other people. Life is all about relationships. We’re all connected and we’re here to help each other grow.”
Lissa credits the study of Ayurveda for helping her better understand herself and her relationships with others. No coincidence then that Lissa re-married in 2001, successfully blending their two families. Her husband, Greg, is Australian with three grown children from a previous marriage.
Lissa believes the 5,000-year-old science of Ayurveda can help any marriage. Understanding our partner’s nature and our own nature is the basis for a healthy relationship according to Lissa. “It’s about loving what you have. The example I give is the tiger. The tiger is a beautiful animal with a lot of strengths. If you married a tiger, you wouldn’t ask [him], ‘why don’t you start acting like a swan?’ Do your best to bring out the strengths in your partner. Love and appreciate those qualities. When there are challenges, work on those together within the parameters of what you have to work with. You can never expect a tiger to act like a swan.”
According to Deepak Chopra, Lissa’s mentor of many years, “Eastern philosophy teaches us that change is inevitable, and yet suffering is not. …Lissa Coffey shows us how to learn and grow as we move through the evolution of our relationships.”