We had the good fortune of connecting with Lei Lei Lashawn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lei Lei, why did you pursue a creative career?
I pursued an artistic, creative career because that is when my heart and mind are in alignment. I choose a creative career because it helps me to feel love and gratitude in my heart. I desire that over money. I have had office jobs, I taught for years, management gigs, even bartended, During those periods, I always did my healing and performing arts on the side. I was able to pay the bills with a smile on my face. In 2020, Covid-19 caused the collapse of many industries, including the arts and hands on therapies like massage. It deconstructed what I thought I wanted in life and shined a light on how tomorrow is not a given. Being an artist made me feel like I had options. I just had to figure it out. This year of uncertainty has inspired me to retool my perspective about my career. I am blessed I am not sending out resume after resume for someone to like my skills more than another. I knew I needed to find a way to use my gifts to help others and that is what has transpired.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The life of an artist. I have been a percussionist for 30 years. I have been a licensed massage therapist and international certified Chi Nei Tsang practitioner for 20 years. I have been a creative my whole life. You know the one, off the beaten path. 2 years ago a heart friend got into a car accident and called me for some support. To make a long story short, necessity bred creativity. Because my friend was so acute, I knew I could not work on her, but I had to do something. I knew I could help increase her energy flow tho, relieving some of the pressure. So, I grabbed some beans out of her cabinet and grabbed some tape out of her junk drawer. I applied beans in hot spots on her body. Being certified in acupressure, lots of beans were applied. She had profound physical and emotional relief. It eased the pain enough to give her the energy to go to the hospital and get checked out. Well, have you heard of Shiatsu. Shi-finger, atsu-pressure. After this encounter Legumeatsu was born. I am so excited to share this with the world. We all may not be able to go to a doctor or acupuncturist, which I recommend, but we all can get some uncooked beans and tape. While practicing Legumeatsu, I really focused on pain relief and integrated DruMeditations. This is a class I teach that focuses on expanding the exhale to engage the parasympathetic nervous system on a deeper level. We practice that to live Native American and African rhythms. I experimented with this practice for over a year and collected data to quantify the changes my peeps had with their pain. It still blows my mind how affective the druMeditation was for all who experienced it. I created curriculum to educate on where to put the beans and my program was complete. Beans, Marbles & Wellness. I educate students to use the beans to support with their wellness, so they don’t lose their marbles, their minds. An online mental health program for self care and health care. Was this easy, no. The challenge was/is getting people to believe they have what they need to care for themselves. One by one, I share. Then word of mouth kicks in. Then people want to ask me questions, and more questions because they feel a difference. That is what makes me the most proud. They feel better. A big lesson I have learned along the way is to believe in myself. Period. Especially when you see you are helping others, even if it is something that no one is ever heard of. I want the world to know that I have created an online program, Beans, Marbles & Wellness, that focuses on better sleep, increased energy, pain relief and stress reduction. I use original music, artistic handouts and videos to share the information about our bodies. My course is available on my website www.leileilashawn.com. I love what I do even though it is a bit off the beaten path.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Post Covid-19: Oh my goodness, if my friend came to visit me here in Dallas for a week. First I would get us an airbnb by White Rock Lake so we could go for walks everyday. I love to cook, so we would go to Central Market to get groceries. I would grab some beautiful fruits and veggies, legumes and greens. I would grab some red wine, with some hummus and crackers. One day we would hit the museums. The Perot Museum and the Dallas Museum of Art. One day we would walk around Deep Ellum and visit some book stores. The next day I would take her to the Trinity River Audubon Center, beautiful hiking. One night we would get dinner, maybe some sushi or Thai in the Bishop Arts area and stop and listen to a band or two. I would leave a couple of days for her to decide or chill.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout is to my Love Sistah’s!!!! Shafeeqa Small, Hathor Hendrix, and Tyler d. Morgan love me unconditionally. They support my whims and desires and they believe in me. With them in my life, I believe my dreams are going to come true!
All art by Lei Lei. 2 images by Jora Inge. Others created by Lei Lei.