Archives for September 2015

Why college is failing students and what we can do about it now.

The average 4-year college degree is a $150,000 investment. That investment is either made by parents who are already terrified about not having enough saved for their own future (and they secretly know it's not likely even going to be valuable) OR it's made via loans taken on by the students who will leave college with limited job prospects, drowning in dischargeable debt.

Only 1 out of 5 college students leave with a job on graduation day. And only 48% of those jobs even require degrees. The other jobs are server, barista, and nanny type jobs that didn't require a degree anyway.

College debt is the second largest source of debt in the country, to the tune of $2.1 trillion. We are saddling our future with obligations before they've even begun. 70% of all Americans who have gone to college have an on average debt of $35,000. Go to a private school or out of state and you can easily triple that.

We are facing a reality where investing in your child's college education or persuading them to do it themselves could actually be the biggest detriment to your family's overall wealth for generations to come.

We've known this for a while.  I imagine it may even keep you up at night to some degree. And if it hasn't, perhaps it will now because it's actually something fairly easy (within the context of the major issues we are facing as a global family) to fix.

Until now, there have not been clear solutions.  Fortunately, our youth are coming of age in a way that has them envisioning a new, sustainable future.  They're asking the right questions, and they have the right answers.

Now, what they need is us.  And, finally, there is a solution you can say yes to easily, right now, that will begin to create another possibility and provide our next generation with the resources they need so we can all sustain.

Please go to this link now.  

When you get there, read about the initiative that my good friend, Jules Schroeder, is creating to provide an alternative path for higher education, a path that is critical for us to step into now so our youth generation stops wasting our resources on education that doesn't pay off and shift our investments into an education that will create more for all of us.

If you have any questions, I'd love for you to ask them, send me a message at Or, if you see the critical importance of this issue, as I do, please share this post with anyone else who may be ready to shift the way we are supporting our youth to step into the future.

So very much love,

PS — Please do not leave this page without reading the info from this link and making the choice to invest as much as you can into creating a new paradigm of higher education that truly serves us and our youth.  We all thank you.

Burning Co-Dependence at Burning Man

These love letters are my raw and real direct communication just for those of you who are part of the Eyes Wide Open community by choice.  While there are business lessons you can receive in this long letter, this is not business, it’s personal. So many of you responded to last week’s love letter and I am so grateful that so many of you want to hear more about how I’ve come to handle many of the challenges and gifts I’ve been offered throughout this life.

I strongly desire to spend a lot more of my time making love to you through my creative heart than I do selling you things.

I am still deciding which to start with, so if you have a preference, please send me a message ( and let me know. If you didn’t get the email, you can read the message here.

My intention at Burning Man this year was to discover how I can have “adult fun”, meaning that I can remain in my adult and still have fun. In years past, I was really living my fully-embodied teenager, but quite often my adult was nowhere to be seen. Except when it came to business.  When it came to business, my adult was fully online and she was definitely NOT fun.

So, as I step into the integration of my parts — Ali Shanti and Alexis Neely and everyone in between — my exploration is how I can have adult fun, and not just the kind that happens behind closed doors, but truly and completely live my maturity and have a great time while I do it.

It turns out that one way I can do that is to completely and totally let go of codependent patterns that have held me back from living my full truth for a very long time. Can you relate?

If so, here’s a post I wrote as I left Burning Man without my honey (who now has the Playa name of Pimp Lion, yes that’s right Pimp Lion — you’ll see what I mean when you see his picture) that lets you in on one stage of co-dependence burning away.

What I didn’t say there, but I will tell you here (because this is where you get the most raw and the most real that I have to offer) is that Pimp Lion (as he shall now be referred to forever more) showed me the path to releasing codependence when we went to a “play party” together and he left before it even started.

I made you a quite edgy video (20-minutes) that won’t be shared anywhere besides here about how that experience of him leaving me at the play party alone was the path to ending our codependence, I hope for good.

If you’d like to read about Michael’s experience of what’s happened since we’ve been home, you can do so here. I’m looking forward to sharing more of what’s coming through as it does. Big, beautiful shifts, recognizing addiction and codependence and becoming free, together.

And for a public video about the whole Burning Man experience (10-minutes) that began as a Periscope and answering the question about whether Burning Man is worth it and, if so, why. In it, I share the 5 main things I discovered about why we make this pilgrimage to the desert each year.

One last thing about my personal Burning Man experience … a few years ago when I first began to redefine what success meant to me, after I had “made it” in the traditional sense and found it empty, I discovered that I would feel most successful if/when I was in my body, feeling sexy, and dancing, specifically on stage at Burning Man.  Well, this is now the third year it happened.

You can see a picture and description of the dance here. Before reading the description, can you tell which “life reflection” I was dancing by the look on my face in the image? Video to come.

I’m deep in creative development of a few things I hope to share with you soon, including my next book (I signed on with a fantastic agent, so excited!), a show I hope to launch in November (could be January), a REALLY big project for Burning Man next year (message me asap if you might want to bring your parents to Burning Man) and of course the fully integrated rebrand/reconstruction of Alexis Neely/Ali Shanti.

And through it all, taking the New Law Business Model, Eyes Wide Open Collective and my personal relationships with my honey and my kids to the next level.  Whew, that’s a lot. And, I’m grateful to be able to experience it all and share as much of it with you as possible.

Next week, I am hoping to share more about how Michael and I are moving through relationship. It’s suprising me to no end. I asked him to move out last week, which he did. And it’s brought us closer together than ever.  Who knew boundaries, when shared cleanly and clearly and from a place of total love, could feel so good?

Love to you,

Ali xoxo

How You Gonna Handle It When…

Today, I was going to send you a long love letter full of details and pictures and videos from Burning Man, a discussion of what it means that we are “going dark” and why it may be important to understand for the next level of your business and even a video that takes you really behind the scenes into my heart, my love life, and a “play party” I attended at Burning Man.

I’m about 2/3 of the way done and before I could finish, this came through and it felt important and ready, so I’m listening and sending this letter now and I’ll take my time finishing the longer next letter.

Watch it for next week … for now, I’d love for you to read this with an open heart. Let it impact you.

As you read it, add in your own mishaps, misadventures, challenges, stressful moments, heart breaks and upsets. Feel the feelings that arise as you remember the past mishaps or imagine the future tragedies that will surely occur.

So, how you gonna handle it?

How you gonna handle it when you love so much it hurts, and he simply does not love you back?

How you gonna handle it when your kid falls off a bike and breaks his tooth, while in the care of your ex, who you know wasn’t paying attention?

How you gonna handle it when she steals the last $5,000 you have?

How you gonna handle it when he gets a DUI, with the kids in the car, while you’re out of town?

How you gonna handle it when your bike falls off the back of the RV, going 70MPH down the highway, and you don’t know when or where?

How you gonna handle it when you can’t make payroll?

How are you going to handle it when the TV show producer calls and wants you to be in NY for filming during the exact time you’re scheduled to be at Burning Man?

How are you going to handle it when he is making eyes at (or even just secretly admits) he thinks she’s cute?

How you gonna handle it?

How you gonna handle it when your good friend talks shit about you, behind your back, and then lies straight to your face?

How are you going to handle it when anonymous people write the worst possible things about you on the internet?

How are you going to handle it when your business partners quit with zero notice and go work for someone else using everything they learned on your dime?

How are you going to handle it when he moves out?

How. Are. You. Going. To. Handle It?

At the end of the day, it’s really all that matters.

Because the shit is going to hit the fan, repeatedly.


Loves will be unrequited.

Kids will fall off bikes.

People will misunderstand you.

Accidents will happen.

Employees will make mistakes.

Bosses will suck ass.

Partners will desire others.


So, how are you gonna handle it?

Are you going to defend? Protect? Threaten? Fight? Sue? Open? Soften? Relax? Receive? Trust? Surrender? Feel?

The choice is yours. It’s the only choice we truly have.


A brief history of Ali Shanti & Alexis Neely

My life was as traditional as you could get. Graduated first in my class from Georgetown Law, got married, and pregnant, clerked for a Judge on the US Court of Appeals, and then went to work at one of the best law firms in the US. I did it all “right.”  Yet, it felt so wrong.

After a mid-twenties quarter-life crisis that led to my first level of self-inquiry and exploration, I thought maybe I was unhappy because I was truly an entrepreneur at heart (which was the last thing I expected because I had gone to law school so I didn’t need to be an entrepreneur like my dad), and shortly after the birth of my 2nd child, I launched my own law practice.

It turns out I was really good at entrepreneurship and I went on to build a couple of million dollar businesses, first my law practice and then an online training company, training lawyers on the law business model I had invented.  Then, I built another business training people to avoid making the million dollars of mistakes I made — mostly legal, insurance, financial and tax-related —  while building those businesses.

Everything was great until 2009, when I began to question what the heck I was doing and why.  Once again, I had achieved all the success I thought was possible, written a best-selling book, appearing on TV as a legal expert, house by the ocean, kids in private school, Mercedes in the garage.  And, yet, I knew there was something more.

It felt as if something was wanting to claw its way outside of me, but I couldn't see what it was.  All I knew is that I had to make a shift. This couldn't be it.

I hired coaches, and purpose consultants; I dug deep in self-inquiry and prayed at Agape in LA; I went to Burning Man, hoping I'd find myself there.  Finally, in September of 2009, I was called into ceremony with the plant medicine Ayahuasca. Up until that point, I had judged people using Ayahuasca as just looking for another high, but then it was my turn to try the medicine.  And I finally found what I had been looking for, myself.

Unfortunately, it also threw me into a depression because what I saw so clearly during that Ayahuasca journey was that I was living a life that was deeply out of alignment. I saw a world that works for everyone. I saw a planet in harmony. I saw my role in creating that harmony and how much conflict I was actually living in everyday.

I saw how I was putting money before most everything else, and that while it was all justified (I have a team and clients and kids to support!), it was flawed.  The reality was, I didn't know how to deeply connect with other people, if money or business wasn't involved.  Something had to shift.

On top of that, I couldn't keep doing the “legal expert” thing on TV anymore, not in the way I was.  I LOVED being on TV. It was the one time when my mind would consistently quiet down and I would be fully relaxed.  Then, I found myself on the Nancy Grace sound stage, to gossip about Tiger Woods divorce.  Suddenly, instead of a quiet mind, I heard a loud voice booming at me

“Alexis, what the fuck are you doing? You just spent four hours getting into hair and makeup and getting driven across town so you can gossip about another human on national television. You are contributing to the world negative 1,000, at least. You can never do this again!”

I went home and wrote this blog post.  A couple weeks later, on Jan 1, 2010, we packed up two U-Hauls, the ex-hubby, kids, two cats, dog and the snake and headed East, to Colorado.  It was time to try something new.

The following five years were a time of massive learning, growth and evolution. Within a few months of arriving in Colorado, I fired my whole team (the internal conflict was more than I knew how to deal with), broke up with my boyfriend (and business partner) of three years, and set out to find this “more” I was looking for.

The first guidepost along the way came when the interim-CEO I hired to manage my company during the transition time took me with him to Lightning in a Bottle festival in California. I had been before, but it had been years. And, this time was different.

The story of that trip is a long one, and I'll share it another time in detail because there were some excellent lessons, but for now the most important one to share is that I began to find myself, the real me, beyond the money, fame and success.

By August of 2010, I was ready to face my biggest fear. I had always been terrified to run out of money, while at the same time having this deeper knowing that all my needs were always met.

I remember standing at a gas station, talking to the interim-CEO (his name is Hitch) on my cell and telling him how terrified I was to run out of money, and he said do it. Run out. This is your Fear Walk. And I laughed. I said, “but then I wouldn't be able to pay you.”

He said “that's fine, don't pay me.” I said, but then no one is going to like me (I was so sure people only liked me because I had money), and he said “Lex (that's my family name and what he called me), people love you. They're going to love you even if you don't have money.”

So, I began to let it all go. I began to make choices not based on whether something would bring me money, but based on my deep, personal truth, even if that would hurt me financially.

I got married at Burning Man.  I found my deep, deep love of the Earth at Eden Hot Springs. I went to Peru. I found a long lost part of myself, Ali Shanti. I  tried to start a community on a farm I bought near Boulder, and it failed.

And I let it all go.

I faced my biggest fears — I let myself run out of money, stopped paying most of my bills and moved onto the farm, alone with my kids (without the help of a housekeeper, personal assistant, or any number of other people I had been paying for support), where I had tried to start community.

For a year, I did NOTHING I wouldn't do for free. I launched a show called the Whole Truth Show. You can still see remnants of it at that link. I spent time with my kids, playing cards and games. I grocery shopped, and cooked, and cleaned. I drove the kids to school. I learned to be human. I discovered who I was beyond business and money.

And then, after filing bankruptcy in August of 2012, I returned to the world of business, money and mainstream society. We rented a condo in Boulder, and I came back into the world, committed to build businesses that would support the work I am here to do without the strife, without the conflict, and without the top-down, hierarchical structure that I had not been able to stand before.

As I write this, it's been three years. (My life seems to cycle in three year rounds.)  These past three years I have learned to come to terms with the reality that I have two very distinct parts living inside of me (Alexis Neely and Ali Shanti) and I have found the place of integration.

Today, finally, money doesn't rule my life. It's the fuel for my creative dreams and heart projects. It buys food for my family and keeps a nice roof over our heads, but it doesn't determine where I go, what I do, who I do it with, or when I do it.

Money is abundant because I am deeply in service, doing meaningful work and I know how to ask for what I need to keep doing that. I prioritize my time (a far less available resource than money), my relationships and I follow my heart.

I am grateful.

The three years after filing bankruptcy were full of tremendous lessons, heartache, drama, pain, conflict and ultimately resolution. I have stepped into a role leadership I resisted for the past ten years.  Over the coming months, I intend to share it all with you. Maybe more than you want to hear.

I'm doing it because I prayed for it at so many points along my journey. I wanted to know what was going on behind the scenes, in the lives and hearts and minds of the leaders I looked up to; I wanted to know what was real and true.

It was very hard for me to find anyone who was truly telling it like it is.  I knew I would have to be the one. So, I am.

This path is a path of love and liberation. It's a path of leadership, by a very reluctant leader. It's the path of the road less traveled.  Thank you for joining me along the way.