Photo Shoots

Create Joy and Jump Into It

Me Ra Koh

Create Joy and Jump Into It, Charlotte Barner’s Rising Phoenix – Dallas Frisco Portrait Photographer – Me Ra Koh

Charlotte Barner’s Rising Phoenix Story of choosing to create joy and jump into it is the most beautiful message of inspiration to start the New Year!

Even in pain, we can choose to create joy and jump into it. Charlotte Barner, SMU Adjunct Professor, Rising Phoenix Experience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

Looking at her Rising Phoenix portrait above, you would never guess she is in her mid sixties!

Shortly after we installed this beautiful portrait in her bedroom (see below for how it turned out), I called to see how this particular piece of artwork was already impacting her. Her words blew me away!

“I’m flying! It reminds me that I’m taking energy I have and moving it into the light. My foot is on the ground. I’m solid, but I know where I want to go. I didn’t realize I was like a character in a labyrinth before. 2020 was so difficult, and I was still carrying around all this junk. But I look at her and realize I’m her! I can fly!”

“Bob will even text me one of the photos randomly during the day and say “This is who I saw this morning.” Isn’t that BEAUTIFUL!?!

Charlotte is a Transformer

Charlotte is a professor at Southern Methodist University (SMU), inspiring MBA students in leadership and teamwork. Every time I talk with her, I feel like I am given another gem of wisdom.

I love how her husband, Bob, describes her. He is also a professor at SMU, but he describes the difference between his students and Charlotte’s students. “Charlotte is a transformer. I have students, she has camp followers. They will camp out to register for her class because of her compassion and Socratic quest.” MBA students sign up thinking her courses will improve their leadership, and they walk out transformed in every part of their life.

Resisting Calcification in Your 60s

What is Charlotte’s secret, wisdom, that students camp out for?

Bob describes her gift as childlike playfulness. “When you move into your 60s, people get calcified. But Charlotte allows childlike playfulness to keep coming through. She even stays up at night to play games with our cat!”

“I also admire her intellect. She has the most self-aware personality I’ve ever seen. She taught herself coding, she was the GC for our condo remodel and designed every detail. Anything with pattern or structure, she will figure out. Charlotte is curious about everything and she’s always learning. She’s self driving.”

See why I wanted to start the New Year with this wonderful woman?

Before you read anything else, in what ways has Charlotte already inspired you? I’d love to hear in the comments here or on Facebook!

Charlotte chooses to create joy and jump into it. Where does this inner strength come from?

Charlotte, the Little Girl

When Charlotte was a little girl, her report card always said the same thing. “Charlotte likes to entertain and talks too much.” (Anyone else get those report cards?)

Even in pain, we can choose to create joy and jump into it. Charlotte Barner, SMU Adjunct Professor, Rising Phoenix Experience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

All of us carry our own collection of stories. Some of those stories are painful and some are pure joy. Every story, even the dull ones, shape who we become. But ultimately, we choose the narrative we want to live out.

When Charlotte was only a teenager, her brother passed away. Her dad also became ill when he was only 40 years old. He had one of the first open brain surgeries in North America.

Seeing her parents deal with the tremendous grief of losing their son and her dad’s physical suffering, she’d ask herself as a child, “How can I make my parents’ laugh?”

“The flip side is it gave me more energy, the core of me, even when I had no energy,” she shared. “My Dad would always say since elementary school, “Look, every day when the sun comes up is a brand-new day, you have to go create it.”

The Power of Choosing Change

As a child, Charlotte discovered making others happy gave her more energy when she had no energy. Entertaining her parents, making them laugh, creating joy and jumping into it was healing her too.

We often hear the phrase “making others happy” and feel instant fear because some of us have focused more on others’ happiness than our own healing journey. But when this motive is healthy, there is a powerful principle many of our Rising Phoenixes have touched on as they reflect on what’s rising from the ashes for them. I remember Rising Phoenix, Terri, share how volunteer work in the local community gave to her when she was struggling with painful situations at home.

One of the beautiful things about Charlotte is that she doesn’t ignore pain. She holds space for her friends and students to feel their own pain. The biggest difference is that she also guides them to joy in this beautiful balance.

Every individual has a different story around the timing of their Rising Phoenix Experience. Charlotte’s dear friend, Shell, referred her to us. In my first conversation with Charlotte, she shared how she was choosing to be at a crossroads. She was choosing change even though it made her incredibly uncomfortable.

I am also inspired by Charlotte’s resolve to choose joy versus being a victim. But she doesn’t just choose the “happy things”. She chooses the difficult, like standing at a crossroads.

Why would anyone choose to be at a crossroads?

“I truly see life as a gift and journey. I’ve worked my whole life and am choosing to let go of things that no longer bring me joy. This will involve some big changes, but I can do this. That is my daily mantra these days. I can do this.”

Again, I’m so inspired that in her mid-sixties she is choosing to still take risks, savor the present, create joy and jump into it!

The Daily, Visual Reminder She Wants

I asked Charlotte to think about the little girl within her. The one who lost her brother at such a young age, who watched her dad suffer, and was looking for ways to make him smile. If that little girl saw the woman Charlotte has become, what would she say?

Her answer was like the sound of beautiful bells ringing in Italy, her words of life ringing through our souls when she said them out loud!

“There you are! See, you remember me, right? I’m Charlotte the force!

Even in pain, we can choose to create joy and jump into it. Charlotte Barner, SMU Adjunct Professor, Rising Phoenix Experience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

That little girl would look up at me and say, “You’ve got even better at this. You need to just trust yourself. Jump into joy, Charlotte, create joy.”

I want to be more like Charlotte!

Don’t you?! When I talked with Charlotte’s sister-in-law, she described Charlotte’s superpower. “I’m blown away by her constant optimism. How she rules out bad things and focuses on the positive.”

“She is energetic! Charlotte puts so much energy into whatever she does both physical and mental. And she is so fun loving. We giggle all the time when we’re together!”

Knowing just a little bit of Charlotte’s childhood, the pain and grief she experienced at such a young age, I’m profoundly inspired by her commitment to create joy and jump into it. It began as a child’s desire to make her parents’ smile and ended up not only giving her life but decades later impacting her community from MBA grad students who camp outside her class to her family…especially her daughter.

What Charlotte’s Daughter Loves about Her Mom

When I asked Jocelyn what her mom’s superpower is, I loved her answer. “She tells beautiful stories that are so detailed, using colorful words. She is a communicator, bringing people in.”

“Passion. When she starts a project, she follows through and learns every little thing with passion. It lights her up. Her love of animals too! And I love the great partnership I’ve had in her my entire life.”

Even in pain, we can choose to create joy and jump into it. Charlotte Barner, SMU Adjunct Professor, Rising Phoenix Experience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

Then I asked Jocelyn what she hopes her mom’s Rising Phoenix portraits remind her every day.

“That my mom is resilient. She chooses to be happy. Even when she’s tired, I want her to see these and be as happy as she tries to make others.”

What Charlotte’s Friends Cherish

“If you really want to achieve something, Charlotte helps you feel like you can achieve it. She is your best cheerleader,” said her dear friend, Tiffany. “It’s her superpower. She can look at an idea or dream and see the steps to make the dream a reality.”

Kristine said Charlotte’s superpower is her thoughtfulness. All the details she thinks through to make something special for someone whether it’s her husband’s birthday or hosting friends for dinner. “Even when you stop by, Charlotte always has sparkling water, wine, snacks with napkins…”

I love what Kristine hopes Charlotte’s Rising Phoenix portraits always remind her, “That Charlotte is incredibly interesting and people really care and appreciate her. What she’s doing is inherently good and there is power in it! Her ability to disarm others and put them at ease, despite how incredibly smart she is!”

“She’s like “Earth Mother”. Everything is connected. All the plants, animals. She’s connected to that living nature – breathable, living space.”

Where She Decided to See These Everyday

The beautiful portrait of her flying is in her bedroom! Her husband, Bob, especially loved that this would be the first thing that greets them every morning.

Even in pain, we can choose to create joy and jump into it. Charlotte Barner, SMU Adjunct Professor, Rising Phoenix Experience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh
Even in pain, we can choose to create joy and jump into it. Charlotte Barner, SMU Adjunct Professor, Rising Phoenix Experience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

Then she also has a few other Rising Phoenix favorites in their shared home office. When she looks up from her computer, she can see these powerful, visual statements of who she is multiple times a day.

Even in pain, we can choose to create joy and jump into it. Charlotte Barner, SMU Adjunct Professor, Rising Phoenix Experience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

I absolutely LOVE the JOY that RADIATES from Charlotte! Can’t you see her childlike playfulness oozing from her? She is such a gift!

Even in pain, we can choose to create joy and jump into it. Charlotte Barner, SMU Adjunct Professor, Rising Phoenix Experience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

A couple weeks after these pieces were installed, I asked her how they’ve been impacting her daily life when working from home.

“They’re a daily remembrance, at least once a day unexpectedly, I look up and am reminded I do have the energy and don’t have to expend it all each day.”

She even shared how an unexpected challenge came her way. “I don’t know if I would’ve been prepared for it, if I hadn’t done the Phoenix Experience. I was able to step back, get centered, and my head hasn’t stopped in a good way!”

They Hold Truth

This is what blows me away! I experience the same thing with my own Rising Phoenix portraits on a daily level! It’s like they visually hold the truth of who I am, and even if I don’t feel those things in the moment, it’s okay. The truth of who I am is still the truth.

Brian even says that since my artwork was installed, he’s noticed I come to him less for re-affirmation of who I am and my purpose. My Rising Phoenix artwork reminds me instead, and she fuels me in a way he’s never seen in twenty-five years of marriage! Isn’t that wild?!

I have to ask Bob if he sees similar shifts in Charlotte! (Do you, Bob? You must tell us in the comments!)

Thank You Charlotte, Thank You Shell

Charlotte, to know you is to feel your life instantly that much richer. There is so much pain in life, but you are a living epistle of what it means to still create joy and jump into it. Thank you for this gift of wisdom and the opportunity to share your story with all of us. You’ve deposited such beautiful truths in us by just being who you are and choosing to rise above it all.

Even in pain, we can choose to create joy and jump into it. Charlotte Barner, SMU Adjunct Professor, Rising Phoenix Experience, FIORIA by Me Ra Koh

Shell, thank you with all my heart for recognizing Charlotte has a Rising Phoenix within her that was worthy of celebrating. Thank you for introducing us and encouraging her to give this experience to herself. Your referral has had an eternal impact on me and everyone who meets Charlotte here. All my love. still we rise!

What is a Rising Phoenix Experience?

This is about you seeing the truth of who you are. When you see your resilience on the wall every day, it transforms you from the inside out. If you are overwhelmed with all the reasons why you shouldn’t invest time or money in yourself, I want you to pause and think of all the obstacles you have overcome in your life whether it’s a weight loss journey, depression, anxiety, cancer, seasons changing with kids leaving the nest, loss of a loved one.

Have you been promoted in your career or pivoted with resilience? The list of how we rise like a phoenix to overcome the odds goes on and on. But so many of us struggle with taking time to acknowledge it.

You Give to Everyone Around You

You’ve most likely given to everyone else. The time has come to give something transformational and lasting to you. Just read the following stories.

Losing 150lbs and celebrating it with a special Rising Phoenix Portrait Experience at FIORIA by Me Ra Koh.

Have you achieved a weight goal? Read Jamie’s inspiring story of never going back after significant weight loss.

Maybe you need a deeper healing from childhood trauma. You’ve done the counseling but still struggle to see the truth about who you are. You may relate to Tiffany’s story.

Or maybe you’re turning 40, 50, 60 or 70+ and feel the need to reflect and celebrate who you are and the possibilities of what this next season of life holds? 

The first step is to fill out our Phoenix inquiry; CLICK HERE.

Michelle Found Courage to Step Beyond Grief

Meet Michelle. She is definitely someone who has known great courage. At one time, she was an interrogator for the US military in the Middle East. This 5’4 woman knows confidence. But the loss of her mom swallowed that confidence.

There are some seasons in life when we feel unshakeable courage and other seasons that leave us feeling lost. After great loss, it takes great courage to step forward. Maybe you relate to Michelle’s story.

Meet Our Oldest Rising Phoenix

She was in her 80s and never had her makeup and hair done. I’ll never forget the giggles we had over watching Oma that day in the studio. This beautiful 4’9 woman came to the United States with Opa when she was only 23 yrs old and pregnant with her first baby. All they had was $50. Leaving behind family and all that was familiar in the Netherlands, they boarded a cargo boat and set out to make a new life.

Krista, Oma’s granddaughter, had a FIORIA family experience with us last year. When she saw us launch the Rising Phoenix Experience, she thought of her grandma. Oma is the heart of their family and lived eighty plus years as a rising phoenix.

Click Here to meet Oma, our oldest Rising Phoenix!

Crystal drove to us from Las Vegas.

A single woman who has always been known for being responsible and quiet, yet there is another side of her that wants to come out. A side that is brave and takes risks—that believes she is worthy of doing something special not just for others but for herself too. A year after her Rising Phoenix Experience, she sent us photos of her traveling solo in Europe! She told us how much her life has changed from seeing who she is every day when she looks at her Phoenix portraits!

What truth do you need to be reminded of daily to unleash your purpose and potential?

Meet Our Youngest Rising Phoenix, a Miracle Photo Shoot!

CLICK HERE to see the most miraculous Rising Phoenix portraits!

This is the first time Isabella has ever looked at the camera and smiled. This was a miracle photo shoot.

I’ll never forget my first Discovery Call with Isabella’s mom. She wasn’t sure this was a good idea because Isabella is very sensory sensitive. Photo shoots have never gone well in the past. She felt very hesitant to believe this photo shoot could be a success.

I felt her words on such a deep level. I didn’t want to set them up for disappointment either. But I just knew that there was something so special about this whole thing. I told her, “There are many doubts and fears I can struggle with, but this is something I am confident I can do.” She borrowed that confidence, and we witnessed a miracle photo shoot.

All these people have something in common, they were ready to …

Rise above the ashes of what other people have said
Rising above their fear and doubts
Embracing their Rising Phoenix within.

Through our Rising Phoenix Experience, they not only did something special for themselves but also received something transformational.

I invite you to experience the transformation too!

Your Rising Phoenix Experience includes:

  • Signature Phone Calls with You and Loved Ones (collection of words that give you life)
  • Professional Hair & Makeup
  • Wardrobe Consultation & Vision
  • Rising Phoenix Photo Shoot with Me Ra Koh (Sony Artisan, Disney Host, and Live with Kelly & Ryan Guest Expert—You’re in good hands. I will pose you, and Brian will drop shadows and light on you in the most flattering way that radiates your Rising Phoenix.)
  • Same Day Cinematic Reveal & Custom Design Session with our In-House Design Specialist
  • Beautiful Artwork of Your Rising Phoenix, Custom Designed for the Best Place where it will Speak Truth to You Every Day.

CLICK HERE to fill out the inquiry and begin your Rising Phoenix Experience!

I can’t wait to speak soon! Still we rise!
Me Ra


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