Living Without Compromise

Please welcome little blog’s newest contributor, Lisa Zahiya!



Last month I randomly found myself alone with a day to myself in Atlanta, GA. I felt grateful, in the midst of a busy spring, I was able to do a favorite activity – walking a big city, earbuds in, with some dedicated thinking and dreaming time.

I set my mind to what I wanted this year and moving forward in my life. I was thinking about all the things I am happy with in my life, and assessing places where I wanted change. As I thought about those things that I was not happy with, a phrase kept coming to me:  I want to live an uncompromised life.

Now, that’s not to say that compromise isn’t a useful skill in navigating the world; however, I realized the things that were bothering me, the areas in my life that I wasn’t satisfied in, were where I had allowed myself to bend on key principles.

Now, this would come as a surprise to many who know me. I am pretty clear in who I am in the world and how I represent myself. I run my own business as a dance performer and instructor, own a dance studio, and am a fierce advocate for women and children. However, there are subtle places where I bend, oftentimes to not makes waves or create conflict. And I identified a bit of a weak spot: men.

When I came to this realization I was talking to (not even dating) a few men. One, a younger, very handsome man who is a bit of a bad boy, wooed me when we first met. And then stopped calling. And then started again. And then stopped. And this pattern went on and on… for eight months. And I still answered when he called.

The other gentleman was my Mr. Big – very successful, handsome, charming. And he made me feel like a third class citizen. When he was available, I was available. When he was busy, I waited. When he forgot to call because of work, I consistently forgave him.

Not surprisingly, I desire an honorable, consistent and giving partner in my life, who is passionate and caring. These are many of the things I strive to be in life and believe I deserve the same. And I have not found it. In fact, dating has been consistently a bit of a disaster.

So I made a decision:  I will stick to my guns on those things that are the most important to me.

Since returning home, I have been journaling about this, and thought I would share my process.

What’s my ideal life? What is my ideal destination, my Shangri-la life? I’m still working on this one. But I’ve currently got about 10 pages of what my dreams life consists of.

I am also writing about where I am now. What’s my current life?  I feel so, so, so lucky to be living my dream. I make a living dancing. I get to spend hours a week with amazing kids. I am lucky.

But, I also wrote about what I am not happy with. I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak, I  would like to cultivate better relationships, etc.

What are my anchors? I have begun to compare the two, and am figuring out what the roadmap is between where I am now and where I want to be. What I’ve noticed as I map out the road from my current location to where I want to go is that if I had been able to identify guiding principles (things that I will not sway from), I would be closer to what I want.

Mine include:

  • don’t give my skills/services away for free/cheap
  • two strikes if you don’t treat me well
  • support other women
  • choose adventure
  • don’t let fear make your decisions for you
  • my body is amazing and I will only share it with someone amazing

What’s amazing to me is how scary this feels. But you know what? I give that up as well. I am excited about the adventure and success this will bring to me.

What will you not compromise on?


Lisa Zahiya is an award winning bellydance and hip hop performer, instructor and dance studio owner. Lisa  has her home base at Studio Zahiya in quirky Asheville, NC and travels nationally and internationally teaching and performing.

Winner of the 2008 Bellydancer of the Univer competition, Lisa’s unique style and fusion dance forms has gained her recognition in the International bellydance community. She travels, teaching workshops, performing and developing curriculum. She has developed a fusion dance curriculum for a dance school in San Raphael, France. She serves as guest faculty at Sahara Dance in Washington, DC.

At home, she is faculty at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, where she teaches bhangra, hip hop and bellydance. She also served as an Ambassador for Lululemon Athletica, Asheville.

She also loves shoes, gluten free cupcakes, silly dances and being an advocate for women and children.

Find out more about her at



  1. Kelli says

    I take dance classes with Lisa and she is fabulous in so many ways! Definitely an inspiration.

  2. Gabrielle says

    Thank you for such a personal and intimate look into your life! I think that most women will completely relate to this in one way or another. Even being married with teenage children, I can see things that echo into my own life. You are so right about making conscious decisions up front to that you will adhere to them in daily practice! I look forward to hearing more from you!

  3. Nice! Love that you are living your dream life and giving up on “scary.” Dropping that for excited! as well. Kisses~see you in the studio soon!

  4. Lisa, this is so amazing – this is so the journey I am taking this year as well!… I call it my Year of Going Pro, after the Steven Pressfield book, which – if you haven’t yet read it – is my gift to you when you come for Hiptastic. I too have a weakness in the mens department. And a commitment to make decisions not from fear, or a sense of obligation, but from an expansive sense of what is the clear and right action for this moment in time, now. Sending love and support – you so got this, girl. I can’t wait to dance with you next weekend 🙂

a peep out of you