Blue, yellow, red, and green prayer flags rippled in the slight breeze off the bluffs overlooking the Santa Monica Bay from Palisades Park. Colorful scarves, wrapped around a tree Lisa and her friends frequented, also danced gracefully in the wind. Two of Lisa’s close friends sat amidst singing bowls and chimes on a blanket under the tree, while another dear friend tested her guitar through the speakers nearby. Three more of Lisa’s closest friends and caregivers hugged each other in comfort.
More ceremony attendees wandered toward the amassing convergence of people with their lawn chairs, yoga mats and blankets. Some laughed. Some cried, however the atmosphere was anything but somber. Lisa’s energy – vivacious, loving, bordering on the miraculous, and extraordinarily present – though gone for over a month since her passing after a three-and-a-half-year journey with cancer, was felt by all her family, friends and fans at her Ceremony of Life Service on what would have been her 54th birthday – May 21, 2023. And it is fair to say that the special presence of Lisa Brisse, a longtime Spinning® instructor who touched countless lives through her classes, was felt by even passersby that day.
It was clear to anyone listening to what was shared by her nearest and dearest that day, Lisa Brisse was enormously gifted, spiritually guided and extremely grateful for all that showed up on her life path. She was born in Richmond, Minnesota, moved to California in her thirties, and then graduated from Pepperdine University in 1993 with a B.S. in Sports Medicine. One of Lisa’s friends from her youth spoke in eloquent remembrance of the fun, mischievous adventures the two of them would get into. Clearly, Lisa loved life and life loved Lisa.
Her dear friend and professional partner also shared that their joint-calling to heal the world – one heart at a time – launched Lisa into a successful career as an exercise physiologist at the world-renowned Pritikin Longevity Center in Santa Monica. She then went on to start a business, State of the Heart Fitness –the name of which says it all.
What was clear from the many who shared at the ceremony was that Lisa was a Master of Life. One gentleman noted that she knew what it truly meant to live in service to something greater. And while Lisa took her job to be in service to others seriously, her solutions with people were playful. Another friend told the tale of how Lisa got her to hike the only hike she ever did, for which the gathering bellowed with laughter.
And then there was Spinning® -- the intertwined role that Spinning® had in Lisa’s life and Lisa’s held within the Spinning® community. In fact, at one point during the ceremony, a speaker asked how many people knew Lisa because she had either coached them on a bike or taught with her. Countless number of hands went up. This woman then graciously shared that her own journey with cancer brought her to Lisa’s Spinning® class when she was healing. The power of Lisa to teach on a bike was potent, no doubt.
Lisa became a Certified Spinning® Instructor in the early days, was loved at many local studios, and even taught at Industry—the Spinning® studio owned by Mad Dogg Athletics in Venice, California—the home of Spinning® HQ. Lisa’s heartfelt and passionate rides also reached beyond the Los Angeles area through the Spinning® apps. If you haven’t ridden with Lisa, we’re certain you will enjoy Lisa’s Spinning® Digital rides, which are still available.
|Read More: Remember Lisa’s return to Spinning® Digital amidst her cancer journey.|
And while Lisa had to put a pause on filming for the app due to complications on her cancer journey, she still made an appearance on Thanksgiving Day, 2021 to offer a Gratitude & Grace ride. The ride will remind you that when you embody the attitude of gratitude – no matter what the journey may bring – you get to walk through life with grace. This was Lisa at a tough moment showing us all how to live – gracefully.
At another tough moment, Lisa mentioned that even though she couldn’t continue teaching at that time, it would mean a lot to her to be able to ride at home. So we at Spinning® HQ gifted her with a bike, and she then shared her Journey to the Heart of Healing story on our blog. The below excerpt gives you a sense of this woman’s radiance no matter what life threw at her:
|I remember laying there miserable in the hospital during treatment when I got a hugely important phone call from one of my dear friends, Riley, also a fellow Spinning® instructor. I'll never forget her much needed words in that moment. She said, "Lisa, get yourself some headphones, find one of your favorite Spinning® playlists, and visualize yourself teaching. It's time to get things moving in your body so close your eyes and let that music move you. Imagine you're on that bike movin' and groovin' inspiring your peeps like you've always done and will do again! "Wow! It was amazing how quickly the vibration of joy hit the cells in my body. As I've always said, our cells hear everything we think; they take cues from where we put our mind. As soon as that music came on and speaking out loud as though I was teaching, my whole body began to hum; cell memory at its finest! I was amused by the nurses' reactions when they'd walk into my room and see me in my hospital bed with a smile on my face "dancing."|
Speaking of dancing, Lisa loved the arts – dancing, music and writing too. One friend recounted a passion which she shared with Lisa – that of music and Michael Jackson, in particular. Lisa published her book Michael Jackson: The Man in Our Mirror - A Reflection of Our Collective Soul in 2014, a story of spiritual connection with the pop superstar. And can you guess what we did at the ceremony intermission for Lisa?! We all got up and danced to Michael Jackson in Palisades Park. No one other than Lisa could command that request from above.
Perhaps the biggest superstar in Lisa’s life though wasn’t Michael Jackson, but a horse, her beloved Little Miss of whom Lisa also wrote in The Ride of Our Life - Lessons in Faith, Love, and Wisdom from a Magical Horse, Book One: The Early Years that explores the life lessons Lisa learned though her dear companion.
Lisa will be missed dearly though never forgotten. You can learn more about our dear friend Lisa on her obituary or consider a donation to the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation in her honor. You can also ride with fellow Spinning® Digital Instructor, Esmey Leon, in honor of Lisa in this Celebration of Life ride.
Lisa might just be hovering in the sunlit clouds on the day of her Celebration of Life Ceremony – May 21, 2023 – her birthday.
CAPTION, LEAD IMAGE: Lisa Brisse on her 30th birthday with Little Miss in Santa Barbara. Photo credit: Stacey Whittle