Malibu Magic: 4 Keys to Success I learned from Actor/Painter Leigh McCloskey

Malibu Lake is among the most enchanted places I have ever lived, and I met some of the most unusual characters of my life during the three years I called it home.

I arrived on a gorgeous Valentines Day afternoon in 2014. Just moments after the movers unloaded my dance studio mirrors, I began having a conversation with a neighbor who had recently published a book about her father and Elvis. We got deep into a discussion about music, friendship, art, and metaphysics. A quote I shared with her made her stop, flash me a startled look, and say:

“I HAVE to introduce you to Leigh McCloskey!! He is part of your TRIBE!!”

I was new to town and eager to meet the locals, so I rolled with it.

Within a few days, I found myself crossing the threshold of the epic home Leigh and his wife Carla share in Malibu.

The lush gardens and panoramic ocean views were stunning, but the element I found most awe-inspiring was Leigh’s vibrant paintings that covered the entire second floor. Not just the walls, mind you . . . the floors, the ceilings, the books, the furniture!! Everything was painted! It was like walking right into the corridors of his colorful imagination.

Almost as surprising as viewing the exquisite art was laying eyes on Leigh’s face. I immediately recognized him a popular TV actor from the 80’s. I remembered having developed a bit of a crush on him while watching after-school specials and shows like Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Dallas, where he was always cast as the handsome romantic lead!

I wisely decided that revelation was best left unsaid until we all became better friends!

I soon learned that his Juilliard training had honed is abilities as an artist, and his TV heartthrob success had paid for the home in Malibu, where he could then pursue his true loves of painting and metaphysical studies.

The next few years of my life were highlighted by meeting Leigh’s wide circle of intriguing friends, and becoming part of a weekly metaphysical discussion group that he had been hosting in his home for 30 years. The one-on-one talks we’ve shared about art and life since then are forever etched in mind.

I could fill a book with the treasures, but I’ll start with 4 Keys here that you can easily apply to your life, love, and work.

Though Leigh is wild and imaginative, these 4 keys truly reflect the Practical and Time-Tested aspects of this wise man. They apply to the executive, the entrepreneur, and the college professor as well as to the artist:

1. Appreciate and learn from the Work that Pays Your Bills

Leigh is a classically trained actor, so his dream acting job was definitely not playing the main stream romantic leads he was constantly cast in after graduating from Juilliard.

Instead of focusing on what he perceived as a limitation, he chose to view it as an opportunity to make a living as an actor, make connections, and build financial stability so that he could pursue more complex and interesting roles, and eventually, his calling as a painter and teacher of metaphysics.

2. Embrace both your Imaginative and Practical Sides

Leigh credits his whip-smart, midwestern-born wife Carla with “saving his life,” because she taught him how to keep his artistic side grounded.

Over the years she helped him cultivate a nourishing home and family life, and encouraged him to prioritize his health (and sanity!). He realizes that developing a partnership between his own creative and practical sides has been a driving force in his success. This joy and sense of peace gives him the stability to weather the peaks and valleys of an artist’s life (and temperament!)…

3. Meditation is a Useful Tool when You are Learning to Integrate New or Complex information

When I was part of Leigh’s metaphysical discussion group, he would deliver rapid-fire, complex information that came from decades of study. (And no doubt from past lives as well!)

I found that my years of meditation had made my focusing ability strong enough to literally absorb his every word, for hours, without distraction. (And this was after a full day and possibly a bit of wine!) I was also able to integrate these concepts more easily into my body and life due to the neural-plasticity and discernment ability meditation creates.

Leigh never had to advise me to meditate . . . I just learned that, to keep up with his rich mind, a continued practice was essential!

4. Awe and Enthusiasm can inspire Natural Focus and Discipline

My favorite definition of discipline is “Love translated into Action,” and Leigh definitely embodies that. His desire to fill his life with the work, people, and places that he feels passionate about created a powerful work ethic.

As many successful entrepreneurs advise: If you choose something you are really committed to, you view getting through the challenges and tough times as an exciting growth opportunity, rather than a setback.

5. Definitely Get A House with an Ocean view in Malibu (Just Kidding!)

I’m giving you just 4 keys, because Leigh never taught me how to buy a house in Malibu.

But maybe . . . just maybe . . . somewhere in these 4 keys . . . he did.

Hello, I'm Draža: Life Coach & Meditation Teacher

I write thought pieces for people who are aiming to create a life that feels like a

work of art.



Subscribe to my email list and receive my most popular guided meditation, delivered right to your inbox.


Subscribe to my list for all new posts AND receive a free meditation.