The Unexpected Teacher

Christian, The Unexpected Teacher

Not a hint of wind to be felt, nor a care in the world—or so I thought—as I watched our younger son stare into the water. When his trance broke, I asked him, “What were you thinking?” I was fully prepared to hear the Nuthin’ that punctuates the speech of every kid between the ages of seven and seventeen to such a preposterous question.

This is what my then 11-year old said: ”Mom….” a long pause followed, as if he were gathering his thoughts, or perhaps still coming-to. Then he just flowed, picking up steam as he said, “You know how right before you jump in the pool for the first time, and you know it’s going to be cold, you have all these feelings of anxiety and doubt, like whether you should do it or not, like whether it’s going to be worth it, and you’re even a little scared? Then you just tell yourself to do it and you do?”

Me: “Yes.”

My son: “I wonder if it’s the same for shy people before they talk. That’s what I was thinking.”

Don’t you love when the unexpected teacher shows up in your life? And the unexpected lesson is presented as a gift? The type of gift that melts away any previous tension or worry, and you breathe it in, knowing, Life is good. Life is damn good.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Shy people? Not so shy people? Life is good thoughts? Similar experiences with unexpected teachers? Share away!

Happy Anniversary To YOU, One Year From Today….

It’s almost eight o’clock in the evening on September 7th, 2015. I have been practicing a form of gratefulness for the last two months or so. The first task I do is list three new things I’m grateful for.

When I think about what I’m grateful for and couple that with today’s date, I can’t help but remember that exactly four years ago at this time I was lying in a hospital bed after having both of my breasts removed.

No, I’ve never quite said it like that before. Yes, I know the correct term is bi-lateral mastectomy and the more common term is double mastectomy. But that’s what happened. Both of my breasts were removed and I have been absolutely flooded with gifts-of-life ever since.

These gifts-of-life are my gratitude today. Here are three of many:

  1. I am four years cancer-free…healthy, whole, healed, joy-filled, peaceful
  2. I have given myself permission to have friend-divorces…letting go of those friends who simply drain, drain, drain…and keeping those close who fill, fill, fill
  3. I see my beauty, even on days I don’t wash my hair. The picture is sooo much bigger! Being a woman is sooo much sweeter!

I remember lying in my hospital bed and seeing it was nearing eight o’clock. The sun was going down rapidly and all of my visitors were gone for the day. With my eyes staring into the nothingness that lay beyond the window, I became very still. I tried to detach all of my senses with the exception of my sense of smell. As I allowed my eyes to drift out of focus I inhaled slowly and deeply until I could distinguish the different smells of the flowers that adorned the perimeter of my room, each scent its own message of Love.    

I found so much peace in the smell of Love. I found peace in the way I “did” cancer—probably because I did cancer my way—never giving a damn if people agreed with my way or not. It wasn’t for them to agree or disagree with. The popularity contest was over. I won…and the prize was more peace. 

May you, too, feel that peace. May I feel it in other areas of my life.

May we live peace.

Happy 4-year anniversary to me. And happy anniversary to YOU, one year from today, as you make today a new beginning in some love-filled endeavor. Amen.



happy anniviersary

The day it all began….

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Do you know someone who could benefit from tapping in to more love and trust? Don’t be shy, please share this with them. You never know, this might be just the thing they’ve been searching for!

glass half full

A Not So Common Prayer

common prayer

“A Green Prayer” by Muller Davis


A few years ago, while walking around the streets of Santa Fe, New Mexico, I glanced over and this piece of art caught my eye. I was drawn to it. The simplicity of it. The colors: green for Life and Nature, a hint of yellow for Happiness. The prayerful hands, the serene, closed eyes, and the head ever so slightly bowed in prayer.

I flipped it over and read the title: “A Green Prayer.” Next, I glanced down at the artist’s name: Muller Davis.  Green—my last name.  Davis—my son’s first name. A HAPPY, PEACEFUL feeling overcame me. Sold!

Right before going into the hospital for a bi-lateral mastectomy (following a breast cancer diagnosis), my “Sisters” on so many levels held a sacred evening of love for me and my family. There were many beautiful rituals performed that evening, which wove together to present a complete ceremony, marking the healing journey I had just begun. One of the rituals was a prayer circle. Going around the circle, one at a time, each person offered up a one to two word prayer for me (presented below). As each person said their prayer, I looked them in the eye, felt their love and sincerity, accepted their profound gift and blessing, and offered gratitude.

As the last person spoke, I realized that their prayers made up “A Green Prayer”…not your common prayer, but a visual prayer that appeared to me in a piece of art. With their heartfelt words, my Sister-Friends had embodied the same simple, beautiful, circular flow the artist had portrayed in the piece of art I’d been so drawn to. And once again, I felt Happy. Peaceful.

My prayer for you today is this: May you feel the sense of happiness and peace in your life that you so deserve. Claim it…even if yours doesn’t look like a common prayer…CLAIM IT.

Here are their prayers:


Susan:  Comfort

Christian:  Trust Life

Brady:  Trust

Davis:  Confidence

Anne:  Agape

Kathleen M.:  Happiness

Janna:  Wasah

Robin:  Admiration

Jo:  Bravery

Tracy:  Love

Alice:  Light and Healing

Amy:  No Chemo

Kathleen Z.:  Perfection
Jessica:  Divine Light

Nancy:  Letting Go

Kathy:  In The Moment

Alison:  NOW

 And so it is.  Amen.

Don’t Fix Me. Bear Witness, See Me

“Maybe the job of a mother is not to shelter but to bear witness as a child hits full force… and then to cushion the fall when it’s over.”

Every now and then, I catch myself reading a piece of fiction, following along in the story, enjoying the ride, and WHAM! I’m stopped by the author’s words in such a way that the story falls to the side and in front of me lies the mystery of an unfolding lesson. Jolted awake in such a way, my hand automatically reaches out for the highlighter on the nightstand beside me, before I’m aware of its movement.

There is a lesson to explore. Perhaps about me as the child I was, or me as the mother and woman I am today. Most definitely a lesson about human nature.

As I read the above thought, which came from the mind of Mariah, the protagonist in Jodi Picoult’s book, Keeping Faith, I was reminded of my mother, with a similar first name: Mari.

Growing up, Mari did not bear witness. No. She swooped in and rescued, protected, anything she could so her children would not feel pain. She was (and still is) a woman of action. Similar to many mothers of that generation, as well as many I know today. Truth be told, I’m sure I do the same thing with my boys more often than I’d like to admit.

As mothers, as friends, as one human to another, isn’t that our tendency? To want to fix, to rescue, to give unsolicited advice, to share our story in response to another’s pain, in an effort to connect and offer our help? Isn’t it our nature to want to show our support? All the while, holding the best of intentions, hoping upon hope that at the end of the conversation, we will have massaged it out sufficiently that our beloved’s pain would be eased?

But, what if we try something new? What if we choose to bear witness to another? Meet them where they stand, honor who they are and what their story is in that moment, and SEE them with no attempt to fix or to solve?

“To bear witness: to show by your existence that something is true.”

I must admit, this isn’t easy to do. And in all honesty, it’s not always appropriate either. But I’ll also share that in a raw moment, when what you need most is to be seen and heard, when another bears witness to you, to your experience, it’s one of the most sacred gifts you’ll ever receive.

And yes, sometimes after bearing witness to another, there comes the time to then “…cushion the fall when it’s over.” How incredibly strong and empowered the person must feel knowing that they tried and someone was there to attest to their brave act! After the trial, did you feel it was a success? Great! You have someone there to celebrate with you! Did you feel it was a failure? Great! You have someone there to celebrate YOU and your strength, your resilience, your tenacity!

Under the right circumstances, bearing witness to another is a kind, gentle, loving act. And a tough one, too. When I get it right, and it’s with no small effort on my part, but when I manage to get it right with my children, I feel as if Grace has been modeled.

During this week, find it within yourself to bear witness to another. It doesn’t require any words. It doesn’t require any overt gesture. It only requires your presence for another. “To show by your existence that something is true.”  Be present for another and see them. Love and trust yourself. Love and trust the process.

glass half full

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. Do you know someone who could benefit from tapping in to more love and trust? Don’t be shy, please share this with them. You never know, this might be just the thing they’ve been searching for! And now…please allow me to share my boys with you. Love, Leslie

glass half full

Bearing Witness to Fun (Life)

Bearing Witness to the Musician (Life)

Bearing Witness to the Recovery (Life)

Bearing Witness to the Patient (Life)

Bearing Witness to Hard Work/Project Completion (Life)

CDG, Rubix Cube

Bearing Witness to Tenacity and Patience (Life)

CGD, Sprite Science project

Bearing Witness to Creativity (Life)

Bearing Witness to Post-Vacation Exhaustion (Life)

D and C, brotherly love

Bearing Witness to Brotherly Love (Life)

D and C, Miami

Bearing Witness to Young Men Sharing (Life)

DBG, with Libby

Bearing Witness to a Boy and His Dog (Life)

D, with devices

Bearing Witness to Device Overload (Life)

Bearing Witness to the Artist (Life)