Experience a Little Heaven on Earth

If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.”

~ Yogi Bhajan

Yep, that just about sums up the path I’m on with trust.  I began reading about trust (trust and faith really, their subtle differences, meanings, nuances) many years ago.  Shortly after, I started writing about it, but only for myself.  Then, over three years ago I started publicly writing about trust here on Trust Life Today, followed by teaching individuals first, then later groups.

As linear of an approach as it may sound — read, write, teach — what I’ve found is now that I’m at the teaching stage of trust, I continue to read and write about it.  I still study, contemplate, question, and even meditate on trust.  Although I’ve written posts about why people don’t trust, I constantly find it surprising when they don’t.  Until one day, in the midst of life, I find myself there too, not trusting.

And then I’m reminded — trust isn’t something I have mastered, it is a daily practice.  Trust is a practice I’ve chosen to embrace.  Why?  Because my breathing slows down to a calm, steady rhythm when I trust.  Because my hot female, Mexican, Taurus, Pitta dosha, Enneagram 8, Chinese symbol fire, who-knows-what-label, does not flare as quickly when I trust.  Because I get better sleep at night when I trust.

Because I show myself and the world the best of me.
Because I feel God within me.
Because I feel peace.

Because the peace that comes from trusting feels like a little slice of Heaven on Earth to me. 

And I want more peace in my life, more God in my life, more of my best-self to show up every day in my life, and definitely more Heaven on Earth in my life.  So I have cultivated a practice of trust, and I do just that, I practice.

And I screw up.

There are times I forget what it means to trust, and to have faith, and to love myself.  I simply forget.  I slip into old patterns and behaviors.

Then…after I’m done beating myself up over the screw up, when I’m finally able to be still and quiet within my heart and mind, I give thanks.

Unfortunately, I often allow my life to become so fast and frenetic, I rush to the next thing, then the next, never stopping to realize that the irksome feeling hovering over my head like a dark, Eeyore-cloud, is actually me continuing to beat myself up unconsciously.  It is not until I slow down enough to quiet my mind and tune into my heart that I see the screw up for what it is:  an opportunity to forgive myself, to learn from the experience, to practice self-compassion, perhaps even to provide comfort or to empathize with my neighbor who may share with me something similar as we both “coincidentally” meet at our mailboxes next week, month, or year.  Glance over the previous sentence, and you will find between each comma lies the reasons I give thanks for the quote-unquote-screw-up.

Heaven on EarthIn the giving of thanks, on an energetic level I feel restored, like my inner-balance-scale had been horribly askew, and now it has settled back to the middle, not tilting one way or the other.  In that horizontal plane of my inner-scale, my practice of trust begins again.  The experience of Heaven on Earth gently nudges me and I close my eyes and smile.

From where you’re sitting and reading today’s post, you may be thinking, Right on!  I can do this!  A daily practice of trust is totally within me!  Or, you may be thinking, Is she f-ing kidding me?  She has no idea what I’m going through and if she only had a clue, she would know trust is impossible, completely impossible.  Or maybe your pendulum is swinging back and forth between the two.  Wherever you are on your path, stop now and honor it.  It is your truth.  Own it.  Then ask yourself,  Why can’t I experience a little Heaven on Earth?  Close your eyes, smile, and know you can.  Even if you think you can’t, you can.

What’s Next

Join me next week, as I talk to the group in the second bucket above, the “it’s impossible to trust” bucket.  Tune in if this is you.  If it’s not you, chances are you know someone in this bucket; consider sharing this post with them in the hopes it will get their juices flowing and prepared for what’s to come.  I look forward to seeing you next week.

In love and trust,
Leslie

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The Art of Crashing

Who can relate to learning how to ride a bike as a kid, and the inevitable crash that followed?  Maybe it wasn’t the first day, but at some point, you became comfortable, and stopped paying attention to what you were doing, or you attempted a new trick, only to come crashing down.

Maybe you never had this experience with a bike.  For you, maybe it was on a skateboard, or rollerblades, or surf boarding in the ocean.

I’ve experienced many crashes in my life, but I’ve never surfed (nor is it on my list of top 10 things to do).  However, when I watch surfers, I can’t help but notice what grace and skill they demonstrate.  Effortlessly, they appear to mount their boards.  They negotiate waves of all sizes with more ease than I can manage to prepare a simple dinner.  And have you ever watched them wipe out?  There’s no flailing about.  No out of control appearance of their extremities.  Just one fluid movement as they hit the water.  How is it they look so graceful while crashing so hard?

These are the sorts of things I wonder about.

Here’s what I decided:  there must be an art to crashing.

I imagine instinctively, their arms poised, ready to protect their heads.  (There will be no flailing all over the place.)  I also guess that along with not getting knocked out, a main area of focus is how to quickly get to the surface for oxygen.

After that, what is there?  (If you’re a surfer, I apologize — I’m positive I’m  WAY oversimplifying this.)

First, let’s assume the surfer wasn’t injured.  We’ll agree that with the fall, what the surfer was attempting to do didn’t turn out the way he/she had planned;  they may even call it a failure.  So, what have they gained?

Knowledge.

Knowledge on how to:

  • stay up longer
  • maintain focus
  • better maneuver the waves
  • fall with grace, not for the sake of grace itself, but for the sake of survival

And all of this encompasses The Art of Crashing.

Without the crash, where does the knowledge come from?  Reading a “Surfing For Dummies” book?  Watching YouTube videos of surf boarding?  While not bad ideas, the art of crashing provides the firsthand knowledge that leads to the goal of how to stay up longer, how to maintain focus, how to better maneuver the waves….

How many times in life do we fall?  Fail?  How many times do we crash?  And after that fall, failure, crash, how often do we decide it’s just not worth it?  I won’t love again because I don’t want to get my heart broken.  (Crash.)  I won’t attempt to let anyone see the real me because I don’t want to be betrayed again.  (Crash.)  I cannot trust because….  (Crash.)

The broken heart, the betrayal, the inability to trust, those are the crash.  Be the surfer who crashes with grace.  Not for the sake of grace itself, but for the sake of survival.  Your survival.  And after your survival is realized, and you know you’ve reached the top of the water, and that yes, indeed, you’re inhaling the air which is now filling your lungs, continue to push forward.  Ask yourself what knowledge was gleaned by living through this experience?  What lessons were learned?

There is a definite art to the crash.  It thrusts us forward and helps us heal as we take what we’ve learned to mend the broken heart.  To allow others to see the real us.  To Trust.

I encourage you to look for the surfer within.  Examine your crashes and be open to the lessons they reveal.

For all those seeking HOW to Trust, and specifically to GL, who shared much of her heart in an email that prompted this writing, think of Trusting Life as a spiritual law.  We must step back and allow it to work — that’s part of the art of it.  When we worry, over-think a situation, hold grudges, and so on, we interrupt the flow.  It’s through listening, becoming aware, letting go, and accepting What Is that we’re able to Trust Life.

Trust begins inside of you and radiates outward.

Feel, Know, BELIEVE that you are taken care of.  You are never alone.  There is a bigger force, a bigger plan that you are unaware of.  Trust.

 

Turn it Around

It’s no secret: I’m a reader.  My favorite solitary past-time is reading silently, my dog at my feet and a cup of tea within reach.

This past weekend the weather was dreadful.  Rainy, cold, dreary…a perfect day to read.  Recently, my friend sent me the first three chapters of a manuscript he’s been working on.  I’ve been so eager to dive into it.  Finally, the timing was right.  Husband playing golf, boys playing nicely upstairs, tea beside me, dog at my feet, AND the fireplace going – I was ready.

As I opened the document on my laptop, so excited for what awaited me, I felt a quiet tugging.  I waved it away.  But it quickly came back.  What was this?  Annoyed, I regained my focus, only to feel the tugging once more.

The tugging led my eyes to a stack of papers and booklet I was supposed to read from my doctor’s office for my upcoming surgery.  My mood immediately plummeted.

I know myself well enough to know that I wasn’t going to be able to allow myself to enjoy reading my friend’s manuscript until I read my “homework assignment” first.

I could’ve tried to restart the manuscript.  I could have even tried talking myself into why I deserved to read what my heart wanted to read over what my mind was telling me I should read.  But when you know how you operate, there’s no need for such mental gymnastics.

With an audibly heavy sigh, I pushed away my laptop, walked over to the stack of papers, and began reading.  Pre-op instructions, check.  Post-op instructions, check.  Risks involved, check.  Booklet of way too much information that made my head spin and had me question what the hell I was about to do, check.

Practically three hours later, in a horrible mood, I was done.

Why the foul mood?  I made the choice to read the material, didn’t I?  So why was I so irritated?  Had what I read made me apprehensive?  A little.  But I know doctors have to include all the CYA stuff.  So, what was that specific feeling I could sense, but not pinpoint?

Ah, gotcha:  Resentment.

I resented the length of the activity, the content, how my heart’s desire was to do something else.  I resented all of what comes with undergoing another surgery.

Whoa!  That last one was news to me.  See, I’ve really been looking forward to this upcoming procedure.  Currently I have these temporary implants in place, called tissue expanders (their name clearly explains their purpose), and they are more than a little uncomfortable.

This upcoming surgery will replace them with permanent implants, which my doctor assures me, will feel MUCH better.  I understand I’m going to wake up and feel like a new person, able to breathe unlabored for the first time in months, and with much less tightness and pressure in my chest.

So why, if my brain knows these things, did I still feel resentment?  I chose to read the material over my friend’s manuscript.  I know how much I’ve been looking forward to this surgery, well, its outcome at least.

Simply put, I was having a human moment.

So often I practice Letting Go and Trusting…they’ve become second nature to me.  But that doesn’t mean I go there immediately in every situation.  I, like you, am quite human.

Acknowledging what’s going on is the first step in Letting Go.

Although I want the outcome that the surgery will provide, the tasks between now and then:  reading the risks, the statistics, the must do’s and must not do’s pre and post op, preparing myself mentally, preparing my children, making my final lists of questions to ask, of errands to run, getting the house ready for me being out of commission, the thought of that sterile, cold environment again, the IV, additional scars, all of it…, became overwhelming, and resentment surfaced.

Once I acknowledged its presence, once I was able to see and connect the dots, I was not only able to Let Go, I was able to make a much longer list of reasons to be grateful.

You know I was diagnosed early.  You know the surgeons removed all of it.  You know there was no need for me to have chemo or radiation.  So that’s where I started with my long list of gratitude, and I didn’t stop until the feeling of resentment dissipated.

Are you feeling resentful about something?  Angry?  Annoyed?  Maybe you simply feel a bit off.  If you want to be set free, try making a gratitude list; it’s the fastest way I know to turn it around.  Before you know it, you’re on a roll and your mood is soaring.  You’ll be flat-out AMAZED at what gratitude can cure.

Trust me.