Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is… I Did

Last month many of you got involved in our TLT community discussion regarding our youth, the pressures placed on them by parents, coaches, society, and the choices they’re making in order to ACHIEVE, and at the same time, PLEASE everyone.

The “Holy Moly” series, as it came to be called, was sparked by a New York Times article I read that centered around high school students doing whatever it takes to achieve academic excellence, even if that means illegally obtaining and using prescription ADHD medicines to enhance mental focus, increase their stamina to pull all-nighters, and get better test scores.

I was so disturbed by this article, I continued to think about it for weeks, desperately wanting to do something about it.  I explained in one Holy Moly article entitled, “Enough,” that….

“… it’s not just one thing, it’s LOTS and LOTS of things.  It’s not just drugs we’re talking about; to many of these teens, they don’t even see the pills they’re snorting/taking as drugs, some actually thought they were some sort of vitamins, just used to help them hyper focus on school work.  But, like I said, it’s just not about drugs, there are many more layers than that.

But peel away the layers.

Drug layer, gone.

Please my parents layer, gone.

Achieve amazing results in academics, sports, etc. layer, gone.

Peel all of it away.

Keep peeling, and what are you left with?

Children who believe that they are not enough.

Who grow into adults who believe they are not enough.

I don’t mean to sound so doom and gloom, but think about it, when you strip it down, that’s what you’re left with.

But it’s a lie.  These children are enough.  Each and every one of us is enough.  But how do you make it Real, and not just sound like something nice to hear, say, in a blog that’s based on Trusting Life?  How do you have kids stop to listen long enough to believe and understand and feel and know their worth…so that it stays with them into adulthood?….”

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So today, July 23, 2012, how am I making it Real?  What am I doing about it that’s more than putting some pretty words on a blog?

Well friends, I’m very happy to report that this week I am in New Mexico sharing with youth (ages 7-13) various lessons on Trust.  My focus throughout the week is to guide and instill in them the core understanding that You Are Enough.  Trust Yourself.

As short as those two sentences are:  You Are Enough and Trust Yourself, they pack a pretty hefty punch.  There is some definite meat there.

I am using the absolute must-read book, hope for the flowers by Trina Paulus as a teaching tool.  If you are unfamiliar with the book, click here.  I believe this will give you enough of a taste that you’ll want to pick up a copy or two or twenty….

For more information on the camp itself, stay tuned for Wednesday’s post.

In the meantime, I encourage you to pinpoint something you’re all fired up about.  Something you can’t stop thinking about or talking about.  At the last dinner party you attended or get-together with friends, what did you find yourself talking about over and over?  THAT, very likely, is a great place to start.

Then do it — start.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is… I Did.

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Please tweet or share this post on Facebook — you never know, it might wind up being read by someone who’s all fired up about who knows what, and is ready to do something about it… maybe they just need a little nudge.

Nudge.  Nudge.

Love, Leslie

Do Caterpillars Seek a Fulfilling Life?

Tuesday night, as my sport’s fanatic son and husband watched the Mavs, my other son jumped in bed with me, taking advantage of a little one-on-one.  After we had discussed our day and what we planned to do the following day, he said, just as I’ve heard him say a thousand times before, “Will you read to me, please?”  Ahh, truly music to my ears.

I reached for a book that had recently caught my eye while organizing my bookshelves.  It jumped out as one I had read long ago, perhaps as a child.  I had the vague sense that it had made an impact on me, all those years ago, however, I couldn’t remember any details — it was more like a feeling I had inside than a concrete memory.  Now seemed as good of a time as any to dive into the mysterious feeling that had been gently nagging at me.

The book, with its bright yellow cover is called, hope for the flowers.  It was written and illustrated by Trina Paulus.  In all lower case letters on the front of the book, under the title, it reads, “a tale — partly about life.  partly about revolution and lots about hope.  for adults and others. (including caterpillars who can read.)”  I flipped it over.  On the back cover it reads, “a different sort of book for everyone except those who have given up completely (and even they might secretly enjoy it).”

fulfilling life, hope for the flowers

As much as I’d love to type in each and every page (it’s THAT good), I’m guessing the author might not like that idea.  So, I hope to provide a brief summary of Chapter 1 and only type in a few pages from Chapter 2 word for word, fully acknowledging the author and her brilliance.

Chapter 1

We meet Stripe, our main character.  He is, you guessed it, a striped caterpillar.  He is full of enthusiasm for this new world he has recently been born into and is happy, happy, happy.  Until he’s not.  He begins to contemplate whether there’s more to life than just eating and getting bigger.  He is becoming bored.  The more he searches, the more he is fascinated, but still, with a dull ache.  He is unable to satiate the hole he feels inside.  He is, indeed, in search for a more fulfilling life.

fulfilling life, hope for the flowers

One day Stripe notices that there are droves of caterpillars, all marching in the same direction.  They are all headed for a tall column that reaches high up in the sky.  As he draws nearer, he observes that the column is made of squirming caterpillars.  It is literally a “caterpillar pillar.”

As Stripe dives into the pile, he says to himself, “Maybe I’ll find what I’m looking for.”  Page 22:  “Stripe’s head was bursting with the new drive.  He couldn’t get his thoughts together.  Every second another crawler passed him and disappeared into the pillar.  “There’s only one thing to do.”  He pushed himself in.”

Chapter 2

Stripe soon discovered, “It was climb or be climbed…. Stripe climbed.”  There were no more friendly caterpillars, no one on his side, only threats and obstacles.  These caterpillars were now seen as mere steps and opportunities.

pp. 27-36:

This single-minded approach really helped and Stripe felt he was getting much higher.

But some days it seemed he could manage only to keep his place.  It was especially then that an anxious shadow nagged inside.  “What’s at the top?” it whispered.  “Where are we going?”

On one exasperated day Stripe couldn’t stand it any longer and actually yelled back:  “I don’t know, but there’s no time to think about it!”

A little yellow caterpillar he was crawling over gasped: “What did you say?”

“I was just talking to myself,” Stripe mumbled.  “It really isn’t important – I was just wondering where we’re going?”

“You know,” Yellow said, “I was wondering that myself but since there’s no way to find out I decided it wasn’t important.”  She blushed at how silly this sounded — quickly adding, “No one else seems to worry about where we’re going so it must be good.”  But she blushed again.  “How far are we from the top?”

Stripe answered gravely, “Since we’re not at the bottom and not at the top we must be in the middle.”

“Oh,” said Yellow, and they both began climbing again.

But now Stripe had a new feeling.  He felt bad.  He had lost his single-minded-ness.  “How can I step on someone I’ve just talked to?”

Stripe avoided Yellow as much as possible, but one day there she was, blocking the only way up.

“Well, I guess it’s you or me,” he said, and stepped squarely on her head.

Something in the way Yellow looked at him make him feel just awful about himself.  Like: no mater what is up there – it just isn’t worth it.

Stripe crawled off Yellow and whispered, “I’m sorry.”

And Yellow began to cry:  “I could stand this life hoping in what was ahead until I met you talking to yourself that day.  Since then my heart just hasn’t been in it — but I don’t know what to do.

“I didn’t know how badly I felt about this life until then.  Now when you look at me so kindly, I know for sure I don’t like this life.  I just want to do something like crawl with you and nibble grass.”

Stripe’s heart leapt inside.  Everything looked different.  The pillar made no sense at all.

“I would like that too,” he whispered.

But this meant giving up the climb – a hard decision.

fulfilling life, hope for the flowers

Even as I type these words, I feel myself being sucked back into this incredible story.  At this point, I’ve only covered Chapter 1 and a portion of Chapter 2, of a seven chapter book.  Needless to say, much more happens on Stripe’s and Yellow’s journey.  And although the two caterpillars are on a literal journey, it’s one that’s paralleled very nicely with a metaphorical journey of searching for a more fulfilling life while seeking Truth.

Each caterpillar is seeking the Truth (their unique Truth), throughout the book, and each of them goes about it in very different ways.  It’s a fascinating read and extremely thought provoking.  I hope that by providing you with as much material as I have, that I didn’t take away from the book (or infringe upon the author), but rather encourage you to go out and read it, and share it with those whom you love.

As an aside, my favorite color is bright yellow — it has been for as long as I can remember.  Coincidence?  Similarly, at a very key point in the book, one of the characters struggles with the idea of letting go of…everything…and what that means — just like one of the major themes I write about on this blog.  I don’t believe that either of those elements contained in this book are coincidences.

I believe that: “Coincidences are spiritual puns.” ~ G. K. Chesterton

For more information on hope for the flowers, please visit the author’s website: http://www.hopefortheflowers.org/

In case you’re interested in purchasing a copy (or 10!), here is the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Hope-Flowers-Recorded-Trina-Paulus/dp/0809182491/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1307597967&sr=1-1

If you liked this article, please click below to Share.  Thank you!  Love, Leslie