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

fall in love with life

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How To Have The Faith Of a Child

Like many of you, I held my children extra close this weekend.  Adults and children alike, none of us can make sense of what happened on Friday.  We discussed.  We prayed.  We focused on being together.  Before bed, my boys asked if I would tell them stories of when they were younger.  This one came to mind:

Swooshed Away

Two years ago, exactly three days before school let out for Christmas break, I received a call from school.  On the other end of the line, all I heard was sobbing.  The sobbing was so gut-wrenching, I couldn’t even tell which one of my sons it was.  Once I was able to determine 1) exactly who I was talking to and 2) that neither child was hurt or in danger, only then was I able to listen and begin to process what in the world had happened to create such a reaction.

As my then third-grader was on his way home from school that afternoon, he was clenching a piece of artwork with its accompanying contest ribbons to the handlebars of his scooter, and attempting to contend with a very windy day.  Recipe for disaster.  The wind came “swooshing in,” as he said, and he managed to keep his grip on the artwork, but lost the ribbons that were paper-clipped to it.

He was heart-broken.  Devastated might be more accurate.  As soon as I hung up the phone, I grabbed the dog, jumped in the car, and arrived at the trails behind his school within minutes.

Since he saw the ribbons swoosh away, we knew they hadn’t fallen off inside the school.  That left the bike trail or possibly the creek below.  We combed every possible inch for his three missing ribbons, backtracking several times to double and triple check; the wind was not letting up a bit.  I knew at any second we would spot the red, yellow, and rainbow colored ribbons he had described.  Long story short, we looked and looked, and found n-o-t-h-i-n-g.

Spontaneous Prayer

Defeat set in.  The tears came back.  Shoulders slumped, he turned back and we headed for the car.  It was apparent, we had done all we could do.  In that moment, I remember thinking, And when you’ve done all…stand.  So, I reminded him to have faith.  And he asked me if this was a good time to “trust life?”  As I nodded, he said a quick prayer out loud.

Moved by his spontaneous prayer, I felt moved myself to talk to him more about trusting life — to remind him now that he had prayed, it was time to let goTime to let go of the worry and to trust the ribbons would find him.  I reminded him that the ribbons could come back to him in many different ways.  They might blow past his path tomorrow on his way to school, or maybe he would find them at recess later that week.  “It doesn’t matter how they make their way back to you,” I explained.  “That’s not your concern.  What matters is that you believe they will.  You know they will find you.

Just In Case

The next morning, I called the school and explained to one of the school secretaries what had happened.  I asked if it was possible to replace the ribbons (just in case…).  She said she really didn’t think so — the art competition was district wide, and because it wasn’t done at the school level, replacing the ribbons would be difficult.  I went ahead and emailed the art teacher to see if there was anything she could do (just in case…).  No luck.  She wouldn’t be back until school resumed in January.

After I had done everything I could think to do as a mother, I heard myself say again, And when you’ve done all…stand.  So I stood.  And I waited.  And he waited.

A Note Appears

By Friday, I was hoping my son was starting to forget about the ribbons, the prayer, trusting, all of it.  When during my morning workout, the phone rang.  I never stop a workout for the phone, but at the last second, something told me to run and grab it.  On the other end of the line was Cathy, the same secretary I had spoken to earlier in the week about the swooshed ribbons.

She said, “Leslie, you’re never going to believe this!  Let me read you this note I found on my desk this morning.”  She read:

Good Morning Dee,
Mae found these ribbons outside of school — before they blew away.  Don’t know if there is a way to get them back to the person who earned them?
See you tomorrow!
Jacqueline C??? (I can’t make out the last name)

Faith of a Child

(By the way, I never found out who Dee, Mae, or Jacqueline were.  Angels??)  ;-)

The Faith of a Child

My smile broadened with every word.  Who would have thought?  How did the note end up on Cathy’s desk?…the same secretary I spoke to about the ribbons.  Why not one of the other two secretaries who wouldn’t have had a clue?  Who may have just tossed them in the trash.  And with it happening on the Friday before Christmas break, one of Cathy’s busiest days of the year, checking in tons of parents for holiday parties, why didn’t the whole thing just fall through the cracks somehow?

Because my son trusted.  He trusted in prayer, in life, in something bigger than he.  He trusted that it was being taken care of.  And he knew he didn’t have to be the one to figure out how his ribbons would get back to him — all he had to do was let go…and trust life would take care of the rest.

Faith of a Child

How fortunate I am to be surrounded by teachers of Trust.  Teachers of Life.  Even if he was only eight-years old at the time.  (And even if we put the ribbons in SUCH a special place we’ve misplaced them two years later, no matter, we still have our memories of the event, we still have our bedtime story, and hey, we still have the piece of art.)

faith of a child

This might be the exact story someone needs to read today to be reminded of Trust, and how it works.  Please share.  Love, Leslie

 

The Gift of Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump movie poster

I imagine we’re all familiar with the 1994 film Forrest Gump.  Forrest, the main character, has been described as leading a serendipitous life.  At each turn it appears that Life, with all its twists and turns, is smiling down on him.

He managed to meet not one, not two, but three US presidents: JFK, LBJ, and Richard Nixon.  He was constantly in the right place at the right time – even when it appeared he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Like when he served and fought in Vietnam, and was later awarded the Medal of Honor.  And after living through a terrible hurricane that damaged all the other shrimping boats along the Gulf, only to have his remain intact, he achieved more financial success than he could’ve ever imagined.  Throughout the movie, there were many more examples of how he was present at the exact moment something incredible was happening – things that are written about in history books.  And so his story goes.

A few years ago, while visiting Savannah, Georgia, I noticed a very familiar looking clock tower, but couldn’t remember where I’d seen it.  The fact that I couldn’t place it was really bugging me, so I stared longer.  An off duty Savannah tour guide saw me looking up at it.  He approached me, and to my relief, explained where I had seen it:  Forrest Gump had sat on the bench under it when the feather fell at his feet.  Yes.  That was it!

 

 

And in that moment, I remembered a phrase a friend once told me many years ago.  While describing different highlights of his life, he had summed up certain points by saying with a chuckle, “I’ve pretty much Forrest Gumped my way through life.”  [I'm guessing most of you have heard this phrase, and if not, you can imagine what it means.  Urban dictionary.com states:  Forrest gumped - a way of making it through a situation successfully through sheer dumb luck.]

At the time, I thought it a unique and somewhat colorful thing to say.  But now, in pondering the sentence further, I wonder if it was just a modest  thing to say?  Or somehow, although clever in word choice, perhaps the truth and essence of it was really more about Trusting.

Did my friend really Forrest Gump his way through life, or had he Trusted?

That question begs the next:

Is it Serendipity or Trust?

I wonder, similar to my friend, if Forrest Gump truly ‘Forrest Gumped’ his way through life, or was there more involved?  Did he trust in something larger than himself?  In what appeared to be numerous blunders and serendipitous moments, did he fundamentally know/live/feel the concept of Trust?  And more importantly, was the underlying message of Trust present in the movie, but as viewers, were we so wrapped up in the acting and scenes and dialogue, that perhaps we missed it?

At this point, you might be saying, “Okay, Leslie, remember throughout the movie, he kinda acted on impulse?  He didn’t put much thought or feeling into anything?”  Yeah, I remember that on the surface.  But there was more to our beloved protagonist than what was on the surface.  Forrest had an innate goodness to him.  In any given situation, he did what we would consider, “the right thing.”  Saving all of those soldiers, including going back for Bubba and Lt. Dan, dragging the unclothed Jenny off the stage with her guitar, always offering others a chocolate, taking care of his mother, and later Jenny, when she became ill, and on and on.

He didn’t appear to need to think about what to do, he just did it.  He felt the need to run, so he ran until he no longer wanted to.  He lived.  He lived in the present moment, every moment.

Or, maybe right now you’re saying, “Hello…it’s a MOVIE!!”  Yeah, I realize that, too.  But I don’t believe that movies are designed for entertainment purposes only.  No, movies that grab us like this one did, are as memorable as this one, and that we’re compelled to watch over and over each time we stumble upon it while flipping through channels – movies like this one are meant for more than entertainment.  Don’t you agree?

Hmm…are you still in the camp who believes Forrest Gump didn’t give much thought or feeling to Life?  I’ll leave you with this monologue from the movie:

Forrest Gump, speaking to Jenny’s grave:

Forrest Gump at Jenny's grave

You died on a Saturday morning.  And I had you placed here under our tree.  And I had that house of your father’s bulldozed to the ground.  Momma always said dyin’ was a part of life.  I sure wish it wasn’t.  Little Forrest, he’s doing just fine.  About to start school again soon.  I make his breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day.  I make sure he combs his hair and brushes his teeth every day.  Teaching him how to play ping-pong.  He’s really good.  We fish a lot.  And every night, we read a book.  He’s so smart, Jenny.  You’d be so proud of him.  I am.  He, uh, wrote a letter, and he says I can’t read it.  I’m not supposed to, so I’ll just leave it here for you.  Jenny, I don’t know if Momma was right or if, if it’s Lieutenant Dan.  I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both.  Maybe both is happening at the same time.  I miss you, Jenny.  If there’s anything you need, I won’t be far away.”

Forrest Gumping his way through life?  Or trusting in something bigger?  Deeper?  It doesn’t really matter which one he did.  Which do you choose?

Apologies:  I experienced major systems issues over the weekend.  If you received old posts from Trust Life Today due to the restoration of numerous files, I apologize.  Due to these issues, it forced me to review many of my previous posts…. which is when I ran across this one.  I wrote this back in April of 2011 and wanted to re-share it with you.

Please consider sharing The Gift of Forrest Gump with your Facebook friends or Tweet away.  Thank you!  Love, Leslie

 

Up, Up, and Away

Lift Yourself Higher So You Can See Further

 

Is what you seek not right in front of you?  Does it seem entirely out of your reach?  Maybe your stance is such that it makes it difficult to see.  Perhaps immediately after you walk around the corner, there it is.  Or by climbing one more mountain, it awaits you there.

Or.

Maybe.

In order to find what you seek, you must realize there is no seeking.  I know, I know — you’ve heard it all before.  But seriously, stop for a moment and do more than read the words set before you.  Know, BELIEVE:  there is no seeking.  Everything is unfolding in your life as it’s meant to, in something often referred to as Divine Order.  Of the Divine.  Of God.

Imagine yourself the man standing on top of that peak.  Breathe in the cold, crisp air that is Trust.  See the beauty of what’s before you, Your Life.

Be still within.