Top 2 Things I’m Thankful For: Fear and Trust

fear and trust Fear and Trust

The top two things I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday are fear and trust.  Not Love and Trust?  Those aren’t my top two?  No, not today.

Of course I’m thankful for Love and Trust (and Pixie Dust too), along with my excellent health;  being cancer-free for two years is top on my list of things I’m grateful for today, tomorrow, and each tomorrow I’m blessed to be alive.  [I am Whole and Healed is still a very powerful mantra I continue to honor and repeat.]

But recently fear has been coming up for me.  I have to believe there’s a reason for that.  Lately I’ve been fearful of my next steps, which equates to, I’ve been fearful of the unknown.  I have been reluctant to embrace What IS.

Last Friday night during dinner, my brother’s friend asked me where I got the idea for the book I recently published.  Without thinking or blinking I said, “I didn’t.  I came into this world with it already inside me.”  Slowly once, twice, three times I began to blink — as if waking up to my own words.  And that’s when I received the blow, both euphoric and halting:  I had created something at my soul level.  Something rich in meaning to me.  Something my children will read.  And their children will read.  Something my husband’s 100 year old grandmother has read (well, she turns triple digits in two months — I’m entitled to round, right?).

I’ve spent years building up for the birth of this endeavor and have been thrilled with how well the book has been received.  So why the fear?

fear and trustBecause at fear’s core, it is here to protect me, to wrap me in its cozy cocoon, separate me from the outside world where I might encounter who-knows-what…the unknown.  Fear is here to help me experience growth.  If my life were full of nothing but rainbows and sunshine, how much opportunity would I have to grow and become who I was put on this earth to be? — who I am at my core.  How would she emerge?  How would she be birthed?  She wouldn’t.  She would stay in her little cocoon, safe and comfortable, never poking her head out, or her antennae, or her beautiful wings.  She would never fly.

I don’t know about you, but I want to fly.  I want to SOAR.

So today, on this beautiful Thanksgiving day, I give thanks to my fear — fear that births growth.

Foundation of Trust

fear and trustThere’s also the foundation of Trust that I’m thankful for.  Even when I block seeing What IS, even when I refuse to let go, even when I allow the unknown to get the best of me, having Trust as firm ground under my feet, heart, and wings helps me lift off, until all of a sudden, I find with each beat of gratitude-fueled wings, I fly higher and higher, until I soar — confident a foundation of Trust awaits me when I land.

Trust yourself.  Love yourself.  Greet your fear with a soft heart and open mind, knowing the blessings of growth and experience are yours to lean into when you’re ready.  Soar with me, Friends, as we lift off in gratitude.  Sending you much love and light for a peaceful, joyous Thanksgiving!  Love, Leslie

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The Truth about Difference

Life Truths

There are Truths with a capital T.  Tenets.  Articles of Faith.  These things that you believe so strongly, things no one had to teach you.  Whether you talk about them or not, it doesn’t matter, these Truths live inside you, and they aren’t going anywhere.  Over time, Truths don’t diminish in meaning or strength.  They simply ARE.

You know Truth when you see it.  There is no second guessing.  Truth cuts through age in a way that even a child is able to recognize.  At nine-years old, I remember seeing a Truth as clearly as I see my cuppa tea sitting beside me now.  And the Truth WAS/IS/AND ALWAYS WILL BE this:

All people are created equally.  We are all the same.

Crap Aside

Argue if you want.  Claim we have different personalities, different mannerisms, different likes and dislikes, and I’ll tell you True, True, and True.  But at our core, when we put all the crap aside, we are all the same.

What crap?  The crap that says you have nicer clothes than she does, you have a nicer car, your job is more prestigious, you have a prettier house, your country is the best, your religion is the ‘right’ one.

The Truth about differences is this:  at the core, if you see yourself as different from your neighbor, your brother, your friend — you see fear.

This may sound like a ‘soapbox‘ post.  Come on — you know me better than that by now.  This is a Truth.  And one you may say, “Yeah, yeah.  I know this Truth already.  I know that we’re all created equal.”  But if every you out there knew this Truth, our nightly news would only consist of the weather and freakish accidents, a derailed train maybe or a plane crash.  The truly bizarre, out of the ordinary happenings.  Full-time news slots would be available to broadcast the good, generous acts that people do every day.

No Pollyanna Here

I’m not being Pollyanna.  Or even pie-in-the-sky.  It is simply a Truth.  We are the same.  We are created equal.  Your demons may look different than the next guy’s, but they are still demons, all bred from fear.  Your joys may look different than your neighbor’s, but they’re still joys, filled with love.

Boil it down.  Remove the mask.  See the Truth.  We are the same.

As 2013 approaches, instead of New Year’s Resolutions that are forgotten by January 5th, resolve to practice this Truth with your actions.  See the Oneness in the eyes of every person you meet.  Be motivated by Love, confident in knowing you are the same as he.  Then sit back, give it some time.  Watch.  Your web will grow.  Soon, those around you will follow suit, starting with your children.  What a beautiful gift to give to your children.  To yourself.  Dare I say, to humanity?

truth

 

“Difference”
~by Pie Corbett

As long as we see others
as different,
there will be hurt,
there will be pain,
there will be wars,
there will be more cold rain

falling

between us.

The day we learn
to shed our fear
like a snake casting its skin…

The day we learn
to see that we are all

molded

from the same warm clay.

That will be the day,
when the sun
breaks through.

That will be the day,
when we first see our true
selves.

truth

Receive your weekly dose of Trust delivered right to your inbox!  Subscribe by entering your email — and although it goes without saying, I’ll say it anyway — I’ll never spam you — I will only send posts.  Love, Leslie

Growing Into You (Tackling Fears, Heaven and Hell)

Now, I may get in trouble on this one, but please stick with me and see where it goes.  Let me just put it out there — this post, this blog, is not about Jesus, the Bible, the Koran, Buddhism, organized religion, etc.  If you’ve been visiting TLT for any length of time, you know it’s about Trust, Love, Peace, Letting Go, Knowing You Are Enough, and Recognizing What Is.  It’s for those who are Seekers of Truth.

If this resonates with you, please continue….

Earlier this summer, while shopping at the grocery store, I reached down in the produce section, and saw this wedged between two grapefruits:

My first thought was to look around and see who had dropped the $10.  No one was close by.

I took a closer look at the bill and saw that it was a joke.  It was a Million Dollar Bill.  My next thought was, “I wonder what my kids would think of this?”  I was curious to see what, if anything, their reaction would be.  So I stuffed it in the side pocket of my purse and finished my grocery shopping.

After putting everything away back home, I pulled out the fake bill and showed it to my boys.  With wide eyes, I could tell the younger one was impressed, or at least somewhat excited.  The older one kept looking at the bill, then up at my face, playing out that visual tennis match for a few volleys, trying to determine what was up.

He called my bluff and I cracked a smile.  The gig was up.

Even though they knew it wasn’t real, this odd, little object stirred questions.  Who would waste their time to make a fake?  And why such a large denomination?  What did the back of the piece of paper say?

“Let’s see,” I said.  The words were so small, I squinted hard to read them.  Finally, with much effort, I got going.  They sidled up beside me and helped out with their younger eyes.

Backside:

In case you’re struggling, too, here are just a few of the lines.

It begins with the ‘Million Dollar Question':  “Will you go to Heaven when you die?”

Then it gives a test.  “Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, or used God’s name in vain?  Jesus said, ‘Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’  Have you looked with lust?  Will you be guilty on judgement day?  If you have done those things, God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart.”

As I read out loud, boys still looking along, I silently longed for the days before they could read — that way I could’ve changed the words and avoided the conversation that was sure to follow.

Like bird seed being pelted at me from close range after a wedding reception, their questions stung my skin.  Was that shock I was witnessing on their faces?  Fear?  …what?

“Why does it say that, Mom?”

“Yeah, is it true?”

“I’ve lied before.”

“So am I going to Hell?”

“Is that really the way it works?”

Aye-yai-yai….

As I stood there, head spinning, I decided it was time to take a deep breath.  Yes.  “Let’s all take a moment and take a few deep breaths.  There.  In.  Out.  In.  Out.  Okay.  One more time.”

While we breathed in and out slowly, I felt very much like Winnie-the-Pooh, tapping my own head with my paw,  “Think, think, think….”

Where do I start?  What angle do I take?  How do I not confuse them any more than they already are?

Don’t screw up.  Don’t screw up.  Oh Leslie, you can really screw up here.

Time to say a quick prayer.

And this is the thought that came to me:  “How do I get them to think for themselves and not impart my beliefs on them?”

Now, this may sound strange.  Isn’t it a parent’s job to impart these sorts of teachings?

Well, yes.  But I felt that my husband and I had already done that.  Not by sitting down and giving them formal lessons, but by being a living example, by having open conversations with them on an on-going basis, not just at specific ‘learning’ times.  At this point, I felt that the stage had been set.  At ages 10 and 13, rather than being told what to think, why not serve as a guide and a sounding board while they explored what they felt was their Truth?

Sound dangerous and scary?  Yeah, I agree.  It was — just a little.  But the role of guide, not teacher, felt right in this instance.  So I Trusted it.

And I’m so happy I did.

What a conversation that followed!  They explored their thoughts and feelings out loud.  They teased through the haze.  They bounced ideas off one another.  It was a real dialogue among brothers.  About real stuff.  The stuff that makes us who we are.

And I got to listen to ALL of it.  Their thoughts.  Their fears.  I got to be present to watch this beautiful interaction transpire.  I was experiencing a moment that parents would pay good money to capture on tape — maybe even a million dollars.

So, what did they conclude, you ask?

Well, after much back and forth, they decided, they would not be scared into any belief.  Anyone who would try and use a scare tactic would not be high on their list of Trusted sources.  They would instead Trust themselves in knowing who God is to them.

According to them, “God is a Life Energy.  He lives inside us, outside us, and all around us.”

And as for Heaven and Hell?  They believe they exist here on Earth.  And only here on Earth.

They will not be scared into any belief.  Nor should you.  Not in the belief that you’re going to Hell if you do X thing.  Or the belief that you’re not good enough.  Or the belief that you can’t achieve your heart’s desire.  Or, or, or….

Let the scary stuff be truly scary.

Here’s what we’re afraid of:

10-year old — realistic looking baby-dolls

13-year old — the dark

Me — having a mirror held up to myself when I’m pretending

What are you afraid of?  Stop and ask yourself.  What are you truly afraid of?  Can you see it?  Once you see it, are you willing to do something about it?

Remember, you may need someone to talk to in order to tease it out.  Sometimes it’s the back and forth we do with others that allows us to Find and See our Truth.

Ask the question.  Seek the answer.  Then grow into more of the real you.

If you enjoyed this post, please tweet or share it on Facebook.  You never know — it may end up being read by precisely the person who is seeking it….

Love, Leslie

Back to the Basics on This Whole ‘Holy Moly’ Thing

I’ve been in New York City since last Friday on our family vacation.  It was the best!  A first for our boys.  I found myself observing them — A LOT.  Not just to make sure they looked both ways before crossing the street (oh, they were so oblivious to big city traffic!), but to watch their reactions, to watch them as they took in the city.  As a parent, to observe them experience the city was my biggest joy.

So, why the nagging feeling in the back of my mind?  Yes, I was sure it was there, day and night.

It was all of the Holy Moly stuff that’s been plaguing my mind. I hadn’t been able to totally Let Go of it.  As much as I wanted to enjoy vacation, I can’t deny that this whole topic of our kids, their future, societal pressures, who they are growing up to be, what am I going to do about it?, ALL OF IT, was looming somewhere in the back of my mind.

As I crawled in bed, our last night there, all of these thoughts, along with the joy of the last several days swirling around in my head, made for quite a muddled soup… I reached for my phone and read the following email:

Leslie,
In response to your “Holy Moly” series

Raising a child is the most eye-awakening experience into one’s self.  I was prepared by who I believe is the most perfect mother ever, but I made choices through my teen and young adult years that may have had me in many places other than where I am today, and I was a GOOD kid!

All to say, as my mother did, I started preparing [my son] Elijah for this world as early as I can remember in an age-appropriate way: sex, drugs, alcohol, ‘bad touches’, racism (and all other types of ‘-isms’).  Understand, never did we talk about any of these things without including the humanity and goodness within others — none of us can get too far without others.

The themes I cherish most (and can go on and on about) are “village” and “journey.”  For the purpose of responding to your article, here’s where I see these themes fitting.

Village

In raising my own children I’ve realized it wasn’t the perfection within my mother, but the perfection within my village, the same village still standing by me today and loving me regardless of my imperfections.  They guide me through storms even if just in their presence and not words (for some, in memory).  No parent, no matter how good they are, can raise a child by themselves.  Each person is complex and every person within the village gives a little something different, rounding out those rough edges and giving them a piece of confidence in the greatness within themselves.  I often say, You have to build them up very high because there are enough folks in this world chipping away at them saying “you can’t,” “you’re not good enough,” “your not smart enough.” — We need to give them something to have left over for them to build their confidence back up and hope they don’t drown their sorrows in unhealthy choices.

Journey

Through Elijah I’m learning it doesn’t matter how perfect I am, or how perfect his village, this life is HIS journey and NOT MINE.  You see, at one time or other, we all had feelings of being invincible, which is what gives us the courage to take wonderful chances as a child/teen/young adult we’d never try as an adult or have to be convinced to try (I love this about young people).  But this invincibility is also the thing allowing them to think the negative effects of drugs, alcohol, unprotected sex, etc will not happen to them.  All we can do as parents is to expect the best we believe our children can deliver.

Yes, expect the best, but then allow them to have their Journey and make their own choices, then pray (pray, pray and pray some more).

I was tested on this thought this year, and in the end I didn’t get the results I wanted through my intelligent teen son, but I was prepared for the worse and told him it was his choice (consequences included).  In the end, he made the right decision and I only pray the fact I stepped back is what gives him the confidence to continue to trust himself to make the right decisions through his journey and to know, Mommy has her own journey and God’s work to do.  God put me here to guide him, prepare him, teach him about himself, but not interfere.  This Journey right here, this is his journey to do God’s work.  If I interfere, how will he ever learn?  And if the Journey is hard — then I pray he will find his way out and testify with the right words to keep someone else in His light and on the right path of their Journey.

A lot said, but basically all we can do as parents is the best we know how, but when our children are presented with the worse, it is THEIR choice.  If we’ve done our best, we can’t blame ourselves and second guess the contents included in how we’ve raised them.

I’m most happy that with some of the ubber bad decisions I made, my Mom prayed for me (and still does).

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Thank you, oh so very much, Shaunte, for sharing this with me and allowing me to share it with our TLT readers today.

The mothers we’ve heard from recently (click here for the previous mother’s story) have shared from the heart, exposing their truths, their fears, their strength, their vulnerabilities — themselves.  Through their very Real and raw disclosures, I see a theme and a reminder.

Theme

To Trust.  They both wrote of it.  And we all know, I write about it every day.  However, in the grips of Life, it’s sometimes easy to get ahead of ourselves, to want to DO something overt.  Doing something is fine (and I’m still noodling there — maybe a Trust Life Camp for kids??), but with a solid foundation of Trust, that’s what melts away the fear.

Reminder

To Pray.  We can wish and we can want, but Praying and Trust go hand in hand.  Pray that IT IS, Do Your Best, Trust.  Then, Amen.

At the top of the Empire State Building

The comments from you all on this one have been such a blessing.  Please continue to leave your comments, shoot me an email, whatever you’d like.  This is a prime example of how YOUR SHARING has directly helped ME to learn and grow, and no doubt, helped OTHERS as well.

Sending you all Love, Love, and more Love,
Leslie