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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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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Gratitude and “The Color of Truth”

Expressing Gratitude

I love the gratitude that is expressed at Thanksgiving.  All of the earnest offerings of Giving Thanks, spoken aloud around dinner tables across the US.  The thousands of Facebook posts, where friends declare publicly what they’re most thankful for.

I, like many of you, am grateful for my health.  When I stop to monitor my unencumbered breath in, breath out, I can’t help but be reminded that I indeed have my health to be grateful for: cancer-free.  The gratitude I have around my health is as vibrant, loud, and enormous, as any hot air balloon would be to the ant crawling up its tethered rope, just before its release.

Whispers of Gratitude

But it’s the small whispers of gratitude, the ones that have silently entered my life, with no fanfare, the ones that simply flow within me, that establish my internal rhythm of gratitude.  You know the kind — the kind of thankfulness that nestles in right below the surface of your skin, on the tip of your brain, and in the bounce in your step, all occurring at the same time, although you are not consciously aware of it.

It’s the gratitude I feel when I write.  While I’m focused on forming sentences, conveying a message, exploring my Truth, connecting with you —tucked right below the surface is gratitude.  I’m grateful I am able to do what I love, day after day, and do it in the conditions I prefer: sitting in my office at home, the only noises coming from the breathing of our yellow Lab and the faint ticking of my watch.

It’s also the gratitude I feel when I free my brain and read for pure pleasure.  As I sit on the couch adjacent to my writing desk, I delight in the words of Mark Nepo.  I can flip to almost any page of The Book of Awakening, and see something similar to this:

 

Gratitude

 

Highlights galore, sections with brackets containing exclamation points, an asterisk here, double asterisks there, handwritten notes jotted in corners saying, Profound truth.  Absolutely beautiful, on December 12th and Nepo is speaking directly to me here, on December 13th.  The teachings and beautiful prose used to convey our human resilience within these pages translates to the sort of gratefulness I’m talking about — the kind that lingers within me, even when I’m no longer reading his work.

For the Truth seekers and Truth sayers out there, here is a prime example of a piece of Nepo’s work that creates such a stir of gratitude:

“The Color of Truth”

December 6
The Book of Awakening
by Mark Nepo

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched…but are felt in the heart.”  ~ Helen Keller

There is an ancient Chinese art of painting on porcelain.  It requires, more than skill and precision, a deep trust and patience in the process.  It involves painting thin layers of pigment, one at a time, on the porcelain, letting each dry and soak into the porcelain itself.  But even when dry, the pigment doesn’t yet reveal its color.  You never know what the color will be until the porcelain is fired in the kiln — that is, until the pigment is burned into the porcelain itself.

This is remarkably like the life of questions that come from living.  We use the brush of our feelings to paint our questions into our heart.  But only after the fire of experience, only after our felt questions are burned by experience into our heart, only then do we see the color of truth emerge.

So there are no answers to the deeper questions of living, only the emerging colors of truth which we must find the trust and patience to live into.”

Gratitude

Joining BIG Gratitude & Whisper Gratitude

Recently I opened my email, as I’ve done hundreds of other mornings, and found an unexpected gift.  A gift that created vibrant, loud, enormous ‘ant on the hot air balloon‘ gratitude AND whispers of gratitude that nestled in under my skin, hung out on the tip of my brain, and put a bounce in my step that is still lingering…over a week later.  Thank you, Tony, for offering me the opportunity to interview Mark Nepo on his new book, Seven Thousand Ways to ListenI am grateful for your support, for your gift, and for your friendship.

More information to follow regarding the interview with Mark Nepo, due to appear in the next publication of the Holistic Networker.

gratitude

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He Prefers to Trust His Mother?!!?

I don’t have a mantra I repeat to my boys, although I have certain things/lessons I repeat to them regularly.

  • The whole concept of Yin and Yang.
  • Everything happens for a reason.
  • Trust yourself.
  • When you feel unsure if you’re able to Trust yourself (perhaps whatever it is feels too big for a kid), ask Mom or Dad for help.

I often tell them to Trust What IsSEE What Is, and Trust that; don’t invent stories in your head, fiction that your mind can run away with, none of which is probably true.  Trusting What Is speaks to me, but for my older son, I found out yesterday he prefers to Trust his mother??

My older son is no stranger to doctor’s offices.  He’s no stranger to hospitals either, for that matter.  So around six weeks ago, when he came to me, complaining of pain, I listened carefully, then looked down his long list of -ologists, as he calls them, trying to determine which one to call.

Long story a bit shorter, I started off with the wrong one (his nephrologist), but after a few weeks and several diagnostic tests later, our go-to doctor was able to point us in the direction of the right one, his urologist.

Without going into too many details, let’s just say six weeks is a long time to have this type of pain, considering it shows up every time he urinates.  There are times I walk by his bathroom and I can audibly hear him say, “Oww, oww, oww, oww” with every drop.

Talk about feeling helpless as a mother.  So we kept testing.  Kept searching for an answer.

As I woke up yesterday morning, I knew it was going to be another full day at the hospital.  Another day he was going to miss out on his schoolwork, which he cannot stand (easier to do it in class, than make up later he says).  That, coupled with the pain, has turned a normally very sweet kid into quite a grouch.  (It would me, too!)

We needed some resolution.

As I was setting my intention and heart for the day, what I wanted was for the day to bring some closure in the form of a diagnosis — that way we’d know what we were dealing with and could move on.

I felt very grounded in setting this intention.  My gut told me it was not only doable, but very likely.  And because I believe in prayer in numbers, before we headed to the hospital, I reached out to some Strong Women Pray-ers and asked for their prayers, already feeling the excitement of delivering good news to them in the afternoon.

They prayed.  We arrived.  First building: the medical staff poked, prodded.  Second building: more poking, more prodding.  Five hours later:  a diagnosis!  YES!  That is exactly what I had asked for.  Now we can move on.  And move on we are….

Tomorrow:  a simple, day surgery to correct the issue.  No more pain.

The following day:  he’ll be a little slow;  lots of rest on the couch.

The day after that:  basically back to normal.

You can imagine how thrilled I was at the prognosis!  How quickly the staff worked to get him scheduled and taken care of.

How grateful I am for all of that… and the prayers.

Goofy face, happy to have some resolution! (still with his hospital ID band on)

After we got home from the hospital and decompressed a bit, he came and sat down next to me.  He said as much as he wasn’t looking forward to his private area undergoing any surgery, minor or otherwise, he wasn’t nervous.  He said he had been for a split second.  Apparently the words, “cut” and “three stitches” got to him, but he said as soon as he looked at the expression on my face, the nervous feeling went away.

“That face.  The huge smile.  Ohhh.  And how calm you were.  That’s when I knew it was all going to be all right.  You may Trust What Is, but I trust my mother.”

I’d like to tell you that the writer for Trust Life Today would’ve wanted him to say, “I also Trust What Is.  I Trust the Journey.”  But no.  This very grateful mother of a 13-year old boy simply watched the back of his head as he walked away… smiling from ear to ear as I welled up with tears of pure love.

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Click to Share.  This might be just the thing a friend needs to read today.  Love, Leslie