It’s Time to Rally

Today’s the day, my friends.

It’s time to RALLY.  As you pray, yes, also rally.

Rally for the surgeons in the operating room.  Rally for their assistants.  Rally for the numerous medical staff that will be caring for me during and after the operation.  Rally for my husband, mother, and close girlfriend who are sitting out in the waiting room, that their nerves and hearts may be at peace.  Rally for my children, as they sit in school, filled with emotions that none of their classmates are probably aware of.

"COURAGE"

For the past year or so, this Willow Tree figurine has sat on my bathroom countertop, centered between two others (BRIGHT STAR and REMEMBER).  The card that came with my COURAGE figurine says:

Courage:  “Bringing a triumphant spirit, inspiration and courage.” 

Rally for me as I do my part:  Trust.  Triumph.

The Road Back to REAL, Inspired by The Velveteen Rabbit

the velveteen rabbit

Sugardrop keepsake necklace from the retreat

 

I recently had the pleasure and honor of spending 48 hours with some of the most incredible women I know.  As our weekend theme, we chose “BE”.  Be still, be present, be authentic, be real, be you, be.

I facilitated an exercise tailored around Being Real.  As a springboard for the activity, I referenced the children’s classic, The Velveteen Rabbit, written by Margery Williams in 1922.

 

Summary of the Classic:

The Velveteen Rabbit tells the story of a stuffed child’s toy who finds himself looked down on and snubbed by the other toys – brighter, shinier, mechanical toys with bells and whistles the Rabbit felt he could not compete with.  Along with all of the fancy toys, there is also a wise Skin Horse in the playroom, loved so much that his fur has been rubbed off over time.  He befriends the Rabbit, and with his help, the Rabbit learns that Real is not about the ‘material’ you’re made of, but rather, your relationships with others, and with yourself.  He teaches the Rabbit many lessons through their time together.  The sense of self that is ‘taught’ by the Skin Horse, and ‘learned’ by the Rabbit is what makes this a truly inspirational story.

Favorite Excerpt From The Velveteen Rabbit

The Velveteen RabbitFor a feel and flavor of the book, here is a favorite excerpt of mine:

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.  “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse.  “It’s a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?”

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.  “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse.  “You become.  It takes a long time.  That’s why it doesn’t happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby.  But those things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

~~~~

And with that, our tone is set.  Wise and honest Skin Horse, acting as sage to young, unsure and insecure Rabbit, who is eager to learn how to become Real.

The recent activity I experienced with these wonderful women was accompanied by a second book, entitled The Velveteen Principles, A Guide to Becoming Real, written by professor and psychotherapist Toni Raiten-D’Antonio.  In this book, the author identifies 12 principles in becoming Real related to our values, goals, loves, and lives.

In discussing each of the 12 principles, sharing our understanding of their meanings and personal examples with each other, something dawned on me.  Nowhere do I show up more Real than when I’m with this group of extraordinary women.  They see the real me, because I allow them to see the real me.  So, why don’t I allow everyone I come in contact with to see the real me?  Why do I feel the need to morph and alter a facet(s) of my personality, even if just the teeniest bit, with others?  Why, when it feels so good to be me, to be wholly me, do I not do that with everyone?

Show Up, Allow Others to SEE You

While wearing my Queen of Introspection crown, I realized that I have been in the process of becoming Real for years now.  And that rather than beating myself up for not being Real 100% of the time, perhaps acknowledging and celebrating that I’m drawing nearer to becoming Real in all circumstances is more appropriate.  This blog, for example, is undoubtedly the Real Leslie.  And what an ideal venue for me to present to the readers what I want them to see and think about me… yet I don’t.  I purposely show up as me.  And the biggest Ah-ha in that realization is that the first time I did it, I thought it would be scary, but what actually happened is I felt more energy and more alive than I had before.  So I did it again.  And with each real post and with each exposure of my vulnerabilities, I have continued to feel more energy and more alive.

I think all this talk of being Real comes back to Trust.  As I trust the feelings inside my body, like when I feel more alive after exposing the Real me, I believe that is God’s way of whispering to me.  And the more I listen, the more He whispers.  By honing my inner listening skills, what I’m essentially doing is honing my intuition, thus, drawing me closer to the Divine, closer to Source.  And the feeling inside feels like Pure Love.

So, I stop and ask myself:  all this by merely showing up as me?  By simply being Real?  Yes.  If you’re thinking, that sounds too simple, or perhaps even condescending, this is what I’d like you to think about:  We all come into this world being fully Real.  Then, over time, we grow away from our true selves and into something we think we ought to be.  With the understanding that we entered this world fully whole, I’m reminded of just how powerful each one of us is.  I believe it’s how we were created.

Come back to you.  Trust.  Listen.  Allow God to whisper inside you.  Allow that whisper to turn into a voice that speaks to you.  Allow it to guide you on the road back to Real.

~~~~

The Velveteen Rabbit

Become Real

“To paraphrase the horse, Real is what happens when you become your true self – – not a contrived, shiny, pretend thing – – and are loved despite, and maybe even because of, your imperfections.” ~Toni Raiten-D’Antonio

If you enjoyed reading this, please Share.  You never know, this could be *just* the thing someone is in need of today.  Love, Leslie

 

Serendipity and the Law of Threes

Serendipity, coincidence, happenstance, a fluke…none of which are words I believe in, although they all have a nice ring to them.  I believe everything happens for a reason.  And I do mean, everything. happens. for. a. reason.  Sound cliche?  Phrase it another way then if you’d like, but I stand firm.  Now sometimes, the reason may not be all that apparent, which used to really bug me.  But I roll with it these days, and when it’s revealed, I’m pleasantly surprised.  And when the reason isn’t revealed, it’s either not the right time yet, or I wasn’t paying attention and I missed it.  Either way, I’m good.

What is it about threes?

What I find interesting is that even though I don’t believe in coincidences, I’ve observed that things usually present themselves to us (to me at least), in threes.

Last week I received an email from a girlfriend, in which she shared that the same message had come across her path twice recently, in different forms.  After which she lightheartedly added that she was now awaiting her “number 3.”  This week, as she and I chatted about business over pedicures (sweet!), she told me the third had arrived. [ Time to get cracking, Nancy!  :-) ]

For me, I’m not just talking about this happening every once in a while, I’m talking about this happening several times per week.  Take this week.  My ‘Law of Threes’ had to do with dreams vs. the reality of life.  I’ll explain.

I couldn’t sleep Tuesday night, but I didn’t feel like writing either (which is what I typically do when I can’t sleep).  I wanted to watch a movie.  As I scanned my options, I was drawn to watching Inception.  I say I was drawn, because that’s the only way I can describe it.  I didn’t walk upstairs with that specific movie in mind.  (I actually thought I’d watch Eclipse.)  I didn’t know one single thing about Inception’s premise.  All I knew were a few of the actors who starred in it and that most folks were on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of liking it or not.

So there’s my #1 — drawn to watch a movie I knew nothing about, which ended up being about dreams and reality.

#2 — The following day, Wednesday, I got into an in depth conversation with a friend about dreams, which she brought up, not I.  She specifically spoke about dreams vs. reality.  At this point, I’m thinking, okay, what’s the message in this for me?  I’m paying attention.  What am I supposed to be learning?

I continued the rest of the day with the thought of dreams and reality somewhere in my mind, either in the back or forefront, but definitely there.  I thought about the blog article I wrote a few weeks back entitled,  “Dreaming.  Living.  Reality.”  I had given a lot of thought to the topic then, seemingly being pretty transparent and open that yes, I am a dreamer; a dreamer with a mission (to sum up the article).  I thought that I had worked out whatever I needed to work out through the writing of that article.  Why was it popping up again then?  Had I missed something?  Had I not been true to myself?  Was there more to it?

#3 — Yesterday, Thursday, the first email I opened was my Daily Inspiration from don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements.  It read:

“Express your love openly.  Life is nothing but a dream, and if you create your life with love, your dream becomes a masterpiece of art.”

Yes!  It all made perfect sense!  That’s exactly what I meant earlier by being pleasantly surprised when it comes together, like when you have an “Ah-ha” moment.  And even though my 1, 2, & 3 probably don’t mean anything to you, they make perfect sense to me, for what I’m going through right now in life!  When you experience your “Law of Threes,” I suspect it will have a specific meaning to you.

From my experience, pay attention, everything is connected.  And once you receive your message, lesson, or whatever you were meant to receive – - give thanks.  The more I express gratitude with each discovery Our Creator places in front of me, the more frequently he delivers such golden nuggets.

And what if I’m paying attention and am still unable to make the connection?  Here’s how I see it:  if you’re able to connect the dots, that’s great, because you’ve probably learned and grown from the reflective nature of the experience.  And if you don’t ever make the connection, that’s great too, because now you’ve been given the opportunity to Trust.  Knowing there’s something bigger than you, taking care of your needs, and presenting you with opportunities to practice quieting your mind and worries – - if only you’ll Trust. That truly is a great thing.