Pulling Up Anchor

Recovery is going very well.  Lately I’ve started to feel as if I’m really making progress.  Receiving the okay to drive last week was a nice milestone.  Now, back behind the wheel, running the boys here and there, going to the grocery store, meeting friends for lunch, it all seems hard to believe that less than five short weeks ago I was lying in a hospital bed.

So you can imagine that it throws me off a little when I run into someone who I’m seeing for the first time in months and they say something like, “How did you find it?” or “So, I hear it was found during your first mammogram, wow, that’s really unlucky.”

Each time I hear such questions/statements, I’m reminded of something my friend Matt said in passing shortly after I received the diagnosis.  He launched right into, “So, who are your doctors?  Are you comfortable with who you’ve chosen?  When is the surgery scheduled?”  Then he paused, and said, “I’m sorry to be so matter-of-fact…I don’t mean to diminish what you’re going through by jumping right into the core of it, but I figure you’ve already pulled up anchor.  I don’t want to keep you back there,” gesturing with his hands, “when you’re way over here.”

What an incredible gift my friend shared with me:  meeting someone where they are.  It’s a skill Matt modeled brilliantly, and one I’d like to emulate.  I see it as a skill high on the compassion scale.  It says, “I’m on board with you.”

I never told Matt how much those words meant to me, although there’s not a day that passes that I don’t think about them.  Pulling up anchor.  I believe it’s another way of saying, “It is what it is,” but with a slightly different twist.  More like, “You’ve moved on, and now you’re here, and I‘m right beside you, here to support you.”

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Hey Buddy, thank you.  I probably should have told you earlier.  Thank you not only for providing the example, but also for giving me a mental catch-phrase that I now use as a reminder when listening to others and what they’re going through.

I’ve Even Surprised Myself with Today’s Topic

No, it’s not a “Measures of Success (Me. Icing on the Cake. Orgasm.) Part 2” or anything like that — boy, did you all send me some comments on that one!  It’s just that today’s topic is something that has been written about so many times, with seemingly NO new material.  Every time I see the word, I skip past it and move on to something “better” to read.  I’ve even attended a three day seminar where an entire day was dedicated to exercise after exercise on this topic:

Forgiveness.

Was I right?  As soon as you read it, did you want to move on?  Maybe.  But hang on for a sec.  I think we all know how important forgiveness is.  We’ve heard how forgiveness is first and foremost something that we do for OURSELVES, not for the other person.  The healing that’s involved.  The ability to move forward.

Wait, let me do a quick Google search…

…The Top 5 Reasons To Forgive:

1. You will feel better and laugh more.
2. You will be healthier.
3. People will like you better.
4. You will stop the constant suffering.
5. You have punished yourself long enough.

All five are true (hmm, I say that loosely — #3??…whatever).  And all of these things are good, positive points; please don’t think I’m making this topic out to be picayune, because I’m not.  I’m just saying, I haven’t read anything NEW about forgiveness in a very long time.  So when I opened one of my favorite standbys, The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo, I was pleasantly surprised to read what I consider to be:

A Fresh Slant On Forgiveness

Nepo writes, “…the mystery of true forgiveness waits in letting go of our ledgers of injustice and retribution in order to regain the feeling in our heart.”

He continues, “And so, I am forced to look into my own small life, into my own small and all-consuming pains, and ask, Who am I?  Why can’t I forgive the wrongs done me?  Why can’t I, more than forgive, begin to trust again?”

Whether you have someone you’ve been attempting to forgive, resisting to forgive, or maybe you have forgiveness issues, or trust issues, whatever your story is, re-read these words, written plainly, offering their wisdom and solid questions for your contemplation.

As crazy as it may sound, until writing this article, and quietly sitting with Nepo’s words and the sentiment behind them, I didn’t realize there was someone I needed to forgive.  I only became cognizant of it through a definite feeling that presented itself in my heart.  A clear, sort of softening feeling washed over my heart as I read and absorbed Mr. Nepo’s words.

Hmmm…I must have had some foreshadowing when I entitled this article, “I’ve Even Surprised Myself with Today’s Topic.”  My intention with that title, when I set out to write this piece, was that I was surprised to be writing about forgiveness at all.  When I began, I didn’t have a clue I was going to experience forgiveness through doing exactly what I asked you to do: to contemplate Nepo’s words.  I wasn’t even aware there was someone my heart needed softening towards.

Man, do I love writing for you all!  (For me too, apparently.)  The learning and growing I do simply blows me away at times.  Especially when I get to experience the unexpected!

forgiveness

For those of you who have The Book of Awakening, the above excerpt came from Nepo’s May 31st writing, “Seeing through Another’s Eyes.”  And if you don’t have it, I would HIGHLY recommend it.

Let Go of the Rice, The Book of Awakening, Mark Nepo

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Get Out and Stay Out!

I was recently asked how I find topics to write about week after week.  From everywhere really.  Since beginning to write for TLT, I now see the world through much different eyes.  I believe because I write about Trust and Letting go on a weekly basis, and have conversations with others about it on a daily basis, I’ve started to see Life through a lens of Trust, of Life, and of Trust Life together.  I find myself constantly applying the idea of Trust to just about anything.  So, when I was discussing Jillian Michaels‘ workouts with a friend recently, I hesitated when he suggested that I blog about her.  Jillian Michaels?  Exercise DVDs?

Because I‘m just getting to know this new friend (oh no, are you reading this Tony?), I kept my straight face on and said, “Yeah, I’ll think about it.” When I was really thinking, “What does Jillian Michaels have to do with what I write about?”

And then I saw it — the nice box I had created for myself.

Why wouldn’t I want to share about someone I find encouraging?  Inspiring?  Isn’t that what I strive to do with this blog each and every week?  I say it all the time: encourage and inspire others through sharing, learning, and growing together.

So here’s me sharing, so those of you who are interested will learn, and hopefully grow smaller in inches (if that’s your goal), larger in muscle (if that’s your goal), and I will break out of my box in doing so.

For me, Jillian Michaels is the right type of motivator.  She has a nice balance of masculine and feminine in her personality, which I completely dig.  I don’t find her voice annoying or nagging — quite the opposite, as I listen to her, I actually find myself wanting to work harder.

I’ve never seen her on TV, only on her DVDs and I caught the tail end of a radio interview with her, but even with that limited exposure, I can see many different aspects to her personality: tough and funny, spiritual and grounded.

The following are direct quotes from her.

Here’s some grounded:

Part of abandoning the all-or-nothing mentality is allowing yourself room for setbacks.  We are bound to have lapses on the road to health and wellness, but it is critical that we learn how to handle small failures positively so that we can minimize their long-term destructive effects.  One setback is one setback—it is not the end of the world, nor is it the end of your journey toward a better you.

And some motivational:

As u envision the changes in ur future u have to let go of the mistakes in ur past.  Learn from them then let em go!  Transformation is not 5 min from now, it’s a present activity.  In this moment u CAN make a different choice & it’s these small choices & successes that build up over time to help cultivate a healthy self image & self esteem.  What are u gonna do differently today to live happier & healthier?  (Facebook 4/06/11)

And some spiritual:

“Be brave and be patient.  Have faith in yourself; trust in the significance of your life and the purpose of your passion.  You are strong enough to sit in the space between spaces and allow divine inspiration to shed some light.  When you put positive energy and productive effort into the world it will come back to you.  Occasionally in ways you might not immediately understand and on a time frame you didn’t expect.  Look.  Listen.  Learn.  Stay open.  Your destiny is awaiting you.

Oh, and at the end of one of her workouts, when I feel as if I’m about to give up, I get a little extra pep in my step when I hear her yell, “And here’s where the bad ass in you comes out!”  Yeah, I like that one too.

I’ll leave you with a list of my favorite Jillian DVDs, in this order:

1.  6 Week Six-Pack

2.  30 Day Shred (this is where I suggest you start, but read the reviews on Amazon and decide)

3.  Ripped in 30

4.  Yoga Meltdown

5.  Shred-It with Weights (this is a kettlebell workout)

Click here to go directly to her website.

And lastly, thank you Tony, for the suggestion.  I am officially out of my box on this one!

Find Your Voice (Inspired by Maria Shriver)

Maria Shriver has a little gem of a book called Just Who Will You Be?  Good, short read.  It asks big questions, in a very small book.  At the end of the book she lists ten things she pledges to herself to keep her focused and centered on who she wants to be.

On a side note, I found it interesting that throughout the book, she referenced several times how she was determined to find who she wanted to be, instead of who she is.  I see that as a very distinct difference, but maybe it’s just semantics.  For me, when topics like this arise, I think in terms of WHO I AM, not who I want to be.  But okay…moving on.

I enjoyed reading about Maria’s journey to self discovery.  But more than anything, I liked the list she created for herself as a pledge to “keep myself focused and centered on just who I want to be,” she writes.

Below are Maria’s pledges:

1.  I pledge to “show up” in my life as myself, not as an imitation of anyone else.
2.  I pledge to avoid using the word “just” to describe myself.  For example, I won’t say, “I’m just a mother,” “I’m just a student,” or “I’m just an ordinary person.”
3.  I pledge to give myself ten minutes of silence and stillness every day to get in touch with my heart and hear my own voice.
4.  I pledge to use my voice to connect my dreams to my actions.
5.  I pledge to use my voice to empower myself and others.
6.  I pledge to serve my community at least once a year in a way that will benefit other people.
7.  I pledge to ask myself, “Who am I?  What do I believe in?  What am I grateful for?  What do I want my life to stand for?”
8.  I pledge to sit down and write my own mission statement.
9.  I pledge to live my own legacy.
10.  And I pledge to pass it on.

What an interesting exercise Maria did.  I discovered while reading her list of ten things she pledged, that I heard my own voice in many of them.  Of course, #1 “I pledge to “show up” in my life as myself, not as an imitation of anyone else” resonated with me – – just think back to all of the recent (and not so recent) articles I’ve written on being Real.

Along with “showing up as myself”, the ones where she mentions using her voice (#4 & #5) really struck a chord with me.  In “Dreaming.  Living.  Reality.” I wrote about connecting my dreams to actions.  I acknowledged, “I’m a dreamer.  I‘m fully living each day.  But I’m also a realist.  There’s nothing in me that wants to live a fantasy, so I dream in order to create.”

Using my voice to empower myself and others is something that is very important to me.  But, you already know that if you read my blog.  I love to use my voice to share my thoughts on Trust, Surrender, Love, Truth.  It’s my intention that through the topics I choose to write about and the interviews I conduct and post, that I’m able to present material to you that’s inspiring, encouraging, and comforting.  My hope is that together, we are sharing, learning, and growing as we use our voices.

On the bottom of my email, I have about 50 quotes that rotate with each outgoing message.  Although my husband tells me I can’t quote myself, I say Why not?  So, here’s one that’s in the mix that sums up how I like to use my voice.  It says:

“About Leslie:  As long as I am genuinely expressing myself, I feel like the person I was meant to be.  How I do it is irrelevant.”

Find your voice.  Use it.  Use it to empower yourself and others.  If that feels scary in some way, or you simply want/need the practice of using it, use it with me.  I’d be honored to tell your story and have your voice shared with others.

Find your voice.  Use it.