Letting Go, A Practical Application

Although not plastered on the home page of my blog, Trust Life Today does have a slogan.  I include it in articles when appropriate.  It’s comprised of four little words.

“Let go…trust life.”

Yes, four little words, but ones that I fully understand are easier said than done in many instances.

So, rather than write from a theoretical angle, because really, who does that help?, let’s look at Letting Go and Trusting from a practical standpoint.

Like many aspects of our lives, those things which we’d like to improve, we do so through practice.  Letting Go is no different.

Right upfront I’d like to acknowledge the huge spectrum of things there are to Let Go of.

  • the last piece of apple pie has just been eaten
  • the pain that radiates throughout your body after stubbing your toe
  • someone cuts you off in traffic
  • a project you’re overseeing goes badly at work
  • you realize there is a heaviness in your heart due to a grudge you’ve been harboring
  • you learn of a serious illness that is predicted to alter your life or the life of  someone close to you

Yes, the range is vast.  As you can see in the above list, there are “little Let Go’s” and “big Let Go’s.”  Luckily for us, we have opportunities to practice all the time.  How about practicing on the “little Let Go’s” on a daily basis?

Let’s look at this upcoming holiday season for some practice.  Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, December appears to be knocking on my front door.  To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t have the energy or the desire for the prep work that’s to come.

Decorate the house?  Christmas cards?  Shopping?  Holiday parties?  Most years I don’t do backflips about these things, but I’m happy enough to participate in the standard rituals.

This year?  I’m tired.  It’s been a looong six months, and with one more surgery to go, I’m thinking something has to give.  Letting Go of the idea of holiday chores is necessary for me to continue to heal while also enjoying the spirit of Christmas.

What’s the point in having a beautifully decorated house, sending out tons of Christmas cards, shopping for endless hours, and attending multiple parties, if, at the end of it all, I’m drained and grouchy?

How do I strike a balance where I feel joy and peace, honor where I currently am on a physical level, while also being okay with it (also read, “not feeling guilty” about it)?

Practical Application Piece:  I Choose.

So, here I go, right now, documenting for you what I would typically work out in my head.  But this is a real example, so here we go.

Decorate the house – I spoke to the kids and my husband about their expectations.  We’ll decorate a tree and the inside of the house only.  Because we’re not traveling this holiday season, it will be festive to live among the decorations short term, but no fuss outside.

Christmas cards – I believe this year especially it’s important to send cards to friends; there’s so much to be thankful for and so much gratitude to express for the outpouring of love and support we’ve received.  However, since the purpose of the card is to express thanks and gratitude, while also providing an update after I can officially say this ‘chapter’ is behind me, I’m not sweating the timing of the cards.  May be December.  May be January.

Shopping – online or simple, or it doesn’t get done.  Next.

Holiday parties – hitting two parties in one night so I can be done and done.  One time to dress up, one time to wear heels.  Fun times to be had at both as I catch up with friends and acquaintances.

In each instance, the choice was made, the decision to be okay with that choice was present, and no guilt will be associated with it.  Everything else I allow myself to Let Go of – - and Trust myself not to get caught in the web of thoughts that will have me second guessing.  I’ve already decided: this is what I need in order to preserve my best interest, which is continued healing.

What felt like an upcoming barrage of chores just moments ago, feels very doable now.  But not just doable, there’s more to it than that.    

The more we adapt our mode of thinking and the actions that follow to Let Go and Trust Life on the small stuff, the more we practice on a daily basis, the better prepared we are to handle the larger things.

Let Go…trust life.  It’s not just a slogan of pretty words I thought up while in the mountains last winter.  They have meaning.  And purpose.

Start small.  Hell, start big if it suits you.  But start.  What areas in your life do you choose to Let Go?  Do you Trust yourself to react with your best interest in mind?

Seriously, think about it.  I’d like you to have an idea of areas you’d like to Let Go and Trust Life about so that in my next post we can take it one step deeper.

Until next time….

 

Knowing Better and Doing Better

In my last article, “JOY and SORE,” I wrote of the joy I felt deep down inside.  It was a joy that had been going on for several days.  That joyous feeling came to a train-wreck sort of a halt when I picked up the phone later that afternoon to hear that one of my sons was in the principal’s office.

As my son came home later that afternoon, he wouldn’t look me in the eyes, too ashamed of his actions.  No doubt he already had some idea of the impact his actions had had.  I felt sad and disappointed and he knew it.

The next morning, I decided he and I would watch some of Oprah’s LifeClass series on her new network OWN.  We watched a beautiful show on Finding Your Purpose.  We engaged in dialogue about what he truly loves to do and what brings him joy.

We followed that show by another LifeClass where the lesson being taught was, “When You Know Better, You Do Better.”  We sat and watched in silence, both sipping our tea.

When the show had ended, he was very clear on the message.  We discussed it at length and it was apparent that he felt truly penitent.

Later that day I wondered something.  Clearly, he already knew better.  If he hadn’t known better, he wouldn’t have exhibited the shame he did.  He wouldn’t have cried what I’d call ‘sorrowful tears that stung’.  He would have justified and made excuses.  But the thing is, he did know better.  Yet, he chose not to do better.

So here’s what I wondered: “Why, when we know better, do we at times choose not to do better?  Why do we repeat actions that we know to be unloving, forging ahead anyway?”

I believe there are many reasons why we do this, each different depending on the circumstance.  But in time, my hope is that we lessen the frequency of these blunders.  That we learn along the way and continue to grow from such experiences.

As much as I wanted to dole out severe consequences, I sat back and looked at the bigger picture, at what I know to be true.  I know him.  He is a good kid who made a poor choice, and truly felt remorseful.  This was not a repeat of some prior action.  So why pour salt on the wound?  He felt badly enough all on his own.  (That’s not to say he didn’t have certain privileges taken away; I wouldn’t be doing my job as a parent if he didn’t.)

Knowing Better and Doing Better.  Sometimes it takes a few go’s before we get it right.  But if you Trust, Trust that there is a bigger picture, a bigger Knowing driving what IS, I believe you’d concur we’re exactly where we’re supposed to be on our path.

It’s that Trust that gives me comfort.  It’s that Trust that I hope gives you comfort.  And although my son is young, and perhaps doesn’t yet have the maturity to fully understand the concept, I hope that in time he comes to feel that same Trust.

Trust on that level is Freeing.

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!

Dreaming. Living. Reality.

Along with receiving a daily quote via email, I also receive an email from “TUT…A Note from the Universe.”  It may sound kind of hokey, but they’re typically dead on.  For example, one day last week I received, “It’s all for learning.  It’s all for learning.  Leslie, it’s all for learning.”  Which completely fit the circumstances for that day.

Also last week, I received, “Dream big. Start small.”  Cool.  Right on!  That’s exactly where I am in my life.  I have BIG dreams for Trust Life Today, and with my personality type, I wanted them done yesterday! But how can they be done when I’m still learning how to do?  And then the reminder came:  “Dream big.  Start small.”  Okay, I’ll start small (hence, the blog you’re reading).

Later in the day I ran across a quote I had jotted down years ago:  “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”   Albus Dumbledore, speaking to Harry.

Dream big.  Start small.  Don’t dwell on dreams, lest you forget to live.  Hmm…  On the surface, they sounded pretty different to me.  Yet, they both spoke to me as soon as I read them.  These are the types of disparate messages that grab my brain and wrestle with it throughout the day (or in this case, days).

I’ll start with dreaming.  Yes, I am a dreamer.  I dream up ideas, even situations, all the time.  Dreaming is part of my creative process.  And through this creative process of dreaming, it leads to many, sometimes an exhaustive number, of conversations in my head.  Yet, I still dream.  I find comfort in it.  The key, for me, is not to get stuck there.  Dreaming has to materialize at some point, or else, well, it’s just a bunch of Fantasy Island.

That brings me to ‘living.’  I remember a time, probably 17 or 18 years ago when I asked my husband when it was time to start living.  I was eager to get started, and I wanted to know if he knew when that right time might be.  Was it during that point in my life, when I was starting my first “big girl” job?  Was it in a year or so, when we got married?  Do I have to wait until children come along, is that really living?  Or was it once I found my purpose?  Then, and only then, would I truly start to live?  He looked at me with no gesture of judgment or confusion on his face, and simply said, “Living is what you’re doing now.”  And with that, he turned and walked away.

Oh.  I see.  And with that, I was clear.  (By the way, it must run in the family, because as I was saying good-night to our younger son last night, he asked me the same question, “Mom, when do I start living?”  My response to him:  “Living is what you’re doing now.”  I would hate to think that he was going to wonder for years and years like I had.)

At this point, I’m clear on a few things.  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.  And with that, I have tied the two sentiments together, which means the wrestling in my brain may now cease.  “Dream big.  Start small.”  “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”

So there I have it.  An email I recently received, coupled with a quote I had jotted down years ago, presented themselves to me in the same day and I latched onto them because I felt there was a message in them, something I needed to work out.  I believe lessons present themselves to us each and every day.  Granted, this lesson didn’t shake me to my core, that’s not why I shared it.  I don’t believe we need to have deep, profound lessons left and right.  But we do need to be grateful for being present enough in our lives to realize when we’ve received one and give thanks for the gifts that they are.

My gift from this lesson:  I dream in order to create, and I do it in a very real way.

I find a lot of beauty, and peace, in that realization.