My Gift from Don Miguel Ruiz

Don Miguel Ruiz, A Remarkable Man

To summarize a two hour lecture on Life, Death, Matter, and Energy is not easy.  So I won’t.  What I will share are highlights and insights I learned from listening to don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, speak in Austin, TX this past weekend.

In the traditional storyteller fashion, this man: teacher, author, and apparent to anyone experiencing his presence, a very gentle spirit, wove a beautiful story.  A story of his Truths.  So soft spoken, at times he was barely audible, silence permeating the backdrop of his words.  There was respect in the room that could be felt.  And a twinkle in his eye that could be seen.

In “Don Miguel Ruiz, From Surgeon to Shaman,” I shared a brief recap of the past ten years of Ruiz’s life.  Massive heart attack, followed by nine weeks in a coma, and the wait/pain he endured leading up to his heart transplant.  What Ruiz shared Saturday night were the details that filled the spaces between.

As he shared the particulars of regaining his memory, what took place while he was in the coma, etc., he spoke a lot about Life and Death.  Death mostly, really.

[Oh, how I wish I could provide the essence and beauty of his words on Death.  For those of you who have fear around dying, or fear for those close to you dying, I believe his words would have brought you much comfort.]


After waking from his coma and being told to change his life radically — stay home, watch TV, and read books, he later said to his family:

“I will not stay at home and wait for death to find me at home.  I will go and look for death doing what I love to do.”

Death is something I believe I’m more comfortable with than most;  I wouldn’t be able to do the Hospice work that I do otherwise.  Perhaps ‘comfortable’ isn’t the right word, maybe it’s more like I have an understanding about Death that allows me to view it more as a friend than an enemy.  After breast cancer and a double mastectomy, pain however, has not been my friend.  And because of this, I appreciated hearing about his physical pain in a way that I was able to apply to myself.

Don Miguel Ruiz, On Pain

“The physical pain made me slow, but it didn’t stop me from doing what I want to do.”

Don Miguel Ruiz is a master of the simple statement.  The simple statement that speaks Truth.  And now I adopt this as my Truth, because it’s exactly the same for me.  So many people ask me how I’m feeling, to which I respond that I’m doing great.  Which is true.  However, I’m in constant pain, albeit dull pain, it’s always there.  So I don’t mention it.  Why would I?  Hearing Ruiz speak that one sentence, I knowingly and immediately exhaled with this realization:  Yes, my physical pain makes me slow, but it doesn’t stop me from doing what I want to do.  With those words and the stillness it evoked within me, a shift occurred.  I went from tolerating the pain to breathing in to the pain in such a way that it was no longer my enemy.

Thank you for the gift, don Miguel Ruiz.  I shall cherish it today, tomorrow, and for all the days I am present enough to remember this Truth.


When Will the Fog Clear?

Intersection in my neighborhood: 7:45 AM


Pretty bleak.  Dreary.  Even the road looks uninviting.

As I left the house on this particular morning, surrounded by fog, I thought how much I’d prefer the sun to be shining.  How starting a day in the sun is so much more uplifting.  Even rain is welcomed over fog.   Rain, at least, provides a good excuse to stay home and tackle projects around the house or get cozy with someone you love.

But fog?  I find it a bit evasive, as if it has something to hide.  I’d rather the day, or people, just show me who they are so we can get on with it.

No matter how much I’d like it to work that way, there are times when the day, or people, do not show me who they are.  My transparency with others has me expect the same from them.  However, when others are evasive like the fog, often I’m left feeling empty or confused.

And therein lies my problem: I seek in others a trait I see in myself.  However, not everyone operates as I do.  So, rather than seeking, how about learning to be comfortable with What IS?

Back to the fog, which is more concrete in terms of a visual example.  With the fog, I could wait for it to clear, constantly keeping my focus on the future, wishing for the sun, not appreciating what currently IS:  STILLNESS.

There is much comfort to be felt in the stillness of the moment.  But I wouldn’t know that, because I’ve resigned myself to wait on the sun to appear.

Ah-ha!  And there I’ve caught myself.  There is no waiting for the sun.  There is no waiting, period.  There only exists what IS, and in this case, it’s a beautiful stillness.  That stillness will continue for as long as it’s meant to.

I am the variable in this situation, not the fog.  I am the one who makes the choice: Do I sit, with an anxious desire for the sun to appear?  Or do I embrace the stillness?  The stillness of the thickness of the fog… the stillness that resides inside of me (peace).

It’s like that with people too.  I am the one who makes the choice:  Do I sit, with an anxious desire for my friend to see things my way?  For it to be my turn to talk?  Or do I embrace the stillness?  The stillness that exists when you honor the present moment?  When you honor the way you believe the universe operates, knowing that all works out as it’s intended?

And maybe, just maybe, while within this stillness, this place of honoring what IS, your eyes begin to drift back into focus and you notice the sun has appeared.

Later that day


How crisp.  The blue of the sky is radiant.  The air feels clean and fresh.  The subtle shadows that are cast from the lampposts reinforce what we already know: Yes, the sun is indeed shining.

Fog, sun, people, circumstances.  The choice is yours.  Sit with anxious desire?  Or embrace the stillness, knowing that in some instances, NO action is required.  The act of BEing will suffice.


Still Waters

Please join me in welcoming guest blogger and talented photographer Carla Royal to Trust Life Today, in an original piece of hers that spoke volumes to me.  Thank you for sharing with us, Carla.

“Still waters run deep.”  English Proverb

It’s been a month since I’ve written in my journal and probably that long since I’ve sat in meditation and read spiritual literature.  I’ve done all three today and intend for this to be the first day of the return to my morning practices.  They are important to me.  They make a difference in the quality of my life and in my contribution to those around me.  They still the depths of my emotional waters, allowing the surface waters to swirl and rage as they will.

Do you remember the divers during the tsunami in southern Asia?   They were deep in the still waters of the ocean when the wave roared above them. They only knew of its existence upon surfacing.  They were safe.  They had survived.

I’ve been caught up in the surface waters lately and have forgotten the safety, comfort, and support of the deep, still waters.  It is not so much that I’ve forgotten really, it’s that I’ve stubbornly remained on the surface, frantically kicking to stay afloat the swirling, rushing, and rocky shallows.  I have known that all I had to do was take a deep breath, relax, and drop into the stillness.

As I drop down into the still waters, the heaviness eases and I am able to enter the current of peace.  I feel the soothing support of the deep calm.

Can you relate?


Carla Royal, M.Ed. is a transformative life coach, blogger, and photographer.  Visit Carla at Sacred Witness | Witnessing the World Within and Without or Relieve Stress, Stop Anxiety for more information on transformative coaching, to read her blogs, or to view her photographs.  She would be delighted to have you drop by!

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.