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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The Truth about Difference

Life Truths

There are Truths with a capital T.  Tenets.  Articles of Faith.  These things that you believe so strongly, things no one had to teach you.  Whether you talk about them or not, it doesn’t matter, these Truths live inside you, and they aren’t going anywhere.  Over time, Truths don’t diminish in meaning or strength.  They simply ARE.

You know Truth when you see it.  There is no second guessing.  Truth cuts through age in a way that even a child is able to recognize.  At nine-years old, I remember seeing a Truth as clearly as I see my cuppa tea sitting beside me now.  And the Truth WAS/IS/AND ALWAYS WILL BE this:

All people are created equally.  We are all the same.

Crap Aside

Argue if you want.  Claim we have different personalities, different mannerisms, different likes and dislikes, and I’ll tell you True, True, and True.  But at our core, when we put all the crap aside, we are all the same.

What crap?  The crap that says you have nicer clothes than she does, you have a nicer car, your job is more prestigious, you have a prettier house, your country is the best, your religion is the ‘right’ one.

The Truth about differences is this:  at the core, if you see yourself as different from your neighbor, your brother, your friend — you see fear.

This may sound like a ‘soapbox‘ post.  Come on — you know me better than that by now.  This is a Truth.  And one you may say, “Yeah, yeah.  I know this Truth already.  I know that we’re all created equal.”  But if every you out there knew this Truth, our nightly news would only consist of the weather and freakish accidents, a derailed train maybe or a plane crash.  The truly bizarre, out of the ordinary happenings.  Full-time news slots would be available to broadcast the good, generous acts that people do every day.

No Pollyanna Here

I’m not being Pollyanna.  Or even pie-in-the-sky.  It is simply a Truth.  We are the same.  We are created equal.  Your demons may look different than the next guy’s, but they are still demons, all bred from fear.  Your joys may look different than your neighbor’s, but they’re still joys, filled with love.

Boil it down.  Remove the mask.  See the Truth.  We are the same.

As 2013 approaches, instead of New Year’s Resolutions that are forgotten by January 5th, resolve to practice this Truth with your actions.  See the Oneness in the eyes of every person you meet.  Be motivated by Love, confident in knowing you are the same as he.  Then sit back, give it some time.  Watch.  Your web will grow.  Soon, those around you will follow suit, starting with your children.  What a beautiful gift to give to your children.  To yourself.  Dare I say, to humanity?

truth

 

“Difference”
~by Pie Corbett

As long as we see others
as different,
there will be hurt,
there will be pain,
there will be wars,
there will be more cold rain

falling

between us.

The day we learn
to shed our fear
like a snake casting its skin…

The day we learn
to see that we are all

molded

from the same warm clay.

That will be the day,
when the sun
breaks through.

That will be the day,
when we first see our true
selves.

truth

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Inspired by the Novel, Life of Pi

Life of Pi

In eager anticipation of the movie Life of Pi, being released this week (November 21, 2012), I’m sharing a post I wrote in April of 2011.  Read on to see how YOUR choices, Your intention, and how you tell Your story matters.

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Inspired by the Novel, Life of Pi

Life of Pi, by Yann Martel, is an allegorical novel, one whose essence has stayed with me for over a decade.  I found the book fascinating, with its multi layered plot, the numerous religious themes presented, and the magical happenings woven throughout.  And all the while, the author subtly nudges the reader to answer in his mind, Do you believe in God?  And if you do believe in God, Are stories/fables necessary in order for you to believe?

To summarize the novel would be difficult, even if I had just finished reading it.  And as it’s been years, I’ll offer a general summary, not giving anything away.

Life of Pi Summary

The main character is Pi Patel, a 16-year-old Indian boy, who has embraced and simultaneously chosen to practice Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity.  He, along with his family and the zoo animals from his father’s zoo, attempt to immigrate to Canada by way of a Japanese cargo ship.  While crossing the Pacific Ocean, the ship sinks, and Pi finds himself on a 26-foot long lifeboat, alone with an orangutan, a zebra, a hyena, and a Bengal tiger.  The dynamic between Pi and Richard Parker (the Bengal tiger whose name I’ll never forget — not Richard, always Richard Parker), was curious, beautiful, intriguing, and ever changing and growing, like any rich relationship.

After the sinking of the ship, and A-L-L that happens between that time and when Pi is rescued (227 days later!), he tells his story to two Japanese Ministry of Transport employees who are investigating the cause of the sinking.  Pi is a skilled, engaging storyteller, but no matter how skilled and engaging he is, these two men express deep skepticism — is this kid for real?!  Trapped with a Bengal tiger on a lifeboat for 227 days?  After pressing him further, Pi abandons his original story, and offers the men a more believable story, one that parallels the first, but is much easier for these two men to swallow.

Life of Pi

We All Tell Stories

Every day we tell stories, which become our stories, who we are.  On a good day, our stories are well received;  we may even be given praise for our brilliance.  At a minimum, we want to be listened to and acknowledged for the contribution we’ve made.  Knowing that we’ve helped a friend in pain through the telling of our story, or perhaps that we’ve provided a humorous story for entertainment both fall into the category of:  ‘it’s a good day to tell a story’.  Other times, like Pi, we attempt to tell our stories, only to be met with disbelief or skepticism.  And in those times, we have a choice.  We can choose to plow ahead, buyer beware, declaring, “This is my story, and I’m sticking to it!”  Or, we can choose to alter our story, like Pi, making it more palpable for the listener.

And IF we decide to change our story for the benefit of the listener, what reaction do we have?  Do we shrug our shoulders and walk away carefree or with a heavy heart?  By changing our story, do we feel we gave away a piece of ourselves, or not?

Choice and Intention

The topic of choice is not new to you frequent Trust Life Today (TLT) readers — we choose our perception, we choose our attitude, our thoughts, our beliefs.  But overshadowing choice is our intention.  And our intention has everything to do with US, not the recipient of our story.  Being clear on your intention takes the pressure off how your story is received.  And if you’re not anxious about how it (you) will be received, then telling your story becomes an act of self, a way to share your Truth, your humorous tale, your passion, your fears, your love.

Telling your story becomes a way to honor yourself and celebrate you.

The What-If Game

The alternative is coming at it from the other side.  Instead of focusing on your intention, by shifting your focus to how your story is going to be received, you end up with a lot of playing the What-If game.  What if I embellish this?  Will he think I’m smarter?  More interesting?  What if I omit that?  Will she think I’m a better parent?  Or maybe she won’t get mad at me.  What if, what if, what if??  This is some serious monkey-mind, completely useless chatter, and can spiral out of control.  And with each spiral, you become less you.  You become less real.

At this point, I have to ask, what are you trusting?  … Are you trusting?

love is

Let’s look at a breakdown of your intention versus how others receive your story (YOU).

Intention                      Received by Others

Inner Focused – YOU Centered       Outward FocusedTHEM Centered

lowers anxiety & pressure                            monkey-mind
loving act of self                                            endless & useless chatter
share your Truth                                           spiral out of control
honor yourself                                               energy drain
celebrate you                                                become less you, less real

 

Why Two Stories in Life of Pi?

To be clear, I’m not criticizing Pi for changing his story.  I believe the author was very clear in his intention by having Pi tell both stories.  In telling a more fable-like story, the author pushed the limits of what these two Japanese Ministry employees (and the reader) thought they could believe.  At times they questioned themselves and dared to think in more abstract terms.  And in contemplating a boy at sea, a hyena, an orangutan, a zebra, a Bengal tiger, and the extremely rich story that was woven, the author draws numerous parallels for the reader about the undeniable existence of God.

We all can’t tell stories like Yann Martel, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Wally Lamb, or Isabelle Allende.  But we can tell our story.

Know your intention.  Tell your story.

Life of Pi

“Every life is, ultimately, a story with a message.”  ~ Toni Raiten-D-Antonio

love is

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“Everything’s Just Fine, Fine, Fine….”

As I spend this Labor Day holiday out of town with family and friends, I’d like to share a song that always puts a smile on my face.  The lyrics appear somewhat conflicted at times, but I think that’s the point.  The artist is speaking her truth.  Or, at least her truth in 1995.

Come visit TLT later this week and see why everything is MORE than fine, fine, fine….  ;-)

For your listening pleasure, here is “Hand In My Pocket,” by Alanis Morissette.