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 Art of Crashing

Who can relate to learning how to ride a bike as a kid, and the inevitable crash that followed?  Maybe it wasn’t the first day, but at some point, you became comfortable, and stopped paying attention to what you were doing, or you attempted a new trick, only to come crashing down.

Maybe you never had this experience with a bike.  For you, maybe it was on a skateboard, or rollerblades, or surf boarding in the ocean.

I’ve experienced many crashes in my life, but I’ve never surfed (nor is it on my list of top 10 things to do).  However, when I watch surfers, I can’t help but notice what grace and skill they demonstrate.  Effortlessly, they appear to mount their boards.  They negotiate waves of all sizes with more ease than I can manage to prepare a simple dinner.  And have you ever watched them wipe out?  There’s no flailing about.  No out of control appearance of their extremities.  Just one fluid movement as they hit the water.  How is it they look so graceful while crashing so hard?

These are the sorts of things I wonder about.

Here’s what I decided:  there must be an art to crashing.

I imagine instinctively, their arms poised, ready to protect their heads.  (There will be no flailing all over the place.)  I also guess that along with not getting knocked out, a main area of focus is how to quickly get to the surface for oxygen.

After that, what is there?  (If you’re a surfer, I apologize — I’m positive I’m  WAY oversimplifying this.)

First, let’s assume the surfer wasn’t injured.  We’ll agree that with the fall, what the surfer was attempting to do didn’t turn out the way he/she had planned;  they may even call it a failure.  So, what have they gained?

Knowledge.

Knowledge on how to:

  • stay up longer
  • maintain focus
  • better maneuver the waves
  • fall with grace, not for the sake of grace itself, but for the sake of survival

And all of this encompasses The Art of Crashing.

Without the crash, where does the knowledge come from?  Reading a “Surfing For Dummies” book?  Watching YouTube videos of surf boarding?  While not bad ideas, the art of crashing provides the firsthand knowledge that leads to the goal of how to stay up longer, how to maintain focus, how to better maneuver the waves….

How many times in life do we fall?  Fail?  How many times do we crash?  And after that fall, failure, crash, how often do we decide it’s just not worth it?  I won’t love again because I don’t want to get my heart broken.  (Crash.)  I won’t attempt to let anyone see the real me because I don’t want to be betrayed again.  (Crash.)  I cannot trust because….  (Crash.)

The broken heart, the betrayal, the inability to trust, those are the crash.  Be the surfer who crashes with grace.  Not for the sake of grace itself, but for the sake of survival.  Your survival.  And after your survival is realized, and you know you’ve reached the top of the water, and that yes, indeed, you’re inhaling the air which is now filling your lungs, continue to push forward.  Ask yourself what knowledge was gleaned by living through this experience?  What lessons were learned?

There is a definite art to the crash.  It thrusts us forward and helps us heal as we take what we’ve learned to mend the broken heart.  To allow others to see the real us.  To Trust.

I encourage you to look for the surfer within.  Examine your crashes and be open to the lessons they reveal.

For all those seeking HOW to Trust, and specifically to GL, who shared much of her heart in an email that prompted this writing, think of Trusting Life as a spiritual law.  We must step back and allow it to work — that’s part of the art of it.  When we worry, over-think a situation, hold grudges, and so on, we interrupt the flow.  It’s through listening, becoming aware, letting go, and accepting What Is that we’re able to Trust Life.

Trust begins inside of you and radiates outward.

Feel, Know, BELIEVE that you are taken care of.  You are never alone.  There is a bigger force, a bigger plan that you are unaware of.  Trust.

 

Growing Into You (Tackling Fears, Heaven and Hell)

Now, I may get in trouble on this one, but please stick with me and see where it goes.  Let me just put it out there — this post, this blog, is not about Jesus, the Bible, the Koran, Buddhism, organized religion, etc.  If you’ve been visiting TLT for any length of time, you know it’s about Trust, Love, Peace, Letting Go, Knowing You Are Enough, and Recognizing What Is.  It’s for those who are Seekers of Truth.

If this resonates with you, please continue….

Earlier this summer, while shopping at the grocery store, I reached down in the produce section, and saw this wedged between two grapefruits:

My first thought was to look around and see who had dropped the $10.  No one was close by.

I took a closer look at the bill and saw that it was a joke.  It was a Million Dollar Bill.  My next thought was, “I wonder what my kids would think of this?”  I was curious to see what, if anything, their reaction would be.  So I stuffed it in the side pocket of my purse and finished my grocery shopping.

After putting everything away back home, I pulled out the fake bill and showed it to my boys.  With wide eyes, I could tell the younger one was impressed, or at least somewhat excited.  The older one kept looking at the bill, then up at my face, playing out that visual tennis match for a few volleys, trying to determine what was up.

He called my bluff and I cracked a smile.  The gig was up.

Even though they knew it wasn’t real, this odd, little object stirred questions.  Who would waste their time to make a fake?  And why such a large denomination?  What did the back of the piece of paper say?

“Let’s see,” I said.  The words were so small, I squinted hard to read them.  Finally, with much effort, I got going.  They sidled up beside me and helped out with their younger eyes.

Backside:

In case you’re struggling, too, here are just a few of the lines.

It begins with the ‘Million Dollar Question’:  “Will you go to Heaven when you die?”

Then it gives a test.  “Have you ever told a lie, stolen anything, or used God’s name in vain?  Jesus said, ‘Whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’  Have you looked with lust?  Will you be guilty on judgement day?  If you have done those things, God sees you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart.”

As I read out loud, boys still looking along, I silently longed for the days before they could read — that way I could’ve changed the words and avoided the conversation that was sure to follow.

Like bird seed being pelted at me from close range after a wedding reception, their questions stung my skin.  Was that shock I was witnessing on their faces?  Fear?  …what?

“Why does it say that, Mom?”

“Yeah, is it true?”

“I’ve lied before.”

“So am I going to Hell?”

“Is that really the way it works?”

Aye-yai-yai….

As I stood there, head spinning, I decided it was time to take a deep breath.  Yes.  “Let’s all take a moment and take a few deep breaths.  There.  In.  Out.  In.  Out.  Okay.  One more time.”

While we breathed in and out slowly, I felt very much like Winnie-the-Pooh, tapping my own head with my paw,  “Think, think, think….”

Where do I start?  What angle do I take?  How do I not confuse them any more than they already are?

Don’t screw up.  Don’t screw up.  Oh Leslie, you can really screw up here.

Time to say a quick prayer.

And this is the thought that came to me:  “How do I get them to think for themselves and not impart my beliefs on them?”

Now, this may sound strange.  Isn’t it a parent’s job to impart these sorts of teachings?

Well, yes.  But I felt that my husband and I had already done that.  Not by sitting down and giving them formal lessons, but by being a living example, by having open conversations with them on an on-going basis, not just at specific ‘learning’ times.  At this point, I felt that the stage had been set.  At ages 10 and 13, rather than being told what to think, why not serve as a guide and a sounding board while they explored what they felt was their Truth?

Sound dangerous and scary?  Yeah, I agree.  It was — just a little.  But the role of guide, not teacher, felt right in this instance.  So I Trusted it.

And I’m so happy I did.

What a conversation that followed!  They explored their thoughts and feelings out loud.  They teased through the haze.  They bounced ideas off one another.  It was a real dialogue among brothers.  About real stuff.  The stuff that makes us who we are.

And I got to listen to ALL of it.  Their thoughts.  Their fears.  I got to be present to watch this beautiful interaction transpire.  I was experiencing a moment that parents would pay good money to capture on tape — maybe even a million dollars.

So, what did they conclude, you ask?

Well, after much back and forth, they decided, they would not be scared into any belief.  Anyone who would try and use a scare tactic would not be high on their list of Trusted sources.  They would instead Trust themselves in knowing who God is to them.

According to them, “God is a Life Energy.  He lives inside us, outside us, and all around us.”

And as for Heaven and Hell?  They believe they exist here on Earth.  And only here on Earth.

They will not be scared into any belief.  Nor should you.  Not in the belief that you’re going to Hell if you do X thing.  Or the belief that you’re not good enough.  Or the belief that you can’t achieve your heart’s desire.  Or, or, or….

Let the scary stuff be truly scary.

Here’s what we’re afraid of:

10-year old — realistic looking baby-dolls

13-year old — the dark

Me — having a mirror held up to myself when I’m pretending

What are you afraid of?  Stop and ask yourself.  What are you truly afraid of?  Can you see it?  Once you see it, are you willing to do something about it?

Remember, you may need someone to talk to in order to tease it out.  Sometimes it’s the back and forth we do with others that allows us to Find and See our Truth.

Ask the question.  Seek the answer.  Then grow into more of the real you.

If you enjoyed this post, please tweet or share it on Facebook.  You never know — it may end up being read by precisely the person who is seeking it….

Love, Leslie

Go Be Awesome In the Rain

Continued from Monday’s post, If you live your life with the understanding of What Is, There Is No Waiting….

I hope today’s Friday-Short is a nice reinforcer of Monday’s post, as well as the start to a beautiful weekend!

In order to focus on my book, I’ve decreased the number of weekly TLT posts by one.  Please subscribe above, that way you won’t miss a beat!