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

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is… I Did

Last month many of you got involved in our TLT community discussion regarding our youth, the pressures placed on them by parents, coaches, society, and the choices they’re making in order to ACHIEVE, and at the same time, PLEASE everyone.

The “Holy Moly” series, as it came to be called, was sparked by a New York Times article I read that centered around high school students doing whatever it takes to achieve academic excellence, even if that means illegally obtaining and using prescription ADHD medicines to enhance mental focus, increase their stamina to pull all-nighters, and get better test scores.

I was so disturbed by this article, I continued to think about it for weeks, desperately wanting to do something about it.  I explained in one Holy Moly article entitled, “Enough,” that….

“… it’s not just one thing, it’s LOTS and LOTS of things.  It’s not just drugs we’re talking about; to many of these teens, they don’t even see the pills they’re snorting/taking as drugs, some actually thought they were some sort of vitamins, just used to help them hyper focus on school work.  But, like I said, it’s just not about drugs, there are many more layers than that.

But peel away the layers.

Drug layer, gone.

Please my parents layer, gone.

Achieve amazing results in academics, sports, etc. layer, gone.

Peel all of it away.

Keep peeling, and what are you left with?

Children who believe that they are not enough.

Who grow into adults who believe they are not enough.

I don’t mean to sound so doom and gloom, but think about it, when you strip it down, that’s what you’re left with.

But it’s a lie.  These children are enough.  Each and every one of us is enough.  But how do you make it Real, and not just sound like something nice to hear, say, in a blog that’s based on Trusting Life?  How do you have kids stop to listen long enough to believe and understand and feel and know their worth…so that it stays with them into adulthood?….”

~~~~

So today, July 23, 2012, how am I making it Real?  What am I doing about it that’s more than putting some pretty words on a blog?

Well friends, I’m very happy to report that this week I am in New Mexico sharing with youth (ages 7-13) various lessons on Trust.  My focus throughout the week is to guide and instill in them the core understanding that You Are Enough.  Trust Yourself.

As short as those two sentences are:  You Are Enough and Trust Yourself, they pack a pretty hefty punch.  There is some definite meat there.

I am using the absolute must-read book, hope for the flowers by Trina Paulus as a teaching tool.  If you are unfamiliar with the book, click here.  I believe this will give you enough of a taste that you’ll want to pick up a copy or two or twenty….

For more information on the camp itself, stay tuned for Wednesday’s post.

In the meantime, I encourage you to pinpoint something you’re all fired up about.  Something you can’t stop thinking about or talking about.  At the last dinner party you attended or get-together with friends, what did you find yourself talking about over and over?  THAT, very likely, is a great place to start.

Then do it — start.

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is… I Did.

 ~~~~

Please tweet or share this post on Facebook — you never know, it might wind up being read by someone who’s all fired up about who knows what, and is ready to do something about it… maybe they just need a little nudge.

Nudge.  Nudge.

Love, Leslie

No Superhero Cape Necessary

This week has been nuts.  Really nuts.  I’ve been running in so many different directions, hospitals, doctor’s appointments.  I’m yearning for the pleasure of Day-To-Day-Nothing-Activities.

We all have weeks like this from time to time, so I know you know what I’m talking about.  Weeks where we don our Wonder Woman (or Superman) capes.  [No!  Take them off!!]

Weeks like this, you’d think I’d feel as if I’d accomplished a lot.  If I made a list and shared it with you, by anyone’s standards it would look overwhelming, so surely I accomplished something!  But no, weeks that are this busy make me feel like my efforts are never enough… probably because I haven’t had time to actually FEEL anything at all.

Whether your week has been off the charts crazy, or more like my typical week: calm, with the occasional, brief appearance of Wonder Woman, know that whatever you do, it’s enough.  Because You Are Enough.

So for today, join me in repeating the following mantra:

 

Because You are enough.  And so am I.

~~~~

No matter what time of day you’re reading this, I sincerely hope I’m napping.

Love, Leslie

 

Enough

You all are incredible.  Such smart, insightful, thoughtful comments you made regarding the “Holy Moly!” article.  Between Facebook, this blog, and emails, I heard from more of you on this topic than any other…which means I wasn’t alone in thinking this topic is major.  (If you’re just now joining us, please click here to refer to the post.)

It’s major because for one, we’re talking about our children here, and we all get a little nutty about our children.  But it’s also major because it’s not just one thing, it’s LOTS and LOTS of things.  It’s not just drugs we’re talking about; to many of these teens, they don’t even see the pills they’re snorting/taking as drugs, some actually thought they were some sort of vitamins, just used to help them hyper focus on school work.  But, like I said, it’s just not about drugs, there are many more layers than that.

But peel away the layers.

Drug layer, gone.

Please my parents layer, gone.

Achieve amazing results in academics, sports, etc. layer, gone.

Peel all of it away.

Keep peeling, and what are you left with?

Children who believe that they are not enough.

Who grow into adults who believe they are not enough.

I don’t mean to sound so doom and gloom, but think about it, when you strip it down, that’s what you’re left with.

But it’s a lie.  These children are enough.  Each and every one of us is enough.  But how do you make it Real, and not just sound like something nice to hear, say, in a blog that’s based on Trusting Life?  How do you have kids stop to listen long enough to believe and understand and feel and know their worth…so that it stays with them into adulthood?

 

If Maya Angelou told you herself, in her deep, rich, authoritative, yet loving voice, then would you believe it?