becomingLeigh

becoming leighAs part of my spirit school final, we had to do a 5 minute presentation; including some of the principles that we had learned so far in class.  This is what I performed.  I hope you enjoy!

 

Hello God, Divine Being #337512728 here.  I heard you wanted to see me?  What?  It’s my time?  I get to go shooting to earth trailing clouds of glory and begin manning my earthsuit?!  Awesome!  I am ready.  What earthsuit am I going to get? 

Leigh? In Kansas?  Leigh, is that a boy or a girl?  A girl, ok.  But, Kansas?  Oh, she doesn’t stay long.

Where is she, I am ready to see her!

Oh, there she is!  She’s darling!  She’s so cute!  Her mother’s not  touching her.  She is completely neglecting her. Oh my, her dad is spanking her little 7 year old tush too hard.  He’s taking his rage out on her.  Look at her, she feels so alone.

Ok.  Let me think for a minute…her earth school curriculum is going to be… Unworthiness?  Am I right?  Yes! (celebration)  I knew I would get in on the first try.

God, I don’t mean to judge your work, but why do so many people get that curriculum?  Couldn’t you think of something more original?  I don’t get it; it’s like every time….

Okay, okay, I’ll focus.

There she is in 3rd grade.  She is fist fighting with Greg Hyde and David Bishop.  God, do something!  (pause) Oh, she beat them both up.  Is this the ‘all of life is a learning lesson’ theory?  Got it.

She’s in 4th grade and she just became Miss Jr. Overland Park at her local mall.  She is taking risks and being rewarded.  Good for her!

She’s in 6th grade.  She became the first girl president of John Deimer Elementary School!  She’s learning to over come her obstacles.

Jr. High; cheerleading, drill team, and volleyball.  High School cheerleading, drill team, she’s a good dancer.  She is really using the creative talents you have given her, God.  Look at her go.  

She’s at the end of senior year and she loses her virginity at 18 to Bruce Oothout.  That’s because she thought that was the guy she was going to marry.  Glad that didn’t work out huh, God?

College…oh my.  Girls gone wild!  Drinking, sex, drugs and eating too much pizza.  She is running too fast.  Doesn’t she know she is better than that?  Oh wait… she is living her earth school curriculum of being unworthy.  In that case, she is doing a really great job.  But, please tell me she figures it out soon.  That’s hard to watch.

She graduated with a degree in Recreation and Leisure.  That gave her surgeon father a hearty belly laugh.  And she’s off; St. Thomas Virgin Islands, Guam, and she became a SCUBA diving instructor for Club Med, Tahiti?  God, I’m going to have a blast!

She’s settling down in Los Angeles – wouldn’t you know she ended up in the city of angels.  She is still partying hard and making out.

Look God, she is now 31, sick of being single, and is coming to you for help.  She is being so specific with her prayer.  Boy did you answer… David Koechner!  You must really like this girl to give her Dave, he is one of the brightest souls around.  She is starting to heal in the safe space that they have created.  She is doing her work, going to therapy, breaking the childhood armor around her heart.

Oh man, she almost died having her first kid and lost her uterus.  She wanted a big family.  She is so sad.  But, I bet it turned out great didn’t it God?  Oh really?  Better than she every imagined?  4 more kids with the help of two gestational surrogates?  That is not at all how she planned having a family, but life rarely goes as they plan, does it God?

Wait, I’m going to be a mom to 5 kids?  Holy Cow.  Thank You that she is healing, so she doesn’t continue the cycle that her mother gave her.

She is a bit disconnected from her kids, but sees it and is working on it.  She is taking responsibility for her actions.  She is starting an authentic dialogue with her husband and children.

Look at Leigh’s blog.  She is sharing what she has learned and helping others.  Good for her!  That’s what we are called to do.  People are really connecting with her honesty.  God, she is using the unworthiness and feeling alone from her childhood to let others know “you are not alone” as adults.  This is beautiful.  This is what you want!  She is reframing her issues as blessings!

No way!  She enrolled at USM- your spirit school? 

Look at her soar.  Leigh is writing her books, enjoying her speaking engagements, and hosting the joy filled show she always knew she would have.  Her light is bubbling out of her and sparkling glitter on the paths of others.  Her husband’s variety show is number one in the nation. 

What God?  It’s time to go?  Wait, what else happens?!?  I’ll be back in 88 years?  You’re right, that really is just a snap of your finger.

You are about to tell me the part that everyone said would freak me out?  What is it?

When I get down there I won’t remember anything, not even this conversation?  This is an outrage, God!  How can you leave me?  Oh right, you’ll be with me all along.  I just wish it didn’t take me 30 some odd years to remember that.

Okay.  Okay.  I’m going. (3 deep breaths)

Here I go.  Don’t push me!  1 2 3

Jump and yell, “I am trailing clouds of glory!!!!!!!”

(contract.  hold.  slowly stand up, open eyes, blink slowly for a bit while looking around, and then cry like a newborn.)

And so it begins…

 

bright light

images-1i did a 10 minute piece the other day for my friend’s stage show.  this is what i said.  i hope you enjoy.

 i’m so honored to be up here with you all tonight.  since i can’t come down and touch each one of you, in a moment could you please turn to the person next to you, touch their shoulder and say, “you are important and i’m glad you’re here.”  then turn to the other side and do the same.  if you are on an end, close your eyes and say to yourself, “i am important and i am glad i’m here”.  okay turn now and do it, “you are important and i’m glad you’re here.  again please.”

imagine with me, if you would for a moment, that we are divine beings having a human experience.  that we come from the universe (a chip off the old block, God) and get into our earthsuit.  while on this planet, we will learn lessons and touch those that need to be touched, then drop our earthsuits, and go back home-  some after a day, some after 101 years.

imagine that you are so special that not one person on this planet, out of 7 billion people, has the same face as you; that not one person out of 7 billion people has the same design on their thumb as you; not one person on this planet thinks exactly like you do.  so everything you look at, write about, say, draw, think, is uniquely yours.  no one can do what you do, exactly the way you do it.

when we come into our suits, we are brilliant bright shining lights.  during our childhood our parents, teachers, friends, society, do what they are supposed to do and start covering up our bright light, so much so, that by the time you grow up, you have forgotten how brilliant you are.  

your earthsuit still houses your unique divine self, but now it is covered with so many layers, you can no longer see the light breaking through.  it is our job as grown ups to peel back the layers from our childhood and to find our true self again. 

one way to start this is to think about what brings you your greatest joy; what makes your heart sing; what do you look forward to doing after work?  whatever that is, it give it attention.  do more of it.  and once you are living in that space, share the joy of it. 

fyg & gyg – find your gift and give your gift. 

if you do… you will be happy.

let that sink in.  think about what brings you joy.  how could you bring more of that into your life?  what would you do differently?  if you knew fyg & gyg would guarantee a happy life and that you may even experience heaven on earth, what steps could you take today to move closer to your passion, your joy, your true self? 

i went to the MAC store the other day.  i was super excited because i just got my 30% off card.  i parked my car and walked into the store.  the only people i saw were to co – workers talking to each other at the front check out desk.  neither of them acknowledged me, so i started browsing the lipstick display and listened to the two gals chatting.  one of the gals was stunning.  she was latino, about 27, with a smokin’ hot body.  it was right around valentines day and she was opening flowers and sharing how, “i’m not sure which guy they are from.”

i said, “hey hot pants, quit talking about all of the men you are making out with and get over here and show me some lipstick!”  she started laughing and came over. we talked a bit about her boyfriends, then she cleaned off a bunch of lipsticks for me to try.  when i was ready to browse on my own i told her, “thank you for your help, now leave me please, i would like to browse on my own.”  she said, “no, i want to stay with you.”  i looked behind her back, towards the makeup counter, and said, “i need to speak to the manager, this employee is harassing me.”  the beautiful mid 30’s and a bit heavier gal said, “i am the manager.  trust me, i know how she can be.”  we all laughed. 

hot pants took me by the hand and said, “come on, i want to show you our new spring line.  i know you’ll love it.” 

we walked up to one of the two displays.  the other display had a woman around 65 – 70 years old with no make up, no eyelashes, no eyebrows, and no hair.  she had her head wrapped in a scarf.  she looked tired and broken.

next to her was a phillipino gal in a nurses uniform.  i don’t know if they were just taking a break from chemo or if that was her private nurse. 

hot pants started brushing my face with some of bright pastel colors.  the scarf lady watched.  when hot pants walked away, i looked at myself in the mirror, then at scarf lady, and said, “do you have cancer?”  she shook her head yes.  “what kind?”  she started telling me about her cancer.  “oh, i am not familiar with that type.  how do they treat it?  chemo?  radiation?”  “both”, she said.  then she started telling me about it.  how long she’s had it, how it came back, and how discouraged she felt.  i asked her what the worse part of it all was and she said how she feels sick after the chemo.  “it really wipes me out and this is the second time around for me.” 

“that sucks”, i said.  “i’m sorry you have to go through this.”  “thanks.”  we just looked at each other, then she said, “ i like your make up.  it looks pretty.”  “thank you!  it does look kinda cute, huh?  can i put some on you? “ “oh no, that’s okay.”  she said

i said, “i want to.  come closer” and pulled her towards me.  i stared putting on some blush, some highlighter, and bronzer.  she just stood still with her eyes closed feeling the touch of the brush.  her chin was lifted in such a way, it seemed as if she had never felt something so soft before.  we stood silent as i painted her face.   after a few moments i said, “wouldn’t it suck if you looked in the mirror and i was really bad at this?”  she laughed.  i finished up and handed her the mirror.  she said, “i like it!  i’ll buy whatever she is buying”.  hot pants was off  pulling the product. 

i put down the brush and she touched my hand and said, “thank you.  you are a beautiful person.”   i said, “thank you.  you are a beautiful person too.”

i walked back to the two sassy gals at the check out counter and bought my make up.   i left the store and as I started up my car, scarf lady walked out.  she waved to me and motioned to roll down the window.  i did. 

she walked over and said, “i am glad i met you.”   “me too.  i love you.” i said and drove away.

i told this story because it reminded me how important it is to connect.  we are not meant to be alone.  we are meant to work together.  to help each other.  we are stronger in numbers.  it also reminded me how much we need to see, to hear and to touch each other. 

so today, when you get up to leave; hug someone, squeeze their shoulder, look them in the eyes,  connect.  and when you are home, look at yourself in a mirror.  try and see through your eyes to catch a glimpse of your shining bright light that is in there, waiting to shine. 

we are not here to play small.  we are not here to be comfortable.  we are here to be brilliant and shine!

and finally i would like to say, “namaste.” 

to me that means, the light and love inside of me sees and honors the light and love inside of you.  

the note

blank-piece-of-paperi was excited to get my manicure / pedicure.  it had been a while since my last one and i looked forward to the foot massage and to listening to one of my required readings for school, dr. wayne dyer’s book wishes fulfilled.

i got comfortable in my seat and requested a paper and pen incase i wanted to jot down thoughts that came to mind while listening to the book. i pushed the play button on my phone and closed my eyes to really focus on what was being said.  every once in a while one of the ladies would tap my leg and i would open my eyes to see what she needed me to do.  the first time i looked up and put my foot in the water, i had eye contact with a woman facing me in another chair.  we just locked eyes for a moment.  there was no courtesy smile when we locked eyes, just a quick look, then her head went right back down to her ipad.  i sensed sadness from her in that brief moment.  the next “accidental” eye lock, i sensed a very deep heaviness from her.  i closed my eyes and tried to focus back on dr. dyer’s words.

i got the final leg tap from the manicurist and i knew my appointment was over.  i paused my book,  got my things together, and since i had a few extra minutes, i decided to sit to allow time for my nails to dry.  when i was ready to go, i noticed that i had not taken one note on my piece of paper. 

then, a thought came clearly to my mind…“write that woman a note and leave it with her when you walk out.”

i almost rolled my eyes at the thought as my heart started to pick up pace.  no way i am leaving a note to that lady that has been giving me unwelcoming looks!  she had a lot going on and i’m not about to put myself in the middle of it.

“write her a note” came back into my mind.  

at this point in my life i am learning that nothing is out of the blue or random.

i did have a piece of paper that i hadn’t used… so, i picked up my pen and wrote,

“you are beautiful.  i hope you have a great day.”

i put the cap on the pen and placed it in my purse.  i looked at the lady and she was focused on her ipad.  my heart started pounding as i took a deep breath and stood up.  i felt like i was about to speak to a crowd.  i walked right up to her and set the note down on the flat part of the armrest where they lay your arm to do your nails.  i saw her begin reading the note and i fast walked out of the door.  i may have run to my car, i’m not sure.  i felt as if i was running out of denny’s after a dine-n-ditch.  i watched the door as i pulled out wondering if she was going to come out and ask why i did that.  she didn’t.  i just drove away.

as much as i wanted to flee, part of me wishes i could have found out what was going on with her or what her thoughts were about what happened.  but that was not how it was supposed to go.

i always say, if you think something nice about someone, tell him or her, especially a stranger.  but i have never said write a stranger a note when something heavy is going on with them, which they have not shared with you.

why had i requested that paper?  was it for what my reasoning brain says it was for- because i might want to take notes?  or was it something more than my human brain was aware of and i really got that piece paper because she needed a note?

i’m not sure i need to know the answer at this point, but i’m glad i listened to the voice in my head, even though it felt uncanny.

 

 

 

 

 

 

fyg & gyg

photo-74we all want to be heard and  we all want to be seen.  we all want to connect and we all want to feel love.

if you will, breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.  do it again.  do it 4 times very slow.  4 seconds in through your nose and 4 seconds out through your mouth.  take a minute for yourself.  you deserve it.  calm your brain.  breathing through your nose taps into a part of the brain that releases a calming affect on the body.  breathing through your mouth taps into the flight or fight part of your brain that quickens your heart rate, causes anxiety and high blood pressure.

you are in control of your brain.  your brain is not in control of you.  i should rephrase that.  you can choose to be in control of your brain, or you can choose for your brain to be in control of you.  breathing stops your brain from spinning- spinning the negative repetitive thoughts that aren’t real, they don’t exist.  they are only thoughts in your head.  you are not a helpless victim to the thoughts that tell you things like…you are not good enough, you are not important enough, you are not skinny enough, you are not smart enough.  the thought that says, “who do you think you are to have it all?”

who are you not to have it all?  you are a child of god.  created in the likeness of god.  you are a bright beautiful light.  we accept and hold onto the labels that people gave us when we were children, the layers that, over the years, cover our greatness.  it’s time to peel back the layers, brush off the labels, and let our light shine.  our beautiful, strong beaming light that is inside of us all.

our body is our earthsuit that houses our true self- our soul, our spirit.   every person is so unique, that no one on this planet is exactly like you and never will be.  no one will ever have your exact fingerprint, your exact voice, your exact nose or face.  no one will ever think exactly like you do.  that is why there is room for everyone to be great.  everyone to be a beautiful writer, painter, speaker, mother, dancer, or doctor.  everyone has a unique perspective on life.

you are here.  you matter.

i believe one of the keys to a happy life is fyg & gyg; find your gift & give your gift.  i believe that finding your gift and using that gift to help others, is why we are on this planet.

there are 2 guys i want to tell you about.  one is wally amos.  he is amos of famous amos cookies.   he began baking for friends as thank yous because he was good at it.  he ended up getting so many orders , he had to quit his job to fulfill all of the orders.  and the cookie company was created.  

ben ortega, a famous artist in santa fe, was a farmer, who woodcarved on the side and donated his work to charity events.  people started ordering so many carvings, that he quit farming to meet the demands of the people.

both men simply shared their gifts, and their path opened up before them.

we have all been given gifts, and it is our responsibility to use them.   we are not supposed to be waiting quietly in line our whole life.  we are not supposed to be sitting in a cubicle of a job we don’t like everyday.

i want to help you find your gift.  here are the 7 steps to help you hone in on why you are on this planet.

7 steps to finding your gift:

1. look at your childhood. 

- what came easy to you?

- what did you do for fun?

- what were you known for or labeled: studious, kind, funny, smart, talkative, a great reader, fat, nerd, loner, a great dancer?

- what did you want to be when you grew up?

2. look at now. 

- what do you love?

- what brings you joy or makes your heart sing?

- what comes easy to you?

- what do you feel completely happy doing at work or on your free time?

-if you could do / be anything without worrying about what other people would think, what would it be?

3. enlist a mentor or friend.

- find a friend that is moving forward in life, someone that is committed to evolving, someone that you trust: to share with you what they see as your strengths and what you would be good at.  someone to guide you on this journey.  you don’t want to pick a best friend or a family member.  you want someone who can be objective and someone choosing happiness.  the last thing you want is to share your heart with an unhappy person.  they will slam you down so fast because you are threatening their stagnate place.

4. take action. 

-move forward.  everyday.  even if it’s a baby step.  if you move towards what you want, eventually you will get there.  no one can stop you from getting what you want, but you. everyone who is successful has taken a risk, stepped out of their comfort zone, and probably even failed.  but you must take action to get what you want.  everyone has great ideas.  the successful people move on those ideas.  they take action.

it’s as easy as saying it out loud in front of someone.  when you do, it is no longer just with you, it has been heard by the universe and another person.  you have already propelled it forward.

5. forget how.

-let go of any preconceived notions of how the end result will come about.  just know that being clear with what you want and moving towards it is enough.  our assistant said, “i want to be a successful stand up.  how will that come about?”  i said, that is not important.  what is important is that you do something every day to get there.  watch someones show on tv.  go to a club and watch a show, then meet the manager.  write a joke and try them out on your friend.  what ever it is, do something every day.”

6. invite god in.

i say this is the most important step in life.  invite god into everything you do.  make space in your brain for him.  when you are walking into an airport, going into a meeting, invite god in,  so you are open to seeing the miracles that come to us every day.  most of us miss them.  invite god in to guiding you while you are on this path for finding your gift.  so that doors may open and when they do, that you may have a clear signs and connections with others to move through the door.  tap into what we already have, the light inside us.  why would you ever walk alone again when we can walk with the greatest force alive.  reminds me of star wars: the force is with you.  it is!  use it.

7. embrace where you are. 

even if you are in a job you hate, if you can’t find a job, if you are bored out of your mind in your mundane life, embrace it.  hating what you are doing is so damaging to your spirit, to  your soul.  if you can’t bring joy into the current space, you must leave.  if you can tolerate your job, bring your joy to your job.  a little everyday.   if it’s impossible, do it when you get home or on your break.  feed your gift.  if you love to sew, sew when you get home at the end of the day.  paint the painting on a saturday afternoon when your kid is napping.  write, exercise, dance, read, share, shop, make jewelry, make a candle, plant a plant.  better yet, help a neighbor plant a plant.  whatever it is you love to do, do it, then share it.

whatever you give attention to will grow.  whatever you give attention to will grow.  understand this to your core.

i am broke….will grow.  i am fat…will grow.  i am tired…will grow.

i am special…will grow.  i am beautiful..will grow.  i am perfect just as i am…will grow.  i am doing what i love…will grow.  i have abundance…will grow.  i am happy…will grow.  i love my husband…will grow.

do what you love even if it’s just a little bit at first.  do what makes your heart smile.  give it attention.  if you do, it will grow and eventually you will be being paid for what you love.  your work will be your love, not a job you have to go to to pay the bills.

i love that about my husband and i.  he is acting and i am connecting with people.  we are doing what we love without figuring out how it will pay the bills, when it will get us the great vacation, when we will get the bigger house, when we will get a new car.  we are doing what we love and sharing our gifts and you can’t help but get rewarded for it.  spiritually , emotionally, and financially.

a little side note for moms:  being a mom is not why you are on this planet.  it is huge, beautiful, and important gift we have been given.  the role of being a mother, is to guide and love your child.  your job on this planet is to give your gift.

one of my favorite quotes:

nothing affects the environment of a child so much as the unlived life of a parent.” – carl jung

i hear mom’s say, “my children are my everything.”  that is an awful lot to put on a child.

take time for yourself. show your children how much you value yourself and how much you love yourself by taking care of you and fulfilling why you are on this planet.

you are a beautiful gift that we are all waiting to open, so we can share in the present of your life.

fyg and gyg.  find your gift and give your gift.  it’s not hard.  it’s why we are here.

say goodbye to feeling alone.  say goodbye to being bored.

say hello to your fullest life.  live abundantLeigh.  live absoluteLeigh

now…whose gift is a great neck massage?  i would like you to share that gift with me, now.

namaste.  the light in me, sees the light in you.  i see you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

flawed and fabulous

flawed-and-fabAt the end of the year, a couple of years ago, I said to my husband, David, “I am proud of who I am becoming, who I am evolving into.  I feel like the hard work is really starting to paying off…but I have this dark secret.”

He took in a slow breath, well aware that I am a wild ass, and he is never quite sure what might come out of my mouth and said, “what’s the secret?”


“I drink too much.” i said.


Dave paused again, then replied, “Honey, that’s not a secret, everyone is well aware.”

I have 2 sides of me. I feel like I am split down the middle. My right side- my flawed side, wants to drink too much and do high kicks followed by the splits, it contains my fear. My left side- my fabulous side, is my connected to the god within me side and is my greatest self.

As I have been connecting more often to the fabulous side of my body; my pure, beautiful, wise, and strong god within side, I am tapping into it easier and clearer then ever before. When people ask me a question, ask me for advice, or even when I share in a casual conversation, something very powerful and impactful comes out, and is usually exactly what the other person needed to hear.  But, when the flawed side of me hears what just came out of the fabulous side, it thinks, “What on earth?  Where the heck did that come from?  I’ve got to write that down before I forget.  That was some profound shit!”.  But, instead of grabbing a pen, I grab a drink, do a high kick to the Sinatra band in the Beverly Hills Polo Lounge, ending in splits on the couch, while at a first time fundraiser gala committee meeting with some high society ladies.  Sigh.

Drinking too much isn’t horrible.  It is not ruining my life.  I am still getting to my exercise class, taking care of my family and being creative. But, it is a struggle and a fear number.

I am compassionate.  I am kind.  I am empathetic.  I am super ballsy.  I like to try everything.  I feel happy when I am uncomfortable because I know something fantastic may happen.  I like to shake things up.  I like to drink (as we’ve established).  I like to dance, with or without my husband.  I like to dress however I feel.  
On facebook I post inspirational posts.  On twitter I put racy things and quick reaction comments.  Sometimes, I am calling people out on their closed minds or some other interesting bullshit.
  I feel torn.

When I look at the people I admire in the inspirational world; Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Maryanne Williamson, or Eckhart Tolle, none of them drink too much in public and bum rush the stage, while grabbing the microphone from the lead singer, when they are Slashes guest at a school fundraiser, and they think it’s makes perfect sense to sing the finale song with Slash, when they don’t even know the words to knock knock knockin’ on heavens door with his band, after they rehearsed together all day, and it’s finally the drummer’s turn to have his solo.  Everything we see in the inspirational gurus life is polished, perfect and wise.
  Is that who I have to become if I want to share my inspiration? Do I have to tweak my wild side to be effective or understood?

Or…does that way of presenting oneself lead to situations like; when the top marriage therapist gets a divorce, we all applauded and crack jokes. Or when the famous life coach has a nervous break down, we roll our eyes and discount the great things they have done. I think this happens because we haven’t seen their vulnerable side. We relate to their teaching and wisdom, but not to them as a person. It’s almost as if when they fail, we feel relieved. They aren’t perfect after all.

I lead an inspirational group called “femspire” (said in a whisper voice) never to be spoken aloud (because the name is so silly, I can’t bring myself to say it louder than “femspire”(said in a whisper voice)).  At a meeting not too long ago, I was sharing something heavy on my heart and tears were flowing.  My neighbor who was there for the first time, waited to talk to me privately after the group was over.  She said, “I had no idea you struggled.  I mean, you always look perfect, you have beautiful kids, a nice house and your husband is in the movies.  I had no idea life was hard for you too.”  I felt like at that moment of being vulnerable together, was when we really connected.

I have been figuring myself out and figuring out why I am on this planet, at this time, in this earthsuit for quite some time.  
I believe that we come from the universe, our souls get housed in these earthsuits, we learn our lessons, and if we are lucky enough, we go back just as we came, with no hair, no teeth, and in diapers.  We go back home.

I read a book called, The Path: Finding Your Life’s Mission.  The book talks about how businesses and corporations always have a mission statement.  Everything they do is supposed to fall under what that mission statement represents.  It says we write mission statements for companies, but we aren’t writing them for our lives.  The book talks about how we are standing in line, doing what we are told, and most of us have no idea why we are even here.  
Part of the book is a workbook that helps you pinpoint your joys and combines that with what you are good at.  By the end of the book, I had my life’s mission: to share my struggles and what I have learned from them in a humorous way, to help other people know they are not alone, and let them know about the joy that is possible on the other side of the heartache. 

I think a key of happiness is to: fyg & gyg. 
find your gift & give your gift.

Maya angelou says: “When you learn, teach, when you get, give.”

I have learned a lot and am ready to teach.  I’ve learned about things like: being grateful for my neglecting mentally ill mother, because she made realize that at the end of the day, all my kids need is me.  I’ve learned about the heartache of infertility, but I’ve also through surrogacy, learned about the miracle of modern medicine.  I’ve learned that being a mother isn’t always what I thought it would be, by having a son that struggles so much, that I had to send him away to get him the help he needed.  But I’ve also learned, that I have a lot of work to do too, I am doing the work right along with him, and our entire family will be better off because of it.

We all have fears that hold us back. We come here magnificent, bright, and beautiful.  And over time we cover our God self with layers that we have picked up along the way: We are not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not rich enough, not smart enough.  We drink too much and we eat too much. Who do I think I am?  I am not good enough to have ____________.
  Soon we don’t see who we are, know why we are here, or even know what brings us joy.  Our veil of fear is keeping us, from not only seeing the beauty all around us, but from seeing our pure beauty within.

One of my favorite fears is perfectionism.  “She can’t do it because she’s a perfectionist, she has to be perfect.”  I think that is the sexiest fear. I am always a little in awe of perfectionists.  “Wow, they must be so good at whatever it is, they can’t even do it, they can’t even start.  How cool!  I wish I was that good at it.  ”
But in reality, it is just another fear.  We all have them.

Marianne Williamson said, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.  Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.  It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.  We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.  We are all meant to shine, as children do.  We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.  It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.  And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.  As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I am brilliant.  So are all of you reading this.  I see and salute the pure beautiful God within you.  And to the fear that holds you back, your flaws, I say look at them, bring awareness to them, but don’t fight them or judge them. They are part of your story. No one else on the entire planet experiences or has the exact same perspective as you.  You are unique, just as you are, flaws and all.

You are also exactly where you are supposed to be, experiencing exactly what you need to be experiencing.  You already have everything you need.  Don’t wait any longer for someone to pick you, pick yourself.  Push start right now on the life you are waiting to live.

As I move forward into the reason why I am on this planet, to share my gift and use it to help others,  I will do so allowing the flawed wild human side to coexist with the fabulous connected to God side.  I will not wait to get it all right.  I will not wait to be perfect.  

And before I log off, could I ask a favor of you?  
If you see me out at a bar, hold your drink up high and let’s cheers to this wonderful life we get to live.

Then, if you wouldn’t mind, would you please remind me to switch to water?

take one foot out of the quicksand

eG04bmh1MTI=_o_quicksand-bunny---hd-preview  i walked into my exercise class the other day and caught eyes with a fellow exerciser.  as i passed her i said, “how are you, hailey?”   she had a sad look on her face when she replied, “not great.”  i was late for class and still needed to use the restroom, so i squeezed her shoulder and said, “sorry to hear that,” and ran out the other door.

i had a great work out and was gathering my purse, sweatshirt, water bottle and towel, when i saw hailey out of the corner of my eye.  i had an overwhelming sense that i needed to talk to her, hug her, and check in.  as i started towards her, 1000 things went through my mind, a few being; i am behind on my emails, i need to write, i have to book that gym class for my daughter, my son charlie wants me to change his plane ticket home for this thursday instead of next week, i am having lunch with a girl to talk about her surrogacy journey and how she is a nervous wreck about- that will eat all of my time before my kids get home from school.  i needed to get home asap to check some things off my ever growing to do list.

hailey had her back to me and didn’t notice that i was  walking towards her, so i b-lined to the exit.  “i probably just saved myself 20 minutes”, i thought as i walked outside.  while reaching into my purse to check my phone (i had to see what crazy super exciting things had happened in the last 60 minutes since class started) and pulling it out, i heard, “hey leigh, where did you park?”  i turned around and it was hailey (of course it was).  i almost felt like i owed her an apology because the sense i had of needing to connect with her was so strong and i b-lined out anyway.  i parked this way,” i responded.  “so did i,” she said (of course she did) and we were off.

i looked down and her sweet face and i could tell she was having a hard time.  “what’s going on?”  her chin started to quiver, “i am still out of work and i can’t find a job, my parents are really struggling and i’m not sure what is going to happen with their marriage, and my boyfriend has his own stuff going on and isn’t there for me right now.  i feel so sad and depressed.  i can’t shake it.”  we stopped walking and i hugged her.

i asked her if she would do something for me (but really for her).  i said, “tomorrow set your alarm 2 minutes earlier than normal.  before your feet hit the ground take 3 long breaths in and out, then say thank you.  say thank you for your parents and their love.  say thank you for all of the years they were together and were there for you.  then say thank you for exactly what is happening with them right now.  this is what should be happening.  ask that wherever this phase takes them, it leads them to happiness, whatever that may look like.  and be grateful.

hailey is a dancer.  she can move her body in ways i can’t (that’s saying a lot because i can still do the splits and a pretty mean high kick).  she had a regular gig as a dancer on a show that got canceled.  i said, “look at your body.  you are strong, you can walk, you can dance, you are flexible and you are healthy.  say thank you for that.  say thank you for the job that ended and thank you for the job that is coming.  and most important, say thank you for this lull in your work, so you no longer take work for granted, but you see the gift of the jobs you’ve had.

having breaks in our life, just like this, are perfect for us.  they help us remember what is important.  they help us remember to reach out and ask for help.  and they help us remember to be grateful.  work will come again and you will look at it like you never have before because you have had this break.

“regarding your boyfriend, be there for him.  give of yourself to him.  when you love and support him, you will be feeding love and support to yourself.

as she explained to me about feeling so sad and overwhelmed, i shared that she is standing in quicksand up to her calves.  “it’s okay to be sad.  it’s okay to feel down, just don’t stay there too long or you will keep sinking.  take one foot out of the quicksand and put it on solid ground (you can start this by saying thank you).  don’t run away from the quicksand or you will go further in.  look at it.  touch it with your hand.  pick some of it up and hold it.  how does it feel?  what about it bothers you?  what does it trigger inside of you?

start there.  whatever your problem or stress is, pull one foot out.  hold the stress in your hand, look at it, touch it, and shape it.  being aware of it, while looking at yourself in it, are the keys to moving out of it.  it is only showing up in your life, at this moment, to teach you.

the thing that is bothering you is about you, not the other person or situation. it is a gift to show you that you have some work to do.  don’t walk around it.  don’t try and run.  be in it and gently pull one foot out.

things happen to us in life, good and bad.  they are both equal to why we are here.  the good is the break from learning and the reward from learning.

the part i like about the bad is if you learn from it, it becomes the meat of who we are.  our core self gets stronger when we learn from the struggle and don’t just become a victim or run.  our struggles are, in the end, our greatest gifts.

if you learn the lesson that is before you, that struggle will go.  if you don’t, it will come back again and again and again.

the struggle is the teacher.  you are the student.  whether you learn from it or not is your call.   if you don’t, you will repeat that class or grade over and over and over.  if you learn from the struggle or the teacher, they will leave.  their job is done and you will move forward.  marriage is a great example of this.  if it gets too hard or feels too big, some people divorce.  but the same issues will come up in the next relationship.  then you either divorce again or you figure out what is it that is triggering you from the relationship and work on understanding that part of you and healing.  it’s not a bad thing.  don’t judge your struggles.  embrace them.

our souls are housed in earthsuits on this giant world classroom / playground.  we will not be here long- 2 days? 8 years? 33 years? maybe 100, if we are lucky.

own your life.  learn your lessons.  i am getting close to the point of saying, “thank you” when i feel broken because i know there is good coming just around the corner.  i am beginning to celebrate the struggle.

motherLeigh

me and my boy

mother

1. dictionary definition:  noun a female parent.

2. one woman’s definition:  We make sacrifices, we love our kids. We do our best to raise our children to grown into good, moral adults.  We cook, clean, work, run a household, help with homework. Kiss a boo-boo. Read bedtime stories, take them to the dentist, doctor and library.  We stay up late when they are sick. We wake up in the middle of the night to calm them after a bad dream.  We strive to give them every opportunity that we did not have.

3. my definition of mother is continually evolving.

-events happen in our lives that redefine and reshape who we are as people and who we are as mothers.

my son charlie has some struggles.  his brain is layered with what i think is bipolar or possibly aspergers, add, ocd, and learning differences to name a few.  he has an extra blanket of heaviness that most mothers and children won’t ever know.  a math problem, reading a persons face to see if they are joking or serious, or trying to coordinate his body in a way to throw the football, can take charlie’s brain 10 steps when ours takes 1.  he has to sort out every move he makes through a criss-crossed filter.

you wouldn’t know he had these struggles just by looking at him.  he is a tall, handsome, kindhearted boy.  charlie would keep it together at school, for the tutor, and for the doctors.  but what he was tightly holding together all day, would explode when he got home over almost nothing.  i felt like we were walking on egg shells.  he was like a bubbling volcano that would fiercely erupt over the smallest thing .   as charlie got bigger, so did the explosions.  i could no longer restrain him when needed and it was scary for the other kids.  he always calmed down quickly and apologized, but the damage was done.  going to a therapist once a week didn’t touch that part of charlie.

the day charlie left:

it’s hard to describe how i felt when charlie left for boarding school.  one way to put it is; my heart, my bones, my entire being, were brokenly devastated.  i felt like i couldn’t breathe.

i had worked so hard for so long as if carrying charlie around on a heavy tray.  constantly knocking on doors to keep him happy, to keep him afloat, to get him in the right school, and to find the best of the best in everything; occupational therapist, psychiatrist, psychologist, eye-exercise doctor (whatever that guy was called), neurologist, speech therapist, school,  tutors, friends, church, sports, hobbies, music…anything to help him figure his life out.

it felt like someone had died the day he left.  maybe someone did die.  maybe i was in mourning.  maybe the specific hope i had for my son for 13 years died.  maybe on the day i set the tray down, i realized no matter how hard i worked or how hard i tried, i wasn’t enough.

when i set down the tray, i was placing charlie at God’s feet; to let him rise on his own, to figure out who he is in this world and how to live in it.

being forced into a situation that you never dreamt you would be in and stepping out of the role you had in mind your entire life about who a mother is, is like having the foundation you were firmly standing on break apart and you can’t quite get your footing.

keeping charlie at home with the explosive outbursts that were occurring daily would have been a disservice to my other children, my marriage, but most importantly to charlie.  he needed more help than we could give.  if i buried my head and didn’t get my son the help he needed, the help that would change his life, i wasn’t doing my job as his mother.

the first few weeks charlie was gone were beyond hard.  but, as charlie settles in, i am already blown away that he is playing chess, cooking meals, starting lacrosse , serving at a homeless shelter, and doing his own laundry!  he is working for every privilege he wants.  it is a far cry from video games and incessant 7-11 visits that were going down in my house.

best of all, he is learning who he is and how he is wired.  he is learning to see how his brain feels when he gets stuck and how to take the control back.  he is finding his strengths, his worth and building on them.

although i still sometimes cry when someone asks me how charlie is or how i could send my son away, i am starting to truly realize what a gift it is.  how he needed more than dave and i could give him, so we gave him more.  i am a mother redefining what my small mind thinks i should be and becoming who my all of my kids need me to be.

so with charlie settling at boarding school and the 13-year-old heavy tray on the ground, my arms are wide open.  i am ready to hug, love, and focus on my four kids that have missed part of me for their entire lives.  this will be the first time they will be parented by a mother who isn’t 80% saturated with helping, stressing over, and struggling with charlie.  i am seeing each child anew.  watching them blossom into who they are with a little extra nourishment from dave and me.

this is all a gift.  a heartbreaking, exhausting, life changing, beautiful gift.

i saw this quote recently and my favorite part was the word everything.

“Develop an attitude of gratitude and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step towards achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” ~ Brian Tracy

i am finding my most beautiful, pure, connected to God self, through my struggle.

my prayer today:

dear god, today i see your miracles.  today i feel your love.  keep bringing me exactly what i need to learn the lessons i am here to learn, regardless of how painful they feel.  i know that is when you are teaching me the most.  today i am grateful we can get our son the help he needs and grateful i can focus on the other kids that need me too.  amen.

may our hearts be broken so they may grow bigger and be more open than we ever imagined.

my new definition: motherLeigh- a malleable foundation of love that holds no boundaries of what it is supposed to be.

may we fill our kids full of love and provide a complete toolbox they can carry with them the day they walk out our door.

 

 

 

 

a work in progress

images 11.24.32 PMmy mom was in bed most of my life.  not sure why, but i think it was because she is bipolar and was never diagnosed or treated.  she didn’t hold me, brush my hair, make me dinner, or attend my events, etc. growing up.

my father’s parents both died without ever once telling him they loved him.

my dad told me when he had his first child, my sister amy, he vowed that a night wouldn’t go by without saying, “i love you” to her and each of his kids thereafter.  even though at first he felt silly and didn’t quite know what to do, he did it anyway.  it became his new normal.  he made the choice to break the cycle he knew and to connect instead.

having intimate connecting relationships has been a struggle for me most of my life- with girlfriends and boyfriends.  i have always had lots of “friends” and boyfriends, but rarely let anyone in to the core of me.  if the relationship got too real, too close, too near the vulnerable place i had hidden, i would run like the wind or find a reason to end it.  i liked people brushing the surface of my earthsuit, but not getting close to what i had buried in there.  looking back i think that stemmed from growing up feeling alone and like i didn’t matter.  that is how i interpreted my mothers disconnect.

today i am married with 5 kids.

when i met dave, i went into therapy because i knew this was my man and i didn’t want to lose him, but i didn’t know what the heck to do with him.  i couldn’t keep starting fights and pushing him away, then expect him to stay.  at therapist’s office, i worked my ass off.  i had never been to one before.  i started figuring out what caused my pain.  i started dealing with it and healing with it.  because of the work done in that office, i am still married.  i wouldn’t be able to otherwise, i didn’t know how to do it.

i am still working on me.  when my daughter says, “come lay with me.” and i say, “in a minute,” and then go too late and she is asleep, i honestly feel a tiny bit relieved because i can get my mommy night side work done faster and get to sleep myself.

tonight she said, “come lay with me” and i said, “one minute” and she stomped her foot, yelled something and slammed her door.  i thought, ‘i will not reward that behavior and lay with her now,  i’ll facebook instead.’  i opened my computer and started writing a post then i thought, that is probably what i would have done if my mom were listening and i were unable to say, “mom, i really need you right now.  i don’t know how to say it, so i am going to stop off and slam my door and hopefully you’ll figure out i’m hurting.”

i closed my computer and went into her room.  she was lying on the very end of her bed.  when i laid down by her she didn’t budge.  i angled myself just so, so i wouldn’t fall off the bed, and put my arms around her.  i felt a tear drip off her chin onto my arm.  i didn’t say anything except, “it’s okay.  i am here.  i love you.”  as she fell asleep i thought, how great it would have been to hear that from my mom, if even if for one night.

it is amazing to be present, to push past our comfort zone, to reach out when we don’t exactly know how.  it is in that vulnerable space that we become who we are created to be.

be the change you wanted to see in your childhood.  use the pain to propel you into awakening.  use the hurt as a blessing by learn the lessons that you were shown to you, not by repeating them.

today i am grateful for everything about my mother.  i have an awareness of what is important in life because of her.  i have learned how if you do nothing, you get nothing.  and that you must work hard for the things that matter and give of yourself to others,  heart and all, then you can’t help but be truly blessed.

lift the veil of fear that is holding you back from your greatness.  it’s time!

death letter

i went to new york with dave a few weeks ago.  i was so excited to be going away with just him.  like all marriages, we have  many stresses.  one of them is, we have different views on how to handle the kids.  we have 5 kids so there are constantly situations to disagree over.  when you add that on top of money, work, dinner, laundry, homework, practices, lack of sleep, lack of sex, etc, a getaway with just the two of us is just what the doctor ordered-my mind doctor anyway.  every time i go on one of these getaways with dave, i remember how much i love him and how much i enjoy being with him.

i was sharing all of this with a friend before the trip and at the end of my monologue, she said, “you both are going on a plane at the same time?”  i said, “yes.”  she said, “what if the plane crashes and the kids are left with no parents?”  i thought for a moment then said, “then that would be part their story.  their parents died in a plane crash and their surrogate parents loved and raised them. and maybe they could help other people deal with their pain one day.” she looked at me like she was waiting for me to laugh, then she made a worried about me face.  

i don’t live in fear.  i live my life knowing that when i die, it was my time to return to the place where i came from.  i am very aware that we have a limited amount time on this planet.  i have recently noticed that, if i get to live a full life, i am more than ½ way through this journey because my earthsuit has started to shrivel. 

when my friend left that day, i thought about her comment.  i believe that there are no throwaways.  There are no coincidences.  every single interaction in our life, in our day, in our minute is specific to what we are to learn and / or work through while we are on this planet.  when you know this, you won’t believe all the gifts that are given to you everyday.  it’s awesome!  i knew i was supposed to hear that comment in that conversation and the gift of it was lurking around somewhere, but not clear to me.  i closed my eyes and thought about it.  what was the gift? 

i am not afraid to die.  i think it will be glorious when i return home.  i do get sad thinking about the kid’s heartache of me not being with them.  i think about how i would be so bummed if i didn’t get to tell them what life lessons i have learned, encouraged them to find their gifts and share them with others, to love themselves so fully because they are perfectly imperfect just the way they are.  to choose friends and partners that are kind to their heart.  to have fun, dance, act silly, talk to strangers, and be different!  create a dream life for themselves and take a step everyday to making that dream a reality.  ah ha, that is the gift- to write them a letter now, incase i die unexpectedly, that says all of the super important things from my heart to fill theirs for life.  how exciting!  while i am still here, i can work on the things that would sadden me the most if i were gone.  i can give my kids that gift regardless if i live to be 100 or not.  (i hope not, because i don’t want to end up in diapers.  i am thinking 88 sounds good.) 

what to write? 

i want to tell them each what they mean to me.  what i see in them that is special. 

i want to explain who i was and why i acted the way i did at times.  i want them to know i know i wasn’t the best mom, but i worked everyday on myself so i could show up with less baggage and more love. 

i want to tell them a little bit about how i think the world works; how hard work and perseverance pay off.  if you move everyday towards what you want, eventually you will get there. 

how heartache and struggle are gifts because when your heart is broken, it is able to expand bigger and in more directions than you ever imagined.  the more open your heart is, the more understanding and forgiving you are, the more amazing and blessed your life will be.

i want my kids to know that they should never settle.  they should find their joy, what makes them happy, what makes them feel good and move in that direction.  study in school, create the position, and get the job in the area that interests their mind and their heart. 

when you give you get. 

wyg then gyg.  figure out what’s your gift, then give your gift. 

love and give without expecting anything back.  don’t keep tabs.  the past does not exist.  it is only a memory.  don’t not let it hold you back today, use it as a gift to guide you to what you like and what you want to change.

oh this is so exciting! 

in california they give you a list of things you should have incase there is an earthquake: water, non-perishable food, flashlight, portable battery operated radio, first aid kit, and a fire extinguisher.  do i want an earthquake to happen?  no.  could i be prepared just in case?  yes. 

maybe there should be a just incase early death supply list: wills in place, how you want to handle a possible life support situation, death letters written, maybe a note stating what you would want to be buried in (today mine might include a tutu and pearls.) 

death is something we all have in common.  it is just the final chapter of our story on earth.  i tell my kids from time to time that when i die, my spirit is out of this earthsuit and that i am free to move about.  they can think about me and talk to me because i will always be with them.  and when they have done their time here, i will be waiting for them. 

i find that comforting.  i think it melts away the fear and devastation a bit. 

so i am off to write my death letters to tuck away for my sweet sweet children.  hopefully they are reading them as they close the casket over my 88-year-old tutu wearing well-worn earthsuit.      

namaste.  the light in me sees and honors the light in you.  

 

 

 

Keeping on your path while parenting

I am a big fan of, Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist.  I am starting with one of my favorite quotes from him and ending with one I like as well.      

Carl Jung wrote- “The greatest burden a child must bear is the unlived life of the parents.”

 Often moms lose themselves when we have kids.  Not by a conscious choice, we do it out of love.  We put our lives on hold to focus solely on the life of our child.  Although it seems a noble thing to do, it is a lot of pressure to put on that child and after the 18 year run, the empty nest syndrome can be devastating.    

I have a visual that helps describe how I see parenting.  I picture myself on a wide path walking forward.  Next to me on both sides are paths that look narrower (unless you are actually walking on them and then they appear larger.)  I am moving forward on my path.  Sometimes there are one or two paths beside me, sometimes I can barely see any path near me, and right now there are 6 separate paths merging with mine.  They are the paths of my husband and children.    

I am clear that my main purpose on this planet is to live and learn the lessons that are being presented to me.  These lessons are the evolution of my soul/spirit.  Our souls are housed in our earth suits for a short time, but I believe they will live on forever.    

Although I am here for my journey, part of my journey now is sharing, learning, teaching, and loving these six other people while they are moving forward on their own paths.  I have not lost myself or forgotten my purpose here, our paths are simply intertwined.    

I have been blessed with a child that has what my mom has but was never diagnosed- Bipolar.  He was diagnosed, has a great team of doctors helping us figure it out and will have a healthy and abundant life.  Through this journey with my son, I was able to see clearly the sadness of my childhood- being raised by an absent mother that wasn’t physically absent.  My son is a gift for me in loving, learning and healing.    

I have been blessed with a daughter that is a lady and has a pure heart.  I am a bit rough around the edges and was a tomboy.  She is teaching me to be soft and quiet.  I am teaching her to be a warrior.    

I have been blessed with a son who has a tender heart and really thrives with calmness and attention.  So when I want to yell or disconnect, like I was taught, my son draws me in and shows me what a richer choice it is to connect.  

I have been blessed with a daughter who is like me.  She is strong, fearless, and thinks she has to do it all by herself.  I get to encourage her fierceness, while not leaving her to do it alone.    

I have been blessed with a daughter that is a miracle.  She was supposed to be severely retarded.  The doctor’s encouraged termination.  She taught me incredible lessons before she was even born: to accept other people’s decisions, even if they differ from mine, to always rely on God, and know no matter what happens, it will turn out okay or usually better than okay.    

Finally, I am walking next to a man that is a gift.  The man that without, none of this would be.  I am flawed.  He is flawed.  But instead of seeing the flaws, we try and see the beauty.  The things that trigger me, regarding him, are things I need to work on.  And work on in a safe place where I can do it wrong and he isn’t going anywhere.  We get beat up a bit in the trying, but stronger with each battle we face, figure out, see and then release.  I have been blessed with a man of integrity, a man of his word, a loyal man, a many with a kind heart.  I really don’t think I can ask for more.  Although our bank account is tight at the moment, I have never felt richer.    

With these realizations, it is clear to me that I must move forward seeking out the lessons I am here to learn.  I must move forward in honing in on my passions, following them, striving for them, and giving them attention- because whatever we give attention to grows.    

I must show my children how to fulfill the life of their dreams.  I must show them how important it is to take care of your self, to love yourself, to feed your heart and soul.  When you are so full of love, compassion, and kindness for yourself, it will bubble over and bubble bomb the people around you.    

Fill your cup let it over flow.  Fill your cup let it over flow.  Fill your cup let it over flow.  Let it over flow with love. (Sung in a camp fire kind of way)      

Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.  -Carl Jung