Pausing Point

Forced slow downs are hard to navigate. Life is busy and there are always distractions and we get used to the constant on the go. Yet here we are, in the middle of a pandemic and it’s as if the Universe decided we need to stop the madness and learn to be still. As a doer, this is very hard for me. I miss my work, I miss my gym, I miss my students, I miss random Target trips, I miss meeting friends for drinks, I miss normal. 

The first couple of days I felt truly despondent. I cried. I sat on my couch in a surreal headspace watching stupid TV to numb my anxiety brain. Going to the gym to deal with my anxiety was no longer an option. I have never wanted to go to work so badly in my life. However, not being able to go to work made me realize how much I love what I do and how much my students mean to me. I appreciate my work so much more now than I ever have before. 

It’s the end of the first week and I still don’t know what life is going to look like from day to day but I have decided to focus on the things I can do now instead of the things I can’t do. I can lay on the couch and watch stupid TV if I want to. I can spend unscheduled time with my daughter for the first time since I went back to work almost seven years ago. I can read to her and she can stay up a little late and it doesn’t really matter. I can spend hours in the woods, even if it’s raining, just walking and breathing in the fresh air with no time restrictions of any kind. I can finish all the little odds and ends projects that I’ve needed to do for months but have been too busy or exhausted from the busy to do. I can read books and articles that I’ve been meaning to for ages. I can FaceTime my sister in Oregon because, despite the time difference, we’re finally home and unbusy at the same time  for the first time since she moved there a year ago. I can lay in bed and listen to music for as long as I want. I can sit on my back deck and enjoy the beautiful view. I can enjoy relaxed, quality time with the people in my very tiny quarantine circle. I can sit quietly by myself and just be. 

At work, at the end of learning units, we have days that we refer to as pausing points. It’s a day where there’s not as much pressure to teach a specific concept. Rather, everyone relaxes a bit and reviews what they have been learning together as a class. In a way, it feels as though life has given us a giant pausing point. Time to think, time to breath, time to reconnect, time to be present without so many distractions. It’s not something any of us were expecting or something we ever wanted in quite this way but we can do our best to navigate these moments with grace, kindness, compassion, gratitude and courage. 

“Take some time to laugh … play … stumble … and fall. When you can harness the opportunity within the challenge and the perfection within the mistake, you have tapped into a creative flow that brings about inspiration, humor, and grace.”

– A. Kubitsky

Lessons in Brokenness and Beauty

These past two years have brought a lot of changes, a lot of emotional ups and downs, mental and emotional challenges that sometimes seemed insurmountable. Here on the other side now though, I have come to deeper understanding of what it means to live alive, to live without limits, and I have found that there is such beauty, strength, and peace here on the other side. There’s no such things as a “waste of time,” rather every moment becomes a part of you, a part of your story, your journey. If you allow it to, it will give you new depth, soften your hard edges, allow you to see what truly matters, and fill your heart with gratitude – All things work as they should.

Here are some of the things that I have written and learned along this journey …

2013 

You let yourself be vulnerable

And now your scared
Let it go
Quiet your spinning mind
And just trust
If one door closes, it was meant too
Another one will open
Be Brave
Know your worth
Ignore those who don’t
You are worth so much more
You are beautiful


It was all I ever wanted until it wasn’t anymore
Decided to take a leap of faith or insanity, I’m not sure
The thrill intoxicating, went straight to my head
The fire that was burning, demanding to be fed
Reaching for the unknown
Standing on unsteady feet
There’s courage in this uncertainty
Cause freedom is never free
I will stand my ground
Face my demons down
Find the courage I’ve been lacking
Even if my heart is breaking

I’m falling apart at the seams

My heart just keeps taking these hits
And I wonder how long I can go
With a heart wide open
Ever hopeful, I keep pressing on
But it seems so misguided these days
And I am constantly fighting the pain
Of giving so much of myself
Just to find this emptiness
I believe in love
It’s the very essence of all I am
Yet here I am doubting myself
Doubting the value of what I give
Stretched to the point of no return
I keep landing on my face
I know there is beauty to be found
I just can’t see it right now
My vision is so clouded with doubt
Where do I go from here?

Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.
― Eckhart Tolle
2014

And she changed and she grew

Through the storms and the pain
She learned she was braver
Than she once knew
And she started to regain
Her place in this world
Finding a new life amidst the rubble
Of what was once her normal

“Sisu is a word that has no direct translation, but it refers to the idea of continuing to act even in the face of repeated failures and extreme odds. It is a way of living life by displaying perseverance even when you have reached the end of your mental and physical capacities”

2015

HAVE COURAGE & BE KIND

This is not a story of waste and loss, this is a story of something beautiful that you have done …

You gave that person your best and that’s all you can do.
The sacrifice makes it sacred. The cost makes it a holy act.
All the heartache becomes a sacred act of worship.
 — Rob Bell

Life is a balancing act of Fiercely holding on and gently letting go

Sometimes you just get broken and it sucks it really does. Moving forward feels like you’re struggling through deep mud, but above the sun is still shining and you hear the birds chirping and this keeps that tiny spark of hope inside of you alive. Your emotions are on roller coaster mode, anger, laughter, and tears keep arriving in a surprising succession. Your heart feels like the heaviest object you’ve ever carried. It doesn’t make sense and it probably never will but someday it won’t matter if it makes sense, it will just be. You know that giving up is just not an option so you force yourself to steady your aching heart and racing mind and keep pushing past all that appears to be waste, holding on to the lesson you’ve learned time and again, nothing is ever a waste.
There is always a purpose in the chaos.

Clinging tightly holds you back from the possibility of what could be   …

To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees – these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude and grace.
– Brene Brown

Keep your eyes forward and your heart grateful, happiness will follow, I promise.

Always extend your self in love and in friendship because when you need it the most, it will come right back around to you in the most beautiful and unexpected ways. People are worth your heart and your time, that’s the real purpose of life. Community & Connection, We Belong to Each other.

“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

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The Next Chapter Begins

It was a wonderful Summer. Madi and I spent days and days by the Ocean with friends and family. We soaked up the Sun, we had lots of Ice Coffee/Juice, Donuts, and Ice Cream. I personally have so many great memories of back decks and beers/Sangria. Summer 2013 officially rocked!

Now here we are in September. I was apprehensive but excited at the same time as we approached this new chapter in our life and stepped off into a great unknown – Full time work for me and back to school for Madison. We have had a great ride Miss Madi and I; full of ups and downs for sure but full of so much more love and joy than I could have possibly imagined before I had my little beauty.

The first day …  

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And we didn’t cry a single tear    … talk about Growth!! We both had a wonderful day and we were both excited about our new adventure and we both wanted to go back the next day.

Life is full of seemingly small, but rather large Miracles.

We also thought it would be fun to take pictures of each other, I’m rather impressed by her camera skills but then again, she hasn’t met a touch screen she doesn’t know how to handle!

And so here we are our second week in and now I have school to add to my schedule and today at one point I started to feel like maybe I overestimated my ability to take on so much all at once and then I realized that I have to live what I preach – It’s All About Your Attitude!

ImageThe challenges are always great, but “If we are growing, we are always going to be outside our comfort zone.” * I was exhausted during class, but I made it and then I did one of my favorite things, blasted my music, windows rolled down, and enjoyed the beautiful night drive. I came home energized and feeling alive! Life is Good, your life is good too,  you just have to realize it, embrace it, and live alive.

And breath in the quiet moments that are ours to enjoy like I did on my short lunch break in the Woods … Embrace the Moment, Live Alive.

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 “She didn’t Talk About It, She did It!”

Wishing You Love, Peace, & Joy Always,

Leah 🙂

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*John Maxwell