Saturday, January 2, 2016

the lesson I learned in 2015

If I asked you to name one eye-opening experience you had in 2015 what would you say?

I'm not talking about anything big and mind-blowing or profoundly wise.

I'm just asking for one of those tiny, slivers of light. One of those moments when you're in the middle of putting your groceries away or driving alone in the car, and you tilt you head, blink and think,

"Oh yeah. That's it,"

Oprah calls this the "aha moment."

A light-bulb moment when suddenly those messy pieces of your life coalesce into something solid and meaningful. So that later after the dust settles you think of it as a little burst of truth falling into your path.

I don't know what your aha moment ended up being about this past year---but I bet it involved some kind of struggle or discomfort because I’ve discovered that we tend to earn these aha moments.

I sure feel like I earned mine.

This past September I embarked on a 10 week personal challenge which I shared on my blog. Believe me; I never planned on learning any life lesson, at the time I had simply said yes to an idea that seemed utterly fascinating to me.

I never realized how much I would struggle my way through the next several weeks. And I mean really struggle as I reacquainted myself with some old insecurities that suddenly popped up again. Yes, right when you think you’re so together—Life serves you a chunky slice of humble pie.

Sigh. This is what’s so interesting about life’s little lessons; it's all so damn personal. What might be a source of incredible struggle for me might be a piece of cake for you and vice versa, because we all operate from our own unique comfort zone.


After it was all over we each stood in front of  a room of family and friends that had gathered for our graduation and we got to share a few words. Only I didn't plan my words beforehand, otherwise I might have shared what it felt like to be the oldest person in my class ---with the least amount of knowledge and experience in the subject. As you can imagine, feeling old and ignorant is not a combo that fuels one's confidence.

But that's not my point.

The reason I wish I had shared how absolutely overwhelmed I felt at various points in my training was because of the crowd. When I looked around the room I saw so many middle aged faces. Faces of mothers and grandmothers with crinkly smile lines and men with gray speckled hairlines who were cheering on their daughters or grandson without considering that it could be them standing next to all of us.

I wanted them to know the same euphoric relief and happiness I had at having accomplished something I didn’t know I could do.

And that's really the purpose of sharing my vulnerable parts with you; after something good gets accomplished it feels important to remind you that,

"Hey, if I can do it, believe me, you can do it too."

And I'm so serious about that.

I'm not talking about yoga right now. The teacher training was my thing. I'm talking about that something in your life that you've been thinking about doing.  Maybe a new endeavor, only you don't know how it might turn out. It feels like a risk and maybe you'll fail. So instead you stay right there, inside your comfort zone waiting.

I actually remember having my little aha moment while I was sitting next to all my fellow classmates in front of the long, mirrored wall of our yoga studio waiting to receive my certificate.

See what I mean? This is so simple I’m almost embarrassed that it seemed like such an epiphany.

But in the end, this is what my experience had felt like. There had been so many moments when I honestly didn’t” know” if I was going to be able to complete my requirements ---and for a classic Type A personality in my old college classroom --THIS acknowledgement alone was stunning to admit. But truly, it always felt like I was barely hanging in there until… well, (drum roll please)  until The Very Last Day.

I’m not sure why it feels so comforting to view a difficult challenge this way. But it does. I seriously want to walk around and grab strangers by their shoulders and while they stammer and try to pull away I want to blurt out:

Look. You don’t have to be perfectly sure. About anything. You don’t need to ‘know’ 100 percent of the time that it will work out. You just have to believe it more times than you doubt it. Work hard no matter how discouraged you might get.  And really. Just keep moving forward one teetering baby step at a time.

 And you’ll get there. I swear. Because this actually worked for me.

So my dear, smart, talented friend, (if you’re a reader of this blog these are your unquestionable qualities) this year I hope you find something that truly challenges you. I encourage you really think about. Try something new and maybe even a little scary.

 Yes, something you’re not even sure you can do.

Because you deserve to feel proud of yourself.



the light in me sees the light in you,



I'm sharing this post with these friends:


Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

You are such a lovely, inspiring woman, Leslie. I want to keep challenging myself, even if it is small little baby steps. Hope you have a wonderful 2016! xo

michele said...

gorgeous thoughtfulness here, leslie. getting out of our comfort zone is what we must do to grow, and i love growing! i have been on quite an adventure and am quite happy to see 2015 go by. the spiritual journey has been rich, messy, challenging, beautiful, and life changing. i'm in the throes and loving it though i wish i had more stamina! i turn 50 in a couple weeks so at least i'll be able to blame the exhaustion on being in my 50s (i intend to milk that a lot). the renovations keep moving along, though never fast enough and never seamlessly. i am dying to work on my studio/guest room so i can get painting again. i do squeeze in there to write music and play piano, but it remains a disaster until higher priority projects are complete. love to you!

Blondie's Journal said...

Oh, gosh...I'm crying...really big crocodile tears. If I have typos, well, F***it. I have a huge goal which I've felt has been almost looming over me. How can that be when it's something I've chosen to do...dreamed about? Something I thought I could do? The fear of failure is so profound I hesitate to start as it feels like a road to disappointment and defeat rather than one of success and happiness. Foresight at its worst. Still, your words help me, point me in the right, if not difficult and very scary direction.

I know this is the time to push myself--your words haven't made me feel like crazy moving on tomorrow...wouldn't that be great? But you have certainly and most definitely given me hope. And I love you for that, Leslie. You and your blog have been such comfort and inspiration.

So much gratifying love to you. Happy 2016!

Jane x

Stonecropsister said...

Hi Leslie,
I loved this post. I hadn't really stopped to think about an aha moment for 2015. I think I realized one day that home was a refuge again, and it has been many years since I've felt this way. So now I try and cherish this. I would like to think that 2016 will be a big year of courage and self confidence. Dare to dream, figure out how to do the dream, then go do it. Not very eloquently put, but that's the premise I am aiming for in 2016. There are some great women out there on these blogs, and I am very interested to see what their journey's will be like. Especially yours, Leslie, for the year ahead. xx Nancy

Art and Sand said...

I needed this post.

My children keep asking me what I am doing with my blog and my Instagram account. They keep encouraging me to take it to the next step - make things, sell them, or at least do more. It's not that they are pushing me to work, but they believe in my creativity and want me to expand my opportunities.

For starters, I have organized a little class for bookmaking at my house this month. It will be small, but a start to what might or might not be my next step.

Thanks for the encouragement to give it a try.

Veronica Roth said...

Happy New Year Leslie and all the best to you and your family in 2016. I'm glad you took time to reflect on the last year. I think it's a most important thing to do. For me, after the most difficult and challenging year of my whole entire life that 2014 was, I chose the word "ameliorate" to guide my 2015. I must say that it worked. Just very small increments of better-ness and no profound changes. I needed to take the year to heal and recover from the life-threatening drama that was 2014, and I have. I chose the word "action" for 2016 because I think I'm ready. By the way, that Henry Ford quote is on my art table guiding me. Has been for about a million years (marginal exaggeration). Big hugs for me to you :D

Karen said...

I found my aha moment when I returned to the corporate work would after 20+ years as a stay at home mom. I was sure everyone, including the person that hired me, would discover I hadn't kept up with computer skills and had more questions than answers, and ultimately, I'd be asked to leave. That hasn't happened, phew, and after 10 years, I believe I've learned more than I ever expected and that I lend value to my company. I never want to stop learning, it feels so good and makes me happy.
I'm so happy for your journey and accomplishment with your yoga---I remember your posts and honestly thought I'd have chickened out. :-)
The first quote is one of my all-time favorites---words of truth.
Happy 2016.

Carla from The River said...

Hi Leslie,
My husband and I sat down this very morning talking about me taking a step towards a new goal of mine this 2016! I am planning to do a flower farm internship this Spring/Summer. It is 6 hours away from my family. Sometimes I get torn about leaving them for four months, but I know this deep down - I want to do this!

Thank you for the inspiration.

Gypsy Heart said...

Good for you! I haven't given any thought to what my "aha moment" might be for 2015...just so glad it's over. It was a very stressful year for many reasons. I'm ready for 2016 and expecting a wonderful 12 months! I'm currently trying to decide what I will do for me this year as well as how I can give to others, to make a positive difference.

Thank you for sharing and wishing you a very Happy New Year!


Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


I have no idea how I even managed to find your blog in the millions of blogs out there but ever since I discovered you my life has changed. You and your messages always cause me to stop, think and reflect. I feel as if you are a guiding light for me and I LOVE everything that I have learned visiting you.

I am so proud of you and your teacher training certificate, I felt as if I walked alongside you when you shared each post and experience.

It is strange because as we age, with years of experience and wisdom, often time we or at least I feel like I am not supposed to want to start or try anything new. You have showed me that ANYTHING is within REACH, if only we give it a try.

Thank you Leslie, for being a beacon of hope, a font of wisdom, and a wonderful friend!

I am so looking forward to 2016!

xo Elizabeth

Lori said...

The saying goes with age comes wisdom and I think I realized the true meaning of that last year. Was it turning 50 ~ I am not sure... but I am saying what is on my mind to more people instead of holding onto my tongue. I still have a filter ~ I did not turn into a total b*tch but I am tired of walking across egg shells for certain people. I think my aha moment is when I said enough is enough ~ I am done with the drama and do not need this stress in my life. It was like a weight lifted from my shoulders. Now this year will be time to accomplish things that I want to do ~ do things for ME and no one else. Others may benefit from what I do but being the person that says yes because it is what I *should* do ~ not this year. I love coming here ~ you inspire me to think. Lori xoxo

Unknown said...

Thanks, I needed that.


Sheepskinsandfairylights said...

Aaaaahhhh Leslie, you did it and I think you're going to keep on doing it. Those aha moments, I hope they come my way as I return to study this year.
Wishes for a Happy New Year, kind to all, Xxx

melissa@joyineveryseason said...

Oh, this is awesome! "You don't have to be perfectly sure. About anything." I couldn't agree more, I know this is truth, and yet I have to whisper it to myself every single day. Thank you for persevering!

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