Monday, December 27, 2010

Putting Off to Tomorrow

Putting Off to Tomorrow

What are you putting off to tomorrow that can be done today? I know you've been asked this question many times over, and, I could hear your voice echoing, "yeh, yeh, yeh, but..." But, really, when will you do the things you really want to do today rather than put them off until tomorrow?
  • When the kid(s) graduate.
  • When I lose 30 pounds.
  • When I'm retired.
  • When I feel better.
  • When the snow melts.
  • When the snow falls.
  • When I finish my undergraduate degree.
  • When I get certified.
  • When I meet the 'right' coach.
  • When I have enough money.
  • When I move back home.
  • Blah, blah, blah, but...when?
I don't know what it may be for you, at this moment, that is putting you off from doing the things you want to do in life. And, even you may not know what they are. However, you have a choice. You have a choice to be restrained by these reins that are holding you back (usually called beliefs), or to uncover them, face them, loosen them, and move beyond them.

The thing is sometimes we don't even know we're stuck in a limiting belief until someone points it out for us. That's the scary part. Years can go by without us consciously realizing what is holding us back. Most of us don't want to hear it, either. We say we want to change. We want to have a better life. We want to do things differently. We want to have better relationships with our children and partners, but do we? We want less mental fatigue and more emotional well-being, but do we...really? We talk a lot about it but when we're called to action, we come with a sack full of excuses or unconscious limiting beliefs that no one has ever challenged us on.

My job as a coach and a counsellor is to challenge you. Are you ready and willing to listen and hear your story from someone that looks at it in an objective yet empathic manner? Coaching and counselling is not for the light-hearted. Coaching and counselling opens up a doorway that exposes you to who are being today. Coaching and counselling is for the courageous. The courageous ones that want to and are completely willing to look at the position they currently take in life now, and then move beyond it.

What position do you want to take in life? Do you want to fall back to old limiting patterns that don't serve you anymore, or stay stuck and comforted by mean-well friends and family? I have nothing against loving family and friends that mean well. But, that's the thing, they mean well and their mean well advice doesn't necessarily support us in our wholeness and our growth.

What are you putting off to tomorrow that can begin today?
  • Telling your son or daughter that you love them.
  • Giving your children a hug, support and encouragement, rather than advice and tall tales.
  • Changing career directions.
  • Changing your undergraduate degree.
  • Ending a relationship.
  • Talking straight in a relationship.
  • Resolving past traumatic emotions.
  • Traveling the world.
  • Donating your time.
  • Losing 10 pounds.
  • Giving up sugar.
  • Giving up smoking.
  • Hiring a coach.
  • Healing abusive memories.
  • Learning to express yourself in a healthy way.
The list is endless. What is it for you? Fact... we'll all die... eventually. That day can be tomorrow. That day can be in one year. What do you want to do today? How do you want to be remembered? What are you putting off to tomorrow that can begin today? Who's running your life, you or your excuses/beliefs?

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas is Not a Time Nor a Season

"Christmas is not a time nor a season,
but a state of mind.

To cherish peace and goodwill,

to be plenteous in mercy,

is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

~Calvin Coolidge

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas, Everyone

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Wishing you, your family and/or friends, all, a very joyous holiday season.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Allow Your Body to Speak

Allow Your Body to Speak
by Desiree Leigh, Wake Up to Live

To move out from the emotional experience you are in, you must first move through the emotional experience, not hurdle over it. Hurdling means to reason or intellectualize. Hurdling means, rather than experience the emotion, you manage to project it outward onto something or someone else instead of feeling and looking within. Hurdling means, you're talking about it rather than being in it. In order to move out of the emotional experience, you must be in it and experience it fully, meaning, moving through it.

If you jump over it, and you don't allow your body to speak to you, life will guarantee you another go around, just a different scene with different people but the same lesson. If you don't allow your body to speak, these emotions stay buried deep within dictating your behaviour and your actions today.

When you bury the emotional experience, the emotions lives within the cells of your body and your subconscious, therefore, you attract all those things from that particular perspective. You also do things from that perspective without even realizing it.

Amazing, isn't it, how your mind and body work. To live with good health, happiness, freedom from the chaos in your head, and anxiety, allow your body to speak freely without constraints. Allow your body to express itself fully!

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Create a Solid Grounding of Enthusiasm

Create a Solid Grounding of Enthusiasm
Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

We're coming to the end of 2010, and I'm curious to find out if you started to look back to see your successes, even the ones that you didn't have written down as goals. Many of us are quick to see what we need to do to improve or change ourselves.  So why not first create a solid grounding of enthusiasm that will keep you inspired by asking "What successes did I achieve, beyond my expectations and perhaps others, that were both on my list and not on my list?"

Set the foundation to inspire yourself not only looking at what needs to be done; but, see your successes first. This is not always easy for many of us. We are quick to judge and condemn ourselves, and we look for what we didn't do or what we don't like about ourselves. We don't need anyone else to be hard on us, we are hard enough on ourselves, aren't we?

I know it's still easy for me to look at what I didn't do, what I didn't complete, or what still needs to be done. It's a pattern that comes back quickly if I allow it to.

But, just so you know, you're already a success! Create a solid grounding of enthusiasm by identifying your successes and then reflecting on them internally; then ask yourself what you can do to raise the bar next year.

Create a solid grounding of enthusiasm by reviewing your successes regularly.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Life is Speaking to YOU

"Everything in your life is there as a vehicle for your transformation. Use it!"
~Ram Dass

by Desiree Leigh, Wake Up to Live

Synchronicity is everywhere. It's happening all around you. Have you been divinely connected noticing what messages are in front of you to lead you exactly to your divine right place?

I've noticed more synchronicity in my life than ever before, and to be honest, it's the most wonderful, goosepimpley feeling you can get. Many times, I ignored them, hurrying to my next project, appointment, or task at hand. That was the past. Today, I've learned to listen more intently. Just when you least expect it, or just in the nick of time when you feel discouraged, exhausted, or confused here comes another message or messages shedding light on what you're not paying attention to. Receiving these so-called coincidental events are such a blessing. It's life speaking to you, showing you exactly what needs to be done next!

I will be back in University in January, and I was wanting to finalize some last minute projects, organizing my time for next year. I needed to simplify by elimination. Well, I was doing that, sort of. Time and time again, I found myself wrapped up in something new consuming a lot of my energy feeling scattered, and with little peace of mind.

Literally, I was slammed with synchronicity halting me in my tracks. Obviously, I was not paying attention. Well...I was and I wasn't. I thought I was doing enough to simplify by eliminating things on my agenda preparing for January. The universe thought different. The furnace broke down. I had to decorate two Christmas trees (decorated one, it died, undecorated, and decorated the second one). The power went out for hours. Parked in the school lot, I was hit by a car. Garburator got plugged. Unexpected root canal had to happen. It went on and on. Events that never happened before consumed me within a three to four week period. It was almost insane. Literally, it was ridiculous, and yet so funny at the same time.

I remember throwing up my arms saying "I give up." "What do you want me to do?" The answer was "Listen!" "You know what to do." Finally, I picked up the phone and made some calls, terminating projects, canceling social networking events and gatherings, and the such. As I was doing this, it was so freeing. I continued to laugh at how stubborn I really was.

My time now, is to reflect and to listen. To bake and share the sweet goodness with others. To slow down, and be completely present to my Self, my family, and my friends. Not to take on any new projects. To serve my clients, and the subscribers I have currently. To do some simple changes, and to let others really get to know who I really am. To share myself and my love more intently. I am so glad I gave up my stubbornness, and let go.

Is there anything you are not paying attention to that is in your face? I just want to let you know how freeing it feels to let go and listen to life. What is your life trying to tell you? Life is speaking to you right now. Shhh...listen!

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Perception and People's Priorities

Perception and People's Priorities
Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

In Washington , DC , at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:
The violinist received his first dollar. A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time. This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent - without exception - forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:

The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.
After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed and no one applauded. There was no recognition at all.
No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.
He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.
Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the D.C. Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people's priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

*In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

*If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

*Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . . ..
How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

Whether this email note is true or not, it can make us all think about what we are choosing to ignore in our lives because we are too busy. Setting our intentions to slow down and observe life would be a start to seeing and experiencing more of its beauty.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Raising Consciousness With the Storms of Life

Raising Consciousness With the Storms of Life
by Desiree Leigh, Wake Up to Live

I went to see the wonderful Wayne W. Dyer at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, BC, this past Tuesday with a beautiful and warm friend Nicole. We hadn't seen each other for over a month so we chatted and chatted and chatted. We had so much to catch up on and we loved every minute of it. Thanks for the invitation Nicole!

Wayne Dyer shared many things. One thing that stood out from my mind was when he said something like this...'If we didn't allow the storms around the mountains to be, we wouldn't be able to see the beautiful carvings the storms leave behind visible on the mountains side.'

With those storms of life, we raise our consciousness and experience a greater light. Without the experience of the storms we'd probably be living life very unconsciously.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Mental and Emotional Wellness Begin With You

Mental and Emotional Wellness Begin with You
by Desiree Leigh, Wake Up to Live

If you don't have mental and emotional health and wellness, you have nothing. Without the two, life's chaotic and out of control. Life's choices become emotionally and irrationally based. It's the dreaded knee-jerk reaction to all of life's circumstances. Your choices are directed by your emotions and mental state as they are right now, rather than from a state of wellness and health.

How many more times will you react to the driver in front of you because they were driving too slow? Or, maybe they past you, and you didn't like that. How many more times will you blow up at your kids because the room isn't clean or they didn't do their chores? How many more dreaded times will you defend yourself to the death when someone makes a statement that you don't agree with?

When you believe you are worthless and non-deserving, you will respond to everything that happens around you, with that sense of worthlessness and non-deserving attitude. For instance, your child doesn't clean up his/her room, and you've asked repeated times. This affects you in a negative way. Why? Because you are thinking you are worthless and non-deserving. So if you're thinking you're worthless and non-deserving, when the child doesn't do as you ask him/her, it becomes your fault. You are the one to blame. You didn't parent correctly. Maybe you said it with the wrong tone of voice. Whatever you come up with, it will be your fault. Your emotions of worthlessness and non-deserving arise, causing you to react from that mental and emotional state, and probably not in a pleasant manner.

On the other hand, take the same scenario, but you feel worthy and deserving. You know who you are and how life works. You have a sense of calm and ease within yourself. When things don't go the way you want them to go, you let it go. You creatively find another way to work with it, rather than get stuck and negatively chatter at yourself.

This scenario is possible. I've experienced it myself. A few years back, I was a mess both mentally and emotionally. My rage, anger and depression were totally out of control. I reacted to everything protecting myself from everyone around me. My walls of defenses were thick and solid. No one was getting in! And, nothing did.

The self-realization I had was that because the walls were so thick, I protected the hurt and pain and the darkness that was within me. Because of the walls around me, I couldn't let this hurt and pain out. And, neither could I let anything that had to do with love in.

To heal your life and to begin making better, more inspired choices, your walls must begin to come down brick by brick. That first step is yours to make, and only yours. No one else can do that for you. If you are forced into change, resentment and resistance will happen. Perhaps, you will change for a while, but over time, you will resort back to your old ways.

The question I have is, what will it take for you to begin to transform your life and change the direction of your destiny? Are you on drugs? Are you an alcoholic? Are you an over-eater? Do you live with rage or depression? What is it going to take for you to make that FIRST STEP? If you can't live for your self, then who? For me to transform my ways, it was my children that kept me going when painful emotions started to spill over and memories began to flow back. It was faith knowing that I can have a better life. When I made that choice, that one day standing in the middle of my kitchen, that everything around me was created by me and it wasn't about anybody else anymore, I began "THE WORK." I began my journey to a life of mental and emotional wellness. I began my journey to freedom from the gremlin in my mind. You can do this too. I am here to support you in your journey to mental and emotional health and wellness.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The reality of Oneness with divine mind must be greater in one's mind than any conditioned limitation. The more I acknowledge god's presence, the more I enhance the connection and the more god channels through me to serve the world. The god power flows through me and into my daily activities with such elegance, ease and delight. It is a sensation and truth worthy of speaking and sharing with the world.
I can't tell you enough how grateful I am to the power of my divinity. It has and continues to show me the way every day, whether in grand times or so-called troubling times. Opening our mind and heart to the One Divine Mind will, without a doubt, lead us to wholeness making creative solutions and inspiring choices where ever we go. Guaranteed!

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Canada Remembers

Remembrance Day
Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

If you haven't set any time this year to remember the men and women who fought so bravely in their time of duty for our countries, today is the day to do this - the day to remember the members of the armed forces who died from their services, as well as the civilians and all the families.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Forgiveness Begins with A Willing Heart

Forgiveness Begins with A Willing Heart
by Desiree Leigh, Wake Up to Live

Forgiveness is a process that will begin when you're willing to let go of the burdens you've been carrying, whether it's about your self or someone else. Forgiveness is not something that you make up your mind to do, and then, voila, it just happens. No! Not at all. That's a misconception that continues to get preached constantly. "You must forgive because it's the best thing to do, or else..." If you force anything upon yourself, what happens? You resist it. You may do what you need to do or are supposed to do, for a short time, but you won't do it with a willing heart and it won't last. Yes, you can tell yourself how you'll feel, at peace and in harmony with your self because you've released the suffering, but without a willing heart forgiveness will be short-lived and it won't be real.

One of the steps to open up your heart to forgiveness, is to ask yourself some questions such as, 'what has the situation or person given me?' 'How have I grown with that situation/event/person?' Look at the situation from another perspective without attaching forgiveness to it. Let the word 'forgiveness', and the meaning behind the word 'forgiveness' go. When you begin to see the growth, knowledge, wisdom, transformation, and the gift(s) that were given to you for it, you will then be more willing to forgive and let go of your suffering. This is not a guarantee even after you've done this process, though. Forgiveness takes time and with a lot of self-love.

In my own process, forgiveness didn't happen this quickly. The questioning came a long time after another step that I had to deal with. A big step that took much time and anguish. I had to learn to love me first. I began with Louise L. Hays recommendation of mirror affirmations seven years ago. I think this can be a dangerous process, though, depending on how much you hate your self. When I made eye contact with myself in the mirror and told myself that I loved me, there was a viciousness and rage that came out of me. I hit the mirror closed fist. It was like the devil, full of death and fire within me, coming out. I realized shortly after that I could have smashed the mirror and caused major damage to myself and the bathroom. I cared and I didn't care. I don't suggest mirror affirmations if you feel anything like I did. Starting with affirmations and then working your way up to mirror affirmations would be best. This self-hate took a long time to heal. What I did have in my heart, though, was a willingness to let go and begin leading a new life, how ever long and hard it took. And, I can guarantee you, it was all up hill! What kept me going were my children and knowing that I can have a better life.

In the end, forgiveness is not about the other person. It's about letting go of the darkness that grows deep within you so you can have a better more peaceful life.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Shedding My Darkest Secrets with Rhodes

Shedding My Darkest Secrets with Rhodes
Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

I miss my past school mates at Rhodes Wellness College. We made such a tight bond in our three months together. The school is not solely focused on learning new material as a 'helper.' Theory as we call it. The school has a special way in which many of us opened up and shed our souls to one another. When we shed our deepest and darkest secrets to one another, we learned to trust, allowing each other to go even deeper into the places that we buried so long ago. Those memories that we were hoping to forget yet still shatter our daily lives. As we shed our deep, dark, and scary secrets, we began to move forward with a sense of ease and lightness. Love was brought forth naturally, and a deep connection of unity happened.

Can you imagine, three full months of experiential learning, shedding your soul daily? Feeling stripped and naked, totally exposed and exhausted by the end of the day. Yet even with this exposure, you get a sense of lightness and serenity, and above all, the connection with one another deepens. Initially, the journey was scary, being called out and being challenged, but over time, the learning from each other was the best that could ever happen to me. I will always remember the empathy, acceptance, understanding and love that I felt from others.

I had my guard up for some time. As the instructors and students created safety in the room, I slowly let down the walls and began to trust. What was so marvelous, was learning from each others unique personality, how we are so different yet so much the same. We come in all shapes and sizes, various hair, eye, and skin colors, many different cultures with many different traditions and rituals, but many of us are still carrying deep hurts such as shame. Seems to me, that we are all looking for that open door to give ourselves permission to bear our souls and heal ourselves. Rhodes Wellness College is the place. If you're ready to fully expose yourself and be challenged every day, this is the school to be in.

Thank you for all the learning and love. I miss you all and wish life's best for each one of you.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Profoundly Present to Life's All

Profoundly Present to Life's All
by Desiree Leigh, Wake Up to Live

Driving on Georgia Street in Vancouver to visit a friend across town, I was injected divinely through the heart understanding my humanness. I felt surges of various feelings showering me every few seconds, dissolving as quickly as they came, as I drove towards Burrard Street. The feelings of being swayed hither and thither felt like I was being played in a pinball machine. I being the ball, very conscious and present of these hits of feelings piercing through my body.

The surges of different feelings are part of life and part of being a sentient being. They can take us for a ride either down hill or up. We have the choice on the direction, and how long we want to be with them. Experiencing these feelings, the complete presence of them, and understanding how they come and go so quickly doesn't always make the process of moving through them easy.

As I drive, I'm happy, smiling, and enjoying the scenery of the bay and the morning sun. I look to the left and see a homeless person sleeping on the cold concrete, huddled under a thin blanket and under a door way leading to an apartment building. My heart sinks with sadness. I look to the right and see a flower shop owner opening up shop, one hand with a plant to hang out side and another hand full of seed spreading them on the ground to feed the pigeons. My heart elevates to joy. I look back to the left, a few blocks up, and notice a young boy, I'd say about 19 or 20, fidgeting, twitching, assuming on street drugs, looking intently at the ground for something as he was walking. My heart sinks to emptiness and loss. I turn around the corner onto another street aligned with beautiful trees with their leaves glistening from the morning sun. My heart fills with gratitude. Back and forth my feelings fluctuate profoundly present to life's all.

How often are you aware of your feelings? Only when you're happy or when you're sad? Do you carry the mornings traffic jam with you all day or do you move past it and observe and see what's next? The more you are aware of this god-given gift, the more you'll be able to move beyond the hurdles in life. The more you are aware of your feelings, the more you'll be able to be present to them all and move through them to another. This is a sure way not to get stuck and to experience life to it's fullest.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween
Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Here are some Halloween Jokes,
don't peek!

What do ghosts serve for dessert?
When is it bad luck to meet a black cat?
What was the witch's favorite subject in school?
Where do baby ghosts go during the day?
What monster flies his kite in a rain storm?
What do the birds sing on Halloween?
Who did Frankenstein take to the prom?
What is Transylvania's national sport?
Who won the skeleton beauty contest?
What do skeletons say before they begin dining?


Ice ScreamWhen you're a mouseSpelling
Dayscare Centers
Benjamin Frankenstein
Twick or Tweet
His ghoul friend
Drac racing
No body
Bone appetit!

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Non-Violent Crisis Intervention

On Saturday, I attended the Non-Violent Crisis Intervention training program at Douglas College in Coquitlam, BC. Most of the young attendees were going into some sort of health care field, such as nursing or dementia care. Others, were working with at-risk youth and children with autism. I chose to go to learn more about better communication, in general, with everyone, and to be more pro-active in how I can handle a crisis situation and prevent acting-out behavior, whether it's in a family situation, dealing with people that have addictions, or someone at the super market. After attending this workshop, I came out with greater awareness on all forms of communication, such as verbal, non-verbal, and para-verbal, and the steps to take, without over-reacting, even while you're in a state of fear.

Jill Bloom, a psychiatric nurse and our instructor, shared many wonderful and crazy situations she had when she was a primary nurse. She stated several times, that if she knew these basic skills of non-violent crisis intervention, she probably would've avoided many situations that caused her harm, one a broken jaw. Not knowing how to handling a patient not wanting to take her medication, and with her consistent badgering, the patient chose to punch her in the face breaking her eye glasses and her jaw. Her mouth was wired shut for about seven weeks. Laughing, she states, she'll never have a strawberry milkshake ever again!

When someone is in a crisis situation, they are hypersensitive and acutely aware of others' communication through body language and the verbal part of speech such as tone, volume and candence (rate). And, when someone is in a crisis situation, no matter how they got there, anything is possible, anything can trigger them. That's why it's extremely important to deal with the situation proactively in a calm, neutral and attentive manner, not with anger, ridicule or avoidance. And, in the end, after the tension has been reduced, it is extremely important for all persons to debrief and reestablish communication with the individual that had the crisis. One step, that many of us forget to do. Most people that have experienced the crisis are shocked afterward, after they've lost control. They can't believe the way they've behaved and are usually remorseful, ashamed, and apologetic.

Crisis is inevitable in our world today. Earthquakes, war zones, hurricanes, mass destruction, a loss of a loved one, a loss of a job, a loss of an investment, the list goes on. Dealing with it isn't. Knowing what to do, in the most effectively manner, will keep us and the person in crisis, especially if it's a loved one, most protected and from harm. I highly recommend this workshop for educators, mothers and fathers, siblings, anyone dealing with addicts in the family or friends. The list goes on for whom this course can benefit.

In a crisis DON'T:
  • overreact
  • get into a power struggle
  • make fake promises
  • fake attention, rather, give the person undivided attention
  • be threatening
  • use jargon
  • use sarcasm
  • interrupt

In a crisis DO:
  • remain calm
  • isolate the situation/remove the person if possible
  • enforce limits
  • give options (if possible)
  • listen
  • be aware of non-verbal communication
  • be consistent
  • validate your understanding
  • show empathy
In class, we learned the basic non-violent ways to get out of chokes, grabs, kicks and strikes. However, we did not learn self-defense for life threatening situations. A self-defense class would be helpful for that.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Friday, October 22, 2010

We Can Learn to Love with Our Crooked Heart

We Can Learn to Love with Our Crooked Heart
Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

By working with the repressed emotion in the body - anger, for example - we realize that we are human, and that there is no such thing as a perfect human being. In fact, the better we think we are and the more we imagine we are, the darker our shadow is, and the darker the material that we have to release. When we know how much rage and grief and jealousy and greed and lust are in us, we have to forgive ourselves for being human.

To forgive is to transform what we otherwise reject. Some people find that very hard because they've been brought up to be perfect. But once we know that we can love ourselves with all our human warts then we can love others from that same place. Or, as W. H. Auden said, "We can learn to love each other with our own 'crooked heart'."

~Marion Woodman, in The Forsaken Garden

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

The Path Prescribed by Your Unconscious

The Path Prescribed by Your Unconscious
Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh
If you want to go your individual way,
it is the way you make for yourself,

which is never prescribed,

which you do not know in advance,

and which simply comes into being of itself

when you put one foot in front of the other.

If you always do the next thing that needs to be done,

you will go most safely and surefootedly

along the path prescribed by your unconscious.

~Carl G. Jung, Letters, Volume One

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh
"I did know, instinctively,
that to play was to be."

~The Soul's Code

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Speak to Us of Joy and Sorrow

Speak to Us of Joy and Sorrow
Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Then a woman said,
Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.

And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being,

the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine
very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?

~Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Thank You


"If the only prayer you said in your whole life was,
'thank you', that would suffice."

~Meister Eckhart

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Friday, October 8, 2010

'Just Be Grateful!'

Just Be Grateful
by Desiree Leigh, Wake Up to Live

I was perusing the internet to see what Thanksgiving meant to others. I was dumbfounded to see the criticism, mockery, righteousness, and blame, as well as strong advice in stern voices saying 'just be grateful!'

You can't tell someone to 'just be grateful' when they have a lot of blame, hate, guilt or shame lurking within them. They'll have to go through the process on their own. Making righteous comments won't work either. It'll make you look like a jack ass and them resist your opinions more. I see this over and over again with many, forcing the issue down someone's throat. When you feed your child a new vegetable or pablum, do you force it in their mouth, demanding that it's good for them and they'd better eat it? I'd hope not.

How do we get to the true feelings of gratitude and not the gratitude that is a facade? Understanding and empathy of others breed acceptance and gratitude. If you want someone to be truly grateful, lend them your ear rather than your tongue. Listen to them rather than forcefully stuff your words down their throat.

Many of us are plainly righteous, wanting to force our ways into changing someone in hopes to make a better human being or world. Instead, we should be looking at ourselves and our way of thinking. Who is it that I must be to spread gratitude? It's easy to push something on someone else. First, try it on yourself. I'll bet a lot more compassion will seep out and into your words and shower the one's around you where true gratitude will automatically flow. Your 'just be grateful' will no longer be needed.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Monday, October 4, 2010

Doukhobors, 'Spirit Wrestler,' Beliefs & Acceptance

by Desiree Leigh, Wake Up to Live
I had two choices to write about for an assignment for my writing class. One was to write about a fact about myself that I am interested in, whether it be a character trait, my date of birth, my ancestry, or my appearance. The other was to seek out an article from a newspaper that caught my eye from the month and year I was born. I found the events: The US President, Lyndon B. Johnson, and his top-ranking advisers meet to discuss plans to bomb North Vietnam, and, Beach Boys' bassist/keyboardist Brian Wilson suffers a nervous breakdown on a flight from Los Angeles to Houston, eventually precipitating his retirement. Good topics, but no real true living experience at that time in my life to talk about.

I went with the ancestry. In the end, I didn't complete my assignment, though. What I did was gain a lot of knowledge on my Russian Doukhobor Orthodox Freedomite Christian background that I was brought up in.

Many of you probably know what it's like when you're young. You resist your past, whether it be the religion you were raised in, or the parent(s) values you were brought up in, what ever the case may be, many of us resist our past and, in the process, tell ourselves adamantly, "I'm never going be like my mother/father...!" "I'm not going to do what they did."That comment makes me laugh today. Oh, how I was 'not' going to be like my mother. That was a for sure for me. I resisted everything about her. Her religion, her submissiveness, her settling, her lack of voice and so forth. "I knew better." "I will never be like her, ever!"Well, let me tell you, "whatever you resist persists." What happened last night was truly amazing. After reading about the Doukhobors, meaning 'Spirit Wrestler,' and the Freedomites, I gained much awareness on my character, my beliefs, and my way of being. I was directly affected by the religious community, but not as intensely as my mom was. My mom was harshly affected. Her mother and her grandmother were in the midst of it. I see how my mom still struggles in her community and with her family with these core religious beliefs that were instilled in her from childhood and still have a major grip on her. Here's a brief history of these people.

Peter Vasilyevich Verigin, their leader, was in exile in Siberia and was unable to migrate to Canada with the Doukhobors, while many emigrated from the Caucasus in order to escape religious persecution. He had great influence on these people and how they should live. He often emphasized, though, that his expressed views appear as "fantasies" or "theories" and did not, in any way, think that these fantasies and theories would be accepted by the Doukhobors as law in their life. This was clearly stated in his "letters" sent to Canada while he was in exile. When they did, he was there later to support their conviction all the way.

Freedomites were extremely opposed to education. Eventually, they accepted the conditions that the children will attend the schools only to the age of twelve. They believed education corrupted a humans mind. They didn't believe land should be sold, either. "Land is God's gift. It shouldn't be an object of trade," they'd say. They refused to pay taxes or interest, too. They believed everything was free. Even the horses with their harnesses were considered to be a restraint and against their religious beliefs, although they eventually assimilated to that.

Before 1921 and 1922, when eleven schools burnt down (Saskatchewan or BC), the Freedomites and their eccentricities did not bother the surrounding communities, and they had little conflict with the authorities. When the authorities intensified the Russian Orthodox blamed the Russian Freedomites for the burning of the schools, although no one was directly accused. They were prospects for the burnings because of their extreme opposition to education.

In 1924 Peter V. Verign was killed by an explosion in a railway coach. With this event, the Doukhobors ceased to allow their children to school showing their protests, once again, by disrobing and walking naked down the streets and burning buildings. Authorities used repression and confiscated their belongings. Some went to jail. After long discussions with authorities, the Freedomites were allotted an area called "Krestova." It was looked upon by all as a leper colony.

There is much more detailed history to the Doukhobors I can talk about such as the residential schools and the abuse within them, although, that should be a book written by the survivors. Anyhow, besides their home area being called the leper colony, they were also called rebels and traitors because they fought against militarism. Even to this day the Freedomites protest against the Canadian system in general. Many, are now speaking of migrating back to their motherland, the Soviet Russia, to find that empire that would allow complete freedom.

I found reading about my ancestry fascinating and enlightening. I can, perhaps now, understand my mom's, or my aunt's, and my grandparents point of views. It's not that I condone it, but I can relate to them. I can really see them, now more than ever before. I can see how easy it is to fall deep into a conviction brought on by generations of conditioned thinking. No one's a bad person for being raised a particular way. No one's a bad person who doesn't see eye to eye with everyone else. And, nor should we see the same as everyone else. That would be scary. I do hope, however, we continue to encourage free thinking. It's the acceptance of diversity that is challenging, for most, and it may not be so fascinating to others.

Going back to the comment about resisting my past. By resisting, I never really got to know my great grandma on my mom's side. We didn't speak the same language, so even if she did talk to me, I wouldn't understand her Russian. I always thought about what her past was like, even when I was a small child. She had many deep lines on her face, never really smiled, and never talked much. What was it from her past that her so? I guess I'll never know. As I grew older, resistance started to set in. Trying to follow the crowd. Trying to fit in was 'in.' I wasn't about to go back to my past.

As I heard some of the stories of family members 'parading naked,' I became disgusted and wanted to put it all behind me. Instead of trying to understand, I resisted, I suppressed everything, even mom's way of being and everyone else's. I didn't want to belong to the family. "How could I belong to such a family?"Today, I've changed. I've realized, if I want to accept, I must understand. I tried acceptance without understanding. It didn't work for me. Over the years I've learned, in order to love someone, I must understand and empathize, then acceptance comes naturally. I guess, that's why I love counseling, as well as coaching. You get to really understand people and where they are coming from. As for mom, we hit heads occasionally, well, maybe more than not. Perhaps we always will. The more I get to know where she's coming from, the more I get her, and that makes all the difference in our relationship.

I miss my grandma's. A lot. They gave me much learning. They made so many great things with their hands - wooden spoons, clothes, quilts, area rugs (grandma made huge area rugs with her old hosiery) and great food. Oh, how I miss their borsh. Community was important to them. Colors to the Doukhobors are important, too. You'd never see black and white. Rather, you'd see various bright colors. Now I see why my dad painted his houses so colorfully in the past. It's in his blood. Maybe they had something pretty cool going on, to some degree. Peace and freedom. A simple life, not complicated with too much 'stuff.' Strong community and family. It's a good thing.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Friday, October 1, 2010

Write without Imposed Structure

Write Without Imposed Structure
Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh
"I get very nervous when people start talking about structure. It always sound like a cage over my writing...Structure imposed from the outside according to a preconceived formula is a cage. It does not allow the original and organic shape of the writing to emerge. Structure created before the fact of writing is artificial and limiting. Real structure comes from within the material itself, is not separate from it, which is why I like to leave a discussion of structure until plenty of writing has been done."
~Patti Miller, Writing your Life.

Right now, I have to tell you, I want to fly to Australian and give Patti a big kiss on the lips! Reading these words were breathtaking. They gave me goose pimples, I was so excited. I joined a writing class at the University of British Columbia Writing your Life's Story: Autobiography and Memoir. Last night was my first class. I was looking forward to learning more about writing and I was blessed to have the beautiful and well traveled Marlene Schiwy teaching the class.

There are many reasons why people, whether 18 or 80, want to write a story of their life's events. It is more about looking back in retrospect, rather than seeing the daily happenings. The motives can be for:
  • healing (so you can make sense of things, whether it be a divorce/abuse/loss/adoption and so forth),
  • history (wanting to share for future generations),
  • lineage (so your grandchildren and children will know more about you at a deeper level),
  • wisdom (the learning you've done from living), or
  • creativity (to explore the art and craft of writing...).
I've been doing a lot of writing for the past three years. However, I was not too focused on a memoir I've been messaged to write. Socialization can really get it's vice grips around me, stopping me dead in my tracks.

I heard so many people, from writing coaches, published authors, published author want-a-bees, various tele-class speakers and many more, telling me that I need structure to my book prior to writing. "This was really important to do," they'd say. This concept was hard for me to wrap my head around. I wasn't clear on how I was supposed to structure my book. I didn't even know what it was going to be about. Let alone figure out the title, chapters, and sub-chapters. I had some ideas but nothing was set in stone, and neither did I want it to be. But because I thought these other people (in loving opinions) knew better because of their experience, I believed it was best to listen to them.

My God, forgive me for not listening once again, to you, my higher wisdom! When will I learn? I had a way of doing the process, writing that is. I heard my Voice within. It gave me all the guidance I needed. Then, as I pursued more opinions and such, I got more confused and lost the belief within myself. Some were deep inside of me, a core belief of listening to others with greater experience, and following what they've done is my weakness. I relinquished my true and loving essence for another's opinion. It's not that opinions are wrong to follow. It's good to hear others out. We learn. We grow. We gain much clarity about what we want. We experience other people's stories, thoughts and feelings. But when we relinquish our own divinity, our own essence for someone else's, we stop living with integrity. We stop being true to our self.

If you've been reading my blog posts or my ezines, I've stated this several times in past stories - about listening to the small Voice from within. Every new experience brings on new challenges, more awareness, more insight and more growth. A new place of taking action. Divine action is about trying not to get caught up in the worldly stuff and staying true to ourselves.

Cheers to Patti Miller, once again, reminding me to writing with structure. Not to worry what it looks like initially. The structure will form from within guiding me gently every step of the way showing me what to do. My soul's journey is mine, yet still for the Greater Good of All.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh
"Someday when I grow up, finish school and get a job,
I'll start living my life the way I want...
someday after the mortgage is paid off,
the finances are on track and the kids are grown up,
I'll drive that new car and take exciting trips abroad...someday,
now that I'm retired,
I'll buy that beautiful motor home,
and travel across this great country,
and see all there is to see...someday."

~Ed Foreman

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sowing Clover

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh
"In the dark of the moon,
In the flying snow, in the dead of winter,
War spreading, families dying, the world in danger
I walk the rocky hillside, sowing clover."

~Wendell Berry

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Self-Reevaluation and Your Essential Values

Self-Reevaluation and Your Essential Values
by Desiree Leigh, Wake Up to Live

Many of us don't think before we act. We don't take stock at why we act out in sheer habit. We are too busy to reflect and, rather, we respond reflexively. We act automatically.

  • Most problem behaviors happen because we are trying to achieve relaxation and assertion.
  • Most cravings, such as alcohol, food and drink, are usually from boredom, anxiety and your current social situation.
  • Habitual habits, over time, can become unconscious and spontaneous - eating, drinking, smoking, getting angry, scared and depressed without even knowing why you're doing what you are doing.
Take the time to stop and look at what is going on. Reflect to create awareness. Find the reasons for your immediate behavior. What benefits are you getting? What is it costing you?

See yourself 10, 20 or 30 years in the future. Continuing the habit, what are you doing? Who are you with? How is your health? Really picture what is possible with a behavior that does not serve you.

Now imagine how you would think and feel about yourself if you did change. What does it look like? Who are you being? What are you doing?

Self-reevaluation is about taking stock emotionally and cognitively. Self-reevaluation will reveal that your essential values are in conflict with your problem behaviors. Try it. What do you have to lose?

Friday, September 3, 2010

What Can Secrecy Do to You?

What Can Secrecy Do to You?
by Desiree Leigh, Wake Up to Live
For years, I felt bewildered about who I was. I was thrown astray with thoughts and feelings that I couldn't seem to dissect. I was constantly flooded with emotions from anger and rage to sadness and despair not knowing why. My moods would shift radically. It was the feeling of being jerked and pulled harshly and painfully. I experienced body sensations of anxiety and panic attacks, and nightmares I couldn't seem to control, feeling chaotic, crazy and confused. I couldn't make sense of anything. I would quickly get triggered by smell, touch, something I had seen or perhaps heard and yet I had no idea or recollection from where it was coming from or why.

I lived this way for years thinking I was just 'different', or perhaps, I didn't try hard enough to change my feelings, moods or thought. I even thought it could have come from being a spoiled child. I don't seem to recall this but maybe. "Why else could I be the way I am?" Maybe I wasn't getting my way, maybe I was asking for too much, maybe my desires were outrageous. With all of this positive psychology, I couldn't figure out why it was so hard to change. I did all my cognitive re-thinking, got somewhat of a sense of peace through meditation, worked out to release, ate my best, but I still had major mood swings. I kept thinking maybe I was missing something, I wasn't doing it right or I just wasn't determined enough... This was not the case.

I finally came to admit and recognize the hurt and pain of sexual abuse and chronic neglect. For years, it was a secret in my family. And it still is. Well, when you haven't dealt with it, when you haven't dealt with the painful emotions of the abuse or neglect, you can't move on. Even when your mind doesn't remember or your mind plays amnesia, your body remembers very well.

I was a great actress. I was a good fake. I put on a great front. I was happy and full of optimism. This was on the surface, though. I was high in the sky one day. The next day it was dim and murky. Deep within, I was aching, yet I didn't know why. I minimized the abuse too death...literally. Creating ill health within myself since I carried this with me for so many years.

Secrecy on this topic creates confusion and ill health. As a child, I believed I was a bad girl. That I wasn't good enough because no one would talk about what happened. I came to believe I caused it, and mom and dad were both mad at me. Because of secrecy, I was scared to talk. I censored everything. I wasn't sure what to say anymore. I was afraid I might say something and I would be a bad girl again. Friends were non-existent because I didn't know what to say. They would talk about their family. I didn't seem to know how to do that with mine. I was always on guard. Relatives thought I was shy. I wasn't shy! I was scared to death to talk. And, why should I, no one would hear me anyways.

Secrecy kept everything hidden, even the pain I was trying to hide within for decades because that was a habit I was used to. So guess what happens when you don't work out (release) the emotions you encountered from abuse and neglect and fess up that they actually are ruling your life? When you don't modulate your emotions, when you don't bring them under conscious control, anxiety will be the consequence leading to symptoms of neurosis, hysteria, mood disorders and health problems.

By raising the turmoil and hurt to the surface, there are some great realizations here to look at.
  • No one hears me.
  • I'm not good enough.
  • No one believes me.
  • I'm confused on what to say.
  • If I express my feelings, I'm a bad girl.
  • I created the problem not the offender.
  • I don't want anybody to get mad at me.
  • I don't want to cause conflict.
  • I can't talk with friends.
  • I censor everything I say.
  • I'm shy (label).
  • and so on...
After bringing up the emotions that are begging to come out, there are some hidden core beliefs that you may have neither recognized nor knew where they came from that have to be looked at and re-examined thoroughly. That's what's so incredible when you start digging and you become true to yourself. You begin to understand. And, then you begin to accept. When you begin to see that you put labels and judgments on yourself at such a young age, you can now, perhaps, be more empathetic, compassionate and loving towards yourself. You were only a child. I was only a child when I began to think this way. Today, I know I am safe. Today, I know I am okay. I am a grown up. I no longer want to be that child or react from that 'little girl's perspective'. Today, I do have a choice with who I want to be with and associate with. And, I do have a choice on how I want to perceive the world around me. I am a transformational woman of power and courage.

Wake Up to Live with Desiree Leigh