Let My Legacy Be Love

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So far Let My Legacy Be Love has created 31 blog entries.

Falling…

Fall Leaves

I love the Fall. The crisp, fresh air is a welcome break from the heat and humidity of the summer. The landscape is morphing from green to warm shades of red, orange and yellow, and the local apple orchard is serving up samples of apple cider donuts along with a fresh cup of cider. The first time I cover my tank top with a sweatshirt made feminine with a colorful scarf, I’m about as happy as I can be.

As fall creeps in, it’s always been a time of new beginnings for me. When I was a little kid, anticipation caused me to hop from foot to foot as I waited for the school bus that would whisk me away to new adventures. Many significant life changes have happened in the fall including career changes, the birth of my sons, and the marriage to my husband, Rick.

Falling Behind, Falling Out, Falling On My Face

In the last few months, I’ve thought a lot about falling. I felt as though I was falling behind because I was so busy making it impossible to write blogs for Let My Legacy Be Love. I experienced a falling out with someone I’ve known all my life. And lately, I’ve spent some time considering the possibility of falling on my face. You see, I’ve been working on a project with Jacky Vimislik, a wonderful woman I met earlier this year. Jacky and I have worked tirelessly to establish The Breakthrough Squad, which is a program that focuses on helping others identify and release old stories and unseen obstacles. We’ve challenged ourselves to find the right presentation, the right audience, and the right social channels to post our materials. We believe our program is well-balanced and will be helpful, and so far, we’ve gotten […]

By |September 13th, 2019|Blog|

Liar, Liar: A Bump on the Road to Authenticity

This past weekend, I was speaking at an event just north of New York City. During my presentation, I addressed the importance of setting personal boundaries in relationships. I noticed one young woman with a quizzical expression, so I asked her if she had a question. She nodded. “What is wrong with ‘making’ something okay with me?” At that point, I shared my own experience of what can happen in a friendship—or any relationship for that matter—when we don’t draw clear boundaries.

In my case, I had a very close friend, a woman whose friendship I treasured. She accepted me for who I am—even with all my warts, scars, and chatty mouth. We were your proverbial “buds” and spent significant time with each other. I believed I was proving my gratitude for our relationship by agreeing to situations that in some cases, caused me to feel unincluded or invisible. Although I knew I should speak up, I didn’t because I loved her. Plus, in each case, my issues were the little things. For example, on several occasions, I agreed to be the designated driver when I would have liked to share a drink with our friends. Other times, I drove to her house when it would have been easier for me if she came in my direction. And more times than I can count, I answered the phone when what I needed was an evening of solitude. In time, I began to feel resentful, but each time I felt resentment rising, I reprimanded myself and made excuses not only for her but for myself. I knew I should speak up, but on the other hand, I worried that I was being a “baby” or worse, that I was acting selfishly. The simple fact is that in all cases, I had a choice. I […]

By |June 7th, 2019|Blog|

Being: A Moment to Breathe

After what felt like a very long, dark winter, Spring has finally sprung here in Upstate New York. I love waking up to the birds singing in the apple tree outside the bedroom window.

With the threat of frost and snow finally gone, I invited a friend over for a visit. Upon arrival, she shared that as she turned down Route 32, a construction truck pulled out to block the lane, forcing her to keep her speed below 30 mph. “It was amazing!” she said. “If I hadn’t gotten stuck behind that truck, I wouldn’t have noticed all the flowering trees. It’s so beautiful; I honestly had tears in my eyes.”

Her words struck a chord in me. So many of us are rushing through life at breakneck speed, barely taking a moment to appreciate the world around us. (I will admit that I am one of the worst offenders.) Her appreciation of the moment once more got me thinking about the human experience; specifically, the difference between being and doing.

Doing Versus Being

As I was thinking about this, it occurred to me that my greeting to others used to be, “How are you?” but lately it’s changed to “How are you doing?” or “How is it going?” The standard answer has become “Busy,” followed by a big sigh. I’m realizing that we leave each other little room to “be.”

I bring this up today because this week I was swamped. I was so busy, in fact, that last night when I got home, I was stressed out and tired. I decided to go to bed early so I would have time to pray for clearing of the negativity that came up during the […]

By |May 24th, 2019|Blog|

Leading With Love

I would like to start by thanking all of you who reached out with your condolences on the loss of my son’s friend. I am so grateful. The experience stirred something in me that took me by surprise. In my saddened state, I couldn’t help but fixate on the feeling that the world appears to be a mess. The opioid crisis is just one tiny part. Honestly, I think I had a crisis of faith because I started to wonder if the work I’m doing will have any impact at all. I lost focus for a couple of weeks because I got into my head, which means my thoughts were running wild telling me all kinds of negative things. But suddenly I was reminded of a prayer by St. Francis of Assisi that has gotten me back on track a number of times. I searched everywhere for the full prayer to share with you, but for now, the gist of it is, “Stay out of your head. Stay in your heart.”  

Living from the Heart

Staying in our hearts isn’t easy, because our head is constantly trying to run the show. But when we are living from our hearts, we have the power to change whatever we want—because we are not limiting ourselves with our thoughts.

There is no doubt that you are the most important person in your life. Loving and caring for you comes before loving anything or anyone else. Imagine what a beautiful world we could build if each one of us would love ourselves the way we love other people, our pets, our plants […]

By |May 17th, 2019|Blog|

A Life Cut Short: ACEs in Action

I received some heartbreaking news this week. A young man who was a childhood friend with my son Ben has died of a heroin overdose. For purposes of this blog, I will call the young man Tommy.

Tommy was five years old when we met. He was a quiet kid—one you might not notice in a room full of noisy kindergarteners. Just before the start of the school year, Tommy’s dad moved in with his father who lived next door to us. I clearly remember wishing that Tommy’s dad would pay more attention to Tommy and his brother and less attention to the steady stream of women that seemed to form a line on the front stoop. Slamming doors and raised voices were a regular part of the activity over the fence, and it wasn’t long before Tommy’s dad disappeared in his beat-up old Chevy leaving the kids at the house with their grandfather.

When I moved several years later, Tommy became a regular visitor at our new place. He seemed sweet and quiet so, I was surprised when he was implicated in some trouble in the neighborhood. Ben insisted Tommy was not responsible. Ben was with him when the alleged incident took place, and he attested to Tommy’s innocence, a fact later confirmed by an investigation. The boys maintained their friendship for two more years with no further trouble, but at some point, Tommy stopped coming around.

The Rest of the Story

This week, I learned the sad truth. Ben summed it up by saying that Tommy was a kind soul who was always surrounded by the wrong people.  He admits that at fourteen years old he […]

By |April 26th, 2019|Blog|

Understanding Brings Compassion

I know I promised to begin delving into vulnerability as it relates to guilt and shame, but something came up this past weekend that I wanted to share.

I had a wonderful experience at the Mind, Body, Soul Expo held in Saratoga Springs on Saturday.  The place was packed all day long with over four thousand people searching to find ways of feeling better physically, emotionally, mentally and/or spiritually. During the expo, I had the opportunity to speak with many, many people who stopped by my booth. If only there were twelve of me, I would have been able to speak to everyone who came by!  

Because I deal with a difficult topic, it was both exhilarating and validating to realize how many people are willing to learn more about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how they might heal the lingering effects of negative childhood experiences. Over and over expo-goers ran their finger over the sub-title of my book Let My Legacy Be Love, and said, “Tracing adult issues to childhood hurts. I know all about that.” Of course, as usual, all of this got me thinking.

Defining Understanding

I started with the Merriam-Webster to find the dictionary definition of “understanding.” When used as a noun, understanding means comprehension.  When used as an adjective, it means to be tolerant and forgiving. This struck me as significant. I mean, stop and think about that for just a moment. Through comprehending/understanding a situation or person, you become tolerant and forgiving. What a wonderful gift not only to yourself but to everyone around you!

How Do You Get to Understanding?

From my experience, I believe that understanding is […]

By |March 29th, 2019|Blog|

Vulnerability: A Dirty Word or a Life Changer?

While I was out with my dog, Kye, for a walk this morning, I had a thought, but first I have to confess that March has always been a bit challenging for me. In fact, it’s begun to feel like the cold and damp will never end, and to make it worse, I developed a drippy, stuffy cold. I’ve noticed that as human beings, when we don’t feel well, we can become vulnerable to the voices in our heads—the same voices we would laugh at when we are feeling healthy and balanced. As I struggled against the voices in my head and thought about how vulnerable I was feeling, it occurred to me what I want to share with you today.

I’m going to back up to 2011 for just a moment where I was hanging from the end of my rapidly fraying rope. Just in the nick of time, a friend introduced me to the work of Brene Brown. If you are not familiar with Brene, which I was not at the time, she is a research professor who has become well-known for her work on the topics of shame, vulnerability and courage. By the time I finished watching her TED talk for the first time, it was obvious to me what I needed to do. If I was going to move forward and heal, I needed to be as honest and real with myself as Brene is in her presentation, AND I needed to be open and vulnerable with those I loved. I needed to change.

This Brene Brown video on vulnerability is twenty minutes, and fully worth every second.

I can honestly say that the […]

By |March 8th, 2019|Blog|

A Whole New You: Understanding ACEs

Does this sound familiar? You or someone close to you complains of feeling stuck in a situation whether it’s a job or relationship pattern. No matter how uncomfortable it becomes, though, you/they can’t seem to break free. The rut you’re in gets deeper and deeper and it seems there’s no way out. You wonder, “Where does it end?”

It’s possible that there is a more appropriate question: Where did it start?

As I’ve stated in previous blogs, coming across the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study) was almost a spiritual experience. When I first read the research, I was curious about the data revealed through the ten question ACE test. Although the report was fascinating, it was when I took the ACE Test myself that I realized a whole different application for the findings. Through my own AHA moment, which was inspired by the outcome of my test score, I knew my life had changed. It became my mission to share the information with a broader audience. I am convinced that many more people would make better life choices for themselves if they understood—and I mean really understood—the power your childhood can continue to hold over you well into adulthood.

The more I shared my own AHA moment with others, the more I realized just how many people outside of the health care industry are unaware of how childhood experiences can affect habits, social behaviors, and physical health later in life. With this knowledge, I set myself up to reach as many people as humanly possible. Through sharing the stories in my book, in podcast interviews and through my speaking engagements, I work tirelessly every day to get the message out.

How […]

By |February 18th, 2019|Blog|

Change Your Life? Curiosity Is Key

Last week I left you standing on the edge of your own personal greatness. I proposed that with curiosity, you can begin to understand what may be holding you back, blocking your path, leaving you feeling frustrated and possibly even not good enough to follow your dream. I shared my idea that being open to discovery, a phrase I use in my book starts with curiosity. It only makes sense, right? If you don’t take the time to be curious about the most important person in your life (YOU!), how will you understand why you act and react the way you do? Why would you care to know that? Because with understanding comes change.

 

Changing Your Life Comes Through Self-Discovery; Self-Discovery Is About Getting To Know You

Before I go any further, I want to share a brief story. Wednesday night I was having dinner with a friend who has decided she wants to be a stand-up comic. Nancy has a great sense of humor, but she was dead serious and a bit nervous when she explained this week’s assignment for the course she is taking. You see, over the next seven days, it’s her task to make a list of five things she finds funny. That part is easy enough, but the next step is to explain why those things are funny to her. She’s nervous because, like most of us, she has never thought about why things make her laugh. They just do.

Curiosity as the Catalyst for Self-Discovery

Time, attention, and practice are usually required to understand anything better—and that includes understanding yourself. For the coming week, I invite you to start practicing curiosity about you. Start by setting aside five minutes a day. From my own experience, I […]

By |February 1st, 2019|Blog|

Can Curiosity Change Your Life?

I believe that at any moment each one of us is on the verge. You may be on the verge of tears or of laughter, buying a house, changing jobs, retiring, adopting a pet; it could be almost anything. But for purposes of this post, I want to propose that—right at this very moment—you are on the verge of stepping into your own personal greatness. What is personal greatness? It’s different for each of us, so I would like to share a quick story about my own experience before we move on.

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that I wrote a book, but what you don’t know is the back story. You see, when I pitched my original idea to a seasoned publisher, he listened intently before asking a question that set me back on my heels. “Why you, Christina? What’s your expertise?” My thoughts immediately spun out of control, because it felt as though he had punched me. People write books all the time. Not every one of them is an expert on their topic, are they? I didn’t want to write a novel. I wanted to write about my experiences because I wanted to save others from the mistakes I made along the way. It was important to me. For days after that conversation, I was completely distracted. “Why me?” played into every not-good-enough-worth-less thought I ever entertained.  His question paralyzed me.

The good news is, the following week, I met a woman who looked me square in the eye and asked, “Why NOT you?” It was as though a bolt of lightning blasted through the top of my head. I heard her. The very next day I began writing.

Now that you know my story, I […]

By |January 25th, 2019|Blog|