Christmas is about giving.  And it’s also about recognizing that life’s greatest gifts are not store-bought, nor come wrapped in packages.   For me, this year filled my life with people who changed my life and experiences that filled my soul with meaning.  
 
As my gift to you, I share with you part of a speech I gave last summer.  I hope it’s message brings a smile to your heart…Merry Christmas.
Be the good. Believe there is good in the world. Good will prevail. Three powerfully simple phrases I saw written on a poster at a make-shift memorial in Boston seven months ago. Three powerfully impactful philosophies by which I want to live my life and through which I want to see the world, especially in tumultous times. This is what they mean to me. Be the Good. Do good. See the world with open eyes, every day. Constantly seek opportunites to help yourself and to help others. Do it for the sake of beneficiance and never for the purpose of self-promotion. Trust your instincts. Go to sleep each night knowing that you have not walked away from someone, or something, that made you uncomfortable because chances are, your discomfort pales in comparison to theirs. Believe there is good in the world. Know that the goodness of humanity always outweighs its atrocities. Know that logic and reasoning can never explain why bad things happen to good people. And if there was ever some sort of “justification” for it, consider that people, both individually and collectively, become stronger, become unified, become one humanity. Good will prevail. People act. People unite. People emphasize. Goodness will multiple a thousand-fold wherein one good deed, or thought, will inspire a myriad of other good deeds and thoughts. And if I could add one more, it is to be grateful. Accept life’s events as gifts, both good and bad, but especially those events that cause us harm. Use that which could limit your life to make your life limitless and to eventually accept it as a gift that you’ve been given to help others. While my life was forever changed when I was six years old after being hit by a gravel truck and losing my leg, that’s all I lost.  My life with limb loss has been the greatest gift I could have ever received in life.  For that, I am grateful.    Because of it, I’ve been given immeasurable opportunities to return the gift by helping others.  I’ve been given an amazing family and support network.  I’ve been given a tenacious and steadfastly determined spirit.  And I’ve been given the opportunity to tell another little girl that she would dance again only to have her return the “gift” by reaching out and touching my leg. 
For all of this, I am grateful. Be the good. 
 

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After nearly 45 years of living this life, I am now just realizing how life comes full circle and how life presents opportunities when we sometimes least suspect them.  Having been on the Board of Directors for the Amputee Coalition for the last three years, I was contemplating whether or not to re-new my Board appointment for another three-year term when I was asked to be part of the Executive Committee. 

When realizing that my voice would be stronger and that I would be part of developing the organization’s strategy, it occurred to me that refusing the nomination would be foolishly selfish.  How can I impact change if I am not at the table?  How can the voices of people be heard if I don’t speak up for them?  And how can I walk away from a golden opportunity being gifted to me from the Universe? 

And from the position as Madam Treasurer, I am honored to accept the role and position myself to make the world a better place. 

Be the good.  

Sometimes you just have to give fate a swift kick in the posterior to get life happening. And today, I did just that. Can’t say what I did just yet, but I can say that sometimes we must just do.

And if ever a song said it best, it’d be the lyrical wisdom of the the Beatles.

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=E8ftyVQM5FE&autoplay=1&desktop_uri=%252Fwatch%253Fv%253DE8ftyVQM5FE%2526autoplay%253D1

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Several weeks ago, I sat down with a writer at Caribou coffee in St. Louis Park.  Nervous about our meeting, my anxieties were alleviated within minutes of chatting with the lovely Ms. Letta Page over lattes and chai teas.  An editor by trade, and a self-disclosed “Doogie Howser”*, Letta is a master of the written word as she edits academic works; writes several blogs, and generally fills the world with her amazing spirit.  (*She finished grad school before she was 20 years old!!!).

The purpose of the meeting was for her to interview me for a blog she writes for the studio where I do Pilates.  After a few moments, she “got” me and how I see the world; my experiences; and how life compels me to constantly pay it forward.  While the hour passed in what seemed a few moments, it was an hour filled with laughter and marvel at her interviewing skills and her love of life.  

And now seeing her written word is nothing short of amazing which leaves me truly humbled to see how she skillfully captured the essence of me.   

http://alignpilates.com/uncategorized/member-spotlight-limbitless-leslie