On the eve of the day on which we are reminded to give thanks, I am ever more grateful for this life I’ve been given.

Like all of you, my life continues to shower me with gifts; with lessons; and with people who compel me to shine, to thrive, and to soar.

And so, on the eve of day on which we give thanks; I thank all of those who have held my hand, who have supported me, and who continue to push me to follow my dreams in making the world a better place.

Forever grateful for this life I’ve been given. And giving thanks to those make my life complete.

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On a sunny May day at the corner of 5th Avenue and “Hope”, I excitedly awaited meeting a friend. Our excursion started with perfume shopping at Bergdorf’s and ended with lunch at The Plaza. With sparkling water, we toasted one another to “new beginnings” and to finding utter happiness.

Little did I know that that outing with my fabulous friend would be the starting point from which my Universe would slowly change its axis. And little did I anticipate the tremendous self transformation that would ensue.

Now, at the corner of Hope and Anticipation, I look back on that day with the same gleeful excitement I felt when I saw my pretty friend approach me on Fifth Avenue.
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20140811-101425-36865926.jpgFor as long as I can remember, I have always wanted to “help people”.  And for almost that long, I wanted to a pediatrician while adamantly avowing that I would never become a nurse or a lawyer, thank you very much.  So much for plans.  With a Juris Doctor and Registered Nurse behind my name, I became the two things I never declared I would be.

Now, at an introspective crossroad where I am re-purposing my professional and personal experience into something bigger than me, the resounding answer to the question still remains:  “to help people”.

And while the skill that I can use to best help people is my own life’s experience with limb loss, I recognize that that is my greatest attribute, my greatest credential, my greatest achievement.  Finally, I take delight in the challenge of re-inventing myself into the person I always wanted to be: A person who makes a difference.  A person whose contributions matter to others.  A peson I always thought I would be.

Not knowing how that will actually manifest itself, I do know that I will not be one of the many present day reality “stars” who make money from publishing coffee-table books of their own selfies or are simply famous, for being famous. Nor will I be that people take pity upon.

So, when talking to a friend about finding my purpose, he said:

“The objective perspectives of others, I think, is more about illumination vs. inspiration. Everyone is broken, some of us more so than others. We are just so confronted with a lack of enlightenment by so many people our paths cross that we get lost inside ourselves sometimes, worn down by the constant barrage of it all.

Each of us has something to overcome on our path to inner peace and happiness. Perhaps because people can more visibly see one obstacle you have overcome that you illuminate or shed light on folks who find themselves in darkness that they too begin to believe they can achieve and overcome their circumstances.

We can all act as spirit guides of some sort if we choose and we make a choice with every interaction we have with every person we touch every day.”

It’s time to become what I have always thought I’d be.

 

UN DAY OF FRIENDSHIPNelson Mandela said: “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

In keeping with his philosophy and recognizing today as the United Nation’s International Day of Friendship, let’s all try to speak the language that profoundly impacts the hearts of others.

And in honoring the intention of today as a way to cultivate the “ties that strengthen our common humanity”, here’s to all my friends from around the globe in gratitude for your friendship and for teaching me that kindness, humanity, and humility know no boundaries.

Oh to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. Healthy in mind, body, and spirit. Wealthy in boundless opportunities to enrich our lives, as well as the lives of others. And wise in adhering to our belief in trusting that life is what we make it.
We’re only given one chance in life. So why not celebrate the chance to enjoy it while being healthy, wealthy, and wise?

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HUMANITY I recently had the great honor of completing the University of Geneva’s program on Global Health and Human Rights in the exquisitely serene city known as Geneva.  Just back two weeks in the U.S. and still processing the lessons learned, this is what I discovered:

Life is short and as much as possible, we should fill every moment with things that positively enrich our souls. Welcome experiences, both good and bad, and appreciate that their value far outweighs any material possession or any tangible thing. Meaningful friendships and relationships should be treated like precious gems that fill our hearts with love. And we should all try to have enough self-respect to boldly walk away from situations that negatively affect our outlooks and our perceptions. Welcome each day as new beginnings but allow ourselves the luxury to just be. Be honest to ourselves. Trust our instincts. And let’s try to do our part to leave the world a better place. 

If I was queen for just one day, I would give it all away.

How amazing is it to be seen for who you really are?  I had the recent honor of working with MariCris, of MC Photography, LLC and her images seem to capture the essence of who I am.  Not only is she a true artist, but she is an inspiration for those of us who want to make the world a better place because she donates part of her earnings to entrepeneurial women in the Phillipines. Leslie_beige

Of our photoshoot, she wrote on her blog that I am a “very genuine person with a lot of passion”. And of the images, this is what she saw:http://vimeo.com/97374201

Let’s all make the world a better place by seeing people because they’re beautiful.