If there was an Olympic event in stress, Leah Carey would have won multiple gold medals and be on the Wheaties box. Stress and fear dominated her young adult life. She spent lots of time worrying, “Am I pretty enough, thin enough, good enough?” So much time was spent worrying that she didn’t have energy for anything else. With little energy, Leah experienced many days when she couldn’t even get out of bed. Depression was taking a toll on her life. She sought solace in spiritual and self-empowerment teachings. Though she intellectually could process the information, with so little energy she couldn’t implement what she was learning. This unfortunately only added to her depression.
On a very dark day, Leah considered suicide. It was at this time that Leah knew she needed outside help and contacted a doctor. She was prescribed an anti-depressant and found herself now being able to implement the spiritual principles she had been studying. This was contrary to many of the spiritual teachings she was reading, but she knew it was right for her. With her energy back, Leah decided to embark on an intensive training program with Iyanla Vanzant. Here’s how Leah describes her time with Iyanla, “My Mom birthed me into this world, and Iyanla helped birth me into my life.” The culmination of her time with Iyanla resulted in a self-published book “Transforming Your Body Image.” The book is 40-day guided journal to help people accept where they are today. It’s a book she wished she had had when worry controlled her life. A book written to help people stop saying things like “Once I lose 30 pounds I’ll do ___________.”
Jump to New Year’s Day 2011 and Leah finds herself in a little predicament. She has double booked herself. Two speaking engagements on the same day for two great organizations. How could she fix it? How could she have let this happen when usually she was so diligent with her calendar? Although Leah had come a long way in her spiritual development, she often found herself wondering “What’s wrong with me?” But since it was a holiday, Leah made a huge decision. She decided not to worry about and deal with it another time. About an hour later, Leah received a very apologetic email from one of the organizations. They screwed up their scheduling and asked if Leah could come speak to their group in February. Wanting to share her good news, Leah posted on Facebook that she experienced her first miracle of the year. People responded and commented like crazy. Leah sensed that something big was happening.
For the next eight days Leah witnessed multiple miracles in her life. She found herself in a state of excitement and wonder. “When will the next miracle appear?” she asked herself. In asking this question Leah realized the lens she viewed the world through was changing, and it was changing for her friends on Facebook too. People started posting on Leah’s Facebook page sharing their everyday miracles. It was becoming clear that these stories needed a home, so Leah created The Miracle Journal, an on-line community to share miracles.
For almost three years, Leah has been sharing stories of miracles and she’s come to learn that miracles can come in many forms. They can even come as Leah calls it, “as a stinky pile of poo.” Her new lens for miracles was also becoming a lens of clarity. In some areas of her life there were piles of stuff that just had to be cleaned up. Some were covered up with pretty clothes. Some were just stepped over every day denying that they were even there. She decided to post about the “poo” and again people responded. Just as with the miracles, people were noticing that that they too had some cleaning up to do.
This positive response has inspired Leah to work on a book. She is currently interviewing entrepreneurs, new thought leaders, inspirational authors, advocates and more, to see how they have dealt with their messes. How they have moved from a mode of denial or unhealthy reaction to one of acknowledgement and action. The process has been nothing but joy for Leah for the book seems to be writing itself, telling her what it should be. A book writing itself? That sure does sound like a miracle.
SOUL Survey Questions
1. How do you stay focused and motivated?
My mom has always called me a “dog with a bone.” When I get invested in something, focus and motivation are rarely an issue. It’s actually the opposite – I struggle with getting SO focused and motivated that I eventually burn myself out.
I am blessed to have an incredible support system of mentors, teachers and friends who I turn to in those moments. They say to me, “You push yourself so hard, it’s okay to rest. It’s okay to let yourself just be.” And I use so much Rescue Remedy that perhaps I should buy stock in the company! :-)
2. How do you deal with naysayers?
A while back I did a radio interview with some people who were acting like teenage bullies and seemed determined to make me look like a fool. It shook me up, but here’s what kept me steady in that moment: I didn’t try to change their mind. I stayed calm and did my best to hold my own space while answering their questions and criticisms – which included calling me a “bitch” for not engaging at a juvenile level. In that situation, I believe that my ONLY job is to remember who I am.
I have signs on the ceiling above my bed, one of which says, “Do I want to be right OR do I want to be at peace?” I try to remember that when I come in contact with those people. I choose to be at peace. That necessarily means that I let go of convincing them that I am “right.” I smile, nod, and then leave the conversation. I’m not sure who said it, but I think this quote pretty much sums it up: “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not believe, no explanation is possible.”
3. How do you blur the lines between work and play?
This is something I’m still working on. I didn’t learn to “play” a lot as a kid, so I’m having to learn as an adult. However, when I’m really engaged in things that are meaningful to me – speaking to a group or running a workshop – it doesn’t feel like work at all. It makes my soul sing. I can’t imagine ever wanting to “retire” from the work that makes me feel that way!