44 Reasons to Keep Your Faith and Stay Connected

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” ~ Serenity Prayer (Reinhold Niebuhr)

I understand there’s a lot of emotion and deep reflection happening now in the U.S. and the world over. I don’t have the answers but I do know it’s important we honour the dignity of our own process. I encourage you to please be mindful of not indulging too much. There are ways to release emotions in a healthy way. It’s so important, more than ever, we have faith and stay connected. Fear, anger and judgement will only stop us from processing and moving forward. Instead try to continue acting from your centre, a place of gratitude and deep faith. And trust that,

whenever there is chaos, upset and polarisation there is always a huge opportunity for awakening and transformation.

As a mindful Asian-American mother to two young multi-national and international children, I understand how important it is to teach them the power of their voice, to expose them to the diversity of the world, and learn their rights to equality and freedom. They are after all our future. But it’s also important to teach our kids acceptance, love and faith. We must continue to practice what we teach and what we preach. And it’s important to constantly ask ourselves, “What can we learn from this?”.

On the day of the election results my, nearly six-year old, child asks “How is it that he won, the man who only cares about money?”. From my centre, I do my best and calmly explain. Then later that night, over our prayer before dinner, he adds “May Donald Trump be a nice person”. And it was an eye-opener for me.

Our children are watching us; everyone you come across is watching you. Change starts on the ground on a personal and at the local level. Right now, the world needs the love, faith, connection, tolerance and fierce determination you possess more than ever.

We do affect each other. We can expand, discuss and come up with positive and creative ways to a solution.

Or we can contract, argue and wallow in fear and anxiety. We always have a choice. What do you choose?

Today, more than ever, I’d love to share what I’ve been working on for the past six months – getting published in my first book! THIS Tuesday (15th) the Give Yourself Permission Anthology will launch worldwide – a collection of 44 stories from authors in the areas of: Family & Relationships, Health & Wellness, Career & Purpose and Travel & Lifestyle.

It’s a collection about the full spectrum of the human experience. It’s a testament to the beauty, strength, courage, and love that absolutely exists in this world.

It’s my heart-felt intention that from this book and everyone it touches, is inspired to keep faith and stay connected even amongst the chaos, the pain, the change and uncertainty.

What did I write about you may ask? Well you’ll have to read it to find out 🙂 But I’ll give you a hint. My story is about giving yourself permission “To Make Your Home Wherever Your Heart Is”. I hope you enjoy it.

In honour of next week’s book launch, this month I sit down with Priya Rana Kapoor, creator and publisher of the GYP Anthology. She’s also a life coach, author, speaker, founder of Give YourSelf Permission® Programs, and a dear U.S.C. Trojan alumnae (fight on!).

1) What’s your story?

I grew up in London, England as a “third culture kid”. My mother is American, my father was Indian and I spent all school holidays with my grandparents in Los Angeles. I went to a French school, and then went to university in the UK only to transfer to the University of Southern California to study theatre. I ended up getting married right after college. We lived a charmed life by the beach in LA as I earned a graduate degree in marriage and family therapy, again from USC. I spend the early part of my counselling career working with older adults, patients living with neurological disease and their families. In my late 30’s I got divorced and I started a whole new life.

2) How did you start your journey in coaching, writing and publishing?

I transitioned from being a therapist to an executive life coach when I moved back to London just over 8 years ago. I was not sure that my California degree would be valid in the UK (it was!) and I had always be more of a directive therapist anyhow. I like to work with clients on goals setting, action planning and forward motion. I do feel, however, that it is imperative to look back at the origins of certain blocks or fears. Therapy and life coaching are two different disciplines, both are valid and both have their place.

3) What inspired you to create Give Yourself Permission?

Growing up I always knew I wanted to write a book, I just did not know what it would be about. As I worked with many of my clients I started to see a trend. People were holding themselves back from living their life mostly out of fear. Fear of what others would think, fear of failure or fear of making mistakes.

What they were essentially doing was not giving themselves permission to move forward. So I wrote my first book, “Give YourSelf Permission to Live Your Life” (Balboa Press, 2014) as a guide for people to take a journey to give themselves permission to live their life … the way they wanted to, whilst also having healthy relationships.

I shared a little about how I grew up not feeling empowered and how I ultimately gave myself permission to make changes for myself. By taking personal responsibility and infusing my own life with joy, I no longer gave my power away to others.

I also shared some of my client’s stories in the book and I came to understand that many readers appreciated the case studies and that they benefited from learning from other’s experiences.

So, in 2015, my new husband, veteran publisher James Darnborough, and I moved back to California and published the “Give YourSelf Permission Magazine”. The magazine was a showcase for nearly 20 brilliant stories of triumph over adversity. It was very well received, but we realized we wanted to give these stories, and new ones, the life they deserved – one longer than a 3-month magazine shelf life. So we transitioned the magazine into a book, which we hope, like “Chicken Soup for the Soul” will still be available 25 years from now.

4) Tell me more about the Give Yourself Permission Anthology and how you chose the 44 authors.

This book is very exciting for me because I have been allowed to curate, work on and publish others people’s stories. I get to encourage people to share their voice so that others can learn from them. I am blessed to be able to facilitate change and work with many talented teachers and students. It’s a true honour to be able to facilitate these connections.

There were a number of ways we were able to collect stories. In the early days of the magazine I “strong armed” a few of my friends who I knew could either write and/or had made meaningful change in their life – with a story to tell. James was able to pitch some of the higher profile people like Geoffrey Kent (CEO of Abercrombie & Kent Luxury Travel) and then we put a call out for submissions on our social media and email platforms. I am also part of a few Facebook groups and I would read people’s post and see there was a story there. I would private message them and send them the guidelines for submission.

I was always on the lookout for authors and I was very clear on what kind of stories we wanted, what the intention of the piece was, what the reader would take away and that the author shared authentically. It was very important that the reader was able to see things in a new way, realize they were not alone in this world and get a little support to make changes for themselves. The goal was that the reader would be more equipped to give themselves permission to do something they had always wanted to, but were too afraid to try.

5) What advice can you give someone that’s afraid of doing something outside his or her comfort zone and unsure about changing his or her life?

First step is to identify what your goal is, exactly. We are not going to try something new if we don’t know WHY we are doing it. I always say “Don’t run AWAY from something, rather walk TOWARDS something.” I think it is good to be calculated in our actions and move forward slowly but steadily. Change is difficult, but it can be done if you want it strong enough and you know exactly WHAT you want and WHY you want it. Other people might well be upset but if you nurture your self-confidence then it will be easier to step out of your comfort zone. So it’s good to start bolstering yourself quietly on the inside before you make great leaps that might make you more fearful or uncomfortable. It’s a journey… but not a race!

6) With so many different stories, how do you recommend someone read the Anthology? For example, do you recommend reading it start to finish or skip around and feel which story speaks to them?

Any way they want to. Any way that feels good to them at that time, place and space. Some people might pick one of the subheads to go through from beginning to end. Others may start working their way through the book from the beginning, other’s might be called to just open the book at a random page and see what has been picked for them. There is a story for everyone, and what I ask is that you go into each story you choose to read with an open mind. You may not understand why the author did something in a certain way, but they are people too with their own set of thought, emotions, issues and experiences. Many times we are given books we don’t read immediately or that do not appeal to us right away, but after a few months, or even years, we pick that book up again and it has a whole different wealth of knowledge for us. So I suggest that people keep coming back to the book and reading the same stories with different eyes, at different times in life.

Also, we often have friends or family members who are struggling and we want to help them, but don’t know how. Maybe you lend them your copy, or buy one for them as a gift, and I suspect that, in their own time, they will come across a story that will speak to them and quietly guide them.

7) What’s up next for the Give Yourself Permission brand?

Executive life coaching is my first love, so I will continue to work with as many clients as possible. I have a Give YourSelf Permission (GYSP) coaching e-course nearly ready to be release and we will be looking at a series of GYSP mini-books and more topic focused collections, e.g.: GYSP to be the Parent You Want to Be; GYSP to Live Well with Chronic Illness: for the patient and caregiver; or GYSP to Reboot Your Life … .

8) What are your favourite places in London and Los Angeles?

I really do love everything about London, the streets, the wrought iron railings, the buildings, the taxis, the pubs, my friends… even the weather! I love wearing winter clothes and I even like using an umbrella. But I really love to walk in the Royal Hospital Gardens in Chelsea, the grounds are beautiful and peaceful, right by the river, and it is always heartwarming to see the Chelsea Pensioners, who live there, in their red coats and their war medals. I am deeply grateful for their service.

Los Angeles is totally different from London, and also has amazing vistas. I could get lost in the ocean… I can’t imagine not living near a body of water, and I am lucky enough to have a glimpse of the Pacific from our condo. The way the sunlight sparkles off the water makes my heart skip a beat.

9) What advice would you give to your younger self, now that you’ve had all these life experiences?

I am not sure I would tell her much. What I have learned in life is that you cannot (and should not) tell people what to do or how to live. They have to have their own experiences and then make their own mind up to make changes or try something different. They often do not know something is not working well until they feel the discomfort of ambiguity or disappointment. I am not saying that I want people to fall before they fly, but in my experience people have to come to their own conclusions. They can seek guidance, advice or want to hear your experiences, but they should decide what they want to try and what they feel capable of – in their own time. All we can do as friends/family/coaches is walk beside them when they need support, ask questions that help clarify their thoughts, listen to them and care for them. I might tell my younger self to always be kind to herself and others … and the rest will follow. But I would not tell her how to live her life!

THANK YOU Priya for your beautiful work in this world to collect and connect through stories of inspiration and insight.

For more information on Priya and Give Yourself Permission visit here.

As always, I’d love connecting with you and hear how you’re keeping faith, staying connected, and moving positively during this time. Head over to the comments section here to share your thoughts.
With love and gratitude,

Leslie xx

P.S. Join my FREE private community On Purpose Collective so you can connect with a global group of like-minded people and where I facilitate live weekly & multi-day trainings.