Bend
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The paths we walk in life are so incredibly varied. With so many options, it’s hard to understand why we limit ourselves to narrowing beliefs, habits, and patterns that commonly lead to fear, anger, and hate.

That said, I understand why we are challenged by the polar opposites of “familiarity” versus “change”. In our tumultuous world, there is strong rationale for ritual and consistency. We need to be able to trust that what happened today will happen tomorrow ... and the next day and the next day and the next day. This allows us to plant our feet firmly and plan. With consistency we are afforded a foundation that lends steadiness to our day time reality. This makes sense to me.

On the other hand, becoming rigid in this position reduces our ability to remain open to other opportunities and expand. Like a statue, we are stoic and everlasting. Cemented in stone, we limit our insight. We restrict ourselves unnecessarily. If we remained flexible, like a giant Sequoia, we would ebb and flow when the breeze gently brushed against us or the storms raged around us.

I have seen it time and time again – when we refuse to bend the pain inflicted on self and others is exponentially more painful than if we approached each other with respect, objectivity, and admiration for our individual strengths and differences.

As I gestate this new life, I have come to learn that my goal is to offer insight, inspiration, and illumination to create a space for the conversations of life we neglect. The ones that keeps us up at night, create deep abysses of sorrow, that limit our existence day in and day out.

As a social worker and a nurse I have seen so much suffering. Some of it is impossible to avoid but a lot of it is self-inflicted and – unrelinquished.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

On the other side of darkness, I have seen light. There is an abundance of compassion, empathy, and grace in our world. In ego and fear, we hold too tightly to these heart-driven gifts, restricting their release, rather than feasting on them in solidarity.

Beginning in 2004, when I started my nursing career, a pattern emerged at 2:00 AM. Conversations. With the attendings and residents gone, families were exhausted but unable to sleep. The still silence allowed their anguish and confusion to emerge. Despite the pain, these moments bloomed gently and easy. The quiet push of the air above blessed us with fresh air. I have never felt more connected and vital in my life.

As much a blessing as these connections were, it was unfortunate their hand had been forced. What I learned – while these emergent situations should have been the center of attention, an avoidance of life’s work is what actually added weight. When the unexpected brings us to our knees, decades of avoidance boils to the surface. Inconvenient as it may seem, the elephant becomes the room. 

As a caregiver, it is torturous to watch these events unfold. And so, what I am advocating for is a more gentle approach in life. One that allows us to find our footing, balanced on life’s back with confidence. An approach that sets the way for us to safely explore the pain buried deep inside through the wonder that surrounds us.

Nature is healing. It can be a mentor and a friend. It is humble yet brave. In its presence we can find many a metaphor for our own lives; solace in simple moments untethered to the boundaries of our human understanding. There are no complex training regimens to connect with nature. It is all around us. She is woven into every aspect of our lives: a gentle summer breeze, a clover in a crack, an ant on the ground, a leaf on a tree.

When life is overwhelming. When sadness is oppressive. When the end is closer than the beginning – please take someone’s hand, squeeze it gently, go outside, and ask for any measure of help. There are beautiful people in this world. They want to be there. If they do not exist for you, please contact me. If not for the person you have become but the person you want to love.

#findingessentia #natureheals #lifeswork #aveclavie

Rebecca LefebvreComment
Finding Essentia
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This book has been a long time in the making. I started writing it over five years ago under a few different titles. None seemed to fit and I never had enough time to immerse myself in her weighty but relevant content. And, truth be told, I hadn't come far enough in my journey to feel certain that Finding Essentia could (or should) even exist.

Over the next few months, as the sun sets sooner, you will find me curled up in my corner chair bringing life to the many lessons I have learned over the years.

As a nurse, I owe much of this book to the tender souls who have touched my heart. Their raw reality, imparting wisdom beyond measure. Their stories entwined in mine, I have become a better human because of them. Tethered to every courageous moment in life, I have found grace, hope, and fortitude to be the trident of the soul. 🌾

#tridentofthesoul #author #selfhelpbook #aveclavie

Rebecca LefebvreComment
Contentment
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It is upon us to be our most authentic selves. No one, even our closest friends, our family, or our partners can coax our truth out of us. It is our personal responsibility to be honest, brave, and mindful of our journey, our impact on self and others, and our life's story.

Over the past few years (nearly five now) I have been in a state of transition - considering options, feeling out opportunities, and trying to right my way. Speaking with a friend yesterday I realized, we are all in this process of self-realization. Sometimes life happens hard and transformation isn't an option. Most frequently, it's more subtle, sitting in the corner of our psyche silently waiting for us to take notice. We are uncontent when that nagging feeling wells up in our heart yet we shy away from the work it would take to convert consideration into reality (goodness knows there's so much to consider when we leave our life's work to pile up – neglecting years of tears, fears, dreams, and aspirations).

I am not the sort of individual that suggests one approach. Rather, having seen so many ways to the finish line, I prefer leaving life open to any and all possibilities. I encourage myself and those I care for to inspect each angle and to make choices that feel most relevant and true to them. If we grant ourselves the time and attention (as much as we do to everyone and everything else) we will find contentment knowing we have listened to our spirit, tended to our path, and cared for our heart.

Seahorse is wise in this way. He accepts his responsibilities. While contentment is his most powerful message the journey to arrive their requires tremendous consideration for self and others and inspires us to be consciously responsible for the choices we make – neither shrinking from the work required to come to that choice or the outcome associated with it.

May the wisdom of Seahorse's dedication to both digging in and riding the waves guide you on your journey to fulfillment. That is his greatest wish. 🌾

 #naturedivineress #seahorsewisdom #findingessentia #aveclavie #morningmoment #natureheals

Rebecca LefebvreComment
Breathe
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A long time ago I was a nursing instructor. My students were inspired and determined to make a difference. In support of their goals, I use to teach a conscious practice of stopping and breathing before they made big decisions or felt rushed while providing care. On a physiological and practical level, this process ensured they had enough oxygen for clear sight. On an energetic level it modeled a responsibility to slowing down, taking time, and purposeful consideration.

From personal experience and numerous accounts of unfortunate events, I found that scurrying around often resulted in thoughtless, automatic action. When this occurred, bad things happened. So I taught my students – when their heart rate was fast and the stakes were high they had the permission to stop, take a deep breath, and consciously consider their next move. This active decision-making ensured their actions were rooted in best outcomes.

Beyond the bedside, I believe we as individuals, communities, and a nation owe this to ourselves. Just by being, we produce outcomes. Being passive or active is the key. Having held the hands of many, I have learned, there are no greater regrets than the ones we live to endure because we didn't slow down and think.

Today and moving forward, gift yourself permission to take your time, breathe in deeply, and consciously participate in your life. Manifesting dreams takes hard work, commitment, and self-confidence. I believe in you. So should you! 🌾

#breathedeep #activeparticipation #faunainspiration #findingessentia #aveclavie

Authenticity
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One of the more poignant lessons I have learned from the animals of this planet is how authentic and true they are to their innate selves. Unlike humans, Earth's creatures rarely if ever strive to be anything other than exactly who they are. Have you ever seen an elephant hop like a frog? Or a horse slither like a snake? While it sure would be something to behold, could you conceive of a day when Mr. Mouse grew a pair of wings and flew south for the great migration? Possibly but highly unlikely.

Animals, unlike us, appear pretty darn content to be just who they are. And yet, day-in and day-out, here we live ignoring our uniqueness and pretending we are someone we are not. We try to be braver, more aloof, disengaged or more carefree than we really are. But in the end (when we near our last breath), it is this lack of authenticity and acceptance of our personal truth that befuddles us and brings so much grief, regret, and sadness.

So why then do we wait so long to be true to ourselves? Why not embrace our unique beauty sooner; bask in our child-like wonder and let our personal brilliance shine? 🐭

#faunainspiration #findingessentia #aveclavie #natureheals #naturedivineress #morningmoment

Serenity
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In addition to the animals in my new Fauna Inspiration deck, I have added a few symbols that represent the elements in which they are most attune. For Sea Turtle this is of course water. 💦

Combining fauna and elemental energies, she becomes one of those mystical creatures that represents the importance of adaptability, flexibility, and serenity. Whatever the current may be (rough and tumble, fast or slow, up or down) she reminds us to stop battling it. Hardship is inevitable.

Our approach to the trials and tribulations of our life is often what remains tethered to our soul. When we release those chaotic, Archean moments they dissolve into a sea of silence. What once was crippling can be witnessed in a myriad of ways. Anything is possible when we bath in the ocean of serenity. 🐢

#seaturtlewisdom #findingessentia #aveclavie #morningmoment #natureheals

Surrender
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The very definition of Avec La Vie is to give over to the current of life. To sink back and float in the waves. A belief you have the capability to see it through. And while surrender to some may connote giving up and passivity, it is actually dependent on a very large measure of self trust and an individual's conscious awareness to be active in their choice. Surrender requires knowledge of one's decision to do so and a responsibility to a particular outcome. Being buoyant is not sustainable if you do not trust yourself. Having trust in oneself is paramount. Cicada is a strong symbol of this fortitude. 🌾 

#findingessentia #aveclavie #cicadawisdom #morningmoment #natureheals

Faith
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It is seemingly inevitable. At some point in time we must all take a leap of faith. Whether to fly from the nest, talk to a total stranger, travel to a distant land, sit at a bedside in silence, share tears of loss or joy, or simply follow your heart's desire. Each leap has the potential to invite waves of doubt but with vim, vigor, and grit – when we get to it and do our work – being IN life (not outside of it) sends strong signals to the universe that we have the capacity to be brave, to be bold, and to be you!

Today I look out over the ledge and choose to be daring, to be authentic, and to be brilliant in the light of my own capacity. May you find the light and strength to embrace your own illumination. 🌾

#findingessentia #brilliantillumination #aveclavie #morningmoment

Perception
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I'm a "why" driven person. Close reads come as simply to me as breathing. But along the way, I have come to understand, "the why" is up to our own interpretation. It's a singular responsibility. Every situation (joyous or sad) is uniquely defined by each of us. A series of events in our lives and a predisposition to life can shape the way we see things. The lens we look through filters our perceptions. Seeing darkness or light is up to the individual. When we identify the visceral and interpret the intention of the situation we claim control of our reactions and define the potential that lies before us. In so doing we find new ways of perceiving and find freedom from the status quo. 🌾

#openheart #findingessentia #aveclavie #florainspiration #morningmoment