To Have and to Hold


Originally posted on March 19, 2011 by liveyourbliss


After so much searching, I’ve finally discovered the key to Enlightenment.

Irregular verbs. Portuguese irregular verbs.

No matter how many times I try to tell someone what I used to do, what I wanted, or what I had, all of the words get tangled up inside my head. Instead of using the past tense of ter (to have), querer (to want) or fazer (to make/do), I find sneaky ways to get around it.


For example, instead of saying: ”Eu queria muito ter ido,” which means, “I really wanted to go.”

I’ll say something like: “Estou muito triste…eu estava aqui, mas lá não la. A festa estava boa?” This roughly translates to “I am very sad. I was here, but not there. The party was good?”


The good part about having to use three times as many words that it really stretches out a conversation. I like to imagine that people see my archaic way of speaking as somewhat mysterious. Perhaps I come across as poetic, or even profound:


“I know that which you see is here now. I see this, too, and I know that it is good.”


The best part is that my inability to recall the past or future tenses of key verbs means that I can only have, do, or want what is immediately in front of me. 

Just what my little monkey mind needed all along.

traz a lenha pro fogão

On fluttering arms and rhinestone lashes, the feathered passistas TOK-a-chica-ed to the front of the stage. The breath we’d been holding was swallowed by the bateria, this time in four-part harmony:

“Vem Magalenha rojão, traz a lenha pro fogão,
vem fazer armação.
Hoje é um dia de sol, alegria de coió,
é curtir o verão.”

Every hair on my arm whispered “vem.”


don’t die wondering

On Saturday morning I was talking with my parents and I shared an anecdote about one of my favorite teachers, Dr. Wayne Dyer: last week, he posted on Facebook that he keeps a suit in his closet with the pocket cut out. It’s a reminder that when he’s gone, he won’t be taking anything with him.

On Sunday, I learned that Dr. Wayne Dyer had died in his sleep overnight. I cried when I learned the news (not for him, of course, because he’s on to greater adventures), but for all of us who have benefited from his teaching. I’m sad because I can no longer learn what he is thinking about Today.

One of the most lasting messages of Wayne Dyer will be “don’t die with your music still inside you.” Don’t wait until you’re gone to do that thing that you’ve always wanted to do.

I fell asleep on Sunday night listening to one of Wayne Dyer’s audio recordings, comforting myself that I can honor him by making his teachings new for me again. Then I woke up on Monday and got to work on my book.

In honor of Dr. Wayne Dyer, answer these questions for yourself:

At the end of your life, what are the things that you don’t want to die wondering?

What do you not want to leave undone, unlearned, unloved, or unsaid?

Start today.

Lift Every Voice: The Universal Balancing Act

Today, the world heard the announcement that in the United States, Love is Love. In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states is a victory for all of us. Any time the planet tilts in favor of love, everyone wins.

Even with so much to celebrate, there is a rawness to timing of this event in the wake of the murder of nine congregants in Charleston, South Carolina. How it can be that in the same week where such unimaginable hate could exist, Love can come back with such force that it can literally change the world? How can these events happen so close together?

In Michael Singer’s newest book, “The Surrender Experiment,” he wrote “The universe has been around for 13.8 billion years, and the processes that determine the flow of life around us did not begin when we were born, nor will they end when we die.”

You have likely experienced the great balancing act in your own life – one week it’s all happiness and flow, and the next, uncertainty and heartbreak. That’s when we need to remind ourselves that it’s not all up to us. There are forces that determine everything from how much rain falls to when there is drought; how wars are waged to when peace is won. And whether we understand how victory and tragedy can coexist, the fact is that they do.

Ultimately, the case presented to the Supreme Court in favor of gay marriage was based on more than just equality – it was about compassion. History has shown us that sometimes, it’s not until we understand something on a personal and visceral level that dramatic and lasting change can occur.

If Love is to prevail in your life, in mine, in your neighbor’s home, and in a quiet place of worship that once burned to the ground and rose again from the ashes – and will again – each and every one of us must consider that we are part of this Universal Balancing Act. There is always, and there is still yet, more important work to be done.

You are a part of The Big Plan, and no single aspect of your own path is ever separate from the path of the person next you. Every act of compassion, every thoughtful word, and every kindness matters, no matter how small. twitter-bird

Do it for Love.

About the Author

leigh-hopkins-director-viva-instituteLeigh Hopkins created Viva Institute in 2008 with the goal of creating an organizational catalyst for personal transformation. She received her Bachelors in Elementary Education and Music and a Masters in Education. She has a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from Cornell University and is a certified Usui Reiki Master. Ela fala português, ella habla español, sta lavorando al suo italiano and on good days, she even remembers English.


Raise your shield
seal the gates
gather your sisters
around you
to wait.

Let the winds howl
watch the waters rise
when the storms rage
we’ll pay them
no mind.

Joan has put away the armor
Iemanja fastened the sluice
Caitlyn will hold up her mirror
and honor you
with your Truth.

Go on, girl: let your hair down.

Mother Maya of the Angels:
shake our stories loose!
Throw our words
like confetti
and we’ll take them to the skies.

We’ll gather the pieces
reassemble their meaning
weave them into the fabric
of We —
you and I.

we speak

we cry

we dance

we rise.

— for The Sedona Tribe (with special honors for Caitlyn Jenner).

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don’t speak to me
of mass
or matter

when for me,
you have always been
and light.

whether it takes
30 years or
30 lifetimes

time has no bearing.

you travel
at the speed of Love:

a force,
when multiplied,

infinitely more generous
exponentially more expansive

than time or space.

in our equation
time has no bearing.

you are this and more

I can’t stop thinking about Apollo and Daphne.

There was so much of Rome to taste and explore, but when I look back, I know that my future memories of my time in that ancient city may come down to this one breathtaking sculpture.

Apollo and Daphne live(s) at the Villa di Borghese in Rome. When sculptor Gianlorenzo Bernini created this masterpiece between 1622-24, it was during the height of the paragone  — a Renaissance debate that put into question whether painting, sculpture, or literature was the most descriptive medium for depicting nature or conveying human emotion.

In Apollo and Daphne, Bernini carved out all of the raw emotion and inner conflict that so many artists and writers have spent lifetimes trying to convey. I walked around the sculpture for thirty minutes or more, taking in the upswept arms, the feet, flung behind, the feet turning to roots, fingers to branches…

The work captures the chaos and uncertainty of the human condition; the aching and the longing; the desire for intimate, ecstatic love; the quest to be wholly ourselves while honoring the Divinity in another. It brings to life the fear that chases love into the shadows and the transformation that sends it into eternity.

What I can’t get away from, what has literally kept me up at night, is the reminder of my own yearning to convey the multi-dimensional truth of who we are. We are more than 3-D. None of us can judge our own worthiness until we have walked around so deeply inside ourselves that we finally understand that there is no aspect of who we are that is separate from others.

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To experience this just as I’m about to teach a workshop in Sedona on women’s storytelling and personal mythology, followed by a summer of deep writing — it was everything.

To see more photos from Italy or to learn about the myth of Apollo and Daphne, join me on Facebook. I’m now on Instagram, so stop by and show me how it’s done.