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Mrs. Leonard

A woman named Mary Anne Bird tells her story.

I grew up knowing that I was different, and I hated it. I was born with a cleft palate, and when I started school my classmates made it clear to me how I must look to others: a little girl with a misshapen lip, crooked nose, lopsided teeth, and garbled speech.

When my schoolmates would ask, “What happened to your lip?” I’d tell them I’d fallen and cut it on a piece of glass. Somehow it seemed more acceptable to have suffered an accident than to have been born different. I was convinced that no one outside my family could love me.

There was, however, a teacher in the second grade whom we all adored – Mrs. Leonard by name. She was short, round, happy, a sparkling lady. Annually we would have a hearing test. I was virtually deaf in one ear; but when I had taken the test in past years, I discovered that if I did not press my hand as tightly upon my ears as I was instructed to do, I could pass the test. Mrs. Leonard gave the test to everyone in class, and finally it was my turn.

I knew from past years, that as we stood against the door and covered one ear, the teacher sitting at her desk would whisper something and we would have to repeat it back…things like “The sky is blue,” or “Do you have new shoes?” I waited there for those words which God must have put into her mouth, those seven words which changed my life. Mrs. Leonard said in her whisper, “I wish you were my little girl.”




We are all born whole, complete and perfect...just the way we are. We know innately that we have been loved unconditionally into life. Yet sometime between the ages of 0 -7, something happens...someone says something or does something to us...and because humans are meaning making machines...we begin to think that something is not quite right with us. We begin to experience fear. Our ego steps in to protect us from fear and we can experience our ego being manifest in us in the form of three voices in our head.

1.     The Inner Critic

This is the internal voice that judges us as not measuring up.

The Inner Critic blames us for whatever goes wrong in our life.

This inner voice can be so judgmental that it finds fault with anything about us and we can begin to believe unconsciously one or more of the following fears:

           “I’m not good enough.”

           “I don’t belong.”

           “I’m not lovable.”

These fears do more to stop us from being whom and what we want to be than any other.

2.     The Inner Defender

Instead of judging ourselves, our second internal voice - the Inner Defender, judges others.

Its thoughts and conversations are full of blaming, complaining, accusing, judging, criticizing and condemning others.

          “It’s not my fault. It’s their fault and I am not responsible.”

3.     The Inner Guide

Luckily we have a third internal voice. This is our Inner Wisdom, our Truth, our Knowing, our Intuition, our Conscience, our God-centre …the voice that seeks to make the best of any situation.

         Am I on the right path or heading in the right direction? If I’m not, what can I do to get back on the right path?”

Our Inner Guide tell us the impartial truth (as best we know it at the time), allowing us to be more fully aware of the world around us, other people, and especially ourselves. With this knowledge we can take action to get back to heading in the right direction…..towards our life’s purpose.

The first two voices are motivated by fear and have strong muscles. We hear them loudly and clearly because we exercise these voices regularly.

 “So how can we exercise our Inner Guide?”

The third voice, our Inner Guide, is motivated by love. Its strength is dependent upon exercising and giving our Inner Guide a regular workout through…

         Letting go of our ego

         Accepting and loving ourselves as we are

         Discovering what most makes us come alive

         Practicing stillness and meditation

These strategies will assist us to live a deeply centred and peace filled life.

The voice we choose to occupy our thoughts determines our choices, and our choices determine the outcomes and experiences of our lives.

So choose your thoughts, words and actions carefully.

Want to find out more? Order your copy of the Building Trust Starts Within CD available from Activ8 Excellence by contacting us on info@activ8excellence.com.au or 0429 643 353




The word FEAR can be broken down as an analogy, or an acronym that people use - "False Evidence Appearing Real". Have you ever noticed that we can build a situation up into so much more than what it really is, then, when we actually face it, and we get to the other side, we find that the "false evidence" was nowhere near as bad as what we were expecting and then we say to ourselves, "Eh, that was no big deal."


Raising awareness of the fears we experience allows us to name, claim and tame these fears. As we exercise our Inner Guide we will continue to hear our Inner Critic and Inner Defender, yet we will be able to acknowledge these voices and what they have to say and then focus on what our Inner Guide is telling us is right for us in this situation in this moment in time.


The way I choose to exercise my Inner Guide involves stillness and meditation through prayer. I find when I pray consistently that I feel I am travelling my true path and my life is filled with abundance and goodness. When I notice my life has taken a detour or a path that seems rocky or difficult, it usually means that I have neglected my prayer life.


I had the privilege of being involved in Pray 2010 (www.pray2010.org.au), a conference on prayer in Brisbane from the 7-10 July. It was an amazing experience to witness 2700 people come together to share their experience, wisdom and stories about prayer and its transforming power in their lives. One of the greatest insights participants came away with was that there are a myriad of ways to pray and no two people will pray the same way.


At the end of each Keynote presentation and during the opening and closing liturgies, all the participants held up a hand and observed a period of silence, invoking God’s blessing for the presenter and their needs. This simple action reminded me of the scenes in Avatar when the Na'vi gather together at the Tree of Souls to pray as one with Eywa and their ancestors. (If you haven’t seen Avatar, do yourself a favour and watch it! There are so many lessons about life, our relationships and our connection to the environment and our Creator.)


Whatever way you choose to exercise and grow your Inner Guide, be encouraged to find some time each day to do so. After all, embracing the abundance and joy in your life today will allow you to release your fears and attract even more blessings. Through the ripple effect, you will bless the lives of those around you.


Now that’s got to be a good thing!


Keep shining!

Christine Anderson