Keep Moving Forward

I just want to give gratitude to everyone that takes the time to read this blog, visit the website, and most of all, those of you who have joined the movement. This blog is here so I can share my truth along the way. I am new at this endeavor and have never done anything like it. I am just an ordinary girl who had an idea and decided to make it go live. As it unfolds, I choose this place to be able to share the excitement, the disappointments, the fear, the love, the grace, the challenges, the rawness and realness, and all of the above. I want people to be able to relate to my experience and know that they too can do whatever it is that whispers in their heart. We are all in this together right?

 So some of you may have noticed, things have seemed to be pretty slow around here lately . I have to admit, I was starting to feel really discouraged about everything. It is interesting sometimes to sit back and see how my mind works and where it likes to go. My mind has always worked from an area of lack, so it's no wonder, that's the place it seems to travel when it's not preoccupied with everything else. This movement is so special to my heart and I love to hear people's experiences of it. It's something I believe in, an always told myself that I would continue, even if I am the only one participating. With that being said, my intention from the beginning has been to create a worldwide movement. To have others excited about leaving letters for strangers and to have people consistently involved.

I have always been a creative person, and in the past it has been really difficult for me to decide on what I wanted to do with my life. My pattern was always to get really excited about something, start it, do really good, hit a plateau, get discouraged and move on to the next thing. For the last month or two, I feel like Let Love Surprise You hit a plateau and out of fear,  I would question myself "Is this a good idea?" or "Is this really going to work?". I was running out of ways to keep people involved and excited, so it felt like, out of habit, I gave up a little bit and let resistance get the best of me.

The good thing is, what is different about now, compared to how I used to react in the past, is I have been very aware of my thoughts and my actions and their misalignment with what I see to be true. This time around I have more knowledge and I am gaining experience as to how to work through the fear and resistance. It always helps when Spirit sends you a little message here and there, letting you know you are on the right path. In my case, it literally has been messages. Every time I get discouraged and start to rethink my plans, I get an email from someone that found a letter from someone (sometimes from me), and letting me know how the letter has impacted their life. It has been a constant reminder of why I am doing what I am doing and why I must continue on strong. This really is only the beginning.


So I sit here before you behind this almighty computer screen, to acknowledge myself as I keep moving forward. As I witness the plateau and fasten my seatbelt because instead of getting off the ride, like I would have done in the past, I am getting ready to climb the next peak. Let Love Surprise You is here to stay and commits to continuing to bring joy to others lives. I am here to practice patience and trust. Integrity and purpose. I am here to choose courage and stand tall in the face of fear. Most importantly, I am here to love myself through it all and trust in my ability to create something big and powerful. It is time. I am here to stand in that love and let it surprise me. Let it bring me to a place I have only wished to make it to, and have been too afraid to come to in the past. Here I am making it past the first plateau, stronger then before. Again, I thank you and appreciate you for being here with me. The ride is more fun with others to laugh and cry with.  Let's go!

xoxo,
Ashley

Are You Willing To Bet On Your Life?

Do you find that you have a hard time trusting? I've been having a hard time in my path and my ability to live the life I love. What if I fail? What if I have to start all over...again? If Trust is so risky, why take the chance? Because distrust leads to far worse scenario then trusting ever will. By not trusting, by not taking the chance, you close the door from anything great happening.


There is one thing I can think of off the top of my head that people have the hardest time placing their trust in. The Future. What could, should, or would happen to us in the future because of some person, place, or thing. We will literally drive ourselves stir crazy wondering “WHAT IF…” about other people and what they can or might do, think, or say to us if we let our guard down (or even when it’s up) and what will happen to us in the future and if something will prevent us from receiving what we want.

Fear is the foundation for distrust. When we distrust we become overly consumed with more fear. We want to keep our guard tower manned with maximum security, making sure we know exactly what’s going on at all times, controlling the situation AT ALL COST. Even if that cost is our own peace and sanity.

I can’t let that happen to me“, or “what can I do to make sure that ______ never happens to me?”, we tell ourselves. We begin to question ourselves over an over looking for the solution that will finally give us comfort. Yet what we don’t understand is that looking for a solution through the same fearful energy that brought us to this place is near impossible. Whatever solution we come up with, will never be enough because, it too, is produced through fear. We then find ourselves in a cycle of pretending everything is okay yet constantly questioning if it really is. Distrusting doesn’t sound very fun does it?

Ironically, by distrusting, we are trying to prevent something that could potentially hurt us. Yet  the fear that we engulf ourselves in, through going over all the chances of us NOT getting what we want, is doing nothing BUT hurting us. Causing us to feel unsafe which is what we are trying to prevent all along. Distrusting can cause destruction because we are holding on too tight. It closes the door for any other possibility. Trusting on the other hand allows us to let go, and relax. It opens the door for multiple possibilities and better solutions.

Do we remember what gets us to the place of distrusting in the first place? [it’s okay, you can scroll back up if you need to check]. Yes! It’s FEAR. Have you ever really thought about what TRUST entails though? Trusting is like gambling in a way. Even when we think we have 100% chance of winning, do we ever really? Do we ever really know EXACTLY what’s going to happen? Can we control EVERY outside factor to make sure it plays in our favor only? The answer to all three of those question is…. you guessed it, NO! Outside factors in the one thing we DO NOT have control over. We do not have control over other people, places, or things, therefor as much as we would like to predict what the future will bring, we never know that something is going to happen until it happens.

Even if we can predict that something has a 99.9% chance of happening, we still have to save room for that slim chance that it won’t happen the way we think, if at all. It’s that 0.1% chance that will still be attached to fear. But that’s what trusting is. It’s knowing that something MAY not work out in the way we would like it to, but betting on it anyways. Trust takes courage, especially if in the past we may have lost a time or two.

Whether we are aware of it or not, every act of trust carries with it a shiver of fear. A favorable situation can become dangerous. Deep down we know that life is insecure and precarious. However, if we do trust, the shiver carries with it a philosophical optimism: Life, with all its traps and horrors, is good… The bet is implicit in trust itself. If we could be sure of everyone and everything, trust would have no value – like money, if it were suddenly limitless, or sunshine, if there were always fine weather, or life, if we were to live forever
— Piero Ferrucci (The Power Of Kindness)

 

When you are someone that has a difficult time placing trust in the future, then the second you feel that shiver of fear, you’re alarm goes off telling you that something is wrong. The distrusting begins producing nothing but MORE fear. Remember though, Fear is False Evidence Appearing Real. Unless it’s a life threatening situation (which is not the situations we are talking about here), it does nothing but hold our energy and our action hostage.

So what’s the alternative then? How can you choose to trust instead? When we surrender to the idea that we can’t control everything. Through this surrendering, we come to the conclusion that we are MORE than capable of handling all that life brings our way. When we allow ourselves to acknowledge that trust will ALWAYS carry a little bit of fear, we can become more aware of when we are actively choosing to be in a place of trusting. This can allow us to reroute our alarm system. This time when you witness that shiver of fear arise, instead of the fear multiplying, it is now giving you knowledge that you ARE in a place of trusting and accepting that this ounce of fear just comes with the job. You will be aware that you are trusting because you CHOOSE to trust, and if the worst case scenario happens to take place, we can continue to trust that it’s for our highest good and continue moving forward.

We have the choice to trust or distrust. While we are in a place of distrust, it’s like we are constantly waiting for the bomb to drop. A bomb that may NEVER drop. We spend our time and energy trying to prevent the bomb from dropping. The thing is, if the bomb is meant to drop, it will drop, and you have no more control over it then you do of gravity. So instead of worrying so much about what COULD happen in the future, why not just enjoy your present. And if the bomb ends up dropping, you deal with it then and at least you enjoyed the ride to that point…then you get on another ride. If it never drops, then you continue enjoying that ride wherever it takes you. What’s the point of the ride if you can’t enjoy it? What’s the point of life, if you don’t live?

In trusting, we let ourselves go. We know that all kinds of unexpected events may come our way. Our tension eases, our mind and our hearts open spontaneously to be possibilities. It is an ever new state of mind, in the present moment, because we have detached from all we know. But it is also a feeling as old as can be, because, before all betrayals and all disappointments, there was a time in which trusting another was the very substance of our life.
— Piero Ferrucci

 

Do you have the courage to place the bet? I know I do! That one bit of courage will change your life

xoxo,
Ashley

My Very First Time, I Am Addicted!

“Oh there is a bench, I always imagines leaving my first letter on a bench”

“But no one is going to see it there. Don’t you want to leave it where someone is going to find it?”

“Someone will find it there. I’m sure someone will walk by that bench”

I walk up to the bench with my blood rushing through me, ready to leave my very first letter on New Year’s Day. What a way to start 2015. This is the very moment I have worked up to. I trudged through muddy resistance over and over to get to this moment. This is the kickoff. Here we go. (looks around to make sure no one is looking). I leave the letter on the bench and take a picture of it to post on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for later.

I wrote a few letters leading up to this moment, and I don’t even know which one this is. I don’t even know what it says and if it’s even a “good” one. I never re-read them before I seal them up because I know if I do that then I will start working with my mind and judging the crap out of it. Probably end up ripping it up because “it could be better” and someone deserves something better. I am learning to trust in Spirit. To trust myself. By not re-reading them and by having more than one on hand, I know that whichever one I magically lay down is the one that is meant to be in that place at that time. No judgment, no regrets!

I head back to the car. The baby is crying in the back. He’s hungry and wants to get out of his seat. I decided to get him out of the car and walk through the shopping center parking lot so he can eat some banana and stretch his little arms and  legs.

“OMG! Someone found it. Someone already found it. They’re reading it right now. OMG OMG OMG! Hurry, give me my camera. Quick hurry before they walk away.”

“What, don’t post their picture”

“I’m not gonna post their picture. I just want to take a picture. I’m gonna take it from here so they don’t see me. It’s my first letter and someone already found it. I have to capture this. It’s a memory of how it all begins”

“Here” (hands me camera phone)

“It’s a girl. And it looks like maybe her dad and her brother. They are reading it and looking around. They are smiling. She’s taking a picture of it… Omg I have to hurry and post the other picture of when I left it to Instagram and Facebook if she goes on there so she can see it.”

I was NOT expecting this at all. I then walk past where they are standing trying to be as nonchalant as possible. I see the big smiles on their faces. I see how happy they were to find a love letter just sitting there, waiting patiently for them to discover it.

A rush of love and happiness fills my body. I feel nervous, and excited, and humbled all at once. I instantly want to do it again. And again and again. That, ladies and gentlemen was my first time. 

Leaving Love Letters for strangers to find is so fun and freeing all at once. Knowing that I left a piece of my soul in that note and knowing that very note found its way to another stranger’s heart and filling them with smiles and love as well, makes it all worth it. Every bit of fear, resistance, discouragement, and self-doubt was all worth it. Because I didn’t let it hold me down. Instead of was able to rise up and work through it. And I will continue to do so, because chances are, those things will come back. Again and again. It’s their job.

I know this movement is going to be big. I feel it with every ounce of my body. I am excited about it every single day. I love sharing it. I love reading emails of people who either found a letter or is planning on leaving one. I love creating fun campaigns to keep people involved. I love designing the website. I love hearing about awesome serendipitous experiences. I love the joy others feel when they leave their own letters. I love how a letter someone found has brightened up their day. I love how an idea I made come to life, has inspired others to stand in their loving as well. I love LOVE and I love spreading LOVE!

I know that step by step, I feel like I’m finally doing what I want to be doing. I am making an impact on the lives of people and I am spreading love to the world. There is nothing greater than that. That is why I am here. To be the vessel in which Love can continue to manifest into my life and the lives of others. Every time someone says “Thank you for starting this”, I can humbly say “I have allowed the idea to flow through me, yes, but this will continue to grow because of people like YOU that are willing enough to share a piece of their heart and being with a stranger” (or something along those lines, you get the point)

This isn’t my movement. This is OUR movement! Thank YOU!

For me, I am learning that as much as leaving letters is a form of spreading love and inspiration to others, it is also a practice of letting go of control and stepping into the unknown. I don’t want to wait around and see every single person that finds a letter. To me, that is not letting go. That is not stepping into the unknown. But I can say, I am glad I was able to witness that very first person find, open, read, and smile about that very first letter I left. It was exactly the affirmation I needed to continue to move forward. So thank you Spirit, for providing that opportunity for me.

To YOU, I hope you join the movement and spread love to your community and wherever you go. It’s FUN! And when it's your first time, I say just go for it. Write whatever comes to mind, don't judge it. And then just leave it somewhere. Don't judge that either. TRUST and LET GO! Don't worry, you'll want to do it again, I promise!

And if you've already been brave enough to do it, I would LOVE to hear about your first time. Leave a comment below!!!

xoxo,

Ashley

Serendipitous Loving

So my new Love Movement, Let Love Surprise You, has taken off and has been nothing less than amazing. So much perspective and underlying lessons involved, which I will share in a separate post. What has me writing today are the magical moments that have happened for the people involved. Serendipity at it’s finest.

serendipity

 [ser-uh n-dip-i-tee]  noun

1.an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

When I decided to start this movement, it was on the basis of trusting in the guidance of the Universe. When writing the letters, I connect with Spirit and I allow myself to become a channel in which divine words can come through. I try not to think too much with my brain, and let the words flow from my heart. When I leave the letters, I try to allow myself to be open to the places that call me. This process of writing and leaving, is one of trusting that I am creating a message and allowing that message to be found by the souls that need it.

Although others involved in this movement, may not have the exact same process as me when writing their letters, I also trust that the whisper they heard that urged them to be involved, is the same whisper that not only guides me but guides them through whichever process they choose and that THEY are involved to be a vessel just the same.

That being said, I just wanted to share about two moments that have made my heart flutter since this movement began. There are always signs available to lead us down the path of the Divine, signs showing us we are going the right way, or helping us find our way back. We get that proof, when we finally decide to pay attention.

Last week, a friend of mine had written a letter to leave… Here’s her story:

“So, yesterday I take my love letter and I go to M Street Coffeshop for the afternoon and wait for the right moment to drop it on a table outside the coffeeshop…I pop outside a couple of times and there are always people around so back inside I go,waiting for the right moment…When I finally leave, the tables have cleared and there’s not a soul outside, so I surreptitiously leave it on a table and then sit in my car for a few moments…I make a couple of phone calls quickly and then I decide it’s time to leave…so I turn my car round and as I do, these two sweet guys walk out of the coffee shop and get into a little Fiat parked right outside the coffee shop, next to the table where I left the letter, and what does their license plate say?!

“SPRDLOVE”

Ridiculous!!!

So, of course I pull up next to them and make them wind down their window and I tell them about Let Love Surprise You and the Love Letter I just left on the table to help spread a little love…

And we laugh and we laugh and we laugh…just 3 of us, strangers but not remotely strangers sharing that beautiful and uplifting feeling of connection and serendipity and the inner knowing that there is true magic on this planet…and then I drove off joyous and grateful…and the person who received the letter hadn’t even received it yet!!”

 

She could have left the card earlier. She could have driven away right when she got in her car. She didn’t have to stop and talk to the men in the car. I mean think about, if she had chosen to do any one thing differently, she would have not seen that license plate, she wouldn’t have met those people, she would have not felt that serendipitous connection she felt with them and the process of her leaving the note. All of these “signs” were validation that everything happened perfectly as it should have, because she decided to listen to the whisper in her heart that let her know when the “right moment” was.

Another story I want to share was one I became aware of yesterday when someone who found a note contacted me. This is the first person that has contacted me about finding a note and this story made my heart skip a beat. She writes her story in her blog, Girl’s Gone Child, and every moment leading up to her finding the letter she found was truly a Divine experience. You can read the blog post in its entirety here, but I will quote the parts that touched me the most.

This woman was going on a road trip with her family from LA to San Francisco. During the beginning of the blog, they are deciding if they should take Highway 5 or Interstate 1.

The 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) was salve for my soul in my pre-baby days. The Henry Miller library was my second home. I befriended Magnus (who ran the place) and was allowed to sit in the back with all of the artifacts and write there. I purchased an original photo of Miller back in 2002, that hangs above my desk in my office. I met my former book agent at the Big Sur Writer’s Workshop, hosted by the Miller library where I work-shopped my second (unpublished book), The Envelope, a 340 page novel that focuses on the power of an anonymous, found letter.

I have only been back once—with Hal, the summer of 2004, weeks before Archer was conceived.

I had the same feeling then that I did all of those times before, the feeling of standing on the cusp of the unknown—the ocean stretching infinitely below as waves crashed and trees swayed and people crouched on the side of the same road, looking down and out and up and across and within. I wanted to feel that again. I wanted ALL OF US to feel that together.

When I explained to the kids that we were going to take this trip, I told them that we had two options for the drive.

‘We can go the five hour way, up the 5 freeway, which is a boring drive with no real views, or we can take the 1 which will be long and beautiful—with seals and views of the ocean from cliffs—one of the most scenic drive on the planet, perhaps… ‘

I went on to explain that I felt this choice was a metaphor for life and I asked them to think about it for a day, to think about what it means to choose the “fast, easy, uninspired path” as opposed to the “long, winding, treacherous BUT BEAUTIFUL one.”

I told them to decide for themselves but to rememberthat they will have many times in their lives when they will have to choose between EASY and DIFFICULT. And that difficult will almost always yield the most worthy experiences. No pressure, kids, but there are no shortcuts. You get what you pay for… 

The next day it was unanimous. Archer and Fable both wanted to go the “beautiful way with the seals.” Maybe for me, maybe for themselves… or for another reason entirely. Whatever it was, we were set. Hal and I were in. Archer and Fable were in. Bo and Revi were down for whatever. Hal and I high fived.

The day before we left for San Francisco, I was warned that our plan to take the 101 to the 1 is too much for four kids.

And it is.

It’s a long drive with lots of windy turns and few rest stops and dangerous views.

“It’s going to take you guys forever.”

“The kids will get carsick.”

“You’re crazy. Just take the 5.”

Every single person we talked to said the same thing. That it would take 7897892713 hours. That we were crazy to even try. That we should wait until the kids were older. That we could take the 5 up and cut over in Carmel…

“But we’d miss the seals if we did that! We’d miss Big Sur…”

“Maybe so but it will be a much easier drive…”

Exactly.

Fuck easy.

Easy is never going to be the point”

They then pull  over in Piedras Blancas to see the seals and make their way to Big Sur and The Napenthe.

The plan was to stop by the Miller Library in Big Sur and grab lunch at The Nepenthe but it’s 3:30 now and too late for both. We put our names on the reservation list for dinner instead.

We walk down to the cafe and wait.

I explain to the kids and anyone who will listen how significant The Nepenthe was to writers and artists through time… that years before Hal and I eloped I had big plans to someday get married here.

“This is where I want my ashes spread when I die.”……

Moments later, after deciding that we would rather get back on the road and find a restaurant that could seat us before dark, I notice a small piece of folded paper sticking out from one of the beams at the edge of the deck. Archer had just been standing beside it, his body framed by two umbrellas and, wait, what is that…

I pull the paper out from under the beam. It’s a letter.

A letter To: YOU, as in… me? As in me.

A letter found at The Nepenthe in Big Sur, spitting distance from the place I wrote The Envelope almost thirteen years before. A book about an anonymous letter found on the street.

I read it to myself and then aloud. And then I think, “wait. Is someone fucking with me right now? This can’t be real. Is this real?”

It is. It’s real and it’s amazing and I feel so lucky to have found one of these letters and to now know about such an incredible movement to send love to strangers for absolutely no other reason than to send love to strangers. 

(The kids and I will be writing anonymous letters and hiding them all over Los Angeles this year and hope you’ll join us. I mean, can you imagine if this really caught on? All that energy put out into the world? That’s power, man. What a concept.)

Thank you for your beautiful letter, Maya, wherever you are. The note lives in my wallet now — a reminder to keep on down the road and in your words “to stay myself.” And to, perhaps, revisit The Envelope some day. This year? Maybe so. Feels right. Feels like the signiest of signs…

IMAGE BELONGS TO WWW.GIRLSGONECHILD.NET

IMAGE BELONGS TO WWW.GIRLSGONECHILD.NET

 

I mean WHATTTTTTTT?!?!?! I remind you this is the very first person to let me know they found a letter, the odds this woman is an awesome storyteller with an amazing story is unreal.

I mean think about it, what if they took Highway 5? What if they didn’t stop and see the seals for as long as they did? What if her son wasn’t standing where he was standing? I mean the odds that THIS woman’s adventure placed her exactly where she needed to be to find this letter, are beyond phenomenal. A woman that had written a book 13 years earlier, called The Envelope, which is about finding an anonymous letter on the street, near the exact place she wrote the book. I mean there are so many serendipitous things about this story I could go on forever. It completely trips me out!!!

At the same time, all I can really do it smile and laugh with my heart because I know that as unreal as it all seems, it’s so very real. It’s just yet another sign that I choose to pay attention to while taking this journey of starting this movement.

I almost didn’t start Let Love Surprise You because of fear, and it’s stories like these that affirm that this isn’t about ME. This isn’t about my ego. This isn’t about recognition or money or anything like that. This is about a love movement that existed in the realm of the Universe and I am just one of the many that decided to listen and be the vessel in which it could exist where I am during this time.

It is hearing and experiencing moments like the two above, that confirm the serendipity of the world. And although things may seem to be “by accident”, NOTHING is ever an accident. Everything takes place in perfect Divine timing. That’s really what this movement is about. Spreading Love and becoming a ONE with the world. Listen for the whispers. LET LOVE SURPRISE YOU!!!

xoxo,

Ashley

Welcome

Thank You for visiting the Let Love Surprise You website. I am beyond excited to start this movement. It has been a plan for a few years now so to see it begin to manifest is really fun. 

I just wanted to quickly share with you that YOU ARE AMAZING and the world needs more of your amazingness. You are reading this note for a reason. You have the opportunity to be a love messenger. You have an opportunity to spread love and happiness to others. Are you ready? Join the journey with us and let's see how the world begins to change....because of YOU!