In each moment of our lives, we can be taking action based on our past, or we can be taking action from our future. And the more actions you take from your future, the more you’re going to be drawing your future into the life you have today.
Bonjour, and welcome to The French Kiss Life Podcast, where personal development meets style. I’m Tonya Leigh, certified master life coach and the hostess of this party, where we explore how to live artfully and well. Each week, I’ll be sharing inspiring stories, practical tips, and timeless wisdom on how to elevate the quality of your everyday and celebrate along the way. Let’s dive into today’s episode.
It is time for a Community Spotlight. This is the part of the show where I get to highlight one of you who has benefitted from the French Kiss lifestyle. And today’s spotlight is on Martha58. She left a five-star review on iTunes that is titled Life and Light in Paris.
Here’s what she said, “You are always a light in my life. I wear my red lipstick and I think of you and your ICU patient, and that it is good to both work hard and enjoy life, leisurely hustling. And that it is good to love and French Kiss life right where I am. And that taking a cooking class, or wine tasting, or strolling through the Luxemburg Gardens are delicious treasures. Thank you for seeing me.”
Martha, I definitely see you. And I see so many of you. It’s really crazy. I get messages often from listeners and women in my programs who will say something along the line of, “Are you in my head?” And I tell them, “Yeah, probably because I’m in my head and I know the things that I struggle with. I know the things that trip me up. I know what I desire in my life.”
And so, I feel like I attract very similar people into my life because I openly talk about all of it. and as a result, I have truly created the most incredible community of women who we just get each other, we just jive. We just have fun together. We just French Kiss life together.
So, thank you, Martha, for that beautiful review. And hey, listen, if you have not left a review yet, what in the world? Although I will say, I have one client in one of my programs. And I had to coach her around her feeling so much guilt because she had not left me a review.
And I said, “Listen, as long as you’re feeling guilty, you are not allowed to leave me a review. I don’t want reviews out of guilt. Clean up the guilt and then come and leave me a review.” So, either way, I love you so much and thank you for listening to this podcast. I really appreciate it.
Hello, my beautiful friends. Oh, happy day, whatever day it is that you’re listening to this. One of my favorite times of the day is first thing in the morning. I wake up and I start the ritual of making my coffee. And I turn on music. Music is the background to my life almost always.
And one of my favorite morning songs is an old gospel song called Oh Happy Day, by Edwin Hawkins. And I believe it’s the Northern California Youth Choir. And it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or not, it’s the energy of this song that gets me going every single morning.
And some of you may know this about me, but I grew up in the Deep South, in the Bible Belt. I grew up in a Pentecostal Holiness church. So, very spirited. And often, my parents would take me to Black churches. And one of my favorite things was always the music, the choirs, the energy, the love that happened in those churches.
And so, even to this day, I love good gospel music. I love a good choir. It brings tears to my eyes. It makes me want to dance. It just makes me appreciate the beauty of life and the beauty of faith and the beauty of humanity. So, if you are looking for a morning song to get you pumped for your day, go find Oh Happy Day by Edwin Hawkins. And you’re welcome in advance.
So, what are we going to talk about today? It just so happens that I know the answer to this question. I’ve been thinking and planning this podcast for a few days now because I am in the middle of it. And I’ve been in the middle of it for many years, since I decided to create my life on purpose.
And so, the concept is past versus future actions. Another way to think about it is old versus new actions or familiar versus unfamiliar actions, or reactive versus creative actions.
Your life is being created by the moment to moment decisions and actions that you take. And what we often do is we just live on autopilot. We wake up thinking the same things, feeling the same ways, and doing the same things. I talked about this last week in the episode I did on pre-deciding.
So, I want to just continue to give you tools to think about so that you can begin to create your life on purpose. And a way to think about this is to be aware of the actions that you are taking throughout your day. And are they old and familiar and reactive and based in the past? Meaning, they are actions that you’ve taken for so long, you think that’s just who you are.
A great example is around overeating. You maybe have been someone who has been emotionally eating and overeating for a long time and it’s just very familiar to you. I know this one very well. And I had done it for so long. I just thought I was a woman who overeats and that’s just the way it was and it was never going to change. And because that’s the way I thought of myself, that was the image that I had of myself, guess what I continued to do. That’s right, overeat.
Some of you are very familiar with the action of procrastination or inaction. And you’ve done it so long and so you have a lot of evidence buildup that you’re just a woman who procrastinates and that action is very familiar. It’s very reactive. And it’s very old. It’s definitely based in the past. It’s something that you’ve done in the past that you’ve continued to do to the point that you just think that you’re a woman that procrastinates.
Let’s talk about how this applies to even your style. Some of you have been dressing the same way for decades. And that’s how you see yourself. It is your self-image. And because it’s very familiar, it’s based in the past, it’s old, old actions that you continue to take over and over and over again. And it’s also very reactive.
You wake up and you don’t even put thought into what you put onto your body. You just grab an outfit, whatever is in your closet, and you wear it. and all of this is forming your image, how you see yourself. And so, if you continue to see yourself based in the past, you will continue to create your past over and over again.
So, in order to create something new, you’re going to have to take new actions, fresh actions, creative actions, unfamiliar actions. And guess what, that is uncomfortable. And the brain is lazy. The brain doesn’t like change.
So, the moment you go to take new actions that are unfamiliar and creative and based in your future, guess what’s going to happen. Your brain is going to go a little crazy. Your brain is going to say things like, “Who do you think you are? You’re being such a fake. That’s just not what you do. What are people going to think? You’re not going to be able to keep this up. You look stupid. You’re going to fail. This will never work.”
Do any of those sound familiar? I promise you all any time I start creating something new, these are the exact thoughts in my brain. And I know that that is normal. And I know, in those moments, I have a choice. I can revert back to the old, familiar, reactive and past-focused actions. Or, I can feel the discomfort of creating something new.
The other day, I experienced this. So, I was sitting in my house and I had already pre-decided that morning that I was going to go for a walk in the afternoon. And the time came for me to go for my walk. And guess what my brain said, “You don’t need to do this right now. You can do it tomorrow. Why don’t you just start tomorrow?”
These are familiar old thoughts that I’ve had so often in my past. But when I think about the future version of me, the healthy, vibrant, life-loving, self-trusting part of me, guess what she does. She puts her shoes on and she goes for a walk. And that’s what I did.
And I can tell you that the first five minutes of that process was excruciating because there were so many other things that I wanted to do in that moment that seemed so much more fun. But again, I had pre-decided that morning that I was going to go for a walk in the afternoon.
So, after the first five minutes, guess what happened? I got a burst of energy. I was excited. I was loving myself for honoring myself. And I was building momentum towards my future.
Another way to think about this is to actually think about Newton’s first law of motion, also known as the law of inertia. And it states that an object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction.
So, that means the first step into acting from your future is going to be the hardest because you’ve been at rest or living in the past, in the familiarity, in the old. And that is familiar and that’s where your momentum is going. And so, to switch your momentum towards your future, the first few steps of that is the hardest. But once you get going, you get the momentum behind you. And all of a sudden, you’re in motion, in the direction that you want to go.
So, you have to pay attention to yourself. You have to watch your daily actions and ask yourself, where is my momentum going? Is it going towards the past or is it going towards the future? And the more you can take actions towards the future that you want, the faster and quicker you’re going to be moving towards that future because you’re going to have the momentum behind you.
You know, I think about who I am today. I am a woman that rarely overeats. But the in-between, getting the momentum going in that direction was very difficult. But, over time, making new decisions, new choices, based in my future, I had the momentum of change behind me and it became just what I do.
The same goes for procrastination. I used to be a huge procrastinator until I practiced doing the opposite of that so much, that now I’m just a woman that rarely procrastinates.
Now, I don’t hold myself to any perfect standard. There are going to be times when I procrastinate. There are going to be times when I overeat. But I don’t allow myself to stay in those places because I know, if I do, just based on the lay of physics, Newton’s first law, the more I make those decisions, the more I keep acting from my past, I’m going to have the momentum behind me in a direction that I don’t want to go.
And so, I want you to be thinking about are your daily actions familiar? Are they old? Are they reactive? Are they based in the past? And just notice that the more you do it, the more you have the momentum behind you to continue to do those.
So, the hardest part is just stopping and becoming aware and making a new choice. It is going to be uncomfortable in the beginning, only because you’re slowing yourself down and getting your energy moving in a different direction.
So, when it comes to future versus past actions, I want you to think about opportunities throughout your day where you can make a new choice, a future-focused choice, an unfamiliar choice, a creative choice so that you can get that momentum going in a different direction.
One of the best times to do this is when you’re triggered. So, let’s say that you have a trigger of when your kids scream. Your kids scream and you automatically react to that in a certain way. The first step is just to be kind to yourself.
If we could just get that momentum going, your life would be totally different. But a lot of times, what we do is we beat ourselves up for being human. So, if you could just stop in that moment, give yourself some grace, and ask yourself, what does the future me do right now? What is the action that the future me takes in this moment?
And do that just once. You’ve stopped the momentum from going in a direction that you don’t want to go. And then the practice is to practice that over and over again until it’s just what you do and you have that momentum behind you towards the future version of you.
Also, when you’re getting dressed, first thing in the morning, instead of just grabbing the same old same old, put some thought into it. Put some effort into your attire. Think about the future version of you and how she is showing up in the world.
And at first, it’s going to feel awkward. You’re going to have your brain saying things like, “Who do you think you are, wearing that fancy dress? You typically wear blue jeans.” Not that there’s anything wrong with blue jeans. For some of you, it may be choosing blue jeans. It doesn’t matter. It’s, are you being intentional and are you acting from your future?
Other opportunities to take future-focused actions are when you walk into a room. Maybe you’re accustomed to walking into a room and shrinking around people. What if you walked in and you owned the room and you practiced standing tall and proud and charming the room, so to speak?
Other opportunities are when you start your day, the night before, why not visualize how you want to start tomorrow morning? Instead of waking up late, pressing the snooze button, rushing throughout your morning, what if you intentionally started your day?
The day that you imagine yourself having in the future, start practicing that now and getting the momentum of change behind you towards your future. And then also, when you are at the point of any decision.
My daughter came over last night and she had the intention of going to the gym and working out. And so, she came in and she sat down on the sofa. So now, imagine Newton’s first law of motion. She’s at rest. And I could see that the longer she sat on the sofa, the harder it was for her to get up and get going, to get that momentum behind her.
And we were talking about this and I’m like, “You know what, babe? In every single moment, we have a choice to decide from our future, or to continue to decide from our past.” And she was like, “I know.” Even things like what time you’re going to go to bed, what you’re going to watch on TV, what you’re going to read, what you’re going to eat.
These little daily decisions are shaping our lives. And if we just started to make a few more decisions from our future that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable and new and creative, we would start to shift our energy towards the life that we want. And so, she got up and she went to the gym, and she felt so much better afterwards.
And that’s what ends up happening when you start acting from your future, taking actions from your future. You become proud of yourself. You feel better. You don’t feel like you are at the mercy of your life. You feel like you are the creator of it.
So, for all of you, I just want you to pay attention. The first step is truly awareness. And just pay attention to your daily actions. Are they the same, over and over and over again? And then you’re wondering why your life doesn’t change? Or what if you started sprinkling in new actions, unfamiliar actions, creative actions? Imagine what you would create in your life.
You would get into motion, towards the direction that you want to go and the more you do that, the more that energy is going to build up and the faster you’re going to change, the more momentum you’re going to have behind you. And that is when you become unstoppable.
It is time for a J’adore. This is the part of the show where I get to share something that I love with you. And today’s J’adore is very special. It’s very close to my heart. It’s something that I often give as a gift. I tell everyone about today’s J’adore.
But before I share it with you, I just want to tell you a little bit of backstory. So, I used to live in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for, I don’t know, 10, 11 years. And I lived very close to the ocean. So, every morning, I would typically get up and go walk along the beach.
And on one particular morning, there was a gentleman standing there who approached me, and I was instantly intrigued with this man. He was different. And I say that in a way that is good. I could tell he lived on a different level. He was connected to something bigger and I just wanted to know more about this gentleman.
So, we talked for probably an hour and, out of nowhere, he recited a poem that just took my breath away. And he said to me, he said, “I’ve actually written a book that’s a translation of a lot of Sufi poets.” And he was like, “I’d love to come by and drop off a copy at your house.”
It ended up that this gentleman was my neighbor and his book, I didn’t know it at the time, was a world-renowned book. So, I devoured this book. I love this book so much. I still have it. I wish you could see my copy because I have little Post-It notes all in this book.
But I loved it so much that I ended up giving it to my mentor Martha Beck who then passed it along to Oprah and it ended up being one of Oprah’s favorite books. So, the book is called Love Poems from God: 12 Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky. And I’m just going to open up this book and read some of the poems that I have marked. And I think this one’s a Rumi poem. It is. I know this one well.
And it’s titled With Passion, “With passion pray, with passion work, with passion make love, with passion eat and drink and dance and play. Why look like a dead fish in this ocean of God?”
Here’s one of my favorites. It’s titled He Told Me the Joke, “My lord told me a joke and seeing him laugh has done more for me than any scripture I will ever read.”
Let’s do another one. This one is called Everything, “Everything I see, hear, touch, feel, taste, speak, think, imagine is completing a perfect circle God has drawn.” Now you can see why I love this book, right?
It is a lie, “It is a lie, any talk of God, that does not comfort you.”
This one is called His Choir, “Seeing my tongue, seeing my hand, seeing my feet, my knee, my loins, my whole body. Indeed, I am his choir.”
Ask Anything, “Ask anything, my Lord said to me. And my mind and heart thought deeply for a second, then replied with just one word; when. God’s arms then opened up and I entered myself. I entered myself when I entered Christ. And having learned compassion, I allowed my soul to stay.”
This one is called The Christ Said, “The Christ said to us, I have cut you from a garden I tend and set you in a vase for the world to see. Soon, you will return, for your glorious presence I miss. My hands need to touch you again. My divine senses and eyes require your soul’s beauty near. Forgive me, my love, for the suffering our separation brought. If I said I am in debt to you, could you understand?
The Christ Breath, “I am a hole in a flute that the Christ’s breath moves through. Listen to this music.”
With that Moon Language, “Admit something. Everyone you see, you say to them, love me. Of course, you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops. Still though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect. Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye that is always saying, with that sweet moon language, what every other eye in the world is dying to hear.”
Let’s do a couple more, shall we? I had no idea that I was going to do a poem reading. But now you see why I love this book.
This one is called Rest in Prayer, “The sun hears the fields talking about effort. And the sun smiles and whispers to me, why don’t the fields just rest, for I am willing to do everything to help them grow. Rest, my dears, in prayer.”
And the final one is called If Someone Cried in Heaven, “If you cried in heaven, everyone would laugh for they would know you were just kidding.”
I love this book so much. Go check it out. I feel like every woman and man needs a copy of this. Go to frenchkisslife.com/lovepoems. Have a beautiful week, everyone, I’ll see you in the next episode.
If you enjoyed this episode and you want to dive even deeper into the French Kiss Lifestyle, let’s start with a makeover; a mindset makeover. You can download my free training, The Three Mindset Makeovers Every Woman Needs, by visiting frenchkisslife.com/mindset. Because, after all, mindset is the new black.