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Where You Need To Be

October 22, 2012

I needed today.

One of my favorite quotes is by Saint Therese of Lisieux, a Catholic nun whose life was devoted to her faith.  It goes as follows:

“May today there be peace within.  May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.  May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.  May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.  May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.  Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.  It is there for each and every one of us.”

This quote came alive for me today.

I feel like in the timespan of 12 hours today, my life came full-circle.

I started today by sitting in my old house in Corona del Mar and writing a blog telling others to give life their all, inspired by my wonderful friend Jen’s life.  In the blog, I wrote about this sign I saw in Laguna Beach yesterday with a quote that I’d previously never seen before:

After writing the post, I finished getting ready, gathered my bags and went to visit my old law firm.  Exactly a year ago today, my old law firm flew me to San Francisco to meet with the firm’s partner there.  The game plan was for me to move to San Francisco and begin working in our office there.  The job would have been a promotion and they were offering me a 15 percent pay raise.  The problem though, was that I had just started three months earlier and finally found a path that would lead me to solidifying my dream of working in the sports industry.  I knew that moving to San Francisco and taking that job would essentially mean the death of, because I would be working long, tiresome hours.

It was shortly after that trip, in  November, that I accepted a job offer that moved me back to Denver.  I accepted my current job in part to relocate to be closer to my family, but more so, to allow me the flexibility to continue building and my sports media career.

Meeting with my old boss today was wonderful.  It was nice being able to not only tell him thank you for the opportunity the firm gave me to launch my legal career, but that going out on a limb and chasing my dream was worth it.  It was humbling to stand in his office today and know that the risk I took has paid off thus far.

From my old law firm, I headed up the 405 to the USC campus.  In December of last year, USC opened up its doors to this new writer and took her on a tour of the then in construction John McKay Center.  Today I visited with my friend, Senior Associate Athletic Director Mark Jackson, and had the neat opportunity to see the finished product of a building that just ten months ago, I wore a hard hat through.

As we walked down the winding halls of the McKay Center, looking at its impressive features, we came to a closed-door.  Mark knocked once and then took me inside.  There sat USC head football coach Lane Kiffin.  He said, “Nice to meet you, Alicia.”  The next thing I knew, I was seated in a chair, having a conversation with one of the most-recognized college football coaches of our day.  It was one of those moments, where I realized that this journey I’m on is really going somewhere and the hard work I have put in is beginning to pay off.  It was a time when I became even more grateful that I’ve chased this dream.

My visit at USC ended in Mark’s office where we finished up our interview.  When I walked in there, I was nearly moved to tears.  The first thing my eyes spotted in his office was that sign I saw in Laguna Beach yesterday that I blogged about this morning.  That sign that reminds us that what we do today is important.  That sign that tells us to live life to the best of our abilities.  I told Mark about losing my friend Jen on Saturday and how I saw that sign for the first time yesterday.  I told him I thought it was an absolutely crazy coincidence that he had it hanging in his office.

I love what I did today.

After leaving USC, I headed up the 405 some more to the Red Bull headquarters, which also is home to the Red Bull Media House.  I’m currently working on a story about Red Bull’s innovative ways of using extreme sports to build their brand.  They invited me to come and take a tour of their 100,000 square foot facility in Santa Monica.

When I walked in, I was greeted by six Red Bull executives.  They told this young writer how excited they were to meet her and how they’ve been anticipating her arrival.  I was quickly escorted into a theater and asked to sit in the third row, so that I could have the greatest view of the film we were about to watch.  On the giant screen in front of me, were the faces of people telling me to actually live life–to be daring and extreme with the chances you are given in this one life.  There were skiers flying down mountains, people on surfboards ripping through insane waves, a ten-year-old on a skateboard landing the first 1080 in history.

Then came a preview for the Shane McConkey documentary Red Bull is developing.  McConkey was an extreme skier, who for lack of a better phrase, flew on skis.  He would literally toss himself off of mountains while on skis and fly back down to earth.  He was the epitome of fearless.  His life ended on March 26, 2009 when he was performing a double back flip on skis and because he struggled to release his skis, his parachute was not deployed.  McConkey truly lived to do what he loved and experience the most out of life.  It’s a testament to him that his life ended doing what he lived for.

The preview featured images of McConkey’s life mixed in with comments from those who knew him.  Each comment and image was moving.  Then, skateboarder Tony Hawk came on the screen and this day became more than a coincidence.  Hawk started by saying, “Today is a new day”–those words that were the title to the post I wrote this morning.  He then went on to explain that we all are on this earth to experience an adventure and to push our limits.  His words captured the message I tried to drive home this morning.  They served as a gentle reminder to me to go out on a limb and get the most out of this one life.

I needed today.

After the movie preview ended, I was ushered into a film editing room.  There, I was told, “Alicia, you are about to see something nobody else in the world has seen.”  On the screen in front of me, never-before-seen footage from the Red Bull Stratos mission appeared.  I watched as Felix Baumgartner free-fell to the earth and saw the majesty of the earth’s land beneath him.  I heard silence at first and then the crashing sound of air as he broke the sound barrier.  I heard the first words he said during the course of his fall, “Rock and roll!”  I mused with those in the room with me as to how calm he looked.  I quipped, “This is a man who is living.”

I thanked God for today.

Today is what I like to call a “full-circle” day.  It was a day, where prior to it, some time had run a course where you question what you’re doing with your life.  You question the decisions and sacrifices you’re making.  You wonder if you’re following the right path–the one led by your heart.

But then, a full-circle day comes along and you know that all of those little instances are more than pure coincidences.  They’re reminders from God that although the path you’re on is long, and full of twists-and-turns, that you’re on it for a reason.   Those questions will soon enough have answers.  Those sacrifices will soon enough have their payback.

I needed today.

I needed today to remind me what I’m on this earth to do:  To share stories of life and living and freedom.  To remind people that this life is a gift and to encourage others to do their best to make the most of it.  God has given me this amazing, fantastic gift to meet others and learn their stories.  I am so blessed that He has given me this opportunity.  I am grateful that He gave me today.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2012 10:29 pm

    I love you Leesh! I needed this story today. I’m so proud of you and all you’ve done and continue to do! And I am so thankful and blessed to have had you as a friend for all these years almost 28 now. You’re AMAZING!

  2. Erica Odegaard permalink
    October 23, 2012 7:42 am

    I needed today! You’re amazing! Truly blessed to have you in my life! Love you

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