Les Leventhal: The Meaning of Life… and eating ice-cream


Excellence Reporter: Les, what is the meaning of life?

Les Leventhal: Over the past several years, I have traveled to so many different countries and exchanged money in each country. So, many dollars and cents being lost in that exchange. I have noticed that the amount of food that often gets delivered to my table is more than I am capable of consuming. It has given me great pause to recognize that there are a tremendous amount of things going to waste, where so many people are in need.

My background was, strive to be the best, earn the most and win. From that illusion of failure which means I’ll never be a Kardashian, Adam Levine or jLo, I drowned in addictions. By some thread of hope, I decided I wanted to live.

Many people this week lost their lives without a moment’s notice. Considering their time of loss, I am reminded of my many blacked out and hazy conditions, and that some had no idea what happened. How am I still alive? What am I doing with this precious gift and why? I know that my meaning of life is to give back and provide hope and to guide or even just hold people when they may be in their darkest hours, whether they ask for help or not.

The sense of urgency to achieve and strive and over-succeed is dividing the world. It is no longer enough to just sit and prepare for how we will take care of each other when the next tragedy occurs. Rather we, I, need to become ever more committed to changing things now, so someday that next time will not occur.

The inaction of some people is that fear of losing money. I make choices about how to spend money, knowing what I need to take care of myself. So, I am a part of this wheel but I do it in such a way so that I can be well rested to do what I do. Our lives are not meant to be endured. Our lives are meant to be filled with love, food, equality and without fear of living each day that who we are and how we choose to love can be thrown in jail somewhere in this world or tortured or have our life taken from us. All people deserve these freedoms. I teach this in my classes and trainings. I call it working locally even though I teach globally. Every class in that moment is local.

So my true meaning of life is to recognize that by some great gift of a power beyond myself, I have been granted many second chances and I am to spend my life in service now, letting others know, and waking us all up to making changes in our lives, to love and care for each other a little bit more and to fight the fears of voices that say we are different from each other. So, that future generations can be born into a world of peace and to live a life beyond their wildest dreams. I’m one of the lucky ones to still be alive. I don’t take that for granted, anymore.

Oh, and eat ice-cream and buy someone an ice-cream. It could change their everything. Who’d want them to miss that? From darkness to light.


~Les Leventhal was one of Bali’s (formerly of Yoga Tree San Francisco) most beloved yoga teachers. He’s now living in Florida and currently teaching on Zoom. Having trained with Ana Forrest, Tias Little, Seane Corn and Max Strom, Les’ vinyasa classes & workshops are steeped in the Forrest tradition and filled with technique and alignment cues for all levels. Variations and longer sequences will also challenge and inspire seasoned practitioners. You will have the opportunity to heal your heart, laugh, cry, dance, sweat and just let go. Les teaches classes, workshops trainings and retreats around the world (when we can get back to that) and is also the author of his book Two Lifestyles, One Lifetime (available on amazon e-book or hard copy).

Copyright ©2016 Excellence Reporter

Categories: Yoga

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