Month: June 2019

If you want the world to be a better place, recognize those who make it better.

“If you want the world to be a better place, recognize those who are already making it better.” -James Sarvis

    There was a story that went viral about a woman named Heather Gooch who was on an airplane with her 9-month-old baby boy, Aiden. Much like most babies on an airplane, her son started getting antsy. Heather was feeling stressed about this, but it wasn’t long into the flight before a flight attendant named Anissa noticed them, and offered to hold him. Aiden smiled and waved at passengers as Anissa walked him up and down the aisle. “Although this may not be a story that stands out from the rest, I wanted to thank her and let her know how appreciated she is,“ Gooch wrote. “We so often hear about the negative things going on so I wanted to share this story of someone who made my trip a little brighter.” Gooch said that Anissa deserves to be recognized for putting her baby on “cloud 9.”

    Several years ago I was staying in Nashville Tennessee at the Hampton Inn near the Vanderbilt University, when I encountered a woman named Miss Anita, the breakfast hostess in the dining area. There were several tables in there with maybe 15-20 guests. As I was eating, I noticed Miss Anita going over to guests, and quietly placing little boxes of mints beside them. She was saying something that I couldn’t hear as she was putting the little boxes down. Soon, she worked her way over to me. I saw her hand place a little box on my table, and she said in a kind and spirit-charging voice, “Good morning, sir. I hope you have a blessed day.” Then she went on her way. I sat there thinking about how good her kind words and simple gesture made me feel, and how much I appreciated it. After I finished eating, I saw Miss Anita standing as if she was waiting for someone who needed her service. I approached her, and I thanked her for the little gift and the kind words. Then, I asked her how long she had been doing that for guests, and she told me she’d been doing it for years. I asked her if any one had ever recognized her, or thanked her directly for doing it, and she said no. But, she said people remembered her when they came back. She told me about a lady and a little girl who were excited to see her, and she smiled as she said it.

     I told her at The Leaning Institute it was part of my mission to recognize Leaners like herself, and I gave her $50. She said that she really appreciated it so much and that things had been tough for her lately; and, that recognition was a bright moment for her. Miss Anita deserved being recognized.

    Another Leaner story came from my Amish friend, Regina. When her little boy was seriously ill with pneumonia, she had to stay in the children’s hospital for several days and nights. The first night she had to sleep in a chair next to him. But when I brought her husband back to visit the next day, she had a bed in their room. She had the biggest smile as she said, “A Leaner Nurse got me a bed.” She knew that I would know what she meant by a “Leaner Nurse.” Regina was so grateful. That bed brought much needed comfort and the nurse charged her spirit during a scary and difficult time.

    I think most of us know the difference between a Leaner Nurse vs a Non-Leaner Nurse when we or a loved one has had to stay in the hospital. This Leaner Nurse and others like her deserve to be recognized.

    Whether it’s a doctor, a teacher, a waiter, a policeman, a nurse, or anyone who makes your day a little better by leaning to you with kindness, recognize them. The mission at The Leaning Institute is to recognize Leaners, preserve the ones we have, and foster new Leaners.

If you want the world to be a better place, recognize those who are already making it better.



These articles are co-written by James and Elisha, based on the books and work created and founded by James.



Let’s all be creative and move humanity along

“Creating love is the pinnacle of creativity”           -James Sarvis

Leaning Moments are all about charging our spirit through giving and receiving. I have talked about giving and receiving through a hug, wave, or conversation, but we also give and receive when we use our creativity to enhance our lives and others. Being creative is a person’s gift to humanity. When someone carves a statue, paints a picture, or writes a song, there is a magical moment that happens where the spirit of humanity received that gift.

I wrote a song to encourage creativity that goes like this:


Let’s all be creative and move humanity along;

Thank you for the verse and the rhyme

Thank you for the lights at Christmas time

Whether a bird house or a song

Be creative, move humanity along

You might paint a bird or a vase of roses

You might be the next Grandma Moses

Think of all the pictures on the wall

What if others would answer the call

Let’s all be creative and move humanity along.


Someone gave my mom a birdhouse that they had made. That bird house started out as scrapped wood, but through imagination and creation, turned into something that brought my mom so much joy. I feel certain that the builder of that bird house got just as much joy as my mom did. My mom told everyone how much she enjoyed it, and how pretty she thought it was. Its creator moved humanity along.

    It is our instinct to want to advance humanity, and If you want a better world, or a better life, you’ve got to have an imagination to do it. Albert Einstein said that “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” And just as you envision your art before you create it, it takes imagination to be able to see and create the life and world you want to have.

    Crosby, Stills, and Nash, an American folk rock supergroup, created music that was a gift to humanity, but they also had incredible insight into the importance of creativity. In an interview with Dan Rather, Nash speaks about how important the arts are in schools; and that studies show that as the arts decline, the violence and gangs increase.  Stills said, “It is not that we are trying to change the world, but convince people that it is possible.” Crosby said that their goal through their creative work was to “diminish the space between people.” Stills goes on to reassure people in their own creative endeavors that, “the muse will come if we open the door.”

    I share this goal with them, and creating love by leaning to each other with out-stretched arms, certainly diminishes the space between people like nothing else can.

    Since we’ve lost so much of our ability to create, it’s difficult for us to imagine our lives being better, or having a better world. But, I believe that it’s possible if we could just see it. We must be creative to make our lives and the world a better place.

So, let’s all be creative and move humanity along!



These articles are co-written by James and Elisha, based on the books and work created and founded by James.




The special moments that create love

“Our lives are defined and valued by our Leaning Moments”
-James Sarvis

The book I am writing is called, Leaning Moments, The DNA of Love. Why are Leaning Moments the DNA of Love? Because “Love” does not exist standing alone within an individual. Love must be created between people. Leaning Moments create love. And it always takes action.

The reason I call these moments that create love “Leaning Moments,” is because “leaning” is the action required to produce all those wonderful emotions that charge our spirit, i.e., a hug, a wave, or even a conversation. And “moments,” because it’s been proven that our brain records our experiences in moments. It’s often those small, special moments that mean the most. Robert Bault said, “Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” I believe that the “ little things” he is referring to are those moments that we want to remember the most. Just thinking back on the memories of our “Leaning Moments” can make us smile and charge our spirit.
I am not the only one who has realized the importance of “moments.”
 In his autobiography Mark Twain said, “That was one of the happiest half-dozen moments of my life.”
Or the quotes, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” And, “The best things in life are not things, they are moments.”

One of my quotes is, “Our lives are defined and valued by our Leaning Moments.” And, one day your family and friends will define and value your life based on Leaning Moments.

Oscar Hammerstein came close to saying “love must be created” in these lyrics from The Sound of Music:
A bell isn’t a bell until you ring it;
A song isn’t a song until you sing it;
The love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay;
Love isn’t love until you give it away.

Love is created by special moments, what I call Leaning Moments, The DNA of Love.



These articles are co-written by James and Elisha, based on the books and work created and founded by James.

A spiritually that unites

“There would be less need for handouts if there were more hands reaching out.”

-James Sarvis

Discoveringr the power of Leaning has given me the simple tools to charge my spirit and keep it charged wherever I go. Because of this, I had no fear when I packed up and moved hundreds of miles north to Massachusetts to create the Leaning Institute, and spread what I had learned. During this time, shortly after the Institute opened, the recession hit and I saw millions of dollars melt right before my eyes. Surely, for many this would have felt like the end of the world, but I never lost my sense of peace. I knew that what I had discovered needed to be shared.
It wasn’t long after this that I decided to travel so I could focus on writing my books. One of my goals was to see if my work was, as the Dalai Lama says, something that could be elaborated alongside the religions in such a way that all people could adhere to it. Something that would bring us together, rather than separate us.
My answer came when I was invited to stay in a cabin on an Amish farm and be apart of the Amish family for a while. Using my work, I was able to help strengthen their family unit, and was able to see how my philosophy coincided and neighbored with their beliefs.
Jesus, Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King Jr, and many other great spiritual leaders are all Leaners, who set an example of the power of leaning to their fellow man (and woman). Their messages were never meant to separate people, but we have gotten off track and have created something that divides us and keeps us confused and depressed.

The people who can easily lean to others, regardless of their differences, don’t struggle with their spirituality. I believe the reason there is an opioid crisis and a depression problem growing is because so many people don’t know how to create a healthy spirituality. People who are hungry enough will eat out of the trash, and sadly, people whose spirits are down will often turn to “trash” to try to charge their lowered spirit, which leads to addiction.

The good news is that there are multiple ways to charge our spirit that’s free, but it does take action. I have seen that people will often do better, if they know better, and the beautiful part is that the only power that was required was within them.

There is a quote from a French philosopher that says, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience”.

If this is true, then our spiritual and our human experience affect each other. However, our spiritual needs must take priority. If you watch any loving mother you will notice that she always leans to her child first, charging the spirit, and then takes care of the babies physical needs. When we lean to each other we aren’t only charging our spirit, but each others. When the spirit is charged, it comes naturally to do good and to see good all around you. People whose spirit is charged see the world as a wonderful place with endless possibilities. Let’s create that spirituality by leaning to others with both hands reaching out.

“We must find, all of us together, a new spirituality. This new concept ought to be elaborated alongside the religions in such a way that all people of good will could adhere to it.” The Dalai Lama



These articles are co-written by James and Elisha, based on the books and work created and founded by James.


You can only bring out in others what you have in yourself

“You can only bring out in others what you have in yourself”

-James Sarvis

Through the years of coaching, I have learned that whenever a parent comes to me about the behavior of their child, I know to look first at the behavior of the parent. Ive never had to work with the child directly. I’ve seen amazing results, but it was the parent that had to change first. You can only bring out in others what you have in yourself.

I stayed in Tennessee several years ago at a beauiful log home, ran as a bed and breakfast overlooking Pigeon Forge. When I brought my bag in and got ready to settle in, everything appeared fairly normal. As I was getting to know the woman who ran the place, I couldn’t help but notice a beautiful little girl absolutely bouncing off the walls. The woman told me she was her grandchild, and to just ignore her. She said that she was kind of a troubled child.

As the woman made conversation, it wasnt long before she began to tell me about her situation. People always interest me, so I was glad to listen. She seemed intelligent, and told me her estranged husband was a professor at the university of SC. She told me about how she was left to raise her 4 year-old granddaughter, and that she didnt have a way to travel right now because her son, the father of the child, had stolen her truck. During our conversation the child would interrupt with fits of anger and yelling, and the grandmother would respond in the same way. At one point that evening, a couple of rough looking characters stopped in, she introduced as her friends. After they left, she said that one of them had just gotten out of prison, and they would be back later to spend the night. The more she talked, and the more I witnessed, a picture was painted of the nuttiest life I had ever seen. I made sure my bedroom door was locked that night, but sleep still didnt come easy. The door separated me from the other occupants, but not from the negative energy. It got me thinking, if it made me feel this bad being in this crazy home, how did it effect her little granddaughter?
Before I left, I noticed the little girl sitting on the couch, and I asked the grandmother if she minded if I sat beside her and talked to her. The grandmother said sure! So, I sat down and leaned to her and asked her about her coloring books in front of her. She was so calm as she showed me her books, talking to me like what you would expect from a normal child, and she remained peaceful the whole time we were connected. For me, it was an experiment to see how that little girl would react with a peaceful person. As I expected, I was able to bring out the peace in her. I still wonder what became of that beautiful little girl.

Through this experience and many more, I have learned to focus on the parent rather than the child. Before you have your child examined, I strongly recommend you examine yourself. You can only bring out in others what you have in yourself. Look around and you will notice this to be true in many areas of life, whether it’s a parent, spouse, grandparent, friend, coach, teacher, or even pets. 

So, be the Leaner that you wish to bring out in others.



These articles are co-written by James and Elisha, based on the books and work created and founded by James.