Finding new avenues of joy… several months ago I randomly (perhaps not so “random” after all!) had the T.V. on during a Good Morning America segment on the NFL player, Steve Gleason. He’s a New Orleans Saints’ hero whose life has changed, all because of the devastating disease, ALS (Lou Gherig’s). Yet, he does not view his life as a devastation… when told he needed to “prepare himself to die,” his first and only thought was, “I am going to prepare to live!”
Although it has been 6 months since I first viewed this stunning story, it has never strayed far from my thoughts. I’ve wanted to share it with others, but until today, have not been able to “find” it on the internet. For a while, I thought perhaps it had been one vivid, prophetic dream!
Then I awoke this morning thinking of “bucket lists,” and once again, the empowering tale of this man came to mind. I began my
futile searching again, but this time I must have strung together the right combination of words, because it appeared at the very top of my search results. I have faith that there is a reason today was the day I finally re-discovered this tale of strength, perseverance, and above all, JOY.
The idea of creating an annual “Bucket List” has been tumbling around my daily thoughts. Not sure if I wanted to jump on this trendy bandwagon, I have resisted this idea. Yet, there is something so appealing about following others yearly journeys as they check things off their bucket list. As I read others, I am surprised and, admittedly, intimidated by the audacity of their goals. My mind immediately goes to all the reasons why this will not work for me… all my limitations: not enough money, not enough time, not enough physical well-being, on and on and on!
I think, why set myself up for failure? But then there is that little intuitive voice that never steers me wrong saying, “why not set yourself up for success?” Each bucket list is a personal endeavor; it can be shaped to fit my unique set of circumstances, needs, and dreams. By setting goals, I will be more apt to make a game-plan to make them happen. By writing down my annual hopes and dreams, I will be setting my intention with the Universe.
And so I’ve begun to toy with what my 2014 Bucket List will look like. For example, I have a deep desire to dance once again. It would be unrealistic for me to set a goal of dancing the Suite of the Sugar Plum Fairy en pointe, like I did when I was 18, healthy and fit! But, I am graced with living in a community that encourages creativity in people of all ages and abilities. Dance studios and open-classes have exploded over the last few years, now including an abundance of opportunities for the community to engage in a wide variety of dance styles, at all levels. I’ve begun by getting out and experiencing these offerings as a patron. And I have been proud to support and celebrate these burgeoning endeavors.
But now it’s time for me to get off my audience seat and onto the stage. But, what does this mean for me? I am not blind to my limitations, but I am not going to let those stop me either! As Steve Gleason so eloquently puts it in this interview…
“I now search for new avenues of joy. With each loss, [I] have worked to find a beautiful replacement.”
And my dance replacement looks something this… finding a way to move my body in a fluid and free-form motion. I am drawn to Caribbean styles, where the dancers of all ages, sizes, shapes and abilities are smiling from ear to ear as they engage the music fully. There is a freedom and openness to this style that is very appealing to me. And, Volia!… I have the first item on my bucket list!
This is the beauty of creating this list annually. Now that I have set this goal (my intention), I am already developing a plan of action in my head. First step?: researching studios and open-dance nights. And that’s all I have to worry about for now… just taking that first step. Taking the risk to say, “I am worth it.”
I will not allow my physical limitations to limit my ability to experience joy! My Bucket List may look a helluva lot different than the ones floating around the web. But, I choose to use those as inspiration… not as a point of comparison and feeling “less than.”
If anything, the most intimidating “list” I’ve seen is Steve’s. Once his diagnosis was delivered, he made the conscious choice to always have something to look forward to. His most recent goal and accomplishment?.. climbing to the top of Machu Picchu!! How on earth does someone without the use of their physical body climb Machu Picchu, you ask? He does not do it alone!!! And, to me, that is one of the best legacies he can pass on to others. Not only that he “chooses to focus on the beauty of now,” but that he relies on the love and support of others to achieve his goals.
My Bucket List is not going to be a singular endeavor. The goals and dreams will come from my inner soul, but the steps to achieving them will be paved by the love of my friends and family.
I would like to offer the same gift back to you: to be your support and cheerleader in any way needed as you create and then implement your 2014 Bucket List! In the coming weeks, I will slowly unveil my own list as it evolves. And I hope you will take the journey with me as I check off the items in the coming year.
Please share your bucket wishes, too. For inspiration comes from without. And without all of you, I would be lost.
I encourage you to take just 5 minutes of your time to watch the GMA interview with Steve Gleason. I dare you not cry. I dare you not to smile. I dare you not to come away inspired!