Tag Archive | goals

Going Just Beyond…

above and beyond

A friend shared an alternative approach to creating New Year’s Resolutions. For the last three years, she has chosen a word that defines what direction she wants to head in the upcoming year.  Instead of listing “specifics” she meditates and visualizes her hopes, wishes and dreams and then categorizes them under an umbrella term; used as her motivational mantra throughout the year. For this year she was vacillating between love and courage, thinking about using both. Then through conversations with others, she realized the recurring word that kept popping up was “connection.” And as she said, “I have found that the word I settle on, most often finds me, not the other way around.”

By focusing on this one small, yet enticingly expansive word, she will walk through the coming 365 days deepening her connections with herself and with others, while staying in tune with the connectivity we can all experience, when we dip into the well of our shared roots.

Just a few days after this conversation, I happened upon an article in our local paper, “My Life, My Words; Three Little Words Have an Impact.”*  In it, Kristine Bruneau writes, “Since 2012, I’ve chosen three words to inspire and guide me along the path of achieving my goals.  At the end of the year, I reflect on how well these words have helped shape my efforts.” Her three words for the coming year are “restore, integrate and teach.” For the year just past, they were “amplify, connect and share.”  They are a trio of interconnected words, which seem to act as stepping stones to growth.  The first, a verb, “takes action”; the second exemplifies how she will integrate the first tenet into her own life; and the third, how she will spread this to the world beyond herself.

Whether one word or several, both approaches are positive and action oriented.  When focused on the solution rather than the problem, you automatically walk in a positive, forward moving direction.

By setting a word, or words of intent, you are practicing the Law of Attraction. 

For the last couple days, I have opened up my mind to receiving a word that describes what I want to attract in the coming year.  I meditated and prayed, and allowed the first word that came into my mind to sit and stew for a while.  It was an unexpected word.  Some may even say an odd word choice.  But the more I let my mind tinker with this idea, the more I realized it encompassed all my hopes, goals and dreams.

My word for 2014? — “BEYOND

I want to reach just beyond my comfort zone into the unknown realm where growth occurs.  I want to re-discover my hidden talents; I want to experience life as it is, and then take it just one step further.  I want to reach beyond myself to help others and the world.

Thinking beyond is going to help me “feel my fear, and do it anyway.”  When I am about to embark on a new or different endeavor, and my fear (of failure, of the unknown, etc.) tries to stop me, I am going to pause, breathe and reach just beyond that fear into the landscape of trust. I am going to take my life just one step further.

I am going to remember this one-word phrase (hmm… oxymoron?!) whenever I am faced with a daily decision, choice or activity; I am going to pause and ask myself, “what would going just beyond look like?” 

The same goes for facing disappointment. Instead of focusing on “why life didn’t turn out the way I had imagined,” I am going to look for the hidden land of opportunity that lies just beyond the field of disappointment.

This word will help define the direction in which I want to head; but I am not concerned with defining what that will look like, what that will feel like, or how I will exactly get there.  That part I’m leaving up to God and the Universe.

And I can’t wait to see what happens!

Some questions you may want to ask yourself when choosing your own Word (or words) Of The Year:

  • In what area of my life do I want to grow?
  • What do I want to learn more about myself?
  • How do I want to more deeply connect with my community? Family? Friends?
  • What am I afraid of?
  • What have I wanted to try that I haven’t yet?
  • Where do I see myself in one year’s time? (in my personal relationships, in my financial stability, in my career, in my state of wellness?)

Then take a deep breath, close your eyes, relax your body, and exhale. What is the first word that comes to mind? Hold onto it, follow it, see where it takes you… and then come back here every once in a while to share your experiences with this annual exercise!

SOURCE: * Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, ROCarts, Section 2C

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Finding New Avenues of Joy: What’s Your Machu Picchu?

and-in-all-of-our-troubles-I-have-great-joy.-2-Cor.-7-AnExtraordinaryDay.net_

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 Carribean danceCaribbean 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.”

machu picchu steve gleasonIf 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!

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/steve-gleason-embraces-challenges-lou-gehrigs-disease-battle-121402622.html

Embrace the Journey, Not the Destination

forest pathThe Journey is Your Future… Your Have Already Arrived

So often we have our eyes firmly affixed on the “prize.”  We spend hours, days even, imagining what it will look like, what it will feel like, what it will be like to achieve whatever goal is in our future.   The goal becomes the sole destination:  Welcome to “Pie in the Sky,” U.S.A! 

Yet, what truly happens when we focus all of our energy, thoughts and actions on reaching for this, many times elusive, destination?  We completely lose sight of the journey unfolding right in front of us; blossoming and growing with each step and action we take.  We get so focused on the product of all our hard work, that we can feel depressed by the end result. 

We try to manipulate our lives, our surroundings, people, time; anything that will hopefully contribute to a satisfactory outcome.  We can over analyze ever aspect: if only I had done x, y and z, it would have been better!   We can live in fear of what may happen; setting up contingency plans for all the “possible” outcomes: if A happens, then I’ll do B; but if C happens, I’ll do a combination of B and E; and if P happens, then…  We may feel shame over what happens; falling into the mental trap of the “should ofs,” the “could ofs” and the “wish I hads.”

But what if we decide to do differently?  To stop right now.  Try and focus solely on what is in front of you at this very moment.  So, you’re reading my blog.  Embrace it.  Don’t think about what you’re going to do next, how this blog will serve you in your future, how you would have written it differently, etc.  Just embrace each word and let them settle into your mind and spirit in whatever way they may.

Our one true purpose on this earth is to go with the flow of the process of living… fully: to be completely in the now.  This is what brings true peace.  For most of my life, I spent (and wasted) so much time thinking about the future.  I was always waiting for the other shoe drop, and when it did, I was determined to be prepared!  Then I couldn’t get hurt, right?  Then I would avoid fear and uncomfortable situations.  Then I would I have the power and be in control of my own destiny.  But no one knows their own destiny.  None of us have control over the outcome.

Our futures are already written in the stars!

And instead of feeling a sense over loss over this, look at this as the greatest gift of all.  The gift of freedom.  The gift of letting go.  Permission granted to just live your life and be.

And if this is the case, then why do we expend so much energy trying to manipulate the future?  For me, it started way back in childhood, when I thought my “little self” had the power to make my dad angry or to keep him calm.  So I tipped toed around and tried to constantly be on guard for whatever the future would bring.  And I kept on tip-toeing right into my adulthood.  I measured my actions and behaviors to the people around me, thinking I knew what their reactions were going to be.  I prepared myself for whatever next health challenge would come my way.  I had contingency plans for every “possible” scenario (emphasis on possible!).  I was armed for anything; I was a Girl Scout, after all!

But, all this created was an internal state of constant anxiety.  And when you’re anxious, there is no way to just be… in the moment or with yourself.   Then I was blessed with being shown a different way of living and I decided to do differently.  This has changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined!  I now feel truly at peace.  I don’t have to worry about the future, that’s already taken care of.  For me, I know the loving energy of the Universe is guiding me in the direction I am meant to go.  For, you, it may be trust in God’s hands.  Just as long as you believe in some power or force greater than your own.  It’s called “turning your will over.”  When we hold onto to our will, we make ourselves into God.  We think we can control the outcomes, the end product of our hard work.  That’s exhausting!

I read recently that you can think of the word “will” as “faith.”  And in that context, if you think of the phrase “Thy will be done,” it is now transformed into “They faith be done.”  Let go… have faith.  Your life will turn out exactly as it is meant to be.  Stop keeping your eyes on the prize, and instead realize you’ve already received the prize. The gift of life is right here, right now, unfolding before your very eyes.  Each step you take on your journey presents you with an opportunity to be fully present (hmm…sounds a lot like “gift,” doesn’t it?). 

Once you take your foot off the pedal and turn on the cruise control, you are still moving in a forward direction, heading to your life’s goals.  But you can now enjoy the scenery as you drive past it, be focused on the conversation that is occurring with your loved one right in that moment, feel the energy of the radio’s music pouring into your soul.  You are now completely embracing the JOURNEY.

You’re alive… believe in that.  Let go of the idea that the path will lead you to your goal.  The truth is that with each step we take, we arrive.  Repeat that to yourself every morning:

I’ve arrived.

(Excerpt from The Witch of Portabello, by Paula Coehlo)

Accepting the Sky is NOT the Limit

Flaconer taken by Nature's Peace Creations, NY, USA

As an autoimmune-gal, my body does not like repetitive activities.  Of any kind.  Yet, I can so easily forget this!  Or, perhaps, it’s just that my mind hopes that this time will be different.

Well, blogging is one of those times!  I’ve gone a little gung-ho, caught up in the wave of excitement, the pulse of camaraderie with fellow bloggers.  It’s a heady mix, and I’ve been sticking my head in full-on to breathe in its intoxicating scent.

Then two days ago, as I am readying for bed, I notice my middle finger is swollen, painful, deeply bruised, and “stuck” at a 45° angle.  Oh, well must of bumped it, my mind rationalizes, thinking, I’m sure it will be better by tomorrow.

Yesterday arrives and my finger is in fact less swollen and discolored (albeit, slightly).  But as the day wore on and the symptoms only got worse, my finger throbbed in a constant reminder that I needed to face facts: the repetition of typing and computing has sent my joint into a dangerous arthritic flare.  Even though this digit was on my non-dominant hand, as I returned to the laptop last night, I discovered I use it for almost all my left hand typing as well as my “scrolling-finger.”  Oops.

Once again, I found myself standing at the Crossroads of Acceptance:

I could, one, continue on the Path of Denial (To heck with the consequences!)

Or, two, sit down right where I am, cross my arms across my chest defiantly, and vehemently shake my head: “NO! I don’t want to choose a path; I want to stay on the straight ahead like a ‘normally-abled’ person!”

And, then there’s option three: take the new path, the detour on my intended journey.  Remind myself that each new twist and turn in my way has afforded me an opportunity to learn something new about myself.  Today, I’ve learned that I don’t have to hold this pain, fear, and worry alone.  I can share it with all of you- those who are part of my support team, those who are struggling with similar issues, those with spiritual hope and guidance to share. . .

And, that’s when I remembered: practicing the Art of Acceptance is a gift not a curse! 

No, the sky may not be the limit for me.  But, instead of focusing on heading in one constant, forward direction, my determined eye on the prize, with no acceptance of anything “less,” I am able to travel sideways and down wards and back up again.  This affords me vistas of the entire expanse of sky; and a better understanding of the all of me, both my strengths and my limitations.

One positive thing about have an ever-changing disease is that it is an ever-changing disease.  Today, I need to limit my time on the computer, but that’s just for today.  Tomorrow, the wind will blow a different way (or even more apt, the barometric pressure will shift!) and I’ll have to adjust my sails.  But, at least, I’ll never have a “stagnant” life… mine is an evolving landscape in a constantly flowing river, sometimes rapids, sometimes tranquil pools, but never the same, that’s for sure!

I don’t have to stop what I enjoy, in this case, continuing this blog.  I just need to re-adjust my expectations.  “Lowering your expectations to meet your standards,” may sound like acquiescing. But, for me, it is just knowing my own truth.  And honoring the person I am, without judgment.

I have a lot to offer this world and so do you!  We may just do it in an altered way.  And, what’s so wrong with that?  To be an individual carving out a pathway that suits you:  Now that’s acceptance of all that you are and all that you can do.

Today’s Affirmation:

“I accept the all of me.”