When change steals your dreams

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Change, dreams

On my way to a writers’ conference last week, my driver mentioned his cousin had been an executive secretary who wrote books part time. Six months earlier, she had a brain tumor and lost most of her vision. She quit her office job and is now working full time as a published author—happier and making more money than ever before. Even after a whirlwind three days at a conference chock full of tips and networking, pitching and note taking, I keep returning to that life-altering change my driver’s cousin experienced. And how she didn’t allow that change to steal her dream; instead, she used it to fan the flames. When change—whether good, bad, ugly, expected or unexpected—comes along, it’s our choice if we let it break us. It’s equally our choice if we allow it to make us. At times, change can defer those dreams, yet there’s nothing to say we can’t chase after new ones until Someday.

What dream have you given up on?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Just keep swimming

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After nearly a month of illness at the beginning of the year, I’ve made several lifestyle changes. More sleep; less commitments. More yoga; less worry. More leafy greens; less processed foods. Reading more and writing a new book (which hasn’t made it from my imagination to paper… yet). Getting more organized and less cluttered; spending more time serving others. Doing the good stuff while eliminating the bad stuff, all in the name of balance. I start each day with positive intention; I end each day with gratitude and an asana. But now I’m sick again. Up until January, I had not been sick for over three years. Yet even though I’m doing everything I should be, there are still no guarantees. Once again, the single thing we can control is our response to any given situation. And at the end of the day, we only have three choices. We can tread water (get nowhere), sink (give up) or just keep swimming.

What’s your choice when the water rises?

Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

If you don’t know what you want, how do you choose?

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For the past couple of months, I’ve been waffling on making a decision about my writing career—or pursuit thereof. In an attempt to help, a friend asked me to list the top five things, in random order, that make me the happiest. That’s easy: 1) spending time with my love, 2) reading, 3) writing, 4) yoga and 5) laughing with friends and family. Then he instructed me to pare the list to four: okay, still pretty easy. Then to three: no sweat. Then two: uh oh, now it’s getting tricky. And then one. Do I dare admit that writing didn’t make the final cut? Or that it almost (but not quite) tied with my second-to-last choice? Does that mean my vocation is not my true passion? No, I think it means I’m better at prioritizing than I give myself credit for. And that when push comes to shove, I’d rather spend time reading with my love. P.S. The decision was a no-brainer.

What’s your go-to decision-making tactic?

Image courtesy of mrpuen at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Dialing down the distractions

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Dialing down the distractions
It’s not every day we can disconnect to reconnect, but there are ways we may tune out the interruptions we have control over. For instance, if Facebook is a constant distraction while working on the computer, close it out until you’re ready to take a break. If email and instant messaging are time-stealers, carve out space to chat when you’ve accomplished what you committed to do. And the distractions we don’t have control over can serve to teach us self-control. In yoga, practitioners stare at their reflection for 90 minutes in a hot room. We’re instructed to acknowledge and then to let go of any discomfort or emotion, and to focus on our breathing. This keeps us in the moment. There will always be distractions—whether an emergency, or an unexpected visit or phone call or an itch that begs to be scratched—but if we are mindful with our time, remain flexible and breathe, everything will get accomplished.

How do you keep the distractions at a minimum?

[Image credit Salvatore Vuono and freedigitalphotos.net]

Manifesting positive results

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Vision Board
Balance… simplicity… happiness. Only a fourth of the way into the new year, and I’m beginning to realize the manifestation of these elements as I actively pursue them. When I recently mentioned to a girlfriend that I wish I could clone myself to be in three places at once, she said: Just do one thing good. That advice, along with the vision board I crafted (see creating our own luck), is my new impetus. Rather than multitask a boatload of to dos, I’m honest with myself about what I will spend my time on. I might accomplish less, overall, yet I’m focusing my attention on those one or two things and “doing them good.” I also feel reduced pressure to say “yes,” and to go with the flow, instead. The days still fly by but, with a slower personal pace, I’m able to live more fully in each moment. Which makes space for a more simplified, balanced life. And a happier me.

How have you simplified your life?

When you disconnect to reconnect

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Disconnect to reconnect
Sometimes you just need to pack a bag, hop in your car and drive. This past weekend, I disconnected from email, phone, texting and social media, and drove five hours into Ponderosa pine country in Northern Arizona. Chatting over a steaming dark roast with a photographer and the lodge’s reservationist aka bartender aka waitress aka housekeeper, warming my city toes by the crackling fire [read: genuine log], reading and napping (a lot), fueled my urgent need to escape my commitments, reconnect and breathe in each (higher-altitude) moment as it transpired—unplanned, unhurried. And afterward, as I repacked to return to reality, in between my rolled up sweaters and scarves and unsuitable footwear to hike in the remnant patches of winter mud and snow, I tucked a travel-sized wedge of the peace I discovered and the lessons I learned in a little log cabin in the woods. Now I need to unpack and put these gems into practice.

What is a favorite way for you to disconnect to reconnect?

[Image credit Jeroen van Oostrom and freedigitalphotos.net]

Be the change

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Be the change

Many of us are familiar with the saying: Be the change you wish to see in your world. It coincides with my Dress for success post because, if you want (more of) something, you seek to attract that very thing. Consequently, if you want more love in your life, be more loving. If you want more peace, be more peaceful. If you want to see more compassion from others, you’ll be more compassionate. Feeling misunderstood? Be more understanding. So often it is another person we wish to change, but we may as well beat our heads against a brick wall for the good that will do. If we can only change ourselves and our circumstances, then it is up to each of us to become magnets for the change we desire within our small frames of influence. The more we focus on being what we want, the more we’ll bring about lasting, positive transformation in and around us.

What change do you wish to experience in your life?

[Image credit Stuart Miles and freedigitalphotos.net]

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