A grandiose wish

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The future starts now

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Always remember that the future comes one day at a time. ~ Dean Acheson

The blank piece of paper. The start of a new job. The beginning of a relationship. The trailhead for a hike.  In other words, a best-selling novel, successful career, forever love and latest adventure. Whether we intend it to or not, each commencement comes with our own set of expectations—some realistic, others not so much. Recently, I attended “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” in the theater and was struck by a common theme: facing our fears to experience the beauty of life. Although the main character regularly daydreams his various flights of grandiose adventure and romantic fancy, Mitty learns that when he removes expectation to be present in the grandeur of each moment, his reality far exceeds his fantasy life. At least that’s what I walked away with. And that’s my wish for friends and family—and myself—in this New Year ahead.

What is your biggest wish for the New Year?

Living a double life

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Double life

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Throughout my life, I’ve known people who I eventually discover aren’t who I thought they were. The kind who allow others to see what they want them to see on the surface, while hiding their genuine self behind a carefully crafted façade. Maybe they’re afraid of what others might think or say about them if they knew the truth. Personally speaking, for the past few years, I’ve been living a double life of sorts—pinning my hopes on a fantasy, rather than facing my reality. As I’ve said countless times, hope is good. And it’s healthy to visualize the life we want for ourselves. However, it becomes self-destructive when our present happiness hinges on the life we desire, rather than the one we’re living. Sometimes we’re lucky and we can have our cake and eat it too, but if we compromise who we are in the process, it’s time to ask ourselves if the sacrifice is really worth it.

In what way are you living a double life?

A mini mental holiday (when time is limited)

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[Image credit: Gregory Szarkiewicz]

Sometimes my judgment needs a serious overhaul.  For me, a mental holiday oftentimes does the trick (or a swift kick in the rear).  But there never seems to be time enough to plan — let alone take time out for — the former luxury.  For example, the other night I packed my schedule pretty tightly.  After work, I planned to pick up a prescription, scrub the bathroom, wash clothes and make dinner.  Following a break to eat and clean up the kitchen, I was going to dust and then attend Yoga class.  Once home, it’d be time to shower and hop in bed.  My reality?  After work I came home, changed into my comfies, poured a martini and spent the evening on a date.  With my laptop.  While I put my best-laid plans on hold, writing substituted for much-needed therapy and cheese and crackers my sustenance.   And you know what I realized?  Mini mental holidays sure beat a swift kick in the rear.

How do you maintain a healthy mental self?

Dissecting the muse

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Thoughts that trigger the mind and cause us to react,
the more things change the more things remain the same. ~ D.M.

I read the above quote on Facebook yesterday.  The latter half of the saying (compliments of Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr) is familiar to me and, although somewhat circular, makes sense.  Things may change, like jobs, relationships, financial situations, health and/or dreams, while the reality of life — the here and now, or status quo — is unscathed.  As for the first part of the quote, perhaps D.M. might be stating that various feelings may cause the subconscious to elicit a certain type of response.  And, depending on the direct correlation with Karr’s contribution, these feelings either 1) have no bearing on the current logistics, or 2) any deeply held emotions and/or reactions remain unaltered despite changes on the surface.  Or maybe a little bit of both.  Whatever the intended meaning, this passage speaks directly to my writer’s soul.

How do you discern the above quote?

Traveling light

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[Graphic image: anekoho]

If running away would somehow “make it all better,” I’d be the first one packing my knapsack.  But I imagine once the novelty wore off, reality would set in and I’d still have to deal with whatever caused me to run in the first place.  Or maybe it’s not what we want to escape, but what we desire to race toward headlong.  Either way, one door needs to be closed before another can freely open to let us through unfettered.  If you have a score to settle or an obligation to fulfill, make good on your word first.  Once you’re released from the baggage that weighs you down, the thought of running away will most likely be just that — a distant suggestion no longer necessary to entertain.  Running away won’t change our circumstances.  But if we satisfy our commitments in the present, we can confidently move into our futures with the freedom of only a carry-on or two.

Do you travel light, or pack every burden that weighs you down?

A reality check of sorts

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[Image credit: Salvatore Vuono]

My current health issues have doubled as a reality check for me, keeping me on my toes with the unknowns.  On the one hand, I think the thrill in life may come from not knowing what’s around the next corner, whatever it may be.  On the other hand, what if we were privy?  A close friend and I talk often about how we’d like to possess the inside scoop to our futures.  Would we approach life more cautiously, or feel safe enough to release our inhibitions?  Would we take the time to get to know someone new, or maybe drag our feet, miss an unexpected surprise or simply quit trying altogether?  Or would fear grab hold of us, choking our enthusiasm?  In some ways, it would be nice to know; in others, it’s probably a good thing we’re all in the same boat.  Finding out as we go can be fun — if we let it.  It’s the perfect way to allow (force) us to focus on the reality we live in, rather than getting lost in our hopes and dreams for Someday.  Do I really believe that?  I don’t have much choice.

Have you had a reality check lately?

The sweet taste of success

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[Image credit: Stuart Miles]

Have you ever wanted something so badly you swore you could taste it?  What about the times your mouth salivated as you anticipated that first bite of freshly baked chocolate chip cheesecake, homemade apple pie or a juicy cut of steak, only to finally sink your teeth in and discover reality didn’t even come close to your fantasy?  This can also happen with a job you’ve worked hard to attain, the expectation of a blind date or a long-awaited first kiss, the excitement over a movie you’ve wanted to see for months, a gift to be unwrapped or perhaps a dream vacation.  You may find yourself bored or disenchanted with one or all of the above.  But what about those other times when the end result supersedes your wildest desires?  What was your secret then?  Maybe it was because you didn’t let fear of disappointment stand in your way, or you kept an open mind and let life unfold in its time.  I have a few of those success stories tucked away, myself, when I need a reminder that wishes do come true.  You just have to believe.

Right now is there something you want so badly you can taste it?

So close, yet so far away

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[Image credit: David Castillo Dominici]

2,000 miles: the average distance between my family, friends and me.  Despite the miles, however, Facebook, email, mobile messaging, Skype and air travel magically draw us all close enough — even if temporarily — to touch.   Similarly, when it comes to my dreams, I’ve been fortunate to have received a taste of what’s yet to come — a teaser, if you will — and I know it’s going to be sweet.  But I also realize, just like with relationships, our dreams (whether near or far off in the future) require nurturing or they may easily slip through our fingers if we’re not careful.  So any opportunity to bridge the distance provides a purpose and a hope … while I wade through the realities of Today on my journey toward Someday.

How do you bridge the gap between dreams that are close, yet still far off in the distance?

Picking up the pieces

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[Image credit: Simon Howden]

This past weekend I blogged about a decision I made to let a dream go … for now.  To put it mildly, the last few days have been a roller coaster of emotions.  Because without that particular hope for the future, my other goals seem rather meaningless.  Uninspired.  Not worth my time.  On top of that, my ankle is taking longer to heal than I expected, and so my plan to participate in my first race is looking less viable.  Consequently, as I look ahead into the unknown, these two set-backs are hindering my ability to see beyond this fork in the road.  In light of my recent disappointments, one of my friends encouraged me that something big is around the corner, and it’s by shedding one hope that I’ll be able to approach a new opportunity with peace and clarity of mind.  But in order to catch a glimpse of what’s awaiting me on the other side of the bend, I must pick up the pieces obscuring my path.  Nobody said it was going to be easy.

Reality is harsh. It can be cruel and ugly. Yet no matter how much we grieve over our
Environment and circumstances nothing will change.  What is important is not to be
defeated, to forge ahead bravely.  If we do this,
a path will open before us. ~ Daisaku Ikeda

When disappointments occur, how do you pick up the pieces and move on?

Love the “one” you’re with

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You know you are in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams. ~ Dr. Seuss

It could be the big screen TV you purchased to view the Super Bowl game on a couple of weeks ago, that cuddly pup you brought home from the rescue shelter or your sassy new hairstyle.  Perhaps you’ve discovered a fondness for the flavor of loose-leaf brewed tea, you’re a new parent (or great auntie) who recently welcomed a tiny human into the world, or you’re fortunate enough to be sharing your life with the one who keeps you awake at night (snoring or otherwise).  Or maybe you’re in love with the idea of pinky promises coming true as you wait for Someday to unfurl its second chances and new life.  Whichever category you find yourself in, something — or someone (even if it’s purely you!) — is no doubt the recipient of your affection.  So no matter how you fill your day, I hope it brings a smile to your face.  And if it bridges the distance between your fantasies and your reality, then all the better.

Are you doing anything special today to celebrate your love?

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