Shel Silverstein is one of my favorite poets. My kids all read his poems when they were little. This is one of his poems that I wanted to share, because it is now part of my life with my dad.
The Little Boy and Old Man
“Said the little boy, Sometimes I drop my spoon. Said the little old man, I do that too.
The little boy whispered, I wet my pants. I do too, laughed the old man.
Said the little boy, I often cry. The old man nodded, So do I.
But worst of all, said the boy, it seems Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me. And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand. I know what you mean, said the little old man.”
Recently I crossed over from being a daughter to being a parent for my father. Some changes in your life, tear your heart into tiny pieces. 22 years ago, my mom went on to her next adventure. She passed away at 56 yrs old from cancer. I stayed with her and took care of her the last three months of her life. My aunt and my mom’s best friend stayed with me as she needed around the clock care. With them by my side, while I had hard moments, it wasn’t traumatic. I miss her so much with each new family event. My kids graduating high school. college, marriages, and of course grandchildren and now great grandchildren. She missed it all.
It was a family understanding that when my dad retired from work that he would move in with us. And because he had poor heart health, having a triple bypass, he actually retired a little early with disability and came to live with us. At first he had a motorhome that he lived in, so he could keep his independence. We had a motorhome pad, with electricity hook ups and everything. Then came the day he had to move inside, because his health was deteriorating.
Then we purchased a hospital bed because he was having problems breathing at night, with a lot of coughing and this would allow him to raise it up enough that he could comfortably sleep. Then more ups and downs. He acquired a walker because he couldn’t walk more than a few steps before he was out of breath. Then back and forth to hospitals, ER’s, tests and more tests. Changes of medication when they damaged his kidneys. Changes of medications to help his heart failures.
My dad has a phobia around hospitals. An intense fear. He refuses to go, wanting to stabilize himself with drugs at home. So that is very trying as it usually means intense discussions with both me and his cardiac specialists. The drugs have started causing kidney damage and they have to dial back the dosage. I feel horrible that he becomes defeated. He sits in his chair and watches TV all day and I know he has feelings of depression and being defeated by his body. Sometimes I feel like the worst daughter in the world, as I crossed over into being his parent. I am his advocate when he doesn’t or just can’t understand what is happening and why.
There is a moral task of caregiving, and that involves just being there, being with that person and being committed. When there is nothing that can be done, we have to be able to say, “Look, I’m with your in this experience. Right through to the end of it.
Dr. Arthur Kleinman.
Why do I do this? About 52 years ago, my dad married my mom. She had six little girls, all eighteen months apart with a set of twins. My dad has a lot of faults, like all of us. But he also has some amazing qualities. One is that when they got married, we were his daughters. Not his step-daughters. His daughters. Not once in 50 years has the word “step” exited his mouth. I think that many who read this will not understand how important that is to a child. For me, putting the word “step” before me, makes me less than his own child. I know how lucky we were that we were never step children. When my mom died, 22 years ago, we were still his daughters. No words can express this kind of love. Believe me, if you met some of my sisters, you would understand how amazing it is, that he still calls them his daughters – lol.
Of all the lessons I’ve learned through my years of caregiving, the most important is to keep the love connection going. Just tell them that you love them again and again and again. You will never say it too much, ever.
It is scary to cross this transition from daughter to parent. It was different from my mom, as I never felt I became her parent, I remained in caregiving mode. It is scary to see that in the near future, he will go on to his next great adventure, leaving all of us behind him. We are both scared right now. What happens when we let our fears get ahold of our mouths? We shout, we get angry, we say hurtful things. But it is just us being scared. Caregiving is hard, but it is also so rewarding. I can remember when I was taking care of my mom, that some of my sisters were absent because it was too hard to watch the lung cancer take away her ability to care for herself. I learned what the true meaning of words like grace, dignity, love, sacrifice really were deep under the surface of the meanings we usually give them. I am again reminded of it now everyday.
To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.
I wanted to share my story because I know that many of you are doing the same as I am. Day by day watching a loved one fade away. Sometimes with a fight and sometimes with a whimper. It is hard to watch, and harder to experience it happening to oneself. I wanted to say how while all of our experiences are different because of the people involved and other circumstances, I know how hard this is. I know how fulfilling it is one moment and utterly draining the next. But this is still a gift. A gift of grace, love, and all the other virtues.
Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know was even possible.
You are not alone, even when it feels like it. If you feel overwhelmed, please join a caregiver group, whether online or up front and personal. It helps to share what is going on and they can help you with getting assistance when it is needed. Believe me, it is hard to find help when you don’t even know where to start and what is available. Even the strongest person can have the weakest day of their life and having access to someone who knows and understands what is happening is priceless.
Remember the power of your angels. Remember to be guided by love and take strength in the good memories, when those you care for are having a bad day and giving you waking nightmares. And remember the grace of how those things we can’t change, can change us.
When we are in a state of severe loss, of pain and grief and a darkness of the soul – that is when life is at its hardest to bear.
But if we just take a deep breath, followed by more deep breaths we can walk into the middle of the chaos. It’s messy in the middle, but in the middle we have the space to start working through the story of our loss. And as we walk through the story, we eventually reach the end.
The end is the place of new beginnings. Our life has been forever changed by our tragedy. We must remember in this space of pain, grief, and loss that the new beginning will be waiting for us.
The sun will shine. The stars will shine brightly. New people will come into our lives. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, if we only will open once again to breathe in the love.
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dream of meeting your heart’s destiny.
– Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Orian Mountain Dreamer is one of my favorite writers. I invite you to read her books, they are small but mighty. The Invitation is what this quote is from. The poem is a wonderful deep dive into important questions that probe who we are and why.
If light is in your heart, you will find your way home.
Our words have power. When we hide how we feel, what we think, we are trying to live our life using someone else’s light. We can’t find our way home that way. There is always some truth behind the words that are followed by “just kidding”. When we say “I don’t know”, there is always some knowledge that we judge as being incomplete and so we say we don’t know – when in fact we do know something about it. When we say, “I don’t care” we are not being truthful. We think if we put our emotions in a cage and don’t let them out we can’t be hurt. The reality is that we are hurting ourselves. When we tell others that we are “ok” when we aren’t, we rob them of the opportunity to help us.
May you always be guided by the light that shines forth from within you.
Life is always about the meaning that we give to it. If you take a lamp as the analogy, our soul is the light inside the lamp. The things that happen to us are the glass that surrounds the light. That glass doesn’t matter, it is the heart and soul – the light that matters.
We tell ourselves stories about the events in our life, to give us some meaning to what is happening. Some of us are writing horror stories, or stories that leave us drained from fears and worries. Others of us, write stories about the gifts we received as we travel through life. From the wonderful things that happen to us, as well as the tragic things. The best way to count your blessings is to look at life through a variety of lenses. To bring things into and out of focus. To look into the depths of our souls to see what the storms dredged up for us to look at. When we sift through it all, we can let go of everything that doesn’t serve us, realize the lessons we have been taught, and grow into who we came here to be.
Harness the power of today! Seize the blessings of today! Make something happen, enhance your life, make someone laugh, help a friend. Love, love, love.
– Dr. Steve Maraboli.
There is a big difference between making something happen and forcing something to happen. Forcing something to happen isn’t natural. It is like forcing yourself into something that doesn’t fit. Have you ever laid on the bed to force your stomach to be flat so you can get your jeans buttoned and zipped up? Or forced your foot into a shoe that you loved, but doesn’t really fit? You might be able to get the jeans fastened, but it hurts your stomach when you try to sit. You might be able to walk in those shoes for a little while, but eventually you have to take off the shoes because they hurt your feet so badly. What you will left with is blisters to prove vanity isn’t a good idea to live your life by.
And I know how broken you are, how heavy you feel, but still, you have to find the light in you. You have to hold on to it with care and never let it go, even if it drags you to the end of the world.
– r.m. drake
But making something happen is all about taking small steps to bring into reality what you are dreaming of. It is catching the light of your soul and holding it up into the darkness, so that you can see where to go. It is taking the voice or dancing lessons because you want to be in theater. It is taking leaps of faith when you don’t know how to do something. It is going for the brass ring as the merry go round flies around and around. It is learning a foreign language for a trip of a lifetime to a foreign land. It is taking big, medium and small actions, not just dreaming about it, You don’t just sit there doing nothing to make it happen.
Whenever you hear or read anything of a spiritual nature that moves your soul you are not learning something . . , you are remembering what you have always known. It is a gentle awakening.
Have you ever went somewhere new and experienced deja vu? That feeling that what is happening at this moment, has happened before? Have you ever learned something new and it was just so natural and easy that you didn’t even need instructions to do it? For me, it feels like something that I have dreamed about, is now happening in real life. That my mind already knows and sees the connections, like it was programmed into being. I think that when this happens, we need to pay attention. That we are in that moment doing something that is important, even if our minds do not understand it.
The Words I Speak Are All In Languages I Do Not Speak
And yet, when you get here, you are not given instructions. There are no diagrams about how you are meant to live each day or directions on how to assemble some semblance of happiness. You are not even told what colors to paint your feelings or given a purpose and a reason for your life. You have to make all of it up. You have to make all of it up yourself.
– Iain S. Thomas, from “I Wrote This For You”
No matter if we are in the first month or the last month of the year, take the time to reflect on what the year so far has been for you. To see the places where life has been a blessing. To see the places where you let your dreams fall by the wayside. Pick them back up. Dust them off. Find within them the things that you are looking for. Go beyond your means to make them come true for you. Draw down deep within the story of them and bring it into reality. Transform the pain and regrets of this year and past years into the blessings and joy of a new year.
Years end is neither an end nor a new beginning, but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.
– Hal Borland.
The journey of life teaches us that growth happens when the dream is bigger and brighter than you ever thought it could be. In the pursuit of that dream, it will illuminate your heart, capture your mind, and free your soul from the small box that you held it in. You will discover that there are hidden maps within your soul. That there are clues and invitations to walk through doors that will open your mind up to things you never dreamed could be true. But you can only make those kind of discoveries when you listen to your heart.
That is my wish for all of you today. That you listen to your heart; that you hear the whisper of your soul and find the dream that is so big, that you too can grow beyond who you are today and enrich the universe.
There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work, than follow your passions in a way that serves the world and you
– Sir Richard Branson
This photo speaks to me about how I offer the fire of my heart, my passion, to help wake up others. Passion is the energy that comes from bringing more of “you” into everything that you do.
Life without a purpose is a languid, drifting; every day we ought to review our purpose, saying to ourselves, “This day let me make a sound beginning”.
– Thomas Kempis
The Latin root of passion means “to suffer or endure suffering or ridicule from others”. The root word for purpose means “an aim or a goal one wishes to achieve”. It is like the two words are married to each other, two parts of one whole. The only way to do great work, which is purpose, is to find the thing that sets you on fire igniting your passion.
Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.
This is the thing that keeps you up late at night and wakes you up when it is still dark with excitement to get up and get going. It is what makes you come alive. Jeff Bezos reflected that “you don’t choose your passions, your passions choose you.” If you pursue your life from this space, then at the end of your life you can say “I have no regrets”. It is your legacy you leave behind, because you lived life being who you really are and doing what you really loved.
The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experiences.
Passion is living uncomfortably on purpose. To me this doesn’t mean that your passion doesn’t fit well with your soul. Rather it is what makes you the round peg in the square hole. It is what makes you take the path that is less traveled. It is your “why” for living this life. It is the link or connection to your personal genius.
Dig deep and you’ll find that a person who lacks motivation is a person who lacks purpose.
In a thousand ways you can turn any so called “limitation” into a beautiful gift that you can offer to the world. When you live your life from this perspective (with passion) it is what enables you to walk through the valley of shadows and death with serene peace that you are being guided on your journey. You know from the bottom of your heart and soul, that this experience can be turned in solid gold, into a passionate life that enriches both your and others.
Find a purpose in life so big it will challenge every capacity to be at your best
– David O. McKay
The suffering comes from the fact that this fire of passion reduces you to ashes. There are some things as you follow a passionate purpose driven life that must be left behind because they no longer serve you. Our character is sifted through the fire as it reveals both the light and shadows of who we are. Even though many of life experiences feel like we are being abandoned and we suffer the loss of what we had, we are also gaining so much more than we lose. Look forward, look at the gifts you now have. Like the Phoenix you rise again from the ashes, remade.
The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning
– Mitch Albom
Fear is what creates suffering and the pushing through the fear is part of the preparation. Pushing through the fear creates the gateway to accomplish your purpose – the purpose you came here to do, and which only you can fulfill. If you are not remade, then the gateway can not appear. Every door that you miss comes back around. Every opportunity to create the life of your dreams keeps appearing until you recognize it. So when you look back on what happened today, this week, or this month – know that those misses will come back – be awake and keep looking for them.
You had a purpose before anyone had an opinion.
When you feel lost and alone, you have become disconnected to your passion and purpose. You bought into letting the opinions of others tell who you should be and act like. You have lost yourself. Or maybe you rejected who you are, because you felt somehow you were less than capable of being that person. That you were somehow wrong for having those dreams, or that what you wanted in life was not good enough (you need to be a doctor or lawyer, not a gardener or musician). Do not let anyone including your inner talk inside your head deflect you from your passion, your purpose.
Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, but with great and strong purpose in your heart
– Gordon B Hinkley
Every day our hair grows. We cut it and shorten yet, yet the next day it begins growing again. In life things will cut us, hurt us, damage us. But remember that our body regenerates our skin, our hair, our nails – no matter what they continue to grow.
The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.
– Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Be like that. Never stop growing. Whatever got you off track, off purpose doesn’t matter. You can still be positive and know that at every moment the dream that you have for your life is coming into focus. At unexpected moments and in ways you weren’t expecting it to happen, you find your passion and purpose again. You start back on your path.
At the end of life, what really matters is not what we have bought, but what we built.
Not what we got, but what we shared.
Not our competence, but our character.
Not our success, but our significance.
Live a life that matters.
Live a life of love.
When we are clear in heart and mind . . , only then shall we find courage to surmount the fear which haunts our world.
– Albert Einstein
I tend to get an idea of something I need to work on/with. Then it percolates in my brain and I start attracting thoughts and ideas. The things I read in books or emails, from dreams, and the conversations I have with others. Then one day the brain has gathered enough material to put together a post.
Recently I was reading an email from “Tanya – Sistership Circle” on being a Warrioress (Wonder Woman) Archetype. She talked about how the word Warrioress is given an incorrect meaning for most of us, in that we think of a warrior as being in battle in a war. Not necessarily so.
It is about being courageous enough to welcome failure on the trail of success.
It is about having the strength to blaze the trail, instead of following behind others.
It is about living a life of conviction and,
being able to bounce back with resilience when it doesn’t work out the way you wanted.
It is about cleaning up our vision so that we have clarity, instead of chaos..
It is about taking action and breaking down the patterns of self sabotage,
that keep you from your brilliant potential.
It is about being humble in the truest sense of the word
(that does not mean disparaging your gifts/talents).
It is about living a life of P’s – Purpose, Passion, Persistence,
and Persevering even when the road gets rough.
It is about being independent, AND living with community,
because it takes a village to raise us up (even when we are adults).
There are actual studies that prove when you stand with your feet spread out and your hands on the hips (Wonder Woman Pose) that it actually makes you confident. In June 2012 Amy Cuddy gave one of the most watched Ted talks of all time, “Your body language may shape who you are” in which she states that simply holding this pose for one minute causes your body chemistry and your behavior to change.
May my heart be kind, my mind fierce, and my spirit brave.
– Kate Forsyth
Now there is some controversy over her study, but I am of the belief that I can make statistics say whatever I want them to. How many times have you seen studies which contradict each other? Such as bacon (or any other food) is bad for and then another that states it is good for you? There is no accounting for the belief of the mind healing the body of diseases. So think positive and get up and stand like a super hero!
Do not wait to find courage, it will find you when you take your first steps forward.
– Mari Huertas
Confidence helps us to break out of the fears that are holding us back. Every single person reading this post is telling someone something that they want to accomplish. Speaking for myself, I have had a goal that I have been working towards now for a few years. I keep telling myself that I am not yet ready to do it. There is something else I have to learn how to do.
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.
It is like building a bridge across a chasm. You need supports to come up from the bottom of the valley, or from the sides of the ravines. You need wood or stone materials to build with. You need a way to nail, screw or cement the structure together. You might need plans from an engineer. Then people to help you build it. All of this comes together before you even start the structure. Then there is the financial components that need to be in place to pay for the land you are building on, the materials and the labor to do it. Now with all of these moving parts it can be overwhelming as fear sets in. Fear of failure or success. Fear of looking foolish. Fear of starting and not being able to complete the structure because of lack of money, materials, or manpower. So many fears creep into you, that you keep making lists and looking for what else you might need.
If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
– Lao Tzu
Have you ever noticed that if you look at something more than a second when you are driving down the road, that your vehicle starts to go in that direction? If what you are looking at in life, is not what you want in your life, you need to change direction. You will end up where you are putting your focus. This is how fear becomes the self fulfilling prophecy. We are attracting the bad we don’t want to happen, because it is what is filling up our thoughts.
You are responsible for your life. You can’t keep blaming somebody else for your dysfunction. Life is really about moving on.
Part of being human is that we are imperfect, we all have flaws, we all have dysfunction. We need to take responsibility to do better and be better. We do better when we accept our failures and work on changing those dysfunctions. We all have rough edges in our personalities. We can rub others the wrong way. It is our responsibility to determine if we have rough edges that need to be sanded down, and to make those changes. It isn’t our responsibility to help someone else sand down their own rough edges.
May your heart be brave and your soul have courage, while you travel your path to greatness
– Amara Honeck
If we have a door that sticks for example we can do several things: We can push and shove it open and closed and fight with it. We can let it warp, bend the hinges, damage the door handle and just let it get worse until it no longer functions or falls apart. Or we can fix it. Maybe it just needs a little planning on the top, bottom or sides where it is rubbing. Maybe it needs the door handle or the hinges replaced, or installed in a new area of the door. Maybe we just need to repair the frame itself. We can fix it or let it get worse.
Selfless service alone gives the needed strength and courage to awaken the sleeping humanity in one’s heart.
– Sai Baba
Whenever we think that we are in fear, then it is time to awaken our heart. Whenever we think that we are all alone, it is time to awaken our heart. When we are in the space of love, it widens out our awareness of life around us. Love helps us to connect every aspect of our life with our purpose. Love awakens and kindles anew our passion for life and why we are here. Acting out of love in any situation takes our intentions to the highest heights. We discover in that space peace and acceptance of what is, and we see the way clearly to act upon our good intentions. Love roots out fear. Living with a heart, soul, spirit of love we can fully encompass our highest potential.
You can’t change what’s going on around you, until you start changing what’s going on within you.
What is the difference between a professional or an amateur, and what does that have to do with change? Many things, but the first thing that comes to mind is this: An amateur stops with the initial change, while a professional understands that the first change is just the beginning and that many more will follow.
So an amateur might be the caterpillar that builds the chrysalis and thinks he is done. He has changed his life. While the professional takes a much longer viewpoint and realizes that he not only needs to build the chrysalis, but that there will be changes within the chrysalis and that at some point, which those transformations have been fully completed, he will need an exit strategy. Then he will need to emerge into a new world, and that this world will expect more changes and transformations out of him. Just like the butterfly, there is a new life to be fully explored. The chrysalis was just the beginning.
Life is not always fair. Sometimes you get a splinter sliding down a rainbow.
We must live a multidimensional, multifaceted life. The first viewpoint is just that – a first. There are so many angles to view life from. Part of that process of becoming a professional, is realizing that feedback or coaching shouldn’t be viewed as negative. It shouldn’t be viewed as a personal attack, even if it is delivered like one. I remember years ago reading something that really changed my life. If someone is telling you that you did something wrong, and you didn’t do it – you should still listen to what is being said. The very fact that it is being said means that somewhere in the garbage being unloaded on you, is a gold nugget. Instead of getting mad, hurt, angry and yelling at the world for being unfair – look for the gold nugget. We all have weak spots – things that we don’t see or recognize about ourselves. Finding out what those are and working to bring them into our circle of competence is what will make us successful in any endeavor.
You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.
Professionals accept failure as a learning tool. In sports such as baseball or basketball you learn that you can’t hit a homerun or have the basketball shoot through the hoop every single time you try. But you can analyze your process and use the failure as a tool towards growth and mastery of the sport. In the same way, the more consistent we are with our process of change, of transforming our lives through the failures, the better our outcomes will be.
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds, cannot change anything.
George Bernard Shaw
Knowledge is power, because we know what to do. But the application of that knowledge is what is really important. It is the correct application of knowledge that brings true wisdom to the fore. It is this – the knowledge of why the rule is there, tells us when it should be followed and when it should be broken. It is the understanding of bringing humanity into our decisions. Of understanding when the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one, or when the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many – both can be true. It is the focus of both long term and short term results that tell you which way is the right way. It is understanding second level thinking.
Old ways won’t open new doors.
When we first meet someone, we make a judgment about the person. Based on what they look like, how they present themselves, how they talk and move – we make a superficial judgment about who they are. If you were to meet me on the street, because I dress very casually, and love to shop second hand stores and don’t live in an upscale neighborhood you might make a certain kind of judgment about me. If you heard about how poor our family was when I was growing up and that I left school my senior year and didn’t get a college degree you might make another kind of judgment about me. If you heard that I am a Director at one of the top five banks in the world, you might make another kind of judgment about me.
Don’t judge my choices if you don’t understand my reasons.
All of those would be superficial and not take into account a million things that are also true about me. Second level thinking goes beyond the superficial where most of us live our lives. Second level thinking is deep, complex, and convoluted. It is the kind of thinking required to play chess well. It looks at all of the moves that can be made on both sides of the board, and levels that up to all possible plays with each new move. It looks at each piece of knowledge; at where the decision paths converge and at when they then separate. It creates a consensus of all of the data and of all of the probabilities, then it comes to the best decision based on everything that is known and can be guessed.
One of the happiest moments in life is when you find the courage to let go of what you can’t change.
It is the realization that the first answer we think of, the first thing we think is the right way to go is rarely so. It is knowing that absolutes are almost never the right answer or the right way to think. That black and white thinking keeps us in first level thinking and keeps us in the large amateur crowd. We need to be curious and consider all of the probabilities and possibilities. We need to understand that true reality is not what we want to see, but what’s true. Get curiouser and curiouser. Take the time to deep dive into exploration; into letting our minds run, and look for the inspiration to do and be different.
We cannot become what we want by remaining what we are.
So it all comes down to being curious. To up-level our thinking to the second or even third level. To looking at reality – not from what we want it to be, but what it is. From making big and little changes, even micro changes – but always making new transformations in our lives.
“Curiosity is lying in wait for every secret” – Unknown
“Be curious always! For knowledge will not acquire you: you must acquire it” – Sudie Back
“The secret of making dreams come true can be summarized in four C’s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage and constancy; and the greatest of these is confidence” – Walt Disney
“The future belongs to the curious. The ones who are not afraid to try it. Explore It. Poke at it. Question it and turn it inside out” – Skillshare.com
“Be curious, not judgmental” – Walt Whitman
“I’m always curious to know about your past, because that’s the place from where you belong and it will let me know how you build yourself” – Vishal Rastagi
“The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity” – Dorothy Parker
“Curiosity, especially intellectual inquisitiveness, is what separates the truly alive from those who are merely going through the motions” – Tom Robbins
Over every mountain there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley.
Everything you see in your life at this moment, is the result of choices you have made. The door in the photo is clearly open, but you can’t really see the steps through it or what lies beyond it. Some of the choices we have made in life, lead us in directions that we didn’t even know were there.
Sometimes behind the waterfall, there is a path into a valley that no one has discovered.
Sometimes we fall through a hole in the ground, and discover a buried city.
Sometimes we have a flat tire on a desert road, with no spare tire to change it – and we find a dusty path that leads to a hidden cache of gold.
There is always a choice of following a paved road with lots of signs, or walking down a dirt path. To stay safe on the paved road or taking on the risk of the unknown dirt path, and seeing for yourself the genius of the universal design for your life.
Of never trying to see what is behind the waterfall in the first place (it is dangerous and you might fall down and hurt yourself); to climb out of that hole you fell into (it’s probably full of spiders, snakes, and rats) and ignoring the possibilities of discovery all around you; to stay beside that car on the hot desert road and wait for someone to rescue you (so much more sensible than striking out on your own).
Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.
So stop being so worried about the million and one things that can go wrong. Start instead dreaming about, and getting excited about, what is around the next corner. Whatever we chose to be the next destination, we should always aim just a little higher. If we are aiming for the lower mountain, we won’t know if we could have climbed the higher one instead. Don’t put off the higher mountain as your goal, thinking that you need to be realistic, that you need to go in small definable steps. As the saying goes, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land on the stars”. Don’t be afraid to get lost. Even landing among the stars, changes you, your world, and maybe even the whole world.
No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.
Friends, loved ones, mentors, teachers – they can all set us on what they think is the right path for us. Sometimes they are right, sometimes they are wrong, and sometimes they are “almost” right. It is up to us to decide what the correct life path is for us, at this point in our lives. No matter what path we take in life, no matter where we go or end up, we take a little bit of everyone we know with us. Haven’t you heard those voices in your head? Your parents, your favorite aunt or uncle, your grandparents, those special friends from school – those voices that make insane comments about what is taking place in front of you? Mine are these comedian’s talking commentary during a boring office meeting. My son Sam’s voice comes into play during movies when they are doing anything military or medical, telling me they are doing it wrong.
If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.
I believe that we have at least three careers in our life, and that they can be completely different. We shouldn’t confuse the path we are walking with the destination that we are going to. Once I have mastered something, I get bored. When I get bored, I know it is time to start exploring something new to learn, to have a new destination. I am still walking my life path, the path of learning more about the world, about me, and what new sights are on the horizon. There are times that the path can be a little blurry, because I haven’t yet discovered where the path is taking me. So I keep walking and I get curious. I know that when the path gets crystal clear, I have a new destination and new life experiences coming into focus.
You drown not by falling into a river, but by staying submerged in it.
This doesn’t mean that I am just sitting on the path waiting for it to define itself. When I sit, it is like stepping off the deep end of the river and just sinking to the bottom. If I sit, the world tries to define me. To make me fit someone else’s mold, to do the things that they want me to do and be. Then I lose myself, sitting submerged and wondering why I can’t breathe. I have to take the time, the effort and the work to define the path, so that each step brings the focus sharper and more defined. I have to swim back up to the surface of the river and determine which shoreline I want to step onto.
If you could have seen the end from the beginning, would you have chosen a different path?
Sometimes when we are walking down the path we have chosen everything goes wrong. A forest fire races through the valley and destroys all of the vegetation. The river overflows its banks and takes out the bridge we were walking across. A 40 car pile-up in the fog totals our car. Sometimes what seems like a life ending event, is actually the first step on a new path. We had developed expectations of where the path should be taking us, and so we were actually sleep walking down the side path. Because of our expectations, that path might have led us to the correct destination, but without the right experiences. Have you ever seen someone famous implode right after they achieved critical acclaim for their talents? Hollywood, Politics, Musicians – we’ve all seen them reach a pinnacle of success, then drugs, alcohol, sexual exploitation – and down they tumble into scandal.
Not until we are lost do we begin to find ourselves.
Henry David Thoreau
This is due to not having strong enough roots to support their growth. Somewhere along the path to finding themselves, they didn’t get lost. They missed valuable life experiences that would have grounded their roots. That would have forced them to grow deeper and discover more about who they were. Because they didn’t have these valuable experiences, they allowed others even with the best intentions, to rescue them from falling on their face. They covered things up. They didn’t let them experience the results of bad choices when they were small failures. So they just kept being rescued and didn’t learn the life skills of what failure really means.
Remember when life’s path is steep, to keep your mind even.
What we discover from failure is that sometimes it is the best thing that ever happened to us. We see new ways to do something, which we would have never seen if everything went according to plan. We discover wonderful character traits that were only exposed because we felt we had no other choice than to force ourselves to up our game. My favorite movie scene is from “Facing The Giants” in the death crawl scene. The player goes all of the way down the entire length of the football field, thinking that he is only trying to make it to the 50 yard line. He couldn’t see where he was, and he was crawling with another player on his back. At first the coach is only trying to get him to the 50 yard line, then he realizes the player has more in him than either of them knew. We are all like that player, capable of so much more. It is the difficult parts of life that open up the possibilities of our tasting some of that greatness we have buried deep inside. So remember “to keep the mind even” – not letting doubts or over-confidence tilt us.
The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.
Each day is a new adventure in walking our chosen life path. Each day we can walk it in wonder, looking to see what is going to cross our path today. We can be curious. We can slow down and actually see what is on our right side, our left side, and directly in front of us. Don’t miss the flowers that you’ve never seen in that color or shape before. Look for the squirrels, bunnies, little lizards laying on the warm rock and enjoying the heat of the day. Rest when you are tired. Walk in the moonlight or lay back and count the stars.
I suspect the truth is that we are waiting, all of us, against insurmountable odds for something extraordinary to happen to us.
This is your life path, your journey. The world is full of friends, lovers, and new brothers and sisters waiting to get to know us. The destinations are fun to get to, to master some aspect of your life. But really, life is lived on the path, during the step by step walking, dancing, singing, along the road to the newest destination. So don’t forget to enjoy it. The journey is – Your Happiness.
When I look at this picture, I see a little boy with big dreams. But when he looks out over the city in the moonlight, I think that he is overwhelmed by the vastness of the city. The moon is large and full and seems to be almost overpowering.
When you have these big dreams, it is easy to look out and see that we are just a small insignificant thing that will probably have little or no impact on the world. That is when doubt starts creeping in. Then it is joined in by those parts of us that try to protect us from harm, as well as friends and family that are trying to protect us.
Don’t let the devil put a question mark, where God has already put a period.
– Inspire Us Daily
The voices yammer inside our head that we will look foolish. We will be laughed at as failures. Who do we think we are? Do we really think so much of ourselves that we alone have the answer to even one of life’s problems? If this idea we had was valid they whisper, then someone would have done it a long time ago.
The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.
– Maya Angelou
I know that our parents want to protect us and sometimes in trying to do that they crush our dreams. Teachers may have told us that we were not smart enough or talented enough and so we give up on our dreams, because we think that they must know – they are older and know more than we do, we follow the advice and give up.
We may have bosses that belittled our idea once when we shared it, so we closed up like a clam shell, never to speak out an idea again. Or we may have spoke up regarding what we believe to be the answer to a challenge at work and we are ignored. Then we find out later that someone else stole that idea and how they are being given the credit for it – so we feel that no one will listen, so why even speak up or try.
Many times our ideas scare our friends into thinking that we will outgrow them and leave them behind, so they tell us to not even try – they tell us it is too hard, how you don’t have the money, influence or power to make a difference. Don’t speak up or you might get ostracized they whisper in our ears. We feel like our life is the “Whack a Mole” game and if we stick our necks out, we will get hit by a giant hammer.
We spend so much time asking God to cure us of our hardships. But we never stop to consider that our hardships are curing us.
– Yasmin Magahed
The voices inside/outside of us come from many directions at once, so we freeze and do nothing. I think that one of my favorite people who talked about dreams was Martin Luther King Jr. When he started I can’t imagine that he knew what a difference he was going to make in our world. He must have been overwhelmed many times by the enormity of what he wanted to do. He inspired many to stand beside him, and his legacy goes on today as we remember him and his work every year.
For what it’s worth: It’s never too later to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.
– F. Scott Fitzgerald
Dreams take on lives of their own when they are divinely inspired. They grow inside of us and spread out to everyone, to inspire them to join with us and help grow the dream. The dream didn’t start with us, and it will not end with us. We are like a runner in a relay baton race, getting passed the baton to continue onto the next person who will be inspired to continue running with the dream. The dream can’t be stopped, because it has a life of it’s own.
If you are going to doubt something, doubt your limits.
– Don Ward
Our dreams live on, still free, still inspiring others to take up the baton in the race and be brave. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream still lives on. He wasn’t the first person to take that baton up and he wasn’t the last one.
It’s your life, not a show. Don’t sit back watching it drift away. Go out and fight with everything that holds you back. Remove your doubts. Kill your fears. Overcome the challenges of your life and most of all, fight with the pain you have inside.
– Shubhanshu Tiwari
Whatever dream lives inside of you, take up the baton and join in the divinely inspired race. And when it is time to pass on the baton, know that your dream will live on through those that you were able to inspire to take up the baton and continue the race.
So many times we ask the divine for help, for guidance. The door is open, right there in front of us, but we don’t enter. It could be that what we see beyond that door is not what we were expecting for the answer. It could be that we are so caught up in the drama and chaos that we don’t even see the door. We remain in our self imposed prison, feeling sorry for ourselves, and we are the only ones with the key.
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
– Corrie ten Boom
I was reading a book recently and one of the sub plot lines was that one of the main characters had seen in a vision that he killed one of the other main characters. Sometimes what we see is a still point scene, meaning that it is just a flash of what the scene is about. But we don’t see what happened before or after it. Like this photo we just see a green mist. It isn’t until we step through the door that everything becomes clear. To refuse the journey because of what we think might happen, is to live our life with fears chains limiting every move. Be brave. Trust who you are at the heart and soul level. Unlock fears chains and walk through the door.
Fear knocked at the door. Love answered and no one was there.
– Dr. Wayne Dyer
In the book I was referencing, she had been poisoned with a drug that would affect her brain in such a way that she would become a killer, no moral codes, insane. And the same time, the sane part of herself would know everything that the insane part of her was doing. She asked him to kill her. Our divine destiny sometimes leads us to places unexpected. Without knowing the whole story we look out that door and see a scene that we reject wholesale. We judge it without an understanding of what is really going on.
It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that” than to look back and say, “I wish I did that”.
– Lessons Learned In Life
We need to walk through that door to begin the long journey to ourselves. To unfold our own myths. The ones that you grew up with. Your sibling is the smart one (which made you the dumb one). Your sibling is the athlete (which made you clumsy or uncoordinated). Your sibling is musical (which made you tone deaf). We could go on and on with the comparisons between you and someone else as you grew up. The teachers who told you that you couldn’t do something, weren’t talented enough, whatever the rejection was that you accepted as fact. Then there are the myths that you just told yourself, based on your own low opinion of who you are, and what you are capable of.
If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.
– Sir Richard Branson
And of course there are the hopes and dreams of those that love us, that aren’t the same as our own hopes and dreams. I remember in the book, “Love, Medicine and Miracles”, one of the true stories was of a young man who had terminal cancer. He was in college studying to become a doctor, because that was what his parents wanted. When he found out he had cancer he quit school and went to play his violin which was his dream and passion in life. Funny thing happened, his cancer went away. When he started living his life purpose, he starting living his life.
When opportunity knocks, don’t let fear hold you back. Open the door and embrace the opportunity that has come forth.
– Live Life Fully
When he stopped letting fear of disappointing his parents stop him from being who he really was, he opened the door to the life he was supposed to be living.
Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end.
– Denis Waitley
The other thing that keeps us from walking through that door is the voice that remembers that one time we fell on our face. A complete laughing stock failure. You don’t want that to ever happen again, so take no chances on walking through the door. We need just enough courage to open that door and step through. We need a new definition of what failure is. Failure is a temporary detour. It is the realization that failure is just a part of the process on the road to success. Failure is not a stop sign. It is a learning experience that we need to fully embrace. To hold it in our arms, to hug it tight. We don’t die from failure. We do however stop living, if we let failure be a stop sign.
I’ve failed over and over and that is why I succeed.
– Michael Jordan
In basketball you miss more shots than you make and you are still a success, why? Because you keep trying, and you don’t sit in the stands and watch, not taking the shot. You keep trying and you even though you miss some of the time, you also score some of the time.
Let the people discover you! You might have the key of the locked doors in their lives! Open yourself to the world; you might be the magic the world needs!
– Mehmet Murat Jidan
So many of us walk through life, trying not to be seen. We are afraid of being judged, as not being worthy, of thinking more of ourselves than we should and being found a fraud. But that is just a lie. The more that we let people in, the more our life opens up. The more that we be who we truly are without the limitations we put on ourselves. The more that we help ourselves, the more we can help others do the same. That is the change that the world needs. To live out loud, who we are in our souls. When we do that, we give others permission to do the same.
When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.
Walk through that door. Don’t let the fear of change, of the unknown. of possible failure, keep you from living your life on purpose.
And, yes, words matter. They may reflect reality, but they also have the power to change reality – the power to uplift and to abase.
I think that all of us heard the nursery rhyme, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but word will never hurt me”. And all of us have been hurt by the words of others. Sometimes the words of bullies as they seek the soft spot that will create pain. Sometimes the words of loved ones, when we fight and say mean and hurtful things to those we love. Japanese scientist, Masaru Emoto did an experiment in a elementary school classroom in which he placed two jars of cooked rice. Each day the kids in the classroom had to pass by these jars and say the words taped on the jar. On one jar the words were “Thank You” and the other jar the words were “You Fool”. After 30 days the jars were removed. The jar with “Thank You” contained rice that looked like it had been cooked that morning, white and fluffy. The other jar with the words “You Fool” had shrank into a black shriveled gelatinous mass. Words have an energy that affect both the speaker and the listener.
Words matter and the right words matter most of all. In the end they’re all that remains of us.
There are others words that matter. The words that we say to ourselves in our heads. Like “your so stupid” or “you always make the wrong decisions” or “You’ll never get it or do it right”. . , and so on and on. Words that say that we are not good enough. Never say words that make your body or your accomplishments in life a joke. Stop name calling and self criticism to yourself, as well as others. We are all at any moment in time doing the best we can, with what we know and understand in that moment. We can all do and be better. It requires us to be conscious of the words coming out of our mouths. Surround yourself with positive, uplifting words.
You’re going to come across people in your life who will say all the right words at all the right times. But in the end, it’s always their actions you should judge them by. It’s actions not words that matter.
Do we put actions to our words, our intentions to be better, to do better? Do we keep trying to walk towards a better life, or when we trip and fall down do we sit there in lamentation and say it’s no use. That we are who we are, and we can’t do it. I always think of babies when they are learning to walk. They tip over and over and over. They fall so many times. And each time they get up and try it again. Although they can’t tell you, they are learning from each failure how to achieve balance. It isn’t something learned on the first, second or even 50th try. But they all – 100% of them keep trying. And once they are walking it seems like almost instantaneously they are running. They don’t let anything hold them back. Do we put the same kind of actions to the words that we speak?
No matter what people tell you it’s words and ideas that can change the world.
Just as words can create wars, they can also create positive change in the world. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” words changed the world. Look at what has happened in the past few years with the movements that have been created to bring something positive out of their own pain as survivors, or of families of those who lost loved ones. Drugs, gun violence, racism, those sold into sexual slavery, sexual harassment/assault – all have created hashtag movements – #MeToo – #NotOneMore – #TakeAKnee – #BlackLivesMatter – #BringBackOurGirls – and so on. Your views of what was done to try and make positive change may not agree with all of the attempts to find social justice, but they do prove that words and ideas can change the world.
In every encounter in life we either give life or drain life. Their are no mutual exchanges.
Always remember that your words carry weight and bearing in the lives of others. Choose them wisely. When we speak words of hate, we find ways to support those words. We actually see the world through a “lack” mentality. We blame all of our problems on “Them” – whatever group “Them” is. We see the world through that lens and it distorts what we see to fit the viewpoint we have adopted.
The same is true of having a positive outlook on the world and the changes that take place in it every day. Every day someone’s smile brightens the life of another. Every day a policeman or fireman or paramedic saves the life of someone. Every day someone says no to drugs. Every day someone refuses to join a gang and live a life of violence. And every day someone who has been caught up in a world of drugs, alcohol and violence says no to continuing to live that lifestyle. The life we life and the world that we see is viewed through the lens that we have created. At any moment in time we can change the lens. Right now at this moment, someone is reading or seeing something that moves them to change that lens. To start one more time living a life that brings positive change not just to their life, but those around them, spreading it to the whole world.
. . . words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew, upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions think . . ,
Words Matter Week, 2014
Each day we design the life that we are living. All of the small daily decisions add up to the day we live. It is so easy to get caught up in the news. Depending on the stations we listen to we are fed a diet of everything that is wrong in the world, from a specific viewpoint that always says that the other guy is wrong. We don’t debate ideas from the news, we fling judgments against other. We are subconsciously refusing to hear the emotions, the hurts, the “reasons” why they are saying those words that damage others lives.
Words are free. Its how you use them that may cost you.
Words have meaning in the context in which they are spoken. Say the word fire – at a family barbeque. Say the word fire – in the workplace. Say the word fire – in a crowded venue. The family barbeque uses fire to cook the food, and it’s a normal safe word to say. Say the word fire in the workplace, and you will get a negative emotion running immediately. Either yourself or someone you know has just lost their job, their means of support for themselves and their family. It is sad, threatening, humiliating, depressing, and so stressful, not only to the person fired, but to the whole office. You also may feel guilty because you feel relieved that it wasn’t you, that your safe. Say the word fire in a crowded venue and you have people fleeing for their lives. You will see them stampeding towards any exit. Some people will be so scared, traumatized or selfish that they literally run over others trying to escape. Some people will become heroes, saving the lives of others, even if it means that they die trying. Words in the context of how they are used reveal things about ourselves that we never knew or acknowledged before.
Your words matter. A wider world is waiting to hear your story. When will you have the courage to tell them?
You crafted the stage you’re now on, so that you’d be pushed on to discover your power, the dreams worth pursuing, and the passion to create them into reality. In the lives that we have lived so far, we have created illusions to support who we think we are. To support who we are capable of being. These illusions have created and supported your thoughts, beliefs, and expectations. It is up to us to ask the questions from a place of curiosity as to what of our beliefs are illusions. To question how we gathered these thoughts and facts into truths that are somehow cemented into unbiased realities that we refuse to change.
We live in a world of possibilities. We all have potential that we haven’t fully plumbed or realized. Facts change every day. Every day some new scientific discovery is made. They used to say that man couldn’t fly. That if God wanted man to fly he would have given him wings. It was a fact. Then curious men created planes, rockets, hot air balloons, space ships and so on. Then flying through the sky became a cemented fact. Every new “truth” discovered requires that we change a previous truth.
Curiosity creates the possibility of a new word, or truth. Words give us a trail to follow. Intention brings action to the words and creates new truths, new meanings to the words. It creates a life journey of discovery, of continually learning new things not just about ourselves, but our world. As the Star Trekkers say, “To go boldly where no man (or woman) has gone before”. Stay curious, stay hungry for more, live in the moment, and most of all create peace and happiness in your life.
For many people, authentic life starts at the time of death – not our own, but someone else’s.
– Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
This is so true for me. It was the murder of my nephew that changed my whole life. Up until that time my lived was lived by following what others had either taught me or expected of me. The lesson I learned from my mother that drove me, was to have a career that earned a great income so that I would not be like her and end up homeless with her children. In her mind her only option was to return to a marriage that she had left behind because it would provide support for her children.
At first after my nephew died, it was all about helping my sister survive the storm of grief that ripped her world into tiny pieces that we couldn’t put back together again. Then once we all knew that she while she wasn’t fully recovered she was surviving and learning what her new life would be, it was time to deal with my own grief.
I change the world by changing myself. I am changing the world by loving myself, by enjoying life, by making my personal world a dream of heaven. I change myself, and just like magic, other people start to change.
– Miguel Ruiz
I knew that I wanted to bring something positive out of his death and so I started writing my way through my own changing and evolving world. I had wanted to be a writer since I was a small child. But I didn’t have any confidence to begin the journey. Each time my heart and soul drew me into that space I had a ready excuse as to why I couldn’t do it. I have four children to raise, a fulltime career and husband to take care of. So I would lie to myself about the reason why I didn’t have the time to write.
People will kill you over time, and how they’ll kill you is with tiny harmless phrases like “Be Realistic”
– Dylan Moran
First it was when the kids were all in school, then I would have time to write. Then it was when they all graduated high school, then I would have time to write. Then it was taking care of my dad who had retired early with disabilities, so now I had a new obligation to put off this dream of writing my own stories. Always there was something more important to be done. Besides I told myself, be realistic, “no one will want to read what you write”. As I wrote my way through changing myself and posted it on my personal page, I kept being told by others to do more.
The secret of making dreams come true can be summarized in four C’s. They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy; and the greatest of these is confidence.
– Walt Disney
Self confidence is something that Walt Disney had to have had. He had businesses that failed and ended bankruptcy. He lost most of his employees and a big contract to a film producer that had been working with him. What he discovered and what I discovered was that when one door closes another opens. For him that lead to the creation of Mickey Mouse, who actually has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For me, it was discovering that this dream that I had buried as not being worthy of was in fact possible. The writing on my personal page, created the self confidence to create the LemonadeMakers page here on Facebook and a website that we are slowly expanding to create even more material for our followers.
In the words of Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu:
As I walk this journey of following my dreams, I get ideas of where it might be taking me, but I don’t really know what I am becoming. I still feel constantly as though I am in the chrysalis and becoming something new. I am still being stretched into unknown realms. I am constantly learning, adapting and regrouping. I fall down on my face, but I keep getting back up. I brush off the dirt and dust and look in the mirror. It is the act of constantly letting go of the life I thought I should have, that I am able to embrace the life that is waiting for me. It is the constant asking of these three questions that keeps opening new doors of discovery for me.
When you ask those questions, sit with them in silence a few moments and see what bubbles up to the top for you. When you boil some sort of vegetable, a lot of times there is this film of stuff that spreads across the water. A sort of scum that I always ladle out of the boiling water. This is what happens when we sit in silence with a question. Our minds floats up a denial. It floats up a distraction. If floats up fears. Just look at them without judgement and scoop them out and let them settle into the earth.
Now return to the silence and contemplation and see what bubbles up next. Write it down and see what else floats up to the top. Keep writing until you have a list of things that you would do next.
Dreamer: (n) A person who visions their ambitions to plant the seeds of their future
/ Dreams are realities in waiting/
Now take that list and put the items into two columns, column A and column B. So that if you had 10 items, you would now have 5 lines with an answer under column A and B for each line. Now ask yourself which draws me more – item A or item B and circle that answer for each of the five lines. Now you should have 5 circled items left. Do the same process, only now taking the first circle item to the next circled item, and keep picking between the choices until you have only one circled item. You now have the winning thing you would do next.
Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.
– Will Rogers
So lets say just for sake of example it was learn to fly a plane. Now google local flying instructions and make appointments to interview them. Pick one and take your first lesson. It’s really that simple to let go of who you are, a dreamer with no action taken to accomplish his/her dreams, and a dreamer who makes a phone call and gets into a plane and takes their first lesson. If it turns out that you discover flying isn’t something that “rings your souls bell” then go back to your list and go through the items again to see what else might be the next dream to accomplish.
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