“Do not settle for less than exactly what you want. Your heart’s desires are there for a reason. Chase them. Pursue them relentlessly. Do not lose sight of your goals. They are your very reason for being” – Franki Durban
As a little girl I learned that other people didn’t like you if you were too smart, and knew all of the answers. I learned that if the teacher was wrong, that you couldn’t correct them, even though they were teaching something that wasn’t true. As a little girl I learned that it was safer to be invisible. I learned to settle for what I got and not to ask for something better. It wasn’t that they might say no, it was that they might take back the little I had just got. Even so, deep down inside I knew that I was worth more than I was receiving.
I also learned that those who were supposed to love you, would let you down. I learned that I couldn’t trust them to do what they promised. I learned that even though they said they loved me, I couldn’t trust them. I understood that even though I might know someone my whole life, I didn’t really know them al all. I learned that people that I thought would never hurt me, could and would crush my soul. I learned that even with the best intentions in the world, the people you care about will fall short. And I learned that this had to be ok. I learned to love them for who they were, and not what my expectations of them wanted them to be.
“Some people are settling down, some people are settling, and some people refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies” – Sarah Jessica Parker
It took me years to undo the programming of being less, and settling for less than who I am. I decided one day that I wanted to feel alive every waking moment, no longer hiding in the shadows afraid to be noticed. That I wanted to have a passionate life, full of experiences. That I wanted to shape what was left of my life into wonderful memories. That I wanted to be a part of making my own world a better place. No more just existing, but rather celebrating my life by constantly being “all in”. I wanted friends that laughed with me, not at me. I wanted good deep conversations about things that mattered. I wanted to be able to share my dreams and have them ask, “how can I help you?”
“Don’t downgrade you dream just to fit your reality. Upgrade your conviction to match your destiny” – Unknown
You are more than enough to go all out, and pursue every dream that you have. Your abilities are not something that you have to hide from, that you have to be scared of. No one should be afraid to be the magnificent person that God made them to be. As Franki said, the hearts desires are there for a reason. It is your very reason for being.
“If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary” – Jim Rohn
No one should settle for the ordinary, hum drum existence. The habit of working all day to make an employer rich. The habit of crashing on the couch and watching TV until you go to bed – only to repeat it day after day.
“You can’t run away from who you are. But what you can do is run toward who you want to be” – From Ghost, Jason Reynolds
What you will discover in life is that just being smart, attractive, or physically strong is not enough. That being talented and gifted isn’t enough. That degrees in your chosen education are not enough. They will all get you so far and no further. There must also be a spiritual strength to hold you when everything else fails. When life strips away all of your identities you need spiritual strength to survive. You need spiritual strength to develop the capacity to examine the real you that was left lying face down in the mud.
“If you do not work passionately (even furiously) at being the best in the world at what you do, you fail your talent, your destiny, and your God” – George Lois
This is when the new door opens to you. It is not just that something new is entering your life. It is that your life is becoming something new. Then it is important to remember a vital life truth – the way you meet an ending impacts your new beginnings. Release the need for life to be perfect. Demanding perfection makes these life changes irritating, like a scratchy wool sweater it just makes you uncomfortable and frustrated.
Risk the unusual and pursue a dream. Go for more. This “settling” is not what God put you on this earth for. You are not the kind of person who settles. Listen for what is calling your soul. Create intentions that connect you to that calling. Use emotional language in creating your intentions that connect your thoughts, feelings and desires to the souls calling. Create the possibility of focused change and transformation. Honor who you are by saying yes to everything that forms that connection and saying no to anything that distracts from it.
“Words reveal your beliefs and intentions. Actions reveal your character. When they are in alignment, they reveal your greatest life” – Dr. Steve Maraboli
Look at your life in this present moment – What is it that thrills you? If you can’t answer that question in one second it is time to take a deeper dive into how you are currently writing your life story. It is time to reconnect to your heart and soul. It is time to ask the deeper questions. Dig up your old dreams. Why did you abandon them? Do they still stir your imagination?
Trust the timing of what shows up in your life. There always comes a time, when you realize that you have been sleeping through your life. You discover that you have been drifting with wherever the current takes you. It’s time to take the wheel back, and get back on purpose. You have just been given a wake up call. Trust that it is happening for a reason. Don’t push the snooze button and miss the call because you overslept.
“There is more in us than we know. If we can be made to see it, perhaps, for the rest of our lives, we will be unwilling to settle for less” – Kurt Hahn
No more settling. Pursue a passionate life. That is our true destiny. It’s not easy, but it is worth it.
One of my favorite stories comes from Love, Medicine and Miracles by Dr. Bernie Seigal. A young man wanted to become a violinist. His parents said no, become a lawyer. He went to law school and started practicing law. He then developed what was diagnosed as terminal cancer. Thinking he was going to die, he got a job playing violin for an orchestra. Years later, he was still alive because he realized he was on the wrong path. He had to live his life, not the life of his parents.
Knowing when to walk away is wisdom, being able to do so is courage.
Isn’t it amazing that cancer is what gave him courage enough to walk away? He demonstrated how true the maxim is that every cloud has a silver lining. Can you think of examples when you went through a dark time only to find at the end that it gave you what you had always dreamed and wanted?
Your body knows when you are not living your authentic life, and you will receive a wake-up call.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is perspective, not the truth” – Marcus Aurelius
This is where the ability to both look around you, and within yourself becomes important. It doesn’t mean that you are on the wrong path just because something goes wrong. It just means that you need to grow more, to be able to continue the journey.
In every journey something in your life will become complete. It will have played out its purpose. That road map will no longer lead you in the right direction. You need to wake up to follow a new direction and not just blindly continue down a road that no longer leads you in the right direction.
Every year roads change. New maps are made. If your car has a GPS unit it will need to become updated. The road that used to go through that small town, now bypasses it. Internally your GPS has updated itself and you need to follow a new path.
U-Turns don’t take you all the way back. They just take you back far enough that you can take the turn you missed. Life’s road twists and turns. There are no two directions that are ever the same. So, when you complete a U-turn, it is just like taking a right-hand turn.
You can’t truly go backwards, although it seems like it some days. Trying to, is very disappointing, as you can’t recreate what we left behind. You changed and so did everyone else.
Don’t allow yourself to become the boulder blocking the path. This is what happens when you try to go backwards.
If you do, that is when you know that it is time to listen to the heart. Your heart and soul are like the magnetic needle on the compass. Always go to “true north” and you will be on the right path.
I have always maintained that U-turns are part of every journey to some place that I don’t know. I expect them, I laugh when they happen. U-Turns can be really interesting.
What I have learned in my life is that every single experience has something important in it that I needed to learn. I may only understand later, why that piece of knowledge was required.
I have been in the mortgage industry for over 40 years. So I have lived through good and bad cycles in the financial industry. Years ago I had a good job, but the owner of another company kept calling me to come and work for him. Finally after months of getting his phone calls, I gave notice and went to work for him. This job would end up being a U-turn for me.
He had hired a free lance writer to create a manual for the mortgage brokers he worked with, and she seemed unable to finish the project, so as part of my job I took that project to completion.
Then two weeks later I was laid off, when the interest rates hiked up and his business slowed down. I really yelled at myself, because I felt I had made a wrong decision in taking that job. I felt I should have stayed where I was, safe in my comfort zone.
We ended up having to move out of state in order for me to find work. But what happened next, was really interesting.
The Savings and Loan I went to work for needed manuals written for their servicing department, and because I had that experience I got the job of being both an underwriter and a trainer. I created several training programs for them, as well as the servicing manual.
Then I got a second part time job teaching at South Seattle Community College for an adult education class for loan processors and loan officers. I ended up creating new manuals for this position too, because their manuals were so bad. Both of these jobs would not have been available to me, if I hadn’t taken that earlier job and got the experience of creating a manual.
“Move on. It’s just a chapter in your life. Don’t close the book, just turn the page for a new chapter” – Unknown
So you will fall down. You may even get lost. U-Turns are a given. But as long as you take out that compass, listen to your heart, and keep creating the courage in your soul, you will be on the right path. As long as you tune into true north, you can take that step into the unknown, knowing that this is the right path.
Be an original Wild Woman – Shake off whatever is holding you back.
This reminded me of Taylor Swift’s song “Shake it Off” with the lyrics:
‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off
Heart-breakers gonna break, break, break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, fake, fake
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off”
There are times in our lives where we hear unkind words that have been said about us; where we get those looks of judgment from others as we walk by. When that someone we thought would be our “happy ever after” leaves us. When we have to leave what we love, and move on because what we love is not healthy for us. We lose a job or a best friend. So many things that we have to shake loose and shake off.
All of these situations require us to love ourselves enough, that we remain our own center. That we focus our energy not on looking backwards and fighting to keep the same old way of life, but on building a new life. That we shake off the hurt, the dissapointment, the feeling of abandonment or betrayal. That we forgive ourselves for where we failed and forgive others for not living up to our expectations. Be proud of who you are now.
Decide that your life is yours alone, and celebrate it. Shake off the apologies, the excuses, the blame. Realize that in order to shine, sparkle and glitter, sometimes you need to be cut out of parts that don’t belong, and shine the parts that do.
“Alice: How long is forever?
White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second” Lewis Carroll
Life seems like that sometimes. I remember years ago that we were driving north on I-5 in Oregon and we had just crested the top of a hill around Roseberg. You could see quite a ways in front of you as the road sloped down into a valley. Ahead of us was a semi tractor trailer and he ran over something like shiny metal in the road. Immediately his tires blew and he started swerving and then the whole rig tipped onto it’s side. For a moment it was like slow motion, I could see so many small details as the whole scene played out like a movie. Then whoosh, time sped back up and my husband was pulling off the road and running back to make sure the driver was ok. He was just shocked by what had happened. But for me, it was the weirdest experience of time I have ever had. It was like the rabbit said, forever came in just one second.
Alice’s courage with the unknown in Wonderland, came from a great deal of curiosity. She fell into an unknown world of adventure, and nothing was as it should be. Sometimes in our life, we feel like that. The world around us seems out of control. We might think like Alice “I knew who I was this morning, but I’ve changed a few times since then”.
In order to embrace change, we need a great deal of courage. Change in our lives today is speeding up, faster and faster. This speed of change is impacting every facet of our lives. It changes the education system, the business world, and our personal lives. I saw a cute video the other day where the family was in a hotel room and the dad handed the telephone receiver to his young daughter to hang it up and she didn’t know what to do. All she had experience with was a cell phone.
Technology changes our world moment by moment. Political upheaval can change borders in a moment. Our belief systems can swing from one absolute truth, to a new absolute truth. It takes a lot of courage to stay in that place of curiosity and not become mired into taking rigid stands against someone whose belief is different from us. It takes a lot of courage to change beliefs that we have had for a long time, and have to finally acknowledge that we have outgrown them.
It takes a lot of courage to have a love affair with the unknown – it means that we are constantly learning something new and each new thing means we let go of an old belief. You may think like Alice “this is impossible” but as the Mad Hatter replied, “Only if you think it is.” My favorite line is “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Enjoy the journey, do the impossible, and be a just a tiny bit Mad like the Mad Hatter.
I love this quote with this photo. When you are climbing, you have to have singular focus on what you are doing. Where is the next hand grip? The next place to wedge in your foot? Constantly looking up the wall of rock to find the easiest way up.
It is very easy to find reasons why we can’t do something. Can’t however is usually masking “I don’t want to”, “It’s too hard”, “too much effort”, “it won’t work”. These are all rungs up a ladder that goes nowhere.
At work I hear things, like I am stuck at this job because no one is hiring people over 50 yrs old. Or no one is hiring anyone without a college degree, or you need more experience than I have. No one in the past five years has been promoted or received a raise, so you have to go outside the company to get ahead. Whatever the complaint, the “reason” will be something that they can’t control or change.
All of these reasons why something won’t work will stand in our way as long as we have a belief in them. I love the work of Byron Katie because her four questions show us the fallacy of believing these “reasons”.
1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.)
3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?
Then she does what she calls the turnaround question – the turn around question puts the thought to the opposite end of the statement. The purpose of this is to welcome all your thoughts and experiences with open arms, so that you lose the resistance to what is actually true.
The 2nd question is my favorite, because in reality we can never know that our “reason” is absolutely true. This is because no matter what the rule is, there is always an exception to the rule. Most of the things that we believe about ourselves and others are just stories our minds have made up. None of them can pass question #2.
The follow up with question #4 – who would you be without that thought? You would be the person who uses focus to accomplish the dreams and/or goals that are set before them. In this photo, you would be the woman who climbs up the wall to the top successfully.
In our other examples, you would be the person who finds their dream job, because they focused on what they wanted instead of what they didn’t want. You would be happy for having accomplished what you set out to do, and didn’t allow negative thoughts to cloud your judgment or stop you in your tracks.
Pooh Bear once said “when you see someone putting on his big boots, you can be pretty sure an adventure is about to happen”. Adventures are sure to happen when we look at our life and realize that some changes need to be made.
We all have these dreams and aspirations that get buried under “to do” lists. We check off daily house cleaning chores, grocery shopping, taking kids to sport or music programs, taking care of elderly parents and the list of duties and obligations go on and on.
What sometimes happens is that we start perpetuating and growing the list of responsibilities because we start hiding behind the reasons and excuses of not having enough time to work on dusting off the dream and working to bring it into reality.
For years I told myself that I didn’t have the time to write. I had a fulltime job that entailed lots of overtime, four kids to raise and a husband to take care of. Where in all of that was time to find a quiet space to write? So I told myself, when the kids grow up, then I would write. Well the kids grew up and still there was a large list of reasons why I didn’t have the time.
What was really happening is that I was terrified that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say. That you would read what I wrote and laugh your head off, or even worse stop reading after the first paragraph and I would just hear the sound of silence or boredom.
I think that Facebook was the thing that started me dipping my toes in the water. I would find a quote I liked and do a paragraph or two about the quote on my personal page, and it stayed small because Facebook limited me to the number of words. I would spend more time cutting out words than it took me to write it. Anyway friends and family liked the post (which I thought meant they were just being nice) and then something interesting happened. They started complaining when I wasn’t posting anything.
Then Facebook took away the word limit and they grew a little larger. Then I started this LemonadeMaker page. I started creating my quotes on a photo and expanding the writing a little more. And before I realized what was happening you showed up and not only liked my post, you commented on it and liked the page. I started believing in myself, because you gave me the confidence to believe in myself.
That is what I believe is true of all of us. We are all BRAVER than we believe we are. I put my thoughts out and what I found is I can have a conversation about them and you may or may not agree with me, and that is ok. I discovered that I could survive differences of opinion. We are all STRONGER than we think we are. We are all SMARTER than we think we are.
I have a different way of looking at the world. I love to find multiple meanings in words. I think that words are like colors and have these shades of color waiting to be explored. It gives each word depth and height and width. As people we have these hidden sides to us. When you look at the stories of those who go through fiery experiences in their lives you see what they learn about themselves and others. It gives new meaning to what humanity is all about.
I am so glad that I take the chance each day to express my thoughts, as those thoughts are creating a community of souls that I believe are filled with simply amazing people – and yes that means you! You encourage me each day to express my thoughts and I hope in turn that I can encourage just one person each day that life is not only worth living – but that we are all brave enough and strong enough to climb to the tops of mountains, and explore the depths of valleys and swim in the oceans.
What does the term, “the sky’s the limit” mean to you? For me, it is where the comfort zone meets “what else is possible?”
What is stopping you is the unwillingness to live beyond this reality.
It is an extension of “what is possible”, that is beyond what “normal” is for me. It is where all of the magic is, approaching life from that attitude. All our of limitations are self installed. We choose them either by accepting them from someone else, or our own inner critic forming them after a failure. The sky is not the limitation, we are. We see these limitations in our professional life, our personal life and our spiritual life. Some of these limitations come from our culture, through the “roles” we play with our friends and family.
Being on a spiritual path does not prevent you from facing times of darkness. But it teaches you how to use the darkness as a tool to grow.
When we go on a hero’s journey, the walls that we have built around us, to limit us, get torn down. When you take any really great story, you find within it what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. My two favorite stories are “Star Wars” (the first three with Luke) and “Lord of The Rings”.
The main character (Luke or Frodo) is going through a “normal” or boring life. Nothing much is happening. Then there is a call to adventure (Luke has R2D2 show up and Frodo has Gandalf), something new is introduced into the characters life. This alters the hero’s destiny. At first the hero refuses the call to adventure – this isn’t for me. I can’t get involved. This can sometimes be because the hero knows that the role that you play within your family, or tribe will be forever changed once you cross the threshold.
Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.
– Jerry Bridges
Then the hero encounters the mentor – someone who gives advice and gets him ready. It could be someone supernatural, mystical or angelic. The hero crosses the threshold – leaves home and enters into the adventure. There are tests, allies and enemies are encountered in the journey which teach the hero a lot about him or herself. Plan A and possibly Plans B and C fail, as the hero experiences setbacks and has to rethink how to proceed.
Because you are alive, everything is possible.
– Nhat Hanh
The hero has faith which leads them to access higher levels of knowledge and abilities to meet the tests with. The hero sees their limitations and ultimately has to defy and defeat them in order to pull through. The setbacks all lead to the ultimate crisis of life or death, where the hero struggles to complete their destiny (Luke battling the evil emperor and Frodo himself and the ring). Now the hero gets the reward – they have won out over the enemies. Many times the loses are mourned even as the victory is celebrated. The hero begins the journey back home, forever changed by the journey. The old limitations of what the hero thought they were capable of have changed. They have been forever transformed.
The reason people awaken, is because they have finally stopped agreeing to things that insult their soul.
I believe that we all take numerous hero’s journeys. We take them in our personal lives, our professional lives and our spiritual lives. We take small journeys and we take “dark night of the soul” journeys. Each time we need to transform our lives, we take a hero’s journey. We reinvent ourselves, we improvise, adapt and overcome our self made limitations. We get creative, we become flexible and adjust as we experience paradigm shifts.
There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.
– Bruce Lee
So don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon. Use your imagination and creativity, to discover that the possibilities of your world are limitless.
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“Love is the bridge between you and everything that you desire.” Rumi. We all came into this world to learn, to experience what life is about, and leave a legacy.
Tonight I saw the new Tom Hanks movie, Bridge of Spies. I found it very interesting how he was able to stick to what he knew to be right, even when it endangered his life and that of his family. He didn’t take anyone’s word for “you did what you could, cut your losses and accept what is left”.
Because he was a man of high integrity and morals, he was able to do what no one else could do. While he couldn’t prevent the guilty verdict for his client (he was guilty), he was able to maneuver the judge into a prison sentence instead of the death penalty. Then when his prediction came true about needing him for a future hostage negotiation, he was able to negotiate the return of an American pilot. And when destiny threw in a twist, he negotiated a second hostage return – a two for one, thereby freeing the innocent college student who got caught behind the Berlin Wall.
Because he was so driven to make the negotiations work, and stuck with it to force what he felt was the right thing to do, he ended up becoming a hostage negotiator with President Kennedy. He was able to free over 1,900 hostages from Cuba, during the Cuban missile crisis and Bay of Pigs.
We are all here for a purpose, some small purposes and others world changing. HIs, was a world changing purpose, as he was able to impact hundreds of lives. Our purpose may or may not impact so many lives, but I believe that each one of us has that possibility. The possibility to ask the divine why we are here. To listen to the whispers of our heart, and the calling of our soul. To hear in our dreams the secrets that tell us why we are here.
That is what the light in our heart is. It is the seed that is waiting for us to plant it. To water and nurture it as it grows into our reason for being here. To dig down into the roots of what we are growing and see the unfolding truth of our own myth,
Each morning is an opportunity to become that which you have been looking for. Stop looking and start becoming. Allow your legacy to shine out, no matter the cost. Shine the light of your heart, on the pathway of love. That is the true bridge to help both ourselves and those around us find our way home.
For years I have had this recurring nightmare that I was a fraud, and not as smart as I think I am. That everyone will see it and point fingers at me and say “you are not that smart”. I was living my life inside of my perceived limitations.
I didn’t go to college and I left school my senior year to get married. I took a few community college courses and loved it, just never had the time and money to get a college degree.
Despite the lack of formal education I have risen to a Senior Vice President position with one of the worlds largest banks. You would think that as hard as I have worked to achieve this, I would not have this fear of being found a fraud. Yet, I have looked at what I can do, and think to myself, “If I can do this, it can’t be that hard” and so I discount and belittle the talents I do have. If I do it first, then it won’t hurt so much if you also do it.
Have you ever said any of these things to yourself? Expressed the fear of being “found out” about who you really are? In what ways could you be limiting yourself?
“I don’t deserve this”
“I’m only here because I was lucky”
“Someone must have made a mistake”
“I feel like a fraud”
“It’s only a matter of time before I’m found out”
“I’m not up to this”
I was watching a new show called “Code Black” and it reminded me of these fears that we all have – of being a fraud for something in our lives. These self doubts that we have, if not addressed can ruin our lives as they will act as an agent of sabotage. What if instead of using this fear as a reason to hold back and second guess ourselves, we instead used it as a measuring stick for our own personal growth?
What if the fear of being a fraud was instead a positive sign, about the goals we have set for ourselves in our personal, work, and spiritual growth. The positive question being, “in what areas do I not feel like a fraud, and how can I stretch myself and reach farther to create that feeling?” The measuring stick being if I don’t feel like a fraud, then I am giving myself limitations in this area.
One of the characters on the TV show “Code Black” who is an intern in the ER didn’t trust his intuition about a probable diagnosis for an emergency room patient. So he went with what the other intern wanted to do with tests, and they almost lost the patient. In talking it over later with one the main doctors running the ER, he was told that the intuitive feeling he was getting was critical to being a good doctor and he had to learn to trust it. Later in the same show he confessed to another intern, that he wasn’t confident in his knowledge and felt like a fraud. The other intern told him, “we all are afraid of being found out that we are frauds”.
When I realized that everyone has the same fear of “not being enough of something” and that we all think that we are frauds from trying to be the perfect person, it released something inside of me. It was like when you twist the swing on the swing set around and around until it won’t twist anymore and then let it spin you around and around. I unwound all the twists I had made inside of me. I realized that I don’t have to be perfect to share something that will help someone else.
It released the frustration of having everything be perfect. I stopped being so exhausted and drained from trying to hide the imperfections I have. I started instead to let people see who I really am. I am perfectly imperfect. I have scars of victory and I can be proud of them. You can be better than I am, and I can celebrate your perfect imperfections too. Your beauty does not diminish mine. I can be free to to know that “I have no limits”.