Tag: guidance

When Plans Change – And, they always do!

When Plans Change – And, they always do!

I have been on the road for over a week experiencing vistas far beyond my imaginings. Sure, I’ve seen pictures of such sights, but the reality is grander, more heart and soul-stirring than a picture can ever convey. (I’ve snapped a few thousand myself!) What I’ve seen and experienced has put me on sensory overload, and today I’ve shut it all down in order to rest and re-group.

Windmill farms have erupted all across Kansas since I traveled that way 10 years ago. Landscape has been completely changed.

Our initial plan was to end our journey at the Grand Canyon before turning around and heading home. We are currently in Durango, CO. Yesterday, we visited Mesa Verde and last night we hit a wall. We’ve driven 2,500 miles and have that much more to drive. So, our plans are changing.

I’d love to go the distance, but we aren’t as young as we used to be. I also long to immerse myself more slowly in my surroundings…to really experience what I am experiencing. I’ve barely acclimated to the altitude and climate change, let alone taken in all there is to take in.

If I were twenty, or thirty, or even forty I’d turn around without hesitation. But, I’m 64 and life and finances being what they are, envisioning another trip seems harder to do. Even as time seems to go more quickly, doing things seems to take longer. The combination makes long-term planning harder to do!

Garden of the Gods
Garden of the Gods Colorado Springs, CO

Today, I am feeling sorrow for what won’t be this time around; frustration for needing to wait; awareness that I have limitations; deep gratitude for what I have already been able to see and an awareness that I have finally learned to accept when enough is enough.

I’m promising myself a trip to the Grand Canyon by air — and plan to put the hard work into this promise to make it happen. Still, there is the recognition that life is just like this. It’s not perfection. We will never get to do, or see, or be all we want to do, or be, or see, and we must never stop trying and dreaming. Allowing ourselves to hope and be propelled toward something of value has its value. It keeps us living and immersed in life.

1-IMG_2508Sometimes we have to wait. Sometimes we have to rest. Sometimes we have to heal. Sometimes we are in an in-between time when we are uncertain of what is next.  We may not know the reason or purpose for the waiting, or even know what it fully means to move forward.  That’s just the way reality is constructed. Choosing to accept what is…leaning into the waiting instead of fighting it or wishing things were different, frees our energy for the present.  I’ve waited 64 years to make this trip. We’ve talked about traveling across the country to see the Grand Canyon since before our children were born. We may hate that we are being sidelined, but everything is exactly as it should be today. We really don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

Buddhist TraditionLife interrupts our plans all the time, by accidents, illnesses, and circumstances beyond our control.  When we are sidelined, for whatever reason, our job is to tune into the guidance, the lessons, the messages that are being given to us in this moment. When we tune into what our body, mind and spirit we will begin to see where our attention is needed.  The down times, the sidelined times, while frustrating and often painful, are more often than not the times when we learn the most. Most importantly, the outcome is often not the disaster we envision. Even when things look the bleakest to us, vast opportunity exists for an outcome we can’t even imagine, one that may be far superior to what our mind chatter likes to tell us.

As with all things, life is a question of balance, and sometimes we need a kick in the butt to get things back in balance.

I was reminded today of this beautiful prayer by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ.

Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ
excerpted from Hearts on Fire

– See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/8078/prayer-of-theilhard-de-chardin#sthash.Q3INg6lS.dpuf


Just One Decision – That’s All It Takes

Just One Decision – That’s All It Takes

Sunflowre by Annelein Beukenkamp
Floral/Still Life – Sunflower by Annelein Beukenkamp Watercolors

Most of us remember our parents warning us as teens and young adults to think twice before doing a thing we were thinking about doing. Those of us with children did the same. We caution(ed) them as we were cautioned, suggesting they look before they leap. There’s even a cliché for this advice. Experience taught our parents, as it taught us, that life can go awry in a big way. Thinking and evaluating before we act is a good thing.

Too often, however, this sensible advice came with other subtle messages attached to it. The warning may have been delivered from a place of fear. The real message may have been, “I screwed up so many times in my life and suffered the consequences, I love you too much to watch you do the same thing.” We hear the fear and attach it to our own.

Making decisions, particularly decisions that stretch and grow us, is an intimidating proposition for most. Either we haven’t a clue about what we’re getting in to, or we’ve fallen so many times we’re terrified to try again. This is why we absolutely need and benefit from support and guidance.

Guidance is something many who struggle as adults never received as children.  Guidance helps us see the possibilities, good and bad, it shares experiences and stories as story lessons, it helps us process our fears in a constructive manner.  When guidance is missing, warnings illicit fear and rebellion, the antithesis of moving creativity forward to a positive conclusion.

The creative spirit, the life force, in each of us longs to be set free. It longs for an avenue of expression, for experiences that feed it, for success, accomplishment, and growth. In essence it’s very nature is expansion. When our spirit and desire to live, love and create is thwarted by fear, it draws inward. We become depressed, frustrated, angry, or confused and life doesn’t go well. Our relationships flounder, our work life is not to our liking, our world looks dingy and fulfilling. We may even despair, or give up trying.

Picture quote Anais Nin


If you find yourself in this place, if you are stuck and not living a life you love, one decision can change everything. It did for me.

I had little guidance as a young person, at least guidance that was useful and that resonated with who I am.  As a result, I made one less than stellar decision after another. To compound matters when I faced with recovering from my poor decisions, I had no support.  We all make mistakes. It’s how we learn and grow.

Guidance and support is a valuable commodity when it comes to learning from our mistakes.

As time went on I grew more and more fearful of taking risks. The only way I could figure out how to decrease the pain in my life was to live a smaller and smaller life and do what I thought I was “supposed” to do – what family, society, friends thought I should do. I shoved down my creative spirit and locked it away. At times it would sneak out and lead me to a decision – some were good, some not so good – but I’d lock myself down more often than not.

That is, until my early fifties when the time came to either live or die.

It was a horrendous battle, that began with my willingness to find the courage it took to make one small decision, a decision made for me and from me, not for my children, my husband, our business, my family or for any other external reason.

I made the decision to sign up for and take an online writing class. I was fifty-one. I don’t want to bore you with the details here, but that one decision changed my life. Was it an easy process? Not on your life. It took another ten years before I could say I am happy and at peace with who I am and my life and I will always be a work in progress.

Do yourself a favor. If you’re feeling stuck, unhappy, confused, lost, or overwhelmed, make just one decision from the center of you, one that will take you in the direction you long to go. If you don’t know what that decision is, or need or want support and guidance,  reach out to me or someone you know can provide it. You’re worth it. The world needs you. It needs the best of you.