Tag: hope

Dare to Dream Another Dream

Dare to Dream Another Dream

Will you dare to dream another dream? 

I meet women over 50 everyday who are dreaming big. They are changing their lives, and perhaps more importantly, they are changing the

dare to dream
“The Old Astronomer”
Artist: Charlie Bowater

way they look at life. It’s exciting, and, it energizes everyone around them.  Letting go of regrets and expectations, they are grabbing onto to the moment with a different kind of enthusiasm than they had when they were young. Now, their enthusiasm is tempered with wisdom and experience.

I’ve experienced this feeling and it’s amazing. It doesn’t happen every day for any of us, but even just once in a while is enough to keep me going.

When my kids left for college I decided I needed, no wanted, to make significant changes in my life. Up until that point, I was driven by the desire to meet the needs of my children and family. I spent most of my life in hyper-put-everyone-else-first mode – you know the one that seems to have taken over the psyche of women of our generation?


Nurturing and watching over the less able is hardwired into our DNA as women. And as the expression goes, it’s a blessing and a curse. The problem for me has been that this mindset can become ones whole identity. Then, we tend to forget, or shove aside, other aspects of our personalities, abilities and interests.  Boomer women who chose the career track , some with children and some without, are telling me that they have come to realize that there’s more to life than achieving and being successful and they have gone to work realigning their lives with a fuller version of themselves.

Women over 50 are taking advantage of the opportunities allotted them via that better health and longevity and writing a new chapter in their lives. We forget that is also a new chapter in history. Women are starting second careers, traveling, giving back to the world in whatever way their essential selves are calling them to do.  Jan, at 50, started a home care business in Knoxville, TN. She saw a need and decided to fill it. Mary sold everything she owned and moved to a farm where she is living a simpler, more fulfilling life. I left our family business and began to write full-time. The sky is the limit for anyone who is willing to take a risk and follow their dreams. Will it be perfect? Nothing ever is, but it is always an adventure.

Be a part of small group of women who are nurturing their dreams. . . and each other.

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soul self
Night of the Mystic by Freydoon Rassouli, an Iranian-Born, American abstract surrealist and visionary artist and author.

When the world knocks you about and you feel as though you’re living in a foreign land, come home to your soul self.  It is always there, waiting for you.  You will recognize it as the place inside of you that is safe, familiar, and always sane. We all have this place . . . the core, essential, authentic place in our being.

Painful, difficult, mind-boggling events happen in our world every day.  We are shocked, dismayed, angry, disoriented confused, and afraid.  What happened to the world we once knew? we say to ourselves. Innocence lost. We do not know where or how to ground ourselves. This experience is trauma. An experience that our mind can not make sense of throws our psyche into disarray. This is the definition of trauma.


The events we experience in life, no matter how confusing or alarming, always offer us an opportunity. They elicit powerful questions when we dare to listen for them. The question that most often arises is “why is this happening to me”.  This is a trick question to divert our attention from the harder questions. It is one that has no answer but will waste our time and drive ourselves crazy as we struggle to answer it.

When we look beneath the why question, we come to the how and what questions, and the answers that will bring us home to our soul self.  For example, when we ask, “How am I to understand what is happening to me in a larger context?” or, “What can I learn about who I am and my place in the world from this experience?”, we are heading in the right direction.

Will I dwell in anger, or, live in fear? Or, will I look for the cosmic meaning and purpose for myself and the world? Will I give in to victimhood, or will I go inward and forward, by building trust and deeper, more honest connections? When we look for the choice point in this way, we are driven to ask more difficult and more important questions. Then, we offered a choice.

some home to your soul self

Each and every time we reach a choice point while taking time to listen to our inner guidance we have the opportunity to choose. Our choosing and acting upon our choice not only strengthens us but anchors us more profoundly in our soul self.  When we spend life skimming the surface, afraid to ask what we believe, instead only asking what we “think” we miss out on the vastness and the mystery that is awaiting us. It is only our fear that holds us hostage – our fear of emptiness, void, silence, nothingness, annihilation. Only… fear. Not reality. HOPE is always ours for the asking.

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


Why Do We Make Life So Complicated?

Why Do We Make Life So Complicated?

Believe that life is worth living


Most of us live and act as if life is a complicated nightmare, a giant puzzle that is up to us to figure out.  I must confess that I enjoy the puzzling, wondering, figuring, learning of it all in my peaceful moments. I do not, however, enjoy the confusion, pain, anxiety and fear that often precipitates it and intensifies as I struggle. The unease, discomfort, and longing to know the why of things drives me toward a deeper understanding of life. It too often drove me through life, leaving me exhausted!  I’ve come to see there is a better way.

The longer I live, the more I understand our complex view of life as an outgrowth of our overactive imaginations focused on the wrong things. We puzzle more over those things we are trying to control than accepting that many things are beyond our control. We fight our finitude. We resist our imperfect nature, as if it is our birthright to have and conquer both.

We make life complicated by our lack of acceptance of what is and our propensity to argue with the laws of nature, the laws of our nature, the laws of the universe. Change is a constant in this universe we live in. It is in our best interest to accept it and figure out what to do with that truth. Sometimes we just have to believe that life is worth living. When we are suffering this is, indeed, a challenge. If, however, we can believe there is value in our suffering, it’s just a little bit easier to bear. Rather than dwelling on the whys and wherefores of our suffering, turning our attention to hope, belief, love and all the blessings that keep us afloat amidst our difficult times offers us a reason to keep sailing toward the sun.


Meditation Prayer on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh

Meditation Prayer on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh

Meditation Prayer on Love
by Thich Nhat Hanh

May I be peaceful, happy and light in body and spirit.
May I be free from injury.  May I live in safety.
May I be free from disturbance, fear, anxiety and worry.
May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love.
May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself.
May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in myself.
May I know how to nourish the seeds of joy in myself every day.
May I be able to live fresh, solid and free.
May I be free from attachment and aversion, but not be indifferent.

The Fertile Ground of Shattered Dreams

The Fertile Ground of Shattered Dreams

Our beautiful maple tree lies in pieces on our front lawn, as the blossom laden magnolia looks on. This magnificent tree had its home in the very center of our front yard, and I watched as it grew from a tiny sapling to a large, spreading beauty that garnered the attention of strangers with cameras each fall. I loved this tree and spent many hours studying its shape and texture from my office window as I contemplated the words I was putting on a page. It was a silent friend and constant companion, but the drought of the last several years took its toll and now it is gone.

It has been difficult for me to enjoy the nearby magnolia this year as I usually do. Its tremendous white blossoms bathe all who pass by in its luscious scent.  I have not cut a single blossom for our foyer to fill our house with its aroma. My heart is heavy from my loss and my focus and energy is still required in the cleanup effort. I must put things in order, remove the debris before it kills the grass and pile the wood for fuel for winter.

Life is full of such experiences, and while the loss of a tree is a rather minor loss, it is a loss none the less an example of what is required to survive even greater losses. Our dreams are much like my beloved maple tree. They do not always last as long as we would like them to or grow as big and luscious as anticipated. Sometimes our dreams end up in a heap on the ground. Like the maple and the magnolia, while one dream lies dead and in pieces on the ground ~ gone for good ~ another different, but just as magnificent dream waits in the background.  Before we can take hold of a new dream, we must mourn our loss, grieve what has passed, and put our house in order.

There is a season and a time for fulfilling each dream and a time for laying them to rest. We do not always want to let go, especially if we thought our dream would live forever and we did not consider the day it would be gone.  Going through the steps of letting go of a dream that has died will ready the ground for the roots of the new one to take hold.

If you have lost a dream and it is lying in pieces around you, you have a choice. You can sit amongst the wreckage, refusing to let go, as the wood rots and the grass beneath it dies, or you can get to work cleaning up the debris and stacking the wood neatly in a pile to keep you warm in winter. The grieving process is a necessary part of moving on and one that we cannot avoid. Undertaking the clean up process provides the time and opportunity to heal. Focused on a practical task often helps our sorrow find its way to the surface and our tears to flow. If we give our sadness expression and not try to bury it or trap it inside to fester, we can begin to heal.

Lost dreams and shattered hopes generate the wisdom we need to meet our next challenge. When one dream dies, the lessons we have learned remain intact and they will be there to help us bring the next dream to fruition.  In all of life’s transitions, it is important to give ourselves time to mourn and time to reorder our lives, before we begin again. Too often we try to skip over the sorrow and the unpleasant work, but that only leaves our hearts heavy and our brains foggy.

If you are struggling to put your life together after a dream has been shattered, and it does not seem to be working, consider giving yourself more time to mourn, more time to heal and putting your practical life in order.  Your next dream will be there when you are ready, just as the magnolia will be there for me to enjoy next spring, and if it is not, the dogwood will be.