How might you express the plot structure so far of your Life Story? Could you give it a title? What would that be? Based on where you have been, who you are now, and the direction your Life Story appears to be taking, give a title to your overall Life Story based on your present point of view.
It may help to use a Life Metaphor as a title. For example, one of my favorite life metaphors is Life is a Carousel Ride (hence the blog banner). So I could call my life story A Merry Ride. I like that!
Is your Life Story more like a Roller Coaster, a Grand Quest, or maybe an Open Path? Using a life metaphor or some other descriptive phrase, give a title to your Life Story to date.
Now then, what about adding a Better Ending? Make it epic! When you look ahead at the story board of your Life Story, what would you like to write in to express how you will follow your bliss, attain fulfillment of your life mission or purpose, and Live Your Dream? Remember, you are the author, editor and the key protagonist of your own epic tale!
Give a title then to a later (though not necessarily the final) Life Chapter for your personal life journey quest. As an example, mine might be: “Making a Difference.” (This is because for much of my life I have been asking of my own accomplishments, “What difference does it make?”)
Reviewing or telling your story AS a Life Story narrative can help you to recognize where you are at now in relation to where you are intending to arrive as you unravel the many colored threads of your amazing life experience. As Martha Graham is famous for having reminded us all (I used to have this pinned on my office bulletin board):
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”
So, Make it Epic!It is YOUR life to live, your story to tell!
A few posts back I called our species Homo Narrativus as we are inherently Storytellers. Most important as the center and ground that we build our worlds upon is our own Life Story. Embedded within the backdrop of the narrative intertwining of our cultural history and personal family heritage, the story we tell to ourselves and to others about our own epic (or cyclic, or meandering) journey through life is central to understanding the lessons and gifts of a lifetime of human experience.
As we each are unwinding our own Life Story, day by day, episode by episode, narrative thread by thread and character trait by relational dance, we build Life Chapters as we wend our way forth to pursue the meaningful goals and mission of our unique stories.
In my 2018 book Your Life Path (see side panel), I include a full self-discovery process for revealing the narrative structure of your own Life Story with its meaningful Life Chapter segments. [This full process is also available if you download-free-My Life Path Portfolio Toolkit, available by clicking on it also from the right panel.]
Would you like to have a look at your own Life Chapters as you have been writing/living your own Life Story? Here is the Life Path mapping process in a nutshell:
Make a list of some of the SHAPING EVENTS of your life. These are those significant life experiences that have shaped you as the person you are today. Include the age or date of the significant event or experience and write a brief description of the event or experience. A Shaping Event could be a single event and/or a significant period of time; if the latter, indicate the relative starting and ending dates or your ages through the situation.
Examples: Age 4: I fell from a child seat and knocked out my four front teeth.
7-12: childhood in PA: woods, horses, friendship with K
12: first sense of being a misfit (KJ)
13: We moved from PA to NY state (before 8th grade)
2. Review your list of Shaping Events from (1) above. Now identify (circle or bold highlight) just those significant experiences that have been your most CRITICAL Life Events: those before and after which you might feel as if you were a different person. (E.G. Ages 7 and 13 from my life experiences sampled above.)
3. Next, place your SHAPING EVENTS along a timeline based on either ages or years, starting with your Birth as the zero point.
1954(Birth) ——-4——-7-8-9-10-11-12—13 …………………Next, review in your mind the periods BETWEEN the most CRITICAL life events on your life map chart. Provide a TITLE that describes for you the meaningful content of that set of years from your life. For example, for me, the years between ages 7 and 13 I might title Growing Pains.
4. Write about each of the Life Chapters you have identified between the Critical Events of your Life Story to date. (E.g.: Growing Pains pretty well describes that period in my life as a child in Pennsylvania, as I developed colitis, literally ‘growing pains’, and had to come to terms with my beginning to feel like an outsider, which I consciously tried to change as I moved into my next Life Chapter in high school in New York state.)
Your final Life Chapter/ Life Path Chart, up to your current date or age, might look something like the following example (my chapters to age 36), though of course with your very own meaningful Life Chapter titles:
The periods of significant Shaping Events between the Critical Life Events that have punctuated your Life Story can be thought of as your Life Chapters. This approach allows you to discover and reflect upon your own meaningful time frames, rather than assuming they are given by some external model (like decades or stages identified by standardized psychosocial development models).
After you have identified a set of Life Chapters that have comprised your Life Story to date, notice the PLOTLINE of your Life Story. Often a Life Path map reveals times of innocence, hardship, lessons, and growth. What has your Story been about, so far? Or have you had several different story threads depending on which events or relationships you focus on?
Do not worry about identifying “all” of your significant life events on this one timeline. This map that you have charted today is from your current point of view and identifies meaningful TYPES of events. I have interviewed a seventy-five year-old who charted eleven events, and a 21 year-old who charted 122! As this is YOUR Life Story, there are no rules or expectations about what you may discover about the meaningful progression of your own Life Chapters to date.
Where have you Been? Who are you Now? Where are you Heading? How might you forecast your future Life Chapters in keeping with your highest sense of purpose and goals? What is your Life Dream?
images are from pixabay.com
Have fun with this and take your time with it in your Better Endings Journal (or otherwise). You can share this with your loved ones and help them reconstruct their own Life Chapters, too. Feel free to send me any Comments about your experience with this process of Self-discovery.
I will leave this post up for longer than usual, to give more people the opportunity and time to play in this Sandbox!
Week Four of each month this year I am inviting you to write your own Better Endings story or scenario relating to going forward in your life based on insights you have gained from contemplating a monthly question pertaining to your personal life Quest.
For me through February I have been contemplating the personally meaningful question of ‘What Then?’ I have arrived at some valuable insights from dreams and ‘waking dreams’ about this question. One amazing dream showed a woman (a spiritual Guide and/or my realtor) ceremoniously carrying a large spruce branch as she approaches the new home I am in process of moving into as my new writing and retirement home. This was a wonderful image as I associate a spruce branch with cleansing and with new growth, so this dream vision portends great new potentials for a fresh, creatively productive life in my new home and location.
Just this past Tuesday I received another very relevant waking dream: a photographic slide made into a pin that was among a set of these the Art History department where I am teaching left out for people to take as a gift. The ‘art pin’ slide image I selected is a sculpture called “Horse and Rider” (by Maria Marini, 1945-1950). The abstractionist metal sculpture depicts—to me, though at closer inspection online the rider is nude (see below)– a Medieval knight wearing a helmet astride a horse whose head juts forward while the rider has his arms fully extended outward to both sides.
I have always found the symbol of horse-and-rider significant personally. The Nordic runes I have sometimes consulted have a Horse and Rider “partnership” rune called Ehwaz.
images are from pixabay.com
This rune draws attention to a partnership or friendship relationship of any sort (with another person, animal companions, or a creative project). Here is an interpretation:
Most simply put, Ehwaz symbolizes ‘forward energy and movement’. Ehwaz may represent general travel and steady progress– or it may literally represent a car, plane or another method of transportation. Ehwaz also symbolizes communication over long distances, and can refer to an important message that one will give or receive. Harmonious concord and pulling together as a team is also referenced here. When Ehwaz appears in a spread, it empowers the runes around it and augments their meanings simply by virtue of its directional energy and forward movement. Teamwork, forward-motion, communication, and consistent drive will win the day when this rune turns up.
So, let me try my hand at a Better Endings story based on this image of Ehwaz along with other insights arrived at this month from asking ‘What Then?’:
‘What Then? sang Plato’s ghost;
What Then? W.B. Yeats
My partial retirement and relocation to the Godsend of my new home are about riding forward, not settling back into any less active or less creatively or spiritually productive way of life. This gift I have gratefully accepted of retiring a bit earlier than most while still continuing to teach online from a remote location allows me to step up, not down; to continue to develop book sales and offer life mapping services related to my new book, Your Life Path (see side panel to order!) while writing forward to complete the next 2-3 books in my Life Paths series.
Horse-and-Rider is an image meant not only for myself alone; it betokens what the Life Path Mapping Process provided within my book can offer to anyone: a creative, practical toolkit for integrating and aligning the Self with Life Itself; i.e. with Spirit or the Universal Life Force. Life Path Mapping can help anyone to reflect upon and envision or even re-model their life course according to their highest, deepest sense of purpose, their Life Dream.
I ride forth from Here, arms outstretched and open to new potentials, to fulfill the life purpose that has brought me to this space. I ride my Spirit Horse with trust and loving gratitude, whatever the future might bring.
The horse-and-rider partnership also reminds me of one of my favorite Irish film stories, Into the West. A set of brothers have lost their mother and have been separated by their despondent father from their spiritual heartland and heritage as Travelers. A white horse depicting the mythic Tir na nOg arrives and transports them, propels them, back to the Western seas where they will metaphorically reunite with their Mother, with their very Soul.
Funny that my current relocation process propels me Westward from where I have temporarily paused en route to re-engaging my deeper Purpose. I accept! Thank You, my Spirit Horse, my family, friends and pet companions all, and my spiritual Guides. May the Blessings Be!
So what about you? I encourage you to journal or to write a Better Endings story about your recent insights regarding a deeply meaningful question you have been pondering. Writing can help you to exteriorize your process and keeps open the channels of communication between your Mind, Heart, and Spirit!
When you embark upon the major adventure of Relocation in order to Follow Your Heart and Live Your Dream, Now!, as I have just recently undertaken, mainly it is or can be a very positive experience, laced with all sorts of new potentials. Yet you can expect to encounter resistances as well, especially within your own psyche.
Having moved from Colorado to New York state just three weeks ago, I have been on my own now with just my pets for a couple of weeks. A few days ago I heard a small voice within me welling up, crying out:
“What have I/we done?”
Then last night this trepidation came on more strongly: What am I doing here? How can I be so far away from all of my close Colorado and New Mexico friends and colleagues? Will I ever truly be able to ‘make a difference’ here in terms of my work and sense of purpose?
Let’s call this the Relocation Blues.
Just keeping busy is not the solution to the Relocation Blues. It is important to check in deeply with your various archetypal parts of Self, to LISTEN to all those facets of your psyche that are concerned about the changes and the opportunities that have come about with the Big Move.
I find active contemplation (or, active imagination in Jung’s terminology) most helpful. Close your eyes for a few minutes to a half an hour or so and ASK for inner understanding, SEEK internal guidance. Ask what CAN you do to move forward most effectively, how CAN you fulfill the ambitions that led to your Move?
A CAN DO attitude (see the last post, “Say Yes!”) is important for overcoming fears or trepidations that come with radical change. ASK:
What CAN I do, today/ Now, to move my objectives forward?
How CAN I realize happiness with new conditions?
Then, of course, ACT on the resolutions you arrive at. Take the next Step, one day at a time. Be patient with yourself, take the time you need to adjust flexibly to your new surroundings. But ACT on your insights to gradually realize your potentials.
For myself, I realize this is a crucial transition point in my Life Story, and what I do with the opportunities before me here will determine the outcomes. I cannot go back, must find a way to go forward to honor the past by fulfilling the purposes that led me to make this Big Move.
So I have relocated, to a Dream Life sort of scenario in Ithaca, NY. And it really is spectacular, a lovely community nestled in an idyllic environment of lakes and forests, birds and abundant cultural opportunities. And as Relocation always offers new possibilities to create the life of your Dream, I am practicing a basic principle of Relocation as I begin this new adventure:
Of course you will sometimes want to practice right discrimination to also say No (to repeating pathways to bad habits from the past, e.g.), but all in all I am saying YES to opportunities as they arise. The Universe/ Spirit, I find, is meeting me at the precipice of this new adventure, presenting opportunities. I have met a small community of Eckists (my spiritual group) at a class last week, which led to lunch with two of these new friends yesterday and my agreement to transport a new friend to a weekly meetup group, and to travelling with new friends to a spiritual service in Syracuse tomorrow. I responded to discovery that a local college (one of my favorites: Ithaca College!) might have adjunct teaching positions available, so I applied a couple of months ago and–long story short–I will be teaching there as well as in Colorado via online teaching, come this Fall semester! Another online lead has led to the chance to meet a potential new friend who has welcomed me to the area. And people here are NICE, so far everywhere.
Say YES is I believe an important principle when working in tandem with Spirit/ the Universe (however you wish to construe this), always. It can lead you forward so long as you trust (and exercise) your ‘instinct’ and WELCOME new directions, new connections, a new life.
Of course old friends will always be on my mind as I move forward here. It does seem impossible that my friends and colleagues of the past 25 years are now as remote from here as my family was while I was living in Colorado. I aim to continue to nurture these connections. But I am ready and willing to step forth with this new Life Chapter, too. As much or more lies ahead as in the rear view mirror.
images are from pixabay.com
Life is ephemeral, as a remembered W.B. Yeats poem (click here) states. Friends, family and this life as a whole is on loan to us from Divine Love/ the Universe. It is what we do with our associations that matters. Separation is only a temporary illusion, one might also say. New friends may be Souls we meet again.
Central notion of the traditional interpretation of the I Ching. Meaning: to finish the old (and take final leave of it) and to address the new.
Crossing the Great Waters is a mode of Crossing the Threshold referred to frequently in the Taoist I Ching, or the Book of Changes. Crossing the Great Waters is about a major departure by which you leave behind that which no longer suits your life and venture forth into what might even be uncharted waters in order to arrive at a greater life destination. Water is an important element (literally!) for this sort of transition because it is fluid and flexible. Your destination might change in the process of casting yourself upon the Ocean of possibilities and challenge. A Sea Voyage can be transformative; ergo the expression of a Sea Change to refer to a major shift in life potentials and outlook.
Gandalf collecting Frodo and Bilbo at the end of Return of the King to usher them onto an elvish boat that heads out over the waters is an apt conclusion to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings cycle because after their heroic adventures have transformed Bilbo and Frodo, how can they remain contented in their life at the Shire? They are heroic adventurers; they must go where the winds and the waters call them!
What about you? Have you ever crossed the great waters? What did that action require? What have been the results?
Or is there a calling for you to yet cross the great waters that could transport you to the fulfillment of your life purpose and the realization of your Life Dream?
Some departures are ready made adventures, built into a committed course of action. Graduation from high school or college ends one state of preparatory training so that you are ready to embark upon a life changing process that often involves relocating and taking on new responsibilities and relationships.
Other Crossings require foresight and visioning. Take the time you need to contemplate deeply about life’s possibilities. Envision the best direction to take if you would aim to achieve a yet unrealized goal. How then can you cross the great waters to arrive at this destination?
Death itself can be considered a matter of Crossing the Great Waters, but any true departure is like a death and rebirth into another mode of Being. You do not have to wait for this lifetime to be completed before venturing forth.
Where do you go when you imagine following your Call to Adventure? What image or scene comes to mind when you envision feeling a sense of utter fulfillment?
Your Call to Adventure may come as an IMAGE that beckons and pulls at you like the “thin biting call of Soul.” Ron Neary’s vision of the Devil’s Tower butte in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, for instance, or the memory of Shangri-La that won’t let Robert Conway be happy anywhere else after he has found his fateful oasis of the Soul in Lost Horizon are two great fictional examples.
I remember from high school and early college years that I would often close my eyes and imagine rowing a boat to the middle of a lake, then I would set the oars to rest and settle back to read a good book while floating on the lake, listening to the rhythmic lapping of the water under the calm blue sky. Sometimes in this reverie I would nap and my boat would drift until it came to moor on a deserted island shoreline.
Many years later I will soon enough be retiring to a lakeside community. I intend to explore the lake with a kayak and maybe a rowboat. Was my youthful daydream then a trip in spacetime to a future I could already imagine?
Your Call to Adventure evokes more than a desirable place or a future activity, though this vision might signal the context of your greater Life Dream.
This past week I had a thought while walking university halls to teach yet another class, this time a five day, 40 hour “winterim” with 33 students that turned out to be a delight because of our combined enthusiasm for the material. The thought that came through one morning was:
If my life is a hologram, what this means to me is that every Moment (as only Now is Real and therefore All of life experience is “in the NOW”) is a microsegment of the Whole projection of a lifetime. Remember that in a hologram, the Part is embedded in the Whole such that the Whole is always present in every fraction (or, fractal) of Itself. I “live” (have my physical attention and sense of ‘being’) in the “present” projection of our illusionary three dimensions of timespace, yet from higher dimensions (4th and beyond) I can perceive the Whole of my complete lifetime and perhaps zooming further Beyond with spiritual awareness I can even see the broader context of THIS lifetime in multiple lifetimes, multiple universes, and a limitless expanse of Cosmos.
So then future and past and present are all ONE, and the Whole is so much greater than the sum of its luminously integrated Parts.
all images are from pixabay.com
I realize with this Life is a Hologram perspective, then, that I/you/Soul can EXPLORE the Whole from ANY location within the holographic Whole, at any “time.”
Row, row, row your boat Gently down the Stream; Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, Life is BUT A DREAM.
Try it, I invite you. Close your Eyes and DREAM! I welcome your Comments and Story!
When I was young, I remember asking my sister this question one day. We were in the kitchen. I was about 10 and she was 6.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
(pause, deep thought, and then) “I know! A Bunnyrabbit!”
What a great image! And do you know, my sister did grow up to be a bunny rabbit, in her way. She is very active and holds a lot of responsibility that helps a lot of people. Plus she has a tremendous group of very active friends, and most of all for the last several years she has been our family’s primary caregiver for our 89 year old mother who suffers from late stage Parkinsons at a nursing home near to my sister’s home. My sister’s home has become, because so near to Mom, the nucleus for our family visits. So, she is always hopping!
How did or might you have answered this question while you were young:
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? (You may print this out and use the space below to journal in.)
Now then, WHY (did/would you have answered this way)?
I have found an interesting pattern from asking this question, and then following it with: “How would you answer that same question today/ What do you want to be now when you ‘grow up’ (and, ‘Is there a difference between how you would have answered as a child and now/ Why?'”).
The way people answer this question reveals something about the dominant ARCHETYPE influences they identify with. Here’s a list of The Twelve primordial persona archetypes identified by the late Dr. Charles Bebeau of the Avalon Archetype Institute (as adapted by Debra Breazzano, MA/LPC) :
ELDER LEADER ARTIST TEACHER
LOVER IDEALIST COMMUNICATOR
WARRIOR GOLDEN CHILD HEALER
NURTURER DESCENDER MYSTIC
For example, I have found that people holding a childhood dream of becoming an Aviator or an Astronaut show when they complete the life mapping process I offer that they have a strong IDEALIST archetype orientation. People who say they wanted to be a Superhero (a common childhood ‘fantasy’) later often show a strong WARRIOR archetypal persona. And those who wanted to become a veterinarian, for instance, tend to embody and gravitate to the HEALER mode, etcetera.
Which of these twelve persona archetype figures do you recognize as primary personas within yourself?
People (Adults) often say the difference in how they would have answered this question as a child, and now, is that now they have “matured” to accept more “realistic” limitations. To the extent that some of these early archetypal influences may be less strong in later life (many are still present but expressing in more subdued form), some of these archetypal impulses could be suppressed or repressed. That is why it is good to renew this question and see how you FEEL about pursuing your ‘childlike’ Dream from here forward.
You can still BE that Superhero; you still ARE that airy-fairy inner Explorer/ IDEALIST. It can help to get in touch with all of your inner “parts of Self” that relate especially to the significant Themes in your life (e.g. Parent / Teacher/ Lover/ Spirituality oriented/ Artist, etcetera). Jung would say it benefits us all to attend to and to INTEGRATE these various sub-selves, to orchestrate them, I would add, in pursuit of our Life Mission and goals.
images are from pixabay.com
This month, October, is associated astrologically with Libra and the LOVER Archetype. This is an opportunity to call your own LOVER forward to partner with you this month. Get to know your LOVER persona. How does S/HE express in your life? Is S/HE in Strength mode (positive outlet) or in Shadow (if so how/ why?) What does S/HE, your Inner LOVER part-of-Self, want of you or for itself? How can you include your Inner LOVER in your outer life more fully? These are some questions you might explore.
The through-line and credo for the Life Maps Process which I share as a life coaching tool and have prepared in book form hopefully being circulated right now or soon by my agent is “Live Your Dream, Now!”
For Your Reflections:
What Live Your Dream, Now! means is that you do NOT have to wait for anyone or anything in order to begin living the life of your Dream! How? You can identify the VALUES you wish to be expressing in your Dream-Come-True future scenario, and start NOW to live by those values.
For example, some of the values I intend to be integrating daily Now in relation to my active post-retirement scenario include:
Greater forbearance of differences (no conflict or need to ‘prove’ anything to anyone, ever)
Appreciation of life as separate from an institutionalized career (e.g. freedom from Academe, enjoyment of Nature and of basic human experience)
What do you hope to be experiencing as you live into your future Life Dream? How can you begin to practice and enjoy those kinds of experiences already?
time for daily walks in Nature
daily contemplations and journaling
offering life mapping services, workshops, seminars
travel, near and far
more time to share with family and friends
What is ONE THING you could be doing now or in the foreseeable near future that could help to propel you INTO the realization of your Life Dream?
Create brochures that offer services
Merge web sites to make static one more active
Plant the Seeds:
Here’s a creative tool you can use to establish a clear INTENTION and VISION of the positive Life Dream or some aspect of that which you can begin NOW to manifest simply by focussing and anchoring your Mystic attention.
CREATE AN IMAGE BOARD
An image board can be a collage of images or simply a white poster board with some central images placed on it that display the life of your dreams.You can IMAGE your “dream home” or “dream environment,” or clearly represent any VALUE that you aim to be living NOW so as to bring this value with you into Living Your Dream.
Place your Image Board somewhere you will see it daily. You could place it where you do your daily meditations or contemplations or yoga, or some place that evokes for you a sense of transformation and emergence!
Creative visualization and Re-visioning past events to help you compose your Future in keeping with all of the Strengths and Lessons you have already developed over your Life Course is your privileged prerogative as a human Being. The gifts of intuitive imagination and foresight are talents you can exercise in creating the life of your highest values and ideals.
So never sell yourself short or settle for less than all that you are capable of Being! For while the future is certainly always in motion relative to the past and present coditions and attitudes you hold, it is within our capacity to imprint the future, to form a mold of what is desirable for us to attain to in keeping with our core values and ideals.
So picture IT, Now! I invite you to close your eyes and BE in the future AS IF you have already achieved your Life Dream. Use 1st person, present tense to place yourself into this future NOW. (A similar exercise can be found in Mary Carroll Moore’s wonderful book, How to Master Change in Your Life.)
Where are you in the futurescape Life Dream of your imagining?
Who is there with or around you?
What is your daily life like?
How are you putting into practice your highest ideal values?
What are your Goals from this futurescape perspective?
Hold your Life Dream always in your “Heart of hearts.” Picture it in any way you choose. You could make a collage of images representing your Dream, create or find a talisman like a stuffed animal or a photo to represent your Dream.
When I was living in Buffalo, New York before launching myself off to Arizona to pursue my life dream at the time of becoming a cultural anthropologist Out West (which I am now and have been for 39 years), I placed photos of Sedona, Arizona from an art magazine called Sedona Life on my office walls where I was teaching at a university in Buffalo while finishing my Masters degree there. I looked at these pictures every day and often dreamt of Arizona at night. One morning I woke with a jingle in the forefront of my awareness, which lyrics were:
But there are a few doors left to close
Before I get over there.”
That little ditty jingle was pervasive in my consciousness the entire next year as I prepared to head out for my Big Trip West. I did have relationship matters to resolve, lessons yet to learn right where I was, and family to embrace before I could leave. But the images in my heart and mind held true, and by the next year and a half I was indeed living the life of my dreams. These were not candy coated dreams; they involved hardship and sacrifice as a student in graduate school for the next 14 years! I cried when I first felt the impact of having left all I had known and loved behind. But I met new friends and now I cannot imagine not having taken this Great Adventure.
I prepare similarly now for retirement in just over two years ‘time’ with another great Departure then in store to fulfill my current Life Dream that will take me back to the region I actually left nearly 40 years ago. But that is not necessary to share with you here; it remains vital in my Heart of Hearts.
What is your current Life Dream?
PICTURE IT, NOW!
“I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
What are your ideals? It’s “open mike” for your Idealist archetype Ally part-of-Self to proclaim your highest ideal values.
I invite you to write or speak a list of IDEALIST statements or affirmations you would love to share. As an example here are some affirmations from my own IDEALIST point of view:
“Never Give Up, yet always give UP (Surrender to Spirit and be willing to Accept ITS bounty)!”
“Aim for the Heavens in all you do; you do not have to “nearly die” to get Here!”
“Dream, and then ACT on your inner Dream Guidance.”
“Sit still and Do Something!”
“There are no strangers; all are cut from the same cloth.”
Now then, all you need to do is take some ‘time out’ and LISTEN! Allow your own highest Ideals to guide you on your journey, day to day and moment by moment. Your IDEALIST will support you always and will remind you of your own highest nature.
So ask yourself:
“What are My highest Ideals?
How can I allow these ideals to steer Me along a more positive life course?
How can my Ideals lead Me to define My Life Dream and to Live My Dream, Now! ?”
When I was around ten, I read Cervantes’ Don Quixote slowly, episode by episode, like the Bible as I had read it when I was eight! I liked it so much that I didn’t want it ever to end; that is why I only allowed myself one episode per reading. This was a book I would read with a flashlight under my blankets in case my mother would want me to stop reading and turn out the lights. I was drawn into this character of Don Quixote de la Mancha. I identified with his sense of chivalry and adventure, with his strong friendship with Sancho Panza and with his elevating adoration of ‘Dulcinea’.
Later I learned the musical script of Man of La Mancha completely: I sang every song, in order, while walking or resting. I especially loved—still do—the theme song of The Impossible Dream. Later, in college years, I saw the Broadway musical stage version of Man of La Mancha three times with different casts. By then I understood from literature classes that we are to pity Don Quixote as a misguided antihero, a dilapidated man bent by the aberrations of the world into little more than a dreary wisp of misguided optimism in a harsh and brutal world. But, to me, this never really sank in; I still love the figure of Don Quixote as one bearing truth—his truth—as a banner despite all opposition, or Inquisition, too!
To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go
To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star
This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far
To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause
And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest
And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star
WHAT IS YOUR Possible Dream? What cause do you pursue “without question or pause;” for which you are “willing to march into Hell for a Heavenly cause?” What is your Life Dream that stretches out before you as if an “unreachable,” yet to you it is a REACHABLE STAR?
I believe the human Spirit thrives on such ideal pursuits. It is a dream that benefits many as well as yourself; that which allows you to express and develop into ALL THAT YOU ARE, Here and Now!
I invite you to connect with your own inner ‘Don (or, Dona) Quixote.’ Ask your inner IDEALIST nature to reveal itself to you. What form of character does it take? What are ITS GOALS for You?
I love being a Teacher, as I have taught now for 37 years, from 2 years tutoring and then teaching developmental English for inner city Buffalo students in New York to teaching for 13 years for Phoenix area community colleges and Arizona State University, to 22 years since 1993 as a professor at the University of Colorado—Colorado Springs. And, I love being a Student, as I have been from the very start and will always continue to be!
We learn through teaching and teach through learning, and those we teach are also our own teachers, too! So here I want to celebrate the Learners who teach their teachers how better to connect, to stay informed and current with contemporary issues, and above all, to better LISTEN to their learners’ needs and their hopes and dreams. For being a Learner can be a daunting, brave act, especially when the student steps forth to ASK their pertinent questions and to personalize their QUEST for gaining grounds toward deepening their topical interests and toward fulfilling their individual life goals.
Never settle for less than what is stated in the previous sentence. As a Learner, you have the right and in fact the obligation to not just attend classes and complete assignments but to question, to expand your reading beyond that given, to critique perspectives presented and to elaborate and develop your unique viewpoint, sensibility and expertise. There has never been in the entire history of creation another YOU (true for All), and your specificity of experience, feelings and outlook truly make of you a very special Learner—and Teacher, too.
Learning takes many forms. It could be in a formal classroom setting but it does not need to be, and even when it is, it doesn’t really begin or end in a classroom. Nature might be your Classroom, or your Family might be the soil in which you are planted to gather and to share nourishment and understanding and love.
Learning is the process of manifesting Better Endings, with any endeavor. We learn to drive a car, and this brings greater personal freedom along with greater responsibility and awareness. We read a novel, and whole worlds unfold before our imagination; worlds we never knew before but that are now realms we can return to forever.
images from pixabay.com
As you learn, you gain invaluable lessons of experience; not just head knowledge but compassion and passion for serving others and for attaining the capacity to embrace and live your Dream!
We are all inherently Lovers as we have the LOVER archetype as one of our universal unconscious potentials. Of course this takes different forms for different persons and changes over time. Perhaps if we think of each of our primary archetypal energies as having their own life cycles within the overall life course of the Self or Psyche, we can observe how these energies shift form as we develop our personalities or identity over time. For me at 61, my LOVER energies are as strong as ever, but they are focused very differently than earlier in my life.
Nowadays my LOVER is in love with Life in the largest sense, and with my pets, close family, friends, and more impersonally with colleagues and students, and it drives me forward with my writing toward fruition: publishing and sharing. It keeps me moving forward no matter how long it may take, because I love the process as well as the emerging product and I am grateful for the opportunities available along every step of the Way.
Do You Love What You Do? Is that the same for you as Doing What You Love, or, not?
How can you transition from loving what you do to truly and completely DOING WHAT YOU LOVE? What would that look like for you? How might you enhance even what you presently love doing in order for your life to manifest core values and ideals that you associate with your LIFE DREAM, right NOW?
I encourage you to take some time out to consider this question. Daydream about DOING WHAT YOU LOVE. Journal about it; actively contemplate and envision your Dream Come True. You can ask your LOVER archetype in active imagination to help you visualize and imagine deeply DOING WHAT YOU LOVE, Full Throttle. Then consider, is there anything you can be doing Now to help you merge these two dimensions of loving what you do/ doing what you love, more fully?
Last week I wrote about Johnny Appleseed as an example of the archetype of the Nourisher. Some seeds scatter to the winds, but some seeds take root in rich soils, where they can germinate and grow. Now I invite you to apply this concept of planting and nourishing seeds to the practice of SEEDING YOUR DREAM.
First then, what is your Life Dream? Remember, this can be a value statement rather than a concrete objective. Five years from now or whatever time frame feels approporiate for you to envision your “dream come true,” what do you wish for your life to be LIKE? Maybe that means you want to have achieved a sense of contentment or happiness, or perhaps you can envision living in or visiting at an ideal sort of environment for you or you can plant a seed of finding and manifesting an ideal set of relationships or work or service conditions. Now then, contemplate ways that you can SEED your Dream.
At my office personal computer at work, I have placed a desktop image which is an old postcard photo of the lake I aim to retire near in three years. Recently I have added a small picture icon of a rowboat. The lake image has a shoreline that winds around toward a clock tower that marks the historic significance of this lakeside region, near Chautauqua Institute in New York state. From now until the time I reach retirement, with every positive step I take in life toward realizing my Dream, I will very gradually move the rowboat along the bends of the shoreline until it reaches that tower. This is SEEDING my Dream.
How can you seed YOUR Dream?
I recognize and can fully appreciate that not all of you reading this blog will feel the desire or the immediate need to focus so directly on manifesting a specific Life Dream such as I am modeling here. That’s okay! I encourage everyone, myself foremost, to build flexibility into any future envisioning. Still, your current Vision as it pertains to continually realizing your most positive, fulfilling life–whether it is the life you are living Now or some future conditions based on how you would like your current life to unfold into an ideal future–carries the SEED of your potentials. It reveals something about your highest values, deepest ambitions, and your most purposeful sense of mission or cause. My lakeside future represents, for instance, a freedom to pursue my ambitions of writing and service in a beautiful, peaceful environment. I believe I know where that will be, but if the universe provides a somewhat different actuality down the road or along the shoreline, that’s fine, too!
I appreciate the viewpoint of Anne Archer Butcher, author of an inspiring recent book called Inner Guidance. She reminds us we can ASK for what we most deeply wish to receive or achieve in our lives. “This, or something GREATER,” Anne asks of her own Inner Guide. Maybe our current vision is not broad enpugh or we are not yet aware enough to know what specifically to ask for. So ask for “This, or something Greater,” knowing and trusting that Spirit or the Universe will bring into your life that which is of the highest order to support your greatest growth and unfoldment.
You deserve in life everything that supports your positive, life affirming dreams and ambitions. You are here to do all that you can, to BE all that you inherently ARE.
What limitations there are can be gifts, like Stephen Hawking’s Lou Gehrig’s disease, which has allowed him to focus mentally in ways possibly more productive for him than any other condition.
Many limitations can be transcended if doing so would support your highest self-realization in this lifetime. Often we establish self-limitations and settle for less than it is possible for us to manifest or achieve. We might be restricting our own potentials from unnecessary feelings of unworthiness or from simple inertia. (A body at rest stays at rest unless impelled by an irresistible force.)
Enter Your NOURISHER, certainly a kinetic force when you allow her or him to motivate your actions. Your NOURISHER is a part of yourself— a vital archetypal energy form in all humans (at least). Your NOURISHER is that part of your Self that knows you are capable of manifesting your highest potentials and will be your strongest Ally and cheerleader to propel you toward realizing your deepest-felt, positive goals.
Imagine Now that your NOURISHER stands ever available and wants to encourage you to go after that next goal post that moves you irreversibly in the direction of your Heart’s desire. Maybe it is your Life Dream; you do not need to postpone envisioning and realizing a pathway that fulfills your greatest sense of life purpose and Mission in this world. Or maybe it is something as basic as finding the motivation to go to a gym to work out, or to eat a healthier choice of food or drink when you are faced with options.
Your NOURISHER wants the best for you, and from you, at all times and in every circumstance. It wants to help you to succeed in every endeavor, to learn from every experience regardless of the outcome; to strive and to thrive.
I invite you to take time out from your busy routine to sit down with pen and paper and ask your NOURISHER to WRITE YOU A LETTER. Allow him or her to encourage you. Listen with your Heart. If you like, you can also write back and start a conversation. Welcome your NOURISHER into your Ensemble Cast of Archetype Allies. You deserve to be nurtured and pampered even. Your NOURISHER deserves to express him/herself, too! As a Giver, and as an integral facet of You, you will find that allowing your NOURISHER to nurture your dreams will also spill out as unconditional loving service to others.
Do you sometimes wish you could view your entire life—Past, Present, and Future—as a whole? This month we will entertain various ways by which you might approach this sort of overview in relation to your Life Dream.
What is a Life Dream, anyway? It is your Vision of an ideal set of future conditions. To establish a Life Dream requires imagining a holistic Vision, like being on a Mountain with vistas!
From the top of a mountain you can gain a 360 degree overview. You can see how the different landscapes interact with the sky and sea, for instance, and where the lush forest ends and the plains extend.
So I invite you to a form of Vision Quest this month. Set out to discover or further explore your Life Dream.
A Vision Quest requires dedication and preparation. Contemplate in silence, surrendering your Mind to Highest Good. Ask to receive a Vision when you are ready to, one that will help you to clarify the path you are on; study its direction as you wend your way forward. Where is your current path leading to? Have you designed it well to reach a place of fulfillment and service? Are there turns you can anticipate in the Road ahead? How can you be an active Agent in your own chosen path?
Envision a future of life fulfillment and abundance that you are already “living INTO,” Now! PLease go ahead, I invite you and I entreat you to take some time out from whatever busi-ness you are about right now; to close your eyes and dreamily, freely:
I M A G I N E
So just think of it: Life IS a Bowl of Cherries. Okay then, what does YOUR “bowl of cherries” contain in your imagined dream of life fulfillment? What relationships or conditions, behaviors, activities, locations, etecetera comprise the cherries filling your bowl of abundance in the parallel reality of your future dream come true?
I encourage you to contemplate, journal, walk and muse, paint or write a haiku or poem about your life of abundance.
And as always, I welcome your response in any form of sharing.
Now then also, would you need to make any specific sorts of changes or tweaks to your current life course in order to bring this abundance about? Consider how you might make such adjustments as simply and effectively as possible from your present vantage point.
My dear sister whom I am visiting has a refrigerator magnet that reads: THERE IS NO PLAN: FOLLOW YOUR HEART! Yet what if, after all, following your heart truly will fulfill your “plan”, even if you didn’t know you have one? The question remains the same by either viewpoint: How to ‘truly’ follow your Heart?
Some speak of nudges, others pay attention to their dreams and “intuitions;” still others stay centered on their current course, neither expecting nor desiring change. And you know, it’s all good: Life is Good, no matter what.
Myself, though, I enjoy creating or composing my life actively as I go along. I love adventure and creating some measure of change and flexibility to bring about variety as that “spice of life.” I enjoy the Present Moment of Nowness, yet I also enjoy musing inwardly and reflecting lightly on the Past, and I enjoy looking forward to creating a future of my own choice and design. All of that involves listening to the Heart and ALLOWING the Moment to unfold yet being an active, mindful participant.
The Here and Now is multidimensional, resplendent, full of potentials and possibilities! So take a peek into the byways of your Heart’s own rhythm and pulse, and… Follow!
We are proceeding month by month with this blog to combine positive Life Metaphors with a universal set of Archetypal character figures that are part of each of our total identities–though to differing proportions consciously and unconsciously for different people and at different times. For June our Life Metaphor is Life Is…Heeding the Call—Reclaiming Your Life Dream, and we will bring the COMMUNICATOR Archetype into conjunction with this theme.
When you were a child, how did you answer the question: “When I Grow Up, I Want to Be______ ?” And then later when you were in your teenage years, what IDEAL careers or experiences did you ardently desire to bring about in your future? Were your Goals back then the same or similar, or very different from the life you are living as an adult and the future goals you have today? Do you in fact still have a LIFE GOAL (or, Dream) that you yet hope to attain, or have you “given up on dreams” or “settled” for the everyday life you have established as an adult?
I have found that the way people answer that question, “When I Grow Up, I Want To Be ___”, whether from a child’s perspective or as an adult, can be very revealing of the dominant archetypal orientations of the individual. If as a child you wanted to be a Superhero, for instance, this may express your IDEALIST or WARRIOR nature, depending on which Superhero you were identifying with. If you wanted to be a veterinarian, this may reflect your HEALER or NOURISHER archetypal makeup. Often the more “adult” way we answer the same question today still reflects these same archetypal yearnings, even if the form expressed –e.g. now maybe much more practical sounding—may not seem so “childish”.
Listen to your Inner Child self as It answers this question today. Putting all practicality aside for the time being: What DO you want to be when you GROW UP?” Now then, what Part of Self does that express in you? Is there a part of you still longing to fulfill Its Strengths and dreams and ideals? Let this part of yourself SPEAK, communicate Its needs and wishes, which are part of the larger Self you aim to Realize.
So let’s see, how might I answer that question today?
When I GROW UP, I want to be:
…giving back to the Whole of life, to others, in ways that utilize my deepest strengths and insights from the first 60 years of this life (at least).
What archetypal potentials does that yearning reflect?
COMMUNICATOR, MYSTIC, IDEALIST, HEALER, TEACHER.
Interestingly, four of the five archetypal potentials indicated above (Teacher, Communicator, Healer and Mystic) are “Dissolving” stage archetypes: those involved with RESOLUTION and INTEGRATION of the 3 process stages of Origination, Maintaining, and Dissolving archetype expressions. Dissolving archetype character traits bring processes and lessons to a stage of understanding, usefulness, and resolution. So it certainly makes sense that as I approach a “Giving Back” cycle of life after 60, these archetypes are stepping forth to guide the reins.
I invite YOU to answer these questions and to LISTEN to these energies from within your own greater Self! What are they calling you to BE/ KNOW/ DO, Now?