One Small Step

What do the following statements have in common?

At some point Curly turns to Mitch and says, “Do you know what the secret of life is?” Mitch replies, “No, what?” Curly holds up his index finger and says, “This!” Mitch says, “Your finger? Using, shall we say, somewhat colorful language, Curly goes on to explain that he means that one thing matters in life.

Mitch says, “That’s great, but what’s the one thing?”
Curly responds, “That’s what you gotta figure out.” (City Slickers)


“That is one small step for man,

One giant leap for Mankind.”
– Neal Armstrong

Also in the book or movie Contact by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan, remember how Ellie Arroway’s dad counsels her twice—once on Earth and again as a wise alien:

“Small moves, Ellie. Small moves.”

There is a profound and powerful better endings coaching tool embedded in each of the statements above.  One Thing, when rightly chosen and enacted, can launch your life in a new direction from which you will never need to turn back, propelling you directly to “live your dream!”

An example from my life is that some 17 years ago, I was just beginning to think about how a Humanities class I had been developing and co-teaching with a History professor in Colorado—called Myth, Reason, and Your Life History—in which I presented an eight-week series of classes in life mapping, could be put into a book that could be useful for readers. When I shared this emerging idea with a therapist (whose approach of archetypal psychotherapy I wanted to use in the book), she suggested I could take a one month writing retreat.  I did not have extra cash and had several pets that would need to be cared for, but after some consideration, I went for it! I rented a ski chalet (by credit card) in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for a whole month of July that next summer, hired a pet sitter and brought my one elder cat Ariel with me.

It was wonderful to have a full month to focus on just one thing: outlining and beginning to write a personal growth and development book that eventually became Your Life Path: Life Mapping Tools to Help You Follow Your Heart and Live Your Dream, Now! (Skyhorse, 2018). I wrote original versions of the openings to most of the book’s chapters right there at the Steamboat Springs chalet.  I woke early, had breakfast and started writing and working on workbook materials at 8 AM, and I worked 7 days a week until usually at least 7 or 8 PM, nearly every day that month. It was exhilarating! I wrote book and chapter synopses, developed workbook ideas, and by the time I returned home from the retreat, I knew I could take this work forward, and gradually did! It would take several more years before I met an agent at a writing conference who took the book on and helped me develop it further for publication, but I never looked back from that singular point of deciding, yes, I would take a full month writing retreat. That was my “one small step,” my “One Thing.”

images are from

In Your Life Path I developed the One Thing concept (based on the City Slickers idea quoted above) into one of the future-planning life mapping workbook Tools.  I ask people to first express a very important goal that would bring them a sense of fulfillment in their life. Then I invite them, after imagining what their life would look like from the perspective of having fulfilled that goal (i.e., envisioning from the point of view of the goal achieved), what could be ONE THING or ONE SMALL STEP they could undertake now or in the near foreseeable future that could propel them in the direction of actualizing their dream.


What about you? What is a life goal you have nurtured that might seem difficult to realize but that, if actualized, would bring you to a deeper sense of personal fulfillment of your sense of Mission in life?

Okay, so what is ONE THING you COULD DO now, or in the near foreseeable future, that would propel you in the direction of Living Your Dream?

(Plan it! Make It So!)



On one of Sachemspeak’s blogs this week he mentioned “Julie and Julia” and an associated blog site, .  Julie Powell did exactly what I have been suggesting all this week; she did ONE THING that would propel her to achieve a larger goal. Julie was a writer but she was having trouble getting published. One thing she loved was cooking, so she decided to build her public visibility platform by writing a blog about cooking. Since she had long regarded Julia Child as a role model, she wrote about preparing one Julia Child recipe from her landmark book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, every day for one full year. The blog was a huge success, drawing much attention to Julie Powell as a writer, and she ultimately published Julie & Julia, her book adapted as the popular film about Child and about Powell’s own writing of her blog, and she has never stopped writing and publishing since.

As I also can attest to, writing a blog is an excellent writing tool, not just for platform building but also because it is addressed to a general, public audience. It is certainly ONE THING any writer can do to help launch their dedication and progression toward publishing their works.


Most important to finding and acting upon the ONE THING you can do to launch you toward fully manifesting your Life Dream, or to revitalize your motivation to accomplish that, is to DO WHAT YOU LOVE. Clearly your Life Dream is a goal based on realizing your deepest love in life; it fulfills your Life Mission, what drives you and fuels your creative imagination and your desire to serve. Your ONE THING then will also be something you love, something that will light you up as it orients you and sets your course deliberately and clearly toward your bigger picture goal.


So, stop for a moment, close your eyes and DREAM! Where would you LOVE to be three years from now, five years from now, and in the fullest expression of your Life Vision, your Dream Life? Center in that Goal, develop it, nurture your ambition to achieve that Goal for the highest, better interest of everyone concerned. Now then, what is ONE THING you can do in the plannable future that will be an intermediate, definite BIG STEP in the direction of mobilizing and actualizing your Dream?


So now then, go ahead and PLAN IT! Set it up. Follow your intuition, carry it out! Your Inner ARTIST will be there right beside you all along, helping you to REALIZE your VISION.

Anchor Your Dream to a Totem


Goals may come and goals may go, but a worthy Life Dream deserves persistence, patience and flexibility. Because it may take quite some time to manifest your Life Dream fully, as you gradually live into this Dream it is important for you to “anchor” or ground your Dream in mindful consciousness. That means you will want to keep your Life Dream in view, always, no matter where you are at in the process of manifesting this reality.


Anthropologists have long observed that humans around the world and from the very earliest times have learned to ground their goals as well as their primary group values by using TOTEMS. A totem is what Emile Durkheim called a “symbolic representation.” It is a symbolic object or artistic expression that reminds someone of the idea or goal in a meaningful way, thus reinforcing the significance of that being represented.  Religious symbols, such as sculpted icons of religious figures like saints or gods, remind believers of the values associated with that figure and might also be a central symbol around which a congregation will socially bond. Or a rabbit’s foot may symbolize the sort of “luck” a baseball player might wish to have by keeping this talisman in his or her pocket while playing ball.


I believe once you have established a meaningful Life Dream—one that accords with your highest sense of Purpose or Mission in your life—, this can become a focal point for much that is Sacred in your own Life Story.  To center your dedication and focus around manifesting this Life Dream, I encourage you to create a TOTEM (or a set of totems) that represent key attributes of your Dream in symbolic form.


Your Life Dream Totem can take whatever form feels appropriate to you and that form might depend on what features or aspects of your Dream you are wishing to anchor.  For example, if you relate a particular Archetypal aspect of your Self with your Life Dream, you might represent your Dream totemically by creating or obtaining something symbolic of that Archetype. If an archetype you associate with your life mission, for instance, is a Warrior, maybe you could use a Lion, or a sword, to represent that. If it is a Lover archetype you are identifying with, maybe a Heart image of some sort will work; or if it is a Communicator or a Teacher archetype, you can find or create symbolic totems to remind you of these personal attributes important to you for manifesting your Dream.

 easter island

So what Life Dream do you aim to manifest in your life? What is one (or more than one) key value or major ideal that you associate with your goal? You may create or find some object that represents this value clearly to keep as a Totem.

Does your Life Dream relate to strengthening or expressing one or more archetypal aspects of your Psyche? (The twelve universal archetype forms I have identified through this blog site—based on the archetypal psychology of Dr. Charles Bebeau and his consociates—include: Elder Leader, Lover, Warrior, Nurturer, Artist, Idealist, Golden Child, Descender, Teacher, Communicator, Healer, Mystic.) If so, you can represent your archetypal Allies totemically, too. For instance, you could create a pendant or a charm bracelet with charms that represent your archetypal character strengths, and wear this necklace or bracelet to remind you always of these important internal aspects of your identity that you aim to deepen and strengthen as you realize your golden ambitions.


Have fun with this. Imagine and create or obtain the “perfect” Totem for your Life Dream. This can help to anchor your attention so that you always remember what you are aiming to realize in or about your life, from day to day!  Next week–the final week of this Life Mapping series before a new annual round is to begin at Better Endings–is about how to Live Your Dream, Now! So this week I am inviting you to find that perfect Totem you can carry forward with you in manifesting your Life Dream both in consciousness and in the reality of your active life, to express your high values and your meaningful purpose. You can root yourself in your Totem to help to nurture and focus on the beauty and integrity of your unique and fulfilling Life Dream.

Blue Nature Plants Abstract Background

I invite YOUR Comments and your Stories!



Action, like a sacrament,
is the visible form
of an invisible spirit,
an outward manifestation
of an inner power.

~ Parker Palmer ~

(The picture and quote above are from Theresa of Soul Gatherings [click to link].)

This week I have been focusing on tools to help you manifest your Life Dream. First you can envision your Future Goal deeply (see Sunday’s post). Then you can contemplate a pathway that leads from where you are Now to the gradual realization of your Goal achieved (see Tuesday’s post). Today I invite you to focus on discovering your NEXT STEP in the direction of manifesting your Goal. The difference between “magical thinking” and effective implementation of the law of Manifestation can be summed up in the concepts of VISION plus ACTION. Clearly envisioning your goal allows you to create a Plan of Action that will deliver you TO your goal, step by step. The ‘trick’ is to establish a practical yet at the same time a creative and idealistic or value based Process.


I invite you to review the Yellow Brick Road life path image from Tuesday’s post (reprinted here above). Here you were invited to fill in the winding path to a meaningful life goal by envisioning stages or phases you can anticipate experiencing en route to realizing your goal, or your Bliss. If you completed that game board design, you can review it now again. If not, I invite you to create one. Choose a Goal that you truly hope to manifest on your own road to fulfillment of your life Purpose or Mission.

lotus flower

Now then, zoom in on what you have included or described on this game board “life path” as your very next phase or stage of the Life Path journey you have envisioned toward your Goal. Focus only on that next phase itself to explore and expose more deeply. Now then, what ACTION STEPS can you take NOW in your life or in the foreseeable/ plannable future in order to accomplish this one next phase of your journey en route to your more distant, Bliss related Goal? Focussing in what you can do NOW helps you to establish MOVEMENT in the direction of your Goal, to overcome any inertia based on how far away your goal might seem.

Explore and more fully develop this one next phase, only. Create a Plan of Action that will manifest this next step. When you focus on “one step at a time,” before you know it you will be well on the Road to YOUR GOAL!


I invite and welcome all of your Comments and Stories!