A ‘better endings’ approach to ‘live your dream, now!’ requires and rewards flexibility. Every positive, progressive or proactive step forward benefits from review and modification, or tweaking.
For example, I have relocated three times in as many years with my own experience of envisioning and manifesting better endings while aiming to fulfill my creative Dream. This has been progressively positive with every Big Move; new opportunities have opened which I have gratefully embraced. Then even greater potentials have become evident and unfolded from these, so that, now living in my original home town for just over a year, I have embarked upon a potentially long-term, part-time position in the publishing industry.
I am learning as I serve, enjoying the beginning of another new chapter in my life story. Still, tweaking can help me to move through this new opportunity better. I am finding it helpful to take stock, review the positive potentials alongside some possible risks, and proceed forward mindfully.
Stepping backwards one step to advance two or three times forward is better than the converse (one step forward, two or three back)! Maybe this is a lesson I have carried forward from when I was on a fencing team in college. To evaluate the opponent’s strategy while also fine tuning your own, it is very helpful to step back to establish distance while developing a plan of attack; then, execute…’et la’! I always felt that fencing was not against an opponent but simply challenging myself to exercise creative mindfulness, free thinking—literally ‘on your feet’, lol—and yes, constant flexibility and tweaking.
So, once you have taken a positive step forward in a new direction with your own pursuit of ‘better endings’, remember to step back, pause, evaluate, TWEAK, and then…forge onward in the direction of your Dream!
After a three month dry spell due to writers block, I am resurfacing. Spring is sprouting in Western New York; I am fully vaccinated; the semester’s online teaching is winding down; and I find a story in me that I wish to share.
I walk with my beloved dog Sophie nearly every day. In our new location after returning to my high-school home town, I have been mystified by an oddity I see every time we walk in our local neighborhood. There are these marble-sized, little white balls that at first seemed to line the streets but that I have also found more than twelve of in my backyard and at a nearby park. I thought at first they were salt balls for winter weather, but no, they are ceramic.
Partly as a way to meet my neighbors, I have been carrying one of these little white marbles in my pocket and I ask people I encounter if they know what it is. Most folks are surprised to learn of them and they have no idea why they are there. Finally last week while doing some yard work, I asked an elderly neighbor working in his adjacent yard behind mine. He has been in the neighborhood for over fifty years.
“They are polishing stones from a grinding mill,” said Joe, matter-of-factly.
Joe said there was a man who had worked at a grinding mill that closed down. He brought home a large bag of these ‘polishing balls’ used in the mill, and he scattered them in his front yard as a lawn decoration.
Aha! Polishing stones from a grinding mill. But then, I wondered further, why are they strewn across at least a six to eight square blocks distance from the original home (I know where that epicenter is now as just two days ago I saw a hundred or more at one corner house in the block next to mine). Joe did not know, saying only, “maybe he put them there” (in other neighbors’ yards).
My landlady Jennifer had a good suggestion:
“Maybe squirrels play with them.”
That is as close to a plausible explanation as I can figure. Maybe indeed the abundant population of neighborhood squirrels have picked these up over the years from the original yard, thinking they might be edible nuts to store, then leaving them off in other yards when they realized these were nuts that could not be cracked open! Still, that does not account for why so many of them line the roadways, often very regularly spaced or so it seems, as well as peppering the local yards. So I will keep asking; maybe some longtime resident will be able to fill in more of the story.
But now I consider these little white balls as waking dream messages from Spirit, for:
“The mill of God grinds slowly,
but it grinds exceedingly well.”
I live in a neighborhood with lawns strewn with polishing stones from a grinding mill. I live in a Polishing Zone!
This rings true for the stage of life I am in, on so many levels. I cannot speak for my neighbors (in this same zone as we are together), but polishing is a welcome metaphor for what I am to be doing here.
I have taken a long, arduous journey across the proverbial (I-Ching) Great Waters and back Home again. It is time for me to polish up with the lessons I have gained along the Way.
It is funny how recently, as soon as I gleaned that my purpose here is in part that of polishing up my act, that I have started writing again. I am back to earnestly editing (polishing, indeed) my manuscript sequel to my first self-help volume (Your Life Path). I also am back here, writing a blog post after three long months of wondering whether I would ever write again.
Polishing, polishing; editing with a new, more determined and positive energy after over a year of private pandemic reclusiveness. Re-emerging with a hopeful sense of purpose. I was almost ready to walk away from this sort of expressive writing altogether. Writing is supposed to reach out, to connect, to communicate with readers; it is not meant for just passing time or ‘contemplating my navel’.
So I aim to focus better on writing and connecting in this Polishing Zone. Spring is sprouting in Western New York; I am vaccinated; the River of Life flows onward again, and with love and gratitude, so do I.
My waking dream this month is from a book called Wisdom of the Heart, by Harold Klemp:
“…life does not give rewards for good
or punishment for evil. It merely gives
results. Life is what you make it.” (pg. 26)
The same author says, “Make every day a good day.” I found this gem a few days ago and have been using it like a mantra. Each day has been a gem of its own so far, with new connections, insights and positive motion forward with responsibilities and creative projects.
Starting over–ostensibly alone but for my pet family–carries a full load of worries or trepidation as well as excitement and adventurous, fresh opportunities. Mainly I am faced daily with choices: everything from what Medicare plan to enroll in–as I turn 65 next month–to when it would be best to start social security allotments, how to address health matters, and how best to follow through with new local connections and with my writing and service ambitions.
I am approaching every new day as like a time capsule, using lists to keep me focused on what I need to do each day to fully ‘move in,’ to conquer immediate fears or anxieties, and to shape my new way of life in a new environs. A move is such a golden opportunity to establish yourself in a manner that accords with your current state of consciousness and intentions.
images are from pixabay.com
I find I truly am now, mainly, gratefully, “living my Dream, Now!” every day. That does not mean everything is smooth sailing. In fact, to move forward consciously requires attending to my habits and thoughts, to choose wisely that which will continue to allow this Dream to unfold naturally and with beauty.
Week Two of this year’s monthly process at Better Endings invites you to reflect on nightly dreams with regard to a question you have posed in Week One (or any time).
This month for me my significant dream has preceded the statement of my question, and has influenced it. My question is about Starting Over (see last post) after having retired and relocated far from my familiar life of the past 25 years. Not having a lifelong spouse or children due to choices made along the way, this major shift of location and new social community can seem overwhelming some times, though my dear dog and cat companions and being closer geographically to my family members and returning to be reacquainted with some very old friends are welcome blessings.
Recently I have been rudely awakened to the distance I have created from my Colorado friends as a very dear friend there (as well as another dear friend further away) has become afflicted with a debilitating illness and I feel sad and helpless not to be able to be there to lend a hand and provide direct support. Thus, “starting over, again” has a sad element of separation and anguish regarding loss of the mobility to be with especially my friend Denise in Colorado.
So, the dream. In this dream another Colorado friend and I are going to pick up Denise–who is the one suffering now–to bring her with us to visit a third friend who is in the hospital (in the dream). I go to “pick up” my friend Denise quite literally, for her body is shrunken and she is unable to move about on her own. I pick her up in both arms rather awkwardly and ineptly and she says, “Hold me like a log.” When I awoke (just after that) I realized that holding someone like a log could mean with both arms outstretched and holding the body up toward my chest. Or, it could mean I am to see my friend’s or anyone’s body itself as just “like a log,” dead weight so to speak, as versus the dynamic, beautiful and vibrant, free spirit/ Soul my friend is and will always Be.
When I awoke and reflected on this brief dream I still felt sad for my friend’s condition, but I also felt encouraged. Time and geographical distance shift and forms of life and relations bend and change, but Soul to Soul connections, camaraderie, unconditional love do not fade and can persist despite outward facts and conditions. I love my friends; friendship has always been the bedrock of my life despite a lifelong theme of Relocation to pursue, first my family’s and later my own primary quests: educational, career-based, and spiritual.
So how this dream helps me answer my probe about how to best approach starting over (yet again) is to suggest that a life based in love, friendship and service is never truly solitary; and that friendship is eternal, spiritually if not always in the outer form.
That is all I can say, for now.
I welcome YOUR Story and Comments about your own monthly–or lifelong–Quest.
This month I am framing a lifelong question of “What difference does it make?” Similar to my question from last month of “So what” or “what then?” I have often returned to this question in times of deep transition or choice. It relates now for me to how best to proceed “forward” with my current relocation process. I do not want to settle as I gradually assume more of a retirement income; I always aim to live a life of value not just to myself but to others, to life itself. Every action, every thought, every creative or productive expression should matter or I feel I am wasting God-given energy, intelligence, love. So, ‘what difference does it make?’ propels me to continue with my writing and to figure out how best to offer services related to the Life Path Mapping process I have been blessed to develop over the last decade or so. So far, though, visiting my new home while still completing a semester of classroom as well as online teaching has left me just settling in. Like a recluse, I enjoy the new home but have not been very active.
Already I have had a significant dream this month about my question. It was a fencing dream. In the dream I discover a fencing club or team at a new location, so I go around looking for equipment so I can join the team. I realize that in the past when I have needed a major boost in life, I have returned to fencing, either in reality or in my dreams. When I was finally ready t complete my dissertation in Phoenix, I joined a community college fencing team with a former Olympian coach. This gave me the impetus to carry forward; within six months after three years of slower progress, I finished my dissertation, graduated, and moved to take a university position in Colorado.
Advance; retreat; feint; attack; retreat/ defend; parry-riposte; double advance; coupé-disengage; fence without a blade; shield with parry; distance control; beat-feint, advance; bind; retreat; double-ballestra-beat-disengage-coupé-fleche—touché!
The above syntax reflects the sort of thought process I would engage with in a typical fencing bout, at the height of my fencing skills. Fencing is a constant flux of action and reaction, a continuous flow of positive intention to find an opening and defend one’s ground and person along the way. The final successful touch is so exhilarating; I have never experienced anything remotely as satisfying or completing…to land a touch is to make a difference, surely!
Because I am short and fencing generally favors tallness, my own strategy would be to stay out of reach of the opponent while figuring out her patterns and discerning vulnerability. Then on a final flourish I would do a double or triple ballestra (a forward jumping motion), culminating in a fleche which is an outright running attack, landing the point while running past the often then bewildered opponent. If I failed, at least I usually would not be hit (though might be!) I could start the process over and improve upon the maneuvers to build a new attack or wait for their attack instead and counter it quickly. Even remembering these moves stirs my enthusiasm.
The solution to inaction is action! Engagement. Stepping forth. So HOW to make it count, HOW to make a difference supercedes the fear of not succeeding. What is worth doing is worth doing well. May I draw upon this awareness in forging the new life ahead.
images are from pixabay.com
What is your pressing question this month? I encourage you to dream and contemplate its meaning and significance. Forge on!
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.
The Life Theme we are focussing on for August is Relocation. For many a Life Mapper a Big Move or Relocation is a golden opportunity for life changing new beginnings that can help someone “jump start” their life.
As I have just relocated myself from Colorado to New York state, I can certainly attest to the freedom such a major transition affords. It is a Starting Over in some respects though I also find myself banking on anything familiar so as to feel grounded. The daily routines with my dog and cat, walking 2-3 times a day with Sophie, for instance, keeps me in the flow of life as I have known it, though the new environment is welcome and fun to explore for us both.
Transplanting oneself through relocation offers many opportunities to reflect on the life one has been living so as to tweak or make conscious changes for “better endings.”What would I have done differently? becomes rephrased:
What CAN I do differently Now?
This is a time for deep reflection while also for moving forward. It is a time pregnant with opportunity and for avoiding merely settling into old patterns. Every new adventure brings sights not seen before in this lifetime. Every new connection is ripe with the joy of discovery.
What about you? When you have relocated or undertaken a Big Move, how did you go about using it as an opportunity for Better Endings? Or if you have yet to take such a step, with retirement or changing a job or your environment, how might you prepare?
Home repairs, cleaning and staging the house daily, stepping away with my dog (cat hiding under the bed) to allow potential buyers to explore the house as a potential new home for themselves: such a daunting process, one I hope will be over soon! I write from my office away from home, waiting for showings to pass.
Relocation is such a time for change, in perspective, in hopes for the future, in care for those I will be leaving once and, for many, forever in this lifetime. This is a time pregnant with possibilities yet rife with challenges to overcome.
It is interesting to be embarking upon such a leap of faith while the country itself is in dire turmoil with the …revisionist, to say the least… policies being inflicted on the collective consciousness politically these days. I try to avoid politics at this blog. But I cannot ignore how tumultuous these times are for so many.
images are from pixabay.com
Families fleeing a country to find safety in another become migrants subjected to all sorts of policies aimed to deter them from succeeding in their quest to achieve what we used to call simply, the American Dream. If they are deported again back to those conditions from which they have fled, what message does this send to the world, of the world? I am so sheltered by comparison, so ignorant of their plight.
Changing Times are Times for Change, positive or negative, destructive or life affirming. The CHILDREN are leading the way toward positive change in so many aspects these days. That should tell us something, all. Let them lead!Let the youth forge new pathways for us all, out from the darkness into light.
That is my blog for this week, which may be the final one this month due to the changes happening so quickly in my own life through the rest of this month.
When I prepare for a major travel excursion, I set a spiritual goal for the trip. That means I contemplate what I am ready or aiming to learn, about life or about my own potentials for self improvement. This is especially true with relocation; such an amazing opportunity to push the reset button involving any life conditions upon which you might wish to improve.
As I approach relocating Back East at the end of July, I find myself contemplating Happiness. At an Asian buffet the other night my fortune cookie stated:
“Happiness is a choice.”
That is precisely the message I needed to receive. As I contemplate the next Life Chapter of my own Dream Come True (for all of life is that, when you think about it), I realize it will be what I choose it to be with regard to the attitudes and viewpoints I exercise. Partly this means acting in ways that serve the greatest good and that may facilitate happiness and well-being for those in my immediate family and social circles. Smiling while engaging with people in public contexts can help me develop the habit of carrying happiness in my heart, coupled with acceptance and contentment.
Of course it is understood that any less than ideal conditions one experiences in one location are very likely to manifest again in a new location, so long as one carries those conditions forward within them. So contemplating current conditions is imperative for considering how to tweak the attitudes you choose to carry forward.
To me, this Travel Goal Setting for relocation goes way back in this lifetime (at least!). As my father was transferred several times to different states while I was young, I learned that in looking ahead to the next Big Move, I could use it as an opportunity to transform or tweak the life I had been living. When I was around 12, for instance, Dad told us the family would be moving around one year later from our home in Pennsylvania to New York state, near Niagara Falls.
Since at 12 I had become somewhat of an awkward, nerdy girl, I looked ahead to transforming my outer persona image in New York. I consciously changed up my wardrobe that next year, aiming to become a more “popular,” mainstream sort of teenager. When I got to my new school in New York then, I purposely sought to “get in” with what I conceived of as a more popular circle of friends. Well, it worked; however, very quickly that year I came to realize that the popular crowd I was courting really wasn’t who I am in the sense that my interests were far different from theirs. So after pretending for a short while to have a long distance boyfriend (wearing a ring from my mother’s jewelry case), pretty soon I figured out I wanted to be more authentic. I stopped sitting with this group of new friends at lunch time, even hiding in a lavatory the entire lunch period to do that. Then I joined a drama club and orchestra and started hanging out with new friends, more nerdy or artistic; people I really enjoyed being with!
The process I had undertaken to transform my life in the future from Pennsylvania to New York had succeeded, more than I could have anticipated. I have been more mindful from that point forward of who I am (or am becoming) internally, and more appreciative of authenticity itself. I enjoyed my high school years immensely. The choices I made then were formative of the person I am today in very positive ways; no wonder then that at 64 as I have just retired, my immediate plan is to return to New York, to my family and even to be nearer to some of the deep friendships I shared there.
Travel, especially for relocation or a Big Move, can be an act of Life Transformation. It lifts you out from whatever conditions have become routinized and familiar, offering new potentials for adventure and change. Because this is such a momentous occasion, a successful Big Move is deserving and requires major preparations. Preparations allow time for envisioning the adventure or the new life conditions you aim to manifest, so the more you prepare, the better for all your future prospects!
This past two weeks I have been preparing my house in Colorado to go on the market tomorrow as I will be relocating Back East at the end of July. “Staging” has been a major undertaking. New bathroom sinks, some new furniture for my next location, basically gutting and tilling the back yard, steam cleaning carpets, and cleaning and polishing/ renewing all interior surfaces as with a fine toothed comb, every nook and cranny. It has been like digging myself out from the comfortable, cluttered space I have created as my haven this past twelve or so years.
The process of returning my house to its pristine state in preparation for its own new occupants has allowed me to gradually come to better awareness of the reality that I am already now all but retired (officially June 30) and that I truly will be moving to a new location altogether. I will be two and a half hours from one dear sister and maybe six or so from another and eight from my brother and sister-in-law: much closer to family than this past nearly forty years. I return to New York state, which was foundational in my formative years; it will be nice to be able to travel as an adult to places I always wanted to explore more fully in my youth. I bring with me my dear Soul companion, Sophie (Shitzu/Yorkie) and my dear feline Soul companion, Emily.
images are from pixabay.com
I find that preparing for such a big move benefits from lots of time in contemplation and journalling. Inner preparation is just as important or perhaps even more so than the outer activity. Moving carries such rich potentials for creating the future you choose to manifest that it is vital to check in with your feelings, thoughts, and goals. Nowadays with the internet it is so easy as well to look ahead at the place and resources to which you will be moving or traveling. This allows your imagination to soar and scout out your destination, even before you arrive.
I welcome YOUR Comments and your own Travel or Big Move Story. If you would like to Guest Blog your story, you can simply email me at email@example.com.
Travel is a common Life Theme people identify with life mapping. Quite often, Travel themes appear as ‘spikes’ in a Life Map–punctuation points, as it were, that usher in new change potentials after the Travel events have occurred.
Travel, whether for planned vacations or for a major relocation, really can bring variety and spice to the adventure of being alive! When we venture forth to experience new environments and encounter new people or forge new relationships, we expand the horizons of our points of view in subtle and sometimes also in dramatic proportions.
Taking the much needed vacation may afford a “time out of time” effect. This is vital for shaking out your routine enough to allow new ideas to take shape for when you return Home.
“Up from the ashes” depicts the magical Phoenix bird that dies and is reborn from its own ashes, completing a cycle of birth-death-rebirth over and over again. The magical Butterfly as well, though a real being, literally dies to its earth-crawling caterpillar form to be fully redesigned and reborn in the chrysalis, emerging as a beautiful, delicate winged being.
Being capable of flight in their mature form is a common denominator of the Phoenix and the Butterfly. As archetypal metaphors, they thereby represent the primordial IDEALIST in us all; we are each of us capable of essential transformations of our own form and/or consciousness.
The Phoenix transforms from an AIR archetype into a FIRE archetype and then re-emerges as an AIR element archetype again. The Butterfly transforms from an EARTH element archetype to an AIR archetype form. AIR as an archetypal element connotes liberation, spiritual freedom and a spirit of adventure. As such, the archetypal transformations of Phoenix and Butterfly are also ALCHEMICAL; they have a MYSTICAL aspect of Ascension and Enlightenment.
images are from pixabay.com
When have YOU, or how MIGHT you, emulate the mystical Phoenix or Butterfly?
Reflecting on this question to provide an example from my own life, I can relate to the Phoenix metaphor in several aspects. I figuratively died to my early, formative life experience in New York state in 1979 to Go West, to Phoenix, to undergo the transformation of graduate school in a new career major, Anthropology. I might even say that then the later graduation from graduate school with my PhD and relocating to Colorado to conduct my career as a professor for the next 25 years was another Ascension, another death and rebirth so I could apply (give back to life) as a professor all I had been learning up til then. Now then, I have saved the Caterpillar to Butterfly metaphor for the next, huge transformation of my identity as I retire and relocate back to New York state this summer. I will emerge from the chrysallis of Academe to a life of greater freedom and opportunity for creative expression as an Author, with my book, Your Life Path–see right panel–being published this March and at least two more in the Life Paths series to complete and publish after that.
It is Prompts Tuesday at Better Endings for the weekly topic of Travel. How does travel help you to attain Better Endings or how have you used travel to facilitate Better Endings in your life? I was sharing yesterday about how I usually try to think of a trip away from the usual routine as a Vision Quest. Do you do that too? I find that setting up my trip focused around answering a significant question in my life helps me to frame the trip as a spiritual quest or adventure.
Here are some prompts you can use to focus on Travel Better Endings:
Travel as a means to jump-start your focus
Travel to ‘shake out the cobwebs’
Travel for the sake of travel and Adventure
Travel to consider future relocation
Travel because of longtime association with a place (like to check out a reincarnation feeling)
Relationship partner travel
Newlywed travel stories
Road trip stories
Travel as a pilgrimage
Travel to relocate
Driving vs plane or train travel
Hiking/ camping travels
Travel with your pet(s)
I invite you to write or talk about or contemplate/meditate about or artistically represent your own reflections on one or more (or another) of the above themes. I welcome your insights, comments and stories!