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Archive for the ‘Change’ Category

“What we call the beginning is often the end

and to make an end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.”

~ T. S. Eliot

It’s been quite a ride! I started this blog in August 2010 as a way of encouraging readers to pursue their dreams. I thought that if I shared stories of people who were making their dreams a reality, it would inspire others to do the same.

This blog has done this and so much more. And I have you, my readers, to thank for that.

Knowing you’re there, waiting for the next installment, has motivated me to show up at the page twice a week (nearly 250 posts to date!).  Your comments remind me that I’m not writing into the Void – you really are enjoying the stories, tips and ideas, and making them your own.

Thanks to you, Dream Bigger has had over 8,000 views from 60 different countries. Wow!

And my book, Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease continues to sell well all over the world (again, thank you!)

It’s now time for me to dream bigger myself. I’m not sure what that dream looks like yet. I know that writing will always be a part of my life, however I don’t know what the next chapter holds. In order to find out, I need to start by bringing this one to a close. You see, it’s only in letting go of the old that you can make room for the new.

This will, therefore, be my last blog post here, although the archives remain available for you to enjoy for now.

I am continuing to offer coaching on life, relationship and money issues (by skype and phone) so if you’ve enjoyed my approach in this blog and in my book, you can always reach me through my website for one-to-one coaching.

Here’s to you! May your dreams entice you ever forward!

As for me, I’ll be exploring the possibilities that await. And you never know, another blog may emerge from my meanderings!

along the path

Taking the path less travelled …

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I was reading a book lately and came across a question that helped me shift my perspective. Like many people, I tend to take life too seriously. I get caught up in stress and worry about money and deadlines. I find myself trying to squeeze just a few more hours into the work day. And when something happens to change my plans, it can throw my whole day off.

Then I saw this question.

“Will it matter a year from now?”

Such a simple question. Yet each time I say it, I pause.

A year is a long time. It’s made up of 365 days. Each day has 24 hours.

Will this stressful situation matter 8760 hours from now? I doubt it very much. In fact, I probably won’t even remember it in a week, let alone a year from now.

Sure, some of the decisions I make now will have an impact on what I’m doing in a year’s time. Since that’s true, I’d better make sure that those decisions are based on what brings me joy rather than worry.

So how can I take this situation and shift it?

First, by realizing that it’s not as important or serious as I might think initially.

Second, by asking myself, what is needed to bring more joy into this moment?

And then taking action based on that.

It’s all about living with joy and ease – the Dream Bigger life.

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“Imagine that every person in the world is enlightened but you.

They are all your teachers, each doing just the right things

to help you learn patience, perfect wisdom, perfect compassion.”

~ Jack Kornfield

Hmmm, that quote is  a little hard to swallow when you apply it to the driver who cut you off this morning on the way to work, the salesperson who tries to bully you into buying a product you don’t need, the co-worker who gossips about everyone else at the office, or the obnoxious family member who seems to ruin every family gathering.

And yet, it applies equally to all of them, just as it does to your wonderful best friend, your generous next-door neighbour who always shovels your driveway in the winter, and even your beloved dog, waiting patiently for you at the door at the end of the day.

It’s just that the lessons in patience, wisdom and compassion aren’t as easy to take when they come from a challenging source.

It may help to see each person as a gift in our life. Some gifts come wrapped in pretty paper, while others may look very unattractive. It’s what’s on the inside that counts.

And if you take the time to unwrap the gift, you will find unexpected treasure hidden deep inside.

So the next time you’re dealing with a challenging person, pause for a moment. Remember that they are human, just like you. And they serve as a teacher for you. What can you learn about kindness, generosity, compassion, and patience from this person or this situation?

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Over the past year, I’ve been giving periodic updates on the adventures of Peter Brother, the Canadian cyclist travelling from the Yukon to the southern tip of Argentina by bike. Since my last post, he’s journeyed through all of Central America and is now in South America. In Peru, to be exact.

He’s had some incredible experiences, met lots of interesting people, and continues to post updates and photos on his blog.

He recently celebrated his 70th birthday, and has no intention of slowing down. In his words,

“I’ve already done a lot in my life and could sit back and be satisfied. But in a sense I feel like I am a caterpillar about to burst out of the cocoon. I hope that my journey inspires people of all ages, to not assume any limitations, to discover what our true limitations are, our weaknesses and our strengths. It takes courage to do what you want to do, because there will be pain, disappointment, but there will also be more joy and happiness. The journey of life is to rediscover the heart, moving toward our heart’s unfolding.”

Peter recently had a first-hand experience of the pain and disappointment he mentions in this quote. He had spent the day exploring the sacred site of Machu Picchu with a group. When he returned to his hotel, he discovered that his bike was missing. He checked to see if it had been moved to the garage behind the building, but it wasn’t there. It had been stolen.

That bike had been his constant companion for over a year. It had taken him through city streets and mountain roads, along coastlines and across continents. It was a specialized bike, chosen because it was both lightweight and durable, able to carry him as well as his packs.

There he was, in Peru, three-quarters of the way through his dream cycling journey and … without a bike.

What would you do? Would you be able to dream bigger?

Later this week, I’ll let you know how Peter approached this. For now, I’m curious to hear what you’d do under those circumstances.

 

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Last week, I had the chance to see the salmon run in a river in Owen Sound, Ontario. I’d only read about it or seen it on television before. We hiked down to the river, not knowing the salmon were running, and when we reached the water, it was full of their long dark bodies, all heading upstream.

Salmon pausing between leaps

It was mesmerizing and, at times, frustrating to watch.

They seemed to line up like cars on a major highway stuck in a traffic jam, biding their time until it was their turn to make the leap up the next rapids. We watched them push ahead, jump and often slide back down into the pool below. Others would make it and slither across the surface of the rocks, slapping their tails feverishly as they tried to make it to deeper water ahead.

It was such hard work, leaping against the churning water, not knowing how high to go or what lay beyond the next rise.

And still they came. As far as the eye could see downstream, there were fins moving toward us through the water. And upstream, plunging on further ahead.

It was exciting and exhausting to watch. I wanted to reach down and lift them up to the next pool, anything to ease their struggle.

I kept wondering why nature has designed them to fight against the current when going downstream would be so much easier. Their instinctual drive is so strong that there really is no other option.

Watching them caused me to reflect on my own patterns. In what ways am I trying to go upstream, against the current, in my life and work? Is the struggle necessary, or do I have a choice?

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Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin.
Beginning makes the conditions perfect.”
~Alan Cohen~

How many dreams sit in a state of perpetual limbo? Do you have dreams, ideas or goals that you’ve put on the shelf, waiting for the moment when all the planets align? Maybe you’ve been telling yourself that you’ll pursue your dream of going to school, starting your own business, or travelling when … the kids are older, you’ve saved some money, the mortgage is paid, you’ve retired, or you can find someone to look after your pets.

Days, weeks, months and years slide past and still that dream sits quietly in the corner, its voice dimming to a faint whisper over time.

If your heart yearns for something different in your life, what are you waiting for? The circumstances will never be “perfect”. It’s only in taking the initial steps that the door opens and you are able to see your way forward.

Begin. Take steps.

Beginning holds the promise of all that is to come.

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As children head back to school, September is a great month for all of us to look at how we’re doing in terms of the goals we set for ourselves this year. Are you where you hoped to be by this point in 2012? If you were to set new goals, where would you like to be by December?

This is your opportunity to end the year on a positive note. Here are a few basic tips to help you get there.

  1. Prioritize one or two areas that you’d like to focus on in the next three months. Why are these areas important to you? What will improving these areas bring into your life?
  2. Set achievable goals. Be specific about what you intend to achieve and set a deadline (December 1, Christmas, December 31).
  3. Create an action plan. Look at your goals and make a list of steps you can take to get there. Break the list down into steps you’ll take each week.
  4. Include some fun time in your plan. If you’re going to work hard at achieving your goals, make sure you have some fun along the way.
  5. Ask for support from a friend, family member or colleague. Be sure to choose someone who is truly supportive and will provide positive reinforcement of your plans.
  6. Get started! Pick one step you can take today. Each day take another step. Track your progress and celebrate each mini-goal that you reach and pass.

Believe that you can make positive changes in your life and then, just do it!

*****

I’ll be discussing this in more detail on KW Magazine with John Maciel on CKWR FM 98.5 on Wednesday, September 12 at 6:30 p.m. (EDT). Do listen in!

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