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“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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When I wrote Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease, I had the delightful task of interviewing six inspiring people whose dreams had a powerful impact on their community (and in some cases, the world). They came from different backgrounds and countries. Their ages and passions were different. But the one thing they all had in common was the belief that everything is possible.

One of the DreamMakers I feature in the book is Derek Lucas from South Surrey, British Columbia, Canada. When Derek retired, he had a dream – to give away sports equipment to children in need so that everyone could have a healthy, active and fun childhood regardless of income. With the support of his local Rotary Club, the police and a number of community agencies, the dream became a reality in 2007. Since then, hundreds of children have been able to play hockey, ride bikes and enjoy other sports. All because Derek followed his dream.

Recently, the community found a way to say thank you to the tireless 75-year old. At the Rotary Club of White Rock Christmas party on December 8, the mayor proclaimed the day “Derek Lucas Day”. How many of us will ever have a day named in our honour?

While working so hard on behalf of others, Derek has been facing a few challenges of his own. He was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2011. His chemotherapy treatments have now ended, and doctors feel they have nothing else to offer. Rather than becoming discouraged, he continues to approach each day with a sense of humour. As he says, his health issue has made him less of a procrastinator!

His positive attitude is infectious. As he says in this newspaper interview, “You can’t roll over and play dead. There’s a card that’s been dealt to you. Deal with it.”

When I contacted him last week to see if I could include an update about him in this blog, he was happy to oblige. He wished me a happy and successful year and added, “Incidentally, I still feel it’s important to keep following your dream and planning ahead.”

Thanks for the inspiration, Derek!!

Visit www.recforkids.com for more information about Rec for Kids.

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I was notified last week by my publisher that my book, Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease, has received the Reader’s Choice Award. This is the top award category from iUniverse and is only given to books that have good sales AND have already achieved Rising Star and Editor’s Choice status. Three cheers for Dream BIGGER!

The recognition is also based on reviews on Amazon and similar sites. I’ve had positive reviews from readers ever since the book was published. It continues to make its way around the world, reaching out and touching many lives along the way.

I’m curious to know how many of my blog followers have read it. If you have, what was the highlight in the book for you? If you haven’t read it yet, hey, maybe it’s time you did!!

In other news, for those of you living in Waterloo Region, I’ll be sharing tips from Dream BIGGER in my workshop on October 25 in Cambridge, Ontario. It’s part of the Confident Women speaker series and I’d love to see you there.

My dream for the past two years has been to help 100,000 people achieve their dreams. With the book, the workshops and this blog, my dream is becoming reality.

What is needed for you to achieve your dream? How can I help?

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I love to give updates on some of the DreamMakers I featured in my book, Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease. These people were inspiring when I interviewed them because their dreams had expanded to have a community or global impact. Now, several years later, they continue to inspire as their dreams grow exponentially.

Marie Ens founded Place of Rescue in Cambodia in 2003 with 15 homes for families living with AIDS. The original site is now a village with homes for children whose parents have died from AIDS, granny houses, a school and library and a church. Two more sites have been established in other areas of Cambodia as well. In addition, the highschool graduates are now attending university in Phnom Penh and living in a dormitory built by Place of Rescue, aptly named “House of New Dreams”. Did I mention that Place of Rescue is funded entirely by donations?

I spoke of much of this in my last update on Place of Rescue. Marie, the dynamic and resourceful Canadian who initiated this project, is now 77 and has no intention of slowing down (or moving back to Canada). Home is where the heart is.

In her most recent newsletter, Marie shares news of the latest developments. This fall, eight more students will be going to college or university in Phnom Penh, so another small piece of property has been purchased to build House of New Dreams 2. In this way, the young men and women will have separate accommodation. In addition, at Place of Rescue II (in Banteay Meanchey province), there are five students at university with four more starting in the fall. These students travel many kilometres every day by tuk-tuk or moto to attend school, so Place of Rescue wants to build two small dormitories in that area.

Place of Rescue III in Pailin opened last fall with houses and staff for 33 children.

There are currently two students (one Canadian, one American) volunteering to teach English as a second language to the children this summer. At least two more are committed to arrive in the fall for a three-month teaching commitment.

She also mentions two amazing Canadians who have been inspired to test their limits as they raise funds for Place of Rescue. Seven-year-old Samuel Seehawer completed his third annual “Ride for Rescue” in June. Sam was adopted from Cambodia as a baby by a family in Calgary, Alberta. He had been born with congenital amputations to both arms and one leg. He started Samuel’s Ride for Rescue in 2010 when he learned that Place of Rescue had welcomed a little baby named Sarah who faces the same challenges that he does.

In 2010, at the age of 6, he rode his modified bicycle two kilometres and raised over $26,000 for Place of Rescue. In 2011, Sam’s Ride for Rescue raised $13,000. This year’s ride attracted the largest turnout so far, and contributions are still being welcomed.

Meanwhile, Aaron Siemens, a 25-year old from British Columbia, has just begun his cross-Canada bike ride to raise awareness and funds for Place of Rescue. He and a friend left St. John’s, Newfoundland on July 17 and expect to arrive in Victoria, British Columbia in about two months. They plan to ride along the Trans-Canada Highway for most of their trip. You can follow their progress on Aaron’s blog.

There are no limits to what you can accomplish when you lead with your heart!

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

How often do we hold off on starting something because we need a little more money first, or one more course or a bit more free time or … ? The list can go on and on indefinitely. The end result? We never do what it was we said we wanted to do. And that can lead to regrets and moments of wondering, “What if …?”

When the idea for my book, Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease, first came to me, I ignored it. I pushed the thoughts away. I was busy writing another book and wanted to finish it first. I’ll deal with you then, I said.

But Dream BIGGER wouldn’t go away. It didn’t matter how many excuses I came up with (and I’m really good at making excuses!) it kept nudging me morning and night. Finally, I said, “Okay, but what’s the book about? I can’t write if I don’t know what I’m writing about.”

The idea for the outline appeared in my mind, fully finished (I kid you not). So I made some notes and went back to writing my other book.

Nudge, nudge. “Okay, so there’s an outline. But where would I start? I need more time to think about this.” And I went back to writing the other book.

Then, as clear as day, I heard the words, “Just start. Anywhere. Just start.”

And so I did. I started with a story about something that had happened to me and the rest of the book flowed from there. Effortlessly.

All I had to do was start.

So what’s holding you back from doing something that you want to do? How many excuses have you used so far? What would happen if you just took one step today?

There is a momentum that begins once we set things in motion. But we have to start the ball rolling. There is never a “perfect” time to start. But any moment can be the right time.

What have you got to lose? Besides future regrets, and who wants those?

Begin today.

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Part of the inspiration for writing Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease came from an experience I had in Costa Rica ten years ago. I was staying in a small beachfront hotel and it was really hot. I desperately wanted to go swimming but there was one gigantic wave getting in my way.

About ten feet from shore, the seemingly flat water began to rise, gathering momentum and height until it peaked, hovered and then came crashing down in a single, thunderous, frothing wave, racing toward the beach.

The Wave

The first time I ventured out into the water, the wave caught me by surprise and sent me tumbling onto the beach with such force that it nearly ripped my bathing suit off my body. The water pummeled me from behind and streamed over me as it ebbed, dragging me back into the ocean. Eyes covered in sand, I clawed my way farther up on the beach and then rolled onto my back, gasping for air.

I felt battered and bruised. I wanted to give up, but I also wanted to go swimming.

Tip #1: Your goal must be your top priority.

It seemed like an impossible task, but I could see other people playing in the calmer water beyond the wave. I realized that I needed a strategy.

Tip #2: You need a plan.

Readjusting my swimsuit, I stood up and analyzed the situation. As I strode out into the water,  I kept my eyes focused on the wave and began to synchronize my movements with the water.

Tip #3: Work with what you’ve got.

As the wave rose, I leaped forward and started to swim straight into it.

Tip #4: Take action.

The water descended, briefly engulfed my head, and then released me like a cork popping off a champagne bottle. I was floating in the stillness behind the wave.

I had achieved my goal!

Tip #5: Enjoy your success! 

I often think back to that moment when life pulls my feet out from underneath me and brings me to my knees. Events like losing a job, unexpected expenses, health problems, divorce or the death of a loved one wear us down like a series of tidal waves. It’s tempting to let the water gradually bury us in the sand. We become shell people – looking the same on the outside, but inside there’s emptiness because we’ve simply disappeared.

Sometimes we find the strength to pull ourselves back up to our knees again, but no farther. Watching from the shore, we settle for living a half-life and we convince ourselves that it’s good enough.

What if there was another way? Instead of giving up on your dreams, or settling for less, what if you stood up, brushed yourself off, and dreamed bigger? What could happen then?

That’s what Dream BIGGER is all about – inspiring stories of ordinary people who have done just that, and their insights into what helped them make their dreams a reality.

Tip # 6: Inspire others by sharing your story.

*****

For the month of May, Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease is featured in Barnes & Noble’s Rising Star Special Collection. So, if you have a dream, now’s the time to buy! The demand and traffic on this page is watched and followed by the B&N national buyer when considering stocking a title in the B & N chain of stores. Buying a copy will not only help you manifest your dream … you’ll be helping me achieve one of mine – helping 100,000 people live the life of their dreams!

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Two years ago, when the idea came to me for Dream BIGGER: Reclaiming a Life of Joy and Ease, I had no idea what the book would be about and said so. The response in my head was simple, “Just show up to the page and start writing.”

So I did. Three months later, the draft of Dream BIGGER was complete. I’d written my first book, something I’d dreamed about since childhood, and it was about to be published. It showed me that anything is possible when you’re willing to follow your inner guidance (and trust that it knows the way even when you don’t).

The writing process changed my approach to life. I think what I learned can be summed up in ten life lessons. I’d like to share them with you because I believe they apply to everything we do – a project, a job, a relationship,  a conversation, moments in a day, challenges and tough times …

  1. Show up with an open heart and mind.
  2. Start somewhere. Anywhere. Just start.
  3. Trust the process.
  4. Breathe. Often. Deeply.
  5. Take breaks and have some fun.
  6. Celebrate your successes, big and little.
  7. Whenever you’re stuck, take a hike (preferably in nature).
  8. Listen.
  9. Let go of  “the plan” and go with the flow.
  10. Be amazed, wonder-filled, and appreciative.

What would you add to this list?

*****

P.S. For those of you who received this post twice (today and last week), my apologies. You now know my secret – I write my blogs ahead of time and schedule them for the coming week. Last week, when writing this post, I accidentally hit the “Publish” button instead of the “Schedule” button, and off it went into cyberspace to all my subscribers. Oops! That’s my other secret – I’m human!

By the way, if you enjoy my blog posts, you might also enjoy the Wise Living newsletter. It comes out at the beginning of each month and includes an inspiring quote, photo and reflections for the month. You can sign up at http://eepurl.com/d-1Uf   (you can unsubscribe at any time).

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