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Posts Tagged ‘disappointment’

Go ahead. Make my day. Not in the way Clint Eastwood insinuated with that glint in his eye and the gun in his hand.

You can make my day by sharing a good news story. I love hearing how people take the time to surprise someone with delight, or make a dream come true.

Here’s a story that made today special for me.

For two years, a 10-year-old boy in Massachusetts had been saving his money for a particular Lego set. He plays with Lego every day, and has been since he was four. He had seen the Emerald Night train set online when he was eight and decided he had to have it. His parents insisted that he save his money for it.

“I kept all the money I got for birthday and holiday gifts, some of my allowance and some money I got for a research project (he has Asperger’s Syndrome). At last, a couple of months ago I had my $100 and was ready to buy the Lego set of my dreams.”

That’s when he learned that the set had been discontinued. He and his parents checked Lego stores in their area as well as online. The only place they could find them was on Ebay, and for double the original price.

So he wrote to corporate headquarters and asked if they had one there. The reply letter confirmed that Lego was no longer making that set.

Disappointed, he decided to use his money to buy a different Lego piece, but he couldn’t forget about his dream set.

Two days before his 11th birthday, a package appeared on the family’s front door step. It was from Lego. Apparently they had managed to locate one Emerald Night train set and had shipped it to the unsuspecting boy.

To say he was excited would be an understatement. His dream had come true.

So, go ahead, make my day! Share a good news story with me.

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In my last post, I wrote about the dilemma faced by Peter Brother after his bike was stolen in Peru. Suddenly his dream of cycling from the Yukon in northern Canada to the southern tip of Argentina came crashing down around him. He had managed to complete two-thirds of his journey, and now had no bike to finish what he had started.

It’s a good example of what can happen as we pursue a dream. Sometimes life gets in the way. Circumstances beyond our control pull the rug out from under out feet, and we’re left dazed and confused, asking why. And wondering what to do next.

At first, Peter was shocked. He spent a few days trying to come to terms with this change in his plans. Then he decided to see if he could get a bike built to meet his needs in Peru. He also explored the possibility of having a new bike, identical to the specialized one he had bought for his trip, shipped to him from Canada.

Neither option worked out.

At that point, he could have give up. So close to achieving his dream, and yet so far.

Instead, he decided to revamp the dream. He realized that he still wanted to go to Chile and Argentina. He wanted to continue the journey. However, now he would do it by bus. He felt it would give him plenty of opportunity to meet people, and to do some hiking.

So, for the past few weeks, he has been hiking in the mountains and the desert, exploring caves and glacial lakes. He will also be trekking to the world’s largest canyon in Peru, the Lake district in Argentina, Patagonia in Chile and a number of other locations.

His dream continues to evolve. In a recent post, he wrote,

“While in Hauraz, I had a couple of significant dreams, that seemed to me to indicate I want to continue cycling for part of the journey through Chile and Argentina. I am now rethinking about biking.  I will go by bus to Nazca and Arequipa in Peru and then bus it to Santiago.  Then I may pick up a “new” bike there.  Then go to Mendoza, down to the Lake District and cross back and forth between Argentina & Chile, biking and hiking.”

It’s important to be flexible and open while following your dream, yet keep in mind your focus, the main reason you started on the journey in the first place. In this way, you’ll stay open to possibilities and … those possibilities are endless!

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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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The idea for this post emerged as I sat out on my balcony one afternoon. The day had dawned bright and clear, not a cloud in the sky. The air was warm, the sun was bright, all felt right with the world.

By mid-day, I was heading home under the ominous threat of an enormous black cloud. Along the edge, I could see the telltale wisps trailing down indicating rain was falling in the distance. Thunder rumbled as I rushed in the front door of my building.

All afternoon, the sky danced back and forth between bright blue and dark grey. One minute the sun was blazing brightly. The next, the rain was pouring down.

I went out on the balcony during an “intermission” in the thunder and lightning show. The sun was shining again, but I could see the next storm front approaching like a runaway freight train.

It occurred to me that the day’s weather was a good reminder of the ups and downs of life. We sail on calm seas under blue skies for a while, and are lulled into believing that this is how life is. Suddenly, the winds come up, the water gets rough and choppy and we lose sight of shore. It’s hard to remember in the thick of the storm that the sun is still shining behind the clouds. Sometimes it feels like the storm will last forever.

In our lives, the rainy days can seem to last a very long time. Much longer than we want. Remembering that rain is a part of the natural cycle of life helps me to put things into perspective. The sun will shine again. Days of joy and peace will return. In fact, if you look around, even on rainy days, it’s possible to experience the joy of a sunny day – the taste of a fresh orange, the warmth of a comforting hug, the laughter of a moment shared.

The next time that life seems to be offering more rain than sun, try closing your eyes, stretching your arms upward and imagining the sun shining down upon your face. Take some deep breaths and allow the light and warmth to flow through your whole being. The world might seem a bit brighter and your heart a little happier knowing that it’s only a matter of time until the sun appears again.

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Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, the dream we’re pursuing just doesn’t work out. Or it takes an unexpected detour in another direction. When that happens, you might feel discouraged or disappointed. You might also feel … secretly relieved. Have you ever had that experience?

Recently, when our plans for buying a house fell through, my partner and I looked at each other and admitted that we were actually glad it hadn’t worked out. It would have added tremendous chaos and stress to our lives – trying to pack, move and unpack in a month where we were both extremely busy plus leaving on a trip. Suddenly, our condo apartment looked pretty inviting.

That sense of relief told me very clearly that we’d made the right decision to not pursuing the house deal further, even though it had seemed like what we wanted at the time.

It’s not always easy to know when you’re making the right decision, is it? Sometimes it’s only when the options have been taken out of your hands that you recognize where you want to be.

I remember going through a similar process about ten years ago. I was about to move to a new house (what is it with me and moving?) and I’d been offered an intriguing job opportunity. It involved working in Argentina for a number of months. I’d wanted to do international work for a while, so this seemed like a perfect chance. However, it would mean moving into my new house and leaving within the week for a pre-project briefing in Ottawa and then flying to Buenos Aires for four months.

Between packing, organizing all the details for the move and trying to make this potentially life-altering decision, I was stressed. And I don’t think clearly when I’m overwhelmed.

My son and daughter were home at the time. After listening to me list all the pros and cons, argue for and against taking the job, and work myself into a frenzy of indecision, my daughter reached into her pocket and pulled out a coin.

“Okay, Mom,” she said, “Heads you take the job, tails you don’t.”

What? Make a decision this big with the flip of a coin?

She flipped the coin. It came up tails.

And I realized I was disappointed. I really did want to take the job.

And I did.

Mind you, it didn’t turn out at all the way I expected, but that’s a story for another day.

The point is – sometimes something as simple as flipping a coin can get you out of your head (spinning round and round) and into your true feelings about the decision. Do you feel relieved or disappointed? There’s your answer.

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When you start out on the journey toward a dream, you’re filled with mixed feelings. There’s excitement at the thought of bringing something new and wonderful into your life. And anxiety because the actual outcome remains unknown. And sometimes, even though you create the vision, say all the affirmations, take every step and persevere through the challenges, the path doesn’t end up taking you where you wanted to go.

It can be discouraging and disheartening, to say the least.

I’ve had this experience numerous times in my life, and have just gone through it again.

Remember that house that I was so excited about in a blog before Christmas? Well, our offer on it was conditional upon selling my condo. And, in spite of countless open houses (including two on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve!) and endless showings (and very positive comments from viewers), and keeping the place constantly immaculate, there was only one offer and it was very, very low.

So my condo is now off the market, we’ve let the offer on the house lapse, and we’re readjusting our focus.

Do I know why it happened this way? Nope. At the time, finding that house seemed like serendipity. However, I do know from experience that serendipity involves flow. It’s recognized by the surprising ease with which puzzle pieces come together. Challenges are met with little effort and support comes from unexpected places.

That wasn’t the case this time. Something was off and although we all tried our hardest to make it work, in the end, it didn’t.

It helps that I’ve been through this before, so that makes this turn of events easier to accept. We may never know why things didn’t work out. Or, perhaps in six months, we’ll look back and think, “Aha! I’m so glad the condo didn’t sell and we didn’t buy that house.”

I do know that life has a way of working out and that, for now, staying in this condo is the solution that’s in our best interest. I also know that there’s something even better, a bigger dream, waiting for us. We may not be ready to dream bigger just yet, and that’s okay because what is for us will come to us, when the time is right.

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It’s interesting to watch how dreams develop. They may start as a random thought, an idea that seems to come out of nowhere. You set it aside and get on with the business of everyday life. And then the idea comes back, persists for a bit, and fades again. One day, you meet someone or get a tidbit of information that ties in with the dream and you decide to pursue it further. Sometimes that’s as far as you go … for now. No matter how often you put the thought away, telling yourself it’s not the “right time”, or it’s not “realistic”, that pesky little spark just won’t give up. It nudges, prods, tickles and tempts you into taking notice.

I see this every day in the clients I coach. It’s exhilarating to be part of the process, watching the dream emerge, take shape, unfold and blossom like a summer rose. However, when it’s happening to me, it’s not so easy to follow my own suggestions – to trust that everything will work out when it looks like it’s doing just the opposite!

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about a lovely little house on a small lake that my partner and I had fallen in love with. We’d been to see it several times, wandered through the nearby woods, and finally decided to make an offer. It had taken us months to reach that point, so when the deal didn’t work out (the owner wasn’t interested in budging on the price which seemed inflated to us), it was very disappointing. We decided to stop looking.

Within a week, we were searching online again. Just for fun (nudge, nudge went the dream). We drove by a few places, but nothing interested us. Then we found a place that seemed intriguing so we arranged to go through. It was even more intriguing from the inside – a great layout, beautiful wood floors, huge windows, a fireplace. But there were a number of questions about the structure. Still, it was within our price range so we began to do the “do we or don’t we” dance again. We made lists of the pros and cons, and the work that needed to be done. We drove past it again. And still we couldn’t decide.

“Okay,” I said. “That’s enough. Let’s wait til spring and look again then.”

Within a few days, we were online again. Just for fun (poke, poke went the dream).

Ten days ago, our realtors took us through that house again, as well as three others that looked good online. Still we were on the fence. Nothing inspired us enough to make an offer. We were discouraged.

As we left the last house, our realtor turned to us and said, “There’s another place I’d like you to see. Can I surprise you?” (the dream was chuckling now).

“Sure, why not?” I said, although neither of us was in the mood to go through yet another house.

We arrived at the house. I walked into the livingroom and my jaw dropped to the floor. It was warm, cosy and inviting, gorgeous wood floors and big windows. Everything in the house was finished beautifully. The kitchen was the space of my dreams. In fact, the entire house, from top to bottom, was everything I’d ever dreamed of … and more.

We returned home and talked. And talked some more. And crunched some numbers. And made an offer.

And it was accepted!! All within a few days.

So, just as I tell my clients who are impatient and discouraged when things don’t seem to be working out, your dream always knows best. When the timing is right, the dream will manifest with ease AND it will be even better than you could have envisioned for yourself!

Now, is anyone interested in buying a gorgeous condo? I just happen to have one for sale. 🙂

*****

Wishing you a joy-filled holiday season and all the best in 2012!

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