Alice laughed. ‘There was no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes, I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
~Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass
My husband and I grew up in Northern New Jersey. We left for a few years to attend college. We met, married, bought our first home and raised our son in New Jersey. We continue to work and live in the Garden State.
We dream of moving elsewhere to a place where we can live a simpler yet joyfully abundant life.
For years we’ve yearned to move away from the cold temperatures and heavy snowfall of winter. We envision being in a place where our work will be our passion, not merely a means to an end. We’d love to spend our leisure time enjoying the outdoors, without the need for sweaters, boots and heavy coats.
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” ~J.K. Rowling
We constantly discuss our plans. We consult with friends and family members who live in or near the communities we are interested in. We meet with realtors and visit the listings that suit our needs. We scan the Internet for information about best places to live and where to find jobs for 50-somethings. We spend oodles of time talking, planning, dreaming, hoping and wondering.
The dream seems unattainable. Life goes on in its mundane manner.
Our story is not unique. Many people feel disillusioned with their lives; they feel wholly unfulfilled. All sorts of circumstances tie us down, and we begin to believe our dreams will never come to fruition.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt
The poet Robert Browning once said,
“Each life unfulfilled, you see;
It hangs still, patchy and scrappy:
We have not sighed deep, laughed free,
Starved, feasted, despaired, –been happy..”
Each unfulfilled life lies still and hangs in the balance. Trying to visualize our dreams – whether it is a career change, moving to another location, exploring a trip to an exotic island – whatever it may be – can be an important first step toward making our dreams happen.
I have many blessings, and I feel a deep sense of gratitude for all of them. During my Second Chapter I’d like to finally take my first step toward realizing my dreams.
Here are a few tools I’m using to help me take my first steps forward:
- CREATE A VISION BOARD – While in my twenties and thirties, most vision boards were related to issues concerning career paths or confidence and self-esteem boosters. My vision board will be focused on where I want to live (hopefully coinciding with where my husband and son want to live!) If you’d like to try your hand at making your own vision board, take a look at Christine Kane’s “Mentor to Women Who Are Changing The World” – it’s a good introduction to what a vision board is and shows how you, too, can make one.
- SPIRITUALITY – I was raised in the Jewish religion as my parents were before me. I am not religious, but I’m guided by the basic Jewish principles of honoring The Ten Commandments, doing mitzvahs (good deeds) and believing in one G-d. As I grow older and experience life events (life, death, illness, anger, stress) I have many questions about spirituality. I’ve seen people who rely heavily on their faith while weathering their own personal storms and am amazed by their strength and courage. So I’ve begun my own journey to add to what I already believe in. I am reading books about Buddhism and the teachings of the Dalai Lama (The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by Dalai Lama) My daily meditation and weekly yoga classes have taught me about mindfulness (Jon Kabat-Zinn: Mindfulness for Beginners and Reclaiming the Present Moment – and Your Life). I hope my spiritual journey will help me to take a leap of faith toward realizing my dreams.
- 3. COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL THERAPY – I have a fabulous therapist. I consider her my friend. She has taught me CBT, learning how to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Acknowledge a negative thought, visualize wrapping it in a ball and toss it away, then replace it with a positive thought. (My positive thoughts are of tall palm trees reaching up toward the cloudless sky, lounging in warm sunshine with a gentle breeze, and enjoying tropical gardens thriving in their natural beauty.) CBT is difficult to do yet well worth the effort.
- 4. COMMUNICATION – It is important to talk to those around you about your dreams and desires, as long as you feel comfortable in doing so. It’s freeing to talk to others and let them know how you feel. I try to be as open and honest as I can. I am blessed that my husband and I are in sync with each other on how we visualize our future.
“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” ~Pamela Vaull Starr
We’re rounded the corner past 50, so now it’s time to think about how we visualize our life for the next fifty years. Where do you want to live? Do you have a passion you’d like to try? Would you enjoy learning a new skill(s)? Do you have a Bucket List? Whatever you’d like to do, visualize it, research it, plan it, talk about it and then (like Nike tells us) – JUST DO IT! (I say that for you as well as for me!)
SO HERE IT IS – THE MOMENT YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR! (Drum-roll please…..)
An Empowered Spirit’s first contest. Leave a comment directly on the An Empowered Spirit Blog (hit REPLY to this post) about what your dream is for your life. In your comment you must answer the following questions:
- What is your dream? Please describe it.
- Are you practicing anything from my list? (Vision Board, Spirituality, CBT, Communication)
- What other ways do you prepare yourself to realize your dream?
- Can you suggest others ways for me to realize my dream? (Please share your suggestions – I need to hear them!)
Please leave your comments on the blog by Friday, August 31, 2012. Two prizes will be awarded for the most interesting and helpful comments. I will announce the winners on August 31. The prize is a copy of the book, Tiny Buddha by Lori Deschene. I love this book, and keep it on my night table to read before I go to bed. It provides simple wisdom and insight that we can use in our daily lives. Tiny Buddha has enriched my spiritual journey, and I am happy to share it with all of you. (Also check out Lori’s website!) Good luck!
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DISCLAIMER: Comments from An Empowered Spirit are brought to your attention on topics that could benefit you and should be discussed with your doctor or other medical professional. I am not medically trained and my posts are of a journalistic nature and not in lieu of medical advice. An Empowered Spirit and its author will not be held liable for any damages incurred from the use of this blog or any data or links provided.