Cathy Chester | An Empowered Spirit

Living Your Dreams – Share Your Comments To Enter Our Contest!

Wonderful Florida

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:

 

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 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. 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:

  1. What is your dream? Please describe it.
  2. Are you practicing anything from my list? (Vision Board, Spirituality, CBT, Communication)
  3. What other ways do you prepare yourself to realize your dream?
  4. 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.

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16 thoughts on “Living Your Dreams – Share Your Comments To Enter Our Contest!

  1. janetroneil

    What is your dream? Please describe it.
     
    I dream to have a simple life, but rich with experience.  I would like to paint and teach illustration and mixed media workshops in Italy and Germany in the summer. I want to travel, travel, travel.
     
    Are you practicing anything from my list? (Vision Board, Spirituality, CBT, Communication)
     
    I have a strong faith in God and work on it every day.  I have created a few vision boards and actually make my students create them each semester.  We go back to them on the last day of classes as a reminder of their goals.
     
    What other ways do you prepare yourself to realize your dream?
     
    I continue working in my craft.  I create something new everyday and read about fostering creativity constantly  I make a daily effort to write down my thoughts, and re-work my goals on a monthly basis.  I take walks to clear my head and pray  for guidance.
     
    Can you suggest others ways for me to realize my dream?  (Please share your suggestions – I need to hear them!)
     
    Take a trip to one of your dream places every few months if you can afford it.  If not, get a documentary on those places and start looking for jobs in several of them.  Put your house on the market when you are ready – easier to buy than sell, so when you sell, you may have the catalyst to find your dream location!  Go to restaurants that have the “feel” of your ideal location or invite friends over for dinner and have a theme party or meal that reflects your spot.  Conversation can lead to brainstorming about making your move!
     
    Go outside as much as you can and imagine you are in your dream location.  For instance, mine is Sante Fe.  I bought dishes that look Sante Fe-ish, I make Mexican food, I take walks picturing myself in the Sante Fe landscape, and  I paint images of the area as often as I can. 
     
    I love your quote by  Robert Browning:
     
    “Each life unfulfilled, you see; It hangs still, patchy and scrappy:
    We have not sighed deep, laughed free, Starved, feasted, despaired, – been happy..”
     
     
     

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Janet,

      Your answer was simply beautiful. You certainly are an inspiration on how you set goals for yourself and, through you, spread your thoughtful ways by guiding your students to set dreams/goals for themselves. I can’t imagine any loftier goal in life than helping others to realize their dreams. Your students are blessed to have you as their professor.

      Thank you for sharing your dreams with me, and for providing me with ways to realize my own dreams. Santa Fe, eh? It’s been on my “Bucket List”. I believe when I eventually visit there, I will fall in love with the art, the landscape and their way of life (not to mention lack of humidity!). Gary and I have said we’d probably never come home!

      I will announce the two contest winners on August 31. Thanks for being the FIRST to share your dreams on my blog!!!

      Cheers,
      Cathy

    2. An Empowered Spirit

       @janetroneil Janet, Your answer was simply beautiful.  You certainly are an inspiration on how you set goals for yourself and, through you, spread your thoughtful ways by guiding your students to set dreams/goals for themselves.  I can’t imagine any loftier goal in life than helping others to realize their dreams. Your students are blessed to have you as their professor. Thank you for sharing your dreams with me, and for providing me with ways to realize my own dreams.  Santa Fe, eh?  It’s been on my “Bucket List”.  I believe when I eventually visit there, I will fall in love with the art, the landscape and their way of life (not to mention lack of humidity!).  Gary and I have said we’d probably never come home! I will announce the two contest winners on August 31.  Thanks for being the FIRST to share your dreams on my blog!!!  Cheers, Cathy

  2. An Empowered Spirit

    @Janet thank you for your love posting.  Your dream sounds beautiful and magical and very do-able!  I appreciate how you also commented on helping me with my dreams!  Wonderful.  Best to you always, Cathy

  3. Jennifer Jaff

    My dream is simple. I want to have nothing to do long enough to get bored. I want to have time to write — I have learned so much working with patients with chronic illnesses for more than seven years full-time now. I understand Chronicity in a way that few people do, having lived it and helped others who live with it. I need to write it so others can see it as a complete picture. I want to have time to sleep — I am so exhausted from having pushed myself so hard for so long. I want to have time to spend with friends. Working 15 hour days doesn’t leave much energy for other things, and while my work is important and fulfilling, there are people I’d really like to spend time with and I simply don’t have the energy. And so, as strange as this sounds, my fantasy is that I am told that I am going to die in a year so I don’t have to worry about spending my savings. I would stop working immediately, go to bed until I get bored, and then start writing and spending time with people I miss. Is that crazy? Perhaps, but I have read and practiced mindfulness. I give great advice to others. I just feel so trapped by the need to earn a living that I can’t figure out any other way. The promise of death — the need only to plan and manage for the short-term — is liberation.

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Jennifer,

      Thanks so much for sharing your story. Your gift is your work and, through that, you provide an important service to help the chronically ill. In the world we now live in, that is crucial. Your long days of dedication are admirable at best, but I hear in your reply the need to just “be”, to take the time for YOU. I wish for you time to breathe, relax, enjoy humor, sleeping long hours to refresh your body and the ability to take care and comfort from those that you love in order to sustain you. Your amazing gift has helped others. I hope you can find the time for YOU! You richly deserve it.

      Thanks for sharing your personal story – it is greatly appreciated!

      Best to you always, Cathy

  4. Susanna Catherine Mahoney

    Dream: to have enough strength to finished uncompleted novellas and stories in the perfectionist method, since everything has to A+ with this world.
    Vision Board, Spirituality, and Communication by promoting other Indie Authors and their works.
    Meditation, journal, and swimming, my type the crawl.
    If you want to relocate to warmer areas, there are programs and housing for disabled families and contact the MS Society 1 800 Fight MS in the state you are looking for housing and see if there is a rental or even an exchange program going on. You take over someone house and they yours.

    I like your blog and the quotes, I will share at my authors, artists and readers page at Message to my Children 2 Fantasy Escapism, thank you for the inspiration with every blog you write. Good Luck to the winners.

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Susanna,

      Thank you for your lovely response. You are certainly someone who is focused on living your dream as well as helping others to live theirs. I read your comments with awe and they made me glow. To do what you do is simply wonderful, and I applaud you for it. Kudos to you, Susanna.

      Thanks again, and thank you for your kind words about my blog. I work very hard on it, so it makes me feel so good when I receive such a lovely compliment! Thanks for sharing it as well.

      Best to you, and to your dreams, always,
      Cathy

  5. Mark Nathaniel New

    1. To live a stress-free life; to master the practice of Mindfulness, to enjoy whatever time I have left by doing something enjoyable each day. To simplify my life and discard clutter that comes in many forms.
    2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy; Rational-Emotive Therapy (Dr. Albert Ellis), Trans. Meditation, Deep breathing. Writing.
    3. Do something every day to move in the right direction; focus on a few things each day and do them well. Avoid toxicity in relationships and past beliefs.
    4. “Plan your work and work your plan.”~~”Avoid analysis/paralysis.” ~~”Assume nothing.” ~~”Be open to new ways of looking at things. Namely, be willing to shift and question old paradigms.”…Know who you are and who you are not….Be content with who you are…. Stay close to those who accept you for you are….

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Mark, Excellent, excellent, excellent! What wonderful answers to my questions. Some of what you outlined I already knew (but need to refresh my memory!) and some are new to me. All of them are equally useful in helping us live our dreams. Kudos to you for opening yourself up by sharing things you are doing to live your dreams. I am sure you will reap the benefits of living your dream because you have taken the time to find road maps to reach them. Keep us posted on your journey!

  6. Michael Winderman

    My Dream is a simple one but I do not know if I can make it happen. My Dad wants to go back to Paris with me, and relive His college days after the War. He has a rare form of Cancer (stage 4) and is undergoing chemo right now. I told Him if the Chemo is successful,then I will organize the trip. I hope that someday my Dad and I can sit at an outside table of a Parisian Cafe and talk about life,food,and politics. I hope we get to hear Jazz Manouche(Gypsy Jazz) at a seedy bar in Montmartre. I hope that He can take me on a insider’s tour of the Sorbonne where He got His Doctorate. I hope we can hit His favorite Flea Market,drink Sancerre at His favorite Wine Bar,and haunt His favorite Streets and Alleys. That is my Dream. Every day I meditate on it. I have started reading travel guides,putting lists together and working on learning French with Rosetta Stone.

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      MIchael, What a marvelous dream you have – one to be shared with your dad. I can picture you both toasting each other at a bar in Montmartre while you drink in the Parisian sights that only that magical place can provide (my favorite city!) I pray for your dream to come true and I can visualize it happening. He is a lucky dad to have a son such as you, and I know what a great advocate you have been for him. I toast a virtual glass to you, and thank you for sharing your dream on my blog. Bien à vous..

  7. Cathy Chester Post author

    From Paulette Edelson:

    Hi Cathy

    Our dream, my late husband and I, had been to buy a second home in the Hamptons on the water. We had great fun looking but there was always a reason for not buying. Prices were too high, the location was not right, too small and all the 5 kids would not fit into 3 bedrooms. Then we decided to forgo the Hamptons and look in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Prices were right, locations were right, houses large but how would we be able to maintain all the acreage and how would we be able to ensure the house would not cave in due to enormous snow falls? Then we decided to buy a pied-a-terre in New York City…oh, the reasons we found for not buying that would fill a book!

    We really loved “looking” but were always so happy to come back to Mt. Lakes. Now, 8 years later, I look fondly on the search yet my heart/dream is here. I realize all the “looking” was an adventure as stated by Pooh to Roo…Pooh and Roo are walking in the woods holding hands and Pooh says..I say, I wonder what exciting will happen today.

    As my family and friends live in Mt Lakes or nearby I truly feel my dreams have been realized. At the end of yoga, we always thank ourselves for taking time for ourselves. I thank myself for never knowing why we did not buy a second home until 8 years ago. I now know why.

    Some family and friends have bought 2nd homes and I truly enjoy my visits…but that is all they are, visits.

    Jack and I, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, had our dream right here in Mt Lakes (read Kansas) Somehow, reading or swimming at the lake with friends and family gave us such a sense of peace and love. When we needed adventure we went “looking”

    Cathy, you are such a mobilizing individual, I think you have found your dream….maybe here in NJ, maybe not, but you do know what you are searching for.

    1. Cathy Chester Post author

      Paulette,

      Thank you for your beautiful comments. I, like you, wanted a second home in New England….then Arizona….then Florida. Like the college search with our son, the adventure is “in the looking” – as it was with you.

      You wrote so beautifully about your search with your beloved husband, Jack, and I thank you for sharing it here. I think what you are eloquently saying is that our dream is within ourselves. Peace, happiness, joy – they are all within our grasp. The key is to know know how to dig deep into ourselves and find it, and then make it happen.

      You are a spiritual soul who can light up a room. I thank you for your comments to me.

      Namaste,
      Cathy

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