I saw the sign on the wall of a public restroom. The first four words were ‘Please do not flush.” What followed were the items I’d expect to see on such a sign – paper towels, wipes and disposable diapers.
The next line was for something less likely but still very possible: Cell phones. I have a friend who dropped her phone in a public toilet so know this does happen.
I was amused to see we were next told not to flush kittens, puppies and dead goldfish. I’ve heard of flushing goldfish but not in a public restroom. Puppies and kittens – never! The sign had just become interesting enough to keep me reading.
The last items listed were old love letters and hopes and dreams. With a love gone wrong, these could be linked together.
However, it was the last part of this line that resonated with me. I have been tempted to flush away my hopes and dreams.
Sometimes they appeared too big to accomplish. Other times the struggle to reach them seemed overwhelming. Thoughts such as, “Who do I think I am to reach for these dreams?” flooded my mind. Fear of failure washed over me like a tsunami. If I just give up I don’t have to risk failing. In effect, I flush away my dreams so no evidence remains.
I’ve heard it said that people who avoid failure also avoid success. I don’t want to be one of those people so will take the final words on the sign to heart. Hopes and dreams are not to be flushed away.
When you fall into the trap of making excuses, you limit yourself from going after your dreams. “I can’t” is the lie you tell yourself so you don’t have to try.” – Robert Herjavec
Have you heard the saying, “Somebody pinch me so I know I’m not dreaming”? That is exactly how I felt.
My husband and I had a long time dream and were about to make it happen. The time for saying, “One day we’d like to” had come to an end.
Too many times we have let opportunities pass us by. This time we weren’t going to look back in regret, wondering what it would have been like.
Plans were set in motion and initial preparations were started. We told others about our plans. It surprised us to hear how many people wanted to do the same. Not only were we going after our dream, we would also be living that of many others as well.
We packed up Vanessa, our 1996 travel van and headed across Canada.
Intentionally, we kept our schedule flexible. We had a rough idea of timing for some areas and commitments for specific dates in others. For the most part, we were free to go where the wind, or whim, took us.
Nine weeks and over 16,000 km on the road in a camper van was certainly the adventure of a lifetime for us. We witnessed firsthand the diverse beauty of our country. We were inspired by people we met. We overcame challenges and shared frustrations and laughter.
I learned to be content in a small space. I enjoyed not knowing what we might see during the day or where we would stop for the night. Having our food and accommodation with us gave us incredible flexibility. I am convinced this trip helped me to embrace a spontaneity that had been hidden for far too long. That in itself was a gift.
Now instead of saying, “One day” we have amazing memories of pursuing our dream and turning it into a dream come true.
My husband and I enjoy visiting farmer’s markets and speaking to the vendors. We always find it interesting to learn about why they are producing and selling their products.
During our travels, we heard several stories that inspired us with their passion. These were the people we wanted to support with our purchases.
One woman had moved far from home to take a high paying job. She worked hard, saved her money and after several years was able to move back to her small hometown with the funds needed to start her own business. The dairy-free cheese and dips she made were delicious. She told us of many trials before the recipes were perfected. Now she was producing a product that was filling a need. She was passionate about what she did and it showed.
Another woman had a small vintage trailer in a market parking lot. We commented on her trailer and were treated to a little of her life story. Michele had a mother fighting cancer. She realized life is too short to be unhappy so took early retirement. Her retirement fund was spent purchasing and fixing up the trailer and doing some bucket list travelling. Now she was doing what she loved, making crafts and selling them at markets. She had a passion for life and living it to the fullest.
These were only two of the stories we heard. Both women had to make sacrifices to follow their dreams. Both told us how much happier they were now they were living with passion and purpose.
When I live with passion, I am better able to support and encourage others wanting to do the same.
Do you have a dream you’d like to follow? What would it take for you to live a life of passion? How can I encourage you?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
Something had been troubling me since early evening. The issue had been resolved but my mind couldn’t quite let it go.
A few hours later, when I went to bed, the matter had finally been put to rest. Or, so I thought. Several times in the night I awoke after magnified scenarios of this issue took control of my dreams.
I would chastise myself for these negative thoughts and then fall back into a fitful sleep. Unsuccessful attempts to redirect my mind resulted in frustration and loss of sleep.
Eventually, I found the perfect way to calm my mind and drift into a peaceful sleep. I started to pray but instead of asking God to take away the troubling thoughts, I changed my focus. Instead, I concentrated on praising God and thanking Him for what He has done in, for and through me.
The Bible tells us, “He will keep in perfect peace, those whose minds are focused on Him.”
I experienced this fully when pleasant dreams appeared once again.
“My mouth joyfully praises you, whenever I remember you on my bed, and think about you during the nighttime hours.” Psalm 63:5-6 NET
Do you ever feel like you’re barely holding on? If you relax just a little, an avalanche of trouble will descend on you?
That’s the image I had when I took the picture above. The snow hanging over the edge of the roof was fighting a losing battle and couldn’t hold on much longer.
Some of us are feeling like that right now with our endless winter weather, wondering if we can last until spring finally arrives.
In other cases, it may be health issues. Currently, I’m recovering from an injury. The first week I was content to wait for healing to take place. Now, almost four weeks later, I’m impatient to get back to my regular routine. It will happen, just not as quickly as I would like. Perhaps there is a lesson for me in the waiting.
This holds true in many areas of life. The big question is how do I know what to hold onto and what to let go?
Past hurts and regrets serve no useful purpose and should not be held onto. The belief that I must take care of every detail myself or life will come to a screeching halt must also be let go. These will leave me bitter and disillusioned. Been there, done that, don’t care to repeat it.
What I won’t let go of are my dreams, goals and the hope that my life can make a difference in that of another. Those are things worth holding on to.
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. – Albert Einstein
Here we are at the beginning of a brand new year, filled with possibilities. This is a time of anticipation and hope for the future.
I recently read something that asked the thought-provoking question, “When was the last time you did something for the first time?”
If you are having difficulty coming up with an answer to this, it’s been too long!
What better time than now? I’m not talking about making New Year’s resolutions. Over the years I’ve made many of these; some have been successfully achieved and many others have not. All too often they are forgotten in a couple of months or even weeks.
It’s not another resolution I’m referring to here but the opportunity to follow your dreams, goals and passions. They may seem out of reach. Is it crazy to take steps towards something that you can’t be certain of?
I guess that depends if you can be content in your safe, predictable life or if you want more. I’ve discovered by forcing myself to stretch I can reach much more than I thought possible.
I needed to step out of my comfort zone and do something that required a leap of faith. This required suspending my limiting thoughts and believing in the possibilities.
A quote by Mark Batterson (author of The Circle Maker) helped me put this into perspective. “I learned that if you’re not willing to put yourself in ‘this is crazy’ situations, you’ll never experience ‘this is awesome’ moments.
So, call me crazy but I am determined to start this year not with resolutions, but with embracing first time experiences and the possibilities they hold. I hope you will do the same. It’s going to be awesome!
I have a friend whose son has recently achieved his longtime dream of becoming a commercial pilot. She told me a story of one of his first flights and gave me permission to share.
Her son came home and said, “Mom, I was always the child that wanted to sit in an aisle seat with the hope of being able to see into the cockpit. I would lean into the aisle and watch for the cockpit door to be opened so I could get a glimpse inside. At the time I wondered if I would ever be able to fly an airplane.”
On one of his first flights, he looked back when a flight attendant opened the door to ask a question. There he saw people down the aisle of the plane, straining to get a look into the cockpit, where he now sat. This moment took him back to the childhood memory and reinforced that he has achieved his dream.
I loved this story and thought of how sometimes we need to look back to where we once were in order to see how much we’ve accomplished. I’ve been told there are only two good reasons for looking into the past; one is to learn from it and the other is to see how far we’ve come.
This is a good reminder for me. I can easily get frustrated because I haven’t achieved all that I hoped to. The next time this happens, I need to stop and think of the progress I have made. I may not be where I wanted to be but I am not where I once was.
Sometimes the only way to realize how far I’ve come is to remember where I started from. This is a good lesson for all of us.
Have you ever tucked away mementos for safe-keeping and then forgotten about them? I have. Recently I opened a drawer to place something else inside and knew it was time to sort through the over-stuffed contents.
Everything was removed as I considered whether to keep or discard the items. A large stack of cards from a milestone birthday took up half the drawer. I enjoyed reading them before they went to recycling. Assorted family photos brought back many happy memories. Those went back in the drawer.
Photo ID cards for my husband and me from Expo 86 in Vancouver showed that time hasn’t been standing still. In my mind, I look the same, but the mirror tells a different story!
Most of the items were familiar but one caught me by surprise. I don’t remember it and have no idea who gave it to me. Since it was with items more than ten years old, I’m assuming this bookmark has been tucked away quite some time.
The words You Are a Lover of Words . . . One Day, You Will Write a Book” are printed at the top. A lovely sentiment is below. Today you know me as a writer, but what you may not know, is I only started writing five years ago. Three years ago, my first book was released.
Someone saw a gift in me many years before I had the confidence to believe in myself. Now, reading this bookmark brings tears to my eyes. I was meant to be a writer. Pretending it wasn’t possible didn’t stop the process, only delayed it. The voice in my head telling me I wasn’t good enough was lying.
I’m telling you this because I believe many of you have also let this critical voice stop you from going after your dreams. Don’t believe the lies. Tell it to STOP and then go and do what you were born to do.
It had been many years since we’d planted tulip bulbs and I was watching the progress with great anticipation. Several were almost ready to bloom. I took a picture of one of the buds and planned to take another when the flower was in full bloom.
Well, I did get another picture of this stalk, but it was not what I had hoped for. The nice, plump bud had been eaten by the wild rabbit that lives in our neighbourhood. Several more of these promising flowers had suffered the same fate.
There are still a few buds remaining so either our furry friend had his fill or moved on to sample the fare in another garden. Either way, I can’t count on this not being repeated with the other flowers.
Yes, I am disappointed. Being upset won’t do me any good, though, so I started looking for the life lesson that must be there for me. It didn’t take long to find!
There are times in life I have had great plans that haven’t quite made it to fruition. Like the blooms, they were so close I could almost smell their fragrance. At the last minute, something came along and nipped them in the bud.
Maybe the opportunity wasn’t the right one for me. Perhaps I had more to learn. No matter the reason, I need to keep planting my dreams and goals. It can be scary to risk again knowing things may not turn out the way I hope. The chance is worth it though because that’s what helps me learn and grow.
“If you are never scared, embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take chances.” Julia Soul
The small fishing boat anchored near shore seemed to be an attraction for several pelicans. They hovered nearby, a few in the air and others approaching on the water.
When we got closer, it was easy to see what was luring them to the boat. The fisherman was cleaning his catch. As he sliced into the fish, the unwanted pieces were tossed overboard. Instead of going to the work of catching their own fish, these birds were happy to feast on the unwanted scraps.
I wondered how often in life I’ve been happy to settle for scraps when, with a little effort, I could have had so much more.
Do I work hard towards my goals and dreams or give up thinking they require more talent or ambition than I possess? Is it much easier to associate with those who have achieved what I desire, hoping some of their talent will spill over on me? Maybe they will have an abundance of what I’m looking for and I can hover nearby for the scraps.
This is not a pretty picture, but one I’m sure I’ve been guilty of at one time or another. Watching these birds settling for scraps was a visible reminder of who I don’t want to be.
What I’m reaching for won’t happen overnight, but given time and dedication, is achievable. If I truly believe in myself there will be no need to settle for scraps.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“All great achievements require time.” Maya Angelou
“Never underestimate your own strength. You were born for a purpose and are blessed with the power to achieve it.” Leon Brown