Friday, December 12, 2014
I read an article a while back on what it takes to change your life. It was a helpful article, but it missed several important insights that need to be understood if we want to change our life and begin living the life we've been dreaming about living.
The first important insight came to me as a result of years working with clients in my counseling practice. I discovered that almost everyone eventually comes to the realization that they are stuck living a life that's not emotionally challenging or satisfying-----because we begin creating our lives at a time in life when we really don't have the wisdom or life experience we need for such an important task.
So the first important insight is the reality that you are not alone or unique. It's common to come to a point in life when you recognize that things need to change if you want to live the life you have dreamed about living. What will make you unique is having the courage to follow your dreams. Unfortunately, most people don't and they live to regret it.
The second important insight is the recognition that the changes you want to make are going to require courage, and the willingness to pay the emotional price required, to make those changes happen. This second insight requires embracing the reality that the price of change is going to be high. It may mean going back to school, renegotiating or ending an unfulfilling relationship,leaving a good paying job that has become boring, or moving to another state.
The bottom line: change is never easy. It always requires courage to embrace the fears that arise whenever we choose to enter the unknown. Unfortunately, most people are not willing to pay the price, and they too live to regret it.
The third important insight is probably the most important the most difficult for most people to accept and overcome. And that is the belief that you are not smart enough or gifted enough to achieve your dreams. The client that taught me this powerful insight was convinced that if she followed her dream and was successful, the visibility that came with that success would cause people to discover that she was really stupid and incompetent. Eventually she was able to "see" the childhood fear and conditioning that had been controlling her life for over 40 years! Fearful of the "visibility" that comes with success had prevented her from "showing up" and turning her dream into a reality.
I saw this fear of success control the lives of many clients over the years. Unfortunately, this is a difficult childhood learning to overcome, but those without the insight and courage overcome that conditioning, too often live to regret it.
The fourth important insight required to successfully begin creating the life they've dreamed about living is the importance of discovering your life purpose. Until your dreams include your life purpose; the reason you were born; what your soul came here to do-------- it's almost impossible to embrace the courage required to make the changes that will allow you to begin creating the life you've dreamed about living.
When you discover your "true" life purpose, it will include adding value to the lives of others. It is very difficult to overcome the fears that keep us stuck living a life that lacks meaning. However, when our focus shifts from improving our own life, to that of adding value and improving the lives of others, the courage to change our own life will cease to be an issue. When our life is about working for the well being of others, our personal fears will no longer have the power to control or limit our dreams.
I have never met an unhappy person whose life fully embraces their life purpose. And I've never met a person who has regrets about living a life that adds value to the lives of others.
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Thursday, October 23, 2014
The thing is, I hate to disappoint people. That word comes from the 15th century and it meant “removing someone from office” as in “dis appointing them.” Later it came to mean frustration with people who didn’t keep an appointment. I don’t have an office to be removed from…but I am frustrated to not be keeping appointments I’ve made.
In the past couple of years I’ve had to disappoint people…by not keeping an appointment. I’ve had good reason: Jerry’s health issues that surprise us every step of the way. A couple of years ago I failed to make events in Scott’s Valley, CA and Medford, OR because Jerry broke a vertebrae by sneezing. And then another. And then another. And then he had surgeries and then his systems began to shut down and gastro-urinary didn’t work! It kept getting worse and then he broke four ribs. “Cascading breaks” is what the osteoporosis doctor called it as she aggressively treated it. Jerry is a trooper but he doesn’t do anything typically. When his urinary tract began working on its own his urologist was in tears just as we were. “I didn’t think we’d get here again,” he said. But Jerry kept working and his body responded and he’s done well.
Then two weeks ago he fell while fishing. He said he’d broken a rib and there wasn’t much to be done for that so he didn’t want to go to the doctor. But by Sunday evening, two days later, his breathing was compromised and probably he wasn’t getting a lot of oxygen to his brain because I persuaded him to let me take him to the ER where they found that yes, indeed, he had two broken ribs. However, one had severed an artery and had been bleeding for two days into the lining behind his lungs and placing pressure on the lungs. Off to surgery he went. All went well. But then his system began to shut down again and so his stomach had to be pumped and once again aggressive action had to take place. “Years ago people just died of what you had,” his thoracic surgeon mused.
He’s home now. But it will be a bit of time before he’s back to where he was. At 84, healing takes longer and he already lives with 13 crushed vertebrae, residue of a broken hip, bladder cancer, colon resection…the list goes on. Seeing him at home is heartening. But it also means I can see how frail he is and that leaving him in the care of someone else in the next month or so isn’t something I want to do.
So I will disappoint people. I’ve made the calls. We’ve managed one rescheduling. Friends are covering an event in Pendleton where many of Letitia Carson’s descendants live (from my latest novel A Light in the Wilderness). I so hate missing all of these events. We’ll look at next year for new dates. Please check the events on my website for updates. But I will not be disappointing another appointment made 38 years ago, for better for worse, in sickness and in health. And really, I will enjoy the extra time with Jerry…and the dogs… hoping you’ll forgive me for disappointing you. Warmly,
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Due to the death of our grandson by marriage, Tony Barajas on September 9, the Benton County Historical Museum event scheduled for 11:00am on Saturday, September 13, will have an adaptation: The two researchers - Dr. Bob Zybach and Janet Meranda - who brought Letitia's story to me will make presentations; signed copies of A Light in the Wilderness will be available for purchase along with other of my books. The museum staff has been marvelous in adapting and I am so grateful.
Jerry and I will be attending the funeral for Tony Barajas in The Dalles, OR scheduled for 11:00am on Saturday. Tony was 28 years old. He married Mariah, our granddaughter, on August 4, 2014 and fought a fight against testicular cancer for four years. We were able to see him and Mariah last Saturday in the hospital. He was chatty, smiling, aware and so grateful for the woman at his side. He will be greatly missed by many. He has gone on to more life. In the book Orphan Train the author expresses a view of heaven that it is perhaps the memories of our best self kept alive in the hearts of others. If even a portion of heaven is such, then Tony's best self will be kept by many and we will all be a part of his heaven and he of ours.
The Willamette Valley Christian signing in Corvallis scheduled for September 13 from 3:-5:00 has been cancelled and will be rescheduled later. Kevin Ferguson the owner and a pastor met my heart when I called to tell him of Tony's passing, prayed for our family and opened the floodgates to tears. People are so good. Thank you for your understanding about these changes.
The Historic Soap Creek School event north of Corvallis, OR, from 1-3:00 on Sunday, September 14, will go on as scheduled with Jane's presentation, Bob Zybach's presentation and music by Truman Price. There is no electricity or running water there. Bring your hand sanitizer for the outdoor bathroom and your own water. We'll be roughing it like Letitia did...."