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What a difference a day makes...

Sunday, June 22, 2008


About 3 months ago I was listening to my favorite music while getting ready to go to work. I had awaken around 5:30 am, give or take. I usually wake up happy and ready to take on the day.

Once at work I get a call from the woman who kindly took our dogs to live at her farm, since we didn’t have a place to keep them; to let me know that our beloved Duke had passed away. Nobody had a clue he was sick, he didn't show any signs of illness, and I didn’t even get a chance to be there for him or to say goodbye. Only a couple months before I had also lost my mom. I felt this huge sense of despair and void mixed with remorse, pain and even anger at my situation. After a while of experiencing these intense and painful emotions, I decided to quiet them down by switching my thinking. I began feeling grateful for all those years and memories of fabulous times we spent together as a family.

So that night I was sitting on my balcony, the only space I have at home right now to be in touch with nature somehow, and while staring at the stars I started remembering what it was like to have everything I could ever hope for, and I was able to see it very clearly, and most of all to feel it. Soon I was up in my room all excited, I wanted to celebrate their lives instead of mourn their death. I couldn’t wait to put on the right music and dance, laugh and rejoice at my life, and be ever so grateful for all I've experienced, and for what I already have. I could see a bright future there waiting for me, just having to take a few more steps to manifest it, as it takes a few steps to reach me ;o)

It’s like that scene in movies with the two lovers looking at each other from a distance for the first time in AGES… her with a flowing floral skirt and long curly hair, pink ballerina-type shoes that tie up the calf, and him with light beige pants, a silky long sleeve shirt and Italian flat shoes. She yells at him from afar “HEATHCLIFF”!!!!!!! and he replies in a deep voice equally as loud and with so much love coming straight from the heart… “PENELOPE”!!!!...... and they run for what seems like forever, in slow motion, wanting impatiently to be wrapped in each others arms! And when they embrace and passionately kiss, almost instantaneously, they forget what it was like to be without.

Can you say you’ve had an interesting life so far? Are you grateful for what you have?

Do you know what you want?

Then go “Make Life Happen on Purpose”!

Hugs xoxo
@nit@

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FISHINGLADY66 7/2/2008 9:55PM

    ((( Anita ))) I was intrigued by your post so I visited your page and read your Blog. I am impressed. My DH and I lost my Daddy and his mommy on the same day, 2 hrs. apart, a few years ago. The next year I lost my mommy. Last year DH lost his daddy. After 43 yrs. of marriage we were all so close. I have felt so lonely ever since.
After reading your Blog, I found I needed to let go of the past and start living for today. "Living life on purpose" like you said. As I said on the thread: "You inspire me" You have such an uplifting spirit. May you be blessed and be happy.
Smiles & Hugs
Irene

Comment edited on: 7/2/2008 9:54:39 PM

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An Age for Celebration!...

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Tonight I came accross this essay my daughter wrote when she was applying for college last year, I wouldn't be surprised if that was one of the reason she got accepted where she wanted to be. But most important I think it was that she saw herself there, she believed!

Hope you enjoy it.

I'm facing a few big challenges right now, but I'll continue to post as much as I can. Include me in your Prayers if you can.

Keep Believing! its there for you.

Anita

An Age for Celebration
by my daughter at age 17

Brighton Gardens was a beautiful peach building with an enormous green landscape centered in one of the wealthiest communities of Southern California. The retirement home not only attended to Senior Citizens but to High School teens that sought volunteer hours. It wasn’t long before I joined in and added “Bingo Caller” to my resume. B32 I would call out dully, just to hear quiet murmurs and shuffles of old and discolored bingo chips. I would hear snickers from the Queen Bees, talking about how naďve Olga was to put mustard on her sandwich. Didn’t she know how bad mustard was for her cholesterol? Not only was gossiping a commonality, but complaining was quite routine as well. It was always too hot or too cold, there was just no winning with them.

First, there was Doris who’d sit at the living room’s plastic fluorescent couch everyday at the very same time. If someone had “her chair” occupied, there would be a beheading. Then there was Richard, the bachelor, who strolled around in his walker nodding to the attractive women who still had a head full of hair and a mouth full of teeth, dentures that is. Howard played checkers every Wednesday, and every Wednesday he’d forget he was to play checkers. Then there was Mae. She was the most vibrant, hilarious, and childish out of all of them. Oh, she was also the oldest, 103. I never heard a complete sentence from her without a pun to it or a chuckle that anyone who knew her could identify. It was loud and obnoxious, as was she. While I would watch the majority of the inhabitants sitting lifelessly and waiting to die, I would turn and see Mae swinging on by, cackling with her groupies. Her smile could light up any dark alley way, any night in absence of a full moon, any person in need of a bit of happiness. Here I was subjected to all these elderly people who were bitter and angry at life, and there she was making a joke about it. Along with what I used to call a burden, volunteering bestowed insight, appreciation, and clarity upon me, the clouds had finally made room for the sun. Despite the age, a certain maturity is never met and a certain immaturity is never left.

While I used to drag my feet to make it inside Brighton Gardens, I was now walking, fast that is, to get there. I’d stumble through the door first thing after school in search for Mae. I didn’t want to turn out like the rest of them, holding grudges, spewing anger, detaining regrets. I didn’t want to drag my feet anymore, anywhere. For the last 17 years I had been rushing my life; now I wanted to pull the reigns tight. I didn’t want to get old and sit in a chair and stare at the wall! I wanted to go play on the swings, scrape my knees, and get into childish trouble. I was young, I was healthy, and I hadn’t been satisfied with my being. I had been too preoccupied with the latest Hollywood trends and the gorgeous boys with the baby blues, that I hadn’t even appreciated my existence, my youth. I had always been worried about something, but I didn’t want to be worried anymore, I wanted to be Mae.

That was my turning point in life. My perspective and my attitude, changed. I discovered a difference in me, a positive one. I had a bounce to my step and an optimistic touch in my soul. I had never been so passionate about being who I was! I let go of my regrets, forgave the guilty, and just smiled. I had been at Brighton Gardens for seven months, and every hour I spent there was a blessing, for it opened my eyes to more than anyone could ever imagine. I walked in one day, with that little bounce, and searched for Mae’s presence. She wasn’t at bingo, she wasn’t in the living room or the dining hall, Mae was no where. As I learned, she passed away the night before. The receptionist told me stories about how she had difficulty breathing. While she was being reeled out with an oxygen mask attached to her face, she was laughing and hitting on the firemen, calling them “Cuties” and “Sugar Muffins.” I was told she proclaimed that if it was her time to go, at least she was going out with a set of good looking men. I will never mourn her death, but celebrate her life, as I now do with my own. Thank you, Mae.


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BFITTS 4/16/2008 11:58PM

    What a beautiful essay. It reminded me of my Parents next door neighbor Pearl who turned 103 this January. She still keeps her own bee's and makes quilts for the homeless shelter. She is also the most joyous person to be around. I've known her my whole life and she has always been that way.
I also can tell what a good daughter you raised to have that much insight at such a young age. Hugs all around emoticon

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HEALTHY4ME 3/2/2008 10:31PM

    OMG what a great essay, i would love the opportuinty to copy this - would take out her name for sure.
I work in a nursing home and boy would this ever brighten some of the days we go to work adn think another day. we have a Mae she is 100 and awesome. we have a Doris too adn sounds like that doris. Ironic isnt it.
Anyway congrats to your dd. for her great insight at such a young age and for realizing that you can live right to the end. hugs to her and Mae and you cos you said you needed some too.
Cindy

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Because We’re Keeping The Dream Alive...

Friday, February 08, 2008


Because We’re Keeping The Dream Alive….
By @nit@

It wasn’t until my kids started going to school that I paid attention to the way people work and interact, I guess I was reliving my childhood through their eyes, while using the wisdom of my years. I have a tendency not to dwell on my past, so I was always moving forward and never looking back.

I used to volunteer endless hours at their school and after school activities. I used to play with them like a kid. I began to pay attention to how other mothers did it. After all kids don’t come with instructions and I certainly didn’t know if I was doing it right or wrong. I wanted to be a “Perfect” mom, instead of doing what our parents did, which was “The best they knew how” instead of learning, I set my goals very high and I wanted to learn it all and do it right.

Some of the mothers were right there with me, every day, as volunteers in activities and the classroom and field trips, and the multitude of after school activities. There were so many you could chose from that you would go crazy trying to decide which one was best for your kids, so many classes that no matter how many hours they could add to the day there were never enough to do it all, learn it all and be it all, but there we were, plugging away and doing our best.

Then there were the working mothers and the playing mothers. Those that would meet for coffee at Starbucks and a game of tennis, a few trips around the world, some craft making class and wine tasting on Friday night, while the kids stayed with the nannies; or those who couldn’t afford to give their time to the kids because they needed her salary to buy books and wear shoes. Some I interacted with for years and some I never even met.

Then all of a sudden the kids grew up, and the friendship we had developed over their entire lifetime started to blossom, but at the same time I realized I had put my life on hold this whole time, and although I loved what I did, I needed to find out who I was now.

I knew then I needed to go back to my own childhood and try to remember some of the things I had experienced or maybe even left unfinished. But by that time I could hardly remember most of my formative years, so I went in search of my past and stated with my long lost family and childhood friends.

I knew I was going to have to spend many hours doing this, but I had the internet, I never doubted something good would come of this new Science Fiction World. I started with my highschool. I contacted the principal who happened to be one of my old classmates and dear friend’s cousin, so he got me her e-mail address and she gave me someone else’s and in a fairly short period of time, 4 or 5 months, which is nothing compared to the 35 yrs. I had not been in contact with most of them; I had collected about 75 e-mail addresses. Then I looked for a venue where we could all meet again one more time and catch up with our lives.

I did remember that we were never really a close generation, nor a large one, unlike my kids who just graduated from a generation of almost 1,000 kids, I think we were about 90 give or take a few. But I did know one thing, that no matter how close we all were, we did have wonderful experiences together for many years, and at one point in our lives, in some of the most impacting years, we were spending a big portion of our day together witnessing and being a part of each other’s lives.

And just like the mother’s from my kids’ school, there were those who wanted to get involved in making this happen, some that had major careers and trips and busy lives or not much interest in delving into the past, and some who had challenges and just couldn’t participate.

5 years ago I stood in front of about 70 of my childhood friends. They could have brought Ricky Martin to that party and we would have still continued to talk to each other for hours without paying attention to our surroundings. We had history together and we all seemed anxious to share on the history of the lives we had lived for the past 35 yrs.

We are a very special generation, a lot of stories have come out of our lives, some challenging, some successful, some failures, and we’ve even experienced the loss of some dear friends.

Not long ago I stood again in front of many of them, we put our arms around each other just like we did when we were kids and we will continue to do each time we see each other, with the appreciation of a friendship that lasts a lifetime. Only this time I know who I am…

  


Wanna come White water River Rafting with Me?

Thursday, February 07, 2008


Just something I wrote, hope you enjoy it.

Anita

Wanna come White water River Rafting with Me?
By @nit@

Five years ago I couldn’t figure out if my life was about to end, or about to begin. I had so little energy left to deal with the many obstacles and challenges I had ahead of me that I couldn’t seem to make sense out of the madness. But since I was still breathing, and somewhat excited with the thought that maybe, just maybe, I could still fulfill my last dreams, I decided I had to do something about the way I was looking at my life, and try to turn it into a game.

At first I picked the game that matched the feelings I had inside, so I could make the game believable for me, and since I feel like I am living in a “Science Fiction World,” in my game I saw myself having all these extra-terrestrials sending me tasks to do with a lot of challenges, and if I didn’t accomplish the task right, or even if they were just in a playful mood, they’d throw meteors that I was supposed to dodge. In the meantime, I’m here on Earth, on the California freeways, trying to make sure the cars that drive by at 80+ mph don’t hit me, while I run across back and forth avoiding the darn meteors.

I don’t know, maybe it’s all those realistic looking video games that my son has been playing for years, but that’s the way I felt about my life at the time.

So as you can imagine, even though I was managing to move forward in spite of the chaos, I wasn’t doing it without lots of scratches and bumps, not to mention the many negative emotions like fear, disappointment, anger, stress, amongst others. So after all the mistakes I was still making, I decided I needed to change the game I was playing. It still had to be credible to me or it would feel like a lie, but it also needed to feel exhilarating and adventuresome, so that the otherwise negative emotions could become positive to help me move forward faster.

Now I’m becoming much more familiar with White Water River Rafting. I’m still not fully on the driver’s seat, but I help steer with one hand, while grabbing on with the other, and it’s definitely getting to be a lot more fun.

Once we can realize that no matter how many challenges come our way, we can only take care of one thing at a time, that if we stress it makes things even harder, and that if we trust that we are still going to stay afloat, that even if sometimes it feels that the raft might tilt, we can still get back on it, then we can see that anytime now, maybe even on the very next turn, there is a serene lake where we can just float for a while, maybe do some fishing, enjoy the sun, the peaceful setting, the scents and the sounds, until we decide what game we’d like to play next.

@nit@

http://youneedanita.blogspot.com/

  


How to Get the Life You Want!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


This is an amazing self-help article that was sent to me by my lovely daughter, who happens to be my best friend and my hero. I'm including the little note she wrote to me, I think she knows what I need to do, ya think? You mean to tell me I actually have to go for it, not just wish I already had it? I think I better pick up the pace...

I hope it helps you if you need a pick me up too...

@nit@

Hey Mom!
I saw this article on MSN and I thought you might like it...haha so read on! It might help you. Love you mom thanks for all that you do.

Always, Lanny


How to Get the Life You Want

You've been putting it off forever — that secret dream to start a business, write a book, run a marathon.... Whatever your desire, ignoring it means denying who you really are. And don't you deserve better? Here, your no-excuses, no-regrets guide to answering the voice in your head that says, "I want more."
You're many things - maybe a wife and mom, prized employee, baker extraordinaire, or president of your block association. But perhaps there's another side of you that's itching to show itself, a yearning you're desperate to follow - to, say, bring out your artistic side or get a psychology degree. Or maybe you don't know what you want, because a dream you once had isn't in sync with who you are now, or because you're overwhelmed with all the choices out there.

Wherever you are on the dream spectrum, your aspiration may be slipping away. "We let our dreams lag because our overcommitted lives make them seem impractical," says life coach Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction. "We're spread so thin that it's hard to be 'selfish' and put your efforts toward something just for you." Plus, going after a goal may be scary: The fear of failure - or of how your life will change if you succeed - can be paralyzing.

Well, it's time to get moving! Here's why: When your day-to-day existence gets packed with too many "have-to's" and not enough "want-to's," you can end up with a constant, low-grade "Is this all there is?" kind of fever. And that's no way to live.

So use this workbook to help you achieve your wildest fantasies in whatever way they might fit into your life today. Over the past year, three women have been featured in REDBOOK magazine's Live Your Dream series. These women, Denise Mabilog, Cate Colburn-Smith, and Deb Busser, have accomplished amazing things - from publishing a book to singing in a rock band! Now, we're bringing their success secrets to you, with the help of Fortgang, who coached them. Ask yourself the following questions, and then read on to pinpoint your dream - and what it says about you. Then learn how to make it happen.

Ask yourself: Is there a passion you've abandoned because there's no room for it in your "real life"?

Photography or tennis or painting or sewing or...?

The mountain of responsibilities we take on as adults often leads us to abandon activities that once brought us joy. Maybe as a child you lived for tennis camp, but haven't picked up a racket since you had your own kids. For 42-year-old Denise Mabilog of Swedesboro, NJ, the fantasy of becoming a photographer - a dream she clung to through the time she graduated college - gave way to a challenging law career.

Why do we let go of pastimes we love? According to Fortgang, adulthood - and all that comes with it - makes us feel like we're not allowed to pursue activities just for sheer pleasure. Hobbies become indulgences that we get to enjoy after all the "important stuff" is done (and what a joke that is - how often does your to-do list get shorter?!).

Fortunately, passions are persistent - as much as you try to push 'em away, they're always there, itching to be let back into your life. As Mabilog can attest, reigniting a dream is well worth it: "I used to tell myself that photography would be a waste of time," she says. "Now I take pictures every day. I even set up a portrait studio in my basement! My life is busier than ever, but it's richer than ever, too!" Here's how to rekindle your passion.

Step 1: Give yourself permission.

When you think, I should use my time for more productive things, tell yourself that your dream activity does have a purpose - namely, to give you happiness, which will buoy you as you tackle everyday tasks, from preparing dinner to leading a meeting at work.

To make your commitment stick, get "permission" from your family, too, by explaining why you want the time. Mabilog's husband and son worried that her photography hobby would steal her away from them, but once she emphasized how passionate she was about her dream and that they wouldn't be neglected, their anxieties vanished. "When I told my 8-year-old how much my hobby meant to me, he really got it," she says. "Now, when new equipment for my studio comes in the mail, he's the first to say, 'Mom! Let's go set this stuff up!'"

Step 2: Make room for your dream - literally.

The writer Virginia Woolf famously said that one of the keys to a woman's freedom is having a room of one's own. Claiming a space where you can indulge in your passion is like saying, "X marks the spot." It's an expression of your decision to take your dream seriously.

So designate a writing area in your living room. Place an easel in a corner of the bedroom. Don't need a specific spot to practice your passion? Make an altar to your effort: Display items that move you (photographs, a row of vintage fountain pens) or create an "inspiration board" by pinning motivating clippings to a bulletin board (a poem you love, an ad for an exhibit you want to attend). When Mabilog set up her basement studio and hung her photographs around her home, she started to feel like the real deal.

Step 3: Set a date.

Every type of goal needs structure, says Fortgang. Otherwise, real life just washes over it like a tidal wave and sweeps it away. To build a solid foundation for this or any dream, construct a schedule: Decide how much time you'll devote to your hobby, whether it's an hour each night or twice a week for two hours, and block it off on a calendar - this "makes a promise" to that time and, by extension, to yourself.

Then, commit to that schedule for 90 days - that's just long enough to create a habit; face the challenges of making room for your dream in your busy life; and decide if you're going to keep at your goal for good, says Fortgang. "As you move along, don't judge the time you're using or try to measure whether it's productive," she adds. "Just get absorbed in the activity, and follow the joy as it develops."

Ask yourself: Are you ready to finally tackle the burden or bad habit that's been dragging you down?

quit smoking or lose weight or stop biting your nails or be on time or...?

To truly commit to these more "ordinary" yearnings, you need to give them the same emotional investment and time as "bigger" dreams. Know, too, that tackling this type of goal may be especially difficult for you if you've tried - and failed - to achieve it in the past. Or perhaps it's daunting because you're not sure you're ready to do the hard work it requires. Either way, the longer you let yourself live with this albatross, the more your self-esteem suffers. To change all that:

Step 1: Make a vow.

Quit procrastinating on this dream by being honest with yourself: Draw a line down the center of a piece of paper to create two columns; label one side "Why Now" and one "Why Not." In the "Why Now" column, list the reasons why it's the right time to meet the challenge (for instance, if you want to lose weight, one reason to go for it might be that you found out a friend has prediabetes, which was a wake-up call for you). On the "Why Not" side, note why it's not a good time (it might be unrealistic to commit to daily workouts right before two busy weeks of business travel).

Now, weigh the two sides: If you're ready to commit to your goal, write a promise to yourself at the bottom of the page, and put it in a place where you'll see it often, like on your bathroom mirror. If you decide that now isn't the time for this goal, decide when to revisit it. Write that aspiration in big red letters on your calendar.

Step 2: Find your cheerleaders.

"Accountability is the key to success," explains Fortgang. "You don't want to be left to your own devices when the going gets tough." Your support system can include family, friends, even someone you hire (such as a personal trainer). You might also want to try an online chat group like the stop-smoking site Quitnet.com, or check out "Drop the Weight for Good," to meet the women in REDBOOK's Real-Life Healthy Life program, and then form your own weight-loss support group (go to meetup.com/redbook for details).

Tell your pep squad that you'll check in with them at a specific, regular time with a status report (as in, "I'll email you after my weekly weigh-in every Friday morning") and when you need extra reinforcement ("The ice cream in the fridge is screaming to me - talk me out of it").

Step 3: Pat yourself on the back - regularly.

"Working toward your goal is an accomplishment in and of itself," says Fortgang. So reward yourself weekly: Put $5 toward a "new outfit fund," or give yourself a bouquet of flowers for staying smoke-free.

Be especially kind to yourself when you have setbacks. Instead of beating yourself up or quitting altogether, examine why you veered off course, figure out what you need to do to stay on track, and remind yourself that you're the smart, capable CEO of your busy life - and you have all the tools you need to keep moving forward! "Remember: You get to start over every day, every hour, every minute!" says Fortgang.

Ask yourself: Are you ready to reach for something really huge that you never thought you could accomplish?

Write a book or go back to school or renovate your home or start a volunteer group or...?

Your dream is a capital-B big one - and it feels like a mountain you're not sure you can climb. "These are 'wouldn't it be great if...' dreams," says Fortgang. "What's difficult about them is that people get tripped up by the 'how.' It's such a huge undertaking that you feel like you need to know how to do the whole thing from the get-go - and because you can't see the end, you think you don't know how to start."

That's what happened to 40-year-old Cate Colburn-Smith of Boulder, CO, who sat on the idea for her book, The Milk Memos, for two years before she finally went ahead and decided to do something about it. "I thought it would be impossible because I didn't know anything about publishing," she says. "But the experience taught me that it's okay to just start doing the work before you really know what you're doing." To jump right in:

Step 1: Hunt and gather.

Get your hands on any info you can find about what it'll take to attain your goal. Read online, check out books and magazines, investigate courses and local adult-education centers and colleges, and talk to people who've done what you want to do. Don't know anyone with "connections"? Call associations that represent the subject area that interests you (if you want to become a massage therapist, call the American Massage Therapy Association) or visit businesses related to your dream (Want a horticulture degree? Chat up the salesperson at your local garden center). "This is a confidence-builder because it helps squash the feeling that you need to know it all from the outset," says Fortgang.

Step 2: Tackle your fear.

When you're embarking on something huge that you've never done before, it's completely natural to be scared. "You're out on a limb without a net and you don't know what the outcome will be," says Fortgang. Keep your nerves under control by having an "anchor" - a tangible reminder of your goal that you can refer to when you start to wonder why the heck you're putting yourself through all this. That anchor might be anything from a mission statement that you write in your journal, to an object you keep on your desk, to a person (your husband, your sister, a close friend) you can turn to for encouragement whenever you need it.

Step 3: Take baby steps.

You don't need to know how to get from point A to point Z when you start. Write up a plan of small to-do's that will take you to one milestone, and then keep repeating the process until you've reached your goal. "The enormity of the task of writing a book proposal really worried me and my coauthor since we both have kids and full-time jobs," recalls Colburn-Smith. "Breaking the project down into bite-size chunks made it feel manageable and kept us moving from one step to the next." Multiple mini-goals also give you plenty of opportunities to celebrate your many accomplishments, which will keep you motivated all along the way to the finish line!

Step 4: Walk your walk.

When your hard work starts paying off - say, you've been accepted to a graduate school program or you've written half the recipes for your cookbook - act like the expert you are by identifying yourself that way, which will help you take yourself seriously. When introducing yourself, get in the habit of saying, "I'm a writer" or "I'm a chef." Or get business cards printed up with your new info, as Colburn-Smith did. Don't be wishy-washy about it: Statements like "I'm trying to be an author" or "I'm sort of working on becoming a therapist" can mentally sabotage you, while treating yourself like a complete success reminds you that you will be one!

Ask yourself: Is it time to cash in on a moneymaking idea that will make you feel more self-sufficient?

Go back to work or open a bakery or switch careers or launch a Web-based business or...?

On the surface this dream has a lot to do with financial gain and security, but it really arises from a need to find a vocation that has meaning for you - one where your "work self" and your "true self" can meet. As Fortgang puts it, "It's not just what you do, but who you get to be when you're doing it." The hardest part about this kind of goal is convincing yourself that you're qualified to take it on, says Fortgang. Here's how to muster your courage.

Step 1: Redefine "expert."

You might think that people who succeed in their field spend years learning about their craft before they take a single step forward. Not so! "I tell clients to start thinking of an 'expert' as someone who knows how to get the answers, not someone who knows all the answers," says Fortgang. So do some investigating to find out the first step you need to take to make your dream a reality - which will instantly empower you. Should you get a degree or advanced training? Does anyone else have a patent for your product idea? Even the tiniest bit of information will help propel you forward.

Step 2: Road-test your dream.

Small forays are fine. Substitute or volunteer at a school before you commit to a full-time teaching career. Gauge reactions to your dream of opening a bakery by offering to sell sweets at your kid's next school function. A little experience will help you fine-tune your plan and determine your potential for success before you take big risks with your time or money.

Step 3: Establish a time frame.

"When I started my life-coaching business 15 years ago, my husband and I decided I'd try it for one year, and then I'd evaluate my progress and decide whether to move forward," says Fortgang. By having a specific "just try it out" period, you stay focused on your goal without any do-or-die pressure.

Ask yourself: Do you have the guts to go after the "just once" dream you've never dared to try?

Run a marathon or go on an African safari or sing in a rock band or try skydiving or...?

These "one-hit wonder" dreams often represent deeper longings, says Fortgang, that might not even be on your radar. Take, for instance, 40-year-old Deb Busser of Dunstable, MA, who dreamed of singing with a rock band. Busser discovered that achieving this goal was really a way to prove that she could fearlessly just be herself in front of a group and become a motivational speaker. Here's how to accomplish your fantasy and reveal the hidden desire it can represent.

Step 1: Build in a "can't flake out" clause.

Onetime, daring dreams take guts, so find a way to avoid chickening out. Enlist a friend to join you in your skydiving adventure, and put down a nonrefundable deposit. Invite everyone you know to come to the poetry slam where you'll read your work. Busser turned her rock-star fantasy into a "Battle of the Bands" charity event, which meant she had to get on stage no matter what. "The experience taught me that I could be okay with being nervous and just relinquish control and go for it," she says. "It was one of the most amazing - and liberating - feelings I've ever experienced!"

Step 2: Use your skills.

So what if you've never run more than three miles? Use the talents you already have as a tool kit for training for that marathon: Think of times when you used the mind-over-matter discipline your goal requires (Hel-lo! Childbirth?). Busser, a human resources consultant, used her business skills when she pitched her fund-raiser concept to a community group, who loved her idea and put the plan in motion.

Step 3: Uncover your deeper dream.

Ask yourself, "Why am I doing this?" If it's just to have fun, great! But under-the-surface reasons are worth exploring: Your mountain-climbing dream might actually symbolize a desire to prove to yourself that you're brave enough to tackle another difficult obstacle in your life. Your wish to see the European city that your grandparents emigrated from may represent a yearning to strengthen your family ties at home. Once you've figured out what's really behind your "just once" fantasy, you'll be that much more motivated to give both pursuits your all!

Whatever your goal, you've already got the tools to stop dreaming and start doing.

"Once you've cut through all the baloney and the beliefs that have held you back," says Fortgang, "there's no limit to what you can achieve." And here's a bonus: Being true to yourself by following your heart's desire benefits not only you, but also the people you love. That's because giving to yourself recharges your spirit - which enables you to give more of yourself as a wife, a mom, a friend. The bottom line: Being 100 percent who you are - not 75 percent, and not 86.7 percent - is the not-so-hidden key to a happier life. And what could be more important than that?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EGR2BEME 2/1/2008 1:10AM

    Thank you for posting this! I have copied it into a Word document so I can read it and plan my goals.

I have been struggling of late, and really want to begin again!

Best of luck Anita!

Ellen

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