“Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness.” -Leo Tolstoy
Kim is one of the friends I made through Twitter and Owning Pink. I love her. She is inspiring, uplifting, and just plain wonderful. Since she last wrote for my blog she has gone Zumba crazy! I’d love it if I lived in her town and could take her classes because I’m quite sure they are fantastic. Please enjoy the following click from Grateful Kim!!! (The picture here is from the opportunity she explains in the post.)
Several months ago I clipped out a 3″x2″ piece of paper out of a magazine and put it on my bathroom mirror. It reads: “Starting small can lead to some really big things.” I suppose at the time I clipped it out I was struggling for change, so the words appealed to me. I needed something bigger, something better. As usual, however, I had no idea what it was. The feeling is always a yearning, a desire for more, a knowing that I am capable of something extraordinary, coupled with a voice that says I’m too old, too inexperienced and much too incapable. Any chance you have that same voice in your head?
I see that little piece of paper everyday. It has been splashed on, crumpled and probably even has sprays of toothpaste on it, but it faithfully greets and reminds me of what to do. That tiny little piece of paper serves as my reminder that I don’t have to have all the answers and all the tasks of life completed by end of business day….today! Just take a step….a baby step…then wake up tomorrow and take another one. And pretty soon, all those steps will have lead to something that thrills me.
Today is one of those days that thrill me.
Without going into a whole lot of background (you can read my Zumba experience right here), I will tell you that I fell in love with Zumba Fitness less than a year ago. I became certified to teach Zumba back in February 2010 and took additional training/certification to improve my teaching just this past August. Simply put…I love Zumba. I love the dance, the music, the sharing, the classes and the connections I have made with people. Finally I feel at home in something, and can use my gifts and talents to enhance my life and the lives of others just by doing something I love.
I received an email a little over a month ago with an opportunity to audition for a new set of Zumba DVDs, that I assume will be sold as a home fitness package. That little voice? Yeah…he TOTALLY told me I was too old and not good enough. But my friends, acquaintances and family told me otherwise, which gave me all the encouragement I needed to go for it. Amazingly enough, my audition went well and I was selected. The words in this blog cannot fully express my joy and excitement and how I feel.
As a bonus to being selected, I have been invited to take a Zumba class with the creator of Zumba, Mr. Beto Perez. It’s tonight. It’s in Hollywood. It’s unbelievable to me that this is happening. As I write this blog it’s 4:45 in the morning because my adrenaline is flowing and sleep is just getting in the way of experiencing all the joy. Tonight can’t come soon enough, but one thing is for sure, I’m going to need a nap at some point today to refuel my energy. I’m excited, but I’m not a machine. LOL!
So much is happening. I’m taking a class with Beto-friggin-Perez. I’m in the midst of planning a Zumbathon for Breast Cancer that, so far, seems to be touching a lot of people. In one week and three days from today I’ll be in rehearsals and filming for a Zumba video. This is some crazy stuff people! I’m a 45-year old suburban wife, mother and realtor for goodness sakes! And sometimes when success comes (MY version of success, just for the record) I get this strong desire to pull back the reins and yell “Stop! No, no, no…it’s too much. I can’t handle it. I’ll never pull it off.”
This time, I’m not stopping. I’m going to dance my way into the unknown, go for the experiences and share the joy with anyone willing to listen. Because what I now understand, is when you love something and give it 100% of your energy, there’s no way you can fail. The journey itself is one hell of a ride!
What are your dreams? Can you take one small step toward them today? Because you know what? “Starting small can lead to some really big things.”
I’ve connected with Tricia through the Owning Pink Posse. I’d read some of her blog posts on the Posse and intended to ask her to write for me. When she sent me a Facebook request a few weeks ago I immediately asked her to write for me. She sent me the following story and I was pleasantly surprised by the similarities in our journeys. We’d both opened up and changed our life as the result of a particular episode of a TV show and we both enjoy a similar hobby. I have been extremely inspired by Tricia and can’t wait to get to work on some ideas I have thanks to her! Here are all the places you can find Tricia and her art work:
I’d spent twenty years working the trucking industry as a dispatcher and operations manager. The last five of those years, every day, I would fantasize about hearing, “Sorry, Trish but times are tough and we’re going to have to let you go.” I knew it wasn’t my destiny, I knew I was no longer fulfilled, and I knew I just didn’t care anymore if that pallet of water heaters made it to New York or not! Even though, I was paid well, appreciated, could wear jeans, never had to worry about parking, AND had free time to read on the job. The first 8 of the 10 years I worked there I read an average of two books per week. Sorry corporate!
One day on Oprah, she was featuring, “The Secret” and it sounded so interesting that I ordered the DVD with the last $30 I had. While watching the DVD, eyes huge, mouth open, I just couldn’t believe that after every self-help book I’d read under the sun, that this particular wording or phrasing had never clicked the way this did. What stuck out the most was, “We always think about what we don’t want!” DING! I immediately thought of my list of “don’ts” in the dating world…then it spread out further into the way I’d thought about most things! It just seemed so simple and so profound at the same time. This began a 3-year (ongoing) journey.
I had to know more. I’d watched “The Secret” in March and soon after was the garage sale season. The very first garage sale I went to I found, “The Power Of Positive Thinking” and I picked it up and read it right away. Every sale, every Goodwill, every Salvation Army had books of the similar genre and very soon I had a library that I became obsessed with reading cover to cover, doing all of the exercises, and stopping to ponder over the ideas and philosophies expressed by many different authors. I had my nose stuck in a book for two years straight. I’d always been a big reader but THIS was something different. Suddenly, I understood the books I was reading about physics! Physics! In high school, to give you some perspective, I took classes like Home Economics, Shop, study hall, anything easy just to get by.
One of the exercises was to make Vision Boards and being the literal-minded person I am, I found a stack of magazines and started crudely ripping out anything that interested me or anything I ‘wanted’. I made over a dozen vision boards about all areas of my life. One in particular was about a romantic relationship that I wanted and there was something about the way I had taped flowers resting against this lady’s cheek that rung another bell loudly in my heart and soul. DING! I wasn’t just patting myself on the back on how pretty it looked, but I thought, “I really like that.”
Then my best friend was having the hardest time of her life and I thought if my vision boards make me feel good, perhaps if I made one for her, she would feel good too. So I made one for her, put it in a frame, and gave it to her as a gift. While making hers, I connected with her in my mind and picked out the perfect sayings and images that I thought would appeal to her the most. I was right, she was very touched, and another bell went off.
One after another I made what I began to call “Vision Art” for every friend I had, even shipping them off to Omaha, Fargo, and Raleigh as a surprise. There was something so deeply meaningful and purposeful while making the individual “Vision Arts” even though they took hours and hours to make, my heart-mind-soul had never sung so loudly and clearly. Every fiber of my being said, “YES YES YES!!! You have something here!” It felt so good to put myself into their shoes for the 3-7 hours it took to make, dreaming their dreams and intuitively knowing what they wanted to improve and strive for in their lives, I just knew it was special.
Then came the reactions! The tears! The joy! One by one, my girlfriends expressed to me how they felt gazing upon their framed pictures saying things like, “I look at this every day and it makes me feel so good!” and “I start each day and end each day looking at this to put myself in the most positive frame of mind” and “Every day I see something different!” and “HOW did you know??” Tears were common, something in each had touched them so deeply and in return touched me that when I actually heard the words, “I’m sorry Trish, but we’re going to have to lay you off…” (my poor boss, I thought HE was going to cry…he said this to me elbows on knees and head down) and it was stunning. All I heard was “lay off” and I said “who?” and he said “You.” OH!
I began packing up my belongings and box after box was filled with all the books I had picked up about positive thinking, the law of attraction, doing what you love, a purposeful life, etc and told my boss, “I didn’t read all of these books for nothing. Don’t worry about me, I’m going to be just fine.” Every thing I packed had NOTHING to do with my job, ringing yet another bell. I was FREE, released, been given a tremendous gift, and it wasn’t too long before I was in my car, tears streaming, doing my happy-clap dance, shouting, “I’M FREEEEEEEE!!!” It was truly a defining moment in my life. I knew my attitude meant everything, how I looked at this was going to make or break me. Guess what? I’m not broken.
So just pulled the “play” card from my Sonia Choquette Trust Your Vibes deck. Now lets see if I can write a poem….
The wind in my hair
screaming as the coaster
twists and loops
filling the room
as baby girls run
from the tickle monster
aphids for the ants
Uno, I win
walk to the pond
bread in hand
for just a nibble
writing my life
reading pages that feed me
lighten my soul
lift my burdens
stop to hear the sounds
in the form of
let joy move through
oh the ways
The following is a post from a fellow member of the Owning Pink Posse. The day that I asked her to send in a click story she had posted the following blog on the Posse page. We both thought it’d be perfect for my blog as well… You can follow her on Twitter and visit her etsy shop.
…she could feel it, the faint music, wheedling it’s way to her. If she concentrated too hard it would vanish, disappear without so much of a trace. But if she stilled her working mind and just listened, openly and unobtrusively she heard it as clear as day. It was a symphony of sadness, of pain and sorrow, swelling from regret. It would crescendo one final time and burst out into joy, wonder and excitement. It was the sound of fulfillment and awareness…of “everything going just right”. She smiled silently to herself, it was so much more than just a little twiddle…
it was the sound of her heart beating to her own tune, the smile on her lips curved a bit wider…
She murmured an almost inaudible thank you and walked away. She said good-bye to her fears and worries and embraced her new dreams and hopes. She had tarried long enough with these “friends”, these bedfellows of doom and gloom. It had never been a romance, but she had treated it that way and now was time for letting go, for moving on and she would do so graciously and with dignity…She mouthed a small thank you once more, harboring no regret or resentment to her old “pals”.
The door to a new chapter in her life was opening…and as they say: Temptation may lean on the doorbell, but opportunity may only knock once…
I’ve been feeling this for a couple of days. And perhaps I’m just so used to not recognizing and following my dreams that that is why I’ve struggled with it as long as I have had. Today I believe, was the last straw.
I have been laid up in between since yesterday, in terrible pain (still dealing with my women issues – though they aren’t quite as bad as they used to be). But “not as bad as they used to be” still is bad. But what did I so poignantly say to another friend of mine, referencing a blog I put up here… ” ‘things are only bad when you say they are’ “. Silly sometimes, how we can’t even listen to our own advice. How we will dig and dig in the rain, and wonder why our hole is just a mud puddle. Where we will use our dreams for kindling in the high winter of our lives, giving up all hope and wonder why they go up in smoke…yes, we are silly that way.
Just today, I spoke to a “family friend”. A woman I know because of my mother, and while I begrudge no one their thoughts and opinions, it doesn’t mean I want to live them out as my own life. She said to me, well with all of your healthcare experience you could get a job real easily, and if you go back to school…
That tore it, I started feeling agitated, I felt the desperate need to get away from her, even though I was hundreds of miles away at my home at my computer. But there was something stifling and oppressive in her comments. It reminded me of back home, of “duty”, of being what everyone else wanted and never acknowledging me. It reminded me of something a “mother” would say, most specifically mine.
I guess the lightbulb was starting to come on, but I waved it away in my agitation. I promptly told her “I had to go” and signed off the site. I went to two of my dear female friends who have almost made it an occupation listening to my rants and railings against how “unfair” my life is being…Unfair, I laugh at it now, but had someone done that to me just hours earlier, I’d have likely flipped out on them…
They both said the same to me: they mean well, and in caring, they think they’re doing the right thing. One apologized for being that way herself to me lately – but it wasn’t her that I was railing about, and in fact I even told her she wasn’t. She insisted, and I briefly remembered a comment that could qualify…but as both of the women are several years my senior and almost old enough to be my mother…I didn’t really take it to heart. Funny.
Since I’ve laid down and now am up again…I checked the mail to no avail, and sat down again before diving back into my book (my current mode of escaping “life as we know it”). But right now, I realize something. And I know now – in thinking it – that it has been stewing in my mind all day…I want success, joy, to be able to creatively pursue that which I love. But what am I doing to express that? Nothing. I’m just whining and lamenting the fact that I gave up on “shoulds” on Friday and am upset that my dreams aren’t here already and fulfilled on Wednesday. BUT what have I done to help them along? Sure I’ve made a couple of things…but it’s been the frantic and chaotic workings of a madwoman…there has been no real effort so what am I bitching about? I’ll be honest, I have no idea.
I know some of the things I need to do. I need to update all of my email signatures so they extol my business and healing center.
I should change my name on various sites to reflect my services.
I need to use all those handy widgets I have access to (that are free I might add) and advertise across the bazillion social sites I’m on.
I can blog more…it’s not like I’m not verbose enough to have something to say.
And I’m sure there are several other things I can do. Just need to do them…just need to stop straining to hear that symphony and relax and then the beautiful sound will come to my ears and uplift me. Stop railing against the “unfairness” and make my life what I wish it to be. By focusing not on what I don’t like, what I wish wasn’t here…but appreciating what IS.
Ps, Thanks Leslee!
The following is written by a dear friend, Ray. I met Ray at Unity Eastside where we were co-teachers of the Uniteens. Like others I have mentioned before, I consider Ray one of my spiritual companions! He has also been a dedicated reader of this blog from the very beginning!
It was a Friday and I had just returned from a conference in Palm Beach where I had been part of a team that had facilitated a workshop for those with developmental disabilities. I was full of myself and couldn’t wait to share my successful experiences with my wife of two years and my newborn son as well as her two boys. Imagine my shock when I walked into an empty, newly purchased home. She had left me. I walked around in a daze for that weekend and felt that on Monday my life would again reflect some kind of normalcy when I returned to work. Upon arriving Monday, the Program Director called me into his office and told me that the program was going in another direction and my position was being eliminated. My world was turned upside down. Suddenly all the things that I thought provided meaning in my life were gone. I had no savings, no means of support, and no future prospects. What was I to do? Life has a way of providing solace and opportunities to grow if we listen to our indwelling spirit. But then I knew nothing of an indwelling spirit. I lived totally from my ego self which I defined as the sum of all the learning and experiences that had occurred in my life. There was no other source that defined who I was. In an alone and depressed state, messages or guideposts started appearing in my life. I had no idea where they came from but there were suggestions that I was to act on certain impulses. I learned to trust and follow those impulses. This was, I learned, the inner higher self that we are all created to be but which is smothered by the conditioning (or programming) that has occurred since birth. Slowly, and I mean over a period of years, I began to change. In retrospect, this is what I’ve learned. I must pay attention to the higher consciousness in my life. That higher consciousness has only one request. I must express love. To do so, I must overcome the lower self judgments that I’ve learned here in earth school. I must guard my thoughts and discern events in my life through a filter consisting of “is this an expression of my higher self or predicated upon conditioned programming?”. So where am I right now? Well, I’m still here and learning lessons every day. My purpose is to express joy and happiness to all that I meet and to live passionately in service to others. I’m sure there will be other changes in my life and I look forward to them with a positive expectancy.