It was 10:30 when the oppressive summer heat finally gave way to cool night air that kept the mosquitoes at bay. I plopped down on a zero gravity chair in the middle of our deck, pushed back on the arms, and came face-to-face with a stunning, cloudless sky.
Several years ago, while teaching The Writer's Workshop on a cruise ship, our group experienced an important moment that highlighted a universal theme. A brave woman shared that the subject of her book was a departure from the more traditional life she grew up in. The thought of publishing her work for the world to see ignited the pain she felt as an outsider in her family - the unconventional one in a world of convention.
I know life requires us to be present to everything – the success and sadness, the peace and pain. Learning to be with all of our feelings is fertilizer for growth and healing. It’s just not that easy.
Over the years I’ve spoken to thousands of people about realizing their dreams and accomplishing their goals. By now most of us know that putting an action plan in place with simple steps is what gets us on the path. But, many people never get that far because of common obstacles that get in their way. Handling these roadblocks beforehand can improve your odds for success. Here are some of the roadblocks to avoid:
A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with my friend Melanie, who had given birth to a baby girl a few months earlier and was now nervous about going back to work. Like so many new moms, she couldn't imagine leaving her baby with someone else. Melanie is a communications executive with a company in the Midwest. She's been with them for more than seven years and has enjoyed a fruitful career.
Last night my husband Michael held a 50th birthday party for me with a surprise guest list of important family and friends. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the half-century mark with people who have touched my life in meaningful ways. It set the stage for another celebration - a gift I give myself every year, and one I invite you to give yourself, too.
The funny thing about being yourself is that you have to lose your self-consciousness – the habit of judging yourself – in order to do it. You need to become so immersed in the moment and within yourself, that you begin to channel your pure creative spirit.
Several years ago, when life was pretty stressful during my husband Michael’s illness, I shared a story about how grace entered my life at a time when I really needed to know I wasn’t alone. Since many people feel challenged right now, I wanted to share this story again in the hopes that it reminds you to ask for and see signs of grace in your life.