Last week, we discussed one of the great opportunities that our age presents: We can discard old rules—the “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” from our pasts. We can lose the messages that have been handed down to us from others, messages that we have internalized and used to guide us on our life’s path. Not all of those messages were bad. Some of them may have had merit. But none were not of our choosing. Now we can make the choice.
While there is much to say for the paths we have traveled thus far, some of us may be feeling the pull to take a different road. We want to feel inspired, to follow the dreams and passions that have lain dormant while we were busy taking care of other people’s needs.
What Made Me Think I Could Write a “How-to”?
But what if we don’t know what those sleeping giants are? What if our dreams and passions are mysteries even to us? Last week, I promised that I would write about how to rediscover those dreams. And about how to gain the courage to take those first steps into the unknown.
While I was typing these very words, I suddenly realized what made writing this week’s post so difficult! Those are huge promises! What made me think that I’d be able to write a “how-to” on how to find what we really want in life?
The pressure was on. After all, I would never want to steer anyone in the “wrong” direction!
I put quotation marks around the word “wrong” because:
- The word is just so judgmental, and
- There really is no “wrong” direction.
Just MOVE! You Can Always Change Course
Any movement, any
action that gets us going, thinking, learning, will help us grow. If you make a “wrong” step, you can always change course.
There are VERY few things in this life that are permanent, so let’s all take a breath and weaken that resistance. Lorilee, a WomanPause
reader, left me this Facebook message in response to last week’s blog: “Sometimes letting go of a script is just a matter of realizing that nothing major will happen if you just let it go.” EXACTLY!
If you make a change, and it doesn’t work out the way you had hoped (or an even better-than-hoped-for outcome does not result), you can change course.
Send Your Message to the Universe!
The act of taking even a small step outside of the proverbial box is a win. By taking that step, you have sent a message to the Universe that you are ready—ready to take your life into your own hands, to learn from your mistakes, and grow stronger because of them.
Which brings me to the Tarot. (You’ll see the connection in a minute.) The Tarot has been a part of my life for the last twenty-odd years. I keep several decks by my bedside, but recently, they have not been doing much more than collecting dust. Just this week, however—the timing, I’m convinced, is no coincidence—I’ve begun picking one card each day. I meditate on it and write out the meanings it holds for me. Some mornings, when I’m looking for specific guidance from the day’s card, I will ask a question before I shuffle the deck. This morning, I asked for help with the blog, and this is the card I picked: Ace of Pentacles
The Earth Element and New Beginnings
cards represent the element of Earth. It is the suit most strongly grounded in this earthly realm, as its concerns are the material aspects of life, such as finances and work. It also deals with our physical environment, which can often be seen as a reflection of our inner selves. Pentacles show us how to create, shape, and transform our outer experiences from within.
are cards that speak to new beginnings and inspiration—they indicate the availability of fresh, powerful energy to put into the service of manifesting our goals.
Picking the Ace of Pentacles to guide me in this week’s blog adventure was a wonderfully fortuitous selection. What struck me immediately about the card was the predominance of pink. Pink represents feminine energies, the wisdom and strength of the Earth Mother who lives inside each of us. She knows how to birth and to nurture—both literal and figurative babies. She knows how birth and nurture our dreams.
The pentacle in the center of the card is a powerful symbol of wealth. Right now, we are talking about wealth in all areas, not necessarily financial (although that certainly wouldn’t hurt)!
The Ace of Pentacles represents the wealth inside of us, the strength, the power, and the notion that we are enough—more than enough—just as we are right now
! Once we embrace that FACT, embrace our enough-ness
, we will no longer need to struggle but can begin anew.
By choosing to see “obstacles” as teaching tools, we can develop the faith to trust our own answers. We must only listen to the voice within us, no matter how small, and then enlist the courage to act upon it.
Barbara Sher’s Wishcraft
Which brings me to a wonderful book written quite some time ago by Barbara Sher: Wishcraft.
Thank you, Ms. Scher! You have written a clear and powerful “how-to” on rediscovering your dreams and making them come true!
Ms. Sher speaks from experience! When she got divorced, she found herself in New York, “penniless, with two kids to support and a B.A. in anthropology.” She was on welfare for a while and then found a job—that she loved—and
started two businesses and
wrote her long-cherished books (she’s written several) that help others rediscover what they truly love.
Has Sher herself “self-improved?” In a word, “NO!” She goes to great lengths to let her readers know that her books are not typical of the self-improvement genre.
Here’s a section from the introduction of Wishcraft: “I know what I’m talking about when I say this book is different. I wrote it for people like me—people who were born without any of the virtues that made Horatio Alger great and who have given up all hope of ever developing them. Can you persevere? I can’t. There is no diet of any kind, physical, emotional, or financial, that I haven’t fallen off by Wednesday if I started it on Monday. Self-discipline? I jogged once—I think it was about four years ago… As a well-meaning but tactless friend once said to me, “Barbara, if you can make it, anyone can.
And I did.”
As you can see, Ms. Sher is wise—and
funny! This is serious stuff, but no need to lose our sense of humor!
Two Books in One
is divided into two sections: the wish section and the one on craft. The craft section shows you how to manifest dreams through planning and managing those get-in-the-way feelings—like fear, fear, fear … and, of course, fear. She stresses the need for support—none of us can go it alone—and besides, why would we want to?
But it’s the first section, the Wishing section, that was most powerful for me. Let’s face it, with our life experience, once we our goals are clear, we usually can make them happen. When we can’t, or more accurately, we don’t, there’s usually something else going on.
Maybe the goals we’ve set are not truly from the heart but from the head (or someone else’s heart or head). Maybe our dreams feel too silly or unrealistic to take seriously or share with anyone. Ms. Sher is here to tell you that there are no dreams too silly or unrealistic. (Stick around until the end of the post, and you will never again think any of your goals are unrealistic—I promise!)
Here’s what Ms. Sher has to say about wishing: “Unlike the skills for bringing dreams into actuality, which are nuts-and-bolts skills like engineering or carpentry, wishing doesn’t have to be learned. It’s inborn in human beings the way flying is in a bird.”
“But,” she adds, “it’s very likely that something does
have to be taken away: the spellbinding cultural curse that says, “It can’t be done,” and the heavy weight of discouragement you may be carrying if you’ve tried for your dreams before and failed.”
Our Dream-Crushing Language
Ms. Sher talks about what I call the dream-crushing language in our culture. How many of us, when we have tried something big, have been met with this question: “Who do you think you are?” The question itself
is actually a great
question—but chances are, when it was asked of us, it was presented with a harsh and judging tone. It’s that tone that will squash you, the how-dare-you-be-so full-of-yourself tone. You know the one.
What Do You Love?
is full of great exercises that take us back to the days when we were free to explore our interests and loves (for some of us, that’s way back) and exercises that spur our imaginations. One of the first in the book (and one of the best in my opinion), is the “who do you think you are?” exercise. When Sher asks it, when she guides you through its several steps, she really wants to know—and wants to help you discover the answer too. “Who you are” is not what first comes to mind, surprisingly. To answer the question, you must go deep—beyond your roles and traits. You must reach into the depths of what you love
“What Is It You Plan to Do?”
Which brings me to Mary Oliver, one of my very favorite poets, who died recently—this past January 17th
. Oliver had a way, as great poets do, of getting to the core of things, of cutting to the heart. One of her most famous poems is called “The Summer Day.” https://www.loc.gov/poetry/180/133.html
The most famous lines from that poem are in the form of a question, a question she posed to her readers and that I now pose to you:
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?”
Now … I did promise to share with you something that would remove the “too unrealistic, too silly” judgments you may have about your own dreams. Here goes!
That is a picture of none-other than Iris Apfel—a 97 year-young woman who just signed a modeling contact with IMG! We will learn more about this dynamo next week!
Finally, I’d like to sign off with a little note of gratitude.
I had a dream not too long ago of starting my own blog that would examine issues about and for women like myself, who are in transition and hoping to make the best of their lives. That dream came to fruition this past September.
I am proud that I had the courage to put myself and my writing out on the page every week (even on the “not so much” weeks), and I am incredibly grateful to be connecting with others—my fellow brave women (and a few brave men—yay for them!) who are enriching my life beyond measure. I truly hope that I am adding something to yours!
Until next week, my brave and powerful friends! Dream on!