Welcome to Write Your Vision!

Deep down, most people have dreams - they may be forgotten, unspoken, or unrealized - but they are there. I want to help you remember and believe in them again...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wondering Aloud

I went home recently for a visit.  Home is West Virginia.  A place with rolling hills, quiet towns, and some of the warmest people in the world who would truly give all they had to someone in need.

Life really remains simpler there.  I can sit on my parent's porch swing and listen to the birds chirp about while the cadence of the swing's hinges rocks me into a thoughtful, soulful state of being.  Then the church bells ring out from the St. James (Catholic church) across the street as they've done all my life - connecting the present with the past somehow.  Neighbors know one another... and people smile genuinely.

I got to have dinner with friends from high school I hadn't seen in nearly 20 years; and I was struck by how incredibly talented, intelligent, and strong they were... and I remembered once again what a blessing it is to have friends who are real people who lovingly accept who you are and can engage in discussions about issues one minute and family stories the next without missing a beat.

...because in the end - what truly matters - is the people.  The relationships.  The friendships.

People matter.

That seems odd to say though.  It's obvious, right?

Yet somehow we get caught up in the circumstances of our lives -- the frustrations, the setbacks, issues at work or at home, the finances, the To-Do lists, emptying the dishwasher, or other inconsequential things -- that prevent us from intimacy, keeping us at a distance from true feeling.

Now, that's not to say daily life or routine tasks aren't important.  They are.  They're just not ALL-Important...

So take a moment just to stop and embrace The NOW:  Actually take the time to LOOK at the people in your life - whether it's your staff, co-workers or your boss, your family or friends, or the person who sings as he hands you your latte at the Starbucks drive-thru every Friday morning - and smile at them.  Tell them what they do or who they are matters to you.

In your quest for your dreams -- write down things that matter to you, and why you remember them -- and then ask yourself how others will remember you?

People matter.

       THINK.       WRITE.       BELIEVE.       ACT.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Season for Everything?

Okay, this has been an odd week.  I've found myself looking up and asking "What are You doing?" more than once.  I fundamentally believe that there really is a Season for Everything:

Ecclesiastes 3

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and
a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

... seems they forgot just one season:  a time for allergies...  :(  kidding.

I know I always quote and remember the good stuff like 'laugh, dance, mend, heal, embrace;' but I think we like to ignore the others:  'a time to tear down... time to refrain... give up, search, mourn, weep, die, war.'  We don't like those.  They're not uplifting.  Or are they?

In our quest for our DREAMS, we often get derailed.  THAT is life.  Life will interrupt.  It will toss curve balls with bowling balls instead of baseballs and swallow you in pot holes the size of garbage trucks at times ~ but ~ there's actually some GOOD news here...  those 'down' times are only a season!

- Only a Season -
I don't know about you, but when I'm getting hit with things I don't particularly like, agree with, or want to have happen - I'm usually not too happy about it.  If a seemingly negative cascade of events persists, which they are apt to do at times (because where's the fun in having only ONE thing go wrong? right?) - I tend to get proportionally annoyed based on the number of things, their complexity, and potential impact to my world.

so how do you deal?

I feel like I'm relatively well equipped to deal with most anything provided there is an END - that the tunnel really does have a light; and the closing credits are coming soon.  What drives me absolutely batty is when there appears to be NO END IN SIGHT for my distress.  That's the thing.  The Unknown, Unending burden that sometimes is the status quo.  Nobody likes the status quo when you're not where you want to be, right?  And even when we have nearly everything we could want, we still don't linger in status quo-land for long... so imagine being stuck in that crater-sized pothole staring up.  Hmmm.

Sidebar:  Funny thing about being down in the hole, when we're there, we almost ALWAYS look UP!  Hmmm - okay anyway:

Your mind starts whirring -- gears kick in -- developing the scheme to climb out -- which in my world lately, seems to land me in an even deeper hole than the one I just pulled myself out of...

    ...finger tapping starts as my eyebrow goes up in irritation.

The point is that SOMEtimes, when you're in the hole, it helps to remember that where you are and what you may be going through may just be your S E A S O N of _____________.  Could be a season of separation?  Maybe a season of mourning...?  Maybe a season of scattering...?  Fill in your own blank.

So why is this good?
It's good because you can at least begin to recognize that it IS only a season and that means it WILL have an END.  So EXPECT the end...  You might be getting hit with setbacks, or things you don't understand, or even things that hurt you -- but those will not last forever. 

This is why Writing down your Dreams is so so very important!  When you're in the "Time to tear down" season for example, the things you've written down will remind you that you'll get to BUILD soon!  It's NEXT in fact...  What you write, you can continue to speak out loud when you're down or discouraged to ENCOURAGE yourself!  To help you keep going...

And for me - THAT is the key.  To do whatever I can to just keep going.  Eventually, I will get through.  Eventually, the sun will rise.  Eventually, I will have my dream!  Just BELIEVE and don't get sidetracked by the setbacks no matter how big your pothole seems to be or how much damage falling into it may have done.  Even when you're in the season you don't want to be in -- continue to make choices that get you CLOSER to your dream! your vision!

Your TIME really is coming!  ;)

     THINK.       WRITE.       BELIEVE.       ACT.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Support Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution!

Being from West Virginia - I naturally LOVE anything that is going to benefit my home state!  He's currently in Huntington:  the home of Marshall University!

Jamie Oliver is trying to improve how we eat. 

He wants to change our school lunch programs...
He wants to change our restaurants...
He wants to change how we cook...

Go Jamie!  Loved the Flash Mob!  Thank you!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Secret Sauce - The Next BIG Thing!

We live in a sound-byte world these days.

We hear things in headlines (thanks CNN) and absorb 'on the fly' preferably having easily digestible information spoon-fed to us (thanks Twitter - and yes, I'm a junkie myself) so no judgments here, but:

WHEN do we make time to be STILL?

Do we know how anymore?

I find myself wondering.  Lately, though I'm noticing a trend.  A backlash of sorts against the noise, against the commercialism and packaging, against pre-processed information, food, and fervor.

We've become so overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it all that we dulled our senses for a long while... being lulled into a dreamless sleep 24/7.  But now, the tide has started to turn and I feel as if I'm watching generations starting to wake up.  We're rubbing our eyes like 2 year old's rising from an extended nap and looking around our world trying to get our bearings mouthing the words "Where am I?" and "how did we get here?" as we scan the room.

That's why movies like The Blind Side grab our imagination because here was a woman who was awake in the moment, who paid attention to what was actually happening and then ACTED on behalf of someone else...

Through this awakening - we're standing up as if called to action and attention - and we're now asking about things like the food we eat:  Is it organic?  Is it locally grown? Where did it come from?

I get nostalgic on this one.  I grew up in Rural WV where my grandparents (who lived across the alley right behind our house) had a beautiful vegetable garden.  They were first generation Italian Americans who lived through the Great Depression and who LOVED to cook and eat!  It was my Papaw's pride and joy (next to his grandkids of course).  From that garden he canned the most perfect sauce, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes - you name it!  But more than that, we had fresh cheeses, fresh bread, and fresh meats too.  I look back now and realize how incredibly blessed I was to grow up this way...

Back to Topic:
We're asking about information resources:  Who can we trust? Is there anything that's not biased anymore?

We're asking about the environment and jobs:  about finding what makes us happy vs. a paycheck alone?  About how to contribute to the world rather than just take from it.

In short -

I think the Next BIG Thing is that we're FINALLY starting to remember that it's actually the LITTLE things that matter! The little details like fresh garlic and cheese (Sundays off with family and friends) added to tomatoes (church or social outings) and olive oil (maybe producing something like a garden or volunteering as a coach) that make your LIFE's sauce SO good!

The key here is for you to pick your own FRESH ingredients to give your sauce it's flavor... and to take the time to BE STILL so you can stand over your stove and smell it cook, taste test it, lift your kids or grandkids up to taste it too (teaching moments) and then add a dash of sugar (kiss on the cheek) to reduce the bitterness before sitting down to enjoy it!!

It's time we start to dream again about what's really important in and for our lives!  THINK about it, makes some notes for yourself (WRITE) and then make one small change THIS WEEK (come on, now, you gotta BELIEVE you can - no excuses)...

and then ACT accordingly.

Take the time to BE STILL - to notice your own world around you - and when you do, you'll SEE all the wonderful ingredients waiting to make up your Secret Sauce!

       THINK.       WRITE.       BELIEVE.       ACT.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Happiness vs. Fulfillment

Is there a difference between happiness and fulfillment?

I believe there is... particularly when it pertains to your dream(s).

I think happiness is really a state of mind, a choice, an attitude or an approach to a moment, to your day, or your overall life.  We can seek to find the good in things, the positive point of view, glass half full... and I think our ability to allow ourselves to be happy in the NOW is important because it will shape how we approach almost everything we do.

Fulfillment is another story.  In the American consumer culture, we are taught from birth to want MORE - bigger, better, other.  When I have __________ (fill in the blank) then...

Generally, people also (eventually) look for meaning, for peace maybe.  We want to have an impact.  We want to be loved.  We want to fill that hole in the center of ourselves that never seems to get full.  So we look to things, products, books, science, psychology, philosophy, religion or spirituality, and of course other people -- our spouse, our kids, our pets -- or our jobs and any number of other things to finally find that ANSWER.

The ONE thing.

We confuse the attainment of __________ with fulfillment in general.  And we usually confuse happiness with this too equating one with the other.

As we've discussed before - I also think there's a difference between contentment and fulfillment too.

But here I talk about Dreams... your Vision for your life and of course about writing things down.  My fundamental philosophy is that you cannot ever obtain what you truly want and need for your life if you don't take the time to think about what that is.  And the best way I have found to do that is by writing - IN DETAIL. 

So who cares?  Why all the wordsmithing?

I bring it up because I think people can become easily disillusioned and disappointed when we put all our emphasis on complete fulfillment and expect THAT to be attainable goal or part of our vision.

As a spiritual person, I simply do not believe human beings are designed to ever reach and subsequently maintain FULFILLMENT in this life.  I think we were created to seek more, to learn more, to do more, to BE more... all in that quest to 'fill in' and "complete" ourselves.  We look for that sense of wholeness primarily from our spouse, kids, or job... but I think THAT too is unrealistic and actually can be a little destructive sometimes (context, please  :)

We've forgotten the simple truth that there really can be Joy in the Journey.

We don't like to wait.  To be still.

And honestly, we're often so busy filling our days with activities, trying to get from here to there or to drown out the pain we're in that we miss out.  We succumb to the 'live and let live' or 'whatever happens is meant to happen' cliche rather than ACT.  Because if we ACT, then we're accountable.  Uh oh!

Then again, we get so focused on attaining that next thing and so afraid to lose any ground that we sacrifice the real future we want for the immediate gratification of now.

So we go in one of two directions: (for example)
  1. We settle for a 'good enough' or maybe even a great person or job available now rather than continue to be alone/lonely or wait for our ideal, the soulmate, etc.   OR
  2. We focus ONLY on that dream and neglect or forget to LIVE.
 For me I think both extremes can create their own brand of chaos in our lives.

I truly BELIEVE the key here is to BALANCE -- to allow ourselves to be and experience happiness in our daily lives while we work toward achieving our goal: our vision for our life.  So it becomes even more important then to write down that Vision - to define it, clearly, coloring in the features of it so when we DO get it, we recognize it for what it is...

...and don't expect it to deliver on something it can't:  THE complete, sustainable fulfillment for our life: mind, heart, and soul.

So once again -

WHAT DO YOU WANT?  What is your dream, your vision for you?

THINK about what you want in your spouse --- Write it down.
THINK about what you want in/for your 'job' --- Write it down.
THINK about who and what you want to be --- Write it down.
RECOGNIZE/ACKNOWLEDGE what is in your heart of hearts --- Write that down too!

All those things you write down will give you some insight into YOU!  From there, you can DECIDE what's important and order your steps accordingly!  When you do that - you're on your way to achieving your VISION!  Your DREAM!

Don't be afraid to be accountable for it and don't expect it to be more than what it is!  If you master those two things, then I think your choice to be happy now will be an easier choice to make.

       THINK.       WRITE.       BELIEVE.       ACT.