Time for a new beginning.
Feel the warmth of the sun.
The protective frozen layers have melted away.
Open yourself up to a new life.
The season is spring. It always conjures up images of new beginnings, but it doesn’t have to be spring time to begin again. We can begin, again, every day. Every time we make a choice, it’s a new beginning. Think about it:
- every morning
- every time we open our mouth to say something
- every time we choose
- to buy or not to buy,
- to exercise or not to exercise,
- to be happy or not to be happy,
- to accept or not accept what is.
Spring time is a reminder that we always have the ability to begin again. It’s about choosing how we frame any event, every moment; how we choose to live our life. Choose humility. Choose healthy habits. Choose happiness. Choose acceptance.
Today is the day. Feel the warmth of the sun. Open yourself up to a new life. It’s time for a new beginning.
When I was young, my mom would come charging into my bedroom, opening the curtains, and pulling the covers away from my chin, saying in the most irritatingly cheery voice, “Time to wake up and hear the birds sing.” You can just imagine how abrupt and rude that felt, especially to a teenager!
Now, I find myself getting up early and loving the sounds of birds singing, and I’m saying to myself, with a smile, “Time to wake up and hear the birds sing.” And, I think of my mom.
I ponder the meaning of the words. “Time to wake up” usually means that it’s time to pay attention. “Hear the birds sing”, to me, means to listen but not to everything, listen for pleasant things.
So, today, my goal is to pay special attention to kind words, loving gestures, the beauty of a spring day, and the songs of the birds. And, I will smile and think of my mom!
Yea, right. Everyone, who knows me, is laughing, like hell, right now! She just called herself an athlete? HA!
I was the kid who was picked last for any game in gym class. I’m the one who joined a coed volleyball team, as an adult, and at the end-of-season social gathering, silly prizes were distributed. My prize was a rag; given to me to represent all the time I spent on the floor, ducking to get away from that volleyball. They said, “As long as you’re down there, you might as well keep the floor dry for us.” Later in my life, I bought a bike. I took it for a ride. It was a scenic ride, through a wooded area, but it was totally downhill. I had the brakes on the entire time, gripping them with everything in my being. I have, now, moved the bike to three different homes, but haven’t gotten on it since. More years pass. I get older, weigh more (too much) so I decide to join a gym. Looking back on that early experience, I think that I must have assumed that just being in the gym was exercise enough because this was my routine…I took along my Kindle with my favorite book loaded, propped it up on the treadmill and started to walk, slowly enough so that 1) I could easily read my book and 2) I didn’t sweat. I wasn’t a fan of sweating. Well, needless to say, I never lost any weight or got any stronger. Instead, I grew tired of the trip to the gym just to read a book. So, you must be really wondering, now, why I have chosen this metaphor for myself today. It doesn’t seem to fit…at all!
I chose this metaphor because, I think, deep down we all want to be athletes and we want to be winners. This week, watching the NCAA Championship game gave me the opportunity to witness true, driving athleticism. It was a visible display of focus, intent, and power. I could tell that the skill didn’t come from wishes and hopes or weak attempts but, instead, from practice and determination to be the best and then more practice and more determination because you can always be better. In the end, my team didn’t win the game, but, oh yes, they did! They showed thousands of people what being an athlete really means. It means believing that you are a winner. It means, remaining humble and lighthearted when the pressure to succeed grows intense. It means staying focused on one goal at a time. It means never giving up. It means pushing yourself well past the point of tired. And, it means being proud of what you’ve accomplished, even if you don’t hold the “winning” trophy at the end. This team won our hearts. They were, indeed, true winners!
I think I’m finding that kind of winner in me!
What is your motivator? For me, the motivation, that finely pushed me, was frustration and anger. I was frustrated with the voices that said that I lacked coordination, was too weak, and too old to change. It made me angry when I heard those voices saying that I just needed to accept the fact that getting older means accepting weakness, aches, and pains as normal for my age. Frustration and anger became my motivation to put myself back in the game.
Today, I sweat through cardio exercises, push myself through squats, am working on the tightest abs I’ve had since I turned 40 and I lift weights, a little heavier each time. Initially, there was that voice saying, “You can’t do this!” but there was another, more positive voice saying “Yes, you can. Just try.” With a mix of feelings; frustration, surprise, joy…and pain, I realized that sweating can make you smile. Some days, I struggle more than others but that positive voice is there, saying “Just 5 more. You can do it…4, 3, 2…come on “I’ve got you.” And, when I finish, I am ecstatic! And that voice says, “You just burned through another level.”
Some days my muscles sing in pure pain but I hear those positive words ringing through loud and clear, “What doesn’t challenge you doesn’t change you.” So, again I smile. That’s why I think that, today, I can call myself an athlete. I’m not a mountain of muscle, but I’m growing stronger every day. I hurt, but so do others, and they still show up with determination and I can too! Some days, I’m slower, but I keep moving. This challenge is not a race. I’m not competing with anyone but me. And what’s most important is that I show up.
But, now, it’s about more that physical fitness. I want to be in this big game, called Life! So, I’ve added that to my goal. Pushing through exercises is preparing me to take whatever other burdens are placed on my shoulders and push through it. Life hands out some pretty heavy weights, at times, throwing you off balance, sometimes moving you to tears. But, if an athlete shows determination, focus, and drive, then that’s what I have to do. If an athlete is disappointed, even heartbroken, by a loss, they don’t quit, instead they review the loss for it’s lessons, and go out and play again and again. An athlete says “I am a winner”. A failure one day is just that, a failure one day. They don’t all of a sudden say “I am a failure.” They get up and try again. So, they never really lose. A score on the board (or on the scale) is just a number. I want to be the kind of winner who walks away, in the end, stinking with sweat but so damn proud of how well I played the game. Today, I am a winner. And I will push myself to keep saying that every day for the rest of my life. I must be an athlete!
Now, I’d better get up, out of this chair, and go for a walk. And, I should put air in those bicycle tires.
Do you have dreams? Do you keep them packed away in a safe place, waiting for the day, when the time is just right to finally take them out of storage and display them, proudly, for everyone to see? This storage unit is your Dream-Catcher. In it, you do not allow anything bad to take up space. It’s your make-believe life.
Your real life is not a Dream-Catcher at all, though. It’s more like a spider’s web. Endlessly, you work. You feel as though your life has the potential to be great but, so often, your work is destroyed by something, outside of your control, of course. You try to fix what you have to make it work but frustration grows and grows. Is there a chance that you will ever have your dream life? You’ve grown tired of building and rebuilding but you are too afraid to leave. What if you leave and find yourself somewhere that’s even worse? It could happen, you know. At least that’s what you tell yourself.
What you really want is arms to wrap you up in a cloak of confidence. You want to breathe courage directly into your veins and some kind of super power to take hold of your legs. Instead, you feel trapped, in this web; shivering, scared, and alone.
This is how I felt, as I was contemplating leaving yet another marriage. I used the analogy of the Dream-Catcher one year, with my staff. It had been an exceptionally difficult time. I asked them to try to see only the beauty of what had happened that year and let the bad drop on through. I have attempted to do this with my own life but the reality is that, at one time, I was more like a fly, caught in my own spiderweb, instead. I had become the food for someone else’s life. And I did feel trapped. I had, for some time, contemplated an escape but always came back to that fear of “What if someplace else is worse?” I had actually begun to feel that this was my due, karma perhaps, for failing at, yet, another marriage. So, perhaps I needed to just “suck it up” and accept my circumstances as God’s punishment.
Then, I found myself on a mountain in Sedona, in the midst of a vortex: referred to as “spiraling, spiritual energy” with an overwhelming feeling that I was supposed to be there, right then, at that exact moment. And during those three days, the lessons just poured into me, all based on Indian lore. Tears flowed and fear nearly consumed me, but one person said this one thing that I held on to for dear life: “Let go. Let God.” And a stillness took over the air around me. The group, that I was with, starting singing “Amazing Grace” and I felt wrapped in protective arms. I felt courage pour into my veins and found a little strength power through my legs and I felt love…for me! I came home from that trip and pulled myself out of that spider’s web. I put it all in God’s hands and God delivered me to the edge of a nature preserve full of beautiful living creatures and then God surrounded me with flowers that bloomed every single day through the hardest months. And my life became a real Dream-Catcher, but I wasn’t dreaming.
Fear is the devil. Fear robs you of your life. It consumes you with doubt and hesitation. It buries you in guilt. Fear is an enemy that needs to be fought instead of accepted. I mean, really, if you knew that the devil was knocking at your door, would you open it? Yet, how many times have you, willingly, let that energy sit at the same table with you; drive along side you in the car; walk along side you into interviews; stand with you as you face an audience? The devil is fear and fear drives you to drink, makes you crumble, and leaves you huddled in the corner on the floor.
Sometimes, we’re mistaken about the voices we hear and the messages that are trying to come through. As I tried to make my way up that mountain, in Sedona, I thought the devil was the person behind me who was yelling at me to “Keep going, Jane! Push yourself! Trust the power in your legs!” I had told him, over and over again, that my legs were weak. I had just had knee surgery. My balance was shot. He responded “Your life is off balance. Keep moving.” When I finally got off that mountain, he offered me his hand and I yelled at him saying, “You wouldn’t help me when I needed you on that mountain. Why would I take your hand, now, down here on the ground?” (This is a true story!)
I had felt like a failure. I had let fear consume me and I stopped half way up that mountain. I sat for three hours with nothing but my own thoughts to keep me company and the real devil played with me the entire time. “Just go home, Jane. Be happy with what you have. It’s the safe place to be.” Then, the person, who I thought to be the devil, came back to me and asked me, “How many people passed you while you sat on the side of the mountain today?” I replied with anger, “No one!” And he calmly said, “Don’t you see, Jane that most people never even try to climb the mountain. They stay on the paths that are flat and safe. You made it higher than any one of them. Do you see that, Jane?” And then, he walked away.
Let go. Let God. God did not help me up that mountain. God stood behind me yelling “You can do this!” God said “Be proud. You made it pretty far today, farther than most. Tomorrow will be even better. And I will be right there to yell at you again and push you again, if I have to!”
So Dream-Catchers shouldn’t be for pretend dreams; catching things that you fear are out of your reach. Dream-Catchers should catch your real dreams; power, confidence, strength, courage. Then, as the legend of the Dream-Catcher goes, the bad falls through; fear, guilt, intimidation, doubt.
If you catch the voice of God, the devil falls through. Listen!