Tag Archives: visualizing your dreams

What Can You Do In Eight Weeks?


My dear friend, Linda Baffa, reminded me this week that there are eight weeks left in 2014. She plans to explore one chakra per week in her yoga classes. I’m beyond excited, as chakras have become a passion of mine…But when she discussed what she wanted to do in the eight weeks left of the year, it dawned on me that I rarely, ever, really plan. I might set an intention, but that’s different. And so much can, and will, happen in an eight week period. What you consciously focus on, expands, right? Instead of just floating with the current, I might want to think about what specific areas and goals to magnify, instead of just trying to stay afloat with whatever life steers my way.

Think about it. In eight weeks, you can fall in love. Have your heart broken. Pick up the pieces. Finish writing a novel. Lose 10 pounds. Lose your way. Find your passion. Help a friend. Find stillness. DeClutter. Travel to another country. Forgive someone. Forgive yourself. Earn a lot of money. Donate to the poor. Learn how to say no to those who ask too much of  you. Detach with love when it’s necessary. Become a good listener. Discover how to listen to yourself, to your body, to the inner cues and intuitive voices. Learn something new. Do something that scares you. Start a project. Confront someone when it’s needed, and when it’s helpful. Eat more raw, organic food. Start flossing daily. Read a classic novel. Attend a concert. Go dancing. Stop drinking. Quit smoking. Run a marathon. Start playing with your children.

Where do you want to set your course? What areas of your life do you want to put more emphasis on? Or is it just too much pressure to even think about? Will the current just take you, let you drift into unchartered waters without a conscious effort to steer? Maybe you are stuck in a place where currents don’t even flow: living with the same-ole-same-ole without the slightest change of scenery. And that can be really comforting sometimes. Or, like me, maybe each day, each week, fluctuates so much that there seems to be quick sand underfoot?

Why am I meandering down this path? Well, I think it’s time to put some concerted focus and planning into my last eight weeks of the year. Sure, there’s still room for surprises, for serendipity, for coincidences, and hopefully for much-needed spontaneity. But at the same time, I need to steer a course, even if I don’t have an outlined, defined ending. It doesn’t have to be anything too rigid, or too unrealistic. It may just be as simple as the writer’s group I’m starting with trusted friends whom I can support, and who will support my writing in return. Yes, within eight weeks I will likely be finished with my novel (just one more chapter to go!). But at the same time, if I’m not, that will be okay. Life happens. If another child breaks an arm, or gets pneumonia, I’m thankful that I have the ability to take care of them. I love yoga and meditation for how it allows me to be become more flexible, to go with the flow more often, and to open up into trusting that I’ll still arrive at my destination—even if I don’t arrive as I had planned. Do I always go with the flow? No. (Especially not in love! But that’s for another venue!) But if I start a course, if I have a plan, it should help.

I love the picture above for so many reasons. My son William became obsessed with the sailboats in Luxembourg Gardens the last time we were in Paris. I was five months pregnant with his little brother. It would be the last family vacation in Europe that we ever took. I’m so proud of that vacation. I found my voice, even through the waves of ever-present nausea. I demanded that we slow down and let a little boy, be a little boy. Our constant walking and museum going was driving him crazy. There was magic and importance in just sitting in a garden, in people-watching, in sailing a boat. This is what William and I had always done. While daddy was in meetings in various cities in Europe, I would stop and let William dig for worms in botanical gardens in Madrid, Paris, Lisbon. It was our thing. It was how I compromised. We’d go to a piazza in Venice and play with other children, and then later sit still and behave in an adult restaurant. It was my way of honoring him and me. Well, it reminds me that even back then, before I did yoga and meditated every day, I still knew the value of slowing down, of watching, of being, of playing. I even convinced his father to go to the dreaded EuroDisney instead of yet more museums. And you know what? I’m convinced it became one of their best memories together. And so with slowing down in mind, I tiptoe toward my eight week goals with the intention of still being able to find space. Of finding time. Of finding ways to just ‘be’ instead of rushing, demanding, stressing and getting distracted from what really matters.

What matters to you? Focus on it. Magnify it. Write it down. Marinate in it. Imagine it coming true and give thanks for it. Work toward it, even if just for an hour every day. And have a wonderful journey to the New Year.

Boldness Has NO Expiration Date

Photo by: Laura Roe Stevens

Photo by: Laura Roe Stevens

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”

This quote, widely attributed to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, an 18th & early 19th century German author, was attached to my first computer via sticky note, for many, many years. It compelled and inspired me to write, dream, and put myself through graduate school in New York City in my mid-twenties.

I thought about it today, as I was talking with a friend, when I said, ‘put it out there,’ in reference to her dreams. What I meant was, if you have a dream, a vision, a goal, put it out there to the Universe. Don’t poo-poo it. Don’t discard it. Don’t just think about it alone, or when you run or bike, but then tell no one. Instead, tell a trusted and supportive friend about your dream(s). Meditate on it. Ruminate on it. Visualize what it looks like. And just for fun, visualize that you already have it as you go to bed. What does it feel like? How would your day be structured?

Sounds crazy, but Why not?!

I stumbled upon an interesting tidbit about Goethe tonight, while looking up information about his life and this quote. I found that some translators of Faust, his famous play where the main character makes a deal with the devil, varied a bit. For instance, one person translated it as:

“Then indecision brings its own delays,
And days are lost lamenting over lost days.
Are you in earnest? Seize this very minute;
What you can do, or dream you can do, begin it;
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”

Another translation I found was:

“Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Only engage, and then the mind grows heated. Begin it, and the work will be completed.”

Why, you may ask, am I bringing all this up? I know what it’s like to lose a dream. I know what it’s like to push a dream aside in order to support someone else’s dreams, and then later to support children. I know how reality can settle in and dreams can be procrastinated or pushed aside. Single parents working long hours and taking care of children solo, especially, know how easy it is to push aside dreams. Disappointments, distractions, work—all can make long, lost dreams seem impractical or silly. And if you ever had a family member or unsupportive spouse or friend chastise you for having a particular dream, I don’t need to tell you about how those voices in your head can really do a number on you.

But here’s the thing. There’s nothing silly about dreams. There are the stuff life is made of. They are what we are here for. They are why our earliest childhood friends, who we might have laid underneath stars with, while drinking bad beer and talking, are so special. Remember that time in your life when you spoke of your dreams and talked about how each of you would achieve them? That time is so special because of the excitement and potential crackling in the air.

Sure, we may be weathered now. Wiser too. But many of us are also anchored down with a bit of cynicism and fear.

Maybe I’m immature at heart, but I don’t think boldness has an expiration date.

I wish I could remember the name of the head of the English department at NC State years ago. I remember him telling me about a book he started writing 20 some years earlier and how pain-stakeningly he visited every city and even oil drilling towns in order to create a believable novel. He didn’t finish it and lost many pages. When I told him to go back and start again, I’ll never forget his reply.

“It’s too late. The moment is lost. If I tried to resurrect it now, it wouldn’t have the same essence.”

I didn’t say anything to the wiser, older, professor and writer. Who was I, but a young, student getting a master’s degree? But deep inside, I didn’t believe him. Maybe it wouldn’t be the same novel, but he might discover another one. He might have a great time. He might create an even better one. Think about it.

According to some historians, Goethe wrote the first draft of his play Faust, known then as the Urfaust, between 1772 and 1775. Goethe finally finished writing Faust Part Two in 1831.

I know, not all of you are striving to be playwrights or novelists, but you get the idea.

Maybe you can’t achieve your dreams over night. But who’s to say you can’t take one step toward them each day? Maybe you need to start looking into schools or training courses? Maybe you need to just let go of some added-on responsibilities in order to carve out 30 minutes a day for some needed dream-time? Think about what you may need to do to inch towards a goal. I know there’s a lot I need to do in order to push aside procrastination or fear to move forward.

Boldness may take action—even the smallest amount—but luckily, there’s no time-limit on movement … except the one you place on yourself.