If You Love Something, Let it Go

If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours.

If it doesn’t, it was never meant to be. ~ Anonymous

Our emotional, physical and spiritual health all rely heavily on this principle and our ability to apply it. I know. I’ve tested it out many a time.

This time last year I was confronted with the reality that I needed to leave New York. I’d dreamt of living there since I was a little girl and finally made it there the year before, but being in the middle of a career transition in one of the biggest, most expensive cities in the world, in the middle of an economic recession, it had become glaringly obvious that I needed to let go and go home for a while. At least until I was back on my feet with a steady job.

Something kept tugging at my heart telling me I needed to go home, which I found odd. When I left Texas at 23, I vowed never to return except to visit. I declared that the world is filled with far more interesting places to inhabit and since I’d already lived the first quarter of my life there, there was no need to go back.

But instead of listening to what my heart was trying to tell me, I continued pressing on and pressing on like the good little ballerina I was until a fracture in my foot literally stopped me in my tracks.

I was heartbroken. And upon finally coming to the conclusion that New York and I just weren’t a good fit at this point in time, I wrote my Dear John letter on the subway one night:

My love affair with New York isn’t over but like any intense relationship, sometimes you just need your space. And that’s the one thing New York lacks, is space. Like a good lover, New York feeds me in many ways but at the moment, he’s smothering me. I just need a breather.

A few months later, I found myself back at home in Texas. My friends and family were all shocked but my instincts proved to be right.

Since being home I feel like I’ve come full circle in many ways. I’ve rekindled old relationships and discovered new ones. But the thing that’s become most clear to me is my purpose.

New York was too loud for me to hear the whispers of my heart so by coming to a more relaxed and familiar place, I was able to finally listen and walk in the direction that I believe is my greatest destiny.

Sometimes our greatest treasures appear when we embrace the unknown.

The irony here is that along with my new business venture here in Texas and full-time writing career, not only will I be able to move back to New York at some point but I’ll be able to work from anywhere in the world. And for someone who has “Live in Europe” at the top of her bucket-list, it’s a dream come true! But, one could argue, none of this would have happened had I not had the courage to let go of what I THOUGHT my life should be.

This experience reminds me of my favorite Joseph Campbell quote:

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.

There’s only so much we can control in life.

And it’s often hard to see the forest for the trees but if we can just trust our heart and let go, somehow, it all works out.

So how about you? Ever had to let go of something you couldn’t bear to lose only to find out life was better off once you let go? Have you ever had to let go of your own expectations in order to find the life that was waiting for you?

Photo courtesy of denaemusic.com

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Spring Cleaning — Follow Your Heart

So now that we’ve been spending some time talking about Spring Cleaning and dabbled a little into the how, I know some of you may be thinking — Okay. It’s fine and good and all to let go and “free” ourselves up in our lives, but how do we differentiate between what we keep and what we let go of?

Good question. 😉 And one that took me YEARS to figure out. So hopefully this post will save you some time.

First I’ll explain what works for me (it’s pretty simple) and then give you some other perspectives because ultimately, it comes down to what works for you. So take what works and leave what doesn’t.

Follow Your Heart

For me, deciding whether or not I let someone or something go all comes down to heart. What is my heart is telling me?

Now, I had to find ways to sort through all the riff-raff in my brain that was distracting me in order to actually hear my heart. And break through all the shoulds and coulds and years of being a people pleaser. But Bikram yoga, the right diet, and meditation, all helped me get to where I was thinking clearly, not second guessing decisions, and doing things that were right for me. Not because I was trying to please somebody.

The wisdom of our heart runs deep and once I started trusting what my heart was telling me and taking action in my daily life, feelings of peace, joy, and love grew exponentially.

Some of us are more in touch with our hearts than others so getting to “the heart of the matter” may take longer for some. But in my experience, this has been the best way to discern what to shed in my life and is the best investment of time I’ve made thus far. Once I found my heart, I found my purpose. 

So if you’re not sure what your heart’s telling you, hang in there and know you’re not alone. Start with the intention and the answers as to how to get in touch with your heart will be revealed.

Additional Perspectives on Letting Go 

The Secret to Success — Quitting by Kristen Lamb may seem counterintuitive upon first glance, but her advice is right on. We need to learn when to quit what isn’t working in our lives and realize that quitting, letting go, WILL lead us to the greatest success of our lives.

Follow Your Heart by Lisa Symmes talks about the majesty that’s revealed in our lives when we follow our hearts. This incredibly moving post is a great reminder as to why we must listen to our hearts.

The Review — Are Your Relationships Good for Your Health? Debra Kristi gives us a very thorough checklist on how to identify toxic relationships. And if you’re still feeling bad about letting certain people go, she reminds us that, “Unhealthy friendships can poison your own personal well-being.” Brilliant.

Letting Go of Toxic Friends Reneé Schuls-Jacobson shares a touching story with us that shows just how hard it can be to let go of a friend. And that sometimes, avoidance may be our best tactic.

So what’re your thoughts? Do you ever have trouble letting go or does it come naturally for you? How do you decide what to let go of?

 

Photo courtesy of purpledreamy.blogspot.com

A Little Blog Love

Many thanks to Leonie Lucas: Writing One Page at a Time and George W. Mahn III: Vertical Tales for giving me my first ever blog awards! I feel very honored 😉 So without further ado, I pass The Versatile Blogger Award onto:

1. For the Love by Cara Doyle

2. Penelope Trunk’s Blog

3. Marc and Angel Hack Life

4. Life at Warp 10 by Marcy Kennedy

5. The Journal Pulp by Ray

6. Crazy Sexy Life by Kris Carr

7. be.love.live. by Liz

8. Action-Packed Paranormal Romance by Kait Nolan

9. On Belly Dancing, Espionage, and Apocalyptic Annihilation by Holmes & Bayard

10. For the Hopeless Fearless Romantic by Roni Loren

11. Where the Heart Is by David N. Walker

12. A Writer’s World by Traci Kenworth

13. KoAutism by Kary Newton Whitaker

14. Diamonds and Rust by Fabio Bueno

15. Glitter, Bliss and Perfect Chaos by Jillian Dodd

I could name so many more, but we’ll leave it at that for now.

7 Random Facts About Me:

1. I’m a Gorwexican. German-Norwegian-Mexican. Random, right!?

2. I lived in Taiwan on my own at age 16.

3. My parents were both professional ballet dancers who toured the world.

4. I’m a huge animal lover! I’d own an animal sanctuary if I could.

5. For some reason, I have a soft-spot for elephants. I must’ve been one in a past life.

6. I’m a gypsy at heart. If I could travel the majority of the year, I would. Just love this world!

7. I dream of performing for Matthew Bourne one day. Love that man!

Winners– please pass on this award to 15 other awesome bloggers and spread the bloggin’ love! Be sure to have them include 7 random facts about themselves. For more info on this award click here.

Now for Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments Award. These ten questions must be answered with complete honesty so here goes:

1. Describe yourself in seven words.

Oh geez. Easy-going. Adventurous. Curious. Creative. Fun. Happy. Peaceful.

2. What keeps you up at night?

Almost nothing. I usually work so hard during the day that the second I hit the pillow I’m out. But sometimes I’ll hit a creative streak at night and can’t stop writing. Never a bad thing 😉

3. Whom would you like to be?

I used to wanna be like other women I admired. Now, I just want to be me. It took me a long time to find me, so I think I’ll stick with her 😉

4. What are you wearing now?

Seriously? I feel like a dirty, old man’s on the other end of this question. I’m wearing blue sweats, tee-shirt and flip-flops. My writer work-wear.

5. What scares you?

Heights. (I get that from my dad.) Swimming in opaque waters. Fear. I try as best as I can to be driven by love at all times but sometimes fear rears his ugly head.

6.  What are the best and worst things about blogging?

The best thing about blogging is getting to connect to people around the world. My mission has always been to help people and blogging is a great way to do that 🙂 Worst? Can’t think of anything unless you count my new obsession with the blog-sphere. There’s just not enough hours in the day to read all the blogs I want to read!

7. What was the last website you looked at?

Google.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

My cup size. Just kidding! I’ve finally come to accept that. There used to be a whole list of things I’d change but honestly, now, I wouldn’t change a thing. Took a long time to get there. Oh, well, maybe my tendency to over-schedule would be one thing I’d change. There’s so much I want to do that I’m trying my best to pack it all into this one life-time which sometimes proves to be a challenge. Even though I know this must change, I admit I get a high off being down-to-the-minute. It’s exhilarating!

9.  Slankets, yes or no?

What the heck is that?

10. Tell us something about the person who tagged you.

George has been a loyal commenter for quite a while and I just learned I met him at the end of last year. I thought he was some random guy from the UK! Funny story there. Anyway, I know he’s a talented musician and composer and all-around nice guy. Go check out his page Vertical Tales.

I’m passing Mrs. Sparkly’s Ten Commandments on to:

1. We Are Not Alone by Kristen Lamb

2. Savor the Storm by August McLaughlin

3. A Cup of Tea and Sorcery by Tameri Etherton

4. Cowbell: You Need More of It by Jenny Hansen

5. Life Out Loud by Natalie Hartford

Winners- Just answer the 10 questions and pass along the award to 5 more lucky winners!

Thanks again Leonie and George! It was fun 🙂

When Someone Shows You Who They Are

When someone shows you who they are, believe them.

I quote Maya Angelou on this one.

Now I’m not saying we can’t give people a second chance. But when they repeatedly tell you, or better yet, show you who they are, believe them.

Four years ago, after my divorce, I fell in love. It was love at first sight. From the moment I saw him, I knew he was the one for me. He seemed to feel the same. I could see it in his eyes when we first met. It was like the dreamweaver sequence from Wayne’s World. Remember that? Where Wayne sees the hot Tia Carrere on stage and Dreamweaver starts playing in the background? That’s what happened.

We were on set shooting a short film. He, the director and I, the actor. And at the end of our 10-hour day, I handed him my number. In a very discreet way so as to not tip-off any of the rest of the crew.

It had been exactly a year since my separation, only six months since my official divorce, and I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be in love. But a week into us knowing each other, I asked him if he wanted kids and he plainly said, “I don’t know.”

The moment he said that, my heart sank. A gloomy feeling came over me and I couldn’t utter another word. He apologized, sensing my disappointment, but continued on with his conviction. He explained that until he had a successful career, which could take years, he couldn’t consider a family.

It was clear he wasn’t going to budge.

But instead of listening to what he and my gut were both trying to tell me, I decided to hear what I wanted to hear.

Well, he didn’t say he didn’t want any kids. He just said he didn’t know.

Maybe he’ll change his mind.

This feels right. How could it be so wrong if it feels so right?

But a year later as I was sobbing in heartache over our collapsed union, I learned that cold, hard facts need not be ignored en lieu of feelings.

He never deviated from how he felt. He stood firm on his beliefs, something I admired then and now. But on some level I was hoping that he would change his mind.

How often do we do this? Not just in love relationships but in friendships and work situations? We see something that’s not in alignment with our values, goals or desires yet we choose to ignore it. We choose to believe the version we prefer instead of the one being shown to us.

But by doing so, in the end, we only have ourselves to blame. What’s the saying? Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Now, I don’t regret this relationship at all. In fact, I’m sincerely grateful it happened. The lessons I learned were invaluable:

Stay true to yourself.

Listen to your instincts.

Never abandon who you are as a person for the sake of another.

People will only change on their own accord, not because we will them to.

And most importantly: When someone shows you who they are, believe them. The first time.

So what are your thoughts? Ever been under the influence of feelings and ignored what your gut was telling you? Have you ever chosen to believe your version of someone rather than really listening to what they were trying to tell you? Or have you ever been on the receiving end of someone who just wouldn’t listen to what you were trying to tell them?

Photo courtesy of 500 Days of Summer

Love Your Failures

I recently read an article in Newsweek on Ben Kingsley titled, On the Horror of Being Called ‘Absolutely Suburban’, and was blown away.

In this article, Kingsley, the Oscar-winning actor for his role as Gandhi, admits to having been prideful as a young actor. After finishing a rehearsal for the world-renowned theater director Peter Brook, he awaited his praise and was initially shocked to hear something quite the opposite.

I saw Peter Brook, the great director, advancing slowly across the rehearsal room with a twinkle in his eye. I thought mistakenly that he was about to say, “My dears, that was absolutely wonderful!” I stood up mistakenly waiting for the praise to fill my actor’s begging bowl. He put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said, “Dear Ben, that was absolutely suburban.” There was a long pause after the word “suburban.” And he said, “If we want to watch suburban, we’ll stick our heads over our neighbor’s fence.”

He proceeded to give the actors constructive criticism to which they applied and when they did the play in New York, this particular scene received several rounds of applause.

Perversely, I thank God we were so bad. Without me having to transcend the word “suburban,” I don’t think I would have been able to play the amazing characters I have onscreen.

Peter Brooks was pushing him. Squeezing the brilliance out of Kingsley that he knew was there. Brooks was actually doing him a huge favor. But how many of us would’ve reacted emotionally and been resistant to the idea that we needed improvement? How many of us would’ve let our ego get in the way of revealing the greatness within simply because of pride?

This is where a healthy dose of humility is helpful.

Failure is an event, never a person; an attitude, not an outcome. – Zig Ziglar

I don’t know about you but when I used to think of amazing actors like Ben Kingsley, and other innovators and leaders, I tended to think they were always just that brilliant from the get-go. But now I know better and have come to realize that they are people too. Like you and I. And they were once neophytes making the typical mistakes we all do.

It makes it that much easier to believe that we, too, can realize the greatness within us. That we are not separate from them. Only our thinking makes it so.

So would it be safe to say that those who make it to the top of their fields not only have the skill but perhaps more importantly, are really good at using their failures as feedback instead of defeat?

Failure as Feedback

The teacher I last studied acting with in LA introduced me to this concept which was an especially useful tool in the acting world where rejection and failure is rampant.

She posited the idea that failure is nothing more than feedback. You may be doing every thing right, but it’s not always about you. There are always other outside factors involved.

It gives us the chance to take the ego out of a situation and take a more objective stance. And then take the necessary action to change or improve the situation. Kinda like Edison with his light bulb.

It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up again. – Vince Lombardi

What would we do without failures? We’d be living in a bubble which, as we all know, is not sustainable. It’s bound to pop at some point.

So I want to hear from you! Are you pretty good about listening to criticism and using it constructively? Or do you find it defeats you more than it empowers you? How has failure affected you? Can you find a way to love your failures as much as your success?

Photo courtesy of cbc.ca

Love the Life Givers

Parents.

For some of us, this single word brings up emotions we’d otherwise not feel. Some of us may be experiencing difficulties with our parents right now. Or maybe we’re hanging on to hurtful experiences from the past that still taint the way we see and interact with them today.

But regardless of what the word parent means to us, we need to recognize and remember that without them, we would not be here.

I make a concerted effort to tell my mom on a regular basis how much I love her, especially now realizing what it is I must’ve put her through. From ages 13 to 17, I was Sassy McSassy. Hell on wheels equipped with my father’s German temper and teenage angst. I made sure my voice was heard. Sneaking out of the house at night, rolling my eyes at them, bringing home N’s and U’s on my report card for classroom conduct.

Oy. I’m appalled when I think back to how I used to act but quickly forgive myself knowing it was just a phase of self-discovery and individuation that is normal for any teenager to go through.

Having gone through all the evolutions of parental perceptions that is normal as we mature into adulthood, I now see things I perceived as negative in a whole new light.

For instance, I carried certain resentments with me for years after the inciting incidents. I begged my parents to let me take gymnastics but was repeatedly denied. I wanted to do a school activity and signed up for track but because it interfered with ballet rehearsals, I had to quit. I had to stop riding horses, an activity I loved and had a lot of potential at, but because Dad feared I’d get a big butt and ruin my ballerina figure, I had to quit.

May sound trite to some but in my little teenage brain, it was a big deal. I felt like I never got to do what I wanted to do.

But at a certain point I realized that the reason my parents prevented me from engaging in certain activities was because they had my best interests at heart. Not because they wanted to shun my desires. They saw my potential and talent as a dancer and made the decision to keep me from situations where I could hurt myself and possibly threaten my future prospects.

Their decisions on my behalf were birthed from love. And isn’t that a parent’s job? To recognize their child’s strengths and cultivate their innate talents?

But how often do we hang on to the hurts and disappointments of the past? It’s a crutch that’s easy to fall onto but at a certain point it becomes our responsibility to claim our future as our own.  And not be held back by any perceived misfortune of our younger years but to let all that go and become the person we want to be now.

I now recognize my mom for the angel that she is and always has been. Her ballerina career was just beginning to take off when she got pregnant with me. For someone whose career depended on maintaining the utmost perfection with her body, she took this “surprise” in stride. Welcoming me into this world with open arms. And as she continued along a career path that required so much of her, she always managed to give me the love and support I needed to grow. She is the definition of what it means to live a grace-filled, grace-driven life. Even amidst my rants and raves, she always approached me with love and quickly forgave me for my faults.

I now recognize how lucky I was to have my father. At one point, he was willing to give up his career for my own and move me to Paris to study with the Paris Opera Ballet, if I so desired. He took the time to personally introduce me to famous dancers such as Fernando Bujones and Darcy Bussell in an attempt to inspire me to the greatness of what I could be. And always stood by in the wings with a glimmer in his eye as I danced to the music they choreographed for me. And even though I ultimately decided not to become a professional ballerina, I am so grateful for the opportunities they blessed me with.

Reflecting on my childhood as compared to many other horrible stories of sexual abuse and poverty, I am ashamed to admit I ever had any negative thoughts considering my upbringing. But everything’s relative. What I went through was important to me at the time. But I later realized that using my past as an excuse for my perceived failures as an adult was just downright immature.

We always have to be careful what we deem as reality. Is what we’re perceiving the truth or just our perception of the situation? Can you love your parents for what they gave you instead of what you think they didn’t?

Parents have to sacrifice so much for their children. Something I can’t fathom since I haven’t had kids yet but seeing what my mommy friends go through, I am always in awe. I think it’s the ultimate love and something I hope to experience one day.

So how about you? Did you ever allow false thoughts about your parents to hold you back in any way? If so, were you finally able to reconcile those perceptions and love them for who they are? Do you feel not having a good relationship with your parents holds you back in life? For the parents out there, what do you feel the balance is with guiding your child but also allowing them to explore their own desires?

Love Thy Temple

All my life I wanted boobs.

Well, I take that back. Only when I quit dancing and moved to Los Angeles did I begin to obsess over my cleavage, or lack there of. While I was dancing in Texas, it never fazed me. Nor did it faze my high school sweetheart who loved me just the way I was. But as soon as I hung up my toe shoes and headed for Hollywood, a seed of insecurity began to blossom within me.

In hindsight, it probably had more to do with the environment than internal workings but it soon became a problem. The silicon that surrounded me began seeping into my soul. I toyed around with my weight, hoping it would redistribute itself but instead, it went straight to my butt. I tried chest exercises and visualization techniques to no avail. Little blips of insecurity concerning my chest would flit across my mind at least once a day.

I prayed. I hoped. I wished. But still, no change.

I once confessed my woes to my curvaceously-blessed friend, Sammi, to which she replied,

“Ingrid. You have beautiful little pippins.”

“Pippins?”

“Yes. Pippins. They’re so dainty and proportionate and perfect for YOU. You’d look funny if you had boobs.”

To which I blushed. And for a moment, I believed her.

The men in my life never seemed to mind. During our marriage, my ex-husband would scoff any time I’d mention my size and again would tell me I was perfect just the way I was. After my divorce I dated a guy who refused to let me complain about my breasts and in bed would lovingly say,

“When you’re with me, you’re not gonna to cover up. I love your body.”

He said it with such sincerity but I couldn’t accept his words as my own. I couldn’t let go of the fact that I yearned each day for a C in place of my A. Or at least a full B. Was that too much to ask?

Finally sick of it all, I scheduled a consultation with a plastic surgeon. By God, I wasn’t going to live another day thinking or dwelling on something that I could, in fact, change. Why not? Everyone else was doing it. In LA it was, and still is, akin to getting a facial or having your nails done. It’s commonplace. I was an anomaly for not having fake boobs.

I endured the topless visit where the surgeon told me I was indeed a great candidate. And he explained the procedure in such a way that made me feel comfortable and confident with my decision to change my body.

But ultimately I just couldn’t do it. The idea of being cut into and having foreign objects placed inside of me for the rest of my life, and all the complications that could ensue, freaked me out.

So now I was faced with the fact that unless I ever have kids, this was it for me. I was going to have to accept my body the way it was.

Over time I’ve come to accept this part of myself more and more. I can’t say I still don’t long for a cupeth that spilleth over but it no longer occupies my everyday thinking.

Instead I choose to focus on what I do have and express my gratitude for it.

I am grateful that I have a strong and healthy body which allows me to climb mountains, swim seas and explore the world.

I am grateful that I have two arms and two legs that allow me to dance or run a race while some are bound to wheelchairs for the rest of their lives.

I am grateful that I’ve been able to retain my ballet figure with little to no effort years after quitting and I can eat whatever I want without gaining a pound.

I am grateful to have friends in my life who reflect back to me the beauty of who I really am inside and out. Come to find out Merriam-Webster defines a “pippin” as:

a highly admired or very admirable person or thing.

I think Sammi is a keeper.

As my love and gratitude grow for what I do have in my life and for what my body provides, that little voice of dissatisfaction is banished to its cave and no longer heard. But I must be vigilant in minding my thoughts to ensure I never go down that road of self-rejection and self-loathing ever again.

So how about you? How would you rate your self-image? Are there things about your body you wish you could change? Can you accept yourself the way you are? Or if it is something you can change, like your weight, can you finally do something about it? Are there things about your body, like freckles or a gap between your teeth, that used to bother you but now you accept as part of who you are and your uniqueness? Come on… I showed you mine, now show me yours.

Inspired by a Sam Levinson poem, author August McLaughlin created Beauty of a Woman BlogFest to which I’m a proud contributor. Head on over to her blog on Friday, February 10th, to read more stories on beauty and self-image and for chances to win awesome prizes, including a Kindle Touch or a $99 Amazon gift card, body image coaching, BOAW mugs, and more.

Photo courtesy of artflakes.com

What’s Your Dream?

Welcome to Hollywood. What’s your dream? Everybody comes here. This is Hollywood, the land of dreams. Some dreams come true, some don’t. But keep on dreamin’. This is Hollywood. Always time to dream, so keep on dreamin’.

Love these last few lines from Pretty Woman. Such poignant words to end a film. Yeah, I know. It’s an unrealistic Cinderella story of a hooker who finds millionaire love off Hollywood Boulevard but there are lessons to be learned. That’s what movies are great for. Really good ones tap into our subconscious and wake up something that may lay dormant. Pretty Woman provides at least three very important lessons.

1. Wade Through the Drudgery

How many of us have had to drudge through crap menial work in order to rise to the top or find our true calling? Years of putting in the extra hours to get a promotion or raise? I think that’s what Pretty Woman is really about. Not about finding prince charming riding in a white limo but about sifting through all our possibilities and finding what we truly want to do. God forbid any of us have to resort to prostitution but what a brilliant way for the writer to get his point across. In the end, Robert’s character decides to stay true to herself and forge a new path but as she demonstrates, sometimes you gotta go through the bad to get to the good.

2. Stay On Course

In one scene toward the end she confesses to Kit, her roommate, that she made good grades in school but clearly she got lost somewhere along the way. Has that ever happened to you? You set a course for a goal then a week, month, or years later found yourself in a completely different spot than what you intended? Because things come up right? Life happens. Deaths in the family, breakups, sickness, layoffs, dependents who rely on you to put bread on the table. But all of us have the chance to get back on course each and every day.

3. Beliefs Birth Reality

We are all capable of more than we believe but like Pretty Woman, we sometimes buy into the idea that we’re not good enough so we settle for less. She had what it took to stop a millionaire in his tracks but never believed it about herself. Our belief systems that reside within us must always be filled. So either we believe the goodness and strength within us and surround ourselves with people who support that or we allow the outside world to convince us we’re worthless and incapable. It’s a choice.

Dream Time

So let’s just pretend for a moment that your life is a movie and you’re the hero. Say you’re well into the second act. You’ve had some trials and tribulations and learned a few things. Now what? Take away all the shoulds and should nots and just dream for a minute. Would you change anything about the direction of your life? If not, kudos to you. You’re on the right track and you can forward this message to a friend. But if so, if you could write the script of your life from here on out what would it be?

Go big here. You have liberty to create whatever you want just for fun. Doesn’t matter if it’s to be President of the United States, Wonder Woman or the next Stephen King. The purpose is to think outside the box you’re in now. Has there ever been anything that really intrigued you but you never had the nerve to pursue it?  Think about it.

Now imagine your script continuing exactly as your life is now.

Which version is more appealing?

I know we all have our excuses:

  • I can’t afford to quit my day job.
  • My dream job won’t support me.
  • I won’t get a girl/guy on the salary that job would provide.
  • My parents won’t approve.

But we need to take a look at the bigger picture. At the end of your life do you want to look back with regret? Because if we deny something that truly tugs at our soul you can bet that’s exactly what will happen.

My blog for January is entirely devoted to dreams because I believe they should be at the forefront of our priority list. The conception and execution of them forms our reality and don’t we all want a great life? Maybe we won’t all end up living in the penthouse at the Regent Beverly Wilshire but even the little steps we take toward greatness will elevate our lives.

Photo courtesy of breakfastatdior.blogspot.com

Fear and the Ultralight Surprise

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Last week I was in Florida at my family’s annual Fourth of July trip. Every year we rent a house on the beach where around 17 of us gather for some R & R. Typical daily activities include eating, sunbathing, drinking adult beverages and eating some more. Some of us venture out and kayak or scuba dive but for the most part, we park it on the beach and just hang.

It’s so lovely, though more difficult than it sounds when you’re used to being busy all the time. It can actually be hard to do nothing. It’s not until I board my plane each summer and literally feel my muscles start to melt into my seat that I realize how much I need that time away. How very important it is to vacate your life or at least take a break for a bit.

So mid-week came and our itinerary was unchanged from previous years. Wake up, eat a leisurely breakfast, then slowly make our way out to the shore. But on Wednesday afternoon, my cousin Jourdan came into the house and rather urgently requested we get down to the beach right away.

“Make sure you’re down there in 2 minutes!”

Hm. That’s funny, I thought. There’s never a rush to do anything around here. 

Exactly two minutes later, we hear this buzzing noise coming toward us and there appeared this itty bitty flying machine. Looked like part jet ski, part hand glider. Someone scrambled for the binoculars and all of us stood mouths open wide.

“No way!”

There was Ashton, one of my cousins, seated in that crazy looking flying mobile.

Shouts of excited came over everyone as we found out that there were 7 of us going up. My Uncle Mark turned to me and said, “Ingrid. There’s room for you to get on there too!”

Oy. Have I mentioned lately about my fear of heights? It’s not horrible but I certainly choose to stay away from activities that involve venturing higher than a one story building. But I thought, if given the chance, I’ll do it. If my 10-year-old cousin can do it, so can I!

And I did.

IngridFlyBoatCan’t say I wasn’t freaking out almost the entire time I was up there but once I was back on solid ground, I can say I’m SO glad I did it.

Especially as we get older, we develop all these fears and almost ALL of them are irrational! Though I must say, when the pilot initially sensed my trepidation, he did commend me.

“If you’re scared that means you’re intelligent. It’s the ones that get on here and have no fear whatsoever that have no wits about them. If you’re smart, you’ll be a bit scared.”

Not that that eased my fears much but I will say I learned how important it is to challenge ourselves. Especially in terms of fear. Because when we do things that scare us and live through it, we soon start to realize there’s no real reason to fear. And that doing things that scare us can actually be quite fun!

I’m just grateful I have a family that gets me out of my box. Can only imagine what they have in store for next year. 😀

So how bout you? Is there anything in life that you’d love to do but are too scared? Have you ever done something you were afraid of? How’d it turn out? What’s one thing you could do TODAY to overcome an irrational fear?

Click here for more info on The Flying Boat in Pensacola, FL

Make the Impossible Possible

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Recently, my boyfriend and I attended the wedding of some dear friends of ours in New York. And with less than 48 hours to gallivant around one of my favorite cities in the world, we seriously pushed the limits. Squeezing in as much as we possibly could up until the very last minute.

Literally.

About an hour and a half before our flight home, friends politely nudged us out the door. Eyes wide saying, “What time did you say your flight was? You better get going!”

Not wanting to leave, we had been stalling. Or rather, I had been stalling. You see, I have a love affair with New York that goes way back. But alas, we finally jumped into a cab and off we went.

After an hour of sitting in traffic, Greg said, “No way are we going to make it.” To which I said, “Of course we will.” “No, you don’t understand. Our plane takes off in 19 minutes and we’re 16 miles away. I’m gonna start looking for rooms in Hoboken. The next flight we can take is at 6am.”

Perhaps it was the thought of not staying in Manhattan that night if we missed our flight, or perhaps it was the idea of having to wake at 4 o’clock in the morning to catch the next available flight after NOT having stayed in Manhattan, that sent me into a blaze of faith.

“Don’t worry. We’ll make it!”

He continued to search online for hotels, shaking his head in disbelief, but I was adamant. And politely reminded our driver we were going to miss our flight if he didn’t press the pedal to the metal.

Pulling up to Newark Airport with 10 minutes to spare, I ran to the American Airlines counter to alert them we were on the premises and to please hold the plane. The attendant, unfazed by my frenzy, simply pointed the way toward the security line.

Clearly she was going to be no help at all.

So I ran directly to the TSA agent at the front of security and asked him if we could pass through right away since our flight was about to take off.

“Yeah,” he said with his Jersey accent. “So long as no one else minds. Does anyone mind if these two cut to the front so they don’t miss their flight?”

Luckily no one argued.

I glanced at my phone- 5:17pm. Plane takes off in 8 minutes. I still had hope.

After scrambling through the x-ray machines, I ran the last leg of our race solo as Greg gathered up our luggage. Approaching gate A15, I saw the door slowly closing to our flight.

So close!

I darted up to the podium.

“We’re on that flight! Is there any way you can let us on?”

“No ma’am. They already closed the door. Are you Ingrid Schaffenburg?” said the ticket girl with no concern whatsoever on her face.

“Yes. But they JUST closed it! I just saw them! Is there anyway?”

“No. I’m sorry. But I can book you on the next available flight.”

Not giving up, I paused and again asked very calmly, “Please. Is there anyway you can get us on that flight?”

Then the girl standing next to her said, “Wait, I think they’re coming back up to open the door.”

Apparently somebody cared.

“But is Greg with you?”

“Yeah, he’s right there!” as I pointed to a random crowd of travelers. Not a Greg in sight.

“He has to be here…”

“He is… he’s right… there!”

And as fate would have it, we boarded our plane at exactly 5:25pm.

Greg was stumped for quite a while afterward.

“They don’t reopen the door for ANYONE! I think it’s TSA policy that once that door is closed, it’s closed. How in the world did that just happen?!”

“Belief baby. I just believed.”

Greg is now seriously considering employing me somehow in his new business after witnessing this feat that I managed to pull off.

To him, myself, and to all of us… all I gotta say is this:

If you want something bad enough, you can make it happen. You can MAKE the impossible, POSSIBLE just by believing you can. And even if a door closes in your face, the possibility still remains that it will open again.

So what “impossible” feat would you like to make a reality TODAY? What dream would you accomplish if you knew you could not fail? How much do you really believe in your ability to succeed? Is there an example in your life where sheer belief led to making the impossible possible? Would love to hear your stories so do share!