Changing Times, Time for Change and The Plight of Child Refugees

Home repairs, cleaning and staging the house daily, stepping away with my dog (cat hiding under the bed) to allow potential buyers to explore the house as a potential new home for themselves: such a daunting process, one I hope will be over soon! I write from my office away from home, waiting for showings to pass.

Relocation is such a time for change, in perspective, in hopes for the future, in care for those I will be leaving once and, for many, forever in this lifetime. This is a time pregnant with possibilities yet rife with challenges to overcome.

It is interesting to be embarking upon such a leap of faith while the country itself is in dire turmoil with the …revisionist, to say the least… policies being inflicted on the collective consciousness politically these days. I try to avoid politics at this blog. But I cannot ignore how tumultuous these times are for so many.

images are from pixabay.com

Families fleeing a country to find safety in another become migrants subjected to all sorts of policies aimed to deter them from succeeding in their quest to achieve what we used to call simply, the American Dream.  If they are deported again back to those conditions from which they have fled, what message does this send to the world, of the world? I am so sheltered by comparison, so ignorant of their plight.

Changing Times are Times for Change, positive or negative, destructive or life affirming. The CHILDREN are leading the way toward positive change in so many aspects these days. That should tell us something, all.  Let them lead! Let the youth forge new pathways for us all, out from the darkness into light.

That is my blog for this week, which may be the final one this month due to the changes happening so quickly in my own life through the rest of this month.

May the Blessings Be!

Set Your Travel Goals (or, Happiness is a Choice)

When I prepare for a major travel excursion, I set a spiritual goal for the trip. That means I contemplate what I am ready or aiming to learn, about life or about my own potentials for self improvement. This is especially true with relocation; such an amazing opportunity to push the reset button involving any life conditions upon which you might wish to improve.

As I approach relocating Back East at the end of July, I find myself contemplating Happiness. At an Asian buffet the other night my fortune cookie stated:

“Happiness is a choice.”

That is precisely the message I needed to receive. As I contemplate the next Life Chapter of my own Dream Come True (for all of life is that, when you think about it), I realize it will be what I choose it to be with regard to the attitudes and viewpoints I exercise. Partly this means acting in ways that serve the greatest good and that may facilitate happiness and well-being for those in my immediate family and social circles. Smiling while engaging with people in public contexts can help me develop the habit of carrying happiness in my heart, coupled with acceptance and contentment.

Of course it is understood that any less than ideal conditions one experiences in one location are very likely to manifest again in a new location, so long as one carries those conditions forward within them. So contemplating current conditions is imperative for considering how to tweak the attitudes you choose to carry forward.

To me, this Travel Goal Setting for relocation goes way back in this lifetime (at least!). As my father was transferred several times to different states while I was young, I learned that in looking ahead to the next Big Move, I could use it as an opportunity to transform or tweak the life I had been living. When I was around 12, for instance, Dad told us the family would be moving around one year later from our home in Pennsylvania to New York state, near Niagara Falls.

Since at 12 I had become somewhat of an awkward, nerdy girl, I looked ahead to transforming my outer persona image in New York. I consciously changed up my wardrobe that next year, aiming to become a more “popular,” mainstream sort of teenager. When I got to my new school in New York then, I purposely sought to “get in” with what I conceived of as a more popular circle of friends. Well, it worked; however, very quickly that year I came to realize that the popular crowd I was courting really wasn’t who I am in the sense that my interests were far different from theirs. So after pretending for a short while to have a long distance boyfriend (wearing a ring from my mother’s jewelry case), pretty soon I figured out I wanted to be more authentic. I stopped sitting with this group of new friends at lunch time, even hiding in a lavatory the entire lunch period to do that. Then I joined a drama club and orchestra and started hanging out with new friends, more nerdy or artistic; people I really enjoyed being with!

The process I had undertaken to transform my life in the future from Pennsylvania to New York had succeeded, more than I could have anticipated.  I have been more mindful from that point forward of who I am (or am becoming) internally, and more appreciative of authenticity itself. I enjoyed my high school years immensely. The choices I made then were formative of the person I am today in very positive ways; no wonder then that at 64 as I have just retired, my immediate plan is to return to New York, to my family and even to be nearer to some of the deep friendships I shared there.

So, this time, I choose Happiness! 

images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story.

Travel Preparations–the Big Move

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Travel, especially for relocation or a Big Move, can be an act of Life Transformation.  It lifts you out from whatever conditions have become routinized and familiar, offering new potentials for adventure and change. Because this is such a momentous occasion, a successful Big Move is deserving and requires major preparations. Preparations allow time for envisioning the adventure or the new life conditions you aim to manifest, so the more you prepare, the better for all your future prospects!

This past two weeks I have been preparing my house in Colorado to go on the market tomorrow as I will be relocating Back East at the end of July. “Staging” has been a major undertaking. New bathroom sinks, some new furniture for my next location, basically gutting and tilling the back yard, steam cleaning carpets, and cleaning and polishing/ renewing all interior surfaces as with a fine toothed comb, every nook and cranny.  It has been like digging myself out from the comfortable, cluttered space I have created as my haven this past twelve or so years.

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The process of returning my house to its pristine state in preparation for its own new occupants has allowed me to gradually come to better awareness of the reality that I am already now all but retired (officially June 30) and that I truly will be moving to a new location altogether. I will be two and a half hours from one dear sister and maybe six or so from another and eight from my brother and sister-in-law: much closer to family than this past nearly forty years. I return to New York state, which was foundational in my formative years; it will be nice to be able to travel as an adult to places I always wanted to explore more fully in my youth. I bring with me my dear Soul companion, Sophie (Shitzu/Yorkie) and my dear feline Soul companion, Emily.

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images are from pixabay.com

I find that preparing for such a big move benefits from lots of time in contemplation and journalling. Inner preparation is just as important or perhaps even more so than the outer activity.  Moving carries such rich potentials for creating the future you choose to manifest that it is vital to check in with your feelings, thoughts, and goals. Nowadays with the internet it is so easy as well to look ahead at the place and resources to which you will be moving or traveling. This allows your imagination to soar and scout out your destination, even before you arrive.

I welcome YOUR Comments and your own Travel or Big Move Story. If you would like to Guest Blog your story, you can simply email me at lkwatts@uccs.edu.

 

Time Out of Time

Travel…ah, a breath of fresh air! Time to breathe again, so we might say. But it is “time out of Time,” an equinox we create for ourselves between cycles. Or perhaps more simply, Time Out!

A great ‘better endings’ account of the role and opportunities of Travel in our lives is found in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. An ordinary fellow in a mundane seeming life of hard work and routine on the surface, yet the real Walter lived an imaginative life of fun and daring adventure. Eventually, the ‘secret’ life and his conscious wakeaday world combined to bring greater upliftment and fulfillment.

Who are YOU when you travel? What transformations do you undertake in leaving the familiar zone and embarking on adventure?

A few years back a good friend and I planned (for two years!) and then went on a two week trip to Ireland. The newness of the verdant environment, fresh air, dialects, and cultural richness expanded my horizons, forever. I had some meaningful dreams while there that illuminated what I take as past (or parallel) life experiences—bringing much needed insights on the life I am leading now.

In the most significant dream while in Ireland, I was walking with my Inner Guide in the lower level of some space, like a castle or boat (wood plank flooring). I realize I have been here before, and then that people died here; then that I HAD BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR DEATHS!

I look around and a priest or pastor and a group of working class, salt of the earth Irish folks step down into the space. The priest sets up a table and puts a candle and bowl of water there, for some sort of ritual. A woman and her brother approach me, and I them.

I am so sorry for your loss! I say to the woman.

We are so sorry for what you have had to endure because of this! is her reply.

I say to my Guide, “I am a murderer!” Then I repeat three times, twice in the dream and then once aloud as I awaken:

I can’t believe my life has been about this!

When I awoke fully I called a good friend in New Mexico (3 am her time) and repeated this awareness one more time: “I am a murderer; no, really! I was responsible for people dying here.”

One significant aspect to this story of Travel and Dream is that a different dream had led me to take that Irish vacation, one in which I had been persecuted against as a young woman. So I had thought I was going to Ireland to find where that had occurred and give forgiveness, but instead I discovered I was also in need of being forgiven. What a wake up call!

So, Time Out of Time. Take that adventure; it may bring more than fresh air. It might just expose you to yourself in a way that lets you transform your awareness of the meaning and value of Life as a whole, for the better!

Expanding Horizons

Travel is a common Life Theme people identify with life mapping. Quite often, Travel themes appear as ‘spikes’ in a Life Map–punctuation points, as it were, that usher in new change potentials after the Travel events have occurred.

Travel, whether for planned vacations or for a major relocation, really can bring variety and spice to the adventure of being alive! When we venture forth to experience new environments and encounter new people or forge new relationships, we expand the horizons of our points of view in subtle and sometimes also in dramatic proportions.

Taking the much needed vacation may afford a “time out of time” effect. This is vital for shaking out your routine enough to allow new ideas to take shape for when you return Home.

images are from pixabay.com

I welcome YOUR Comments and STORY!

Friends are Family, Too

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In our modern American culture, while Family is always important, given the highly mobile nature of our society, we must often move away geographically from our nuclear family for school, jobs, or with our marital families. But our human desire to have close, permanent relationships on the order of family ties allows us also to form some—a few perhaps—very close relationships with our lifelong friends. Our families of friends are often just as important to us as our natal family.

I know in my family each of us five kids always developed close friendships that were like extensions of our immediate family.  And we have tended to maintain, at greater or lesser constancy given where life has taken us all geographically and workwise, communication with these families of friends, for life!

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My own closest family friend ties include Barbara, Rosemary, and Michael (also less frequently another Michael, hi!) from high school and early college days; Mary, Jan and less often Pattie and Orit from grad school days; Arlene, Darlene, and Althea at Zuni;  and the same Jan, a newer Jan, Kathleen, Denise, Gianmichele and Zvia in Colorado. These latter from Zuni and from Colorado are the folks it will be most difficult to say goodbye to as I prepare to take the big journey back East to be closer to my main family again after retirement.

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Family is a group of close social relations you can rely on to be constant and caring throughout your life.  Though our modern lives often make being geographically near to our family including our family of friends difficult, we are always connected spiritually.  Fortunately today’s social media technology makes it easier than ever before to check in with one another and stay updated.

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I thank my family of relatives and friends—pets, too!—one and all, for the love and companionship I have been blessed with from your friendship!

My Pet Family Soul Pod/ Through It All

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Preparing for retirement and relocation/ transplantation very soon now, I find myself reviewing major periods of life and major transitions I have undertaken. I recognize that three sorts of relations have always been present through these major life chapters: family, friends, and my pets who have been my animal Soul companions.

While I have always felt close to and dearly love my family and close friends, I have long lived geographically distant from my family and I have often had to move away from my closest friends. But my pet family, I realize, have been those who have traveled with me across “the Great Waters”.

When I left Buffalo, NY to attend graduate school in Arizona, it was my beautiful orange-white tabby Chela who was my companion. When I lived for a year at Zuni Pueblo, it was still Chela who accompanied me. Later, when I moved to begin my teaching career in Colorado, by then it was my beautiful Harlequin tortoise-shell calico Ariel who heled me adjust to that big transition. Such a dear Soul, Ariel’s loving comfort saw me through a series of relationship forays which ultimately resolved in my commitment to living humanly alone. Ariel was there as I encountered much activity in the realms of work and spiritual service. She passed in my arms after twenty years, and I still visit her in a higher form in contemplations.

My dog companions have been just as close and have accompanied me in outdoor activities and play. Skyway and Ellie were my loyal friends who helped me transition from one home to another by then along with Ariel, my dear white cat Loki and Baby, who had stayed with me when a former partner left.

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Emily

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Petite, lovely feline Emily, with her brother Arthur who died too young from complications after dental surgery, and most recently also Sophie, my special Shorkie dog companion who has accompanied me on six cross-country trips already to visit my mother at her nursing home and my sister and other family, are those still with me now. Emily, Sophie and I are a Soul Pod, there for each other as a tri-species family. WE have each other to rely on, to love and enjoy.

It is Emily and Sophie who will stand by me as we transition together back East again after nearly forty years. As a Cancerian who is generally an introvert by my basic nature,  I am so grateful to my Soul Pod family for being here. Together we will adventure and discover the golden opportunities that another Big Move can bring.

 

My Family of Origin

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Approaching the Life Theme of FAMILY from an archetypal psychology perspective, I realize Family exists both outwardly as well as inwardly.  As an anthropologist I also realize that my Family  includes not only–though greatly!–my family of origin but it also includes my beloved pet companions Sophie (Shorkie dog) and Emily (orange tabby) as well as my closest friends. And, there are connections between the outer and inner Family members; that is, between my external relations and my internal archetypal ‘ensemble cast of mythic characters’ (see my book, Your Life Path).

My Family of Origin has been a blessing throughout my life; I am so grateful to them, each and all! Although my father and only recently my dear mother have now passed on to their greater spiritual adventures, they remain with me and the rest of us, internally, for they have helped to shape the person I have become.

As an Elder Leader type, my Dad demonstrated both loving guidance as well as a punitive Shadow influence due to his own conditioning life experiences.  Daily I will tell myself ‘Dad tapes,’ such as, “there’s a place for everything, and everything in its place” (while cleaning or organizing). My Mom’s more Nourisher archetypal image often yet calms me and supports my ability to face the world and communicate–or not, at times–despite my generally introvertive tendencies.

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Then there are my three sisters and my brother, who were playmates and confidantes and sometimes also my refuge while growing up. Throughout my adult years they have remained among my closest relations and, still, a refuge from many storms of life.

I include my dear pet family–current and passed–for it is my pet Soul companions who have allowed me to find happiness while living otherwise alone and away from my family of origin this past nearly forty years.

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images are from pixabay.com

Because of how core my Family  has always been in my life, now as I rapidly approach retirement in under a month, I will be relocating shortly afterwards to return to be nearer to them once again.  I find my Homing Instinct is bearing  me back to that comforting center of gravity they represent.

What of your Family Theme?  How does it reflect both outwardly as well as within the core of your Being? 

I begin to feel the separateness we Americans anyway tend to project with our individualist mindsets is really an artifice after all. We coexist and include our Family of relatives, pets and friends within the very essence, or circle, of who we are as Soul.

I welcome your comments and story!

Family–Where Our Lives Begin

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For May, our Life Theme topic is Family. In the over 550 life maps I have helped people create, I would estimate over 95% contain Family or an aspect of that (e.g. Parents, Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Grandparents, etc.) as a primary theme that has been a fundamental ‘shaping’ factor in their lives.

Of course, for most Westerners at least, Family is most often the dominant Life Theme in one’s early, formative years, then after a person ‘leaves the nest’ for school or a job or marriage, the original family may be less of a direct, daily influence. Yet because it was THE primary influence throughout childhood, our family is with us ALWAYS, unconsciously if not physically.

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pictures are from pixabay.com

So, reflect about how influential your family has been in shaping the person you have become. For this opening week I invite you simply to journal or tell a story about the role your Family has had in your life. I may add my example next time.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

Your Archetype Allies

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The Wheel above depicts twelve primordial, universal persona Archetypes developed by Dr. Charles and Nin Beabeau and Debra Breazzano MA, LPT, as they have taught about at the erst Avalon Archetype Institute, Boulder, CO. I am honored to be able to represent and utilize this pantheon of archetypes in my new book, Your Life Path (YLP; also see right panel).

In YLP, I invite the reader/ life mapper to associate several of these universal archetype characters with the reader’s own Life Themes, which are those recurring situations or types of events in their lives in which they have developed distinctive ROLE IDENTITIES.

As this month here we are exploring your Life Theme of Work or Career, I invite you, first, to consider which one or more of the archetypes in the wheel above you might associate with your Work related role identity. Circle those in the wheel, and you might wish to journal about how these archetypes are active in your work persona.

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Next, in the center of the circle state a situation you have been ‘mulling over’ lately. Perhaps it is a decision you are needing to make, a choice of some sort, or just a general topic you have been wanting to take some action on but have been feeling ‘divided’ or ‘torn’ about.

Look through the rest of the Archetype character modes on the Wheel to consider if some of these other facets of your Total Self System might also be appropriate to include in considering this central situation or decision. Circle or underline those as well on the Wheel.

In the blank spaces of the spokes (feel free to print out this blog and enlarge the wheel on a copy machine), ASK each of these archetype sub-identities that you have marked on the Wheel what is their individual viewpoint pertaining to the situation you are contemplating.  You can write in bullet points or actual dialogue statements about the situation from the distinct, differing POINTS OF VIEW of each of these role-Archetype perspectives. Also, ask each of them (and note their responses on the Wheel) what they recommend as a solution to the decision you face.

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Does this help to throw some light on your issues pertaining to the situation you are considering? What solutions or compromises might this suggest? Remember, your Archetypal sub-identities are your Allies. Combining them rather than acting on the basis of only one of these role personas or guises at a time can be an integrative process that allows you to go forth with greater holism and internal harmony.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story.

Baby Boomers—A Better Endings Tale of Work and Love (You Can Change It Up!)

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We are multidimensional Beings: multi-faceted, multi-faced. This is the essence of our composite archetypal identities based on the various roles we occupy in our lives. Our Life Themes—recurring KINDS of situations that form threads weaving a colorful tapestry through the Life Chapters of our Life Stories—lead us to develop an assembly or ‘ensemble cast’ of archetypal sub-identities based on our positive role models or from avoiding behaviors of our nemeses.

Work is a Life Theme that often brings routine or habits as well as financial security and productivity into our lives. At its best, our Work supports our vocations; then we love what we do for a living! But sometimes Work can become onerous, over-routinizing or bringing out our ‘worst’ rather than our best qualities, to the degree it may lead us to feel somewhat numb in our social life or personal relations.

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As a 1950’s child myself, I can appreciate the ‘better endings’ tale of the 1987 movie Baby Boomers with Diane Keaton. J.C. Wiatt (Keaton) is a woman executive for a marketing agency in the City. When a distant cousin dies, she is asked to raise her cousin’s six-month-old baby. After accepting this new role as a parent, J.C. at first tries to maintain her high-paced, cutthroat sort of career, but eventually she comes to realize how this career is sapping her full identity.

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After losing her husband because of her choice to raise the child and being offered a lower position to accommodate her changing persona at work, J. C. chooses to quit and moves with her foster daughter to a farmhouse in Vermont. Here she gradually allows her heart to re-open, to her daughter, new friends in the small rural community, and eventually to a handyman (played by Sam Shepard).  Meanwhile she develops a homemade baby applesauce recipe that eventually promises to be a million dollar business. When she is offered the opportunity to sell that to a major food chain and move back to the City to manage the business, she opts out, preferring to stay in Vermont with her child and new partner.

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images are from pixabay.com

Life moves us forward, so long as we let it! Two days ago on my way to my own ‘retirement lunch’ (yep!), I read a bumper sticker I have been contemplating ever since:

Life Is Life!

Life is rich in opportunities for new experience, for learning to develop your talents and interests, for making choices at every turn as you compose your unique Life Story!

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

 

Life Lessons from Your Work

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In today’s world most of us engage not just one job throughout our adult lives but several, from early jobs as a youth gaining some experience or training to later career work that might be better attuned to our interests and sense of purpose.

As a self-discovery exploration I invite you to make a list of your workaday jobs.  Note your age when you started and (if) finished each job, and write a brief job description. Then consider for each job:

What LIFE LESSON(s) did I take away from this activity?

To pilot this Tool, allow me to briefly engage with this myself to see where it may lead:

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  • Horse drawings (around 6-7 YO): I loved to draw horses (always wanted my own horse and never had one, though I did get to help with horses at local stables in Pennsylvania with my sisters and friends). After feeling I had mastered a basic horse drawing design, one day I went around the neighborhood door-to-door, offering my artwork for a dime per drawing. Neighbors were supportive and I felt a sense of accomplishment. LIFE LESSON:  It is okay to share with others your creative products.
  • Ice picking at the community Peach Festival in Lewiston, NY (15 YO): First paid job, and I didn’t stay with it long enough to be paid.  Terrible work without any safety gear. I still have scars on my hands from inexpertly hacking away at a block of ice for some stall owner who did not care.  LIFE LESSON: Use proper discrimination before accepting a responsibility; be sure you will be capable and safe.talkeetna-1624101__480
  • Crab and salmon cannery, Yakutat Alaska (19 YO summer) LIFE LESSON: Life is a Great Adventure!fruit-3215625__480
  • Grape vineyard and peach orchard, solo farm hand (20 and 21 YO, summer work to help pay for college spending): This was my first real job, a job of choice. I knew I needed to work but did not want a “normal” job such as waitressing or secretarial labor. This was outdoors and I worked mainly alone in the fields or driving a tractor. The farmer gave me many responsibilities, which I loved! (…Until the day he became inappropriate with me; I left shortly after that, not to return.) LIFE LESSON: Follow the beat of your own Heart; Enjoy responsibility and work hard to excel.   I learned how I dearly love to work hard and produce positive results.
  • Ushering and parking booth attendant at a new performing arts center (22 – 24 YO) : I enjoyed every aspect of this and was promoted to Head Usher. LIFE LESSON: Exciting opportunities abound (I almost accepted a job in NYC becoming a nanny for a world class symphony conductor’s family; loved the variety of shows and the elan of performance.)architecture-3111558__480
  • Tutoring English at my undergraduate college (21-22 YO): Fell in love with teaching. LIFE LESSON: I can be of positive service through sharing knowledge by helping facilitate learning in others.
  • Research Associate and Teaching Assistant, and Faculty adjunct at community colleges, while in  graduate school (14 yrs in grad school). LIFE LESSONS: Many. professor-1993129__480
  • University teaching (pre-tenured and then tenured faculty, and Chair two terms), 25 years. LIFE LESSONS: The importance of following my own inner guidance and developing detachment from academic politics or personality clashes; enjoyment of working with wonderful students; also the value of maintaining my spiritual focus and creative activities separately from the academic setting.fantasy-3313964__480images are from pixabay.com
  • Spiritual services roles (44 yrs, many different roles and opportunities). LIFE LESSONS: How to be a spiritual co-worker with others in voluntary roles; and how to stand back to help facilitate spiritual seeking and growth in others.
  • Writing for publication (many years): LIFE LESSONS: Persistence, commitment, dedication, willingness to work and rework; editing; then eventually morphing the project to team-based efforts and ultimately being able to release and share the work with as broad a readership as the book may reach. (Joy and the desire to produce more in service to Life!)

So, what might your history of Life Lessons from Working reveal? I see in mine a widening arc of responsibilities and a growing love of creative expression and Service. I love the feeling of independence that comes with varying responsibilities along with the expansion of knowledge and the capacity to grow from working with others as well as alone. I can hardly separate work from life as a whole, as the lessons have abounded holistically.

As I now prepare for a fast approaching retirement from my main academic position, this exercise has helped me to understand that this process will never dissipate but will only continue to expand!

So, what is YOUR story? I invite you to engage your own reflections about your Life Lessons from Work!

Your History of Work

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Life Mapping allows us to retrace our meaningful life events and glean lessons from key moments and trends from our life experience. Life Path Mapping (see my new book, Your Life Path; info on right panel or click to order) asks you to identify significant kinds of recurring events or situations in your life as Life Themes. Certainly one of the most common Life Themes life mappers identify is WORK (or CAREER, or some particular work-related activity).

Every distinctive Life Theme may be mapped, and in that sense every Life Theme can be “mined” to discover its importance over time in your cumulative life history that comprises—when you reflect upon its meaningful qualities—your Life Story. So this week let’s explore your History of Work, your Work Story.

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Life Mapping of itself is quite easy and natural. The chart below is a plotting flowchart. Make a list for yourself of a representative sample of Work and/or Career related meaningful events from your life. Next to each event, you can record the age or age span you associate with the event and write a brief narrative record of what happened with that event (so you can easily recall it when you read back through the list later).

Next to each event record, take a moment to reflect about the relative positive and/or negative IMPACT of that event on “shaping the person you have become.” That means, from a retrospective perspective, reflecting back on the influence of that event or situation, was it mainly positive, mainly negative, or both?

(You may print out this post and enlarge the Life Map Chart, below, to use as a worksheet, or create your own.):

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On the life map chart, first list your events chronologically along the central/ neutral Age Line. You can place the ages when your events occurred below the Age Line to create a timeline. Then use a pencil at first anyway to place a dot or an X above and/or below the age marker for each event, charting by how positive and/or negative that event was to you. If an event feels to have been simultaneously positive and negative, you can rate it as such; for example: +5/-5, or +2/-4. If you rate an event as having been both positive and negative at the same time, also write in a vertical dotted line connecting the positive and negative polar points on your chart to represent this as what we can call a “binary” event. If you are representing a series or phase of events, you can mark the rating for the beginning point and the ending point relative to the timeline and put the ages for these below the Age line, then below the age markers you can draw horizontal vertical braces to show the span of that situation or phase in your life.

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images are from pixabay.com

Now then, looking at your chart of Work/Career related events and their relative positive and/or negative impacts as Shaping Events in your life, you can also connect the dots: draw lines on your Map connecting event points IF they feel to be related in a patterned way to one another.  For instance, if you had a negative early Work activity or event followed shortly after that by a more positive event, then if that feels like it was a meaningful transition in your History of Work, go ahead and draw an upward trending line connecting those two points on your Map. You can also color code your event points to group them in a meaningful way; such as using a different color for each different job or to show a career shift.

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Have at! Once you have completed your History of Work life map, reflect on your Work Story: what story does this Map tell? What meaningful periods (or chapters or stages, so to speak) have you engaged with in your Work Story? What meaningful Life Lessons have you gleaned from the phases of your Work/Career process over time? What TRENDS do you observe? I invite you to contemplate, journal about, and share about your Work Story with a loved one.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!

Follow Your Bliss!

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“I can’t believe they actually pay me to do what I love!”

Does the above line characterize what YOU do for “a living”? If so then you are fortunate to have merged your vocational aspirations (your calling) with your work or career.  Joseph Campbell might say you are “following your bliss.”

If, rather, your Life Theme of WORK or CAREER is separate from what you feel as your true calling or as yet unrealized potential, What Then? (click to read a W.B. Yeats poem with that title). It may simply mean that your work satisfies your financial needs, allowing you to fulfill your responsibilities, while you pursue your ‘bliss” instead through vocational activities such as artistic ‘hobbies’, spiritual practices, sports, or other activities that bring you a sense of balance in your life. Of course, this is fine and a good way to satisfy the needs and interests of your various unconscious or submerged archetypal ‘parts of Self.’

Still: Are there ways that you might forge a closer integration of your Work or Career  with your vocational callings?  Doing so could create a deeper synergy that allows you to produce dynamic works more highly attuned to your most authentic Self, even in the workplace.

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Above images are from pixabay.com

What is ONE THING you might integrate into your work life or into your role in your career that could fuse an element of your deepest, unique nature to reinvent yourself in the context of your ‘job’? Or, should you be seeking a different line of work? Maybe an online course or degree could help you move in a new direction.

Using myself as an example, when I felt I was moving in a direction at work, in attaining tenure as a professor, that would  satisfy my practical goals but not my Life Dream of writing for the public rather than serving in my academic role alone, I was shown a way to integrate my creativity and spirituality into my work. That is how I began studying and then eventually practicing and writing about Life Paths. I describe this process in  Chapter 1 of Your Life Path (click or see right panel for ordering information, now available through all major book distributors. (BTW, A heartfelt Thank You to new followers of this blog who have found this site from reading Your Life Path. Please feel free to download for free the Life Path Maps Portfolio Toolkit! – see right panel.)

Your Life Path

So, what about YOU?  Are you fully expressing the life of your dreams at work? How might you ‘tweak’ your work life to more holistically Live Your Bliss? I invite you to contemplate and journal about this question.

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(pixabay.com)

I welcome your Comments and Story!

 

Thank You! And… The Value of a Vocation

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Dear Readers:

I want to add a few words  as a sort of preface to this blog post. It is all about GRATITUDE.  I thank each and every one of you for reading Better Endings when you do, and especially I am grateful for every Comment shared.

This week I am particularly GRATEFUL to every one of you linked to this blog or from Facebook  who took the time to come to the launch of my new personal growth & development book, Your Life Path (see side panel for ordering info and to read an interview about the author; the book is now available through all major outlets). Friday and Saturday nights March 9/10 were well attended and I got to see some of my best friends and closest colleagues along with several former students! To see you all before I move to NY after retiring this summer was such a blessing; you can only imagine how wonderful it was for me to touch base with each of you.

My Thanks also to all of you who have ordered this book, Your Life Path. It is a labor of love for over 12 years and provides the best techniques I can offer to you for engaging in the Art of Life Mapping. I have seen how the approach that has emerged with the Life Path Mapping Process embedded as a self discovery toolkit with this book has helped many people already to reflect on their lives and go forward with greater clarity and passion.

AND FURTHER GRATITUDE YET: to my Super Agent, Linda Langton and to the team of publicists Paula Kalamaras and Paul Kraly of Scribes Unlimited, without whose inspiration and expertise this book would certainly not have been manifested. (Further thanks are of course in the Acknowledgements to the book.)

A word to you ALL from the Zuni language, which I have been blessed with myself through the years:

ELAHKWA ! (Thank You!)

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The Value of a Vocation

We are multi-dimensional beings. Within our core Identity we house several sub-identities, formed somewhat distinctly depending on the roles and statuses we “take on” in our lives. Jung called these sub-identities archetypal members of our personal unconscious domain of the Psyche.

Elder Leader, Lover, Warrior, Nourisher, Artist, Idealist Golden Child, Descender, Teacher, Communicator, Healer and Mystic :  these are twelve universal or “primordial” personal archetypes recognized by the archetypal psychologist Dr. Charles Bebeau, founder of the former Avalon Archetype Institute in Boulder, Colorado.  All of these are latent or active component sub-identities we may develop in relation to our relationships, our jobs, our hobbies or other activity roles and identities.

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Most of us develop a few of these archetypal personas more than the rest. Some even become over-balanced in one or another of these ‘dimensions’ of the Psyche. A strongly developed or rigidly enacted ELDER LEADER mode, for example, may lead one to downplay their more nurturing or playful ‘sides’.

Vacations (I am about to step into Spring Break mode!–may not blog again until April) are good times to step away from primary workaday roles to expand or exercise other facets of your Self. The IDEALIST, for instance, is often associated with travel, and on vacation you can give yourself more freedom to enjoy your more idealistic nature as “a breath of fresh air.”

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VOCATIONS also allow us to express a more balanced and integrated Self and Psyche. Hobbies, artistic practices and “callings” bring greater harmony of our “cast of sub-selves” into our core Identity. We benefit by expressing our full multi-dimensional capacities.

I value Julia Cameron’s invitation in THE ARTIST’S WAY for us to give ourselves an “Artist’s Day” at least once per week. Do something ‘out of the box.’ Take a new way home, go to a museum, walk by a lake or river, dream, journal, try some new food; anything to shake you out of any ruts you may be in.

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images are from pixabay.com

Forge new pathways of thought and emotion. Expand your horizons.  Let a part of you that you may usually submerge or repress “out.” Experience the FREEDOM to BE all that you are, not just your “responsible” or “dutiful” persona.

I welcome YOUR Comments and STORY!

Vocation Better Endings

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One of my favorite classic movies is the Deborah Kerr/ Cary Grant version of An Affair to Remember. One of the reasons for the enormous popularity of this story is not just the romantic kismet between the main characters Nickie Ferrante and Terry McKay but also because of what they represent to each other as opportunities to Follow Their Hearts and Realize their Dreams, apart from the normative, mediocre lives/ relationships they have been oriented to before they meet.

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They each have ardent vocations: Miss McKay’s as a working class children’s vocal teacher and Nickie’s as a painter.  Once they meet Nickie vows to give up his money-seeking, playboy lifestyle to earn a living for his wife from his painting, though he could instead marry into money and continue with a carefree, empty life instead. Terry is willing to risk pursuing true love with Nickie rather than settling for a predictable life where her own career is likely to be sacrificed or to come second to her husband’s.

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Both Terry and Nickie’s vocations fulfill their deeply artistic natures.  They are following their hearts as well as recognizing kindred Souls in one another.  Both have “gone to Sea” on an ocean liner seeking deeper truths than their engagements of ‘convenience’ offer. So, An Affair to Remember is a Better Endings tale, through and through.

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images are from pixabay.com

Of course the ending of this film is itself a Better Ending conclusion, wonderfully acted by Grant and Kerr.  It is Nickie Ferrante’s art that saves their relationship: a painting of Terry wearing his Aunt’s shawl, in Terry’s bedroom, that Nickie had been told “a crippled woman” had purchased.

“If you can paint, I can walk!” 

May you, too, Follow Your Heart. Listen closely to the beat of your own drum. This way you, like Terry and Nickie, can embark on the Journey to Live Your Best  Life!

I welcome YOUR Comments and STORY

 

What Is Your CALLING?

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“Listen (doo dah doo)

Do you want to hear a secret? (doo dah doo)

Let me whisper in your ear (da di dah dah)”… (McCartney and Lennon)

Your Vocation Is:  _______________

So, what is it for you? What is your greatest CALLING in this lifetime so far?  Are you a Writer, an Artist, a Dancer, a Musician, an Actor, a Scientist, or an Athlete? What activity or “hobby” are you most passionate about? What lights you up and grounds or centers you in your deepest sense of personal identity of Self and/or of Service?

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Also then, WHY? What is it about your Calling, your Vocation, that resonates so deeply with the core of your Being? Is it what calls  you to Adventure or gives purpose and/or passion to your time on Earth?

Are you giving enough time and nourishment to your Calling? Or is it more in the background now for you? What qualities and Strengths has your vocation helped you to develop? How can you MAXIMIZE these Strengths in ALL you do?

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As a personal example just to get YOU thinking or journaling about these questions, I am (though not currently practicing) “a Fencer.” (If you have ever fenced competitively or with any sport, you will understand immediately.)  Fencing taught me so much, trained my Mind/Body synchrony so deeply that every day I am grateful in some small way. If I slip or stumble physically (or otherwise!), I am grateful for having learned from fencing not only “how to fall” without overdue injury but also how to get back up again and keep going forward. I remember once before an intercollegiate tournament, I slipped on some ice and slashed my right (foil grip) hand.  But I went to the event and overcame the pain by concentrating that much more on each bout. I remember it was a very successful competition for me and our team.  

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images are from pixabay.com

So again then, What Is YOUR Calling? How does it define you and bring Strengths and happiness to your life every day? Please use this as a contemplation and journaling tool.

 

I invite YOUR Comments and STORY!

BOOK LAUNCH! (My Vocation: Live Your Dream, Now!)

Just Released March 6 by Skyhorse Publishing:

Your Life Path

Naturally I am thrilled and excited about the release of my book, Your Life Path: Life Mapping Tools to Help You Follow Your Heart and Live Your Dream, Now! It is available from Amazon (including hardback, Kindle and ebook), Barnes & Noble, and Indies; and I see there are now several other suppliers online as well (ISBN-10:1-63144-078-0). This book has been my life passion-in-process for the last 15 plus years, folks. It is the culmination of my entire career as a cognitive/ linguistic and cultural anthropologist yet it is a mainstream self-discovery, personal growth and development book that provides a comprehensive Life Path Mapping process and Toolkit.

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I have developed and taught from the fun, creative techniques provided with the book with large scale classes, individual coaching programs, and workshops (which I will continue to offer).  This is a potentially life changing, “rites of process” approach that lets the reader/ life mapper review your Life Story to Now; reflect on where you are at currently in relation to your values, life interests and goals; and then (re)claim, envision, and plan a practical yet energizing pathway to set a course and go (Live Your Dream, Now!).

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I really do highly recommend this approach to anyone facing any sort of life decision or transition or who simply wants to discover and reflect upon the amazing potentials of your own Life Story.  I have witnessed many individuals who have achieved transformational insights from life mapping. The very process of reviewing your Life Story AS A STORY to now, with meaningful Shaping Events, Life Themes, Life Chapters bounded by key Turning Points as chapter turners, and an awareness of the parallels of YOUR story with classic myths and popular epics brings the life mapper to an overview Joseph Campbell called being a Dweller at the Threshold, able to look back and also forward.  Then the Life Path Mapping Process guides you to effectively CROSS THE THRESHOLD to truly manifest the vitalizing yet flexible life of your dreams.

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As well, with this book’s Tools you will be able to Meet & Greet (truly) your very own “ensemble cast of mythic/archetype characters.” Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, you too have an inner unconscious cast of often submerged but always influential “inner” parts of Self that each needs your help to strengthen and to integrate/ come together with your greater Self to help you manifest your highest potentials for this lifetime.

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Envisioning and realizing this book as a Personal Growth and Development book and life mapping handbook has been my VOCATION over the past fifteen years. I published a scholarly book (The Life Map as an Implicit Cognitive Structure Underlying Behavior, Mellen Press, 2010) with articles about my research studies that led to the development then of the self-discovery Tools presented for the first time to the general public with Your Life Path. So of course this is very exciting for me but more than that I really do recommend this book highly to any reader!

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Your Life Path will be in indy consignment stores around the country and I will be doing signings in several local stores (yay) to try to get the word out. If you know of friends (and yourself of course) who might benefit from a fun and innovative approach to learning more about your Self and how to go forward to live your best life… please check this book out and share this post or the ISBN number with others in your blog or Facebook or email groups. I honestly don’t mean to sound boasting or overly “selling” of anything…that really is not who I am (an introvert in general, and not prone to self promotion). But I do want this book that I have nurtured and developed for so long find Its own deserving audience so others can benefit from the approach I myself have been blessed to pilot every step of the way. It is in fact my own Life Dream coming into full fruition, Now!

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images are from pixabay.com

I am grateful for the opportunity to serve Life and thank YOU for reading!

VOCATION!

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I have always loved the word “vocation,” as to me there is a big difference between VOCATION and WORK. As Life Themes these often show up distinctively in people’s Life Maps, too. While Work or Career might be one Theme a person charts in terms of “types of events or situations” recurring over the course of their life up to Retirement at least, people usually identify VOCATION distinctively; for example as a specific “calling,” or a beloved activity such as Writing, Art, Music, Outdoors, Hiking, a competitive sport such as Swimming or Basketball, etcetera. So this month let our focus be on exploring the role and influence of VOCATION or Callings in our lives.

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Writing has always been a vocation for me. From a young age, my personal Journal has been a close friend and companion. Literally, I would address my journal as I wrote, and somehow I knew It (or, someone on a spiritual or an internal dimension) was always there, listening! By college years I was maintaining several different journals at a time: one for poetry, one for  dreams and spiritual experiences. another for philosophical musings, and one as a basic diary, at least.

It was through my journal writing that my writing vocation grew and blossomed over time.  I would write short stories, dramatic dialogue pieces, and evocative descriptive essays that I called ‘Photos.’ I started a science fiction trilogy in graduate school which I developed to the degree that I have a complete first book manuscript, the second book is started, and the rest is outlined (now including a quatrain or fourth installment). I intend during my upcoming retirement to publish this series, called The Dawnbreakers.

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Through my years as a professor I have continued journaling, and alongside academic publications (two books, several journal articles, a book chapter and several invited book reviews), my VOCATION has only intensified, so that in 2002 after receiving tenure, I realized I wanted to find a way to do something more creative and public service- oriented with my career, so I began the LIFE MAPPING project that has culminated in my new book, YOUR LIFE PATH (click or see right panel for ordering information). This is a mainstream, personal growth and development book and Toolkit. It lets you become a Life Mapper of your own Life Story, truly!  Based on my understanding of mythology, archetypal psychotherapy, and life history studies including Joseph Campbell’s The Hero Cycle, rites of passage, and Jung’s methods for discovering your own internalized, archetypal “parts of Self”, I have developed this approach of life mapping over many years of research, teaching, and individual coaching so that anyone can discover and reflect upon their own Life Story. This lets you realize the Strengths (and obstacles) you have developed through your own life experience to Now so that you can envision your Life Dream and begin, Now, to manifest and fulfill your sense of Life Purpose and Life Mission. So, please check it out, it really is very good!

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images are from pixabay.com

So my vocation has brought me to this point, and now I have three sequels to Your Life Path in process already. I so look forward to my retirement years (beginning as of this June 8, yay!) so I can shift all of my focus to this more spiritual dimension of my own sense of a personal Calling in this lifetime.

I welcome YOUR story!

Re-Vision a Relationship (Past, Present or Future)

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For our final February weekly post about the Life Theme of RELATIONSHIPS, I invite you to consider how you might wish to have changed or to currently ‘tweak’ some aspect of a meaningful relationship in your life. With the divine gift of imagination, you are capable of effectively “re-visioning” your relationship events; past, present or future.

It may help first to consider if there is a PATTERN about some of your relationships that you would choose to alter if you could.  This is an active exercise; it is about what YOU CAN/ COULD have done differently–or would do differently today–that might have lead to some different results.  Re-visioning a past event or situation can have a profound influence on your current disposition when it comes to actions or decisions you could be contemplating now, so that you can avoid pitfalls of the past.

The strength of this exercise is that it brings your present awareness to bear either on a past situation or more mindfully upon a present set of circumstances.

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So do this with full exercise of your (re-)constructive imagination. Once you have identified a pattern you would wish to change and you have remembered a particular moment in a particular relationship which itself you feel you might/’should’ have enacted differently in retrospect, imagine yourself IN THAT MOMENT again. This time, change  the conversation or the action knowingly, with the awareness you have since gained. Journal or internally dialogue with the other person in this relationship moment. Let him or her speak, and respond or initiate your own conversation as it could have been rather than as it was.  Listen to the other person and see that they listen to and hear you deeply.  Continue the scenario in your imagination until you bring it to a new level of resolution. As you emerge from your reverie, give yourself time to reflect on how the future might have been altered from this re-visioned exchange.

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I find that when I do this re-vision the past technique–and I have often as a life mapping tool (see right panel)–it really feels as if not just the memory of the event but the actual event itself HAS CHANGED. I feel less attachment afterwards to the initial triggering moment and better equipped to approach any similar situation in the present or future.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story!