Into the Woods—A ‘Better Endings’ Revision

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For those new to this blog, or as a refresher since I haven’t looked at this topic directly for awhile here, I am interested in the principle of BETTER ENDINGS.  In fact I have a book in progress about this principle, as it applies not only to literature or mythic constructions but also, and more importantly, to our own lives.

There’s a concept I have learned from Eckankar about working with dreams. If you are dreaming and you do not like what is happening in your dreamscape,  you can change the dream while you are in it as a lucid dream activity; or, immediately upon waking you can rewind the dream and change its ending in your imagination.  This may help you to release the stress associated with the situation encoded by the dream. (I recommend Harold Klemp’s THE ART OF SPIRITUAL DREAMING for many helpful dreamwork techniques.)

But here’s a plus factor: If you can become skilled at changing your nightly dreams, so too you increase your capacity to make changes in your day-to-day life, effecting BETTER ENDINGS! What IF…you had taken that job, stayed with or left that relationship, gone on that vacation? You can re-vision your past choices and attitudes to bring about better coping skills and to realign your Life Path with your most ardent goals.

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Our topic this month of The Sacred Marriage has lots of fertile grounds for ‘better-endering.’  Let me try my hand at a Better Endings rendering for the Sondheim play “Into the Woods”:

I love the play (and movie) Into the Woods’, but I do not like the bitter ending. Why does the baker’s wife have to fall off a cliff to her doom?  The guilty party in confusing her was the philandering Prince, whose charming charisma and political power allows him to believe he can take advantage of any woman in the realm, even forsaking the beautiful princess Cinderella whom he has gone to such great lengths to woo. No, I do not like this bitter pill of an ending, at all!

In my Better Ending for this fairy tale, the Baker’s wife lives on to raise her new baby with her faithful husband.  Cinderella comes upon her charmer of a husband trying unsuccessfully to woo his rival Prince Valiant’s Rapunzel, and Cinderella lets Prince Valiant know what she has seen. The two Princes have a swordfight.     In a final, mutual flourish stab, they pierce each other at the lip of that fatefull cliff the Baker’s wife had been slated for, and they both go toppling over to their deaths.  Cinderella, now freed from this sordid affair, is Queen! She invites Rapunzel to be a story teller for the realm, and together they effect feminist reforms for their Peoples.

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images are from pixabay.com

So, there you have it, a Better Endings retelling for Into the Woods that aims to address the true meaning of The Sacred Marriage.  We marry our values, our integrity. This serves the Whole.

Is there a story about marriage or partnership—either fictional or in your own life—that you believe could benefit from a Better Ending?  Envision it! Write it down! Make the relevant changes!

I welcome your Comments and Stories.!

Making a True Departure / Shifting to Here-Now

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I recognize a distinction between the Present as a current moment in time-space and the Here-Now as a spiritual focus. The NOW experienced in contemplative spiritual practice is a liberating orientation while the notion of Present from a time-space frame of reference is artificial and can be self-limiting. It is a matter of perspective or more accurately it depends upon where you place your attention. If we accept, as I do, that time is an illusion or an artifice of context, then as we shift our focus of attention such as to look ahead with creative visualization or to re-envision a former state of being by reactivating a stored memory, we can focus our consciousness in such a manner as to alter our Present reality. From this angle, the Past is NOW, the Present is NOW, and the Future is also available NOW.

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When I was first in college in Buffalo, New York, I had a friend Ann who was an artist specializing in sculpture. Ann created this amazing piece of conceptual art which was comprised of a five foot tall vertical array of multicolored fabric cords with simply a one foot tall plexiglass tube around them. The art was interactive so it invited you to change the position of the tube up or down along the colored cords, slightly compressing the bundle of colors as you would shift the transparent tube. To me this has always been an excellent metaphor for the practice of contemplation or active imagination. We simply shift our consciousness from Here-Now to another Here-Now to OBSERVE; we focus our locus of attention as we choose. We thus can place and activate our consciousness in any dimension of Nowness at will.

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pictures are frompixabay.com

Locked within a Time orientation, the Present is a bubble from which we never seem able to escape. The freedom to Act is in the Now. To bring about a true change of life conditions as in realizing a desired future that is a true departure from present conditions requires only a subtle shifting of your attention to a Now of your imagining.

See?

I welcome your comments and viewpoint.

Time Travel?  You ARE a Time Machine!

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Following up from my previous post on “How to Burst Your Bubble,” we are all of us time travelers!  We have the capacity to transport ourselves to any NOW of our imagining via our divine gift of creative visualization.

All the theoretical debate over whether time travel is possible or whether we could ever develop a Time Machine is interesting yet unnecessary. We HAVE a Time Machine built into our very Beingness, though only a few of us humans (anyways) have learned how to willingly tap into our timespace travel capacity.

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Am I speaking of Memory? Only as a repository for dead image storage, though we may utilize a stored memory as a launching off pad for our “inner” time travel adventures. Some speak of the Reactive Mind; that houses memory images that, if reactivated by encountering a similar experience to one that affected us earlier in a traumatic or dramatic way, could trigger or reactivate past synoptic associations. Memories can be pleasant or painful, beautiful or horrendous. But if we are only talking about ‘dead’ mental images, this is not the sort of time travel I am referring to .

Lift yourself above the Time Track via your fertile IMAGINATION and go to visit one of the experiences you hold in your memory banks, but this time deposit yourself back into the event actively and re-vision it. This can be a form of time travel.  “Daydream” or creatively envision a desirable future state of consciousness and deposit yourself into that specific possible future to look around or make changes Here; this can also be a time travel excursion.

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What I mean by “get above the time track” and “deposit” yourself in the Now of your aware choice so you can explore and bring back your fresh memory of perceptions from there, is just that.  I like to think of Timespace more as an OCEAN than as a linear arrow; your consciousness then is like an OCEAN LINER—or better yet, a SEA GULL!

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Mystics and self-development gurus say emphatically that you CAN create your own future. Time Travel via consciousness-surfing, as you will, is a timeless (hah!) method. Establish a thought mold of a desirable future state so you can steer your consciousness to eventually sail mindfully into this future-state harbor.  IMAGINATION is your Divine capacity of Consciousness Itself.

How do I “know” this to speak so confidently of your essentially BEing your own Time Machine? It would take more than this full month of posts on our theme of Departure to explain.

Some evidences from my own life experience include (with brief annotations):

Prophetic dreams (lots of them, very clear and later realized precisely):

Example:   When I moved from Buffalo, NY to Phoenix, AZ in 1979 I asked questions of my Inner Guide in active contemplation every night for the previous year. Every night I then dreamed about what I would be experiencing as I traveled to Phoenix and what I would encounter there. I met three people very clearly in my dreams whom I later recognized from those dreams and who became close relations in Phoenix.  I was shown that I needed to make this trip partly to meet these people.

Revised memories from direct re-visioning:

Example:

In my upcoming book Your Life Path I include a life mapping Tool that I call “Re-Vision a Past Event.” I practiced this myself by re-visioning a traumatic encounter with my father when I was 17.   By depositing myself back into a memory of a time when he physically beat and demeaned me over a trivial matter, I was able to journal a dialogue with him (1st person, ‘present-Then’ tense) just following the encounter. We both got to communicate with each other about what had “just” transpired, so we both came to a clearer understanding of both of our points of view and motivations and we forgave each other in that re-visioned dialogue. I can say that since re-visioning that experience, its memory is forever altered in my consciousness!

‘Future Casting’ now coming to fruition

When I was a teenager I would often daydream. I would usually find myself on a small rowboat, drifting under a blue sky while reading a book. Guess what? In around 18 months I am relocating after retirement to a lakeside community!

Future casting is a concept I use in Your Life Path to recommend journaling “Alternate Future Scape” scenarios.

Other Examples:

Other timespace ‘travel’ modalities I have experienced directly include:

Parallel life awareness, past life awareness, lucid dreaming, and Soul Travel (Out of Body Experiences including  a Near-Death experience).

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images are from pixabay.com

Remember please, you are NOT your Body but your Consciousness has a freedom to explore beyond your Body’s sense-limitations.

I welcome YOUR Stories and Comments!

Picture Your Life BETTER

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Imagine each Chapter of your Life Story as a picture. You can look at any of these pictures in your mental bank, as it were, to reflect and to examine that chapter like a single event framed in a dynamic, holographic wide angle photograph.

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Imagine the Big Picture of the Life Chapter you are in Now. Where are YOU in this picture? I invite you to journal, discuss with a loved one, or visually represent your response:

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How do you envision your current chapter might end and the next one begin? What IMAGE comes to mind as you imagine a coming TRANSITION? Journal, discuss,  or visually represent this coming Transition:

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Finally, draw yourself into the most positive potentials of a desirable future life chapter. Is this your next chapter or are there one or more other transitional chapters you can anticipate between now and then? See if you can imagine the series of chapters that can bring you to the fulfillment of your Life Dream, your Dream Come True. Journal or visually represent your response:

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Transitional Chapter

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Transitional Chapter

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My Life Dream Realized!

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As you engage with this imaginative technique you are drawing upon your Artist archetype Ally. YOU as Artist are a Visionary. Imagination is your Divine gift that can lift you from any situation and help you to manifest a Better Ending!

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images are gratefully from pixabay.com

I welcome your comments and stories from engaging with this imaginative self-development Tool. You could Comment to this post or send me a Facebook or email message and I will share your response in the Comments section.

 

 

Picture IT Now!

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What is Your Life Dream?

IMAGINE yourself Living your Dream, Now!

Creative visualization and Re-visioning past events to help you compose your Future in keeping with all of the Strengths and Lessons you have already developed over your Life Course is your privileged prerogative as a human Being.  The gifts of intuitive imagination and foresight are talents you can exercise in creating the life of your highest values and ideals.

So never sell yourself short or settle for less than all that you are capable of Being! For while the future is certainly always in motion relative to the past and present coditions and attitudes you hold, it is within our capacity to imprint the future, to form a mold of what is desirable for us to attain to in keeping with our core values and ideals.

Picture IT!

So picture IT, Now! I invite you to close your eyes and BE in the future AS IF you have already achieved your Life Dream. Use 1st person, present tense to place yourself into this future NOW. (A similar exercise can be found in Mary Carroll Moore’s wonderful book, How to Master Change in Your Life.)

  • Where are you in the futurescape Life Dream of your imagining?

 

  • Who is there with or around you?

 

  • What is your daily life like?

 

  • How are you putting into practice your highest ideal values?

 

  • What are your Goals from this futurescape perspective?

 

Hold your Life Dream always in your “Heart of hearts.”  Picture it in any way you choose. You could make a collage of images representing your Dream, create or find a talisman like a stuffed animal or a photo to represent your Dream.

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When I was living in Buffalo, New York before launching myself off to Arizona to pursue my life dream at the time of becoming a cultural anthropologist Out West (which I am now and have been for 39 years), I placed photos of Sedona, Arizona from an art magazine called Sedona Life on my office walls where I was teaching at a university in Buffalo while finishing my Masters degree there. I looked at these pictures every day and often dreamt of Arizona at night. One morning I woke with a jingle in the forefront of my awareness, which lyrics were:

“I’m leaving,

But there are a few doors left to close

Before I get over there.”

That little ditty jingle was pervasive in my consciousness the entire next year as I prepared to head out for my Big Trip West. I did have relationship matters to resolve, lessons yet to learn right where I was, and family to embrace before I could leave. But the images in my heart and mind held true, and by the next year and a half I was indeed living the life of my dreams. These were not candy coated dreams; they involved hardship and sacrifice as a student in graduate school for the next 14 years!  I cried when I first felt the impact of having left all I had known and loved behind. But I met new friends and now I cannot imagine not having taken this Great Adventure.

I prepare similarly now for retirement in just over two years ‘time’ with another great Departure then in store to fulfill my current Life Dream that will take me back to the region I actually left nearly 40 years ago. But that is not necessary to share with you here; it remains vital in my Heart of Hearts.

What is your current Life Dream?

PICTURE IT, NOW!

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“I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.”

W.B. Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree”

 

 

Envision Your Dream, Daily

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There’s a principle referred to in many meditative traditions called “Dying Daily.” This means that every day as you practice contemplation or meditation you SURRENDER. In a way you are surrendering your ‘old self’ to be reborn to the ‘new’, daily.

So, here’s a thought. Remember to DREAM daily. By this I mean, envision your Life Dream every day, knowing that your Present exists in relationship with this desired future condition! Then every day you are living INTO your “dream come true.”

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Many years ago I made a huge transition when I moved from Buffalo, New York (a lifelong Easterner til then) to Phoenix, Arizona (Out West). Every night for the year preceding this big move, I contemplated and asked questions inwardly  about this momentous turning point.  I work spiritually as many do with an Inner Guide figure, which helps me to focus on gaining higher awareness.  And every night, my question would be answered in a dream. One night, I woke with an actual song jingle and melody:

“I’m leaving, but there are a few doors left to close before I get over there.”

For the rest of the six months or so before my Great Adventure West, I sang this song frequently every day. Meanwhile I also taped pictures from SEDONA LIFE Magazine, a wonderful photojournalist sort of magazine depicting the amazing red rocks and canyons of Sedona, Arizona onto my office wall.

I was PREPARING, both outwardly and inwardly; orienting toward the new life I was about to assume with this trip upon which I was about to embark. The song lyric helped me realize every day that every action I was taking was movng me in the direction of this transformational life experience.

My move from Buffalo to Phoenix was indeed transformational! I became an anthropologist and experienced the Southwest and Native American cultures like I never could even have imagined as an Easterner.

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So, what is YOUR DREAM around the horizon of some major departure? IMAGINE it daily; place PICTURES of your destination in your mind … and on your walls.  LIVE your dream now, in your imagination. Contemplate it, meditate about it. Surrender to its amazing potentials.

Now as I approach returning ‘back East’ for transitioning into the next stage of my life in 3 years, on my computer desktop I have a sepia postcard of the lake I will relocate near. Along the right of my screen is the lakeside  shoreline, winding up and around toward a clock tower that represents the very town I will be moving to. So, I have copied and pasted a little rowboat icon onto the base of this shoreline. Now every time I take some action in my daily life that moves me somehow closer to realizing this Big Move, I move the rowboat icon up the shoreline just a bit, closer to my Dream destination.

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What are you doing or what might you do to ENVISION your future Dream come true? I welcome your insights and stories!

 

Post #400: Seeding Your Dream

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Last week I wrote about Johnny Appleseed as an example of the archetype of the Nourisher. Some seeds scatter to the winds, but some seeds take root in rich soils, where they can germinate and grow. Now I invite you to apply this concept of planting and nourishing seeds to the practice of SEEDING YOUR DREAM.

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First then, what is your Life Dream? Remember, this can be a value statement rather than a concrete objective. Five years from now or whatever time frame feels approporiate for you to envision your “dream come true,” what do you wish for your life to be LIKE? Maybe that means you want to have achieved a sense of contentment or happiness, or perhaps you can envision living in or visiting at an ideal sort of environment for you or you can plant a seed of finding and manifesting an ideal set of relationships or work or service conditions. Now then, contemplate ways that you can SEED your Dream.

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At my office personal computer at work, I have placed a desktop image which is an old postcard photo of the lake I aim to retire near in three years. Recently I have added a small picture icon of a rowboat. The lake image has a shoreline that winds around toward a clock  tower that marks the historic significance of this lakeside region, near Chautauqua Institute in New York state. From now until the time I reach retirement,  with every positive step I take in life toward realizing my Dream, I will very gradually move the rowboat along the bends of the shoreline until it reaches that tower. This is SEEDING my Dream.

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How can you seed YOUR Dream?

I recognize and can fully appreciate that not all of you reading this blog will feel the desire or the immediate need to focus so directly on manifesting a specific Life Dream such as I am modeling here. That’s okay! I encourage everyone, myself foremost, to build flexibility into any future envisioning. Still, your current Vision as it pertains to continually realizing your most positive, fulfilling life–whether it is the life you are living Now or some future conditions based on how you would like your current life to unfold into an ideal future–carries the SEED of your potentials.  It reveals something about your highest values, deepest ambitions, and your most purposeful sense of mission or cause. My lakeside future represents, for instance, a  freedom to pursue my ambitions of writing and service in a beautiful, peaceful environment. I believe I know where that will be, but if the universe provides a somewhat different actuality down the road or along the shoreline, that’s fine, too!

I appreciate the viewpoint of Anne Archer Butcher,  author of an inspiring recent book called Inner Guidance.  She reminds us we can ASK for what we most deeply wish to receive or achieve in our lives. “This, or something GREATER,” Anne asks of her own Inner Guide. Maybe our current vision is not broad enpugh or we are not yet aware enough to know what specifically to ask for. So ask for “This, or something Greater,” knowing and trusting that Spirit or the Universe will bring into your life that which is of the highest order to support your greatest growth and unfoldment.

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I always welcome your Comments and Insights!

Take a Balloon Ride to a Higher Perspective

What is your next step forward that will move you in the direction of realizing your fullest potentials or a specific goal? Are you considering a significant decision yet remain unsure about which way you should go or whether to make a change at all? I offer you below a creative visualization/ active imagination technique that you can use to help you achieve a higher vantage point (cf. this month’s metaphor of life as “a mountain with vistas.”)

Creative Visualization technique:

Imagine you are in a round room with several doors and high, solid walls. Above the walls they are extended upwards by a clear plexiglass-like tube that forms into a dome at its apex. You know that you can open any door and step through that, but once you have chosen a door and step through it, you also know that you can never go back to this room for the door will automatically lock from the inside, behind you. You also have the awareness that each door is a portal to a specific direction that will realize one of your present options in relation to a goal or decision you are facing.

Imagine next that near the center of this large, circular room there is a small table and a chair. On the table is a sketch pad and a cup of pastel drawing sticks. Sit down and draw for yourself a colorful picture of a hot air balloon. Then move the table away from the center and place your picture there on the floor instead. Watch as this picture materializes into a real, full-sized hot air balloon, already inflated with its firebox glowing brightly.

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Step into your balloon basket and you can remove sand bags from the basket so your balloon rises into the space above the solid walls of the room. Your balloon lifts slowly upwards toward the plexiglass dome, coming to a rest point to hover midway between the top of the walls and the dome.

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As you look down from the balloon you can see the room you were in and you can also see 360 degrees all around that room on the outside. You can see where each of the doors of opportunity would lead you to, what sorts of pathways each represents for you as choices you could take toward achieving your goal or desire.

Stay as long as you wish in your balloon, considering all of your options freely.

When you have become aware of which of the doors below appears to open to the most desirable positive direction for you to take, you can lower the flame gradually in your firebox so your balloon settles gently back down into the room.

Now you are free to open and walk through the door that opens onto your greatest future potential!

I welcome your Comments or stories!

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

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This month’s topic is the metaphor Life is… A Mountain with Vistas.  I offer this topic to encourage you to nourish your own capacity to thrive, not merely to survive.  The principle we are working with here is VISION, and the method is to energize your divine gift of imagination via creative visualization.  Daydreams, for example, can help you discern where your deepest desires are so that you can increase your motivation to fulfill your most intrinsic life purpose and Quest.

The daydream I shared Friday and Sunday, for instance, revealed to me my deep desire for spiritual freedom and creative independence. On the surface this daydream was about reading a great book while drifting in a rowboat on a peaceful lake, then bumping up against an island and getting out to explore. Yet this is my spiritual quest (to a degree) in a nutshell! It shows my desire for spiritual freedom (the boat floating freely), my love of knowledge (the book), and my creative curiosity and love to explore and to thereby serve (by being a trailblazer). Nurturing this daydream has allowed me to cultivate free thinking and an adventurous freedom which I also have sought to share and foster in others: students, friends and family, readers.

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What do your daydreams reveal to you about your own inherent gifts and motivations?  What vistas and quest do they expose?

Consider next the lyrics to a rather mysterious song, taken from a somewhat obscure and equally mysterious musical starring https://www.youtube.com/embed/ZyNKZUWJSa0?rel=0“>Barbara Streisand, Yves Montand and Jack Nicholson, ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER.

“On A Clear Day (You Can See Forever)”

On a clear day
Rise and 1ook around you
And you’ll see who you are

On a clear day
How it will astound you
That the glow of your being
Outshines every star

You’ll feel part of every mountain sea and shore

You can hear
From far and near
A word you’ve never, never heard before…

And on a clear day…On a clear day…
You can see forever…

And ever…
And ever…
And ever more. . .

 

Do you remember this movie musical (also a long running Broadway show)? It was about this young woman (Streisand in the movie) who while trying to overcome a smoking addiction by seeing a psychologist who practices hypnosis, becomes a high class lady from a former lifetime under that hypnotic influence. The doctor (Montand) falls in love with the past-life version of his client. At some point she and the doctor realize they have a Soul bond that may transfer across lifetimes, so that perhaps in a future life they might find each other again and fall in love!

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What can you take from this to apply to your own aspirations?

To me: Life is greater than, vaster than only what appears on the surface.  As spiritual sojourners each on our own cosmic quest (however we might individually conceive of this), there are stones to upturn (to look under), mountains of knowledge to explore in search of WISDOM, LOVE, FULFILLMENT. 

ANY life experience can bring one to the awareness and fulfillment you might seek. It doesn’t matter if you are a housewife or a scientist, a millionaire or unemployed. From wherever you ARE, you can LOOK and SEE that which you seek to understand.

So, here’s a technique I offer you this week, based on the lyrics from this musical above.

Imagine it is a CLEAR DAY. You are at a mountain top, overlooking a vast expanse.  Turn West and you can see highlights from your Past. Ahead and surrounding you immediately is the Present. To the East (the direction of the new dawn) is your future. Contemplate these vistas freely. How do these vistas relate to each other, and how can you bring great Bounty into your present life from your Future that fulfills all that which has brought you to Here-Now?

I always invite and welcome YOUR insights and stories!

 

Remember to Daydream, Part 2 (The Lake Isle of Innisfree)

Here is an excellent demonstration of creative future casting by William Butler Yeats. Like my story of how daydreaming can relate to manifesting future realities (below), Yeats reminds us in his evocative poem to hold a vision in our minds of our desired state or condition; smell it, feel it, and it IS!

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,

And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;

Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,

And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,

Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;

There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,

And evening full of the linnet’s wing.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day

I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;

While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,

I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

******   ******

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Consider: the future consists of an unlimited number of possibilities only habitually constrained by conditions and circumstances of your past and present choices. If you can break the habit of perpetuating self-limiting thoughts, anything is possible. How can you do that?

The power of imagination is our greatest birthright for creating life conditions that realize our goals. Whether by contemplation, active imagination, meditation, yoga, positive affirmations, or prayer, we always do have the freedom to cast our dreams outward and forward into manifestation.

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In Your Life Path I’ll provide Life Mapping personal development tools for “future casting.” Like casting a net widely into the realm of fertile future possibilities, you can cast a diverse spectrum of desirable future “lifescapes” to help you shake off feelings of inevitability regarding future  conditions or the sense  of futility regarding significant change.

Here’s an example: remember to Day Dream! When was the last time you indulged in a great day dream? Have you ever thought about the possible relationship between daydreams and your actual future conditions?

When I was in high school I remember that I did engage in active day dreaming, especially when in classes that bored me. I developed one particular daydream that I kept going back to, time and again. It became clearer and more real to me every time I went back to it.

I am on a rowboat, alone on a lake, with a great book I have brought.  I row out to near the middle of the lake, then I put the oars up to rest and I lay back between the two seats on a recliner mattress with a large outdoor pillow gently lifting my head; I open the book and read! I hear the water lapping up against the wooden sides of the boat. This is the most peaceful moment I can ever experience. Then WHOMP! My boat has hit a soft landing. I look up and see that I have drifted onto the banks of a small Island. I get out to explore.

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So looking back at this daydream now, many decades later, I smile. First, I can still feel the vivid lucidity of this boat, the island, and the peace and freedom I experience from exploring this ‘alternate reality.’ More importantly, I realize with some surprise now that my ‘retirement’ Life Dream that I do expect to fully realize in three years actually does include a lake, a boat, and close focus on books (including my own!).

Today while working out at a YMCA, I sat in a rowing machine, always my favorite exercise vehicle. I closed my eyes and rowed. I was on that boat again, rowing peacefully along near the shores of Lake Chautauqua, which I expect to be free to explore in a few years.

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By future casting, you can PULL your unfolding Present into harmony with your most deeply desired future. You are NOT bound irrevocably to repeat your present conditions; you can CHOOSE your own course. All it takes is that you exercise your freedom to IMAGINE; that is your Divine Gift!

I welcome YOUR Comments and Stories!

 

Enjoy the Fruit from Your Labors of Love

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Life is a Bowl of Cherries means you get to enjoy the fruits of all the work you have done and the love you have given and shared as you bring about and experience the “manifesting” stages of your life. My 88 year old mother, for example, though suffering from late stage Parkinsons, has her family’s love and support for all she has given us. She has more visitors than many at her nursing home, and this is one of the fruits of her many sacrifices and gifts of being a terrific mother through the years.

Family of six

How can you manifest a future wherein you will benefit from the fruits of your own labor and dedication? How will you construct this future as one filled with abundance and vital purpose? As I anticipate retirement in just a few years, I see this not as any form of slowing down or resting but as a graduation from my primary career work into a continuing adventure of service, creative productivity, and giving back to life for all I have received and learned through life experiences.

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A Contemplation and Journaling Seed:

What are to be the fruits of your life’s labor of love? Some you are already enjoying Now; what are these? Others you can yet choose to manifest; what are those? How will you help these fruits to mature?

It always helps to visualize and contemplate your future of abundant growth while appreciating the bounty of the present moment as well.

What’s Around the Bend?

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What is around the corner in your life that you can envision as you “look forward” to embrace and maximize your future potentials?

Yes, being mindful and accepting of the here and now is important for appreciating life as it is, yet Nowness embraces more than the present in timespace; past-present-future are interconnected or we could say “entangled,” always. On Through the Wormhole this past week  the focus of the episode on state of the art  Physics perspectives was about the question of how the Future affects the Present. The Future exists Now, as a manifold of possibilities. How you envision your own future helps to orient toward and manifest specific potentials of the future conditions you envision.

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This past semester I conducted some 65 students through a life mapping process, and they created some really amazing Life Dream Maps for themselves as a means of artistically grounding Future Action Plans they developed. Many of their Life Dream Maps were in the form of board game designs, reflecting versions of the Milton Bradley game of LIFE. These life mappers embellished their game boards beautifully, representing their anticipated goals and Turning Points with personally very meaningful images.

Since this week at Better Endings for Life Paths is about conjoining your ARTIST Archetype Ally with the image of Crossing the Threshold to establish a desirable set of life conditions, I invite you to envision and create your own Life Dream Map.

On a large, blank sheet of paper (maybe 11″x 17″), sketch out a winding pathway or devise your own “pathway” sort of image. Consider the major steps or cornerstone “turning point” spaces on your path to be pivotal actions or events you can anticipate experiencing as you wend your way consciously to manifest your Life Dream. Represent some image of your Life Dream itself as the Goal or destination point on your game board.  In designing your Future Dream Map, be as specific as you can about time frames for arriving at your Turning Point spaces. But you can also include playful transition points that, if you “land” on these steps, might say something like “Pause to Reflect,” “Move Back two steps before moving forward,” or “Leap ahead confidently” to the next Turning Point.

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Have fun with this. Play it as an actual game if you like or play with your friends by each of you creating their own game boards! Whether you sketch this out roughly or artistically invest quality time in producing your game board, I encourage you to display it and save it as a time capsule that you can look back at as you proceed along your own path to manifest your Dream!

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I welcome your insights and stories!

Tuning In to Your Mystic Awareness

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How can you tune in to your own inner Mystic Guide? Let’s count some of the many ways available to you:

Active imagination

Meditation

Contemplation

Yoga

Dream work

Archetype Dialogue Journaling

Prayer

Mindfulness

Each of these natural modes of accessing your unconscious and/or spiritual awareness offers great potential for engaging your Mystic archetype as an Ally who can help your conscious self by sharing deep insights. Let me describe a few of these methods, then, that you may wish to practice.

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Active imagination:

This is the technique Carl Jung himself used which he wrote about extensively (e.g. see the marvelous new Reader’s Edition of Jung’s The Red Book). It is a mode of creative visualization. You can journal about your inner experience after returning to your normal waking perspective.

Contemplation:

Contemplation is an active, engaged form of meditation. You maintain awareness while asking an inward question for inner guidance, or you can travel, either astrally (in your emotional state of consciousness), mentally, or via soul travel, to explore dimensions of consciousness beyond the Physical realm. With active contemplation you may assume the perspective of being in the state which you wish to observe, and release your conscious mind to allow whatever experience is relevant from that perspective. You may begin with active imagination and then shift into a contemplative experience.

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Dream work:

Dreams occur from many different levels of consciousness, so different kinds of dreams reflect these different levels of perception (and action). Lucid dreaming occurs when you become aware within a dream that you are dreaming; achieving lucid dreaming can help you to be more conscious of your ability to control your outer states of consciousness while waking as well as your dream state.  Archetypal dreams—which Jung was interested in—appear with symbolic content that can reflect either universal, collective archetypal imagery (e.g. a snake can refer to transformation, or a circle can refer to completion or wholeness) and also personal unconscious archetypal parts of Self can appear as personas in your nightly dream. Waking dreams may also happen (more so when you pay attention as such), wherein you realize an outer occurrence has a symbolic component or gives you an answer you are seeking in a serendipitous manner. Some mystical philosophers would remind us that the outer life is as much of a dream as a nightly, “inner” dream scenario.’ (A good primer: The Art of Spiritual Dreaming, by Harold Klemp.)

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Archetype Dialogue Journaling:

Using active imagination and contemplation, you can enter into a conversation with your own personal unconscious archetypal ‘parts of Self’. This is the approach I use with the Life Maps Process, and it is the approach Jung used that is described in his The Red Book.  Once you become proficient at invoking and ‘shifting’ between these perspectives, you can journal a dialogue with your varying archetypal personae as it occurs. This can allow you to explore your conflicting attitudes and motivations. These different archetypal perspectives may be identified with “typical situations” in your life; that is, with the distinct ROLES you have established and that you enact daily.

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You can approach your MYSTIC archetype for a direct, dynamic dialogue or within a soul travel type of inner encounter.  Remember, all you have to do inwardly is to ASK! And then, accept what happens with a loving heart, ready to learn, and record your experience so you can interpret and remember the insights gained.

Your Key Turning Points

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This next few days I have a simple life mapping tool to share with you.  I invite you to reflect on some of the Turning Points in your life, either up to Now, or from Now toward your desired future. A turning point can be thought of as an event, choice or situation in your life “before and after which you feel you were a different person” in some respect or capacity. But I will make this game a little more focused for you: you only get to pick (A) THREE turning points from your past up to Now, and/or (B) imagine THREE turning points from Now leading toward the fulfillment of an important personal goal or Life Dream.

You may use the image below as a template design for this life mapping activity, or devise your own.

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(A) Choose THREE events or situations from the past that were major turning points in your life. In the process of choosing these, you may reflect on how each of these pivotal moments or situations altered your future in the ultimate direction of where you are Now.

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Be sure you have chosen the “right” three; that is, those specific turning points that have led to where you perceive yourself to be in your life today. When I did this mapping today, I first picked three major events, but in reflecting I realized I wanted to disregard any negative turning point because ultimately, for me, it was the more positive TP’s that have led me to my present position in my life’s journey. I chose first a very positive early relationship, then a spiritual turning point of finding my ‘path’ in this life, then a failed relationship, but then instead of this third situation, I claimed instead the decision to begin the studies and practices that led me to develop the life mapping process that I am passionate about sharing to this day. So this has been a learning experience: the most important, defining events have been the most positive fulcrum points that have helped me to develop my highest potentials.

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(B) As an alternate method, or even better, after you complete part A of this life mapping tool, I invite you to envision three Turning Points that you expect to experience or bring about in your life from Now up to the full realization of a significant future scenario or goal. What plateaus will you arrive at or what crossroads will you need to pass through in order to manifest your future as a Dream come true?

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 With this Future Life Mapping activity (and you could do this for A as well), I encourage you to include minor steps you anticipate that can lead to and from these three KEY future mileposts as well as the Turning Points themselves. Also, as the golden star in the template map diagram indicates, consider the endpoint of your Future life map to be your goal or Dream achieved, and go ahead and represent what that is, either pictorially or by writing it out at the destination point you are envisioning.

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I welcome your insights and sharings!

Take Me to Your Leader

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This week we are pairing—or aligning—the Elder Leader archetype with the monthly life metaphor of Life is What You Make It. This is an especially fruitful alignment because it is a very natural, common combination culturally.  Leaders “make things happen” by their inherent character, so long as they are manifesting archetypal leadership qualities more in Strength than in Shadow mode. Villains (Shadow leaders), on the other hand, interfere with positive growth or survival potentials, requiring a protagonist’s leadership potentials to be ‘stepped up’ in order to meet the challenge.

Consider the prototypical science fiction line, then: “Take me to your leader!”…what’s that about? First, this line recognizes the archetypal nature of a Leader; we expect to find a leader of some sort in any society, on any planet. The Leader is conceived of as a single, central persona figure, representing an organizing principle for that society.  The Leader’s own character permeates all of the alien or subordinate ‘others’ by virtue of her or his influence over their world and lives.

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Second, the visitors want to talk with the Leader because presumably it is s/he who makes the important decisions and gets things done. If the visiting astronauts are ever to get Home, they know it is only the alien Leader who can facilitate their Return and implement the necessary process to make it so. The visitors’ main concern is that the Leader might be in Shadow, a villain; then they will need to count upon their own intrinsic leadership strengths in order to overcome that opposition and find a solution that can get them Home under their own steam, as it were.  Either way, it is archetypal qualities of the Leader that must be appealed to in order to achieve the protagonists’ goal.

To be clear then for those fairly new to this blog or to the concept of archetypal character modes, archetypes can be defined and understood in two interconnected ways. Archetypal characters in one sense are simply character MODES; that is, they are typical forms that are found in fictional, mythical and everyday situations around the world. The Leader is found everywhere with fairly normative character traits, albeit each society may attribute to the Leader archetype some culturally relevant traits.

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In another aspect, archetype character modes–according to archetypal or depth psychologists such as Hillman and Jung—are also found in each of our personal unconscious makeup, so that the Leader is a complex of potential character traits inherent in all of us.  The fact that universal archetype modes show up in the day to day SOCIAL ROLES we occupy as well as in our nightly (or daytime, waking) DREAMS simply shows that as we grow up in and are socialized within any given cultural milieu, we internalize facets of these archetypal character modes as a matter of adapting to our social personas in life.  These sorts of archetypal layerings of our psyche may be more or less conscious to us, and their positive and/or Shadow traits may become embedded in our general personality orientations.

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So then, a useful active imagination or creative visualization technique we can try this week is to contemplate a sticky situation or a difficult decision in your life right now. Imagine you are a member—the leader—of a visiting astronaut crew, shipwrecked on some alien planet. Inwardly imagine a group of aliens approaching and surrounding you. Step up and address the one who appears to head up this alien delegation, and ask: “Take me to your Leader!” Imagine what transpires after that on your own, focusing on the situation about which you are seeking greater clarity.

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I invite and welcome all of your comments and stories!

A New Year of Better Endings

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Over the next twelve months this blog site will continue to offer ways for you to focus on envisioning and manifesting Better Endings in your own Life Path.This week I will mainly be setting up the new framework on the background pages of the site. Then on November 15 we will begin the new cycle.

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Every month over the next year, I will introduce a monthly Better Endings Life Metaphor and a monthly Archetype Ally based on Twelve Universal Archetypes. We will explore these topics over the month in relation to Life Mapping personal development tools and quotes, insights and stories about applying these concepts for personal growth and development.

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So, stay tuned for a New Adventure with More of Better Endings!

 

 

AS IF

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Since May, we have explored the following sequence of weekly topics here at Life Paths for Better Endings:

  • Your Origin Story
  • Your Vision Quest
  • Your Life Metaphor
  • Your Life Course Schema
  • Your Significant Life Events
  • Your Life Themes
  • Your Turning Points
  • Your Life Chapters
  • Your Life Story Genre
  • Your Story as Myth
  • Your Narrative Statement
  • Universal Archetypes
  • Your Ensemble Cast of “Archemes”
  • Your Guardians of the Threshold
  • Dreaming
  • Active Imagination
  • What Are Your Dragons?
  • Your Quest
  • Your Life Challenges
  • Your Archetype Strengths
  • Hold Fast to Your Dream
  • Your Action Plan
  • Your Life Dream Totem

The final, culminating topic of this six-month process—our theme for this week—is Live Your Dream, Now!

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First, you can find and develop linkages from your present life experience to connect with your future goal. This allows you to gradually live into your Dream by continuing those practices and attitudes that already serve your sense of life purpose or Mission while gradually making changes in the direction of fully manifesting your goals.

Second, I introduced the idea of As Above, So Below. You can use prayer, meditation or active contemplation to creatively envision and explore inwardly that which in time you aim to manifest outwardly.

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A third way to Live Your Dream, Now! is by applying the “As If” principle. You are free to Act already, currently, AS IF you ARE Living Your Life Dream, Now! This is a practice you can utilize as a way of integrating the high values of your Life Dream into your everyday present reality. What attitudes will you want to be expressing as you express your fully self-actualized roles with your Life Dream achieved? Acting AS IF you are already living your Dream means that you do not have to wait for any material changes in order to express the Self (persona) you aim to be expressing in your most Self-realized nature! See?

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The AS IF principle means that you already ARE everything you ever will be, inwardly as Soul. To unfold into your highest expression of Self you need only to BE THIS NOW! Assume the perspective of the fully Self-Realized Being that you ARE and live from this perspective and attitude! Are there certain values and qualities of perception or attitude you might associate with your highest Self? Respect, Patience, Generosity, Flexibitlity, Expertise in your life’s vocation, etcetera? Since these qualities already exist within you NOW, Act AS IF you have already fully developed these and let your life adjust itself around your Self-realized expression.

These three aspects or practices that let you Live Your Dream, Now! together activate the three phases of the Law of Manifestation that Denise shared about here just a few weeks ago: Seeing;  Knowing; and Being.

I invite you insights from your own life experience!

Live Your Dream, Now!

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This week is the final week of a six month process at Better Endings. Over the past six months this site has presented a series of topics to help you to establish a Vision for your future Life Path; a Life Dream that you CAN manifest fully. This Life Dream is not intended as “just a dream” nor as a product of “magical thinking.” Your Life Dream is to be LIVED, not merely imagined. It represents not the Impossible, but the POSSIBLE and even the PROBABLE, so long as you nurture and cultivate this Reality that is Parallel to the life you are currently enacting.

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Between the present life you are living and the Now you are living so far imaginatively with your Life Dream, there are connections that should not be overlooked.  What are they? In other words, I believe you would not even be able to conceive of a Life Dream except that there are key elements of your present life that will give rise to the Reality of your Life Dream Achieved, so long as you nurture and develop these.

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Over the past few weeks my own Life Dream has become clearer for me; now I desire to create a Life Dreams Institute (whereas before, I envisioned a Life Paths Institute; now I see a much greater potential emerging.) Elements present in my life now that can allow me to manifest this Dream include this blog and the book manuscript and Life Mapping Handbook it represents, along with retirement savings which I have been talking with professionals about, and the realization of where I want to relocate to in order to establish such a ‘retreat’ locale. Of course there is MUCH yet to transpire, much to nurture and to accommodate as I proceed step by step in the pursuit of my life goals. Much can change in the process, too; it is always wisest to be FLEXIBLE in relation to your Life Dream. The Universe/ Spirit will show you more over time and will lead you to the highest expression of your Dream, if you let It.

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What is required of you and of me is faith and persistence; trust and a willingness to stay true to your Dream.

Today then, I invite you to contemplate your current life IN RELATION TO your fully realized Life Dream. What are you doing now or what could you be doing, now or in the near future, that can help to pave the way to the gradual realization of your Life Dream Achieved? Perhaps there is ONE THING you can set into motion which will orient your Life Path toward fulfilling your goals. What IS IT? Engage in an Active Imagination/meditation/contemplation so you can visualize your Next Step, your One Thing you can do to keep you moving in the right direction.

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PLease don’t interpret me to ever be saying that I would see your or my own life Now as being deficient in any way! Where we are Now is the fulfillment of where we have oriented ourselves up TO now, isn’t it? To me that is an empowering perspective.  We are the Creators of the life we are living (hopefully in tandem with our divine given talents and potentials).

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Live your Dream, NOW! Means that your Life Dream will never magically pop into existence. It requires your creative envisioning and your active participation and contemplation to gradually apply the Law of Manifestation so to bring it INTO existence, in the ever-expanding and transformative NOW. (I am linking to some earlier blog ideas if you’d like to retrace some of the steps we have taken through this process.)

I invite your Comments and Stories.

What is your Next Step, Now?

 

Picture Perfect!

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As a third method for creating a symbolic, representative TOTEM of your Life Dream Achieved this week, I invite you to, first, contemplate your Life Dream goal once again.  Envision yourself living your dream in deep detail. Where might you be living? What sorts of relationships will be central in your life? What will you be doing to contribute to the world you are inhabiting in this future landscape of your dream fulfilled?

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Second, find (or, create) a picture or design a collage of images that clearly represents something central or core to you about your treasured Life Dream. You might find your picture(s) by an online search of images associated with your goal, or search through magazines or through your own photo collection. You could instead draw a blueprint of your dream home or landscape (I did that this morning and it was amazing); or, use your completed Alternate Future Life Path image from last week’s posts (below).

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Now then, I invite you to paste your selected LIFE DREAM PICTURE or envisioned plan of action or collage at the top of an at least twice larger page, such as on a poster board. Then on a separate sheet of paper that you will later paste below that picture (or, you can write directly onto the poster board if you prefer), imagine and write a FIRST PERSON, PRESENT TENSE description of YOU, living fully the Life of Your Dreams!

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Your First person, present tense account of you, Living Your Dream, could be in the form of a letter to yourself FROM the future of your dream fulfilled. Or, it might read like a postcard story:  (For my  own starting example:) “Here I am, finally living in Bemus Point, just ten minutes from the Chautauqua Institute and 40 minutes from my dear sister, Cheryl! It is April. I have moved into my sweet new little house by the lake with Sophie, Loki and Emily. There is land for workshop retreats; I will build a lodge and place a labyrinth there…”

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Got the picture? Well okay then, find one or a set of YOUR Future-Life Dream-Fulfilled images that resonates deeply with you as Soul! Place your “perfect picture” somewhere prominent where you will see it often to remind you of your Life Dream that you are bringing into Being through living the values you relate to your Dream.

I welcome all of your stories or pictures!

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Thanks to WordPress and to every  reader and fellow blogger.Yesterday was the one year Anniversary for Better Endings! This next week I will present the final Life Paths for Better Endings topic of Live Your Dream, Now! Then we will embark upon a whole new annual round, with monthly Better Endings Life Metaphors, monthly Archetype Ally profiles, and many more Life Mapping tools!

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Your Yellow Brick Road

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The more clearly you can envision your Life Dream or a future goal, the more you can collapse the space-time, so to speak, between yourself Here and your goal Now. That is, the better you can visualize and embrace the reality of your worthy end achieved, the more evident will become the path that connects you to the place or set of conditions your goal represents to you.

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Last week I invited you to imagine a set of Alternate Future Scapes as a mode of “Future Casting”.  If you established two or more of these Alter-Future visions, choose one now. (If not, go ahead and cast an alternate future scape; nothing is cast in stone so feel free to imagine a desirable set of future conditions that feels good to you Now.)

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Have you played the board game LIFE recently? My favorite recent version is the Wizard of OZ rendition. Dorothy and other characters wend their way from Auntie Em’s farm into the Land of the Munchkins, the Land of OZ, the Witch’s castle, and ultimately back Home, to Kansas. The image of a Life Path as a winding spiral, with bridges to cross, rewards to collect and obstacles or setbacks to overcome along the Way–like Dorothy and her Archetype Allies’ adventure along the Yellow Brick Road–is a classic mythical image of an Epic Journey or of a labyrinth pathway of self-discovery.

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Below is a rather rough sketch of a Winding Path motif.   I invite you to fill this in (or draw your own and fill that in) with incremental steps or phases that lead to the realization of your Alternate Future!  Use your creativity and your mindful awareness of your Goal to represent time frames or the processual stages you anticipate experiencing along the Yellow Brick Road of your own exciting Adventure to the manifestation of your Life Dream. You can share this with a loved one, friend, or children, too. Then you can each talk about what you have projected about your own Life Path.

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Have fun with this. You can create as many of these Life Path pictures as you like, to one or to several alternate futures. But take your time with each one, too. Focus inwardly on recreating–as it were, from the ‘end achieved’–the actual steps you CAN take to bring your Life Dream to fruition.

When I have filled in my own envisioned Pathway to a meaningful Life Dream, I have later been amazed to look back at this mapping some several months or even years later to find that I have been actualizing these stages pretty much in the sequence envisioned.

I invite your Comments and your Stories!

P.S.: Thank you for reading and for your Likes!!! Stay tuned for Friday’s post : Your Next Step