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.

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!

 

Potent Potions

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Felix Felicis: Liquid Luck!  J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter wins this helpful elixir by concocting the most perfect potion in Professor Slughorn’s Potions class at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.  So, when Harry really needs a boost of fortuitous inner nudging in order to achieve an important aspect of his mission as the Chosen One to save the world from the evil horcruxes of Voldemort, he drinks a vial of this potent potion and knows just what to do to accomplish his purpose.

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So, what is your Felix Felicis? For some of you it may be a Mantra, which focusses your attention on higher awareness.  Or it could be a talisman, like a rabbit’s foot or a very comfortable, old pair of socks. (We may explore both of these topics later this month.)

“Luck”…after all, what is it?  Is it magical, or is it a matter of focusing your attention on a goal and persisting in the direction of that central focus? Can you create your own good fortune by committing wholeheartedly to its worthy cause? I would say the cause does have to be worthy, and then, yes absolutely, the sky’s no limit!

Is Liquid Luck for real then, or does it provide Harry merely a placebo effect, allowing him to draw upon his own deepest wisdom based upon the self-confidence that comes with his belief?  Rowling alludes to that assumption when she portrays Ron Weasley winning a Quidditch contest because he thinks Harry has gifted him his Liquid Luck.

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images are from pixabay.com

Placebo effect or a direct causal agent, it matters not.  Use every possible positive means to achieve your worthy goal!  Now then the only caveat is, choose well that which is truly worthy of your focus.

I welcome YOUR comments and story!

The elixir of Patience

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This month we have been exploring elixirs. Elixirs are qualities of consciousness assumed with the process of unfoldment of one’s deepest potentials for the good of the Whole. One such quality is Patience.

“Patience is a virtue” sums up nicely the alchemical nature of this positive attribute. Combined with other qualities such as persistence and even passion, patience can propel our actions forward to help us manifest our most worthy goals.

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So here are some nuggets about patience I found on the web:

“Being a good teacher takes patience; being a good doctor also takes patience. In fact, if you want to excel in anything, master any skill, patience is an asset.” Eknath Easwaran, Patience: A Little Book of Inner Strength 

“Struggles often serve to release the wisdom, patience, and strength we all possess but too seldom demonstrate.” Jim Stovall, Wisdom for Winners Volume One: A Millionaire Mindset, An Official Official Publication of The Napoleon Hill Foundation 

“But ‘not giving up’ requires a certain level of patience, of hours and hours, and sometimes days or weeks, months or years of trying and perfecting.” V. Noot, Don’t Give Up

“Doing interesting work when nobody notices takes patience and belief.” Brian Knapp, Creative Pursuit 

“One of the paradoxes of life is that being impatient often makes it harder to achieve something. As with any skill, you get better at manifesting the more you practice.” Simon Foster, Manifesting Change: How to Manifest Change, Love, Abundance and Prosperity 

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images are from pixabay.com

Call Upon Your Inner Archetype Allies

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Here is a list of The Twelve primordial, universal persona archetype figures, as set forth by Dr. Charles Bebeau of the former Avalon Archetype Institute and as updated in terms of naming by Debra Breazzano, MA/LPC:

ELDER LEADER    ARTIST    TEACHER

LOVER       IDEALIST     COMMUNICATOR

WARRIOR     GOLDEN  CHILD    HEALER

NOURISHER    DESCENDER    MYSTIC

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Which of these 12 potential Archetype Allies, included as archetypical forms in anyone’s  personal unconscious identifications, could be helpful to you right Now? You can call upon one or more than one of these universal archetypes, which each possess tremendous energy for supporting your goals with inner strengths and nudges, to help you to understand what course of action will be most beneficial to you for realizing your most worthy goal.

Call upon the positive Strengths of your Ally. This represents your own inherent talents and reinforces your natural perceptive abilities. Here is a self-discovery Tool you can use:

First, identify a positive Goal.

Second, review the list of The Twelve presented above (you can print out this page), and circle one or more than one that you intuitively sense could help you to achieve your goal.

Third, list the Ally or Allies you have selected, and identify some of your own traits or personal qualities that you would like to strengthen and utilize in the pursuit of your goal.

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As a personal example to illustrate this self-discovery Tool, a current goal of mine is to complete a deep edit of my book manuscript which I hope to deliver in about a week. I call upon my inner Communicator, Idealist, and Artist as general Allies, and I have found myself calling forth other Archetype Allies during the work at hand. Editing a chapter where I am offering a process for Descent and Re-Emergence, for instance (in my upcoming book, Your Life Path), I found my inner Descender offering helpful examples and helping me stay true to the intent and purpose of that chapter.

Your internalized persona archetype Allies are at least in part forged and developed based upon the role identities you have assumed in your life.                 

You have internalized some of the traits and abilities of role models who have influenced your development of these roles, such as Parent, Teacher, Adventurer, etcetera.  You can learn to tap into your usually unconscious repertoire of these internalized archetypal traits and personas; my book will provide Tools to allow you to do this (and I will offer an upcoming webinar series even before the book is published in March 2018 by Flyinghorse Publishers).

You may find yourself growing in strength as you “integrate” your archetypal parts-of-Self within a more ‘individuated’ and internally harmonious Whole.

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images are from pixabay.com

I welcome your Comments and Stories!

Build a Bridge to Your Destiny

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Who Are You? How did you get where you are today? Where are you wanting to go from here? How will you get there?

Here’s a quick creative Tool to help you discover a pathway to a desired next step that you might feel it is too hard to attain:

On a piece of construction paper of a color you associate with Fulfillment, paste or draw an image of a BRIDGE. This can be any sort of bridge you choose, but make sure it is strong, a bridge that will definitely convey you from one side (where you are now) to another (where you wish to “belong”).

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You can place or draw images of where you are and of where you wish to arrive at as a destination on either side of the bridge.

On or above the Bridge Path itself, place action words, phrases or images that are actual steps or transitions you CAN make in the foreseeable future that can lead you clearly n the direction of your goal.

For example, “pay off debt” or “exercise 2 times per week” or “write a chapter outline” could be statements you write on the bridge.

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images are from pixabay.com

Then, DO THIS!  Place one action before you that  is easy to set into motion and let that motion carry you over the bridge, across a threshold to your desirable new state or condition.

I welcome YOUR comments or story!

Departure: A Double Entendre in Current America

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This month I am sharing about the phase of the Hero’s Adventure known as the Departure. It is a response to the Call to Adventure and must be undertaken mindfully, with good intention in order to bypass Threshold Guardians and Cross the Threshold of Adventure as you embark upon your Quest that only you can fully accomplish!

But as I attend to the news in this unsettling era of American conservatism in the White House, I recognize that “departure” is a word with a double meaning. The first meaning is as described in the above paragraph. The second is darker, more foreboding. A Departure can also be a turning AWAY from everything one has valued or known to be true for themselves. Where this new administration is going–or trying rather forcefully to take us to–is an extreme departure from much of what I value dearly and hold to be true based on the evidence of science and the witness of my heart.

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Climate change; Native American sovereignty rights over reservation and cultural resources; immigration and an open heart for refugees fleeing violence, poverty or corruption; racial and religious equality and freedom of choice including a woman’s choice over her own reproductive rights: suddenly all of these appear imperiled.

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The first sort of departure, acting on the intention to embark upon an Adventure in pursuit of one’s Dream, is positive and it can bear much bounty of a profound, heroic nature for all concerned. The second, a reversal of value-orientations developed over decades or even centuries in our democratic nation, feels ‘negative’ and disheartening to me. I feel disempowered by this second-order form of departure from the course the vast majority of people in my entire country have been pursuing toward achieving our collective American Dream.

So, the first departure, you must hold to, even in times of radical change and upheaval. Never turn back from your Dream!

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As to the second, darker seeming reversal (or any such external sort of reversal of charge threatening to obtrude within your world), do what you can, of course. Step forth, speak out as that becomes available for you, march, sign petitions as an active citizen who does have rights of free expression and whose values DO MATTER!

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Perhaps the collective good will ultimately triumph over the narrow nationalism and bigotry we see paraded about before us daily. The political comedians and newscasters are doing their best to stem the tide. Activism IS bearing fruit and will continue to do so. If that is the departure you are now being called to or in addition to the positive path you are set upon, all the best to you.

But my core message here for you is to not let the Threshold Guardians–any would-be naysayers or fatalistic pessimism itself–deter you from heading out on or continuing forth with YOUR Adventure.  Joseph Campbell would remind us that every successful Hero’s Adventure, both in the pursuing and in the realization of one’s Quest, one’s Dream, profoundly benefits not just the individual but the Universe as a Whole.

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images are from pixabay.com

We need to support one another in our joyful pursuit of our Dreams, perhaps Now more than ever.

I welcome YOUR Comments and Story.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heed the Call

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What nags at you, reaching back  from your possible, desirable future? Yes it is that: possible and even within the realm of the probable if only you will heed the Call that beckons only to you!

Martha Graham said it best:

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.” 
― Martha Graham

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Physicists now theorize there are flows from the future to the past as much as from the present via memory. What is a future memory but a vision? Sages say: “All creation is finished in the lower worlds,” as the outer reality is but a reflection, a projection from higher planes.

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images are from pixabay.com

So look within, listen, and heed YOUR call! The universe will meet you half way!

Your Possible Dream!

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When I was around ten, I read Cervantes’ Don Quixote slowly, episode by episode, like the Bible as I had read it when I was eight! I liked it so much that I didn’t want it ever to end; that is why I only allowed myself one episode per reading. This was a book I would read with a flashlight under my blankets in case my mother would want me to stop reading and turn out the lights. I was drawn into this character of Don Quixote de la Mancha. I identified with his sense of chivalry and adventure, with his strong friendship with Sancho Panza and with his elevating adoration of ‘Dulcinea’.

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Later I learned the musical script of Man of La Mancha completely: I sang every song, in order, while walking or resting.  I especially loved—still do—the theme song of The Impossible Dream. Later, in college years, I saw the Broadway musical stage version of Man of La Mancha three times with different casts.  By then I understood from literature classes that we are to pity Don Quixote as a misguided antihero, a dilapidated man bent by the aberrations of the world into little more than a dreary wisp of misguided optimism in a harsh and brutal world.  But, to me, this never really sank in; I still love the figure of Don Quixote as one bearing truth—his truth—as a banner despite all opposition, or Inquisition, too!

Here are the lyrics to the Peter O’Toole movie version of The Impossible Dream: http://www.reelclassics.com/Actors/O’Toole/impossibledream-lyrics.htm (and https://www.youtube.com/embed/YGzqbEeVWhs“>click here to hear the song on Youtube video!)

To dream the impossible dream
To fight the unbeatable foe
To bear with unbearable sorrow
To run where the brave dare not go

To right the unrightable wrong
To love pure and chaste from afar
To try when your arms are too weary
To reach the unreachable star

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far

To fight for the right
Without question or pause
To be willing to march into Hell
For a heavenly cause

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star

******   ******

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WHAT IS YOUR Possible Dream?  What cause do you pursue “without question or pause;” for which you are “willing to march into Hell for a Heavenly cause?” What is your Life Dream that stretches out before you as if an “unreachable,” yet to you it is a REACHABLE STAR?

I believe the human Spirit thrives on such ideal pursuits. It is a dream that benefits many as well as yourself; that which allows you to express and develop into ALL THAT YOU ARE, Here and Now!

I invite you to connect with your own inner ‘Don (or, Dona) Quixote.’  Ask your inner  IDEALIST nature to reveal itself to you. What form of character does it take? What are ITS GOALS for You?

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images from pixabay.com

I welcome your insights and stories!

 

IDEALISM in Action: Go Broncos!

 

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Okay so I’m a sports fan of the Broncos football team, who just last night won the 50th Superbowl! Sometimes I volunteer at the Broncos stadium for a fundraising service that my spiritual group conducts there gathering staff laundry shirts after the games, so I get to see some of the insides of the organization and its supporters and, I can report, the spirit of the Broncos organization is positive and contagiously so! I have never heard a negative remark in over 7 years from staff at the stadium, and the fans are supercharged with the forward looking, goal-oriented energy of the team and its managers and owners.

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Last night, watching the Big Game as the Denver Broncos’ “Orange Crush Defense” and  its talented Offense as well once again managed to upset a major contender to win the National (World) title,  I found myself thinking about how the Broncos team energy embodies the IDEALIST Archetype quite directly, both in individuals and in the collective body of the team. In fact, the amazing collaborative effort of this dynamic team exemplifies the most positive values of the IDEALIST Archetype Ally in us all. It is goal-oriented but also team-oriented. It serves the whole, not just the selfish individual. I noticed in the post-game interviews how every Bronco and Bronco manager or owner interviewed after the game gave credit to others than themselves.  The quarterback, Peyton Manning, credited the Defensive players, who themselves credited Manning and the coaches. The coaches credited all the players and the managers and owners, and John Elway, a former Broncos Superbowl quarterback and now a general manager for the team, credited the owner, Pat Bowlen.  All realized how the synchrony of the WHOLE allowed each individual to rise to the challenge and perform as they needed to attain, literally, the collective trophy.

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On the other side, I saw that as the game progressed, the quarterback of the opposing team grew gradually more and more apparently despondent and withdrawn. Before the game he had paraded about the stadium dressed in gold athletic shoes and a gold Superman costume (cape included!) After the game, he covered his head and walked off the stage after a few short replies to questions. I guess the Broncos brought Kryptonite to this quarterback; here we see if anything the Shadow Idealist: frustrated for not having achieved the Ideal. Well, better luck next time maybe!

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images from pixabay.com

Teachers and Learners, An Alchemical Pairing

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I love being a Teacher, as I have taught now for 37 years, from 2 years tutoring and then teaching developmental English for inner city Buffalo students in New York to teaching for 13 years for Phoenix area community colleges and Arizona State University, to 22 years since 1993 as a professor at the University of Colorado—Colorado Springs. And, I love being a Student, as I have been from the very start and will always continue to be!

We learn through teaching and teach through learning, and those we teach are also our own teachers, too! So here I want to celebrate the Learners who teach their teachers how better to connect, to stay informed and current with contemporary issues, and above all, to better LISTEN to their learners’ needs and their hopes and dreams.  For being a Learner can be a daunting, brave act, especially when the student steps forth to ASK their pertinent questions and to personalize their QUEST for gaining grounds toward deepening their topical interests and toward fulfilling their individual life goals.

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Never settle for less than what is stated in the previous sentence.  As a Learner, you have the right and in fact the obligation to not just attend classes and complete assignments but to question, to expand your reading beyond that given, to critique perspectives presented and to elaborate and develop your unique viewpoint, sensibility and expertise.  There has never been in the entire history of creation another YOU (true for All), and your specificity of experience, feelings and outlook truly make of you a very special Learner—and Teacher, too.

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Learning takes many forms. It could be in a formal classroom setting but it does not need to be, and even when it is, it doesn’t really begin or end in a classroom. Nature might be your Classroom, or your Family might be the soil in which you are planted to gather and to share nourishment and understanding and love.

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Learning is the process of manifesting Better Endings, with any endeavor. We learn to drive a car, and this brings greater personal freedom along with greater responsibility and awareness. We read a novel, and whole worlds unfold before our imagination; worlds we never knew before but that are now realms we can return to forever.

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images from pixabay.com

As you learn, you gain invaluable lessons of experience; not just head knowledge but compassion and passion for serving others and for attaining the capacity to embrace and live your Dream! 

 

 

So, Listen… to Your Self!

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So Listen; imagine right Now that your future Self—which is your present Self enhanced by visionary projection—is calling out to You, beckoning for you to realize Its (i.e., your own) potentials! Quantum Physics, after all, reveals that Time is an illusion so that past-present-future coexist in Nowness. Yet the future may appear as an arc of endless possibilities; which one you realize along the trajectory you are tending toward via your present awareness is UP TO YOU!!! Yes there are spiritual Guides and mentors to help you recognize the positive potentials available to you as portals into your most Self-realized future, but you have to be able to ACCEPT the LOVE that can bear you in the “right” (or your most desired) direction.

So, Listen! What is your Soul helping you to realize; what direction does it wish for you to take? Is there a decision you are now facing or a transition you aim to pass through that your future You can help you understand?

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What do you feel is essential in order for you to feel your life will have been fulfilled and fulfilling for you and for your loved ones based on decisions and transitions you can be embarking upon Now?  This can include “mundane” aspects of your daily life like diet and exercise or where you choose to live but it can also include deeply profound choices like what spiritual practices to maintain or what habits to break for the sake of your future health and wellbeing.

So, Listen. Listen to your dreams, as they might provide the guidance you seek about steps to take now to ensure a better tomorrow. Listen also to your longings, your yearnings.  Don’t put off til tomorrow what you can begin now to create the future of your desire. The more active you are now in determining positive motion in the direction of realizing your goals, your Life Dream, the more likely you are to achieve and fulfill your purpose, your mission in this life.

 

Your Gatekeepers as Threshold Guardians

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In the social sciences the concept of gatekeepers is well known; gatekeepers are people who by virtue of their position in an institutional setting may either admit or deny entry for someone to a higher status or to the means of obtaining a desired goal. A gatekeeper can let someone in or close them out, depending on the gatekeeper’s prerogative.

My best friend in high school, Barbara, for example, was by far the best artist in her class. As a painter, she could create realism as well as more modern forms of art such as cubism equally well, and the deep thought and brilliant creativity she applied to her art was nothing short of genius.

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However, when Barb went for her standard Guidance Counselor visit that we all underwent in the 11th grade, the counselor told her in no uncertain terms:

“You are not college material.”

On what grounds this Gatekeeper turned my friend away from even seeking a college career, who knows? I do know that Barbara was not only a talented artist but she was also—still is—a deeply philosophical and intelligent person. Perhaps Barb might have gone on to become an Art Professor or to have written philosophically about the creative process, had she been deemed “college material.”  But Barb accepted the rebuttal of the Threshold Guardian; she turned away and did not attend college.

Barbara moved to Alaska for several years after high school, where she waitressed, worked in a crab cannery (I joined her there for one summer in Yakutat), and she continued with her art. When she returned to Niagara Falls, New York, Barbara worked at and apprenticed for a wax figure artist at the famous Madame Tussaud’s wax museum; when the stateside Mme.Tussaud’s museum folded, many of the clients were directed to Barbara, so that after awhile she was doing wax figures to fill whole museums around the states and, once, in Ireland. Later on Barb developed a small business selling wax dolls in period clothing, molded after two of her own children’s forms. Barb became well known as a wax figure artist, but she never chose to become famous. She remained humble with her talent and eventually took a job as a customs broker, working on her artwork privately. Once while I was an undergraduate in Buffalo, Barb took a one semester college course at my university. She aced it, of course, but she said she was glad she had not gone in that direction; it was too sterile and theoretical for her artistic sensibilities.

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So, was the Gatekeeper a blessing in disguise in Barbara’s case? Did she hear what she needed to hear in order to follow her destiny, or might she have found her way as well without the guidance counsellor’s rejection? I know that she has never forgotten that brief encounter.

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Let’s shift forward a bit. While in graduate school in Arizona for 14 years, I observed that every student approaching their MA thesis or PhD dissertation project at some point always faced their own Threshold Guardians! Key Advisor-faculty were often the gatekeepers involved. They might challenge the logic or the feasibility or the competence of the student for carrying out their study ambitions.  I myself heard from many would-be gatekeepers when I was desiring to do my dissertation research at Zuni Pueblo. “They will never talk to you; they don’t like White people.” “Why not do something easier, like study language dialects and ethnicity in Phoenix?” “How will you pay for the research?” “What is the value of Anthropology, anyway? (my father).”

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Because of my spiritual grounding and an intrinsically persistent nature, I did not allow these detractors or naysayers’ words to filter into my heart. I knew what I wanted to do, and I persisted relentlessly, ultimately succeeding with my research and having the time of my life in the process. I met several beautiful, lifelong friends at Zuni, and this rite of passage of ethnographic fieldwork opened many other doors and windows far into my future. In this case, then, I saw the threshold guardians as challengers that simply helped me to refine and to clarify my resolve. Yet I witnessed many a grad student through those years who turned away from completing their graduate studies altogether after having been steered away from their goals.

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Gatekeepers and Guardians of a Threshold serve vital functions in relation to your own sense of purpose, inner direction, and goals. Your reaction or response to the gatekeepers is what matters, for it can allow you to weigh how deeply you actually value or are committed to your goals.  Once you know inwardly what you truly are here to DO, no power in the Universe can deter you. Which reminds me of a Hermann Hesse line, from his Siddhartha:

“Nothing can deter Jivatma (Soul) from Its goal.”

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So, set your sails, and Go! Let no one control your Destiny, but Yourself—in tandem with your inner spiritual Guidance and the Strengths of your Archetype Allies!

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I welcome your comments and your stories!

 

So, What Is YOUR Logline?

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If you read Sunday’s post you may have already been practicing the art of crafting fictional throughlines or loglines.  I would love to be a fly on the wall to see what some of you may have come up with! (Do feel free to share! You can write one or two now if you haven’t yet.)

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What have you learned about throughlines from writing some? A throughline is like a skein of thread you unwind that leads directly through the center of a tale from beginning to end, with nothing wasted. Or it is the story itself, as it were, stripped bare to the main character’s quest, challenge, strategy, and mission achieved (or if a tragedy, not).

Yet here is the real question I want to set before you to be pondering this week: What is YOUR Throughline; the Narrative Statement or central thread of your unique LIFE STORY?  ‘Is there one?’ you may query, and I would answer, ‘Yes, but of course there is!’

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Whether you have been following the weekly topics and applying the life mapping tools offered here for the last few months of this Life Paths for Better Endings blog or not, we have been gradually developing an approach that allows you to map out the Life Chapters of your Life Story narrative by identifying significant shaping events and Turning Points in your life history and giving chapter titles to the activity cycles in your life that have occurred between your pivotal Turning Points. (I invite you to review the past several weeks’ Sunday topic introductions and sidebar Life Mapping Tools if you would like to catch up with this process or to share it with your friends.)

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Last week I invited you to read across your series of Life Chapter titles and to compare your life script, as this reveals, with a parallel storyline you are familiar with, and then to reflect on the similarities. (EG How is your series of Life Chapter titles like the plotline of a favorite story you have always identified with?)

One simple way to arrive at your own Life Story logline or Narrative Statement is to collapse a parallel mythic storyline you can relate to with your own.  I recommend that you give yourself a favorite protagonist’s name and write your Life Story logline in the 3rd person, present tense.  Your Narrative Statement should be brief; perhaps one or no longer than two or three sentences at most.

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Here are some examples of Narrative Statements some life mappers I have coached have produced by using this sort of parallel mythic comparison:

J.D.       The hero, once freed, became more open-minded and saw things as they were. He was able to move forward and help others.  He went through rough times, having to choose between saving his girlfriend Trinity and helping the world. He did what he believed, not what he was told to do. He followed his heart. (Parallel myth = The Matrix)

Hope:  Hope begins her life with a thirst for “truth”.  She is Wanasai, “Seeker of Truth”.  Innocence is lost. Knowledge is gained.  Descent becomes opportunity to face and “slay” the dragons.  Seeking power and taking Death on as her ally, Hope walks with grace.  Healing Self – healing others. (Parallel Myth = A Native American Vision Quest)

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Does this practice of revealing to yourself a logline or throughline for your own Life Story offer some new insights for you? What, after all, is or has your life been about, up to Now? How might where you have arrived at in your storyline to Now relate to your life goals or to your own mythic Quest from here forward?

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I encourage you to place your personal narrative logline or Narrative Statement someplace where you will see it often. Refine it, represent it artistically; do anything to let yourself remember your logline even daily for awhile.  When basic life choices come along—these are like a writer’s editing choices, yes?—use your logline to help you make your next decision about where it is most helpful to place your attention or which direction to take or to walk away from; see?

If by chance you are not yet entirely satisfied with your throughline as it has manifested in your Life Story to Now, you are free to craft a new one that might lead you—like Theseus’s thread leading him from the Labyrinth in which he overcame the monstrous Minotaur—out of your own mental labyrinth and back to the Light of day; your day—a Day you may deeply wish to wake to! Let this new throughline define for you a pathway to your own Better Endings!

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Feel free to share!

Growing Up

Dear Readers and Visitors: You may find the  Comments in the right panel (“What people are saying”) and I absolutely welcome your input! Joshua shares about his own Vision Quest which led him to discover his purpose as a Teacher. Gail reveals how she and her husband are trying new things in a Nurturing manner. I hope you can all relate to how we express deep aspects of our Soul-Self (Jung called it Psyche or Soul) as we develop our various life potentials. What are some of your archetypal cast of characters that show up in what you love and are drawn to do and be? -L

PS: Since these posts will be up for a few days each,I will use prefaces like this to integrate your comments and insights! So check back between posts and always feel free to add to the running conversation!

GROWING UP

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When I was in High School, around 9th grade, I wanted to be a gym teacher, because I loved running the obstacle course that my school’s gym teacher created for us. Then in 10th grade, I wanted to be an English teacher and a Stage Director, because I loved the English classes and the reading material of my favorite teacher, Mr. Scelsa, and I served as his assistant for directing two memorable student plays.

Now that I understand Archetypes, I realize these high school ambitions were about wanting to express my inner Teacher as a primary aspect of Self, with Artist, Idealist, and Communicator character traits also desiring expression. One day in my senior year Mr. Scelsa talked with me between classes. He told me that if I would be gratified with the prospect of a student remembering 30 years later some line of poetry or some insight I had shared as their teacher, without even remembering where that thought had come from, then it would be appropriate for me to pursue becoming a Teacher. I have never forgotten that, and Teacher has been my primary Archetypal mode of manifestation of Self.

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The new approach to working with your archetypal traits that I will be introducing in Life Paths is based in part on what Jung would call “Situational Archetypes”. Some of the archetypal aspects of Self we all experience are associated with the ROLES we enact in our lives, and it is this subset of your dynamic archetypal influences that I will be acquainting you with as we go forward with this blogging process over the next six months and in Life Paths (my upcoming book and self-help Handbook kit). So, Teacher is one of my Primary Archetype Allies, and I have grown into its expression over the past 35 years. Understanding this helps me to appreciate the dynamics of being a Teacher so that over time and experience I have grown into being a role model—as Mr. Scelsa was for me—for some of my own students. But Teacher is only one of my Primary Archetypes; there are others, some of which I have yet to fully manifest and aim to develop further in the next Chapters of my life.

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Can you relate? What is the PRIMARY mode of Self-expression you manifest in your life? When you answer this week’s Life Mapping prompt of WHEN I GROW UP I WANT TO BE…, what sorts of ROLES are you wanting to more fully express as you aim to “Live Your Dream, Now”?

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Last Saturday on the heartfelt FINDINGMYINNERCOURAGE blog, author Dawn posted the following insights and picture about “Energy Flows”. It is a propos to our Life Paths topic this week of Planting a Vision Seed of Who you wish to Become:

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Posted by findingmyinnercourage in BLOGS

 

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 “Energy flows where intention goes.” – James Redfield

Have you ever thought about where your energy goes? Or where you’re putting most of your energy into? By focusing on all of what we wish to accomplish, all of our energy is directed towards enabling us to achieve our vision. Good intentions and attitudes will influence the positive to surpass the negative. The only thing it takes . . . happy thoughts!

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Don’t you just love Synchronicity? I do!

Please feel free to share YOUR stories and insights.

Realize Your Goals!

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Connecting with this week’s Better Endings focus on joblessness or underemployment, our Life Mapping tool for this week can be used to envision a pathway to manifest a desired goal. As you engage with this GOAL-CLUSTER mind-mapping activity, I invite you to approach it with a childlike perspective, allowing “playful” ideas to emerge from your unconscious sandbox.

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Using the template shown above, you can start by placing either a word, a phrase, or an image icon that represents a meaningful, desired goal (with perhaps a photo of yourself, smiling!) into the center of a page, with an X that segments the page into 4 quadrants around this GOAL-center.

Next, starting with the top/RESULTS quadrant, you can use free association to place words or phrases that represent what you will gain or how you will benefit  with your goal ACHIEVED. Where these benefits or positive outcomes are meaningfully interconnected for you, you can draw lines or off-shooting branches showing these connections.

Next you can start filling in any of the other three quadrant sections, again using playful free association to ‘draw connections’ between ideas either within a quadrant or migrating across them.

For example, let’s say your goal is to take a trip to visit Ireland. RESULTS might include: “touching base with my heritage”; “expanding my horizons”; or “slowing down for awhile/ getting away”. Then branching off from one of these you might add, “gold at the end of the rainbow”, and off from that: “retire there?” [okay, now I am getting my own ideas; I love Ireland!].  Now under OBSTACLES, maybe you would write: “Money?” That may lead you to the RESOURCES space, where you can brainstorm how you might afford the trip; if so, you can connect this resource to the obstacle statement. Envisioning Resources might lead you also to think of some very real Solutions, see?

After filling in this GOAL-cluster mind-map so that you feel you have fleshed out all four quadrants with meaningful and helpful ideas,   I invite you to go back and circle or use color to highlight those specific Resources and Solutions that can help you to actualize the RESULTS you desire to create in your life. You can also start a new page, placing any of the specific Results or Resources or Solutions (or Obstacles) you generated with the GOAL cluster into the center, and explore that aspect with its own, freestyle cluster mind-map.

Approaching this technique as a playful game will facilitate emergence of a mindful awareness that can stimulate “out of the box” solutions.  Remember from Denise’s Guest Blog two weeks ago: “There IS NO BOX!”