Thank You for the Lessons 2018 – I Am Ready 2019

I am very mindful today that a little more than 48 hours remain in 2018. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is one of reflection on the year past…and anticipation and planning for the year ahead. I’ve done both.

I’ll do a year end review on Monday, and welcome 2019 the next day.

Tonight I’m filled with gratitude for all that I’ve learned, for the lessons 2018 offered that helped me to grow and go beyond.

Thank You for the Lessons 2018 - I Am Ready 2019

Challenges are Opportunities

I used to be such a worrier. Anxiety burdened me, creating health issues and robbing me of joy. Gradually I learned to let go of my tendency to fret about a past that was unchangeable and a future I had no control over.

What freedom and lightness of spirit came into my life with letting go. And how my perspectives shifted. Now I am not willing to expend energy rehashing the past nor will I rob myself of present joys by wasting time creating untrue stories about possible outcomes. I learn from the past and let the future unfold, moment by moment.

From that frame of reference, I see challenges as opportunities to grow, to learn, to open up or to let go. It’s not that I don’t have challenges. I do, just like everyone else. What I have learned to do is respond differently. When I feel frustration or the pull back toward worrying, I bring myself back to the present with a word…Adsum…open up my chest and heart chakra…and let go.

I recall this quote…

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” Pema Chodron

…and welcome the challenge as the opportunity that it is. I don’t want to keep repeating a lesson until I get it. I’d rather “get it”, and move on, go beyond.

Thank You for the Lessons 2018 - I Am Ready 2019

Lessons from 2018

This year presented wonderful joys and unique challenges to grow me into the person who will step confidently into 2019.

In random order, I’ve learned…

• To trust deeply, in ways I could not even imagine a couple of years ago. So much is beyond my control. All I can do is respond from a place of trust and faith.

• My intuitive abilities truly are gifts. I don’t have to “do” anything with them or resist using them or hide them away. They are simply part of who I am…nothing more, nothing less.

• People can be disappointing. Not everyone thinks or believes or behaves as I do. My place isn’t to judge them or condone them. I can only offer from who I am, stay open and live as my highest self. Some will walk with me and some will walk away. Either choice is okay.

• At age 60 I can dwell in health and vitality.

• At age 60 I can learn new things. Technology, which is constantly evolving, can be a very challenging arena for me. I’ve pushed myself this year to keep evolving with it. Even when it feels as if my head will explode, I’ve discovered I can adapt, learn new ways of doing things, and grow.

• It’s not necessarily a bad thing, when events don’t go the way I want them to. In fact, when I let go and stay open, better things show up.

• Ongoing conversations with the Divine are my most important form of guidance.

• The desires of my heart provide important clues about who I am made to be.

• Placing expectations on others creates burdens too heavy to be borne. Living in freedom allows me to extend the same grace to others.

• No detail of my life is insignificant to the Divine.

• Life’s mysteries are intended to inspire and delight me, not confound and confuse me.

Thank You For The Lessons 2018 - I Am Ready 2019

I Am Ready 2019

This year has shaped me into the person who now stands on the threshold of a big new adventure in a fresh year. I love knowing that I am not weighed down with unresolved issues nor am I toting baggage into 2019.

There are no regrets. I am grateful for the gifts 2018 offered to me, including the challenges. One of the greatest blessings is knowing that all that happened this year had purpose. All had a part in preparing me for what comes next. I’m being called to step up into being who I am intended to be, at a very high level. There is a trickle of fear…and great anticipation.

2019…I am ready.

Thank You For The Lessons 2018 - I Am Ready 2019

Drawn to the Light

Light is an important theme for me, during the month of December. During this season of the year, the days are short and the nights are long. Pushing back the darkness is accomplished in my home with strings of white lights and almost 100 candles.

Beyond those beacons of light, I am aware of being light to others. I’m conscious of sending out a beam of my own, that can light the way along life’s path.

Having spent a great deal of quality time with my grandchildren this month, I am acutely aware that I am also drawn. I am drawn to the light that their shining hearts and souls broadcast out into the world.

Drawn to the Light

Christmas Shopping

In the past 10 days, I’ve enjoyed spending time with my four grandsons and one granddaughter.

I take each grandchild out to dinner and Christmas shopping for their immediate family members. We practice this custom for their birthdays too although the emphasis shifts for Christmas.

Rather than spending money on themselves, like they do on their birthdays, the children spend money on others. I love watching them reason out what to buy, for whom. Their excitement after they’ve bought and wrapped their selections shines forth from bright faces and sparkling eyes.

Beacons of Light

These outings with the kids give us precious one on one time, when I can focus all my attention on one child. We talk and laugh. I encourage the kids to make decisions that are in alignment with what they want to do and who they are.

I like to think I’m showing them what living in joy and compassion looks and feels like. In reality, they are showing me what freedom looks and feels like, the freedom to express genuine delight in life. They remind me how important it is to play and to be creative.

I am drawn to the light of truth in them, to the ways they are learning to be who they are.

Drawn to the Light

Light of Truth

In the past weeks I’ve appreciated watching the kids shine.

One grandson is expanding his horizons as he continually takes the next right step for his life. He has a specific destination in mind and he inspires me with his unwavering determination to get where he wants to go. I love his fierce and inclusive heart.

Another grandson is mindful of his circle of friends. When I took him Christmas shopping he bought gifts for them as well. He did so not because he expected anything in return but because he wanted to surprise them and encourage them. I love his expansive and generous heart.

Grandson number three is showing first born tendencies by shouldering responsibilities and working to discover his strengths. He’s the child who cleans up and picks up before his mom gets home from work, cares for the pets, and checks in with his siblings to see if they’ve done their chores. I love his reliable and tender heart.

My youngest grandson teeters between childhood and the teen years. I’ve watched him grow in compassion and in the desire to succeed at whatever he does. His birthday happens to fall in December so we’ve enjoyed two Yaya and grandchild outings this month. He used $20 of his birthday money to buy canned goods for people who need help during the holidays. I love his entrepreneurial and compassionate heart.

My granddaughter is becoming her own unique person. She embraces the truth of who she is with courage and steely conviction…and a great sense of humor. Already she’s found her voice and she uses it to tell her story. Kindness is important to her, both receiving it and expressing it. I love her brave and creative heart.

Drawn to the Light

Drawn to the Light

During dinner tonight, Oliver and I discussed the winter solstice that occurs this Friday. We looked up what time sunset would occur…5:04 PM.

On that shortest day and longest night of the year, I’ll click on Christmas lights and light candles throughout the house. I’ll send Light out into the world, along with peace, hope and quiet joy.

In honor of my grandchildren I’ll light a candle for each of them and ask the Divine to bless them and guide them and surround them with the white light of love and protection.

And I’ll express deep gratitude for them. I am drawn to the light that shines brightly from Dayan, Jonathan, Joey, Oliver and Aubrey. May I reflect those brilliant beams out into the world.

Drawn to the Light

Love is All Around Actually

One of my favorite Christmas movies is the relationship film, Love, Actually. I watch it at least once every year. The movie follows various stories interwoven among characters that are connected in a variety of ways. Some enjoy family relationships while others explore fresh romantic encounters and still others deal with loss.

One of the stories involves an aging singer who attempts a “Christmas miracle” comeback. His song, Love is All Around, climbs in popularity as he promotes it in humorous ways. The song is the heartbeat of film.

What I discovered today, in ordinary circumstances and one humorous moment, is that love is all around, actually.

Love is All Around Actually

Eyes to See

This is a simple post tonight, about a simple truth. I see what I expect to see. If I’m anticipating problems or disappointments, that’s what I’ll encounter throughout my day. And if I expect beauty or joy, that’s what flows into my life, to validate my beliefs.

It’s not that I’m never surprised or taken back or dismayed by the actions of another or a great wrong in the world. However, my belief system dictates how I respond, overall. And when my heart is full, and desiring to see good, good is what I encounter most.

This is one of those basic but profound truths that perplexes us, when we have not yet seen the connection between our thoughts and reality.

Love is All Around Actually

Love is All Around

I looked for the good today. It was important for me to see love expressed in expansive yet concrete ways. And looking for it, I find it.

• It’s there in Greg’s actions, as he takes off work to care for his family.

• Quiet love is present in a beautifully serene setting in northwest Arkansas. And it is expressed by servers in a fun restaurant who make sure I am presented with a vegan meal.

• Staff and teachers at a school demonstrate high levels of love and care to one of my grandchildren.

• I have the opportunity to give love to and receive love from all five of my grandkids today. How precious is the love of a child.

• Love flows mingled with music tonight, at a grandson’s winter band concert. My heart is touched by a young man with special needs who performs with the eighth grade band. His love for music is evident. And his band mates and director love him, creating a place for him among them and in their hearts.

• Love is all around, actually…present in conversations, snuggles, smiles, actions, attitudes and hugs…present in large and small ways.

Love is All Around Actually

Love is Everywhere I Go

I thought of the lyrics to the song from Love, Actually throughout the day. These lines especially played in my head:

I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes.

The love that’s all around me. And so the feeling grows.

It’s written on the wind. It’s everywhere I go.

So if you really love me, Come on and let it show.

Come on and let it show became my invitation throughout the busy day. Show up it did. This evening my heart spills over with love and gratitude…and mirth.

This afternoon love even showed up in an amusing way. In a public restroom, I happened to glance down at the floor. In such places it’s very common to see trash on the floor or bits of toilet paper torn off the roll and dropped.

The tile floor in this restroom was fairly clean. However, a lone piece of toilet paper lay on the floor and it caught my eye. Examining it further, I smiled, and sent out a ripple of gratitude.

That bit of torn paper resembled a heart.

I see what I expect to see. Look for love and I find it, in myriad ways. Love is all around, actually. It’s everywhere I go. Everywhere.

Love is All Around Actually

The Richest Place on Earth

The richest place on earth is not a bank vault or a gold mine or a collector’s stash of priceless art. I found it today, in an unexpected place.

When Greg and I needed to make a trip south into Arkansas, we seized the opportunity to return to Joplin on country roads. There was a reason we headed into the “boonies”. I wanted to stop at an old cemetery, and walk among the gravestones.

Some people are creeped out by cemeteries. They are, after all, the final resting place for the bodies of loved ones. Their souls are free however and not attached to these places. I find cemeteries fascinating, full of information and stories.

Myles Munroe shares a great perspective about graveyards. He wrote:

“The graveyard is the richest place on the surface of the earth because there you will see the books that were not published, ideas that were not harnessed, songs that were not sung and drama pieces that were never acted.”

The Richest Place on Earth

Concord Cemetery

I’ve been working on my family tree this past year, alternating back and forth between my paternal and maternal lines. Greg has been doing the same. I have the advantage of ancestors buried in cemeteries within 90 minutes of Joplin.

We altered our trip home slightly this afternoon so that I could visit Concord Cemetery in Barry County. This isolated spot is deep in the country, located on top of a hill surrounded by woods. I visited Concord in 1994 with an aunt, or I would never have known about this remote cemetery. Greg and I returned to this small graveyard the next year with two of our kids. On the way home we were involved in a serious car accident that altered my life.

Thankfully I have at last healed from the injuries and chronic pain that the accident caused. However, perhaps because of the negative association with the accident, I never returned to Concord Cemetery, until today.

It appears as it did in 1995…beautiful and lonely, with a restless wind that makes the surrounding trees sway and sigh. Sounds and movements beneath the trees draw my eyes repeatedly but I never see anyone or anything there.

The Richest Place on Earth

Finding Ancestors

My knowledge about my family has broadened since my last trip to Concord. I remembered where my family members are buried, however I wanted to search for gravestones with other surnames connected to my paternal lines. We decided to walk the entire cemetery, row by row.

With temperatures in the 50s and late afternoon sunshine slanting through the trees, walk it we did.

As it turned out, all my ancestors lay grouped together in the oldest part of the cemetery. It was interesting, however, to walk among the stones, reading names and birth/death dates. I remembered the quote about life being lived in the dash between those two dates. So many stories, celebrations, challenges and sorrows represented by a small horizontal line. Rather than feeling sad or morbid about that symbolic – , it made me thoughtful.

I found my people…Lauderdales, Antles and Joneses. In this old resting place I have great-great and great-great-great grandparents. Standing before their tombstones I recall fragments of their stories and long to know more. What brought them to Barry and McDonald Counties in Missouri? Why did they say “Here we will build our lives”? Did their spirits sense my presence and my questions, drawing them to surround me?

The Richest Place on Earth

Fulfilled Lives

We had time to stop by a second family cemetery near the tiny town of Rocky Comfort, in McDonald County. There we walked about a third of this larger graveyard. I quickly located my Lauderdale grandparents, Aunt Roxie, Aunt Glenda and cousin Jeffrey. My dad’s baby sister is buried near her parents. Little Margaret‘s tombstone reminded me that although her life was brief, it had a lasting impact on my father’s family.

Using information from my genealogy research, I located Hills, Kirks, Johnsons and Stipps. These are connected to my family lines. I know the Montgomery branch has a place on my tree as well. I’m still researching that line, which originated from Scotland.

As the shadows grew longer and the wind colder, we slowly moved back to the car. I thought about the words of Myles Munroe. Did any of my ancestors die with their songs still within them? Did they have ideas that they never developed? Dreams that did not materialize?

Beyond the richness of the cemetery, the land of unrealized potential, came a chorus of voices borne on the wind. Hundreds joined my family members, encouraging me onward.

“Enjoy it all. Seize this day…and the next one…and the next one. Don’t fritter life away, caught in regrets or should haves. Go for it.”

What a great cloud of witnesses. And what a powerful reminder to live life, that dash, to the fullest. This is the richest place on earth, indeed. My family, I will be back, to learn more.

The Richest Place on Earth

Rock Star? Oh Yeah!

Forgive me for a very brief post tonight, as this day ticks down to its final minutes. It’s been a very full day. And this is blog post number two tonight.

Due to the lateness of the hour, I scrubbed my original idea in favor of getting to bed an hour and a half earlier. As I finished a post for Journey With Healthy Me, I sent up the equivalent of an SOS to the Divine.

“Another idea, please?”

God, El-le to me, is exceedingly kind and gracious. Another idea was given.

Rock Star Oh Yeah

Rock Star?

I flipped through my photos, looking for inspiration, asking for a short story to create and post. My original post can be fleshed out over the weekend.

I looked through photos on my phone because that’s where I save quotes, memes, recipes, ideas, and interesting tidbits. Why? Because I never know when I might need inspirational motivation.

I found something that grabbed my attention, made me smile and then stirred my heart. El-le said “Ta da…there you go Dear Heart. From me to you.”

From Notes from the Universe:

Two of the most important questions, Cindy, for an aspiring Rock Star are:

1. How big do you want to be?

2. What are you now doing about it?

“Rock Star” being metaphoric for “travel around the world exploring and writing.” I just didn’t want to immediately flip you out.

See you at the stadium.

Rock Star Oh Yeah

Oh Yeah!

I needed that smile and the warm glow that encircled my heart, as I read those words.

They were beautifully presented, timing wise. I almost quit reading at the words “Rock Star”. Music is part of my life but I’m not rock star material.

Or am I?

I’m glad I kept reading. The metaphoric part, the “travel around the world exploring and writing” part, undid me. Oh yeah. Oh please.

How big do I want to be? Big. As in, I want to live a big life, not on a stage but in terms of embracing this magical life with gusto, grace and gratitude…and the freedom to move about.

What am I now doing about it? I’m taking baby steps, learning new technology, writing my heart out, listening to the Divine. The steps may seem small but they are consistently in the direction I want to go. Those baby steps are growing me in big ways and bringing me the results I seek.

Travel around the world, exploring and writing.

Yes. That’s it. I’ll gladly rock it! Listen for my music…

Rock Star Oh Yeah

Cherish Your Visions

I’m inspired by a Napoleon Hill Quote today:

Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul and the blueprints of your ultimate achievements.

Presented here are a few quick thoughts about Hill’s words.

Cherish Your Visions

Cherish Your Visions and Dreams

Cherish suggests that we hold dear and valuable our visions for the future and our dreams. Visions are pictures we see with more than our eyes. They are created by our hearts and souls, a big picture painted in broad strokes that captures the essence of who we are and what we are here to do.

Cherish also means to protect and care for. That’s how important visions and dreams are, for they are fragile things when they are first created. They must be nourished and tended to, played with and carried. Doted on in this way, they will grow.

Cherish Your Visions

They Are Children of the Soul

In fact, it is so crucial to nurture visions and dreams that Hill calls them the “children of the soul”. As a mother I understand and connect with that comparison.

Children are birthed into the world, precious and new. And yet, even while tiny, they are full of the potential they will grow into. Cherishing and protecting those children enables them to grow until they flourish on their own.

Visions and dreams are the same. We birth them from our deepest desires. They begin as a small spark of creativity or imagination and with attention and care they grow, expand and take on life of their own.

Is there anything more exciting than a dream that begins to take on shape and depth and looks you squarely in the eyes?

Cherish Your Visions

Blueprints of Achievements

A blueprint is a plan, a map, that helps to bring creativity into reality and imagination into matter. It’s a form of guidance and yet it is adaptable and evolves or shifts as details come together.

My “blueprints” consists of journal pages full of writing, vision boards, sticky notes on a white board, and mile markers that note when I’ve reached an important destination on the journey toward my dreams.

As 2018 makes way for 2019, I’ll spend time nurturing my dreams, broadening my visions and examining my blueprints in all their various forms. I’ll be sharing more about the process and about the dreams as well.

Cast a vision and cherish it. Birth a dream and feed it so that it grows. Join me in making next year a time for manifesting those visions and dreams!

Cherish Your Visions

What Area of Your Life Causes Discomfort?

I receive Notes from the Universe daily. Created by Mike Dooley, these brief emails remind me that I’m not journeying through life alone. I’m surrounded by companions, here and in Spirit. And I have Divine guidance that appears in many forms.

The Note this morning caused reflection.

Think of the one area of life that brings you the most discomfort, Cindy, and know that’s where you are ripe for growth.

What Area in Your Life Causes Discomfort

What Area of Life Causes Discomfort?

I had to think about this note throughout the day. My journey the last ten years has focused on moving Beyond…past fears, comfort zones and limiting beliefs. Parts that were not me have been pruned away so that my true self can flourish and shine.

The area of my life that can still cause me discomfort, albeit relatively minor discomfort now, is speaking up, speaking out, using my voice and being authoritative when I need to be. I’ve practiced avoidance most of my life, due to a strong dislike of confrontation. While it seemed easier to remain silent, the lack of voice created problems.

What Area of Your Life Causes Discomfort

Use My Voice

In August of this year I explored this area of my life. Unblocking my throat chakra has strengthened my voice tremendously and helped me to speak up rather than remain silent. Read that post Ahem, I Speak My Truth.

My reflections today allowed me to see that my next steps in totally eliminating discomfort are about owning my voice, my ideas, and my authority.

It seems the Divine is ahead of me here, calling me onward. What symbol have I been given for 2019? The Queen chess piece. The queen, whether she is a chess piece or a flesh and blood woman, is powerful. She has great freedom to go where she will and do good or defend or protect. And living breathing queens use their voices.

I’m excited about next year’s journey, as the Queen of Enchantment. I am ripe for growth indeed, in all areas of my life, especially where it concerns speaking up and using my voice. Even the word “enchant” has to do with speaking or singing. It’s all coming together!

I ask you. What area of your life causes you discomfort? Are you ready to grow?

What Area of Your Life Causes Discomfort

Connect With People Who Remind You Who You Are

This morning a quote I saved five years ago popped up in my memories on Facebook.

Connect with those who remind you who you are. Ralph Smart

The words felt like an important reminder, on several interconnected levels. I saved the quote by taking a photo of it.

What I didn’t realize is that the quote was a nudge in a particular direction, a path that began to unfold. They might even be classified as a command.

Connect With People Who Remind You Who You Are

Remember Who You Are

In most of my favorite stories, a key part of the main character’s journey is remembering who he or she is. Often there are struggles, challenges and disappointments that serve to awaken the hero or heroine of the story.

As he or she awakens, another vital character steps forward and asks, “Who are you?” Or a statement may be uttered instead. “Remember who you are.”

I love those transformational stories, where people become who they are created to be. I love even more that our journeys evolve in the same way. Something alarming or achingly beautiful awakens us. As we become fully awake, fully aware, we begin the ongoing journey of remembering who we are.

I’m awake. I’ve remembered who I am. My journey now is about living fully as me. I keep my little mascot Absolem on my writing table. He’s the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland, who asks me daily, “Who are you?” Absolem and the framed art piece next to his mushroom are wonderful visuals that remind me, daily, of who I am.

Connect With People Who Remind You Who You Are

Thomas Moore

I’ve been re-reading The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life by Thomas Moore. His charming book is providing a foundation for next year.

Greg is reading another Thomas Moore book, Ageless Soul. As we ate lunch Greg asked if he could read a portion of the book aloud to me. He added that the words reminded him of me.

I often travel to Ireland by myself now, and I know I’m looking for and experiencing something important and quite deep for me. When I’m there, I often just walk the streets of Dublin, taking in all the sights that by now are very familiar to me. I seem to be looking for lost parts of myself, and I wish I had even closer ties to Ireland. I wish my grandparents, instead of my great grandparents, had been born there so I could now be an Irish citizen. What is that wish, except some desire to be more closely connected to that important part of my identity? I’m looking for a past, perhaps a lost sense of myself, which seems essential. Thomas Moore

I so identify with Thomas’ words. The way he feels about Ireland and the city of Dublin is how I feel about Scotland, and Edinburgh. I too just want to walk the streets of my favorite city. I want to know Edinburgh at a deep and intimate level. Which is a way of saying I want to know myself in a deep and intimate way. Something essential about myself waits for me in Scotland. I’ll be back there next summer, to discover more about what it is.

Connect With People Who Remind You Who You Are

Connecting With Thomas Moore

I realized that the words Greg read and the quote I saved this morning are both pieces of a larger picture. Thomas Moore, through his books, reminds me who I am. He’s one of my “people”, that I want to stay connected to.

My thoughts from there took a big leap.

Every person…author, actor, speaker…that I’ve felt strongly about meeting, I’ve met. I put the intention out there, and in beautiful and often mysterious ways, the universe rearranges itself and the opportunity is offered. We meet. There are a few dear souls who are already gone from this world that I would love to chat with. I have to content myself with a soul connection that is known on a different plane.

However, Thomas Moore is alive and well and he is a kindred spirit. The nudges and soul taps today have raised my awareness about possibly connecting with this inspiring author, this man who reminds me who I am. The intention to connect…and it does not have to be a face to face meeting…is released now into the world and the universe. I let go of the outcome. Dream Giver…I give this desire to you.

Thomas Moore…let’s connect and talk about enchantment, Ireland and Scotland.

Connect With People Who Remind You Who You Are

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The Cost of a New Life

I’ve had a theme unfolding this past week, in the form of a common thread that ran through my thoughts, higher awareness, conversations and memes. The theme centers around a new life, and what the cost of one is.

The Cost of a New Life

How Much Does It Cost?

As this year winds down, I’ve had opportunity to take four of my five grandchildren shopping for their birthdays. Number five is in December. This annual tradition allows me to spend one on one time with each child. We have a meal together and then I hand over a specific amount of money, as a birthday gift.

The kids then decide whether they want to save the cash for a bigger purchase, or spend it at a favorite store. The money belongs to them, once I give it, and the choice is theirs on what they do with it.

As the children age, I notice a shift in their response to having cash. When they are very young, they quickly spend the birthday money on the latest hobby or passion. As they grow older, they begin to make more calculated decisions about how they will spend their gift cash. Older still, and I hear them ask about cost. And a bit beyond that, they weigh the cost of the item against the perceived joy or pleasure they will receive. At some point the question, “How much does it cost?” refers to much more than just the price of the desired object.

I notice these changes in my grandchildren with a mixture of fascination, understanding and sadness. They grow up so fast.

The Cost of a New Life

The Cost of a New Life

I had a Yaya/Grandchild birthday shopping trip last night. And I watched and listened as my granddaughter asked about cost and muttered several times, “It’s not worth it” as she put an item back on the shelf. She ultimately made wise purchases, spending about half of what I gave her and saving the rest. This was the first time, at age ten, that she didn’t spend all of her money.

Thinking about the cost of many things this morning, including the price paid for growing up, I noticed the above meme on Instagram.

“Your new life will cost you your old life.”

Lindsay Joy

Those words resonated with me and aligned with my recent reflections.

What does a new life, a fresh way of living, a ‘do over’ cost? What do I exchange, pay or give, to obtain it?

The price, the sacrifice, the cost…is the old life.

The Cost of a New Life

The Cost of Becoming a Butterfly

I immediately thought of the transformation of caterpillar to butterfly. The two are so different in physical appearance that one could think they were different species. The chubby squishy caterpillar with all the legs and the voracious appetite becomes the graceful, beautiful butterfly that flutters into the air on delicate wings.

The cost of becoming a butterfly, is the caterpillar. One ceases to exists as the other emerges. The caterpillar offers its energy and the willingness to change. The butterfly releases the cocoon of the past and doesn’t look back.

My external form has not transformed as radically, however I’ve transformed several times during my life. Most recently, I desired to change my health, and embrace a new lifestyle. The cost of that change? My old way of eating, my former relationship with food, and my beliefs about what causes disorders and disease.

Like my grandchildren on their birthday shopping excursions, I weighed the cost of that new life against the perceived returns and made choices that supported my decisions.

Was the cost, and the price I paid, worth it?

Oh yes! Like the butterfly emerging from its cocoon, I slipped off old habits and left them behind. And like the butterfly, there was struggle involved to break through the layers and layers I had spun around myself. The struggle for the butterfly and for me makes the experience real, and creates the strength to fly, to live, as a new creature.

There are many times during a lifetime that require such sacrifices. Starting afresh, becoming new, making another life all require paying the price with the old life…the old way of thinking, believing, speaking and acting. If the cost wasn’t so high, if I didn’t pay such a drastic price, it would be too easy to slide back into the old way of being.

And if I return to old behaviors, and limiting lifestyles, I know…I did not pay with the old life. I gave less than all.

Change isn’t easy. Transformation is scary. The process feels like death, and in many ways it is.

“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.”


It is not over. Beyond change….is new life.

The Cost of a New Life

Who You Choose to Be

I’ve been in a thoughtful, reflective mood today, after spending time in conversations with others about how our choices impact who we are. So I was not surprised when into my awareness the perfect words appeared, to build upon the thoughts I was entertaining.

Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, writes,

“Where you are is a result of who you were. But where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be, from this moment forward.”

Who You Choose to Be

Where You Are

The first sentence in that quote makes perfect sense. When we go for a walk, and pause to rest, we know that we got where we are, in that very moment, because of the choices we made as we walked. And our choices are influenced by who we are. Simple, right?

In every city that I visit in Europe, I walk. My companions and I get to know the sprawling city or the tiny village by exploring along the twisting, winding roads. In my opinion, it’s how you get to know the town and the people and culture.

At every intersection, through every plaza or courtyard, we make a decision. Go left? Right? Straight ahead? We often get lost. But that’s part of the journey. Wandering we discover beautiful churches or fun pubs or green parks or hauntingly beautiful statues and sculptures.

Standing and looking around, we try to recall how we arrived at our destination. It’s  always because of the choices we make as we walk.

Life’s journey works the same way, doesn’t it? We make this choice.  Choose this path. Decide to go this way. Every decision we make determines where we ultimately end up….lost….or enjoying the view….or arriving at the place we envisioned.

The wonderful news here is, it is the person we were when we set off on the journey, who determined where we ended up. The future path? It’s wide open and full of fresh opportunities and promises.

Who You Choose to Be

Where You Go

But where you go depends entirely on who you choose to be, from this moment on.

THAT sentence brings with it such freedom and such immense hope. No matter where I’ve been, and who I was, I get to decide who I am and where I am going, from this moment forward…this moment right now.

I’ve had pangs of regret, when I wished I had done something differently in my life. One crazy example? If only my teenage self  had invested babysitting money in Wal-Mart stock.

I can’t go back and change any of my earlier decisions in life. There is no way to go back and turn right….when I turned left. However, with the awareness I have informing the decisions I now make, I can go in any direction I choose.

Who I am right now determines where I go. That sounds so easy. So why do I let any of my past decisions, mistakes or triumphs, affect my present choices? My future is not created from my past. I can start fresh, every single day if I choose to.

It is all about choice. And being aware that our choices impact where we end up. Because of that truth, we can stop at any time on our journeys and say,

“I am not who I once was. Where I am going is different from where I came from. From this moment, from this point, my life goes in this new direction.”

And then we do it, because we choose to. And not choosing to…well that’s a choice too.

The outer journey truly is a reflection of the inner one. Who do you choose to be, right now? And dear heart, where are you going?

Who You Choose to Be