What If Making Your Dreams Come True Doesn’t Make You Happier?

By Lisa Selow

hemingwayquoteThe sales woman was kind to me, asking me if I needed help. I was taking my time, which has become a normal thing for me as I heal myself of chronic fatigue syndrome. Rushing around just isn’t an option any more.

She looked down at the dark bluish bruise on my right arm, blurting out, “Oh my gosh! How’d you get that bruise?”

I smiled as she apologized for asking a personal question.

I said, “It’s okay. I don’t mind sharing. I’ve been getting some intravenous nutrients the past two months. We couldn’t get the needle in my right arm last week, so I’m a bit bruised. I asked if we could try another vein and it didn’t work. Luckily, we found a vein in my left arm.”

I explained about my turning to integrative medicine again to heal chronic fatigue since it had worked for me in the late 1990s during my first bout of the illness. It turned out that the sales woman had a family member with similar challenges.

Really, there’s no coincidences. So, it made sense why I had shared so personally with a complete stranger. Maybe some of my journey could help her loved one, I reasoned.

The sales woman was curious about how I ended up getting sick. I didn’t want to keep her from doing her job, so I told her I’d give her the short version. I said I made a dream come true of getting my book published and I worked myself to the max for two years. I explained how I neglected my own self-care at times and how I became emotionally upset to the point of making myself ill.

We ended up having a deep conversation about the price we think we need to pay to make our dreams a reality. We both decided that maybe it could be fun or even easy next time around.

I smiled as I walked out of the store. Even though most days the past year I’ve been faced with two or three symptoms each day of varying degrees such as insomnia, digestive challenges, fatigue, soreness, migraines, and mild depression, I have hope. I know that I’ve healed myself before.

I’ve been doing my best to see this recent health challenge as a gift. I figure there’s some things I’m learning. I’ve been able to return to my passions and hobbies, self-care, and learning how to relax again. My inner teacher knows there’s lessons that I can pass along to (hopefully) help others. Some of these lessons have revealed themselves to me. I share the main ones learned so far here with you:

  1. Sometimes, making your dreams come true doesn’t make you happier. As someone who’s creative, sensitive, and a perfectionist, I push myself really hard. I’m hard on myself to do well and please others, along with my intention to be of service to others on the planet. Talk about pressure! I’ve learned that it’s so important to enjoy the process, not just the result. In hindsight, I see that I would have been much less stressed had I just enjoyed the simple pleasures of writing and marketing my book, instead of worrying about making it all perfect. The cost was not only my health, but my inner peace. I’m working on reclaiming both.
  2. If you help even one person, you’ve done your part. Yes, our human side really wants to touch as many lives as possible. If you’re an artist, healer, writer, musician, or scientist, you might be hoping to reach thousands, if not millions of people. You want to make the world a better place. This shows up for some as working to get as many media placements as possible to spread the message. This can be tiring and even distracting from your purpose of actually helping people. I’ve revised my vision to be helping a small corner of the world, the people or tribe I’m meant to help that I can help the most. It might be only hundreds of people and this is okay. If I kill myself overworking and striving in the process, I won’t be around to fulfill my mission
  3. I’ve learned that it’s not about me. Giving birth to a project or book can feel like such a personal thing. The thing is that we’re all an aspect of the universe. The universe needs us to do its work. We’re just willing channels for healing, writing, music, art, ideas, and inspiration. It doesn’t really belong to us personally. It belongs to everyone. Once we release the work into the world, it will take on its own shape and do what it’s meant to do. We might not have control over the process at all. If you’re working for the higher good of all, things will feel natural. If you’re working for your own ego’s gratification, it might not ever feel like enough. You’ll push yourself to achieve, do more, and be more. It becomes about the numbers, not helping people. I myself took on others’ definitions of success for a short time, which is not like me as one who is prone to questioning societal definitions and norms. I’m learning to be okay with how my definition of success is much different from corporate America’s and some in society. My definition includes life balance, happiness, and inner peace. These are more important to me than media placements, my book sales, my social media numbers, or becoming famous.
  4. I’ve learned that it’s so important to remember who you are when you’re working so hard on a goal or project. If you don’t know and honor your values (what’s important to you in life), you’ll get sidetracked. It is all too easy to be pulled in a million directions, but a bit more challenging to stay true to yourself. I myself noticed the areas I wasn’t being authentic and I’m taking small steps to correct this in my personal life and in my business. I’m already feeling happier.

What about you? Have you ever worked hard to make a dream come true and then, felt disappointed? Have you ever sacrificed your true self to work on a goal? How did it make you feel? I’d love to hear about your experiences. By sharing, I think it helps others to not feel so alone. We’re in this journey together.

Only a Flashlight

How do you see reality?

By Anita Moorjani

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Although I try to share my near-death experience, there are no words that can come close to describing its depth and the amount of knowledge that came flooding through. So the best way to express it is through the use of metaphors and analogies. Hopefully, they capture a part of the essence of what I’m trying to convey at least in some small way.

Imagine, if you will, a huge, dark warehouse. You live there with only one flashlight to see by. Everything you know about what’s contained within this enormous space is what you’ve seen by the beam of one small flashlight. Whenever you want to look for something, you may or may not find it, but that doesn’t mean the thing doesn’t exist. It’s there, but you just haven’t shone your light on it. And even when you do, the object you see may be difficult to make out. You may get a fairly clear idea of it, but often you’re left wondering. You can only see what your light is focused on, and only identify that which you already know.

That is what physical life is like. We’re only aware of what we focus our senses on at any given time, and we can only understand what is already familiar.

Next, imagine that one day, someone flicks on a switch. There for the first time, in a sudden burst of brilliance and sound and color, you can see the entire warehouse, and it’s nothing like anything you’d ever imagined. Lights are blinking, flashing, glowing, and shooting sparks of red, yellow, blue, and green. You see colors you don’t recognize, ones you’ve never seen before. Music floods the room with fantastic, kaleidoscopic, surround-sound melodies you’ve never heard before.

Neon signs pulse and boogie in rainbow strobes of cherry, lemon, vermillion, grape, lavender, and gold. Electric toys run on tracks up, down, and around shelves stacked with indescribable colored boxes, packages, papers, pencils, paints, inks, cans of food, packages of multihued candies, bottles of effervescent sodas, chocolates of every possible variety, champagne, and wines from every corner of the world. Skyrockets suddenly explode in starbursts, setting off sparkling flowers, cascades of cold fire, whistling embers, and animations of light.

The vastness, complexity, depth, and breadth of everything going on around you is almost overwhelming. You can’t see all the way to the end of the space, and you know there’s more to it than what you can take in from this torrent that’s tantalizing your senses and emotions. But you do get a strong feeling that you’re actually part of something alive, infinite, and altogether fantastic, that you are part of a large and unfolding tapestry that goes beyond sight and sound.

You understand that what you used to think was your reality was, in fact, hardly a speck within the vast wonder that surrounds you. You can see how all the various parts are interrelated, how they all play off each other, how everything fits. You notice just how many different things there are in the warehouse that you’d never seen, never even dreamed of existing in such splendor and glory of color, sound, and texture—but here they are, along with everything you already knew. And even the objects you were aware of have an entirely new context so that they, too, seem completely new and strangely superreal.

Even when the switch goes back off, nothing can take away your understanding and clarity, the wonder and beauty, or the fabulous aliveness of the experience. Nothing can ever cancel your knowledge of all that exists in the warehouse. You’re now far more aware of what’s there, how to access it, and what’s possible than you ever were with your little flashlight. And you’re left with a sense of awe over everything you experienced in those blindingly lucid moments. Life has taken on a different meaning, and your new experiences moving forward are created from this awareness.

Woman, You are a Goddess!

woman-you-are-goddessBy April Dawn Ricchuito, D.D. & MSW

When I was a little girl, I loved school. I loved learning and reading and was fond of history, art, & humanities. It was only natural that I loved mythology- a beautiful blend of history, art, and storytelling. I knew all of the gods and goddesses by name and I knew their stories inside and out. They were friends that lived in the magical lands between the pages of books and I visited them often.

As I grew older and subsequently more serious, I had less time for fantasy and make believe. More time was devoted to scholarly studies and secular pursuits like finding a job once I finished grad school. Then the focus became working a 9 to 5 to pay the bills so I could keep going to work. My friends- the gods & goddesses- and I grew apart. But like any good friendship, when I found them again, time was of no consequence.

In our society, we have a neurotic need to categorize and label everything. We also have a tendency to think of everything as “separate” or think of ourselves as unique and “different”. The stories of the gods and goddesses are then dismissed as fantasy and make believe. We may find ourselves hard pressed to find any value in silly stories about make-believe people from our childhood- but that doesn’t mean the value isn’t there. It just means that we might not immediately recognize or understand the intrinsic value of make-believe.

We also tend to label anything before our highly technological time as “primitive”; certainly we associate the word “ancient” with being primitive. When we hear the stories of ancient civilizations, who no longer exist today, it’s all too tempting to dismiss them, thinking there’s absolutely nothing we can learn from an ancient culture with primitive ways- but we are far from accurate in this assessment. Although the times and technology have changed, the human psyche- our souls- have not. We love, we laugh, we cry; the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians did these same things. They were just like us. In fact, we are them.

While we may find their beliefs to be incomprehensible in today’s times, we should realize that the ancient civilizations understood their gods and goddesses to be archetypes- energies to be embodied; traits to be cultivated.

The world of mythology provides us an opportunity to actively explore the human psyche- indeed, some of the dramas would put even our raunchiest modern day reality TV shows to shame. In our masculine culture, the feminine energies are often overlooked and underappreciated. We learn about very few “strong women” in our Western history books. The accomplishments of most strong women come second to their sexual histories- it is the latter which is most often discussed. Marilyn Monroe, Queen Cleopatra, & Mary Magdalen are three great examples- society may not know a lot about all the great things they did, but it is common knowledge “who” they did!

The goddesses are more than just stories. They are chances for us to stand in our sacred feminine energy and embody the divinity that we are. They are not supermodels that bear no resemblance to the “average real woman”; they are role models. They are strong, powerful women who are mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends who live, laugh, love and cry- and just like our flesh & blood girlfriends, we can learn from them. We are them. Woman, you are a goddess!

My Vision For A Spring Party!

my-vision-spring-partyA very important process that I share in my book “The Beauty Blueprint” and my coaching circles is to create a vision board. Over the past few months I have had a couple vision board parties that were a huge success!

If you are asking, what is a vision board…let me back up for a minute. A vision board is a corkboard or poster board or anything to post your dreams to, to help the manifesting process of making them come true. What better way could there be to concentrate the power of making something come to be is there than actually seeing it?

So how do we get our vision board party started? That’s the fun part. Invite some friends over, put out some snacks…and drinks to help the dreaming come easier… have each person bring or you can provide poster boards, scissors, tape..and lots of magazines to find the images or words that appeal to you—

Be sure to have your guests bring pictures of people, quotes, or personal letters that inspire them.

I like to cut out positive words from advertisements, such as powerful, truth, and beautiful. If you like uplifting quotes, O Magazine is a great resource.

While you do this, try not to concentrate on material things. Rather, focus on your dreams and on living your best life; your job, family, relationships, hobbies, whatever it is, be specific about how you would want your life to look like the people or places that inspire you.

In the center of my board is my personal mission statement you might choose a picture, quote, or a verse that really resonates with you. The important thing to remember is that there is no wrong or right way to create a board…or two! I have three in my home and feel that it is a fun thing to do every few months. You will also find that all your dreams and aspirations will come true after posting them on your board…so updating is crucial.

Doing this by yourself can be a blast, but doing it with your friends can be even more fun and a great way to support each other in making your best lives a reality. It’s really fun to see what your friends are dreaming about…

Here are some thoughts on how to do that with some fun pics and video from my last vision blowout.

After working in the beauty industry as a make up artist and stylist for celebrities, I can tell you- first hand- that the women who sat in my chair did not look nearly the same as they did once they had an army of stylists, lighting experts, photographers, and then computer experts create their on camera look.

With so many girls comparing their looks to those of the models and actresses they see on TV, in the movies, or magazines, it is important that they understand that what they see is not reality. What we do need to see is the beauty inside of us all. While working to help my own daughters develop a positive outlook on their beauty inside and out, I encourage them to focus on all of their unique qualities. They are uniquely beautiful and it is important for them to take pride in their kind nature, compassion for others, their gifts, and talents. These are just of a few of the things that make them truly beautiful.

I am posting this video to show our girls what goes on behind the scenes to make models and on camera personalities achieve the looks that for 99% of us is unobtainable.

Hats off to the Dove campaign for their continued effort to help real women and young girls love who they are for their own unique beauty!