A Change in Direction
The Travel Life Calls...
There's something about having to face your humanness that is very defeating. Not that I thought I was superhuman, by any means, but... stronger perhaps than others my age? Or so I liked to tell myself. Turns out I am just as human as the other fifty somethings and now a bit more fragile.
Because of the broken ribs, I've had to get my fair share of xrays over the last couple months. They have revealed more than two broken ribs. I am not one that seeks out the medical professionals at all if I can help it, so I honestly had no idea what was happening underneath my skin and I liked it that way.
Now don't be upset with me if I don't lay out all the dirty secrets here at your feet, but it should be enough to say that the doctors have discovered I have advanced scoliosis and my neck is... uh... crumbling away. They flat out told me things were going to have to change. My body was breaking down faster than it should. They said they doubt I can go on doing the things I've been doing any more and I would have to start treating my body a bit more tenderly.
I took this information and internalized it. I cried for a bit. I followed the doctor's orders and was a good, well-behaved patient.
I tried to envision the kind of life that he said was in front of me.
And then I thought... if this is really it... if these are the parameters of my future, I'd rather be happy than waiting for something to happen. What would make me happy? Being with my children, was my first thought. Since it's not fair for my children to have their adult mother sit on their doorsteps and interfere with their lives and be under their feet all the time... I had to think what ELSE would make me happy? That's easy...
Traveling. Camping. Revisiting History.
With my children's blessing- because they don't want me under their feet either, I decided to make that option happen... not sure how, but I'm going after it.
Right at this juncture, without all the sappy backstory, I literally have nothing. No home, no camper, no job, what few items I do have are sitting in a storage shed in southern Missouri. I have a truck. An ornery black cat and my lap top. I'm not in a wheel chair yet, and have no intention of going down that road until there are no more options.
I must shift my thinking. I must find a way to get back out on the road again.
This is the longest way around to have to tell you that A Touch of Spice will not be coming out December 2. Even if I finished the last word today, it couldn't get published in time. It's a Christmas story... and I want to keep it a Christmas story, which means it won't be able to be released until NEXT December. (It really is going to be a cute story and worth the wait, I promise.)
I opened up the History Revisited Group on Facebook again which I re-named Ginger Life Travel and was honestly a bit overwhelmed with the graciousness and amount of support that was extended to me. I felt so loved.
I really have no plan, but the group gives me hope. And... permission. Permission to be happy so long as I agree that they can accompany me on the journey via FB. And, I really am sorry the book isn't coming out this year. (It's been a really hard year, okay?) But I believe in order to be able to hear God's whisper,
He had to take away all the distractions and people that were in the way of me hearing my instructions.
He may tell me that I can't travel for long, and I need to be okay with that.
Also... and I guess this would be the "good news" there's nothing like getting a diagnosis that says you may not live as long as you thought to get your fired up about what legacy you are leaving behind. I have a LOT of stories I want ... NEED to tell. I guess I'd better get on it.
It's true, we don't know how long we have, but when someone comes along and so rudely tells you that you're not going to live forever... it changes the way you think about things.
Suddenly you don't want to waste time on people who don't deserve you. You don't want to waste time doing things you don't love. You don't want to waste a single moment not making sure those you love, never doubt it for a second. And... you think about the mark you will leave on the world. What will people say about me after I'm gone? I'd better make sure I have a good turnout while I still have some time.
My change in direction is... I am NOT going to "take it easy" and wait for my body to disintegrate. I'm going to go out and chase life. Meet new people. Tell others what I see in my travels and what I learn along the way. And I'm going to write. Write. and Write and Write!
So I am sorry you may have to wait just a bit longer for the next book... but not THAT much longer, I promise.
What Do You Really Want?
It seems like a simple enough question. What do you want? I mean, what do you really want? Have you given yourself permission to even think about it?
I now live on an island. Everyday if I drive more that a few miles, I will inevitably go over a bridge. Looking over the edge of that bridge knowing that the ocean is just a bit away, fills me with joy. Seeing the sunshine bounce off those beautiful blue waves just... does something for me. Simple right? It was a need that I didn't know I had. This time last year, I had to ask myself that question. What do I want? What do I REALLY want? All I knew was that I was cold, and didn't like it. But I didn't know what it was, specifically, that I wanted that would make me happy.
And when you first ask it a whole bunch of "superficial" answers come up. I want cake. I want a million dollars. I want that new dress. I want to travel the world. I want, I want, I want... and then, if you keep at it, you dig a little deeper.
I want more time with my children. I want to sleep peacefully at night. I want to live in a warmer climate. I want to write and write and write... and yes, if you keep going, it gets deeper still. You start to realize those deeper needs; the important ones that get glossed over as we push through our daily routines.
It's hard to look in the mirror and realize that you are not where you want to be. But you can't change that, until you know what you want. So I offer this exercise up to you.
Take out a sheet of paper and write. I WANT...
Then, set a timer for three minutes and write. Write everything you want. Even if it seems outrageous. Even if it seems selfish. Even if it seems impossible. Write. Don't pick up your pen from the paper until the timer goes off. Don't worry about being descriptive or specific or spelling or what anyone else might think. This is for you. Write.
If you get stuck, answer these questions, but keep writing.
Where do you want your finances to be? Where do you want to be health-wise? Who do you want to be with? What items do you want? Where do you want to live? What do you want to own? How do you want to spend your day? What do you want to do to earn an income? How do you want to spend your down time?
Dig deeper. How do you want to give back? How do you want to continue to grow? How do you want to be remembered? How do you want to affect others in your life? How can you show love to others?
When you have finished, choose the top ten things that matter the most to you and re-write them on another clean sheet of paper. This time around, we are looking for balance. Find at least one thing in each category. Finances, relationships, recreation, health, career etc...
You can't find happiness if you don't know what it is. It's like trying to hit a target that you know is "out there" but you just can't see it. Bring it in to focus. Once your brain knows what it is looking for, it will switch gears to try and get it for you. (You have to take the steps to get there, of course...) But the brain will start thinking of ways to get you what you want.
I believe that our purpose here on earth is simple. We are here to give back. Whatever gains you have been blessed with, give some back. I'm not just talking about finances. Giving of your time, your knowledge, your resources, your love... give what you have and it will be returned to you ten-fold. I know this to be true for a fact.
And the other thing, how do you want to grow? I believe that if you get all the best "toys" and are living the biggest house, it will never be enough until you find balance. And part of finding balance is to make sure you're always growing. Learn new things, see new places, meet new people, strive to become a better you.
Okay... sorry, back to the exercise.
Take your ten things in your various categories and write a sentence or two about WHY you want these things. Unveil your heart. Again, this is only for you. Why do you want your top ten list? Your brain functions on reason more than want. So write down the reasons you put this on your top ten. (It would be helpful if you write down more than "just cause". -Can you tell I'm used to working with teenagers? Lol!)
Then, when do you want them. Write a time line for each of the ten items. (You might need to be a little more realistic on this one. If you want a million dollars, it might need a bit more time to show up than 24 hours!)
And then, read your list. Every day. Every night before you go to bed. Keep those things in your mind. And slowly check them off when they come into your life. (Then replace them with new things!) Trust that the future you want WILL come to pass.
Yes. Yes. A lot more goes into getting what you want other than making a list. But first thing before all else... you have to know what you want.
So, just for fun. Take a few moments and spend them on yourself and discover what it is that you want.
Some things you may realize that you already have in your life but have perhaps taken them for granted. This is the time to freshen up or take a new look at what's around you. Maybe you don't want things to change too much, but you just have to love (or find new ways to love) what/who you have a little more.
I knew I needed a different life, but I didn't know what. It wasn't until I saw that I really needed to do some major changing to clean out the toxicity in my life, that I could make those changes. And I did. I see the ocean (or at least arms of it) every day. It was one of those things I wanted. Really wanted. And I am happier for it.
I check my list everyday and am pleased to say that I cross things off and replace them with new items all the time. It works to corral your focus and really get what you want.
So let me ask you... What do you want?
(Did somebody say cake?)
The other day, I went out into my back yard and there, going up the step in the mix of some boring weeds, I saw the most brilliantly colored flower. Nothing has ever grown there before and I wondered what it was doing there now! It was so simple and beautiful and thought surely is was sent to grow there to give me a message.
So, I wondered what kind of message it could be? Let me give you some back-story... I feel closest to God when I am out amongst nature. I feel He is near me and I am more open to hearing his messages. The breeze suddenly feels like a caress. The birds sound like a choir. The colors seem so intense that I feel like I disappear. I don't feel this way every time I go outside, but I know that if I am troubled, that's where I meet Him. And he will comfort me. He will ease my pain. He will scold me. He will give me direction. Not that He whispers to me or anything... I've asked repeatedly for Him to send me a text message, but He must not like that option for me... Any-hoo.... So I feel this random flower was "sent" to tell me something.
Maybe, to look for the rose among the thorns? That would be the obvious choice. And sometimes I do need to be reminded of that. I can get pretty crabby some days and only see things that just irritate the tar out of me and only witness the annoying things about people, but sometimes, hidden underneath the perceived "annoying" there is something truly beautiful there just waiting to be noticed. It was there all along. I just needed an attitude adjustment to see it.
Or maybe, it was stop and smell the roses? Again with the roses? The point being that sometimes I get so busy and forget to notice the small things that make me happy. The little things that remind me why I work so hard. A sunset. The smile from one of my kids or grandkids. An ice-cream sandwich. I am pretty busy... I do work a lot and forget to watch the sun set...
How about, God has it under control? He took the time to create this beautiful, perfectly made flower and bring it to my attention. He's got the whole world in His hands. My troubles are nothing compared to his power and compassion. No problem is too big or too small to take to Him.
But no... none (or all) of those. Because as I was working all day, the next chance I got to go outside and check on my pretty little surprise, it was gone. Orange petals had fallen to the concrete and the center hung low. My conclusion was that the lesson must be: Nothing is promised. You don't know how long you have to appreciate the things and the people around you. Your world could change in an instant.
Yes, that must be it. The flower was here, and when I thought I could appreciate it another day, it was gone. So I pass this lesson on to you. Love those around you. Never let them doubt for one minute that they are important to you. Stop and smell the roses. Enjoy the sunsets. Kiss the babies. Take nothing for granted. The very breath you breathe is not promised. Make sure you use every one as if it was your last. Let no words of ill-will be said to those you love. Always be the best person you can be from one minute to the next. Life is short. Too short.
Forgive. Be thankful. Be kind. Show love. You don't know what you've got till it's gone. Don't live a life of regret. Live every day to the fullest. And even if your day consists of having to go to work, or another day of boring mundane activities, do your best to find the joy in every day. There's a reason you are, where you are doing what you're doing. So when you go to bed at night, before you drift off to sleep, take a moment to be thankful for all the good things in your life. :)
What is success? Is there just one answer? If you get if wrong are you doomed to failure for the rest of your days? I think not.
With the beginning of a new year people tend to reflect on their life. Where are they going? Where have they been? What's worked and what hasn't. What happens next. I think we all strive for success, some more than others. But in the end, we want to look back on our lives and say ,"Yes, I was successful".
The common answer for "What is success?" is usually equated to making money. Lots of money. Ridiculous amounts of money. Success equals riches. But hopefully after reading today's article, I hope you will view things a little differently.
So what is success? I'm going to tell you. And I think you might be surprised by my answer.
Success Is Perception. You're idea of success and someone else's idea of success could be completely different. When you look at other people's lives and are perhaps unimpressed with what they have achieved you may be shocked to find that they are gleefully happy with the abundance of success they've had. Something as regular as cooking a meal for a large number of people comes as second nature to a person that comes from a large family or works in a restaurant, but could have been a major challenge for the new bride that is taking on Christmas dinner for her new in-laws and her own family. If she doesn't serve the turkey raw or the potatoes lumpy and keeps the tiered cake on top of each other, that... is success.
Success Is Personal. Success can only be found by pursuing your own dreams, not by following the dreams others force on you. Meaning, you and only you can decide what success means to you. I met a man once who became a doctor. His father was a doctor, his brother was a doctor his grandfather was a doctor, even his daughter was studying to be a doctor. He had his own practice, the nice home, the nice car and all the other cushy stuff that comes along with it. By anyone else's standards, he was a success. But by his own, his was living his father's dream for him. He wanted to work on cars. Rebuild cars. It wasn't until he gave up his practice to "retire" and built a garage in his backyard and started to rebuild his first car, that he considered himself a success. His path to "success" was a long time coming.
"Success is when you've reached a personal goal."
- Katherynn Bourgeret-Caldwell
Your vision of success is completely your own. You may achieve the exact same thing as someone else and not feel anything, because it wasn't what your idea of success was. You're idea of success may be as simple as a balanced checkbook, filling up your day planner with activities or owing a Lexus. Whatever you have in your mind that is success, will have a greater impact on you than fulfilling someone else's goal list. (Which is why they say if you don't have a goal for yourself, you'll be helping someone else reach their goal!)
Success Is Satisfaction. There is no point in being rich if you can't enjoy it. I'm sure you've heard of the people who've "made it". They reached that such-n -such dollar amount and are considered successful, but they are so busy working that they can't even enjoy their success! If making more money is going to be your idea of success then absolutely, go for it! but I can't help but feel that you're are more likely to enjoy the "rich" part if you enjoy the getting there part. Do what you love and you will be "rich". Know when it's enough. Don't lose your happiness for the sake of your success.
"Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get."
- Dale Carnegie
"Success is measured by your happiness and not the material things you have in your life."
Success Is Happiness. The truth is, we have little successes everyday. As we lay our head on our pillows at night, if we were only to take a moment and reflect on the things that happened that day, I wouldn't be at all surprised if we found many, many successes that we just forgot to celebrate. If you are pushing and pushing toward a goal and it has lost it's happiness factor, perhaps it isn't for you. Even if it's something mundane and unexciting as eliminating debt, it should still bring you some joy. It might mean that you have to work extra hours, (not fun) or cut back on your spending (also not fun) but if you don't feel a sense of accomplishment watching that big overwhelming number get smaller and smaller, then it's not bringing you happiness. And you should perhaps find another way to reach that goal.
If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, your large goals are made up of smaller, achievable, daily goals. Learn to recognize the daily successes you reach and be happy. It's not worth it in the long run if it steals your happiness.
"Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you'll be successful."
Success Is Sharing. Success can be learned. We are not all born knowing that we can have all the things we want if we just go after them. Some have been trained that you get what you get and that's all there is. That makes me so sad. There are hundreds upon hundreds of examples out there of people who came from nothing and have made something of themselves. They became successful. They could go to sleep at night knowing they did what they needed to do to feel successful.
Success is Action, Determination, Passion... success is all those things but it is also learned.
One of the best ways to enjoy your success is to share it with others. Don't keep it all to yourself. Teach, help others to rise up from where they are and be the person they want to be. When you help others get to where they want to go, the universe gives back to you. And while that may sound like mumbo-jumbo, I promise you that it is fact.
Be grateful for your successes. And make sure the people around you, the ones that helped you get there know how much they mean to you. Give. Share. Teach. Show gratitude.
"Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success is how you treat other people. Your family, friends, co-workers and even strangers you meet along the way."
Success Is A Continuous Journey. Success should never be considered a one way street. It's more than one street. It takes alleys and intersections, mountains and valleys. It goes up and it goes down. It is never-ending. One success will lead to another. You're constantly building and growing and learning. And when you reach your life goals... make new ones. Keep doing the things that work. Cut out the things that don't. Nothing stays the same. Be flexible and always hunger for more. If you reach your life's goal and then quit, watch and see how fast everything will unravel! You have to stay in the game. Keep moving. Keep growing. Keep setting new goals.
"Success is not final: failure is not final; it is the courage to continue that counts."
Success Is Balance. To me, this is the meaning of success. You can have it all, and you should strive for that.
Money - Happiness - Family & Friends - Security - Health - Peace of Mind - Hope
You need all these things to be balanced and feel successful. Take even one off the list and you are thrown off-balance.
If you have all the money you could ever want, but you have lost your family in the process, that is not success.
If you have the biggest mansion on the street but have worked yourself to near death, and you are alone, that is not success.
If you stole the money to get that need met, you would have it, but you would no longer have peace of mind. You'd always be looking over your shoulder, wondering when you'll be caught. That is not success.
You have reached your goal but have lost everything else in the process and finally you lose hope. That is not success.
We all know examples of the above stories. The news and celebrity magazines are covered with them.
Balance is the key to success. You need happiness, health, enough money to not have to worry, security, friends and family, when you lay your head down at night you have peace of mind and hope. You need a little bit of all these things to find true success.
Not everyone's list will be prioritized in the same way, but every one of these needs should be met for a balanced, successful life.
If you are struggling to make ends meet, then I can see how finances would be top of the list, but don't sacrifice the other items to secure more money. There is nothing wrong with wanting money. There is nothing wrong with wanting lots of money. The problem comes when that's your only focus, and it will cost you in the long run.
Your list will change in its order, but if you find happiness in each of these, you will be truly successful indeed.
"What money can't buy...
Money will buy you a house, but it won't buy a home,
Money will buy you a companion or followers but it won't buy you a friend,
Money will buy you a bed, but it won't buy you a good night's sleep,
Money will buy you a good time, but it won't buy you peace of mind."
Coming soon, I'll discuss the critical success factors to help you reach every goal on your list!! Be sure to stay tuned and check back often!
Follow Your Dreams
My daughter gave me a necklace for Christmas. It’s a pretty, simple, elegant silver ring with the words Follow Your Dreams etched into it. I love it. My girl knows her momma. Knows that I’ve been itching for more, but too afraid to go after the things that I really want. Always coming up with excuses or finding what seemed to be legitimate reasons for why I couldn’t do certain things. I would let the wrong people influence me so I would catch myself giving up or procrastinating. This thoughtful gift gave me permission to go find the “more” I am so desperately needing. So, more than the esthetics, I’ve decided to take the advice of the jewelry and my girl. 2014 will bring on a different set of resolutions for me. Instead of following my usual routine that helps me get through the year, I’m going to focus on things that I think are going to make me happy.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to dive off the deep end, but this year I’m going to add goals that specifically will get me closer to my dreams. If the goal doesn’t get me closer to where I eventually want to be, then it gets put off lower down the list.
Which leaves me to decide what my real dreams are and create a break-down list of things I need to do to get me there.
The dreams, they have to be realistic. They can be big, fantastic even, but they must be reachable. Most of my “dreams” have been put on my long-term goal list. Meaning something that I could eventually reach, but I’m not in any real hurry to get there. And every once in a while, I’d work on them. But this year, I’m switching things up. I’ve decided to pull a couple of my smaller dreams, ones that could actually be reached in twelve months, and bring them into focus. They are the ones I’m going after this year.
The break down. My usual goals, which have become habitual, like setting money away for savings, or paying down debt, simplifying life, those are still in place. Every year, I try to add new goals to always help me continue to grow and become the Elizabeth 2.0 version. This year will be no different, just more focused.
You can do it too. We can compare notes!
What are your dreams? Are there a couple that could be reached in a year if you concentrate specifically on them? What do you need to learn to get you closer? Are there any books, courses or college you need that will benefit you? Do you need to start setting aside money for your dream to come true? How much? How much can you afford to set aside each week? What time adjustments to do you have to make to work on these goals? Do you have a support team in place? If not, who could you ask to encourage you? Who could you call on to help you? Think of people that could mentor you, support you, teach you, fuel you. Can you handle the naysayers that ARE going to come at you? Create your timeline of how long and when things need to be implemented on your plan. Break things down to where they are comfortable and reachable for you. If you try to take to big of bites, you’re more likely to get intimidated and give up. (Trust me on this...) Plus, the smaller completions, the more you have to celebrate! And you’ll look forward to the little successes almost as much as the big one.
It’s a new year. Time to wipe the slate clean and make 2014 the year you want. Make it the year that when you look back on it from 2015, you’ll be proud. And you’ll have grown as a person and your self-confidence has gotten bigger: stronger making your future options better and better.
I’m excited at the possibilities of 2014. I am excited to seem my dreams come a little closer. I’m excited to hear what you are doing to make your dreams come true.
It’s 2014, y’all. Follow your dreams!!
What are your priorities?
What moves you to work a little harder? What motivates you to reach your goals? What is on that priority list that you keep in your head? Do those items move your forward? Or work as a reward for you? Or keep you in defeating habits?
Traveling, is a priority to me. It seems to me that I am most productive when I am traveling. I'm not sure why that is... Maybe its the lack of a set schedule, or the relaxed state of mind that I fall into when I am allowed to leave my daily grind. Or maybe it's just the change of scenery that shakes things up a bit.
When I am driving, out on the long highways of America, a couple things happen. First, I am so filled with a patriotic pride that I live in a country where I am allowed to freely move through state after state just because I want to. And let's not forget the beauty that each state has to offer as I pass through their small towns and big cities and miles and miles of untouched land. I get to meet and talk with people from all walks of life and all matters of culture, and food! Don't even get me started on the variety of foods there are to try!
And second, those hours spent in the car, my mind is free and has no boundaries. I come up with my best ideas, story-lines and future plans behind the wheel of my SUV.
Being able to travel is a high priority for me. Even when my budget is tight, I have to make an allowance that will let me travel. Usually to an ocean destination. The ocean feeds me, makes me feel strong and yet very small at the same time. It literally washes away my tension and no matter how many times I see it, I stand in awe.
When I am allowed to travel, I write more (which is important for an author!). I am inspired. I feel sense of worth and can clearly see the goals for my future. I also know that these circumstances are limited, so I try and make the most while I am away. A little work, a little sight seeing, a little cultural experience and a little relax time. It's a balance that has taken me years to perfect!
I also travel because the winter does bad things to me! I absolutely hate to be cold and am not a big fan of snow. But for the moment, I must stay where I am residentially, so I use travel to help break up the long dark winters.
And finally, traveling keeps me moving forward. Literally. It works in a circle. I am more motivated to reach my goals, to create more speaking events, to make more money, to be able to travel. And now being asked to travel AS my job? Well, that's just about perfect! I am so thankful that my world is opening up to create those opportunities!
Keeping those priorities in front of me!! Keeping me on the road and traveling...
So keep an eye out for me in your town in the near future. I am going to be offering a whole new series of seminars and speaking topics!! I am so excited about what my future has in store for me and I am excited to share it with you! I'm looking forward to meeting you and visiting your home towns. So, if you live in a warm climate I could show up any time! But if you live in the colder climates, I'll be around to visit in the summers!
Big things happening at elizabethbourgeret.com! Stay tuned so you don't miss a thing!