Running

 

 

You know the song “Da Doo Ron Ron“? I always remembered it as being “Da Do Run Run.”

Inaccurate as a reference, but interesting as a motivational tool: Action inspires forward motion.

Do.

Then run and run.

🙂

 

Photo, “The Runner,” by Hamed Saber

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on August 8, 2008 at 5:20 pm  Comments (7)  
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Building a Castle of Dreams on a Strong Foundation

 

 

On a recent Sunday, I went for a walk on the beach with my family. We were happy to discover that a local artist–who is famous for his sand castles–had left yet another beautiful creation by the pier. He outdid himself with this one–towers decorated with hearts rose from a colorful mountaintop base. Careful details fired the imagination, making me think of the realm of possibilities in life, and the magic of believing in a dream.

Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, the incoming tide was starting to fill the moat. With each new wave, the water crept closer to the castle. Several children had taken on the noble task of saving the castle from the onslaught. They worked tirelessly to build walls of sand around the moat, in a futile effort to block the waves. They were trying to stop the force of the sea–which was pretty close to being impossible. A few adults shared wisdom with them, advising them to shore up the base of the castle itself, to strengthen it so that it would survive the tide–in part, if not intact.

I watched the scene play out for at least an hour, while thoughts drifted through my mind. How that castle resembled my own aspirations–beautiful, colorful, a joy to behold. And how very much the sea resembled the harder circumstances in life–powerful, destructive, and often unstoppable.

And I knew that, sometimes, I resemble a person who is standing on a beach with a bucket, a shovel, and a vision.

 

When ideas, opportunity, and resources all come together at the same time, it’s tempting to fire into a venture with the first rush of excitement. Taking the tools at hand, we begin building our dreams into reality. Enthusiasm is indeed necessary for success; but we need to make sure we take a look at the whole picture before we begin. We need to look at the long-term–what might come down the road? What will happen when the tide shifts in our field? Will we be able to move with the tide, or will we be overwhelmed? What can we do to prevent against the destruction of all that we have worked for?

In the case of a castle sculpture, that might mean creating it on a movable surface and blending a fixative in with the sand so that it will dry securely and hold together. Instead of having a fleeting existence, a castle like that could be displayed for many years.

So what’s the equivalent with our castle of dreams? What base will make it adaptable to change? What can we put into it at the start to insure its strength in the future?

When we answer as many of those questions as we can at the beginning, we prepare wisely, building a solid foundation for our dream that will be able to withstand the test of time and struggle. And in doing so, we create something that can remain beautiful for generations to come.

 

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© 2008 Christine Taylor

Published in: on July 11, 2008 at 4:54 pm  Comments (4)  
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God Answered

 

 

I was writing at Starbucks for the day. The internet wasn’t free, so I decided not to go online—I thought I would probably get more work done that way. I planned to write blog posts; but I soon found that neither my flash drive nor my laptop contained the drafts I intended to finish. My drafts are backed up in email, but I didn’t think it was worth the time or effort to log on. So, instead, I organized some story files, then decided to go through the blog drafts I did have.

I opened the first file in a series of three that I had jotted down, but never developed—a “Goal Quest” series. I didn’t feel particularly qualified to guide others on their goal quests today, but I opened it anyway.

I was facing a short paragraph that confronted me with an unexpected challenge:

“Get away by yourself to a quiet place, and take a good look at your life. What is your purpose? What do you want to accomplish? Write down everything that comes to mind, and study the list. What is important to you? What do you want to do?”

I had written the words weeks ago, but I never expected myself to be the audience. Shocked, I took in my surroundings. Cool and sunny, peaceful if not silent. Quiet. I had nothing else to work on, so I started writing down the answers to my questions. I finished with this:

~~I want to live independently and freely

~~I want to drive my own transportation; go where I want whenever I want

~~I want to write and create freely in a peaceful, relaxing environment

~~I want to live the most I can live, without limitations of worry, health, or fear

~~I want to be free to be myself

I saved the document, looked out the window for a minute, and wondered—How? I felt the vague notion that I needed action steps for my goals. I thought perhaps taking action steps would prepare me for the time when the goals become reality. So I opened a new note and began typing the first goal that came to mind:

Goal: Buy/Lease a mini SUV

Action steps: Practice driving

I stopped there. It felt aimless. Preparing is good, but how do I achieve what I’m preparing for? Feeling a sense of the ludicrousness of the situation, I opened up the second document in my Goal Quest series. Maybe I had some pointers for myself, I thought.

The first thing on the page was James 1:6-7:

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord.”

A beautiful tune began playing in Starbucks then–I could only half-hear it. I caught the words, “Got in her car…”

I looked out window again, watching all the mini SUVs fly past. Two young women, one pushing a stroller, appeared to my right, walking along the sidewalk in front of me. I thought of the future, of having a family. Facing all these goals I had just written, the goals I wanted so much, I reflected that my lack of faith is what’s crippling me. I can’t see how to achieve what I desire most. I feel like I’ll be stuck here forever. I panicked at the helplessness.

I turned to the Lord on a cry of my heart: “How??”

My eyes fell on the young woman who was now at my left. She was pulling her sweatshirt jacket over her shoulders, and suddenly I saw the words printed across the back in big, bold letters:

DO WORK

“Oh, God,” I whispered as tears stung into my eyes. “Oh, God.” I’ve been hearing the word “work” for months, in answer to my pleas. I know the work I need to do, and I’ve been trying to do it. But I still feel frozen by fear and doubt…doubt that it will accomplish anything. Doubt that I can accomplish anything.

I let the feeling soak in–the feeling of hearing God speak. And then my ears caught a few more words from the quiet song in the background:

“You’ll never be alone, no matter what. You’re going to be okay.”

I cried all the more. It’s the answer to all my prayers. The key I need to unlock the future I desire so much. I will work, and God will make magic out of it. Somehow, for the first time, the realization sank in. I believed it.

The future is now.

I left Starbucks, and walked back into my busy life with a new, soul-stirring sense of peace and security. God will make it work.

Pop picked me up, and as he turned the ignition, the car radio came to life in the middle of an advertisement for the new “Chronicles of Narnia” movie, which debuts this weekend. I heard Liam Neeson’s rich voice–as the character of Aslan the Lion, who represents Christ–ask:

“Are you prepared for the wonder that awaits you?”

Yes, Lord. Yes.

 

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Have Confidence in You!

 



Soaring by StacyJMT, originally uploaded by StacyJMT.

 

In The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews’ character sang a rousing pep-talk to herself in an effort to boost her self-confidence. We can do the same. Taking a cue from the lyrics to “I Have Confidence,” we can follow the character’s example and build our sense of self-worth—proving to ourselves that we are capable of achieving more than we think we can.

“I must dream of the things I am seeking”

How you see yourself goes a long way toward influencing what you become. Imagine the person you want to be—play it over and over in your mind, like a movie. If you have a hard time visualizing, try writing down the qualities you desire. Start each item with “I am…” not “I want to be…” Tell yourself you are, and you will become that.

“And while I show them I’ll show me!”

Action gives birth to confidence. Are you afraid to do something on your goal list? Then do it. The knowledge that you faced your fear will encourage you—and you’ll discover that you can achieve your dreams. That sense of accomplishment will make your confidence soar.

“With each step I am more certain”

The more you realize your progress, the more confident you will feel. Track your progress—have good pictures taken of yourself, and look at them daily. If possible, put examples of your work, thoughts, or projects online, such as in a blog, photo hosting account, or group forum. Seeing your work onscreen and receiving positive feedback from others will do wonders for your sense of self-worth.

When someone gives you encouragement, print it out or write it down, and look at it often. Drive it into your mind that you are good, you are worthy, and you can do whatever you set your mind on.

Think that sounds conceited? It’s not—it’s edification, and it’s essential. You would do it for others—give yourself the same kindness.

“Besides what you see I have confidence in me!”

Look the part. Invest in a good hair cut. Buy clothing, accessories, or cosmetics that make you feel good. Don’t think you can afford it? The truth is, you can’t afford not to spend money on your image. Work it into your budget, if you need to, but do not scrimp in this department.

Spending money on your image is as viable an investment as putting it into office supplies or business cards. If a $40 trip to the stylist makes you feel like a million bucks, that’s a good return on your investment.

“Wake up! It’s healthy!”

A fast way towards feeling confident is to exercise regularly—not only is it good for you, strenuous exercise also causes your body to manufacture endorphins, chemicals which actually produce a pleasurable sense of well-being. According to Wikipedia, they’re released during exercise, excitement—and orgasm. Think that will get you to exercise?

“I have confidence in confidence alone!”

A wise adage urges us to act as if we have already received what we want, even before we receive it. If you act confident, you’ll feel confident.

Stand up straight, put your shoulders back, keep your chin up. That alone gives a sense of stability. Speak firmly. Breathe. Relax. Think of all the steps you have taken to boost your confidence, remember the progress you have already made, and take the next step forward. You can do it.

I have confidence in you.

 

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Fear of Success

 



Window perspective, Photoshopped, originally uploaded by ergozoom.

 

I had a dream the other night. In my dream, I was in a busy atmosphere, in a creative location. I don’t know what place it was, but I remember feeling confident, and guiding others in a group project. I had a clear sense of what I needed to do.

At one point in the dream, my task led me to a winding staircase. I began climbing the stairs, without thinking twice—I just knew it was what I was supposed to do. Still feeling that sense of quiet confidence, I continued upward, higher and higher.

The higher I went, the narrower the stairwell became; until suddenly, I rounded a curve and found myself facing a wall. To my horror, the wall began closing in on me. In my dream, I realized that this was due to the machinations of the place—like the gears in a clock tower, the area was supposed to move and change. But now it was going to crush me, and because I was up so high and the stairwell was so narrow, I couldn’t move to escape! Panicked thoughts raced through my brain. I had felt so sure I was on the right path—was I wrong? Had I made a mistake? Would it be the end of me?

Just when I was certain it was all over for me, the wall stopped moving. It took me a moment to realize that I was safe. When I looked at the wall, I realized that it wasn’t as close as I had thought it was. Yes, I was in a tight spot—I could barely move. But something told me the wall was supposed to move, and it wasn’t going to crush me.

I awoke and went about my day. The image of the tight staircase and moving wall was so vivid that it clung to my thoughts, and bothered me. But soon the image clicked, and I realized something.

The Face of Success

There are times when we know what we are doing, feel confident in our abilities, and are certain we’re on the right path. Things go smoothly—for a time. Then suddenly we find ourselves higher than we’ve ever dared to go before, in a place that moves and changes unexpectedly. And the walls begin to close in on us.

The name of the place, I think, is Success.

Fear of failure is a well-known obstacle… but fear of success is equally debilitating. We can spend a great deal of time climbing toward success, preparing for it, dreaming of what it will be like; but when the reality actually arrives, it overwhelms us. We feel as if we have reached a stopping place where the world is closing in, and there is no way either to escape or keep moving upward.

At this point, we need to take a good look at where we are, and recognize the place for what it really is. It’s bigger and stranger than we had ever imagined it could be…and it demands more of our talents, strengths, and abilities than we feel we possess.

But that’s not a reason to give up.

Staring at the massive wall of Success, realizing it will not destroy us, we have two choices: Continue forward, or slide back down the way we came. After working so long and hard to get where we are, is giving up even an option?

Face the fearsomeness of Success, and realize that it will challenge you. But you can conquer it and move forward.

How?

Don’t ask me. I’m still at the top of the stairs facing a wall. But I know it’s not going to crush me…and I’ve started to look around to see what I can do next.

Because I’m not backing down.

Dreams are sweetest when they come true.

 

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Ego Tripping

 

 

So I bought some new shoes the other day.

I love to shop, but sometimes buying eludes me. I’m notorious for being indecisive in the area of my wardrobe. I often wind making unwise purchases in a last-minute rush as the store closes. That means I’ll be back shopping again soon, after I realize the outfit I put together is really pathetic.

Even when I can make a decision, there has to be a catch. Like the last time I went shopping for shoes. Big decision–shoe shopping is the bane of my wardrobe-building existence. One of my feet is half a size smaller than the other, so one shoe of the two is always going to be either cramped or loose. For this reason, I’ll put off purchasing new shoes until even I am ashamed of the old ones.

What a coincidence, at the very time I made my decision, the department store was offering shoes for sale. I couldn’t in good conscience put off the necessity any longer. I broke down and began looking.

So there I was, trying on shoes. Boots, to be precise. Since I needed footgear anyway, I decided I wanted a pair of stylish boots, with a good-sized heel. However, despite my resolution, my notorious shopping reputation was with me that day. When the afternoon drew to a close and I was still walking around the department store in stocking feet, I began to think it wasn’t in my destiny to own shoes that looked good and were comfortable at the same time.

Then, suddenly, I laid eyes on them. Brown leather ankle boots, with a nice tall heel. I tugged them onto my feet, wondering to myself if this was the day that would actually find me making a successful shoe purchase. Ah ha, no such luck. The boots looked great. Problem was, one foot was uncomfortable. Yes, I know, no surprise, right? But I mean, this was really uncomfortable. It was like…all bunchy. I walked around in those boots for half an hour, while I looked for my other options. But there weren’t any.

Then I heard the familiar call–“Ten minutes to closing.” Driven yet again to making an adrenaline-inspired purchase, I decided to take the boots, telling myself what one usually tells oneself when buying shoes: “They never feel right in the store, anyway.” “I’ll try them at home with different socks.” “They’ll conform to my foot…eventually.”

Newly confident in my self-delusion, I removed the boots and headed to the checkout. It was only when I was standing in line that I happened to look down inside the boot I was holding. I reached my hand down into the footwear and pulled out a clear plastic form, which hugged the entire inside area of the boot and extended up the ankle. It was meant to keep the boot’s shape for display. I’d been walking around the store with that thing in my shoe for half an hour.

I put the boot back on, right then and there, WITHOUT the plastic form.

You know, those are some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned.

My ego, however, still hurts.