Choose to Live

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At a recent writer’s retreat I attended, I was sharing my published books with another new writer friend. An author has to be able to say what his or her book is about in under 30 seconds, one or two sentences at the most. My keynote for my first book is “10 – A Story of Love, Life, and Loss, is an inspiring cancer story. It may uplift and encourage you to live your best life.” I often say “It’s an inspiring memoir/cancer journey/love story.”

Then, my friend asked me a simple question, one I had never been asked before so succinctly.

“So, how do you continue to live a quality life when you’ve been given a terminal diagnosis with no hope of a cure?”

Her succinct question demanded a succinct answer. She wanted to know in a few sentences how my husband and I did it.

I answered her this way, in list form: change your focus to ‘living’ rather than ‘dying,’ live in the moment, live with gratitude, and focus on your abilities, not your losses.

  1. Focus on ‘living’ every day, rather than ‘dying.’ You try to fill your day with as many life-fulfilling activities and people as you can, and you focus on those positive messages and feelings, rather than negative people, circumstances and thoughts.
  2. Live in the moment, with mindfulness, tapping into all your senses. Taste that juicy apple, smell that scented rose, look up at the sky and the clouds floating by, feel the softness of your child’s cheek, listen to the sounds of nature all around you. Often, the simplest things are the most meaningful.
  3. Live with gratitude. Say thank you. When you awake, be grateful for another day given, and when you go to sleep, say thank you for all you received.
  4. Focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t do. In spite of impending losses, you still are capable of many things. Use your time to enjoy doing those things you can still do.

“10 – A Story of Love, Life, and Loss’ is a story of struggle, pain and loss, but at the heart of it, it is a story of love, hope, and strength. It is a story that may help others who have been given a life-debilitating diagnosis, as well as helping their caretakers and loved ones who journey with them.

My book can be purchased at The Bookshelf, Guelph; BookLore, Orangeville; Hannelore Headely Old & Fine Books, St. Catharines and Tamara’s Esthetics & Reflexology, Guelph. It can also be purchased directly from me by messaging me. Buy it online at amazon.ca.

 

A Path to Creativity

Creativity

Back in the mid 90’s I was teaching a Gr. 1 class at a small country school. One of my student’s parents offered to write our Christmas play and so began a new friendship based on our mutual enjoyment of writing. Jane introduced me to a book called The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by the author Julia Cameron.

It was a book on the link between creativity and spirituality and included a 12 week program of basic principles and activities that rekindled one’s latent creativity and helped one to overcome problems such as self-esteem, self-criticism, jealousy, guilt and other factors such as worry over time, money or support, all blocks to our creative energies. Cameron believed that we all are creative beings, that there is not one non-creative person alive. She also believed that the universe is naturally creative and creative expression is the natural direction of life. This resonated so deeply within me as, decades before, in my university years in the early ‘70’s I had studied fine arts, modern dance and drama and experienced a new-found confidence in my own creativity abilities. I, too, believed vehemently that we all are creative beings.

During the ‘80’s, my child bearing years, my life had become very busy with family obligations and yet, during this time, I did manage to work professionally with a dance company in Toronto and returned to university in 1988 to earn a Bachelor of Education. Working full-time, raising a family and working through a difficult marriage didn’t leave much time for dance activities any longer. In the early 90’s my husband and I separated and a new life began. I was longing for a new outlet for my creative energies.

Cameron’s book provided me with that. For 12 weeks, I worked through her book, chapter by chapter, every day writing what she called “morning papers.” Each day I sat down with three blank sheets of paper and in a stream-of-consciousness format, I filled those pages. She said to fill them up from beginning to end, even if all I could write was “I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write.” She said, if you kept writing, pretty soon something of value was going to come out on that page. I wrote a lot of garbage back then but there were also many true gems of wisdom. I found by writing this way, it released my creative energies and I often found my soul revealed on the page, answering problems that I had fretted over for weeks.

She also told you to take an “artist date” once a week. It could be anything: go visit a fabric store, walk along a quiet river, visit a museum or go watch a parade. You were allowed to do anything at all that helped to rejuvenate, replenish or inspire you. It was to be done solo, was to be fun and festive and was to be filled with play. She said that we work so hard at being artists that we need to give back to ourselves and find the play in our creative process once again.

At the end of the 12 weeks of exploration, Cameron challenged you to set a creative focus for yourself that would work in your life. You were to set a basic goal, the steps you would go through to achieve that goal, and the time frame it would take you. You were to find a mentor that would encourage, guide and prod you along and you must meet with your mentor once a week until the goal was achieved. I chose to focus on writing, to have something published, even if it was only in a small way and I met with my friend Jane in her home, once a week. I continued to write morning papers and we had a lot of fun giving each other small prompts for creative, spontaneous writing and sharing these with each other. At the end of my weeks with her I did achieve my goal and an article on creativity was published in a provincial drama educator’s newsletter.

Cameron’s book opened up a new world of writing to me. I had always enjoyed writing but she inspired me to explore my writing further and she gave me a means of goal-setting and finding success with my chosen creative field. I would recommend this book for anyone who feels blocked in their creative field. If you are willing to work through her program from beginning to end, you will achieve success – and have a lot of fun doing it. Get those creative juices brewing. Go play.

Sometimes I Climb Mountains

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Sometimes I climb mountains and stand on snow-covered peaks and watch a rolling panorama of clouds drift by all around me. Down in the valley the world sits, a miniature grid of rivers and roads and towns, people busy in an existence that doesn’t involve me as I stand in heaven detached from it all. I stretch my arms wide open into a clear blue sky and inhale deeply the pure bliss of it all.

. . . But it’s not home.

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Sometimes I swim in aquamarine oceans, floating, bobbing gently over waves and watch a world of colour bubble below me. Coral in rainbow hues, shapes and sizes that stretch the imagination with brain-like humps, tree-like projections and wispy tendrils sway in the ocean current in oranges, pinks, blues, and purples. Fish, hundreds of them in every shade ever created, swim in undulating schools around me. Clams, lying on the ocean floor, display their neon-blue interiors to a watery world. Larger waving creatures swim lazily by, leaving dark shadows in the distance. I think I could float forever in this wondrous world of mystery and beauty.

. . . But it’s not home.

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Sometimes I wander the Garden of Eden, a tropical world of scented flowers, twisting vines and tall palm trees. The sun warms me as I close my eyes and let its rays penetrate my bones. I am unencumbered with loose, flowing clothes; the gentle breezes cool and lift my spirit. This is a world of turquoise, lime and pink, pastel colours that soften the soul. There is no rushing here, no hastiness to complete a day. Just quiet and gentleness that soothes and comforts and says, “Breathe. Relax. Rest in this tranquillity.”

. . . But it’s not home.

English countryside

Sometimes I walk cobblestone lanes lined with thatched roof cottages. Patchwork fields, edged in hedgerows and cows, stretch over rolling hills. Herds of bleating sheep compete for space as I wander down dusty roads and across fields of grass. Ancient stories reside here in monolithic rocks, rising in circles that speak of ritual and magic. Fairies dance in the morning dew and the dark forests hide secrets of beastly denizens. History is told over pints of foaming brew and pots of steeped tea as smiling faces invite me in to sit by the fire. I am welcome here.

. . . But it’s not home.

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My home is maple trees running thick with sap in the spring. It is flowers bravely peeping up through melting snow in bright slashes of colour. In the summer, I can float in a cool, clear lake and watch schools of fresh-water fish swim deep through underwater canyons. Here I stand in awe of a red, orange and gold vista that stretches across a countryside in autumn glory. Snowflakes fall gently on my hair and eyelashes, frozen icicles sparkle in the cool sun, blankets of purity coat a white world of winter wonder. Limestone escarpments, rushing waterfalls and towering pines compete with soaring skyscrapers and ribbons of highway that stretch from coast to coast. This is a big country, resplendent with natural wonders and a hard-working people comfortable in their own skins. This is where I belong, my birthplace. The cool waters run through my veins, granite and limestone form the bedrock of my soul. Canada.

This is home.

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A Perfect Day

I opened my eyes, adjusting to the morning light streaming through the crack in the curtains. Byron, my daughter’s dog, had decided to sleep with me last night and once he realized I was awake, he covered my face with kisses in anticipation of a morning walk. He waited patiently while I dressed and we quietly stepped outside onto the back lawn with its cloak of morning dew. Spring flowers were bursting, birds were singing.

Back inside, I started the morning coffee, turned on the computer, and then stuck my head in to see if my daughter and grandson were awake. There they were, in the middle of a morning feed, throwing smiles and kisses my way. Within a few minutes, my daughter brought my little grandson, just nine weeks old, out for morning cuddles while she slept a little longer.

He watched me as I finished my morning writing and emails, those bright Wedgewood Blue eyes not missing a beat. As our gaze caught, his big smile filled my heart.

Maegan woke up and after another bit of visiting, she left for a good long run with the dog along the river trails. My little guy and I had more cuddle and smile time. Holding a little baby in your arms is a precious thing.

When she and the dog returned, a bountiful breakfast and good conversation made for an easy-paced morning. Before I knew it, they had to go to head off for an appointment later in the day.

As I waved goodbye, I said a quiet prayer of gratitude for the love of my daughter, her little guy, and her beloved pet.

I got some computer work finished, notices, letters of thanks, and future appointments and retreated out to the back patio with my book and a warm cup of tea for the rest of the afternoon. The sky was blissfully blue, the birds were still singing, butterflies were dancing and a gentle breeze kept me cool in the warming sun.

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Ah . . . this day couldn’t be better. Simple pleasures of shared family love, good food, good conversation, sunshine, spring flowers, butterflies and birds are all I need in my life. At least for this day. This perfect gem of a day.

Good Grief

Barb Heagy GGP Book Launch 003-001We had a very successful book launch. Thank you to all who came out. Here is my speech:

The first thing I want to say is how honoured I have been to be a part of this very special book, Good Grief People. I knew none of these authors, except for a slight acquaintance with Donna Mann, until we began working on the manuscript last year. Glynis M. Belec, Carolyn Wilker, Ruth Smith Meyer, Donna Mann, and Alan Anderson, I now count you as best friends, my BFF’s, and I admire and respect you all so much. My friends have taught me much about death, dying, and the grief process.

I’ve done a lot of thinking about what ‘good grief’ is. And now that I see the book in its final form with all our stories and poems, I think I would have this to say about good grief.

Good grief is about bravery, sensitivity, acceptance, and a generous, fearless attitude to life.

Grief is much like falling in love – to do it well, we have to drop the barriers holding us back from fully stepping forward into it. Yes, it’s a powerful emotion, as powerful as love. But that’s what grief is – love. When we have loved deeply, we grieve deeply.

Good grief means facing the fear, the anger, and processing it in good faith. It’s about examining one’s life and finding new purpose and a new identity. It’s about a willingness to live and find a new you.

Like a woman in labour, who works with her body and mind to embrace the pain, to release it instead of fighting it and bottling it up, when I grieve well, I learn to ‘go with the flow’. These stories have taught me that I can birth myself into a new identity. It will be a world without you, a different world, but I will still be in it and will find my new life.

Grief is like a wounded athlete who learns to work through an injury, strengthening the other muscles and joints to heal an injury to regain our health and wholeness once again. Grief can be like an amputation, and when you think about it, losing someone dear to you is like losing a part of yourself. But even through that, we can learn to do things in a new way and go on.

Good grief is the fork in the road, and although we may hesitate, we choose to take it in good faith. It’s the willingness to continue the journey, a journey into the unknown.

Good grief is the willingness to accept the end of one story and move on to the next chapter or book. We all have our favourite books and stories that we just hate to see end. We stretch out the best parts, savour it, read it again slowly, or even stop reading because we can’t bear for it to be over. But it does come to an end. And then we move on to the next story, but not until we have placed that story in our ‘favourite books’ shelf for safe-keeping and re-reading. We know that we can return to it again and again, but we know too that it will never be the same as that first time experience.

I hope that our book, these stories, will help you find hope in the midst of despair, comfort from the pain, joy in the sadness, strength out of the weakness and acceptance in the midst of denial. They all sit on the same plate. We can learn to live with both.

Death Cafes

Last night I attended a ‘Death Café’ at a local downtown coffee shop. I had heard of them before and was intrigued. They are meant “to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives. A Death Cafe is a group directed discussion of death with no agenda, objectives or themes.” www.deathcafe.com

About 25-30 adults were gathered, all ages, in a back room of the coffee shop, seated at small tables in groups of six or less, which allowed for intimate, close talk. A local officiant, Christine Lafazanos, and her company “Woven Threads,” handcrafted ceremonies, hosted the event which she holds every two months for the public for free.

After a short introduction, with some basic guidelines, she handed the evening over to us. For the next two hours, we introduced ourselves, told the others why we were there, and discussed a large variety of issues about death, dying, and grief through casual conversation. On the table, was a small jar with short statements about death meant to initiate discussion. We shared stories and expressed our fears, grief, and questions. We all acknowledged that our society just doesn’t like talking about death.

It was refreshing to be able to meet with strangers and speak about such a dreaded topic which affects us all. After all, we all die. Why do we ignore it, and treat it with such fear? Why are we and our families so unprepared for it? How does it affect us in both the short and the long term? What can we do to help loved ones die? What can we do for ourselves and our own grief and suffering when we lose a loved one? How can we live better lives by acknowledging the inevitability of death?

Death. It’s a big issue. We had many questions. And I’m not so sure there were clear answers but it was refreshing and helpful to talk about it and apply it to our own lives. We can help each other.

Check out Christine Lafazanos at www.woven-threads.ca and www.facebook.com/WovenThreads.Celebrant for information about the next Death Café in the Guelph area.

Rain Makes Rainbows

I was thinking about my recent trip to Hawaii where I went to dance at a week- long event called One Dance Tribe. After spending almost a year co-authoring a book about grief, I was looking for some pure joy in my life. And I did find it.
The first day, the first dance session, I was invited to dance with a complete stranger, and as we circled, and swooped and jumped around each other, I found myself smiling and then laughing out loud. Pure play. I felt the freedom of a young barn-bound colt let out to romp in the grassy meadow on the first warm, sunny spring day.
I also experienced pain, my own as well as others. On the dance floor, we were invited to consider the pain in the world, our own as well as others, and express it in movement, gesture and dance. No words. I cried in the arms of a stranger, as tears spilled down my cheeks over the death of my brother-in-law, who I had just found out the night before, via text, that the cancer he had been fighting for years, won. I wasn’t going to be there for his funeral.
Several times, after dinner, or at a quiet moment, someone would approach me and sit across from me and slowly start telling me about their lives, often being moved to tears. I just listened. It was an international dance event and, early in the week-Barb Heagy Maui 092long event, most of these people were strangers to me. I felt honoured that they would share their lives so intimately with me.
Every day, it rained for some time, usually just a quick blast of warm drops and it was over. But the sun was always back. And with it, came some of the most beautiful, vividly-colored rainbows that I had ever seen. And there was usually more than one throughout the day. As one of the participants said, “Hawaii is a rainbow machine.”
So yes, I did find joy. But I also found pain. I found they exist on the same plate. It rained almost every day, and every day we had an abundance of rainbows. Rain and rainbows danced in the sky, side-by-side.

Good Grief People Book Launch

Book - Good Grief People - Invitation and Poster

COME HELP US CELEBRATE!

We invite all of you, family, friends, public, to come ‘Meet the Authors’ and join us for our GOOD GRIEF PEOPLE book launch on May 6th.

We have the lovely Aboyne Hall rented in the beautiful historical Wellington County Museum and Archives between Elora and Fergus, Ontario. Our plan is to have a short program of welcome and then lots of opportunity to meet all six authors and have your book signed if you would like.

We are very excited that our only male author, Alan Anderson, is travelling with his lovely wife, Terry, all the way from British Columbia to join us. (And it’s their 39th anniversary, too!)

And come hungry. We will have a luncheon and a door prize, too.

Can’t wait. So excited. Looking forward to seeing all of you.

Mark your calendar and bring a friend. We would LOVE to have you join us and help celebrate the official release of GOOD GRIEF PEOPLE.

Consider yourself officially invited!

 

One Dance Tribe

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I am a dancer. There have been times in my life that it was my passion and it fed my spirit. Then I danced every day. I became a full-time elementary school teacher in my late 30’s. Shortly after I stopped dancing and left it behind.

But it wouldn’t leave me.

Throughout the years, I kept returning to my dance, finding new ways to check in with my body and spirit; a weekly stretch/strength/free dance class, NIA dance workshops and retreats, yoga, sacred circle dancing and even ballroom dancing.

Last year I saw online an ad for a dance event in Maui, Hawaii called One Dance Tribe. I was intrigued. For months, I waffled back and forth about going. I began the registration procedure four separate times, but it wasn’t until the fourth time, that I persevered and hit the final ‘send’ button. Now I was committed!

In January, 2017, I flew to Maui for the One Dance Tribe, an international dance event with 80 other like-minded souls from all over the world.

The camp, rustic and simple, sat on the clifftop of the beautiful Keanae Peninsula, overlooking the Pacific Ocean on all three sides. Home for me for the week was a small 4 X 4 tent set back among the towering trees of a tropical forest, where the constant sound of the ocean waves on the cliffs lulled me to sleep each night and gentle birdsong woke me just after sunrise each morning.

We danced from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Six different teachers presented their styles and approaches to conscious dance, sometimes working independently, sometimes together in one common spirit. Spiritual teachers and healers helped us to integrate our dancing experiences through massage, body healing techniques, voice exercises, chanting, music and ceremony.

At One Dance Tribe, I immersed myself in new – a new land, wild and beautiful and a new dance experience where I, once again, began to listen to my body and learn from its wisdom. I learned to be spontaneous, authentic, and trustful of the process. I became deeply aware of my chi body energy and flow. Joy, laughter and freedom naturally flowed as I allowed my instincts to respond to the music and the teacher’s promptings. I began to test my strengths and my limitations and became aware of knots of pain, both physical and emotional, learning to see and understand them with honesty and clarity. For me, the Feldenkrais healing sessions and various moving meditations aided me even further in this deep awareness.

I learned of the truth that is revealed through movement by observing others move. By watching others, with focus and intent, I ‘listened’ to their ‘movementspeak.’ As assuredly as if they had used spoken words, their movements told me their story. I danced for them, capturing their essence with a movement response. “This is what I hear you say” became “This is what I see you say.” We spoke in a new language, one without words, the language of the body with its energy and flow.

I learned to care for others, to relate to them through movement. Through dance, we shared our lives, experiences and energies in a spontaneous dialogue. We played and laughed together. We cried together and held each other up.

I learned I didn’t have to know all your story to help you embrace your path. All I had to do was be there for you; to listen, hold, and love you, so that you were not alone in your pain. I learned I didn’t have to give you my whole life. It was enough to be there for just the moment that we were placed together – to be authentic, supportive and sharing of THIS moment.

I learned to show up daily; to ‘be here now’ with others. My presence mattered and contributed to the group process.

I learned to persevere and push my physical, emotional, and spiritual levels, in spite of discomfort. As I moved inward, I tested and revealed my own inner energy and spirit. As I moved outward, I shared more of myself with others, as partners and as a group.

Through all these experiences, I felt and understood my place in a greater world as part of a kindred population of people. As an equal member of creation, I realized my connection to the vast, powerful energy of our natural world.
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On our last day, we sat with a partner and repeatedly asked each other a question.

“What does your heart know?”

My heart has deep gratitude for this unique experience where I retreated from my everyday world to this movement sanctuary. Here I was encouraged to be my true self. I have gratitude for the teachers and healers who offered their skills to teach me that body awareness and authenticity. I have loving gratitude for my body – its energy, its flow and its truth.

“What does your heart know?”

It knows a deeper awareness and understanding of the revealing power of movement. I learn about you and you learn about me by sharing our unspoken dialogue through movement and dance. The body doesn’t lie.

“What does your heart know?”

I know that I am part of a greater natural world. I am powerful, fierce, and flowing as the gifts of the ocean, the cliffs and towering vegetation. I learned to be at one with it, to yield to its power and beauty, rather than dominate and separate myself from it.

“What does your heart know?”

I can share your pain without it binding me up and swallowing me in over-empathy. I don’t need to know all the details. It is enough to just be there for you in your moment of need. I don’t have to solve it for you. All I have to do is be open, loving, and supportive, as you work through it. I don’t need to be afraid of your pain. I don’t need to eradicate your pain. It does not need to overwhelm me.

“What does your heart know?”

I am learning to ‘go with the flow’ – to not fight it. I became aware of the knots and blocks in my body and psyche that I am avoiding because they are too painful or too fearful.

“What does your heart know?”

I am learning to be ‘me’, not the ‘me’ that has been molded by a society of rules and expectations. I am learning to be authentic. I am learning how to love better, myself as well as others. I am better loving my natural world which I am a part of.

“What does your heart know?”

I am learning the power of the group, of community. When we all join together in a spirit of love, non-judgement, open acceptance and support, there is power in that.

We are One.
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Thank you to all who contributed to the One Dance Tribe event.

I thank you for the opportunity to retreat and learn. I was fed, housed, taught, and healed.

Thank you for the physical setting of the camp on Keanae Peninsula on the winding Hana Highway, a place of raw, wild, untamed beauty; a place where nature rules and man is a visitor. With honour, I danced the hula to the sun, moon, wind, clouds, rain, cliffs, ocean and shore. How magical was the appearance of a brilliant, glowing rainbow as it offered its gift to bless our dance to it.

Thank you for the blessing of the inner dance sanctuary which invited us in with its openness and beautiful flowing fabric, carpets, cushions, flowers and ferns. It was a space created with love and a sense of beauty and sanctity.

Thank you for the music, so carefully chosen to inspire, stimulate and feed our senses.

Thank you to each of the teachers for your individuality and uniqueness. As leaders, you gave us your best through sensitive offerings and guidance. Thank you for the union of your skills as teachers. We truly became One Dance Tribe with no competition, no judgement, a true union of a dancing people.

Thank you for all who made this event such a special and unique experience – the cooks, the cleaning staff, the grounds people, administrators, guests and volunteers. We fed and cared for each other, contributing bits of ourselves to a greater community.

Thank you. Grazie. Mahalo.

New Year’s Resolutions

As 2016 as left us and 2017 has rolled in, I have been contemplating my New Year’s resolutions. New Year’s Day seems to be a good time to reassess your life and set some new goals, or so the world seems to be telling me.

I agree. It’s good to re-evaluate your life once in a while, and New Year’s Day seems to be as good a time as any, but I have learned that I need to be doing this on a continuous basis. I can set a goal, but then I need some steps to achieve that goal. These become my signposts along the way. It’s not just goal setting, it’s goal building. If I don’t have these mini-steps along the way, I’ve learned that I probably won’t achieve my main goal in the end.

Even at that, with a guiding map with significant stops along the way, life will probably throw some curveballs into it that threaten my steady progress. That’s when I stop and re-assess. Perhaps there’s a major storm happening, perhaps the road has crumbled or is under construction, and I have to choose another path. But if I hold true to my chosen destination, I will find another way. It may mean just a short respite from my travelling or I may have to choose a whole new path to circumvent the problem but if the goal was worth setting, it’s worth finding another path to it.

I lie to myself. I realize that there are different ways to try to meet my goals. One way to achieve a goal is to express it as a ‘hope’ – “I HOPE to feel better in my body.” But said this way, it really comes down to me saying to myself, “I INTEND to meet this goal.” These kind of goals have a built-in ‘out’ to them. I’m not committed to anything. I just hope I will achieve it. As the saying goes, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

I admit it. I ‘intend’ to continue to feel good in my body, which means regular exercise and good dietary choices. This is something I have been working on in the past, but I realize that I can do better. In fact, it seems my body is telling me, I must do better or suffer the consequences. I will go to the gym today and continue to hold this goal in front of me so that I feel better. It seems I have a million interests and obligations that continuously try to sidetrack me from meeting this goal. I need to bring my goal to the forefront and adhere to the regular steps along the way to achieve it fully. That means getting out and exercising at least 150 minutes every week. I need to set the dates and do it with full commitment. If something diverts me from fulfilling that commitment then I need to find another time and day to do it.

Another goal I have set is to give myself a new learning opportunity. It’s a short term goal, the kind I prefer. I tend to be a sprinter in life, and less like a long distance runner. It’s easier for me to fulfill a goal that has an end in sight. I have registered and paid for a week long getaway to attend an international dance camp. In a totally unique way I am looking with interest to improve on the skills I already have in dance, writing, travel and spiritual growth. I see it as the next step in my self-development. This is a goal that will improve me without necessarily knowing where it will lead to next. That’s okay. I’m going to enjoy doing it and I know I will be applying my new-found experience in future projects.

Another way I use to meet my goals is to work backwards and set a final date and goal and claim it publicly. When I set a goal like this, I don’t really know the path it’s going to take to meet it, but by publicly declaring it, I am assured that I will meet it. I am committed. It puts pressure on me. Without asking for it, I have enlisted the help of my community to ensure that I get the job done. For if I don’t meet my goal, I have not only let myself down, but all the people that believe in me. I’ve done this many times in the past by setting dates for future performances and it works well for me. This year I have done it by co-authoring a book called “Good Grief People” and we have set the date of February 28, 2017 as the probable launch date. I say ‘probable’, because we did set this goal before we knew the absolute route it would take to get there but we are aiming for February 28, 2017. I know we will reach our goal. We’re going to do it together.

So, my 2017 goals of ‘feeling good in my body’, ‘building my dance skills’ and ‘writing a book’ are well underway. I hope you have set some goals too. Good luck to all of us.