We went to the Vancouver Fan Expo specifically to meet my idol Carrie Fisher. I was a very lonely, awkward preteen and spent most of my free time lying in bed daydreaming about having adventures in a galaxy far, far away with my mom, Princess Leia. I had rehearsed for over two decades telling her how much she had meant to me during that time and I continued to rehearse in my head for the three hours I stood in line waiting for her to sign my copy of her book Wishful Drinking. She has always been very candid about her bi-polar and addictions and I have always admired her ability to not pussyfoot around so called “sensitive issues”. I love how she owns her shit. As a thanks I had made her some Buff Beads and three people away from her I still had no idea how I would manage to fit everything I had to say to her into 30 seconds. With my husband holding me up I walked up to her trembling and holding back tears. She was beautiful and I wanted to hug her. I mumbled off my words of adoration and the part she played in my childhood as my fictional mom. She asked my age and if she could even be my mom. She did some quick math and she would have been young, but absolutely she could have been my mom and then she signed my book:
I told her that I had a blog and I wrote about self-love, self-talk and shame resilience. I explained that I had created Buff Beads to keep aware of my self-talk and I asked if I could give her some. She said “I really could use these” and put them around her fingers. I left that day high just at the reception I had received from Carrie. It didn’t matter if my beads got forgotten and left behind at the table, she would be seeing a thousand fans just like me. I was so completely satisfied with the moment that she took my beads and also kind of adopted me. The next day at the photo op I was excited, but not nearly as emotional. I full on had no expectations she would remember me and was just excited to have a picture with her. There were three people ahead of us when we walked into view of her and her French Bulldog Gary. David asked me which side I wanted to be on, I said whatever side of God Jesus was on. Gary was on the right side, so I took the left. With all the coolness of a limp noodle I walked up to her, said hello and then in a high pitched emotional whisper I squeaked “You’re wearing my beads. You’re wearing my beads.” I could not believe it. I hadn’t even allowed the thought to enter my mind that she would be. Carrie said “I’ve been wearing them all night.” The seconds after that were kind of a blur, I remember seeing the girl behind the camera I think she told me to smile needlessly, I said thank you in a breathless sob and Carrie said “You’re welcome” and I walked out.
The person who had influenced my life the most and who I most wanted to wear the beads I had created a year ago was wearing them on her own accord. Carrie Fisher had gone back to her hotel the night before, with my beads and then friggin’ put them on and wore them all day, through the Q & A, through the autograph session and through the photo op. This is the only affirmation I will ever need. My idol, my fantasy “true” mom, heard my message of self-love and appreciated it. And I have proof.
The Buff Beads that I gave to Carrie and that she wore can be found on the Buff Beads store.
You’re unhappy and feeling out of control of your life. Nothing ever seems to go your way and you are seeing the same negative patterns with your job, relationships and health. Some days are better than others, but you fall into slumps and the feeling of hopelessness just washes over you.
Every day is the same and besides little bursts of excitement the drab of reality is just painful. Life feels insane and out of your control. Everything is an uphill battle. Why is this happening? Are we just meant to go through life in this comatose like daze? No. We are not. We are here to be happy and to explore and experience. We are meant to run through lilies, lie naked on beaches and flow effortlessly through life with minor setbacks and major comebacks. If your life is feeling too hard and your pain is outweighing your joy then you are not living the life you are meant to live. You are meant to have a fulfilling life. After all the years of human pain it is time for you to take control and change your life.
There is more for you in this life. No more have to’s and I can’t’s. You have more control than you know. Believe that you are worthy of all good things and that your life is how you make it. Fear no longer guides you. The strength of knowing you are in control will set you free. Say yes to everything you want and no to the things you don’t. Ride the up and down waves of the world and move through as you see fit. Close your eyes to horrible things, but see the great triumphs and beauty of people. Choose to see the good in yourself way more than the bad. Feel joyful in the little things about yourself and worry less about impressing people.
You don’t get to choose exactly how your days go, but you do get to choose how you will respond to it. Every day allow yourself to dream big, to love small things, to laugh at the crude and to sing along at the top of your lungs. Discover what you really want to do.
Visualize the life you want. Sometimes people struggle with this, because they don’t know what they want. Sometimes it’s easier to feel the kind of life you want. Feel the feeling you want to have. Hang onto the image and the feeling. Let it be your comfort and your dream.
Make a list of what you will have to do to achieve this dream. List every single minute detail, even if it seems completely useless or undoable in the moment, write it down.
Everyday do one thing on that list.
It may take you 25 years to get to your goal, but by doing one thing on your list you will feel like you are making progress. It will give you satisfaction knowing that today you did something to work towards your dream. It may motivate you to set other goals and work towards them. Soon life doesn’t seem so mundane. Your current circumstance won’t feel so permanent and you will begin to feel fulfilled. You will begin to see love and joy in places that had always been there, but because of the weight of the world you didn’t see them. When you discover your dream you will find your peace within the chaos. You will find your joy in this life. You will be fulfilled.
We hear rags to riches stories all the time. They seem to always start at the extreme end of poverty and end on the complete opposite side where the person is driving a Mercedes. There are many Dream Big stories coming true that aren’t as noticeable and are much more believable. I did not grow up desolate poor and my Audi Q5 is still sitting snug as a bug on my vision board, but that isn’t the point of my story. In a world where we are stuck in awful jobs, relationships, and financially instability, there is an abundance of hopelessness, dreaming kills that hopelessness. By consistently imagining yourself at the next level you will notice that the environment around you will start to change. What is happening is the standards you had for yourself have improved and what was once “good enough” is no longer. Thinking of doing something I don’t want to do makes me feel as if my soul is dragging behind my body. Often the need to provide for our family outweighs the soul’s pain, and for many years my body went into survival mode and my soul begrudgingly followed. Survival mode is very lonely and I have never been a stranger to loneliness. As a child for six years I went to a private Christian school where we were left alone in cubicles for five hours a day to do our work. Any turning or talking would be met with demerits which could eventually lead to the dreaded strap and probably hell. Near every day I would come home crying and begging to be put into public school, but parents always try and do what they feel is right for their children, and I was made to go the next day. I found no relief at home as we lived out in the middle of nowhere on a hobby farm, and with my parents always busy, the only way of getting anywhere was to bike ten miles into town. I ached for companionship that was not my younger brothers and sisters.
I found relief from the solitude by lying in bed and daydreaming. My vivid imagination brought me to places I had only seen in movies. I had all sorts of adventures. I visited the dark reaches of space where Princess Leia was my mom. I explored tunnels to a land before time, and I traveled through England with Robin of Loxley stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. The common theme to all my daydreams was that I was important and people wanted to be around me. With no other mental escape, I would sink into these worlds daily to ease my boredom and loneliness. The need to daydream slowed as I got older and I eventually stopped when I was told that I had made the decision to be a mom and that’s all I was to do. The late great Lou Tice once said
“When I stopped dreaming, I stopped growing.”
For ten years I chose not to dream as it wasn’t realistic and completely useless. I had no idea that eventually going back to dreaming would save my mental well being on more than one occasions.
My time as my dad’s drywall assistant seven years ago wasn’t all bad, but nonetheless the bad memories outweigh the good. The majority of the time I was dirty covered in drywall mud and dust and driving a big orange short box pickup truck. My lesson to be learned those days was humility and boy was I humbled. The work was mentally exhausting and labor intensive, as my dad pushed me as hard as he would my brothers, if not harder. My job mostly was to clean up left over drywall scrap littered throughout massive houses. I was almost always alone and it would take me hours to haul armfuls of scrap up and down flights of stairs. The job consumed my life as every day I dreaded the next. The only thing I had to look forward to in life was I had been asked to play a part in an Independent Film. The thought of my big break kept me going and when the time came, it was the closest thing to being treated like a movie star that I had ever been. It was everything that I wanted to be, everything I wanted to do. I did not want the weekend to end, but it did and the very next day I went back to my unglamorous life of dirty clothes, filthy surroundings and labor intensive work. My soul was crushed and as I walked around
the drywall strewn house, I cried. I would tell others my story of how important I was made to feel over the weekend and how well I did, but there are few that know the feeling of living their dream. Those that do know don’t understand how it must feel to have it stripped away, save for Cinderella.
Being home and off work brought no solace as the loneliness and mental exhaustion followed me there. Unlike some feelings such as jealously and hurt that are gradually watered down with life, the memory of loneliness stays with us and we always remember how lonely we were at times in our lives. At this time, with the taste of my dream life still in my mouth, I stood alone in a cold, damp shell of a house, dazed. I was covered from last week’s drywall mud, my hair up in a dirty hat, wearing a small amount of mascara to keep the bit of femininity I had. Scraps of drywall littered the ground around me and the dread of the three hours ahead of me was overwhelming. I was devastatingly lonely. So, as a thirty something year old adult, I sunk back into the memories of the time I had lived my dream.
My story took off on its own, and like a wild fire it grew. I befriended celebrities, I won Oscars, dined in Paris, starred in movies, wrote novels, took trips with my kids and designed my dream house. I was lost in my imagination and forgot where I was and what I was doing. Before I knew it, the house was scrapped. Daydreaming again awakened in me a childlike whimsy and I saw things unfold that I never thought would happen. When I ignored my current circumstances and imagined greater, I began to make changes unconsciously that would create a ripple effect that eventually got me here to where I am today. I have never stopped dreaming since.
I now print my dreams and desires and place them on a cork board. My vision board has cruises, shoes, office chairs and desks, beach houses, designer dresses and an itinerary of my dream trip to New Zealand and Paris. We are all extremely visual, so when the image in our head does not match our reality it causes tension and discomfort in us, and then subconsciously we put into action steps to change the outer picture in order to match the inner one. Nearly every day for years, I have looked at a picture of an office on a beach overlooking the ocean. This picture to me signifies having a job I love with the freedom to travel and do it from anywhere in the world. I never imagined when I pinned it there five years ago how close I would be to my dream job today. Besides looking at the picture and imagining the feeling of being there on that beach, I have done nothing consciously to make that happen, yet here I am today doing what I love to do and potentially having an opportunity to write from the comforts of the beach. Mr. Rogers once asked us if we ever grew anything in the garden of our mind. What do you want? Where do you want to go? What do you want to do? If you plant your dream and nurture it, it will grow.
All meaningful and lasting change starts from the inside. –Lou Tice
“Our brain can’t tell much difference between visualization and actual events.”
I really felt I needed to update this post…
I always used to wonder how some people just seemed to have all the greatest experiences happen for them. Dream job, meeting celebrities, crazy travel experiences. I recently discovered that what these people were doing different than me was they were hoarding personal lottery tickets.
A personal lottery ticket is something that you do to potentially give you a positive outcome down the road. Mailing a celebrity asking for an autograph, sending away a book you wrote off to a publisher, entering random contests. Most people don’t bother for fear of rejection, embarrassment or just straight up “I don’t win anything ever anyway.” These were my excuses my whole life and looking back I see many experiences I missed out on because I was too scared of failing and looking stupid. We need to have hopes and dreams. It’s what keeps us going on the mundane drab days. The most exciting part about having a lottery ticket in your wallet is the idea of potentially being a millionaire and waiting to check it. The most exciting part of having a personal lottery ticket is the idea of potentially having a dream come true. So, I say to you, throw caution to the wind and sow your lottery tickets wherever your dreams may lay. If one of your dreams isn’t a winner, try again. Make it a rule to always have 3 lottery tickets out there. Big or small. Anything that gives you joy. These potential lottery tickets may cost you nothing and can potentially give you what you wanted. All it takes is the courage to put yourself out there and to be seen. So what if postal workers gives you a funny look because you’re mailing your screenplay to Steven Spielberg. So what if you bomb in an audition and make an ass of yourself. Why do we allow ourselves to let complete strangers stop us from potentially getting what we want? Right now think of what you really want and do one thing that could potentially lead you to it. Then write your dream down put it on your fridge as a reminder that you have a lottery ticket out there. That you were brave enough to potentially make it happy. Have faith in yourself, your abilities and put value in your dreams and wishes.
In 1996 my dad took me, my 4 siblings and my son to Disneyland. It was right before Christmas break and the park was dead. My brothers and sisters and I had such an amazing time running from ride to ride. To this day I can say that was near one of the most joyous occasions I have ever had and I have spent thousands of dollars trying to recreate it. Since 1996 I have been to Disneyland 6 more times. I have gone with kids and I have gone without kids and no matter what I come out of it let down, pissy and broke. This morning my husband texts me at 11:11 telling me to make a wish. Normally sequential numbers remind me to give thanks, but this time I immediately had this split second flash image of my husband and I in a big beautiful yard with a beautiful house behind us. I have no idea what this place was or where, but the feeling of peace and joy was overwhelming and I wanted it. I didn’t care where it was, I just wanted that feeling. This gave an idea, instead of wishing so badly to recreate that one time in Disneyland, what if I just wished to feel that amount of joy again with my siblings. Instead of wishing and praying and hoping to go to Waikiki again so that I can feel again how peaceful it was to lie on and beach and listen to the waves, what if asked to feel that peace again? What would it be like to feel that peace monthly, weekly, daily? Along with the experiences, we are also after the feelings they create. The awe and wonder of the Sistine Chapel. The calm and relaxing feeling of walking the beaches of Fiji. The comfort and secure feeling of having a million dollars in the bank. If we focus more on the feelings instead of the event that created them, we will find that everyday life presents us with opportunities to feel like that. The awe and wonder of a crazy sunset. The calm and peacefulness of a quiet spring morning. The comfort and security and joy of a much needed and unexpected bonus cheque.
I still want to go to Disneyland, Waikiki and who wouldn’t love to have a million dollars in the bank, but until all that happens it’s comforting and exciting to discover that we can potentially have those feelings every day. We rob ourselves of those feelings cause we think we shouldn’t feel them. That the event isn’t worthy of such joy, peace, comfort etc…cause it happens all the time and it’s not Disneyland. The saying “Finding joy in little things” can apply to all positive fantastic emotions. We just need to recognize the moments when they arise and allow ourselves to just FEEEEL them.
Your body does not know the difference between thoughts and reality.
Your lying in bed awake again. Imagining your busy day at work tomorrow. You anticipate a confrontation with a fellow co-worker and you play the scenario out in your head. What they may say. How you will respond. Making sure that you have every possible outcome covered. As you imagine this fictionalized event your body reacts as if you’re standing right in front of your co-worker and having the conversation. Heart races, body tenses, stomach sinks all the typical anxiety/stress symptoms. You wonder why you can’t sleep and when you do sleep you wake up exhausted. What we are doing to our bodies is completely unnecessary. Our thoughts are controllable.
There’s nothing wrong with being prepared for things if they go wrong, but we don’t have to inundate ourselves with it. Start to journal at night. Writing your concerns and solutions down before you sleep. Catch the offending thought and tell yourself that you don’t need to be thinking about that right now. You took care of that thought already by writing it in your journal. There’s nothing you can do about it in the moment and when and if the situation arises you completely trust yourself to handle it perfectly. Then focus on your hands. By focusing on your hands you can start to feel them and by feeling them you are present. And by being present you can chose a better path to put yourself to sleep. Remember your body can’t tell the difference between your thoughts and your real life. So imagine you are at your the most peaceful and relaxing place you have ever been to. My go to peace spot is sitting on the beach at night in Waikiki. As you sit there in your imaginary spot start listing off all the awesome things you have in your life. Throw in some “Good Jobs” for the awesome things you have accomplished thus far. Make yourself feel peaceful and confident and before you know it you’re awake, it’s morning and surprisingly you feel pretty darn good and ready to take on your day.