Tag: thoughts

Find a Penny, Pick It Up

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“I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.” by Mark Twain

Have you ever had something great happen in your life that you could trace back to a trivial event, something so seemingly insignificant that you said “yes” or “why not” to? I call these events pennies. Just like real pennies, by itself, there’s not much value to it nor is its potential obvious. However, if invested properly, one penny can turn into hundreds of dollars, just like a small act of kindness, a business opportunity, or a personal activity can lead to great adventures. Joining meetup.com was a penny for me. Many great opportunities resulted from following up on the referral to that site, joining, then attending events sponsored by two groups. Another personal example is when CoSozo unexpectedly asked me to write an article on Reiki. I said yes to the opportunity, even though I had my doubts. One year later, you are reading my fifth published article, I was the featured author for the March 2014 edition, and I’ve discovered a passion I did not know existed within me.

Sometimes, we consciously take action in our lives in hopes of a positive outcome. For example, a stay-at-home mom decided to go back to school so she could re-enter the workforce in the same, ever-growing field she left 8 years ago. Even though the hope was there for a good job, she had doubts about her hire-ability, especially because of her unique scheduling needs. Immediately after graduation, she was approached and hired by a company that can accommodate her scheduling needs. The job is fun, challenging, and allows her to express her creativity on a schedule that fully supports her being a full-time mom.

The common denominators to the unforeseen opportunities and the projected ones are trust and faith. When we trust that the Universe has a plan for us, we can relax into every intentional decision we make and every unexpected turn life throws our way. Having faith that we are exactly where we are supposed to be and that everything happens for a reason overrides regret. The stronger our trust and faith is in our life’s path, the less regret and fear we will have. Regret keeps us in the past, worrying about events we cannot change. That time and energy is better spent on trusting the process, enjoying the present moment, having faith in our future and being grateful for the lessons and the blessings along the way.

Life is NOT “Supposed to be Fair.”
Know that there is no single way that life is “supposed” to be.
Demanding that life meet our expectations
is a sure fire recipe for a miserable existence.
Life is a game with no rules.
Life just happens to us regardless of our best intentions.
Our only path to happiness lies in being open
to receiving whatever life throws at us –
with Gratitude. Have NO Expectations of life.
–  by Jonathan Lockwood Huie

The more we trust the Universe, have faith in ourselves and the journey, and express gratitude for even the smallest of blessings, the more we become aware that every event and action, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant, will open the door to many more blessings. Invest in yourself, pick up that penny, say yes to those opportunities, especially the ones that spark fear and doubt, for they will bring the most rewarding blessing. Say yes to the opportunities that seem too good for you. Pick up that penny, you will be pleasantly surprised by the pennies that follow. Nourish your investment with genuine gratitude and watch your pennies multiple. Not taking advantage of an opportunity of any magnitude because of fear, doubt and/or unworthiness, is equivalent to telling the Universe “No, I am not interested in improving my finances, my relationships, my personal growth or my life.” We all have a least one friend that is constantly complaining about poor health conditions, a lack of financial freedom, and unhealthy relationships but rejects every opportunity for improvement and has a hundred excuses why he/she cannot pursue his/her dreams, let alone improve his/her daily life style. Fear is paralyzing. All the excuses are ultimately based out of fear. To succeed and be happy in life, we must push through the fear or at least keep going despite it. The joy we seek is on the other side of that fear. Trusting and having faith in yourself will temper the fear. The more often you face your fears, the easier it becomes to reduce or overcome them. The less intense your fears, the more opportunities you are apt to take. The more positive outcomes you experience from saying yes to life, the more likely you are to say yes again. The more times you say yes, the more opportunities the Universe will offer you. So, the next time fear and doubt tries to stop you from saying YES to an opportunity of any capacity, gather up your trust, faith and gratitude, take a deep breath, say “yes” and push through the fear. Your future self will thank you!

–Beverly Bates

Originally published Aug 2014, updated Feb 2021

Slay Your Dragons, Face Your Fears

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

We’ve all heard the fairy tales where the beautiful princess is locked away in a room that’s in the highest and farthest corner of huge castle that is protected by a fierce, fire-breathing dragon. If the knight wants to marry the princess, he must rescue her by first slaying the dragon. Well, I’d like to offer you a different, more life coaching interpretation of this story. Let’s say that, in this game of life, you are the knight in shining armor. That dream, desire, goal or wish that you want to accomplish or possess is the princess. The castle represents the steps you must take to achieve your desired goal, object or person. The dragon is your fear. It does not matter if your dragon is big or small, fire-breathing or just bites your ankles, you still must slay it to get that princess. If you are cleaver, you can trick the dragon into thinking the two of you are friends and use it to your advantage. We’ll call this action taming your dragon. Either way, what you want is on the other side of that dragon! What are you going to do about it? Let the dragon keep you from even trying to reach your goal? This option gives someone else the opportunity to be what you want to be, have what you want to have. I don’t know about you, but I would rather get slain by the dragon attempting to reach my goal, than to live forever knowing I was too afraid to even try. In most circumstances, once you finally step foot into the castle, you realize the big scary dragon is really a harmless gecko that is more afraid of you than you are of it. In other words, once you begin to actively pursue your dreams, you will realize things are not as scary as you originally thought. So what if you are brave enough to enter the castle only to be slain by that dragon? Since this is a fairy tale, you get another life to either continue attacking this dragon or celebrate the fact that you tried and move on to slay the dragon protecting the princess next door. Whichever option sounds more appealing to you, keep battling the dragons! The more dragons you slay, the easier each sequential battle gets.

Fear is paralyzing if you let it consume your life or let it influence your decisions. Not only do you miss out on the element of your desire, but you miss out on so many unknown opportunities along the way.  Opportunities that otherwise would not be available. Haven’t you ever done something despite being scared, then had an awesome experience, perhaps even something unexpected, result from that experience? I have. Recently, I had a dream of acting in play. When the opportunity to audition became available, I was overwhelmed with fear. I had two weeks to decide if I wanted to slay that dragon or walk away. I chose to slay the dragon and pursue my dream. After I made the decision, that intense feeling left me. On the day of the audition, I was only a little nervous. There’s a big difference between being nervous and having fear. I felt good about my audition and so proud of myself for doing it. As I’m leaving the building, I notice a sign on a billboard announcing that the same theater group is looking for writers to submit plays about Goddesses or women of influence. I CAN write about Goddesses and women of influence! By the end of that day, my play was completely written and I submitted the next day! Had I allowed my fear to paralyze or consume me, stopping me from attending that audition, I would have never known about this amazing writing opportunity.

One of the most controversial rap artists of our times wrote a song that relates to this article and speaks to anyone faced with a rare opportunity to do something different, amazing and life changing.

“Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted. one moment
Would you capture it or just let it slip? …
He better go capture this moment and hope it don’t pass him.
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime…” —“Lose Yourself” by Eminem

As I mentioned earlier, there is a difference between fear and nervousness. There is also an outstanding difference between fear and danger. On certain occasions, these three emotions may feel similar in our bodies, causing similar sensations or physical responses, however, they are completely different. Nervousness is a form excitement. Your adrenaline is going, your heart rate increases and you may even have a little doubt about the situation, but not enough to hinder the activity. This is a common reaction to doing something new or challenging. Fear, as I just mentioned, is paralyzing, comes with a significant amount of self-doubt and may halt further activity until calmed or resolved. Fear is in our heads, it is imagined, it is not real! Danger, on the other hand, is real and threatens your safety. These 3 words are not synonyms. I would also like to mention a fourth scenario, where sometimes contentment is confused with fear. This is where non-judgment and acceptance of others becomes relevant. During a recent trip to Chicago, I had a conversation with a man who stated that I could make more money if I moved my massage therapy practice to the Windy City. My response to him is that I’m not a big city girl. He instantly labeled my preference as fear. My contentment, passion and love of the Lansing area, which includes the friendships I’ve made and the business I have created, is not fear based. Chicago is a great place to visit, but I don’t perceive it as home. On the flip side, I assumed a self-employed friend was experiencing fear when she was perfectly content having a part-time, low key business.

The lesson that I share with you is this: just because someone’s dream is different than yours, does not mean he/she has fear around that subject or object. However, someone with a genuine fear should be supported and encouraged along their path, without judgement. When that someone is you and you are faced with a decision, it is important to know yourself well enough to distinguish and discern between nervousness, fear, danger and “this is not right for me.” Honor your nervousness, respect and avoid the danger, celebrate your passions, let go of what does not suit you then face your fears and slay that dragon!

by Beverly Bates

originally published Sept 2014, updated Feb 2021