Category Archives: dreams

Champions at Heart

“You don’t need a man, Liz. You need a champion.” – Eat, Pray, Love

I always liked that line, because it hits me. Right there. You know the place: That space between your heart and your throat where you can physically feel your dreams? Yeah, there. But why?

Let’s pause to look at this for a moment, because it’s actually true. We each need a champion. First, let’s define “champion.”photo 1

Among other things, a champion is a “warrior or fighter” according to Merriam-Webster. It’s also a verb: to champion means “to protect or fight for.” Let’s explore the latter, because although Javier Bardem uses the noun in the movie, I believe his true intention (or sub-dialogue) was the meaning behind the verb. So let’s go there!

When we’re children, we seem to have champions all around us. Sometimes it’s our friends or our parents. Sometimes it’s our teachers or siblings. It’s people who hold us up, hold us accountable, teach and lead us. They are there for us when things get stormy as well as when things are calm and sunny. At face value, champions are the “winners.” Looking deeper, champions are those wonderful individuals who value and respect us as individuals ourselves and who inspire us to be our best self, without asking anything in return.

Usually, I would say that all we need is to be our own champion. We do. However, it’s not “all” we need. We need each other, and we each need a champion: That one person in our life, at that one moment, who supports and protects us – who holds us up (or helps us up) when we need it most. It’s the person who makes us laugh or lets us cry – without judgment or expectation – because they know it’s what we need at that moment. It may not be the same person every time. In fact, it probably isn’t.

I know who my champions are, even though they’d probably hate that title. 😉 They’re the ones who help me to be who I am every day, by supporting, challenging and encouraging me to show up for myself. Sometimes I forget they’re there though, and then I’m reminded by something seemingly small. Perhaps something so small that they don’t realize that they just donned a cape for me and became my champion in that one moment, and it made all the difference.

So, today – it’s a simple reminder to say thank you. Thank you to all the wonderful “champions” out there holding us up, helping us out, laughing with us, and reminding us of who we are, and what we can become. Perhaps, too, it’s a reminder that maybe we’re also wearing a cape for someone and don’t even know it. How wonderful!

In the end, I think that’s why that line hits me: Feeling supported and loved is an amazing gift; Feeling championed? That’s love on a whole new level.

If this, then that…

Why is it that we’ve been programmed to delay happiness? Think about it for a second. Do you have the thought pattern anywhere ingrained in you that says: “If I do/acquire/reach a certain thing/level – I will then be happy.” Replace ‘happy’ with content, peaceful, complete – any number of words – it’s the same idea regardless. But here’s the thing: with this thought pattern, we are actually preventing our own happiness. We’re in effect saying that we’re not worthy of happiness (peace, etc.) without first suffering through something or proving our worth. As a result, we’re denying ourselves permission to be happy. WHAT?!?

Don’t worry – I do it too. Why? Because I’m human. It’s part of the human condition – or conditioning. It’s a game we play with ourselves. A game of merit and self-worth. A game of success and failure. A game with too many unwritten rules. And a game where the world is the playing field, and everyone is on a different team. Furthermore, it’s something that will never change, and that we can never win. The only way to “fix” it is to remove it entirely by stepping off the field. Now, I’m not saying it’s time to die. I’m saying it’s time to acknowledge the game going on all around us, and in us, and simply decide to stop playing. It’s easier said than done, you say? Yes. And no.

Yes, everything is easier said than done. When our friends, family and colleagues are able to point things out to us, it’s because they have the perspective with which to do so. They’re not as close to the problem as we are; therefore, it’s much easier for them to see it, which is why we seek advice, help and encouragement from others. But that doesn’t mean that they will follow the same advice if they were in a similar situation. Again, they would be too close to the issue to have the perspective that makes a solution easy. Or easier.

But no, it’s not easier said than done – because I’m going to give you an idea that will help you step off the playing field, take off your jersey and step into your happiness. Once planted, this idea will begin to grow, and little by little you will start to accept and realize its truth. Here it is:

If the assumption is there will never be a perfect time, then we have nothing to lose by claiming our happiness now. The premise of the idea “if this, then that” is based on the notion that we are waiting for the ‘perfect’ time in order to realize something in our lives. We need all of our ducks to be in a row before we feel we can move on to the next thing. However, it goes further by also suggesting that there is no ‘perfect’ time, therefore that ‘something’ we desire will always be out of reach. Do you see? If there will never be a perfect time to own what’s already ours – then why not own it now? Inevitably “no perfect time” becomes perfect.

Of course, reality steps in on certain things like, you might need to have a job in order to buy a house (or a vacation home in the Greek Isles!); but what I’m saying is that the house won’t bring you happiness. The house won’t bring you stability. The house is not the issue. Nor is the job. They are steps towards creating an environment in which you “think” you would be happier. But nothing external actually creates happiness. Happiness comes from within. A house, a car, a job, a relationship, these are all things that can come and go – and if we pin our dreams and happiness on them, then that means our happiness can come and go as well. Why would we ever choose that?

Instead, opt for a different choice, a different way of living. Waiting to be happy by virtue of an external stimulus means you will spend a lifetime waiting. I guarantee once you’ve reached the desired goal, there will always be something else looming in the distance, and because it’s a conditioned behavior, you will once more fall into the pattern of “if this, then that.” Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series said it best when he said to Harry, as he was sitting in front of the Mirror of Erised, “The happiest man on earth would … see himself exactly as he is.” (And did you all notice that Erised is ‘desire’ spelled backwards?)

So, in considering this concept: if you have nothing to lose – what would you endeavor to do?

Room to Dream

This week I had prepared an entire piece on what it means to be grounded, and then I received the most inspirational and loving email from a dear old friend. She suggested that I write about change and how it brings about “new opportunities and room to dream.” She should know – she has inspired me for years with how she’s managed to turn major changes into a beautiful life, filled with friends, family, work and wellness.

So, what is it about change that frightens us so? Often times, when we are faced with a major life change, we go through a period of fear and anxiety. It’s totally ‘normal’ for us to experience these emotions; but more often than not, when we reflect on the event after the fact, we feel quite differently. We use the phrase “hindsight is 20/20,” as we move forward describing the stress that occurred beforehand as nothing more than a nuisance. We forget how angry, mean, tired and frustrated we were as a result of our living in a place of fear. We forget that we may have hurt people along the way – which is not a healthy way to maintain and grow relationships. Now, what if we could take the same challenging situations and develop a new perspective about them, before we give in to stress? Can we actually choose to feel excitement, anticipation and possibility in the face of major change?

I believe that in most cases, we can. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. As an example, sudden death in a family rarely gives us the opportunity to choose our perspective. But many other life changes offer us enough time to consider a different approach: One that is healthier and more in-tune with our true Self. This raises a very specific question for me: are our reactions based on how we think we should act? Or are they based on pure emotion? In other words, are we doing/thinking/reacting to a life change in a manner that is consistent with what we’ve seen and learned throughout our life? Or are we truly feeling stressed, anxious and scared about the event? Nature v. Nurture. It’s an interesting thought.

Personally, I feel that our responses to life events are conditioned over time. This isn’t to say that our feelings aren’t real or valid. All feelings are real and valid. But it is to say that somewhere along the way we learned how to react to things, such as moving or employment changes, in a life-depleting manner. Instead of learning to embrace change and view it as the opportunity it is, filled with endless possibilities, we see it as something to be scared of and a source of worry. But change is one of the few things we can always rely on. Whether we like it or not, change is always going on around us and in our own lives. Change happens. And we desire change. If you take a minute to think about that, you’ll see just how profound that simple statement is: We desire change, and yet we fear it when it comes. It doesn’t make sense.

Perhaps we can look at it this way: many of us (myself included) daydream about all the “changes” we will/can make to improve our lives. We think: if I were thinner, richer, taller, shorter, had a degree, etc. I would be happier. These daydreams are dreams of change. And yet they are not remedies to the internal void that we seek to fill with these changes. They may definitely improve the circumstances of our lives, but eventually, they are not enough in and of themselves. So, the greatest change we can make is the change within – which is a change in attitude and perspective.

When we shift our internal focus to one of possibility, the world opens up to us. This is what my friend was talking about – and this is what she has done in her own life that I find so incredible. In moving to another country, she opened her heart and her life to the possibility of creating. She made choices that were life-affirming, which resulted in her being happier and more fulfilled. Sure she was nervous about leaving everything she knew behind her, but she quickly learned the value of change.

Change brings the greatest opportunities for personal growth; change allows dreams to become reality.

So, the next time you’re faced with the end of something old, or the beginning of something new, you will have a choice. Will you choose to see it as an opportunity for greater happiness and wellness; a chance to pursue your dreams? Or will you choose to reinforce old reactions and behaviors that may no longer serve you? Just a thought.

In Love and Light,


(P.S. I’ve added a new Poll to the sidebar – please vote through July 31st! Thanks!)