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Why Self-Care? November 29, 2016

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Health, self-care.
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Self What?

I’ve been thinking a lot about self-care lately. Have you?  For many people the stresses of the recent national election have been somewhat overwhelming. If you are pleased with the outcome, then maybe you should skip this post unless, of course, you’re stressed about something else.. But if you have been feeling worried, hopeless, angry, frustrated, or  overwhelmed then maybe you should read on.

Negative feelings have an impact on your quality of life

Negative feelings can sap your energy and have a big impact on the quality of your life. It can put a damper on your outlook for the future as well as your enjoyment of your day to day life. It can also affect your health–and not in a good way. So what’s the answer? I recommend something called radical self-care.

What is radical self-care?  Simply put, it is making a firm commitment to do those things for yourself that nourish and revive you. It’s a promise you make to yourself to do something for yourself each and every day. What that something  is  will be different for every person. Here are some examples (because I know you need them)

  •  10 minutes of meditation in the morning
  • playing board games with the kids
  • getting a massage
  • turning off the nightly news and spend that time with a book
  • watching a movie
  • taking vitamins every day
  • changing your diet in the way that you have been wanting to for a long time
  • avoiding toxic people
  • asking for what you want (really? OMG)

Why is it ‘radical?’

Where does the word ‘radical’ fit in? Well, the sad thing is that it’s quite radical in our society to put yourself first with the intention of nourishing or taking care of your own needs. We have a vibe in our society that if you engage in self-care you are one of those weird new-age types who lives in la-la land. We’re all about doing and doing and doing–but not for ourselves. And being radical about self-care–that is not letting anything get in the way of nourishing ourselves, well, that’s downright un-American. I offer you that maybe there’s a more useful way to look at self-care.

How much good can you do when you are depleted?

Why self-care then? Well, why not? How much good are you when you’re depleted, exhausted, sick, and stressed out? You can’t bring anything to others if your own well is dry. Plus, you deserve it…really. You don’t need a reason except that it’s good for you and you want to feel better that you do right now.

I’m going to be posting on this topic until I get it out of my system. Hope you’ll see fit to join me.

Do something to nourish yourself today–and tomorrow and the day after that. I’ll be back…

3 Ways to Be Happy When You Think You’re Not May 14, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations, Self-Development.
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 tango shoes by godwin lue Maybe you’ve noticed (and I hope you have) that I haven’t written a post since January—egad—really?  My family has been going through an extended difficult period and it’s caused me to be extremely preoccupied with support activities. I’ve been intending to sit down for weeks now and just write whether I had the energy and  passion for it or not. But alas, the spirit has been willing but the body weak.Or perhaps vice versa.

So today is the day for some reason known only to the gods—or God. I’ve been reflecting on how one goes about being happy in the face of being surrounded by challenges that are crazy-making rather than happy-making. And I have been working that little problem for months now, sistahs and bros.

Here’s what I’ve come up with. Hope it helps you because it seems most everyone I know is in the midst of something. I’m beginning to think that’s what was meant about the world coming to an end in 2012. Old stuff is ending and new stuff is coming in..But I digress.

So here are three strategies I’ve come up with. Not rocket science but they sure have helped me.

#1 Make a declaration

Make the declaration that you are going to be happy and peaceful even in the face of the crazy-making shit that happens. Yeah, so to do that, it’s probably helpful to stop thinking about events as “crazy-making shit.” Rather, start thinking of the events as merely events– ascribing no particular judgment to them. My massage therapist, Annie suggests that you pretend you’re watching a movie.  I like movies. And as far as the declaration goes, I envision stamping my foot at the Universe and saying, “I AM happy, and at peace, period. “

Does this magically fix everything? Of course not, but if you stay stubborn about it, it sure does make the joyful and peaceful moments more plentiful. Something’s better than nothing. Just remember that even if it seems not to be working, the fact that you have declared it paves the way for it to be so.

#2 Be wherever you are

A lot of us get really nutty because we have some kind of assessment that we should be happy all the time. And if we’re not, we judge ourselves not spiritual, grateful, resilient,or (fill in with your favorite guilt –producing adjective.) I believe it’s important to acknowledge that it’s ok to be down in the mouth sometimes. Even Mother Theresa felt that God had turned his back on her at times—and if it’s good enough for Mother Theresa, it’s good enough for me.

So if you’re sad—be sad. If you’re listless, be that really, really well. And if you’re happy then jump for joy and revel in it. Our emotions don’t cease to exist when we ignore them—they simply go underground never to be heard from again until our back starts hurting or we get some kind of disease. Just say no that! The way healing modalities therapies that help to release feelings that have taken up residence in your body. Do a web search—you’ll find a bunch of them.

#3 Find something that totally occupies your mind and do it

I’m the first one to admit that too much navel-gazing does not a fun-gal or guy make. Yes, it’s important to know where you are but you don’t have to make your problems a way of life, carrying them around like your favorite backpack. There are times when it’s helpful to distract yourself so that you can come back and see your life situation anew.

I remember in the old days when I used to balance my bank account using my checkbook. (before I could go on the internet and track my account daily.) I’d try and try to figure out where that missing $10.50 got to. Then I”d pick up and leave it for an hour or two. When I came back, the error jumped right out at me, begging to be corrected. It was there all the time but I just couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

This is a long way of saying—get a little distance from your stuff as often as you need to. And pick something that leaves little room for you to stew. I dance Argentine Tango—an activity that demands my complete attention. If I think about my problems, I suck as a dancer—or I get my foot stepped on. Don’t care for either of those alternatives so I stay present. And lo and behold, when I come back to my ‘problems,’ they look a little different.

So there you have it, boys and girls, the truth as I know it. It’s worked for me and I offer it to you with my very best wishes for peace and joy.


Three Ways to Appreciate Yourself When No One Else Seems To January 15, 2012

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Personal Observations.
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I guess we all go though times when can sing the old childhood favorite:

Nobody likes me; everybody hates me. Guess I’ll go eat worms. Big fat juicy ones, (and so on.)

You probably know the feeling. It seems that no one gets how great you are and what you have to offer, or they don’t seem to respect you for the great skills and talents you bring. Notice I have chosen the word ‘seem’ because most of the time when we are feeling that way it’s because of an inner dialogue we are having with ourselves. The more we stew on it, the worse it gets and pretty soon our mood is in the ditch and we are in the land of victimhood—one of my personal favorites.(NOT)

What can you do when you find yourself hanging out in this desolate wasteland? Well, just for you I have come up with some tried and true remedies to get you through the night, the day, or the week. Any longer than a week and you’re in danger of adopting a new way of life…yuk!

So here goes:

#1  Make what others think of you ‘mildly interesting.’

If you base your happiness solely on what others think of you, you’re looking for love in all the wrong places. The person who needs to think highly of you is? (for $1000 and a trip to Belgravia) Yep, that’s right—you. Often we are tempted to take personally what others say and do—making it all about us and our shortcomings or lack of value. Try this interpretation—it is never about you. It’s always about them. People see the world through their set of values and experiences—what I refer to as their background of obviousness or BOO. So if they are judging you as falling short, it’s more about their own world than it is yours. So how about making the assessments of others about you, mildly interesting?

I had a coach who used to tell me that when I would whine about something. Mildly interesting means you don’t discount it since their opinions may contain a nugget for you. However it also means that while their opinions are interesting, they do not rock your world.

#2  Make a list of your accomplishments/talents

We all have a very silly tendency to dwell on what’s not right about us. When you think about that it’s kind of crazy really. We have about a million choices in how we think of ourselves –or at least two. We can either think we are great or we can think we’re lacking. Hmmm, let me see. Which one of those choices makes us feel the best? We’re great or we are the dregs of the earth…let me take a WAG (wild-ass guess) here. I think it feels better to think we’re ok, worthy, good, talented, etc.. Now if it makes you feel good to think you are totally worthless, well, ok. But you don’t need a coach—I’d shoot for a psychologist or psychiatrist or some psych…

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine today about our tango milonga last night. He was commenting on the fact that he was much in demand as a partner. After that remark he said, “I hope I’m not being too big for my britches. (Being raised in Texas, that’s one of my favorite sayings.) My response was, “If you’ve got it, you may as well flaunt it.”

So take 5 or 10 minutes to sit down and write down the things that are good about you. No, not one word about what you need to improve. Bet you $10 you’ll feel better after doing it.

#3 Just Say NO

When I find myself going into the self-pity mode, or the I-am-an-unworthy- human-being place and I don’t feel like having a pity party, I just stomp my foot and say NO! You’d be surprised how much better this can make you feel. Especially the foot stomping part. Just make sure the little children are safely out of your way when you do it.

There’s something very empowering about deciding what mood you’re going to be in. And we all have the power to do that—if we choose.

I wouldn’t kid ya..


To Compare is To Despair April 27, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Personal Observations.
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(This is me..wasn’t I cute?)This is me at a dude ranch--not comparing anything.

So hi everyone. I have received tens of emails wondering where my posts have been for the last three weeks. I can only say that it’s been a combination of being a bit overwhelmed with stuff and my internet connection failing for two weeks in a row. But after spending much time with my computer, my router, and my modem,I am one with my electronics  and am back in business.

Were you intrigued by the title of today’s post? To compare is to despair. I learned that phrase from a friend of mine who has been successfully working a 12-step program for many years. One of the major goals of 12-step programs(as I understand it) is to give people the tools to handle their emotional/spiritual pain in a healthy way. And the tendency to compare ourselves (usually unfavorably) to others can cause a whole shit-load of pain.

How’d we start this anyway?

How do we come to this comparing stuff anyway? Experience and observation says that we hear these messages that we’re not quite measuring up to other people from the time we can understand language. “Look how well Susie cleans her plate,” “Tommy is a better batter than you are—you need to try harder,” “Sarah is a straight A student…if you would only apply yourself you could be like her.”

So we get into the habit of comparing ourselves to others as little whippersnappers and we just keep on going. But just because we become “adults” we aren’t suddenly immune to that habit. I recently had someone compare me to another person and find me wanting and didn’t I just buy into it?

Assessments are not true

But when I returned to sanity (a relative construct, to be sure) I realized that when someone compares me to another and finds me lacking he (or she) is simply offering an assessment of me. And my often-repeated mantra about assessments is that none of them are true. So if none are true and I am getting cozy with one that makes me feel like crap, well, maybe, just maybe, I should go with another one that makes me feel good.

If someone offers me the lovely assessment that I am negative and judgmental and acting out of alignment with my spiritual beliefs and thus comparing me with some mythical ‘saint,’ I can swallow it hook, line and sinker and feel awful about myself or I choose to look at it differently. I could instead say that I am doing the very best I can with the tools that I have and the actions I know to do. And that when I can be more loving and less judging I will.

What makes you unique and very cool?

Comparing ourselves to others is appropriate if we’re trying to set a new world record in some endeavor. But most of the time it’s not a productive enterprise. Instead why not try to focus on what it is about you that makes you a unique part of the world? Why not tell yourself that you don’t have to be like everyone else because truly you are not the same as anyone else.

Gifts Differing

Isabel Briggs Myers wrote a book which she called Gifts Differing in which she explored the 16 personality types that she identified as part of her life work—better known as the MBTI. She did not entitle the book Strengths Lacking. I love the point she made by choosing that title. We are all uniquely positioned to make an impact on the world based on the strengths we innately have.

Try this…

List 10 things you love about yourself. Yes, right here, right now.You can do it! And when you’ve finished it, slap those puppies up everywhere and focus on them daily. Revel in the fact you are pretty damn good. No compare, no despair.

‘Nuff said…


Who Are You Being? March 6, 2011

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Uncategorized.
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2418629901_0eceaf6e82One of my favorite questions of people I coach is “Who are you being?” (And one of my favorite most-hated questions is “Name 10 things you love about yourself.” However, I’ll save that for another day. )

What are you about?

Why do I love the question ‘Who are you being?” Because it really speaks to what you want to create in the world. And if you’re not conscious of what you’re creating, you are very likely to create a lot of muck and greatly annoy those around you. And since the guiding principle of my coaching is to get effective work done by intentionally building relationships with others, it follows that I’d like to know who you are being (or at least who you think you are being).

Who do you know?

When someone has a consciousness about who they’re being, it shows up in everything they do. Think of some of these people who are in your life. One person who comes to mind for me is Lori, the owner of Sangha Space in Media, PA where I take tango class. Lori is all about creating a tango community that is vibrant and welcoming. She speaks about these goals and her actions point to this commitment. Her energy and her desire to make everyone welcome is constant and when she’s not at the studio, the place is just not the same. Lori’s actions and words are a match and ‘who she is being’ is enriching her life and that of others. She is acting into a strong declaration about the purpose of her life.

You can be a whole bunch of you’s

Who are you being? There is no one answer to that question, of course. Sometimes I am being supportive, kind, and  loving. Other times I am being judgmental, impatient, and selfish. And I am ok with either end of the spectrum. However, I do have a declaration about who I want to be and judgmental, impatient, and selfish is not part of that declaration. So the trick is to constantly rely on my Observer—that element of myself that can step outside , take a look at how/what I am doing, and allow me to self-correct when I am not acting in integrity with my declarations about who I want to be.

Try this

This week figure out what you’d like to do more of in order to act in alignment with who you want to be. Kinder? More hard-working? Better organized? A friend to all? A setter of boundaries? You decide. Just decide. And then when someone asks you that annoying question about who you are being, you’ll have an answer.


Why Would You Say That? December 5, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Angel Writings, Personal Observations.
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by HK.Colin creative commons lic A few weeks ago I was having coffee with my friend Kanta who, like me, is a life coach. We were having a lively discussion about something or other and, in the course of our conversation, I said, “_____ is killing me.” She paused for a moment and said, “Is that really what you want to say about _______?” Her point, was that our language creates our reality. And even though we may think we are speaking metaphorically,we need to be conscious of what we are “languaging” lest it become a reality that we don’t much care for.

How about making up a new story for yourself?

I think and talk a lot about the power of our language to create but this week as I was contemplating my weight (yeah, really) I realized that this topic might prove useful to others as well. I was reflecting that in 2010 I have successfully gotten rid of 30 extra pounds that I didn’t need. (See the post Hcg and Me and More About HCG). You notice I didn’t say lost—as we can often find what we have lost or misplaced. As I reflected on that I realized that I have changed my whole way of relating to the topic of weight—a very dicey topic for many of us. I used to say to myself (and others), “It’s not really hard to lose weight, it’s just hard to keep it off.” I realized this week that I no longer have that story about weight loss (and re-gain). Somewhere I have lost that particular story and have adopted a new one. My new story is that maintaining weight loss is just a matter of paying attention and applying a little discipline. There that sounds—and feels– a whole lot better, doesn’t it?

Language creates!

Ontological coaching, a variety of coaching technique in which I was trained, has a great interest in language and how it creates our reality. It can do so in both positive ways and not-so-positive ways. Every great creation whether it’s a unique piece of art, an architectural marvel, a technological innovation, or a new recipe for jalapeno jelly was first created in someone’s thoughts and conversations before it manifested into physical form.

We an also create yukky stuff too. But I’m not going to get into that. (See my post about the economy, Just Say Yes)

Visual Evidence

Doreen Virtue, PhD and Grant Virtue have written a book called Angel Words: Visual Evidence of How Words Can Be Angels in Your Life. Doreen and her son Grant often record her podcasts. Grant began to notice that when Doreen said the word ‘angel’ the visual representation of that word’s vibration on his computer was large. In her words:

When I said “angel” the graph looked like a celestial being soaring from the heaven…”

The pair went on to notice that the words that are widely considered positive and feel-good were significantly “larger” than those considered negative. They found this to be consistently the case. Her conclusion from this:

Here was tangible evidence of high and low vibrations within speech. The positive words exhibited a much bigger impact, like light shining radiantly. Meanwhile, the negative ones looked tight and constricted.

Watch your language

So now I circle back to my original point—be mindful of the language you use. Rather than saying “ My brain is fried,” try saying, “ I need to rest for a few moments.”  Instead of saying “The world is a difficult place,” go with “Life is interesting and full of surprises.”

And you could try deputizing someone else to help you notice and modify your language choices. Like Kanta did for me.

Oh Happy Day…



The Blame Game—Just Say No November 13, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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scene of the crime 003 So here I am– good and ready to write the next installment of my musings about blame and how to get over it. Thank you to those of you who have emailed and spoken to me about the issue. It seems that there are very few of us who are immune to this lovely habit. I also learned quite a lot about blame and how others view it in the session that I recently had with a group of managers. I told my story which seemed to ignite their interest and we used it as a jumping off point for talking about blame and how to substitute something different. (Or was it that they just like to see their coach in the hot seat for a change?  Hmmmm)

If you read my last post you know that I was in quite a snit about my next door neighbors cutting down a beautiful old oak tree that was in the front of our houses. If you haven’t read it and you’d like to, here’s the link : Blame,Shame and Other Delights.  I was angry and immediately started blaming them for their actions. However, I am somewhat addicted to being happy—or at the very least feeling peaceful—and this agitated state was very disturbing to me. So I had a strong declaration that I needed to move into a different mood, pronto. Well, at least as pronto as I could. And I am happy to say that I have done that. But it took something to get there.

I did it—sort of

So how did I do it? Through superhuman and amazingly inspired action—well, not really SUPER human. But I dug through my spiritual tool kit and pulled out some super-duper tools to assist me. First I went to my favorite standby, Byron Katie. I have referred to her work in previous posts. Katie says that when you fail to accept what is, you make yourself miserable. Here’s a quote from a small blue book I received at one of her workshops.

I have simply stopped arguing with reality. How do I know the wind should blow? It’s blowing. How do I know this is the highest order? It’s happening. Arguing with WHAT IS is like teaching a cat to bark. Hopeless. I know that reality is good just as it is, because when I argue with it, I experience tension and frustration. It doesn’t feel natural or balanced. When I recognize this fact, action becomes clear, kind, fearless, simple, fluid and effortless.

So in my case, I stopped railing against the lost tree. How do I know the tree should be gone? It’s gone.

Took my own advice

In addition to applying Katie’s work, I also chose to see that for my neighbors the decision to cut down the tree made perfect sense. I found a quote from a letter I wrote about a year ago to one of my fortunate coaching clients.  Here’s the relevant part:

Everyone is reasonable; we just don’t always understand what the reason is. This works for me when I get caught up in my judgments about the seemingly incomprehensible behavior of another person. When you find yourself shaking your head about someone’s (or a group’s) stupidity, just assure yourself that the behavior makes perfect sense to them in their particular world. Having a sense of curiosity about what why it makes sense to them seems more productive to me that getting twisted about the fact that they don’t see the world as you do.

Great advice, if I do say so myself. I just had to start taking it, and I did.

Innocent as a baby

In addition there’s another way of thinking about people you want to blame. And that is to see them as completely innocent. They are doing what they did from a place of taking care of their lives—often a place of fear. To paraphrase A Course in Miracles, there are only two emotions, fear and love. When you are not seeing love, you are seeing fear. I began to see that my neighbors were fearful that the tree would fall on their house or their car, causing damage. When I focused on the fact that they were taking care of their fears, it became easier for me to let it go.

Before you pronounce me Mother Theresa 2, let me tell you that I still have my moments. I’m human. However, I am committed to being a better human each day.

Are you in?


Blame, Shame and Other Delights October 31, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Environmental Concerns, Personal Observations.
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I’ve been thinking of writing a blog entry about forgiveness. However, I had a tough week. Without whining too much, let’s just say that a number of things did not go the way I would have liked. Rather than bore you with all the gory details, I’m going to settle on the event that I found most upsetting.

I live in a nice little neighborhood which was described by someone I used to date as a “Norman Rockwell neighborhood.” This beauty is due in no small part to the trees which line the streets and live in people’s yards. My own little property does not have any shade trees on it but I do have three pine trees and two dinky little trees that were planted by the borough before I moved in 10 years ago. They have not grown much and I was told this week that they aren’t meant to be shade trees…oh great, I’ve been patiently waiting for 10 years. With all of this said, my favorite tree was an 80+ year old oak tree which grew a few feet from my property line and provided shade and beauty during the summer months. The tree grew on the part of our property known as ‘easement’ which means that technically it is not our property but the borough’s.

For reasons unknown to me, my next door neighbors decided that the tree needed to come down and repeatedly dogged the borough tree manager to take it down. He complied with their request on Monday morning. I looked out to chain saws, trucks and frenzied activity. I was outraged by this on so many levels I can’t even begin to describe it—if you read this blog regularly you know I try for 500 words and I am now at 300. So let’s just say I was angry and upset.

Now to the point of this post. I lapsed into anger, outrage, and blame directed at my neighbors—who have been good neighbors for 10 years. Granted they don’t share my political leanings and blithely assume that I share theirs but that’s another story. (I have come up with an assessment that Republicans don’t value trees/the environment but I realize that it’s based on somewhat limited grounding and I am willing to let go of that one or send it on to Margaret and Helen for full development on their blog. Margaret and Helen’s Blog )

Back to my point, I am now sitting in a place of blame and I gotta tell you, it’s not a great place to be. Since I am in the process of getting ready to explore this very topic with a group of managers this coming week, I’ve been giving it some thought. Blame can happen when we either feel powerless or don’t wish to take a look at our own responsibility in creating a situation. Ok, so far so good. So in the case of my lost tree, I felt powerless to change the event, wasn’t consulted or apprised of the situation in advance. Feeling powerless makes some people feel like victims. As for me, it makes me bloody mad!

I’ve also been thinking that it gets real easy to blame other people when you’re very adept at blaming yourself for things. I think I’m pretty good at that. So what resides in me (or you) easily and quickly gets pointed back at others. Do I blame myself for the tree’s demise? No—but I could make a list of one or two other things that I have blamed myself for.

Well, I am now up to 600 words and I’m just getting warmed up. So I’ve decided to give you a “To Be Continued.” I plan to write the next installment on how to step out of blame. It’s a mind game that has to reach your heart at some point. And maybe by that time I will even have done the work myself. After all I did write a post last week entitled Being Kinder Than Necessary. Last week’s post

If you feel called to, please write a comment about your own experiences with blame and challenges with forgiving others. In the absence of that, I will of course have some thoughts.

Stay tuned..




Being Kinder Than Necessary October 24, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in Self-Development.
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ccphoto by glamlife.studentportal A few months ago I came across a wooden plaque in an antique store that said, “Be kinder than necessary.” It came home with me and sits in a place of honor in my living room where I see it daily. I think that’s a good  precept to live by. I’ve been wanting to write about kindness for some time and today seems to be the right day. Kindness is a quality that I treasure and the lack of it (better known as unkindness) dismays me. The evening news—or any news– is a great place to be dismayed. When the debates about the health care plan were going on I was awed (and not in a good way) at the behaviors that were going on in the town meetings. I mean, it seems to me to be the height of unkindness to begrudge people of lesser fortunes the right to receive health care and then to bring a gun into a meeting to make your point. Yikes…

It’s not just in the news

Current events are not the only place I notice a lack of kindness. As an executive coach I get a chance to hear about it quite often. For some reason when people get together in companies the default position seems to be that of negativity rather than giving others a break.

What do you do if it doesn’t come naturally?

So what does it take to be a kind person? Well, I find that when I not meeting my own standards around kindness I am sitting in judgment of the other person. I have a declaration that I will always grant legitimacy, listen carefully to where the other person is coming from and try my hardest to see what might have his view point make sense in his world. And in spite of that, I sometimes find myself smack dab in the middle of negative assessments. So how to get out of that mindset is a constant source of thought and effort for me.

Marianne Williamson, a well-known teacher and lecturer of The Course in Miracles, once told a story that has stuck with me. Marianne’s web site She said that when we are in our judgments about another person, listing all of their faults and hating them for it, if we could check in with God on the subject Her (or His) response would be, “I like her.” So I guess if it’s good enough for God then it’s good enough for me. And if you don’t believe in God, you probably ought to read a different blogger because even though I have room for your belief system, I can’t get close to speaking to it.

Have a standard

I guess most of us can agree that if we were all a little kinder this world would be a better place to live. However, I can’t control what everyone else is doing. What I can do is offer appreciation to those who I see being kind to others in the hope that their example will inspire. And I can can hold myself to a standard about exhibiting kindness even in the face of resistance to it.

Be kinder than necessary… Those around you will love you for it.


I’ve always wanted to…. October 3, 2010

Posted by Ann Bertorelli in ontological coaching, Self-Development.
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tangoshoesccPeterForret.jpg How often have you heard someone say, “I’ve always wanted to…” usually followed by a wistful or sad smile and a change of subject. You probably have an ‘always wanted to’ list that you periodically add to—at least I hope you do. If you don’t then your life is missing something really important.

A partial list of my ‘always wanted to’ is as follows (the part about the dominatrix costume has been left out):

  • live in Italy 
  • learn the Argentine tango
  • write a book
  • work in a bookstore
  • visit Seattle
  • go to Chautauqua New York
  • sew the perfect fitting pair of pants
  • knit a beautiful sweater
  • learn to roller skate really well
  • return to being a vegetarian
  • visit Santa Fe

I’m happy to say that I am in the process of doing a couple of items on the list, with the tango being my most recent endeavor. Now if I can just get to the point where I can say I do the tango without considering myself a big fat liar I will buy myself a pair of stiletto tango shoes..

The thing about your ‘always wanted to do’ list is that it speaks to unfulfilled but not unreachable possibilities. By giving language to these things you get closer to fulfilling dreams in your life. And achieving your dreams, even if they seem insignificant to the rest of the world makes life richer and more fulfilling. There is nothing sadder to me than the person who has no interests, no aspirations, no possibilities. I want to tell him (or her) to try very hard to get a dream and then believe that it’s possible. Believing you have no possibilities  can lead to drastic actions like jumping off bridges or the like.

When you can believe that something is possible you can begin to move toward it even though that movement may be in teeny tiny  baby steps. Then opportunities that you never expected wander into your life. But if you haven’t put language to it (sometimes known as intention—more about that another day) how the heck can you expect to find your dreams, let alone live them?

So here’s your mission should you choose to accept it

Make a list of your ‘always wanted to do.’ Include the ones that you have in fact done. Then spend some time getting cozy with the items on that list  Daydream about the joys and pleasures that will be yours when you experience some of the as yet unattained items. Then pick one to go for. Possibilities are great but without accompanying action they are a bit like window shopping at a bakery. Who the heck wants to do that?