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Promises to Keep

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Have you ever wondered why a resolution you made never got fulfilled or why something you longed for never happened?

Sometimes it's because your heart wasn't really in the dream. It may have been someone else's (often a parent's) idea of what would be best for you, but, because you either wanted to please that person or because the idea had been around for so long that you forgot it wasn't yours, you adopted it. It may also have been a dream which had once been yours but which died a quiet death while you weren't looking.

How are you going to accomplish this? A dream without a plan for fulfilling it will generally remain a dream forever.

A dream needs to be yours; it needs to be clear; and it needs to have a plan for fulfillment. Once you have these three elements you have the equivalent of a vehicle to carry you towards your goal. Then two more ingredients are needed: you, the driver, and motion.

People (myself included) often hope that they won't be required to do anything strenuous or unsettling in order to have that they want. They would prefer to simply visualize their dreams, say affirmations frequently, and hope for the best. This might work, but I wouldn't count on it.

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The Joy of Inertia

The importance of honoring one's commitment and taking action was reinforced for me a while back. I have a particular dream: to write and have published both nonfictional and fictional books. Several months ago I was in the early stages of making plans; in fact, my only plan at that point was to make a plan, and I didn't quite know where to begin.

A friend emailed me a notice about an upcoming meeting of a recently-formed local publishing group for authors, agents, illustrators, and others connected to or interesting in publishing. An author who wrote, co-wrote, and ghostwrote books on spiritual subjects was to speak. I thought that this would be a good place to meet and network with like-minded people, and decided to attend.

My intention to go was firm until about an hour before the event; then it began to wobble. I was really tired, and I didn't feel like going out. I felt like staying home, reading, and eating ice cream. I didn't like to drive at night.

I kept on telling myself these and other reasons for not going until I had myself hypnotized. By 6:15 p.m. (the meeting started at 7 p.m.) I had decided not to go.

I was at the point at which many people abandon their dreams. They don't call it abandonment; they have simply come up with a variety of compelling reasons for not going forward. Sometime in the future when circumstances are more favorable they'll act.

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Beyond Inertia

At 6:20 p.m. I realized that I wasn't happy with my decision not to go, and also realized that some kind of fear was fueling my reasons (which I now labeled as excuses) against motion. I imagined myself at the meeting, and the first thing I saw was my not knowing anyone there and feeling like a social misfit. That was a very unpleasant feeling.

I then looked to see if any other forms of fear were lurking, and saw that as much as I welcomed the possibilities of belonging to such a group I also feared those possibilities. If I went to the meeting I would be making a commitment to myself as a writer; moreover, I would be to some (as yet unknown) extent be making that commitment public.

At 6:25 p.m. I asked myself, "What are the worst things which could happen tonight?" They were that I would feel out of place and socially inept, and that people would know I had ambitions as a writer.

Then I changed my approach to ask myself what the best things that could happen would be. I imagined seeing people whom I knew and meeting people who would be interesting, that I might have a good time and learn something, as well as become part of a supportive network.

I thought about the commitment I'd made to myself, and decided that I'd rather face my fears than live with regret. At 6:30 p.m. I got into the car and went to the meeting.

I did see some people I knew, and met some new people who were interesting. I learned a lot about the book publishing business, and connected with some people who were committed to exchanging information about self-publishing. There were also some excellent home-baked desserts.

Oh, and I did have to stand up and describe my intentions as a writer. Anticipating this was dreadful, but it wasn't so difficult, and left no lasting scars on my psyche.

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Don't Give Yourself a Break;

Give Yourself an Opportunity

This experience reminded me that when I make a commitment all of the reasons why I don't want to keep it will come to the surface, speaking in the voice of a part of myself I call the Inner Comforter. The Inner Comforter wants to keep me right where I am (reading a book and eating ice cream). It doesn't want me to take risks, to feel afraid, to court rejection or failure. It poses as my friend. (See the article at It is in fact a friend only of my fears, and my fears are no friends to my desire to fulfill my dreams.

Its voice isn't always as clear cut as it was for me (I've learned to listen for it.) You can be suspicious that it's guiding you into inertia when:

You look at last New Year's list of resolutions and feel a deep sense of failure.

Someone asks you about your plans to: get a new job, move, terminate your dead-end relationship, or whatever you've announced as a goal and you a) change the subject, b) come up with a dazzling array of reasons for changing your mind.

A great opportunity arises, and you don't want to take advantage of it.

Despite all your good intentions your life isn't happening the way you want it to.

Should any of the above occur you may want to consider using my simple plan for action.

  1. Notice that you are a) uncertain about what to do, b) don't want to do anything out of the ordinary.
  2. Listen to the excuses you're making to yourself.
  3. Ask yourself what you're really afraid of.
  4. Ask yourself the worst things that could happen.
  5. Ask yourself the best things that could happen. You will probably not have much trouble thinking of the worst things, but may have to get creative when it comes to imagining the best things.
  6. Get really excited about the best possibilities; imagine them in detail.
  7. Take action.

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Green Calcite helps us to break out of rigid thought patterns and habits. ("I never go out at night;" "I don't know what to say to strangers.") and can help us to gain a new perspective on our lives.

Charoite is valuable in bringing fears to the surface, whether these fears are known or unknown.

Carnelian can be described as the "be here now" stone. It helps us to focus on the present, rather than on the habits and fears of the past or on the uncertainty of the future.

Rutilated Quartz is the principal stone for taking action. The high energy charge of this crystal is particularly effective in releasing energy blockages.

Clear Quartz helps to remind us of who we really are, being who are bigger than our collection of habits and fears.

Rock Water (Bach) relates to green calcite in that it is helpful for anyone who has an area of life where set beliefs make adaptation to change and growth difficult.

Aspen and Mimulus are the Bach Flower Remedies relating to fear. Mimulus is indicated for known fears; while Aspen is recommended for unknown fears. I have noticed that even when someone thinks they know what their fears are, there may be some unknown ones lurking around. Thus, Aspen is usually a good choice.

Cayenne (FES) is the floral equivalent of rutilated quartz, and very good when one needs to get moving.

In my experience Sagebrush (FES) Is not the gentlest of flower remedies; however, for people who feel that they need to be jolted out of emotional inertia it will help one to see and discard those energy patterns which are standing in the way of true self-realization.

Beyond the Rainbow
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