Paradise is Sharing...

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Second Agreement...

The Four Agreements ~ Don Miguel Ruiz
"Dogs wearing clothes is just WRONG! If you want to have a baby, have a baby. Let the dog be a dog."  

My jaw dropped and my face flushed when I read the comment on my Facebook wall resulting from the pictures I posted of our Autumn walk.  I was blown away that a woman I barely knew would say something so insensitive.  I sat on my fingers and waited for my head to cool before typing a response.
We live in Maine, and we share the woods with sportsmen of all kinds - 4-wheelers, snowmobilers, fishermen, hikers - and most importantly, from mid-October until the end of November, we share our woods with hunters.

I have always respected hunters.  They help thin our deer herd, keeping down population and disease, and responsible hunters use the deer meat to stock their freezers.  The challenge is sharing the woods with people who are in hot pursuit of big game, who are carrying big guns.  I would say (if I had to guess) 95% of Maine hunters are responsible.  They follow the rule books.  They identify their targets before they shoot, and they pay attention to no-hunting zoning and houses.  But its the ones who aren't as responsible that you have to trust your life with... and the life of my dogs.  Even if you are walking in a "no hunting zone" all it takes is one wayward hunter to take you down.  To take personal responsibility for my safety, and the safety of my dogs, we wear blaze orange from day one of hunting season until hunting season is over.  I've had hunters walking on the trail thank me for wearing blaze.  It's common sense to protect the safety of everyone so we can all enjoy the beauty of the Maine woods. 

So, when we discovered we couldn't find our dogs vests from the year before, we decided to go buy new ones.  Unfortunately, everyone had the same idea we did because the dog safety vest shelves at Pet Quarters were empty.  A trip to the pet department at Walmart turned out to be a bust as well.  Getting disappointed that we weren't going to be able to take the dogs out that day, MyHoney suggested small kids t-shirts.  For $7.00 each, we walked out with an extra small toddlers shirt for Lexi, and a small for Derby.  I had my doubts whether they would fit, or the dogs would want to wear them, but we went for it.  Turned out, they loved their shirts - and oddly enough, were the best behaved I've ever seen them on a walk.

 Just four short weeks ago, MyHoney was still in the hospital.  Four weeks ago, a walk like this one - out in the glorious sun, out with our two dogs, out holding each others hands as leaves drifted down from the trees, would not have been possible.  Because of the bargain at Walmart, and our dogs willingness to participate, we could safely share the woods with the hunters on a glorious Saturday in October.

So, when I read the comment from my "friend" about how ridiculous she thought it was to put clothes on a dog, and how I should just have a baby if I wanted to dress something up so badly ... it hurt.  I took it personally.  I got upset.  I got defensive about my choice to stay childfree, and angered that she didn't even know I had a choice.  What if I couldn't have children?  Her insensitive comment would have cut to the core.  After a while, I was not only angry how her comment effected me, but I was angry about how her comment effected every woman I knew.  I have close friends who are desperately trying to have a baby, only to have their dreams crushed each month. 

Then I got upset for my dogs.  Of course I love my dogs.  I dote on them -they are my joy.  They lift me up, they are by my side, they are my constant companions.  And you know what? Even if I had kids, I would still love and dote on my dogs.  There is enough love in my heart for every member of my family.

I spent so much time and energy chewing on this comment (that may have been written in jest, or as an attempt to be funny) I realized that I wasn't doing myself any favors.  I was creating drama and needless suffering over something someone said - I was taking it personally.  I sat for a few minutes this morning - practiced the Metta Bhavana, and blessed her for teaching me this lesson.    I then sat in gratitude for my life, gratitude for my choices and decisions, gratitude for MyHoney, my dogs, our life.  Gratitude for our lovely walk on a beautiful Autumn day.  I closed my eyes and imagined holding his hand, feeling the joy in my heart, and hearing his laughter as our dogs joyfully bounded through the trees.

Paradise is here, Paradise is now.... Paradise is not taking anything personally.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ordinary, Average Life ....

"I wish to live ever as to derive my satisfactions and inspirations from the commonest events." Thoreau

I feel as though I am stuck in a Beatles song these days "It's just another day... du du du du du... Just another day..."

I know part of it's the weather, part of it's procrastination, and part of it is still feeling shell shocked from last months health scare that MyHoney went through..... but what ever it is, I am ready to lift out of it.  So, I decided to do something different.  No, not anything drastic like sky diving, or getting a tattoo, or hiking the application trail.  I just decided to break my routine, and instead of going straight home after work, I dropped in at a Meet Up at my local bookstore for Aspiring Writers. 

Perhaps to people who have aspired to be writers all their lives, sitting in a coffee shop, tapping away at the keys of a lap top, and sipping lattes is an ordinary average day.  To me, it was as foreign as stepping into another country without a passport.  I walked in, and there they were - fervently working on their masterpieces, some with their pads of paper, others with their macbooks and laptops.  I felt like a fraud.  What am I doing here?  I almost turned around and walked out, until I saw a familiar face, and she saw me too - she waved me over to sit with her, and there I was.... amongst writers .... holy shit.

Since this was a write in, introductions and small talk stayed to a minimum, then they got back to the task at hand... writing.  Ya... I guess I should write something.  Something brilliant of course.  You know, just like everyone else here at the table.  Yup - that's what I'll do... I'll write. I pulled out my laptop, arranged my pens and papers neatly before me on the desk, and waited (then prayed) for a lightening bolt of inspiration to hit. 

Ten minutes of checking Facebook statuses later, I stole glances at my cohorts like the kid who forgot to study during final exams.  Crap. They are all writing away - expertly.  I looked at the page in front of me ... my brilliance began and ended with the word "The .... "  Gawd... what am I doing here?  Cecilia started having a field day.   I am SO out of my element! Yes, yes, you are Cilly.... it's exactly what you needed, a break from your ordinary average life.... and amazing, above average and exciting can be uncomfortable at first.  Suck it up Cecilia - I'm taking you out of your comfort zone.

Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.  ~ Brian Tracy

A few paragraphs in, I started to forget about myself, and started to just enjoy being with other creative people.  I started to feel the creative energy in the room, and harnessed it as my fingers flew over the key board.  Stopping to sit back and admire the words on the page, I looked up and noticed that some of the other writers - experienced writers - ones who write for a living, were looking up from their notebooks, macbooks and laptops with pensive looks on their faces... searching for the right word, the right phrase - waiting (perhaps praying) for inspiration.  Maybe I belong here after all.

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now .... Paradise is being willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable to try something new.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Yesterday, MyHoney and I took a Sunday drive.  We started at Trader Joes and stocked up on our favorite cereals, breads, meats and cheeses, then we visited my parents farm and loaded my Subaru with fresh pumpkins, squash and produce.As the sun dipped low in the sky, we drove past cow pastures and fields to  Orchard Hill Farm to get apples.  Of course, a visit to Erin and Roberts is not complete without a hot cup of cider and a home-made cider donut.

Once home, I unloaded our treasures and filled the fruit bowl.  The pears and bananas from Trader Joes arranged beautifully with the large, red, shiny Cortland Apples from the apple orchard.  I stood back and admired my good fortune.  There is nothing like a full fruit bowl on my table.  Nothing makes me feel more content, more secure...  a cornucopia of fresh fruit on my table is trully my definition of abundance.

Growing up, a full fruit bowl signified good times.  My mothers kitchen was filled with the spicy smell of pumpkin bread, banana bread, apple pies, and date cookies.  My mother has always kept a fruit bowl on the kitchen counter, and the contents of it signified the state of the household.

During lean times, the fruit bowl may have apples in it that my Dad bartered rutabagas for... it may have some bananas, but oranges, pears and plums were a rare treat.  I remember when we were  little, we would ride in the front seat of my fathers 1965 Ford truck as he delivered rutabagas to market.  Dad would back the truck up to dock, and we would instantly be chilled in the refrigerated warehouse.  We would walk through sheets of plastic that curtained the chilly interior, and our breath hung in front of us like clouds.  After we helped unload a hundred bushel of rutabagas, the warehouse manager would hand each of us an orange - a huge, juicy Florida orange.  I still salivate when I think about the citrus smell of the rind, and the sweet juicy flesh of the fruit dripping down our chins and hands as we devoured our treats on the way home.  It made the ache in my back worth while.

It wasn't until I was much older and out on my own that I started to connect my sense of prosperity and abundance to the state of my fruit bowl.  In my 20's when living off Ramen noodles and Kraft Dinner, I felt gratitude when my dad would hand me a sack of apples for helping him with a day of harvest.  Later, I started to notice my affinity to linger in the produce section of the market, longing over the fresh berries, pears, and plums.  But it wasn't until I was unemployed, down to my last dime, and feeling lower than I had ever felt, that it fully dawned on me.  Sitting at my kitchen table, trying to pay a few meager bills... I saw it.... my empty fruit bowl.  It screamed poverty.  There wasn't even a single apple in it.  I felt sadder than I ever felt.  My fruit bowl is empty ... it's winter... I can't afford to fill it.

Since that day, I won't take having an over flowing fruit bowl for granted.  I admire each shiny apple.  I gaze at the matte finish of the pear, and imagine the sandy sugary texture of it's flesh.  I imagine baking the bananas into bread or sprinkling them with brown sugar and mixing them into hot oatmeal.  I pick up the oranges and remember the chilly warehouse, the friendly warehouse manager, and the plastic curtains on the dock doors.  A full fruit bowl means I am doing something right....

What signifies abundance to you?  What fills your fruit bowl of prosperity?


Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now... Paradise is having fruit in my bowl....

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Creating Yourself...

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life's about creating yourself." ~ George Bernard Shaw

When I first saw the light pine cathedral ceilings, the pine cupboards and the light colored walls with the sunlight streaming in the large west-facing windows.... I instantly saw myself living there.  I didn't know who "myself" was... but the person who lived in a place like this was someone I wanted to be.  I imagined this woman to be meditative, soulful, earthy, nature-loving.... a calm hippy chick living in tune with herself and her surroundings.  I wanted to be her ... I wanted to live her life.  

The woman I was currently - stressed, broken, worn out, and used up by the world could never live here.  She could never be roomies with the Zen, tea-drinking, book reading, journal writing woman who would obviously deserved this place.   

My soon-to-be landlord showed me the features of the apartment, but I had long stopped listening.  I was still thinking about the Zen tea drinking woman who lived here. Suddenly, I wanted this place.  Odd, because hours before, I couldn't imagine leaving my house, my soon-to-be ex-husband and my old life behind.  Now, seeing this sanctuary with its adorable little deck,  I imagined myself sitting in the sun, drinking tea and reading books ... lots and lots of books.  I felt excited.  I stepped out to the rail and took in the view and breathed in a deep breathful of pine scented air.  A few chickens meandered by, and I could hear someone playing jazz music.  Something deep inside whispered "Cilly, you belong here... You are the Zen hippy tea-drinking meditative chic who deserves to live here"  Where do I sign?   A little later I was signing a year lease .... pen in hand I signed my way into a new chapter of my life.

That day was the first time in my life that I realized that I could create myself.  I could create the life I wanted, I could create the space I needed, the sanctuary I craved, the life I dreamed about.  This apartment served as a blank canvas to shape a new life out of the rubble that my old life had left behind.  It was the first time in my adult life that my sandcastle had been washed away by the tide, and I was in charge of rebuilding a new sand castle anyway I saw fit.  I could build a bigger, better, more amazing sandcastle, with a little deck, a library of books, chickens and jazz music.  

Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Since then, I've had to rebuild a few sandcastles.  My job, my love life, my relationships, my business... but just knowing that whatever I've built, even if it gets wiped out by the tide, or kicked over by bullies, or if I decide to smash it down myself - I can recreate it.  I can build it bigger, better, and more suited to my needs at the time.  And, I am finding, at every new attempt, I am getting damn good at building sandcastles.

Recreating myself was once a scary, daunting and confusing undertaking... but the more I do it, the more I accept the impermanence of life, and understand the joy of letting go... I can actually get excited about the process of change.  It can be exhilarating to see each new outcome -and sometimes the new outcomes are better than the original plans.

I can appreciate Mr. George Bernard Shaw's quote because while I found myself in new places, new situations, new jobs, new relationships - I created myself.  I created the person I wanted to be in those places, in those relationships and in those situations.  I can not control the tide - but I can build the castle.

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now .... Paradise is creating, and recreating yourself. 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

When someone asks you if you're a god, you say "YES"! ...

Five years ago,  I drove to Massachusetts  - a little nervous, a little apprehensive, and a lot excited.  I was on my way to attend the first module of coaching training at iPEC Coaching.  I walked into the room and was greeted by twelve other amazing people who would soon become my life long friends.  I sat in a semi circle, and Stephanie, our leader warmly greeted us "Welcome Coaches"....

Wha???? I haven't learned anything yet! Why is she referring to me as a coach?  I'm not a coach!  But... as I learned, simply by making the commitment to myself, to my future and to my life, and by agreeing to walk the talk, do the work, and learn the material with the best of my ability, and apply it with the upmost integrity - I was a coach... all I was waiting for was the certification to be printed at the end of hundreds of hours later.  

Months later, not according to "plan," I lost my corporate job.  I was almost done with my coaching curriculum to attain my coaching certification.  While being consoled by MyHoney, and talking about what I would do next, he suggested I attend his networking meeting the next day.  Dispite feeling overwhelmed and underprepared, I agreed to go.  One by one, each professional went around and took turns introducing themselves, telling the group what they did, and what would be a good referral for them.  When it came to my turn, I stood and meekly said I was Priscilla Hansen, and "I was trying to start a coaching business"  On the way home, MyHoney offered constructive feedback, and pointed out that I said I was "trying" to be a coach and "hoping" to start my own business.  He pointed out it didn't sound confident.  In my best Lucy tone I lamented  "I don't feel confident right now! I don't even have my certification yet! I don't have any clients, I don't even have a name for my business!" (you BLOCKHEAD!) and that is when he turned to me and said "When someone asks if you are a god - you say "YES!"... And when someone asks you if you are a coach -you say "absolutely yes!" 

Since then, I have earned my certification, created and branded my business, and have many amazing clients.  I have no hesitation when introducing myself and explaining my profession to others.    It's become part of my identity - part of who I am. 

But now I am at the point I want to expand on my identity - I want to add "writer" to the mix.  I put out on Facebook that I would like to start or join a writers group, and a friend made an introduction to me to another writer.  He messaged me saying "Hey - I was told you are a writer"..... at first, I almost corrected him.  No... I'm not really a writer... I just write this little blog, a few articles, some copy for my website.... but then MyHoney's all time favorite movie quote came back to me ... "when someone asks if you are a god, you say YES!"  ... and I responded just that way - YES, I am a writer!  And he invited me to an artists/creative group - and I went... and I made amazing connections I wouldn't have other wise made if I denied myself my true identity - after all, I walk the talk of a writer - I write things, I put my work out there for people to read....ergo, I am a writer. 

When have you been asked if you were a god?  Did you say yes?  Do you need to practice saying "yes, I am a runner, I am an artist, I am a musician, I am a singer, I am ...... " Even if your confidence tells you otherwise?  If you can dream it, you can be it... so just BE your dream.  Be a god!

Paradise is Here, Paradise is now - Paradise is saying yes, I am a god!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Memories of Harvest...

"Makes weak backs weaker, strong backs stronger..."  my Dad explained to the new crew as we gathered in the field on a frosty cold morning.  I've heard the speech at least twenty seven, maybe twenty eight times before... considering I was 37, and I was handed a knife for the first time when I was about ten years old.  Dad extended a knife to me, wooden handle first with a number 8 on it... "You've got knife eight"  ... he flashed a grin at my grimmace, and continued handing out the knife assignments to the rest of the crew.

I watched Dad demonstrate how you shave off the "side whiskers" with the side of your blade, and then "lop off the top" with the 12" machete.  I looked around at the crew - some characters were sketchy at best, Most in their late teens and early 20's ... a few 30's and 40's mixed in for good measure, and hoped these characters could be trusted with a blade that could be used to cut down a rainforest.  It takes a special kind of someone to answer an ad that says "Farm work - $8.00 an hour"..

I bent my knees, extended my back down the rest of the way, and assumed the position I would likely be in for the next 8-10 hours.  I reached down, pulled up the first rutabaga of the season, shaved off the side whiskers, turned the root vegetable expertly and lopped off the top.  The vegetable landed with a thud in the middle of the four rows the eight workers were leapfrogging down.  I tossed the greens to the side, and reached down to pull the second rutabaga of the season.  Just a million friggin trillion tons to go...

About mid-way down the row, I passed six workers and was far ahead enough to feel I deserved to stretch my back.  Slowly, I rose from stooped over to standing, my lower back protested.  I pressed my knife flat against my lower back like a stretching board and leaned back.  Looking down the row, I saw my father working faster than men a third his age.  Heck, he was twice my age and was kicking my ass.  As he cut, he talked politics, farming, hunting and fishing.  I knew all his stories by heart - I've heard them at least 100 times.  Each time, the fish got bigger, the bucks antlers got larger, and the politics... well, the politics were always the same -against the farmer. 

I took a final stretch, and continued to pull, cut, toss, pull, cut, toss... until I got to the end of the row.  I then turned around to help the next guy finish.

At break, we all gathered around the tractor,  stretched out on the grass, and moaned at our aches and pains.  Dad pulled out his lunch pail and tossed me an apple.  Without even thinking if I wanted the apple or not, I bit into it, marveling at how awesome apples tasted when out in the patch.  Dad started chatting about current events, the going-on's of town politics and what ever else came to mind.  The crew who had never heard his stories before were grandly entertained at his storytelling talents.  I still laugh at the punchlines even though I've heard them all before.  Resting back and letting the sun hit my face, I felt tired, but good.  Tomorrow, my back will tell me a different story...

 The rutabaga patch (all fifteen acres) was one of the first places I experienced accomplishment.  Eight workers would chip away at the field, pulling by hand row by row... and would exit the field each day with two wagons of two tons of rutabagas.  By the end of the day, I could not stand up straight, the backs of my legs howled, and my left arm felt like it was going to fall off.  Most of the time, I would opt to walk back to the farmhouse, watching the moonrise, and seeing my breath fog in front of me.  By the last day of harvest, looking back at the wasteland of greens and rotting roots, you felt like you accomplished something.  My Dad would throw a party for us - with pizza, beer and music.  Having that field harvested and in the barn was enough to make me want to cry.  My muscles could take a sigh of relief, and I could stand up straight once my back understood that new concept.

Since then, although I work hard - very hard - I have never felt I have worked as hard as I did back then.  And while I have accomplished amazing things .... the sense of accomplishment I felt when we pulled that last rutabaga and tossing it into the cart hasn't compared. Maybe it's because all of those years of harvest really did make "strong backs stronger" and my back is strong enough to reap what I sow. 

Every Autumn, although rutabaga harvest is a thing of the past, the colder days always remind me of a time of back breaking work.. smelling the combination of cut rutabaga greens, earth, frost and dirt... of being muddy, sweaty, exhausted and more sore than I've ever been.  Memories of harvest remind me that my back is indeed strong enough to reap any harvest that I sow.  What ever I tend, nurture and grow, I am strong enough to harvest.

I've got knife eight.  Thanks Dad.   

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now.... Paradise is making strong backs stronger....

Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Walk With .... MyHoney

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.  ~ John Muir

Walking hand-in-hand through the crunching leaves, with the warm sun on our backs and brilliant blue sky above us, MyHoney and I set out on our new weekly routine, a walk in the woods with our puppy dogs.  Last week, we didn't make it all the way to the ponds... His steps were slow, careful, tedious.  He swayed, but didn't lose balance, but the extra effort of staying upright took a toll on his endurance, we turned around at the one mile marker.  But it didn't matter, he accomplished what he set out to do - to get outside, enjoy the autumn air, and take a few small steps.  A mile later, I marveled at how his small steps added up.  I am blown away at where his small steps have gotten him today.

Slow, steady, amazing progress MyHoney has made in the last few weeks.  From depending on a walker two days after his surgery - shuffling slowly, bumping into furniture, wobbly on his feet, unsure of himself, blurred vision and confusion ... to advancing to walking sticks - cautiously taking one small step after another, getting stronger each day, depending on the poles less and less.... to yesterday, navigating down a leafy trail, enjoying the autumn sunshine, laughing at the crazy antics of our dogs, seeing more clearly than he has in weeks.  He has taken his recovery in stride - at first small strides, but strides none the less.  I never knew or understood baby steps until watching him bravely take them each step of the way in his recovery.  Sometimes baby steps are so small, to the person taking them, they feel like they are standing still.  To the people around you, watching you make them, you are making leaps and bounds.... Sometimes, you need someone walking by your side to remind you of that.

Sometimes our advancement towards our goals seems so tedious and so slow, we feel like we aren't making any progress at all.... until one day you stop, wipe your brow and look back to see where you've been.  When three short weeks ago you were laying in a hospital bed, recovering from your second brain surgery in two weeks .. unable to stand on your own power, weak from being hospitalized for weeks ... to standing at the edge of a pond that you couldn't hike to the week before?  That's progress.  Pat yourself on the back - you've come a long way baby.

Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.~ Lao Tzu

Which makes me look at my own (seemingly insignificant in comparison, yet still important) journey.  When I put down my backpack, and take a look down the trail I just hiked, I am in awe.  I've gone from unemployed to business owner.  I've gone from financially wrecked to doing OK.  I've gone from feeling anxious, worried, sad, scared ... to being just FINE.  I've gone from an unfulfilling, loveless marriage to being engaged to the love of my life who showers me with love, affection and respect.  What a journey... some of the steps were so small, I didn't even realize I made the step at all.

My future sister-in-law calls this process "Kaizen Vision" ... check out her blog - she gives some excellent advice on taking small steps.

When you put your pack down and look at your trail, what do you see?  How far have you come by taking small steps?  Where would you like to go, and what small step can you take to get there?

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now.... Paradise is taking small steps.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Welcome to Paradise ...

Last night, MyHoney and I went to a wedding.  Not as guests - he is a DJ and was hired to provide the music, and make sure everyone had a great time.  Mission accomplished - he is extremely talented at reading a crowd, and choosing just the right songs to keep everyone on the dance floor.

The wedding was held at Pemaquid Point, a BEAUTIFUL spot on the coast of Maine.  If anyone has ever spent any time in coastal Maine, you know the roads are windy, curvy - and most likely not on GPS.  On the way to the venue, we started to get the idea we were lost.  At one point, I needed to turn the van around and investigate another direction, and the road I pulled into to turn around in was:

How can we be lost if we found Paradise?

People often ask me "Why do you call your blog Paradise Found?"..... well, at first it was because when Destiny passed away - that phrase came to me over and over again, letting me know that she was ok, and it was her way to tell me I was going to be ok too.  It signified reassurance.  I needed reassurance in my life more than anything - I lost my soul-mate, my white wonder, my shadow.  Being reassured she wasn't "lost" but she had found, and had been found by Paradise was the most reassuring thing I could have in my life.  I clung to that with all my might.  A few days after Destiny passed, I lost my job.  Once again  - I needed reassurance.  I needed to know I was going to make it.  Paradise Found kept popping into my head.  How can I find Paradise while my world is falling apart?  I made it a mission to find it. Little did I know, it would find me.  Paradise is a cup of coffee on a cool autumn morning.  Paradise is a fleece blanket.  Paradise is dark chocolate.  Paradise is love songs drifting from MyHoney's office to my ears .. Paradise is my puppy snuggling up with me on the couch.  Paradise is a cool breeze, a babbling brook, a rainstorm.  Paradise is being awake, aware, and alive.   

Where do you Find Paradise? 

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now, Paradise is the Way Life Should Be .... 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dream Catcher....

Photo Credit:
I woke up this morning with a swirl of wishes, wants and desires floating in my mind.  My first instinct was to grab a cup of coffee, and a pad of paper -I need to catch these ideas before they scamper off to the "ones that got away" club for dreams.

I have a dedicated journal just for this thing - I call it my Dream Book.   As I flip through the pages, and find a blank page to record my latest brainstorm, I realize that this book has acted as a dream catcher.  Once I had my morning coffee and the ideas were safely stowed away, I flipped through the book and noticed that yes, I have caught my dreams and wrote them down, but some have managed to play Houdini and slip away unnoticed.  I need to do more than catch my dreams ... once caught, I need to feed and nourish them so they can grow.  Many dreams caught in the book lay there, waiting to be noticed - wishing I would take them out to play.  They are wonderful dreams - but stored in a notebook, they remain just that... dreams.

A few dreams I have captured over the years managed to come to fruition on their own.  Perhaps I fulfilled a self-proclaimed prophecy by simply writing it down.  More likely, it was just shit luck, coincidence, or happenstance.  I contemplated the ease and speed I might have had achieving those goals if they hadn't been stuck on pieces of notepaper that hardly saw the light of day. 

 I am at heart a note taker.... but I am realizing the beauty of putting my dreams on display.  I am not a fan of "vision boards"... no, this will take on a different meaning than looking at images and wishing for them. I am picturing this tool as more of a spiderweb.  Intricately designed, and placed with purpose.  Once an idea has stuck, it is worked into something useful.  Once the dream has been fully worked, consumed, and digested, it is moved off the web to make room for more.  Like the wise spider, I will know when to rebuild the web to catch more dreams.   More importantly, I need to put my dreams on display for the world to see....

What do you do with your dreams?  Do you capture them?  Once captured - do you ever let them see the light of day?

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now ... Paradise is putting your dreams on display ...

Monday, October 8, 2012


Today is Columbus Day here in the States. While I didn't set sail on the ocean blue in the year twenty twelve, I did make some pretty important discoveries about myself.. and it's been one hell of a journey.  I started this blog one year ago today, and while I knew I needed to embark on an adventure, I didn't really know at the time where it would lead me.  Truthfully, I still don't.  All I know is, I'm on the right path.  I thought it would be apropos to list out my discoveries today.

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.  ~Henry David Thoreau

Paradise Found has taught me how to get lost.  Lose my ego, lose my fear, lose my insecurity....  Cecilia (my Ego) and I have come to a deeper understanding.  Cecilia now takes a back seat to my decision making.  I have been able to make decisions based on facts rather than fear.  When paralyzed in indecision and inaction, I start writing about where I can find Paradise today.  Paradise is found by getting lost.  Lost in myself, lost in my thoughts, lost in the woods ... Lost in his eyes, lost in her charms.  Lost in laughter.  As a result, I lost 20 pounds, I lost illness, depression and a bad credit score.  I lost a lot by being Found. 

It's a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy. ~Lucille Ball

I turned 39 this year.  I had my Meg Ryan breakdown of "I'm gonna be forty!!!" and then embraced the milestone.  I also realized for the first time in 39 years I am doing what makes ME happy.  I'm no longer concerned about what other people think.  It makes me happy to inspire other people ... it makes me happy to be inspired.  Good thing for Karma, because I can reap the rewards both ways.  Paradise is recognizing (and doing) what makes you happy.

"He who knows others is learned;  He who knows himself is wise."  ~Lao-Tzu~

I have discovered that no one knows me better than I know myself.  I know my own body better, I know my own mind better, I know my own intuition better.  Why try to follow someone elses plan?  I discovered when I follow my own rules, I am far more happier, content, and in love with what I do.  Paradise is living according to my own rules.


"You don't have to be a Buddhist to be a Buddha"... 

I had some spiritual growing pains this year...  and the most important thing I discovered is I do not need to fit the mold of anyone's religious definition.  What's important is I walk the talk, radiate the light, and express gratitude for all my blessings.  Practice may make perfect ... but it's not necessary to be perfect to practice. 

What discoveries have you made finding your Paradise?  

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now... Paradise is making self-discoveries.....



Monday, October 1, 2012

Construction Ahead - Be Prepared to Stop

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No one ever tells you this as a small business owner.... or if they did, the words traveling at the speed of sound couldn't reach me  - the overly enthusiastic entrepreneur traveling at light speed towards fortune, fame and glory.  I thought once you were off and running, you ran full speed to the finish line.

So here is my Public Service Announcement - Rebuilding, Revamping, Reconstructing, Renewing  and Reworking the plan is inevitable.  Be prepared to detour, roundabout, U-Turn, go around, deviate, divert ... but most importantly - Be Prepared to STOP.

If you are like me, those words are bothersome, loathsome and can be brutally irritating.  They mean we have to slow down. Put on the brakes. They mean we aren't going to arrive at our destination "on time."  They conjure the thoughts of delays, shortfalls, and roadblocks.  Our productivity comes to a screeching halt.  It means we aren't seeing new vista's and mile markers.

There may be several things that stop you in your tracks - plans that didn't come to fruition, marketing plans that fell short, missed deadlines, or worse - financial constraints, illness or family emergencies that cause you to put down the baton for a while and sit out a leg or two of the relay race. Many entrepreneurs (err... rather, entrepreneur-wannabes) take this as a sign to quit.  Sorry... but you missed the exit.  But, if you are a quitter, it's good to get out now while you have a good excuse.  No one will blame you.  Well, not to your face anyway...

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For those of you who see the construction signs as warnings to slow down, detour, find a new path, or simply "recalculate" ... congratulations - you are going to make it.  It doesn't matter why you were detoured - it doesn't matter why your road was closed - the fact of the matter is it's time for a new road.  You need to get out the map - your map being your business and marketing plan, your vision statement, and your mission statement.  Don't have any of these? Don't despair - it's not too late, just understand your pit-stop may take a little longer.  Even if you've been in business several years, resources like SCORE, Small Business Associations and Entrepreneurial classes at trade and business schools are invaluable for getting back on track.

So if you find yourself sitting in traffic on the highway to success, be relieved to know that it's normal to have starts and stops in the course of your business - in fact, plan on it.  The important part is what you do once you are in the flow again.  It can seem overwhelming if you are in the mindset of needing to make up time.  Instead, rechart your course by writing down new objectives and goals.  Stay accountable by hiring a coach or joining a mastermind group.  Finally, keep checking your navigation systems by reviewing your plan often to make sure you are gaining speed and momentum once again.  And always, always... be prepared to stop.

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now.... Paradise is enjoying the ride....