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Are You Willing and Able?

Are You Willing and Able?

There are many cliches and platitudes about being brave or courageous, and most have to do with acting without fear, or acting in spite of fear. I was recently asked to comment on what makes some people more able to make decisions and take action in spite of fear, and the quote that came to mind was neither a cliche or a platitude - but something I recognized as part of my personal truth the first time I read it,  “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~ Anais Nin Yes, when we allow fear to stop us from living the life we choose we shrink our very life. An unlimited life is only available to those brave enough, courageous enough, to claim it. The dictionary gives the common definition of bravery as this: “Ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.” And the common definition of courage as this: “The ability to do something that frightens one.” So basically, to be brave and courageous is to be ready and able to face something or to do something. I speak to fear a great deal in my work with entrepreneurs, teaching them to allow fear to be their friend, to embrace the energy of fear and turn it to personal power to accomplish their objectives. I often suggest to them that being without fear is an unhealthy goal, but that being prepared to move forward through their fear, even to allow their fear to galvanize that momentum, makes them more powerful than if they refused to acknowledge fear at all. Ultimately, that preparation requires being connected...
Remembering War and Angels

Remembering War and Angels

“Isn’t it wonderful that none of us need wait a moment before starting to change the world.” ~ Anne Frank (1929 - 1945) Every year, on September 11th, we tell ourselves, and we tell each other. We post it as our status and beneath images of our national symbols. “Never forget.” But what do you remember? __________________________________ It was January 1991 when I boarded a plane headed for Maui. With me were my employer, his wife, and the rest of our dental staff; a chairside assistant several years older than my 27 years, and a dental hygienist just barely out of college. ​We were all looking forward to eight days in paradise, even if the price was sitting in continuing education seminars for half a day most of the days we were there. But I had something a little more serious on my mind. ​ ​I’d guess we were somewhere over the western edge of Colorado when I said, “Historically speaking, Hawaii isn’t the best place to be in times like these.” Beside me, Dr. Wiklund, who had gone straight from passing his dental boards to patching faces back together in Vietnam, nodded and looked away, toward the little boxes of blue and white that formed our outside view of the world. I knew his mind was turning in much the direction mine was; we weren’t officially at war, in fact, there had been no declared war in my lifetime. But we were racing in that direction. And while the conflict wasn’t likely to reach Pearl Harbor or any other part of U.S. soil, with the commemoration of Pearl Harbor Day only...
You’re Not Blind. And I’m Not Dumb.

You’re Not Blind. And I’m Not Dumb.

I had a delightful meeting today with a business associate. Our surface reason for meeting was creating a strategy for working together to help one of her clients. Our real reason was that we like each other. A lot. And we always come away richer when we’ve spent time together. At least, I know I do. (Leslie is one of the principles at Elements Partnership and contributes to their always insightful and inspiring BLOG – read it!) When two people who like each other, and enrich each other’s lives, get together the conversation gets real. Very real.  One of tags you’ll find on the Elements Partnership website is “People are hungry for real conversation.” Leslie is one of those people who fills that hunger for me. In the course of our conversation we discussed a leading “guru” we’ve both encountered, and I asked her feedback. She said, “I think ____________ has a brilliant mind, and a big heart… But not a lot of soul.” I knew immediately what she meant. Not that this person didn’t have a soul. Or that their soul wasn’t as infinite as hers or mine. But that it didn’t show up, it wasn’t available for connection, it wasn’t present in the interaction. For some people that feels safe. If the other person isn’t making themselves spiritually accessible then they need not interact on that level either. For me, it’s like trying to use sign language with a blind man. People are hungry for real conversation. And a real conversation only happens between people who are fully present, and that, to me, means body, mind AND...
50 Reasons Why 50 Doesn’t Matter

50 Reasons Why 50 Doesn’t Matter

Ah the expectations of turning the “big 5-0.” You’re “over the hill,” and “not getting any younger.”  Like wine you’re “getting better with age.” You’re “older and wiser.” You’re… You fill in the blank. I can’t say I really had any expectations of turning 50. Time for me has always been a little elastic. For instance, I showed up several weeks after I was “due” to arrive, I was younger at 31 than I was at 21, and I can pack an hour into 10 minutes or stretch a birthday into a full week of celebrations. So 50 for me was not really a milestone, at least, no more than any day or event is a milestone. But it WAS a great excuse to have some fun, and an inspiration to reflect on what time, age, expectations, and perceptions mean to all of us. I’ve filled several pages of my journal since officially turning 50, and reached a number of mental, emotional, and spiritual milestones. I’m sure you’ll see the outcomes here in future months, but I thought I’d share this list first. 50 Reasons Why 50 Doesn’t Matter (Unless You’re Looking for an Excuse to Celebrate!) #1 Because 50 is just a number – and no number can define me or confine me! #2 Because I don’t need a birthday to honor my past and create my future! I do that every day! #3 Because I’m only 9 in dog years. #4 Because time and age are relative – some days I’m older and some days I’m younger, but I’m always me. #5 Because no matter what my...
Just What Have You Accomplished?

Just What Have You Accomplished?

I got this email today. And I answered it. And I realized that I hadn’t written an answer, I’d written a testament to my life. So I thought I’d just post it here as good practice for speaking my truth. The email was sent in response to my latest newsletter, which referenced my 50th birthday. And it said… Dear Dixie: So just what have you accomplished in the first third of your life? Or is it a midway point…with BONUS years on the end. I hit “reply” and started typing. And when I came up for air this is what was on the screen… I have lived, I have loved, and I have learned. And I have shared my life, my love, and my learning with people who are near and dear, and with people I will never know. For someone who intended to die at 15, who tried to harden her heart against love because she associated it too often with pain, and who thought that all learning came from those more educated than herself - I think those count as accomplishments. Today, my lifetime as a separate carbon life form dates 50 years and 3 days. It might span a total of 50 years and 4 days, it might continue for another 50 years and 4 days. I don’t know. And truly I don’t consider it important. What is important is that I continue to live, love and learn. And that I do those things in my way so that others can see that their way is always open to them. So I believe that I will...
Why I Always Work on My Birthday

Why I Always Work on My Birthday

Twenty-nine years ago today I inched my way down a steep and overgrown trail, over the guard rail and under low hanging branches, to reach a little bit of secluded shore line on Clinton Lake just outside of Lawrence, Kansas. Not that Clinton Lake doesn’t boast any number of public swimming beaches, it was just that I wanted to be alone.  I had with me a small bag of edible goodies, a thermos of water (bottled water being unheard of back then,) a notebook and pen and an over-sized towel. The most important items on that list were the notebook and pen. I spent the morning swimming and writing, dozing in the sunshine and writing, walking up and down my little stretch of muddy beach and writing, and thinking.  I did a lot of thinking. I had a lot to think about. Earlier that year I had been with my father’s mother when she said goodbye to this earth. I’d sung In The Garden at her funeral service and heaped lilacs on her grave. I’d opted not to travel to Colorado for the funeral for my mother’s mother, only months later, because I’d already taken so much time away from work to care for my other grandmother. But my dreams were filled with vignettes of her and her little house with a garden wall I could walk on and a clock that chimed sweetly every half an hour. And I was just coming to grips with the knowing that my father’s cancer had returned. In the bone. It was my 21st birthday. And I felt closer to death than I...