I received this beautiful email from one of my students and friends this past week and I asked Terri if I could share it all with you. I met Terri nearly 3 years ago when she took a few of my writing workshops. Terri lives in Minnesota but 3 years ago she came to the desert during the winter. I loved getting to know her and listen to her as a writer share her amazing story. Over a year ago Terri biked the Tour de Palm Springs with me and we completed 5o miles together! We celebrated over a margarita when we crossed the finish line. Although Terri did not visit the desert this past winter, I will always think of her amazing spirit and hope our paths cross again in the future.
July 7, 2011, marks my 56th Birthday. It also marks the first day of a new Life Plan I have created for myself, and parts of which I want to share with you. I’ve been known to throw my own Surprise Birthday Party, but today I have a special Birthday Wish.
First of all, let me set some context: Years ago my friend, Marsha, turned me on to American Poet, Mary Oliver. From her poem ‘The Summer Day’ comes the line, “Tell me what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” I love that question as it calls me to dedicate time toward finding answers. My writing and consulting feel more like “activities” that keep me fed and mildly satisfied. But the answer to what is it I really plan to do has been elusive.
Then I recently heard Melissa Etheridge’s new song “Fearless Love” with the lyrics, “I am what I am afraid of”. I found myself asking, “What am I most afraid of?” My answer was a common one, “I am afraid of dying an unlived life.” Then a deeper feeling struck, “I am more afraid of LIVING and unlived life!” I am afraid of waking up one morning to find a “selfish little clod of ailments and grievances”.* While I work to live a fully aware life, I feel deep within that I am not living to my fullest with this “one wild and precious life”!
My deep search for answers uncovered a patterned, familiar message I’ve delivered to my clients for over 18 years: “Live Fearlessly with Love!” So yesterday I finished writing my personal and fearless “Four Year Strategic Plan” that focuses my energies on the things in life that cause a swell of love in my heart. The Four Year plan idea came from ‘Four Years. Go’, an organization that believes that “The next four years will determine the quality of life on this planet for the next 1,000 years.” It made me realize that when I turn 60, I want to tell my grandkids what I did to make a conscious and fearless effort toward our Quality of Life.
Another event that has contributed to the goals I’ve set came from the Awakening the Dreamer Symposium I attended a few weeks ago. Their mission is “To bring forth an Environmentally Sustainable, Spiritually Fulfilling and Socially Just human presence on this planet.”
So my BIRTHDAY WISH is to share a bit of this with you, for me and for us.
1) I WISH you would watch two video clips that gave me clarity and direction.
www.globalcommunity.org/flash/wombat.shtml 1 min. of Entertaining Enlightenment
https://www.fouryearsgo.org 3.02 min. Scroll ½ way down the page to the Video
2) I WISH you would do one or more of the following – maybe even fearlessly:
a) Every time you reach for the wastebasket to throw something away, ask yourself:
“Where is AWAY? (Environmentally Sustainable);
b) Consider smiling at a complete stranger (or someone who bugs you) and send them a thought of loving kindness. “Even a smile can nourish the soul.” (Spiritually Fulfilling); and,
c) Take a moment to think about the worst image you have of poverty in the world. Now ask yourself: “Am I willing to trade my life for theirs?” Former White House advisor Van Jones says, “If you wouldn’t trade places, then there’s work to be done.” (Socially Just)
Piece of Cake, right? Thank you for any thing – and all – you are willing to do for all of us.
Finally, I will be travelling to Ecuador to learn from the Achuar indigenous tribe that live deep in the Amazon Rainforest. All aspects of their culture are spiritually-oriented around dreams and visions. The Achuar have many ancient, refined rituals to access dreams and integrate them into daily life. Shamans, as the keepers of this ritual knowledge, play a central role in Achuar ceremonial life and community health. From this experience, I expect to have a greater vision for my work with Fearless Love and Living, and my writing the final chapters of my book, “MOVE”. To learn more about the Achuar culture, visit: www.pachamama.org
I’m sure you’ll hear more as I make progress with my new Big Scary Dreams plan. They say that a person should not make any big plans or changes for at least one year after grieving a loss. I say, “When have you known me to listen to ‘they’?”
With LOVE and Blessings,
Terrie Ten Eyck
Terrie Ten Eyck
“One is All, and All it takes is One”
Quotes that informed my planning process:
“The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”
– Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia
“Hope is a state of mind, not a state of the world. Either we have Hope within us, or we don’t.
It is a dimension of the Soul. Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well,
but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.”
– Vaclav Havel, Former President of Czechoslovakia
* This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up with I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me; it is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” – George Bernard Shaw