Dream Without Fear

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A Personal Legend is what a person has always wanted to accomplish. When we are young, every person knows their Personal Legend because at a young age our dreams are big and we dream without fear, but instead with optimism and fervor. “But as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince [us] that it will be impossible for [us] to realize [our] Personal Legend.”

An unexpected illness, a love we’re afraid of abandoning, fear of failure, or an envious person’s manipulation because they don’t want to witness us achieve something they could not, are all impediments that can destroy our dreams. But the worst reason for not pursuing a dream is believing we don’t deserve it.

Because we do.

I know a book that tells the story of a crystal merchant who has never done one of things the Koran obligated him, as a Muslim, to do – set forth on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca. It was something he’d desired since he was a small child, but when he grew up, he bought his shop and refused to leave the store in the hands of someone else. So he stayed, and every day, for many years, he watched, through his store window, pilgrims pass happily as they headed for Mecca.

When asked by a young shepherd boy, who was in pursuit of his own Personal Legend, why now the man didn’t go to Mecca, the merchant answered, “Because it’s the thought of Mecca that keeps me alive. That’s what helps me face these days that are all the same…I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I’ll have no reason to go on living.”

Some people want to realize their dreams, while others are content with merely dreaming about their dreams. But when we ignore our Personal Legend, the omens, signs, will speak to us, and remind us of our calling, but we’ll pretend not to hear. The sounds of the omens will continue and regret will take over us. And maybe the person we love and who loves us back will feel our resentment because they will think they are the ones who kept us from achieving our Personal Legend. And then, after time, “the omens will abandon [us] because [we’ve] stopped listening to them…[we’ll] spend the rest of [our] days knowing that [we] didn’t pursue [our] Personal Legend, and now it’s too late.”

Don’t let it be too late.

I believe life is more than what my eyes can see. I believe in omens. I look for signs. I meditate. I talk to the universe, whether it be the sun, the sky, the stars, the wind, the trees, the moon, or God, and if the universe can talk back, I want to be open in understanding its language. I’m on a journey. I go it alone right now, but I know if my love ever comes, she won’t prevent me from realizing my Personal Legend because true love will ride the journey with me. I know what it is I must do. I know my Personal Legend.

“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only real obligation.”

But only you can choose your destiny. Not even fate can do that for you.

“And when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.” But you have to want it so bad that it exists in your every breath and then listen to the universe as it talks to you.

Follow the omens. Trust your heart. Dream without fear.

I’ve read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho three times. And I will read it many more times. It has guided me in my life when I needed it the most, and it will continue to guide me even when I think I need it the least. All the quotes above were taken from this book and all of the thoughts I express were influenced by this book, so really, nothing that I have written is truly of my own expression, but instead were completely inspired by the brilliance of Mr. Coelho.

Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

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John Boy – A Shelter Dog

Everybody hurts. Everyone gets sad. At times, life can seem so hopeless you wonder if it’s even worth living anymore. And then something good happens. You find inspiration in a place you weren’t looking.

A year and a half ago I started volunteering at a dog shelter. I wasn’t prepared for the profound impact it would have on my life. I went into it believing I was the one who was going to save lives, but I was wrong. Those homeless animals saved me.

My shelter takes in dogs from all different situations – dogs from other over-crowded shelters, owner-surrenders, dogs found amid the aftermath of natural disasters or roaming the streets as strays, or taken from abusive/neglected homes, or rescued from puppy mills .

Each dog comes with its own story, its own unique path, that led them to the cages lining the walls of the kennel I work. Some stories are worse than others, leaving you clenching your fists as you witness, first-hand, what the horrendous cruelty and lack of humanity residing within a person can do.

It forces you to question who the real animals are, and they aren’t the ones with four legs, a tail, and a wet nose.

The four-legged beings that I have the privilege to spend time with each week have demonstrated a level of compassion and forgiveness, so heartfelt and ardent, that I fear I will never, in all my life, come close to attaining the emotional intensity attached to the freedom that comes with letting go of the past, and truly allow myself to forgive and forget, while being open to new happiness without the weight of old baggage holding me down or the pain of worn-out, ancient scars running through my body.

Shelter dogs know how to move on. They are eager to love despite the fact that somebody had let them down because they ended up in a shelter. They forgive the hands that have hurt them and forget the dirty shed they were chained to their entire lives because all they want is a home and someone to love them.

The shelter I volunteer at is a no-kill shelter. However long it takes for a dog to find a home, that’s how long it stays. Unfortunately, there is dog who has been there almost as long as I have. His name is John Boy and he is amazing. Despite being passed up day after day, week after week, and month after month, he has not lost an ounce of spirit. Whenever I, or any other volunteer, pass his kennel, he pops to his feet and hurries to the front of his cage, with tail wagging, and watches us with eager eyes, hoping that he is next to go out. He loves his time outside, even in the bitter cold.

When I put him on his leash, he pulls me to the yard with an overflowing excitement he can’t contain, the way I imagine I dragged my mother from one roller coaster ride to the next. But John Boy isn’t hurrying to jump on a fast-paced ride filled with sharp twists and quick turns. He’s rushing toward the same yard, with the same familiar toys, he’s been going to for fifteen minutes a shift, four times a day, for almost a year.

There is nothing “upside-down-roller-coaster” thrilling about that, but John Boy loves it. He inspires me because even though he’s not where he wants to be, he still wags his tail. He still licks my hand. He still enjoys the yard. He still has hope.

John Boy wants to live and he is looking forward.

He deserves a home, like every dog in the shelter, but he’s one I wish for the most. Every Friday night I say goodbye to him hoping I won’t see him the following week, but I always do. I will miss him so much when he’s gone because we’ve bonded during his long stay, but I anxiously anticipate the feeling of joy that will rush over me when I pass his kennel and don’t see his nose pressed against the metal or the stub of his tail wagging side to side.

I can’t wait for the day I don’t recognize the name sprawled across his cage. I’ll smile big because John Boy will finally have found his home.

Millions of dogs are euthanized every year. If you are looking for a pet, please consider visiting your local animal shelter. There are many loving animals in need of a second chance. Most pet stores get their puppies from puppy mills that breed dogs under inhumane conditions. Please Adopt and Don’t Shop. Thank you for reading.

I am Joined Today by the Talented Author, Carol Browne.

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I am so excited to have Carol Browne on my blog today. She is a tremendously talented author and was gracious enough to accept my request for an interview. Thank you Carol and welcome to my blog. I am privileged to have you as my first guest on my blog.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been a scribbler since I was six or seven but large chunks of my life passed by without much in the way of creative endeavour. I’m back on track now.

I’m so glad you’re back on track, because I feel this is where you’re supposed to be. When was your first book published?

Apart from dubious forays into self-publishing, my first ‘proper’ book is The Exile of Elindel, published as an eBook by Musa Publishing on 18thApril, 2014.

I understand you have a trilogy coming out with Musa Publishing. Will you tell us a little about that?

The Exile of Elindel is Book I of my fantasy trilogy The Elwardain Chronicles. Book II, Gateway to Elvendom, is scheduled for release in March 2015; Book III, Wyrd’s End, will follow in December of the same year. Exile was originally a stand-alone book but the characters niggled at me for thirty years until I gave in and continued writing about their adventures.

Here’s the blurb for The Exile of Elindel:

Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek shelter among the Saxons as her only hope of surviving the coming winter.

Godwin, a Briton enslaved by the Saxons, is a man ignorant of his own inheritance and the secret of power he possesses.

A mysterious enemy, who will stop at nothing to wield absolute power over Elvendom, is about to make his move.

When destiny throws Elgiva and Godwin together, they embark upon the quest for the legendary Lorestone, the only thing that can save Elvendom from the evil that threatens to destroy it.

There is help to be found along the way from a petulant pony and a timid elf boy but, as the strength of their adversary grows, can Elgiva’s friends help her to find the Lorestone before it falls into the wrong hands?

Congratulations on the two scheduled releases for next year. You have been busy! I need to ask. What inspires you?

I am inspired by music, nature, the beauty of words, history, the supernatural, the triumph of good over evil, and by people who refuse to give up in the face of seemingly impossible odds.

I like those inspirations. Why do you write what you do?

I wrote fantasy because of a day-dream I had in which I saw my characters when they were nearing the end of their quest. There were other factors that started me writing in this genre but it was never a deliberate choice. It just happened.

Do you find any recurring themes in your writing?

A major theme is one I know interests you, Alicia: the idea that one small action done, or not done, can have a far-reaching effect on everything that follows. I do love the theme of friendship too; it has been so important to me in my own life. I also like unusual relationships where friendships are formed between unlikely characters. The battle of good against evil is a given theme for the sword-and-sorcery genre, of course, and I also like the zero-to-hero scenario. This happens to several of my characters as they grow into themselves and find their place in the world.

(Laughing)Oh yes, Carol. I do love contemplating the consequential lingering effects of our actions – both big and small. It is fascinating that decisions made in one moment, one second of our lives, can drastically change our paths.   Would you like to share an excerpt from one of your books?

 Here’s a short extract from The Exile of Elindel:

 Supporting herself against the tree, Elgiva struggled to her feet. Her head reeled, and her legs were weak, as though her bones had melted. Her body felt scorched by magic. Her powers were growing stronger, but she lacked the strength and skill required to protect herself from their intensity. She felt like a shallow river, broken-banked and choked with stones, unable to cope with a fierce spring flood. She cursed her weakness and also the fever that had cost her so much energy, yet she smiled at the irony of it all. The more she exercised her powers, the stronger they became; the stronger they became, the more they weakened her. She was on a downward spiral that could only end in death, and perversely, there was pleasure in it, for it was true what Vieldrin had said: power was like a drug.

But it was pointless bemoaning her weakness, and she had no time to convalesce. Only magic mattered, and she was born to serve it, and if it destroyed her, so be it.

Wow, this trilogy sounds amazing, Carol. Congrats to you with your upcoming releases! Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to talk with me today. 

Carol’s first book The Exile Of Elindel is available at the links below.    

Buy links:

Amazon USA – http://tinyurl.com/k79eoh7

Amazon UK – http://tinyurl.com/n8msefk

Musa Publishing – http://tinyurl.com/o5zk2ja

Barnes & Noble – http://tinyurl.com/lo4ukvo

 

CarolA

Author Bio:

Carol Browne first appeared on the planet in 1954. She regards Crewe, Cheshire, as her home town and graduated from Nottingham University in 1976 with an honours degree in English Language and Literature. Now living in the Cambridgeshire countryside with her dog, Harry, and cockatiel, Sparky, when she’s not writing fiction, Carol spends her time as a housekeeper, proofreader, and ghost writer in order to pay the bills. Pagan and vegan, Carol believes it is time for a paradigm shift in our attitude to Mother Nature and hopes the days of speciesism are numbered.

 

Carol can be contacted at:

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorCarolBrowne
https://twitter.com/@CarolABrowne

http://authorcarolbrowne.wordpress.com/

It’s Not What You Think – Really, It’s Not!

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I took my little niece to the show. She had to go to the bathroom. We walked into the restroom together and I asked if she needed help. She told me she could do it herself. So I went into my stall and she went into hers. I finished first and as I exited my stall, I stopped in front of her door.

“Are you okay? Do you need help?” I asked.

“I’m fine,” a sweet voice responded.

Fine. I walked to the sinks, washed my hands, and waited for my niece near the entrance. The way the bathroom was set up, a person washing their hands couldn’t see the see the line of stalls in the other direction. After a couple minutes went by, and with no sign of my niece, I walked back to the stall area and waited outside her door.

I asked again if she needed help and the door swung open. There she stood, in one piece. I poked my head inside (without touching a thing). She did not pee all over the seat nor was the stall flooded with mounds of toilet paper. Nicely done, little niece!

I followed behind as we made our way past the long line of stalls. At the threshold, she turned left for the sinks and I headed straight to the entrance/exit where I had stood before. I watched my niece wash her hands and my gaze shifted to the woman standing next to her. She was staring at me through the mirror, giving me a “look.”

I didn’t know her and we had no interaction that day, so I turned away, chucked it up as just my imagination. But then she headed in my direction with the same stare, the same look of disgust across her face – directed right at me.  It wasn’t my imagination. This shit was real!

She passed me and as she reached for the door, she tilted her face toward me and then leaned her head back in the most snobby, disregarded, “I’m the head-cheerleader and you play clarinet in the marching band” kind-of-a-way.  I didn’t know what I’d done. I stared, dumbfounded, as I watched her leave.

My mind quickly backtracked every step I’d made since I arrived at the theater to get to the moment I was in. I hadn’t stolen anyone’s parking space, nor had I cut in line. I hadn’t let the door behind me slam in anyone’s face. I always did the courteous, “hold the door behind you for the next person” gesture. So what gives? What the bleep did I do?

My niece was walking toward me while wiping her wet hands against her pants. I pushed a strand of her hair behind her ears. “Did you wash your hands really good?” I asked.

And then it hit me.

Oh bleep me! That woman thought I didn’t wash my hands! She didn’t know that when she saw me walking back from the stalls that I had only gone there to check on my little niece, but she couldn’t see that from where she stood at the sinks. She didn’t know that I had already gone to the bathroom and had already washed my hands!

I fought the urge to chase after her while yelling, “It’s not what you think! Really, it’s not! I only went back there to help my niece and I didn’t  even touch anything! I swear! My hands are clean!”

But it was no use. I had to accept that I was known by a stranger as “the woman who didn’t wash her hands after using a public bathroom.”

I was disgusting.

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Photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net