At age twenty-nine I got knocked upside the head with my spiritual two-by-four. The wake-up calls I had been getting for years had obviously not been enough. So the gentler hinting was replaced by a life-changing illness I call Arthur.
Now we all encounter wake-up calls as we traverse life. For some they are less dramatic than a full-on spiritual two-by-four, but either way, they give us pause to think about our lives and the choices we’re making. Because really, it’s not about the wake-up call—it’s about life.
The following pages are about understanding our wake-up calls, and, more importantly, taking notice of the choices we make in our lives. Sometimes we invite them in and sometimes they just happen. Either way we have choices to make. We can either accept the invitation to dance with the flexibility of a mind open to new possibilities, or we can fight our dance partner and feel clumsy and weighed down, as if dancing with lead boots.
I love to dance! Dancing offers me a way to lose track of time or worries. It is creative expression that allows freedom through movement. This is why I look at life as a dance. We have many partners along the way: parents, friends, spouses, children, and the unexpected challenge. But challenges can be gifts if we allow them to help us grow and understand that, even within the hardest moments, there is always grace and the opportunity to propel ourselves to new levels of joy and peace.
I didn’t always think this way. In the early days of dancing with my two-by-four, it just plain sucked. There is no better way to put it. Then one day I realized my quality of life depended on me looking at life differently and making new choices. It’s not always easy, but by embracing change with an open mind, courage, and confidence, I now own my personal power. I am the director and choreographer of my life. Together, Arthur and I move about our dance floor learning how to experience life and our partnership with grace. And it’s an ongoing process as I develop and grow.
My intention and hope for this book is to enlighten, comfort, and inspire you through my dance with Arthur. I set out to write a guidebook, a compilation of the inspirations, or gifts, as I call them, that touched my life in such a profound way, so powerful that they turned a two-by-four into a blessing for a lifetime.
Oh, what I would have given for a book like this when I first began my dance with Arthur. To hear somebody’s story of struggle and triumph, wrapped in true feelings, would have given me a sense of believing I was going to be okay.
My desire is to inspire you to be your own director in creating an Oscar-winning life—fueled with love for yourself, others, and your challenges. Yep, I said loving your challenges. It is possible, and when you reach that level of release a sense of freedom is created, much like a butterfly shedding its cocoon and taking flight with effortless ease.
Whether you’re facing a challenge or just want to enhance your life, the path to overall well-being starts by using intuition and a strong ear to listen and connect to the mind, heart, and body with courage and love. We are born with the amazing, ultimate gift of free will. And these two powerful words offer all of us yet another gift: choice.
In our hearts there are choices to be made to ensure a life full of joy, love, peace, perpetual laughter, and freedom as you live from your authentic self. Every phase of our life offers an opportunity to accomplish the true meaning of the journey we’re living. Even the hardest of times will shape, guide, and push us in the direction of living our brilliant lives. It is all about how we face each stage.
The gifts I share with you in each chapter are intended to offer you the tools to enlighten your dance with life. They don’t take great means, only a willingness to own your personal power and play an active role in designing the life you desire.
Each chapter is a lesson, or gift, that, in my experience, transforms a challenge and, more importantly, life itself. Each of them helps build the foundation necessary to achieve our desired state of well-being and ignite our inner passion for life. A quote opens each chapter to define the essence of the topic.
As you explore each gift, you’ll find “dance steps” to help incorporate that specific gift into your life. Oftentimes another quote from teachers who inspired my dance is used to put an “!” on a point I’m making.
The book is a journey, and I recommend reading each chapter in order. Along the way take the time to stop and play with the dance steps before moving to the next chapter. Many of them are designed to be a part of your daily life.
Once you’ve completed it, the book then becomes your reference guide. If you’re feeling stuck or just need some inspiration, go directly to the chapter(s) that you feel will most help you move through what you are experiencing.
Thank you for joining me in this dance of life!
When you want something, the whole Universe conspires to help you realize your desire.
~ Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist