"Your body is free but your heart is in prison. To release your heart, you simply reverse the process which locked it up. First you begin to listen for messages from your heart—messages you may have been ignoring since childhood.
Next you must take the daring, risky step of expressing your heart in the outside world. As you learn to live by heart, every choice you make will become another way of telling your story. If you stop to listen, you’ll realize that your heart has been telling you so all along."
-Martha Beck from Finding Your North Star


I knew this day would come eventually. So the fact that it's here doesn't really surprise me. But it doesn't make me any more ready for it either.

Tonight I hit a speed bump on the path of my 180-day journey. I'm feeling so very small and ill-equipped. And my dream? Well, it seems so very big and unattainable.

I know I'm making progress. I witnessed that progress first hand today as I conducted an interview for my very first story with my newest freelance client. But tonight, as I struggle with getting fonts to cooperate on the new Web site I'm building, as I feel a twinge of panic when I think of all the tax information I need to learn, as I wonder what on earth the next step—the right step—is, I begin to question if I can do it.

Am I really cut out to lead a life less ordinary, and a life more creative? Or is it nothing more than a silly childhood dream, and I should just accept my lot of being that ordinary gal, working an ordinary day job, living an ordinary life.

Ugh. The though makes me want to cry. I can feel the tears sting the back of my eyes just thinking about never getting beyond ordinary.

And then I remember something said during today's interview.

"What do you want? What do you need?"

These are the two questions this particular life coach asks her clients when they come to her for help finding their north star.

I think someone or something was trying to send me a message through today's interview. Feeling rather tender and withdrawn, I couldn't help but think this life coach could be talking directly to me—not just giving me insights and direct quotes for my article.

So what do I take from it? Well, for starters, I'm taking a deep breath...and maybe self-medicating just a tad with some divine tiramisu frozen custard. But after that I'm going to ask myself the questions I'm dubbing the Dynamic Duo.

Number one: What do I want?

I want to lead a life less ordinary...one that even makes me say, "Man, that's cool!"
I want a career that's built around my life, not the other way around.
I want to support my family through my writing, my words, my creativity.
I want simplicity.
I want to live near the mountains and in a climate that lets me enjoy the outdoors more than four or five months a year (without the risk of sever frostbite).
I want control of my schedule.
I want more time to enjoy my family and life.
I want to explore and travel.

Number two: What do I need?

I need a career that requires and embraces my passion for writing and creativity, a career as a freelance features writer and author.
I need a consistent exercise routine.
I need to learn.
I need to feel free.
I need a way to generate more income through my writing.
I need room to breathe.
I need to find my voice...and feel comfortable using it.
I need to embrace my fear.
I need to take the leap.

Whew! Even this simple act of declaring my wants and needs makes my heart feel a little lighter. I do know what I want. I do. And I bet you know what you want to.

Your One Step:

If you've recently hit a road block in your own path, why not give this exercise a try? Get out your journal or a blank index card and draw two columns. At the top of one column write, "What I Want." Above the other write, "What I Need." Now, set a timer for five minutes, and go, go, go jotting down the things you want and the things you need.

Once you have your list, you may want to read it aloud. Hearing your own voice declare your heart's desires can make them all the more real. Refer to the list often, daily even, to remind yourself of why you are working so hard for your dream. Let your wants and needs guide your day-to-day decisions so each day brings you one step closer to the fabulously creative life you were meant to live.

3/3/2011 08:55:19 pm

I really enjoyed this post. First, I would like to say I can see Project 180 becoming a book if that is something you would like to do. Your writing is so interesting and easy to follow. I know it is easy to get tired as we not only follow our dreams but make them a reality. But dreams do come true when we really know what we want. Now I am going to get out some index cards and see what I really want and need.

3/3/2011 10:40:23 pm

Thanks so much for the encouragement and kind words Ginny. Knowing that someone out there in the "blogosphere" is receiving encouragement from this blog means the world! ((hugs))

3/4/2011 05:23:53 am

What a wonderful post. So often we stumble and doubt as we journey toward our dreams. Those are two simple yet powerful questions. Two questions to ask often throughout our journeys for our answers will morph and change as we do. Whenever I feel small or question what I'm doing, I remember my passion and I listen to my heart. Great to make a connection here in bloglandia and on FB. You are a kindred spirit, indeed.


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