Becoming Dusty

Today, I want to tell you about a dream. If you will indulge me, imagine a woman about 5’9″, average build, short, dark blonde hair, small facial features, late 30s. She’s wearing boot cut jeans, steel toed black boots, and a black leather jacket over a t shirt. Her eyes covered by dark shatterproof sunglasses. Now look down at her left hand. It grips a black strap attached to a full face motorcycle helmet. She is surrounded by tall trees, singing birds and the open road. Next to her is a big, shiny purple touring motorcycle, packed with a large travel bag on the back strapped over the sissy bar, that back rest reserved for passengers for most, but luggage for this woman.

Now watch as she throws her right leg over the bike and settles into the seat, all while strapping on the helmet. As she grips the clutch and hits the ignition switch with her left hand, she revs the engine with her right. Vroom! Vroom! And off she goes down the quiet mountain road, leaving a trail of dust and new friends waving goodbye.

For years, I had a dream. It was a dream of becoming a bold, independent, confident, don’t mess with me woman. Part of what that looked like to me was riding a motorcycle by myself cross country, able to handle anything that came my way. I had dreams of vroom, vroom, swooshing around bends in mountain roads, making friends and helping folks in small towns across the United States. Oh, the freedom!

Well, now let me tell you what actually happened! Back in 2002 or 03, I had a partner who was a motorcycle buff, finally giving me the space to admit my secret fantasy. I bought a Honda Shadow Spirit 750, purple with purple flames ­ a medium sized bike that was a great fit for my long legs.

And I signed up for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation Basic Rider Course. As a studious perfectionist, I nailed the written test after classroom time. Then we went out to the riding range and were given tiny little Honda Rebels to practice actually riding.

This perfectionistic, overachiever then proceeded to freak out. One of the coaches noticed and pulled me to the side. In his brilliance, he offered me the possibility of returning to the next class to finish the course if I signed up for a private lesson. I agreed.

Continuing with his brilliance and wisdom, he matched me with Jennifer, a tiny 4’11” woman who grew up in a motorcycle family and rode one of the largest bikes around, a Honda Goldwing. Together one Saturday morning, Jennifer and I went through riding drills until I felt somewhat comfortable.

As we agreed, I then returned to the next class. And nailed the final driving test. As I looked back after the final braking, I watched the coaches fist pumping in celebration. I did it! I still proudly have the photo taken of me on my purple Shadow that day on my refrigerator.

After that, my partner and I began riding with a local riding club. One day as we were coming home from a ride around Lake Okeechobee, we drove through a construction zone and I took a slow turn through a sandy area, my bike slipping down into the dust. I wasn’t hurt and neither was the motorcycle, but both I and the bike were covered in dust! From that day forward, my riding name became Dusty.

My riding days were never really intense and they ended with the end of that relationship. I no longer have a great desire to travel across country, at least not on two wheels, but I realize I began my journey to becoming that bold, independent, confident, don’t mess with me woman riding. Or perhaps, better said, revealing that which was already in me.

My biker days taught me a few things:

1. Being bold, independent, confident is a process.

2. We can do a lot more with support than we can if we are
adamantly independent.

3. There is a huge rush that comes with success when you’ve struggled
for it.

4. Simply showing up as we are, authentically and vulnerably, is
really what makes a difference in the world, not being the lone
ranger super hero who never stays still.

5. I am proud to be Dusty, the one who can fall and still get up to move
forward, taking with her the growth she discovered through falling. THAT
is what makes me bold!

6. A good mentor/coach/therapist can make the difference
between success and giving up.

My dream of a being a bold, independent, confident, don’t mess with me
woman lives on and to the best of my ability, I live it every day. How
about you?

And if you are ready to take the next quantum leap in your journey and
recognize there is something getting in your way, reach out for a complimentary call with me today! Don’t wait to make your dreams come true!

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The Seed

Following is a story I wrote a decade ago. How does this metaphor show up in YOUR life?

Once upon a time, there was a tiny seed, barely larger than a mustard seed. When it looked up through the green blades in which it was nestled, it could see something that had all these branches and thorns and deep green leaves. It was beautiful, thought the seed, but even more beautiful were the spectacular deep pink petals it could see at the ends of many of the branches. Some of the petals clung tightly to each other, as if they were protecting themselves, others were spread open wide, basking in the sunlight. Sometimes the seed would see the petals in one of the wide open clusters fall away, leaving behind something that looked like it did attaché to little tiny tendrils, which would also fall away. The seed notice that soon there would be another tight cluster of petals in its place. For some time, the tiny seed watched this beautiful process. And it noticed how perfectly placed each petal in each cluster was, how naturally each cluster seemed to compliment the deep green leaves surrounding it and how all of the branches seemed to be covered with the perfect balance of leaves and petal clusters. It was in awe!
“Oh, if I could just be like those branches,” thought the seed. “If I could just make such beautiful things! That is my greatest wish!”
Then one day, the seed looked up and he saw a feathered creature. It was a beautiful deep red with a crest on its head. The seed had seen such creatures before, but never so close. In an instant, the head of the red feathered creature moved toward the seed and scooped it up. The seed was quite frightened. It was very dark where he was. And he could no longer see the beautiful petal clusters or branches or deep green leaves. And it could feel that the red feathered creature was taking it away.
Soon the seed felt the movement stop. The red feathered creature was not moving any more. In the same short instant that it had been scooped up, the seed was dropped. It was a little dazed by the experience, but gradually found the courage to look around.
Ugh! Everything around the seed was dark brown – almost black. An the smell was musty and kind of stale, nothing like the fragrance near the branches with the petal clusters. When it looked up, the seed could see a couple of really big, tall branches with smaller branches growing out of the top. The smaller branches had green leaves, but no petal clusters. The seed longed to go back to where there was beauty and wonderful fragrance, but, alas, that was not to be.
Soon the air became cold and the leaves on the high branches turned color – brilliant orange and fiery red and bright yellow. When it was not shivering from the cold, even the sad seed had to admit the colors were beautiful.
But then the leaves began to fall from the branches. They covered the seed so it could no longer see anything. The seed didn’t think there was any way it could become any sadder, but when it could no longer see, it just wanted to die.
Then it got even colder and the leaves became even heavier on top of the seed. The seed was so cold, it would have been shaking, except that the leaves were so tightly packed around it that it couldn’t move.
After what seemed like an eternity, droplets of moisture began to ooze through the leaves, which were now smelly, rotten, brown mush. The tiny seed wept over its fate, certain that it was doomed to this life of darkness and cold and the heaviness of the mush that used to be leaves on top of it. All the moisture was even beginning to soak into it so such so that its insides felt like they could just burst.
The tiny seed thought, “Well, maybe I will burst. Surely, then I would die and I would no longer have to endure this horrible life.”
Rupture, it did. One day, the seed’s skin just burst open. It had soaked up so much water that it could no longer fit inside its skin. Much to its dismay, though, the seed did not die. In fact, it simply continued to get bigger. Something very strange was happening, thought the seed. It seemed to be growing a tiny little branch. And this tangle of little branch-like things were growing in the opposite direction.
“Wow! This is amazing! From the very tip of my little branch, I can see the light again! And the leaves on the little branches way up high are green again!”
Day by day, the little branch got bigger and could see more and more. There were other little branches poking up out of the much of rotted leaves all around. The web of little branches in the darkness of the rotted leaves kept getting bigger, too, reaching deeper into the darkness.
Soon a second branch began to grow off of the first branch, then more and more branches grew and became covered with rich green leaves. The seed felt at least some comfort in knowing that it could see again and there were others like it nearby.
After a long while of growing and feeling new branches pop out, though, the seed felt things slowing down. A couple of leaves fell off. The air became cool again and the leaves on the branches way up high turned brilliant orange, fiery red and bright yellow again. The seed dreaded what it was sure was coming.
Sure enough, the air became colder and the leaves fell from the high branches. But this time, the leaves didn’t cover all the branches that had grown in the light and the weight of the leaves actually felt good to the webby branches in the dark. They enjoyed a feeling of warmth, as if the light were shining on them. Then cold but white stuff fell from nowhere – way higher than the seed could see. The branches in the dark felt the weight that was just more warmth to them. And the branches in the light could see the breathtakingly beautiful blanket of glistening white stuff everywhere.
Then it got warmer again. The white stuff disappeared and the branches in the dark drank deeply of the moisture that dripped on them. Mixed in with the moisture was a delicious feast of the mushy rotted leaves. The branches in the darkness sent the rich nourishment up to the branches in the light. The branches in the darkness reached deeper into the darkness seeking nourishment. The branches in the light continued to stretch skyward.
One morning, the seed noticed that something different was growing out of one of its branches. What was it? At first, it just seemed like a strange growth. The seed was worried that it might be something horrible and painful.
“I don’t think I can take any more pain. At least I can see the light now and have friends around me. Surely, this is as good as it will be for me. Maybe I’m just going to die with this horrible growth on me.”
After a few days of watching this strange growth, the seed recognized a very familiar color. “What? Could it be? Surely not – not growing out of me. No, I must be mistaken. After all, I’m just a little seed that got dumped in this musty dark place a long time ago.”
But the seed looked again. Yes! It was true. “I know that color!” exclaimed the seed. “It’s the most beautiful color I’ve ever seen. The color of the petal clusters on the branches where I came from! And it is a part of me!”
The seed watched that beautiful deep pink color grow until it could see that it had the very same tight petal cluster it had so admired on the branches back home. And sure enough they opened up wide and the seed could feel the light on its petal cluster.
Just as those petals began to fall away, another cluster began to form on another branch. Oh! Another. And another! Soon the seed’s branches were covered with the beautiful deep pink petal clusters, some tight together, some open to the light and some falling away. And the seed reveled in the fragrance – that same fragrance it had so loved those many, many days ago.
And as the seed looked around, it saw that its friends were also covered with petal clusters, some bright yellow, some fiery red, some soft pink, regal purple and many other beautiful colors. And they each had their own unique fragrance which blended into a delicious ambrosia of fragrance.
And so the seed knew it had become what it had most dreamed of being – many branches with deep green leaves and beautiful pink petal clusters. It had become a rose bush and was surrounded by many other rose bushes!

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The labyrinth makes it to CNN!

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/10/08/my-faith-how-walking-the-labyrinth-changed-my-life/?hpt=hp_c1

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World Mental Health Day

I received an email from SAMHSA (federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) this morning reminding me that today is World Mental Health Day. According to the email, “World Mental Health Day raises public awareness about mental health issues. The day promotes open discussion of mental health and investments in prevention, promotion, and treatment services.”

The email goes on to say that the theme this year is “Investing in Mental Health.” Their message is a political and philanthropic one. But I wanted to focus on a more personal message.

Even those of us who do not have serious mental health issues can invest in our own mental health on a daily basis. We can improve our relationships, our connections with ourselves, take some risks to achieve our dreams. We can seek support from others along the journey, whether that’s a therapist, a friend, a family member, a sponsor or someone else. So what investment can you make today in your own mental health?

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The Labyrinth on YouTube

It was fun searching through YouTube, through all the Pan’s Labyrinth and video game references to find the following videos about the labyrinths I know and love:

The labyrinth at Edgar Cayce’s ARE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XP6bacDhnXo

Coffey Talk – Walking the Labyrinth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQkmNdK6Dkk

Prayer Labyrinth in Rochester, MN (different from the usual path): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qdw5eutIXcw

How to Draw a Labyrinth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cT9BdWMrvnA

Building an Outdoor Labyrinth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LQzpTY_w2ww

 

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Tragedy Watching

I just looked at the website for the Palm Beach Post and the breaking news headline says: “Casey Anthony possibly spotted at Orlando airport.” I am saddened by this entire situation. A precious little girl lost her life. Her mother and grandparents clearly have some serious problems. That story, by itself, is heartbreaking.

But I am also saddened by our response, our hunger to know the gory details and to punish the “villain” as publicly as possible. And now the press is involved with Casey watching?

While I’m not saying that actions should have no consequences, I am saying that I believe even prison sentences can be handed out with compassion and sensitivity, rather than hatred or obsession to right a wrong. There will always be someone who can be villified, particularly as long as that sells newspapers and gets us to watch TV.

But does life not have more meaning when we focus our attentions more positively and we take the steps to make the world a better place to live, rather than expending our energies in obsessive hatred?

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Women’s Group Starts Tuesday, August 9, 2011, 7:30-9:30 pm

SPECIAL INTRODUCTORY RATE: To thank those who have patiently waited while I looked for an appropriate location, this group will be offered at $20 per session, 50% off the usual rate of $40, through the month of August.

I have been contacted by a few women who are interested in a Women’s Group. So this group will be starting on Tuesday, August 9. We will meet weekly from 7:30 to 9:30 pm.

Participants will be able to determine the focus of the group and may include:

 Relationships
 Trauma
 Adult child problems
 Self esteem
 Other areas of personal development

We will utilize processing discussions as well as experiential activities.

For more information or to request to participate in the group, please call me at 561-533-0948 or email at sara@saradochterman.com.

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