This morning I was picking flowers in my garden. I noticed that a bush I planted last spring now has abundant flowers. I’m disappointed in the bush, even though it’s one I really wanted when I bought it. Most of the blooms have a moth-eaten look and even when I cut them freshly opened, they don’t last very long in an arrangement in the house. That got me to thinking about goals and dreams that don’t turn out to be as satisfying as I’d hoped. I’m floundering a bit right now, as I face the fact that some goals didn’t turn out well.

Thinking some more on the subject, maybe I hang on to an old goal when it’s done.

Last fall a dream came true and I was delighted to find myself leading a Nia White Belt training in one of my favorite coastal villages. The weather was sunny and warm but not hot and we held some sessions outdoors on the deck of the training space. The trainees were the category of people I had hoped to attract. I taught a sample Nia class for a large room full of enthusiastic locals. We savored lingering evenings on the cliffs overlooking the ocean and had meaningful conversations. I was so pleased that I booked the space again for this year.

And then life happened. Family crises, changes at work, and growth experiences pulled my focus elsewhere. But can I blame them on not filling the training this fall? Maybe if my focus had remained strong on replicating my great experience, I would have kept the drive to promote this year’s date, despite whatever else was going on. In Nia training, we talk about noticing when a desired state is reached, and then figuring out (using our sensations) how to sustain the sensation or even increase it. I let it fade.

Did I let that dream fade so there would be room for new dreams and new goals? Maybe. Too bad it’s taken me all year to get the clue.

On my wildland walk I came to a big rock that has a mini waterfall in the winter. I’ve often used the rock as a metaphor experience to sample what I need to do in life, whether it’s climbing up, scrambling down, looking out, looking up. Today I went right up the rounded face of the rock, on hands and toes, hugging close in to the dry moss so I wouldn’t lose my balance backward even though I was wearing my weighted vest (for bone density). I think, “Ok, I’m breathless, but that wasn’t so hard. I can go up when I want to.” Then I looked over the edge of the vertical-face side of the rock. There have been times when I needed to work my way down that face, to practice going down with grace and agility. Today I chose to walk to the side where the rock height diminishes into the hillside and navigate around the challenging cliff. “Ok, I can do the down part the easy way, and I’m ready for a new path up.” See what I mean about the metaphor rock? Just so I don’t misrepresent my abilities, I’m not a rock climber. I enjoy the bouldering, and even the highest part is only a couple of feet above my head. It’s perfect for a sample experience, even on an ordinary Friday morning.

Back to the Nia class analogy, I can make little adjustments in my movement to make it feel better. Similarly, I can make changes in how I’m going about life to arrive at a style that’s a better fit for what I want/need now. There’s nothing wrong with the retreat-at-the-coast training concept, yet for now, I’ve scheduled a couple of different arrangements of the Nia White Belt to fit around other commitments for myself and my trainees. One is one day a week for a few weeks and the other is one day a month.

I believe dreams and goals play a part in sustaining my ideal life. Quite a few years ago, I had a high-accomplishment year that included publishing a book and taking a dream vacation. And then the year after that was lack luster and filled with wandering. I could argue that I needed the down-time, but my hunch is that I had forgotten to replace the old carrots that pulled me forward. Have I been in one of those slumps again? Time for re-tooling the machinery of my schedule, clarifying the projects that genuinely draw me to them. Time to invoke the curiosity and excitement that took me this morning to the top of the rock quickly and with eagerness. Life is meant to be lived that way. If I’m not feeling curious and interested, then I’m retreating from being alive. I heard author Bruce Lipton speak on the subject just recently in a Hay House lecture. He described the petrie dish version, noticing research cells drawn toward nourishment or retreating from a toxin. An interesting and exciting project is nourishment.

Struggles and dark nights aside, I feel so fortunate that I have a garden with bushes in bloom (as well as an abundance of greens, tomatoes, peas, grapes, berries) and a wild place to walk where I do not feel inhibited running little experiments with my physical capabilities. They inform my soul about what I am ready for in a different realm. Another version of this kind of research takes place in Nia class and in Nia training: for example, sampling feeling strong and sure by doing martial arts blocks and later finding myself feeling confident in a meeting. I invite you to join me in Nia class and/or training to bring the magic of exploration into your own life.

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