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Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Have you ever wondered why a midlife woman would choose a photograph of herself in a bathing suit, with windblown hair and a face without makeup to grace the masthead of her blog? Let me tell you why…

I don’t generally go hiking in my bathing suit, but there I was –scrambling up the hill on a dirt path in the rain forest, trying to keep sight of the group ahead of me. We kept climbing up, up.  Every so often, I had to stop and catch my breath. We were almost to the summit of the highest point of the island.

Whitehaven Beach

The vista opened before me and the sudden sight of pure white sand swirled against the aqua blue water of the Coral Sea far below us nearly took my breath away.  The group my husband and I were traveling with, fellow passengers on a two-day sailing and motoring trip through Australia’s WhitsundayIslands, stopped at the overlook and took photos. I wasn’t sure of our next step – did we now have to turn around and return to the catamaran that was waiting for us?  No, our guide started leading us forward – down towards paradise.

Our guide pointed at the area far to our right and told us that is where the sharks and manta rays were to be found.  I looked over and was tempted to head in that direction, but realized the water ahead of us was much closer, and walked forward. My husband was photographing the panorama. Others from our group were spreading along the beach.  I could hear their laughter. 

The air temperature must have been about eighty degrees – warm, but not too hot. The ocean was calm. There wasn’t much of a breeze, but I could sense the mist of salt water on my bare skin, dried by the sun’s rays.  Everything was infused by light, like the world was overexposed. 

I turned slowly around in a circle, a full 360 degrees. From the ocean ahead of me, to the rest of the group in the water and on the beach further to the right of me, I kept turning.  Now I saw the twisted trees, and the steps leading up the hill from which we had come.  Continuing around the circle, I saw rugged pines and rocky coastline, and then back to the brilliant blue water.  The view was spectacular in all directions.

This is photo Cliff took of me at Whitehaven Beach.

I stopped to savor the moment of complete joy.  “Cliff!” I called to my husband, “Take my picture.  This is what happiness looks like.”  He readily complied.

One of the joys of travel is that a journey can last as long as the memory it created.  Back home in Minnesota, I close my eyes and remember the details of my perfect day on WhitsundayIsland.  This is what happiness looks like. Indeed.

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I read with interest a recent posting by Susan Kiernan-Lewis: The One Thing You Need to Know to Have a Great Life.

Sticking with Susan’s theme of referring to popular movies to help craft our personal philosophies, I’ll choose the scene where Glinda, the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz, told Dorothy that she had the power to go home all along. 

We all have the power within us to create the life we want to lead.  What keeps us from tapping into this inner knowledge and direction?  Depending on the individual, it could be responsibilities to others, the distractions caused by the commotion in our heads and in our lives, fear of making changes, or inertia–not knowing how to take that first step.  Sometimes we have to find a place of peace and make a point to listen to that quiet voice within ourselves and believe we have the right to take the first step toward realizing our dreams. 

My journey started when I went back to college (at age 50+) to get my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Studies.  Once I took that first step, I felt empowered.  I am developing my capacity to be my authentic self, and exploring my own creativity.

I believe each individual has a unique path to self-fulfillment.  I’m currently writing a book to inspire other people to take that step and create their own journey of personal transformation.

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The new name “Realize Your Dreams” refers to all of us and our best aspirations—who we are and what we want to accomplish with our lives.  Consider this to be an extension of the previous title, “Midlife Transformation”. 

I want to use this site to explore how we each define ourselves.  Do we know what our purpose is, and are we fulfilling it?  If not, what is stopping us, and how can we do it better?

Beyond that, I want to discuss our individual “Life Experience Lists” (some may call them “Bucket Lists”).  These are the actions and events that allow us to enjoy life to the fullest.  What is on your list – the things you have done and the things you want to do?  Are you taking actions to realize your dreams?

I changed the photograph at the head of this blog to one of my personal favorites.  Yes, that is me, standing on Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands in Australia.  It has to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.  I asked my husband to take my picture because “This is what happiness looks like!”  I hope you and I both have future adventures and experiences that can bring the look of happiness to our faces.

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