This is an invitation to women everywhere
to share what they wanted to be
when they grew up, what became of
that aspiration, and what the secret dream
is now that tugs at heart and soul.

Click here to take survey

11 March 2012

Don't Let Self-Sabotage Stop Your Dream

What happened to that big dream that once was so exciting?  Having a hard time making it a reality because of self-sabotage?

If you’re like most of us with a big dream that is still in the wishing stage, you might have gotten derailed by life or sucked back into old habits of inaction and excuses. And maybe your excuses – that seem so sensible at first --  work against you by keeping you stuck.

When this happens not only is it frustrating, but you can begin to feel like you life doesn't even reflect who you truly are, deep down inside. 

Self sabotage is rooted in fear.  When we have a lost dream that has been so long neglected, there’s often at least one of two twin fears at play. One is fear of failure. The other is fear of success.

Might you be a little scared of your own abilities?  Are you afraid to really push past your comfort zone?  What are you telling yourself is the worst that would happen?

What if you began taking action to fulfill yourself, to start manifesting the old big dream?

Just in asking yourself that question, you can interfere with deep-rooted, self sabotaging feelings of powerlessness.  Taking a good look at what can logically be expected to happen can interrupt the negative self-talk about disappointing or living down to others' assumptions about you.

The fact that you're reading this blog shows that your old secret dream is still alive in you. And it’s trying to pull you forward.  It wants to be revived.  It’s telling you to harness this felt desire and make it stronger than the fears and negative self talk.

Here are several things you can try:

If I knew I could not fail, what would I do right now?

Ask yourself that question.  Then pretend that you are confident, unstoppable, and already manifesting your dream.  Acting “as if” the dream is already a reality is a powerful motivator towards positive action. When you're feeling reluctant to move forward or stuck in your old habits, imagine you are living the life  you want to have.

Or, choose a role model--a favorite actor, television character or other person you admire--and act the way you think that person would act.  Playing a role is actually a great way to empower yourself to become the new, strong, determined, high-achieving version of you.  It might seem silly at first, they can really help you unlock your creativity and get yourself unstuck.

Make a dream manifesting vision boards

Vision boards are excellent tools for helping you get to where you want to go because they provide visual reminders of your hopes and desired outcomes. Find pictures that represent your goals and print them out or cut them out of magazines. Or create a collage in a computer program, such as  or use an app like for the iPod.

Hang your vision board where you will see it often throughout the day. Or visit that app or online site frequently so that whenever you see the pictures, you are reminded to imagine how you will feel when you achieve your goal. 

 Talk back to those self sabotaging fears

Whether your anxiety comes from fear of failure or fear of success, you can get yourself unstuck by talking back to the feeling.  

Write down the reasons you're feeling anxious. Make them as exaggerated and fearful as you possibly can. Don't just write, "I'm afraid I won't be able to make money with art." Write, "I'm afraid I will make absolutely no money and I'll devote so much time to trying that I have no time for anything else and end up with no way to pay my bills."  Then ask yourself if the fear is realistic and resolve to dismiss it if it's not.

It can also help to write a positive affirmation to counteract the fear, such as "I know how much personal power I have. I believe in my abilities and I act on them from this moment forward."

It's not easy to stop self sabotage.  It will take some focused effort on your part.  However, if you approach your resistance to success creatively, you can find lots of ways to get yourself unstuck.

People who have indeed reinvigorated and turned dreams into reality teach us to be compassionate towards ourselves as we move closer to success. Use your own creativity to dissolve your blocks towards taking positive action.  Keep moving forward – even an inch a day gets you somewhere eventually.  You can be living that dream before you know it, leaving your fear behind in the dust.

This article written with substantial contribution from S.J. Asher-Ori 

01 March 2012

The Inner Child is the SoulLife Dreamer

May I suggest while you read this post,
listen to the hauntingly beautiful piano composition
Dreams of the Forgotten Child by David Lanz

Looking back into your childhood to remember the hopes and visions that once excited you can be a melancholy endeavor.  With memories of what used to seem so desired can come a sadness, and a wondering.

Children are full of hope. To a child, all things are possible, even simple.  The uncynical, uncomplicated, unfearful visions of a child begin as statements of the inborn soul's identity -- I'm going to be a fireman, a ballerina, a wizzard.

There is no doubt, no lack of self esteem or confidence.  Just enthusiastic conviction. And we move forward with our lives, as if this trusting declaration of what we are to be is all that is necessary to make it so.

Then we grow up, and put away "childish things."  But it's not just the idealistic hopes that become forgotten.  It's the dreamer within you, the  trusting innocent, the believer in possibility that gets a little lost as well.

Some of us who are lucky are able to hold on to this spark of soul's identity.  Our secret (sacred?)  dream fuels a special flame of hope that keeps us going through all the adult responsibilities, bleak economies, relationship squabbles, and soul-crushing jobs.

Psychologists tell us that the inner child is always within us.  It's an important part of the psyche.  It may need healing, or empowerment, or just the opportunity to express itself.

As a former therapist myself I know that getting in touch with your inner child, your SoulLife Dreamer, doesn't necessarily require therapy or counseling.

It does require a focused intent to give yourself enough quiet alone time to let that inner child be heard.  You can do that through meditation, or a walk in a park, or an afternoon at the beach.

Shhhh....listen.  What is your SoulLife Dreamer trying to tell you today?

04 February 2012

What's the Dream that Helps You Cope?

Dreams that are postponed -- as so many are -- can still have a magical power in our lives.  

Some shine brightly, lending a bit of sunny hope during otherwise difficult years.  

Some keep your eyes focused on the far horizon and fuel the determination to keep learning, keep striving, keep moving forward even if progress seems painfully incremental.

Some  are the velvet cushion to land on when reality knocks you down.

What's the dream that helps you cope when life is not a fairy tale of sweetness and light?

I'm convinced that postponed dreams don't always have to be about manifesting a extraordinary accomplishments for them to play a very important role in emotional health, and personal success. This is true because not all secret dreams are about finding the treasure or living in the castle -- or the acquisition of the external trappings of happiness ever after.

On the contrary, some secret longings are about making a difference in other people's lives with the more angelic impulses in our character -- generosity, kindness, empowerment, or with the gifts of beauty, compassion, and understanding.

An as yet unmet dream can indeed help you cope with the mundane pressures of daily life.  Give yourself the chance for your dream to serve you in this way by taking 5 minutes every day for dream visualization.  You can do this:
  • in the shower 
  • before getting out of bed
  • instead of an after work martini 
  • on a noontime walk in the park
  • with the kids as a bedtime routine
or any time you give your mind permission to be in coping dream mode.

I'd love to hear about how your dream helps you cope.  Go ahead and use the comment form to share.

24 January 2012

Help Me Realize MY Secret Dream

Now that this blog is established, and the survey is collecting stories -- have you contributed yours yet?? -- I'm moving forward on the next step of my own secret dream.

I'd like to interview 3 women this month as I begin a more in depth exploration in my research that will eventually lead to a book in some form.

In just the past few days I've run into a growing number of women who are expressing a lack of fulfillment in their current lives, and a yearning for more.  This need for self-actualization has been bubbling within us for a long, long time, and it's beginning to come to the surface like never before.

No longer are we willing to settle for the life we were told we were supposed to lead.  No more do we want to keep silent about what we really think, what we really want, and what actually does give our lives a sense of meaning and purpose.
Music box available at 

For some of us the lost and secret dreams have been so long repressed -- as if locked away in a beautiful treasure box -- that we're struggling to see clearly their unique and sparkling features that  attracted our attention in days of long ago.

Talking about what you yearn for can serve to bring the details back into mind, where you can re-evaluate, re-envision, and re-commit, and begin to take action on them.

If you are ready to talk about the dream you used to have for your life -- or the one that's recently started pressing itself into your consciousness -- I'd like to talk with you about it.

I'm especially interested in hearing from you if you live in the Pacific Northwest, as I will be travelling throughout Washington state soon to meet with you in person.

If you feel called by your dream, if you feel pulled to this project and want to know more about possibly becoming on of the women interviewed send an email to me at

22 January 2012

Practicing Getting Unstuck from Fear

Have you heard of Chameli Ardagh and her work with feminine embodiment and the Awakening Women Institute?  I just discovered her today.  In this video she addresses fear as a feeling that we resist.

That idea that we must not feel fear is one of the primary saboteurs of women's dreams.  Too many of us were raised to believe that being afraid is a terrible thing that must be avoided at all costs.

But really, fear is just one of many types of emotional weather.  It's a gathering of storm clouds, and not even the thunder and lightening.  It's no more important than that.  We need not give it any more attention than we give the weather.  And yet, so many of us let fear control our lives.

So tell me -- do you put your life on hold every time you notice a storm cloud?  Or do you just grab an umbella, roll up the windows, and keep on driving towards your destination?

Living in the Pacific Northwest I've learned that I can't press PAUSE  on my plans, dreams, and action steps every time the sky gets dark, or I'd never get anything done.

Photo from: Sage Studio
I've learned that lightening doesn't really strike when I talk back to fear.  I've proven that the thunder-rumbling of fear is simply a grumbly-loud communication from the GrandfatherSpirits telling me not to give up.   Do not let anything stop your drive onward toward your goals, they say.

Hearing the thunder now makes me smile, and I answer, yes Grandfathers, I hear you.
The first step -- I think -- in getting unstuck from fear is this talking back to it, making it be the one to take the step back instead of you.

Or at least, question what your fear is trying to tell you.  It might be a message that now is not the time, or this is not the path.

But know this:  those messages of redirection --  when now is not the best time, or when the path needs a detour or a new travel agent -- are not the same as a message that is telling you to give up your dream.  Instead, those messages are meant to help you realize the wisest or quickest way to achieve it.

Don't be afraid of fear.  It only hurts you if you give it too much of a listen.

18 January 2012

Dwelling in the Dream

Are you dwelling in your dream?

I don't mean, is your head in the clouds, and your brain out to lunch.  I mean, is a current big dream inspiring you to the extent that you are eating, breathing, and sleeping the passionate desire to make it happen?

If you're like me today, that might seem already exhausting, before even taking one step out the door.  

May I share with you what helps me?  Lighting a candle.

Using the brief moment of lighting a candle is a small ritual that brings consciousness into the dwelling of the dream.

Giving yourself even 5 minutes to close your eyes can allow your heart-mind to let go of the outer world and refocus on the inner whispers of your soul.

Taking a slow cleansing breath and exhaling even more slowly will help your scattered energies realign and ground. Grounded energy is needed to sustain passion and motivation to slog through the hard work of manifesting the dream.

In this space of allowing, listening, realigning and grounding,  the mind is better able to re-perceive the vision of the dream.

I find when my vision is clear, strong, and detailed, it's easier to sustain the passion for it in the face of fatigue, fear, and other obstacles.

Would love to hear how this works for you.  Blog me. (meaning, leave a comment).

16 January 2012

How Were Your Dreams Encouraged?

In the SoulLife Project  survey that is open right now  for privately sharing your experience of what happened to what you wanted to be when you grew up, I'm starting to hear from women whose dreams were never encouraged by family.

It's too soon of course to draw any conclusions about this, but intuitively it strikes me as being fairly common.

Dreams by their very nature are bigger than life -- certainly when we're 4 or or 7 or even 15.  We don't know yet what "the world" has deemed impossible.
Portaledge tree-sleeper used in Bavaria
So when a child proclaims their big dream  -- with all the naive, enthusiastic, certainty of innocence --  adults hear it as cute, but not serious.

To the early dreamer, there are no limits.  The child is a possibility thinker.  She focuses on the WHAT, the end point, the already manifested reality that she wishes to have.

The adult tends to focus on the HOW.  They know that life isn't that easy, and the need to be practical and safe is important.   Mom and Dad see reality as increasingly stacked against us as we age.  Naturally, they want to protect their children.

Unintentionally, by wanting to inject a dose of safety-minded practicality, adults too often end up crushing a dream before it's even hatched. Or, they send the message that it's fine to dream but better to have something solid and real to fall back on.

In short, some of us had instilled in us an expectation for failure, or timidity for going after what we could envision.  In the process, those early bold ideas of what was possible got lost.

Some of us are able to revive an early dream, despite not being supported.  Many let go and moved on, and feel a sense of emptiness where the dream once vividly filled our consciousness.
If your dreams weren't encouraged, I want you to know this -- it's never too late to reconnect and reshape a desire for a big achievement or a more authentic form of self expression.

Yes, true, if you are 55 it may be too late to be a child star.  But that doesn't mean you can't start acting right now in your own home town.

So take a deep breath, close your eyes, try to remember what your most heartfelt, soul-sparked dream used to be.  Then don your bright purple and teal possibility thinking hat and go for it!

14 January 2012

A Map When You Don't Know How to Start Your Secret Dream

You've probably seen these great cards with the inspirational poems of Susan Polis Schutz, published by a company called Blue Mountain Arts. Maybe you've sent ecards  from their website.

I don't know the details of Susan's life, much less the secret yearnings of her soul, though much of her heart is reveal through her writings.  I do know that I used to collect her cards, because they spoke to me when I needed encouragement.

Here's one that might give you the practical courage you're needing today.

Believe In Yourself And Your
Dreams Will Come True

Know what you can and want to do in life.
Set goals for yourself and work hard to achieve them.
Strive to have fun every day.
Use your creativity as a means of expressing your feelings.
Be sensitive in viewing the world.
Develop a sense of confidence.
Be honest with yourself and with others.
Follow your heart and adhere to your own truths.
Know that the more you give the more you will receive.
Believe in yourself and your dreams will come true.

~ Susan Polis Schutz ~ 

This could be a road map for all of us.  If you feel a yearning -- or even a soul-whisper -- to do something big with your life, it will be difficult to set a goal that moves you forward in that direction.  

But you can still strive for fun, and to give more of yourself to others. You can still work on expressing yourself authentically, and creatively.  You can still look on the world with sensitive compassion, and listen to your heart to perceive your own truths.  Even one of these, consistently applied, leads to deeper, unshakable self confidence.

These are the steps to believing in yourself.  Take them, and trust that the dream of your soul life will reveal itself to you.  That time will come when you know exactly what purpose you are here to manifest. And once that occurs, the goals and your motivation for achieving them will be unstoppable.

You can do it.  Start with being open to allowing it to happen.

I'd love to hear the story of your soul life dream. Use the comment box on the Add Your Secret Dream Page.  Or, for a more private sharing, click here to take survey.

13 January 2012

Following Your Dream isn't Selfish -- It's Good Role Modeling

Sometimes what holds us back from following our dreams and being our fully actualized selves is worry about being selfish, or not being there for our kids.  

What if following your dreams is actually the best role modeling you could possibly provide?

Indra Nooyi, an immigrant from India, who rose to being CEO of Pesico, knows this worry first hand. 

12 January 2012

The Secret Dreams / SoulLife Project

Have you ever had a moment when an idea captures you and won't let go?

Yesterday was one of those magical days when a confluence of seemingly random things took hold of my consciousness and wouldn't let go:
  • a quote shared by a colleague
  • an old yearning resurfaced
  • a problem solving conversation
  • an accidental discovery of fellow writer's creative approach to growth
  • an evolving desire to take a cross country car trip
  • the need to visit my elderly mother in another state
  • a desire to get out of my professional cave
  • an excitement for what can be done with technology these days
  • an abiding interest in what makes people tick
  • an insatiable curiosity about why we make the choices we make
Some of these things have been gently floating around in me for a while, directionless, like a feather tossed about in the wind, reluctant to land.

Some have been pressing on me like a puppy's growing insistence for attention -- lest I be sorry I ignore it too long.

And some hit me yesterday like an electrified, breath-taking revelation.
The quote is from the Gospel of St Thomas:  If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you.  If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.
The fellow writer is Shelley Seale and her project 30 Days at a Time sparked a coalescence of the seemingly random items bulleted above into the beginnings of a do-able vision -- The Secret Dreams / SoulLife Project.

11 January 2012

Little Girl / Big Dream

I'm told this clip was totally unrehearsed and unscripted.  Remember when you had such a big vision for your future?  Did you see it into being?  What happened to it?

Being Bold

Poet-Philosopher-Color theorist  Goethe said:  Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.  Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Scientist Paul Knoepfler knows that's true, knows that breatkthrough on the personal and the societal scale starts with the big dream, boldly implemented.

Living your dream indeed takes a certain boldness.  All sorts of people and life situations try to stop us or drain our original enthusiasm and motivation away, if we're not careful.

An anonymous blogger has written about the 7 Truths They Never Tell You, and he's spot on. You do have to work at manifesting the secret dream of your soul's yearning.  It will take more persistence than you think, and there will be times when it will be scary, tiring, or feel perplexing.

You can let that stop you.  Or, you can go the other direction and let fear, frustration, and confusion spur new action.  Determination to persevere is what achieves fulfillment of the dream.

That's what 9 year old Bianca Ryan did when she sang The Impossible Dream on America's Got Talent -- an impossible big song for a young voice that gave me bigger chills than the Jennifer Hudson or Il Divo versions.