Dream Big

Uncover the true you and become the amazing woman you’ve always dreamed of.

I’ve always been a big believer that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. This was reinforced recently when I met a 40-something gal named Emily. She was the innkeeper of a B & B where Peter and I stayed in New Orleans (R&B Bed & Breakfast on Frenchmen Street—highly recommended). She and I clicked right away, but it wasn’t until a late-evening conversation in the courtyard that Emily really opened up about some of the reasons she’s high on life.

Not long ago she was diagnosed with colon cancer, and after a year of treatment, she’s cancer free. But her transformation toward a more positive life began even before her bout with cancer, and her positive attitude no doubt helped her deal with the debilitating effects of the treatment. Emily taught me a lot, but what she told me was just a taste of what inspired her to change her life for the better.

It started with a workshop she took. The lessons she learned there hit home. One lesson she shared was to pay attention to that little voice that tells you to do something. It may seem random but listen to it and act upon it. For example, I almost grabbed a copy of my memoir, Still Life with Sierra, to take to New Orleans, but then I thought, “Who would I give it to?” In fact, I wish I’d brought it so I could have given Emily a copy.

Another example was when friends and I went out one afternoon for a walk in the French Quarter. I decided not to bring a jacket, and my friend Maureen thought to herself, “She should probably bring it. She can tie it around her waist if she gets hot.” Well, Maureen didn’t say anything, and guess what? It turned colder, and both Maureen and I wished she’d told me to bring my jacket!

Emily also talked about the stories we tell ourselves and how they keep us from moving forward toward positive change. Stories like “I’m not smart enough to choose a career like that,” or “I’m old and frumpy so there’s no use in trying to look fashionable.” Or “I could never run a half marathon.” These negative stories hold us back. The sooner we recognize them and learn not to listen, the more powerful we will feel.

Everything Emily said resonated with me, and I am so thankful to have met her. I can actually thank my inner voice for bringing us together. I was one tap away from booking a hotel on Hotel Tonight when I decided to try the barter organization I’ve worked with in NOLA one more time to see if any barter accommodations had opened up. That’s how I ended up at R & B and that’s how I met Emily.

The reason I was in NOLA? To run my 4th half marathon there. I started running in my late 30s soon after I did a creative visualization exercise (For more on that, read my New York City—Solo article). I’m a slow runner, but I get there. And it feels fabulous to cross the finish line!

Here’s hoping you meet a teacher soon who helps you move forward to a better, more fulfilling life. You can do it! Just make up your mind to think big and dream of all the possibilities. Your future is waiting. Best of luck and cheers to you!

Peggy Sijswerda

Tidewater Women Magazine, Editor & Co-Publisher.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com
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