following dreams

Getting to Know Ourselves Deeply

know_yourself"How are we going to choose to live? Who are we? What are we living for?"

These were three questions poised by Anand Mehrotra at the end of the documentary "The Highest Pass."

I was blessed with the opportunity to finish the film this evening and found my eyes welling up with tears a few times. There is something to be said for being willing to risk life and limb to accomplish a goal.

In this case, it was a group of motorcyclists -- with very little experience riding -- daring to trek over the "highest pass" in the Himalayas.  One rider in particular said something so very profound. To paraphrase him, he said at the beginning of the film that when things got rough on the trail he wanted to run home to his family.

After much thought, he chose to stay and continue the journey. In the end, his being was filled with a new sense of love. "Now instead of returning to my family out of fear, I want to return to them out of pure love."

As we go through our days, it is common to seek comfort -- the easy way out. Yet at the same time our hearts are crying out for some sort of adventure -- authenticity.

Soren Kierkegaard once wrote, "Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself."

highest pass
From "The HIghest Pass' Documentary

We walk around with our hearts aching -- our minds wishing we could accomplish something beautiful and lasting, experience love in its fullest sense, get over the hang-ups and patterns we cling to.

Mehrotra, Kerkegaard, and Socrates alike teach the importance of knowing ourselves deeper. Discovering our most precious and sacred hopes and dreams that were planted in our hearts for a reason.

Those who say things like, "he/she is a dreamer...her head is in the clouds" are those who tend to lack vision. What if Steve Job's parents told him he was a dreamer and he was silly  enough to listen? Kiss your iPhone and iPad goodbye baby! :-D

When we know ourselves, we can be reintroduced to our child within -- that being that understands the power of imagination, dreams, and life in the present moment.

"To inherit the kingdom of heaven, you must be like a child."

To me, these words spoken by Jesus mean much more than taking a trip to a place beyond the clouds of this world. It's that for the most part children aren't as jaded as we adults. They have so much to accomplish, so much to see, and do. They laugh when their tummies tickle and they weep when their hearts are pained.

child with imaginationA child is self-aware and present in such a profound manner.

Why do so many of us adults rob ourselves of the same enjoyment? Why not dream and stick our necks  out to undertake something bold and amazing?

How about we  take time to connect with our purest selves? Discover our fearless and powerful beings. The only way to surmount our challenges and create life anew is to dig in and feel the emotions, pains, disappointments, frustrations, and fears we have experienced throughout our lives. No more burying our histories with silly, meaningless diversions.

Authenticity is where its at -- and once we dig deep inside there is no turning back. Our true purposes will be uncovered.

"Beautiful things will be revealed. It's just that you have never given yourself the opportunity to reveal what you are capable of. Do not let fear keep us from our own capacity." - Anand Mehrotra

Be good to yourself!

-Jen Engevik

The Power of Living and Breathing Your True Nature

This morning as I begin to write, much of my decision is based on something I have just read. "A fish cannot drown in water, a bird does not fall in air. Each creature must live in his own nature." - Mechthild of Magdeburg

Being a human being is a tricky science. Oftentimes, I've thought it would be quite amazing to be a dog or a cat. From the time they are born, they are certain of their roles in the world. They are also given the ability to focus on the moment, being completely present in the here and now. This is probably why they are such loyal and kind friends. They can go confidently into their days knowing that they will make it through and they are just perfect in their four-legged nature.

We human beings on the other hand are so very complex. We are given numerous choices in life and forced to make extremely difficult decisions each and every day. According to poet and author Mark Nepo, our most intense challenges come when we fight against our own unique natures. He shares that his mother wanted for him to be a lawyer, while his father wanted him to be an architect. He writes in The Book of Awakening, "Somehow I knew I needed to be a poet; something in it brought me alive."

In reading this passage today, I realize that writing is the thing that makes me feel oh so alive. Could it be that this is what I am meant to do for the rest of my days? I may have concluded this long ago, but the responsibility that comes with admitting our purpose on Planet Earth can be a bit overwhelming. Once we admit our truth, steps have to be taken. A great idea only becomes an innovation after the hard work is done, which is why so many projects collect cobwebs in the attic of our self-imposed limitations.

Could it be that the reason for humanity's confusion is that we simply don't listen to the voice within and fight our true natures? Could it be that our fear of failure, disappointment, and hard work leads us down the winding path of disease, frustration, and confusion?

I find children utterly amazing. For the most part, they are like cats and dogs. They are in the moment; wide eyed and truly inspired by the world around them. Until we troubled and ultra-confused adults get a hold of them and taint them with our expectations, frustrations, biases, and ugly baggage, children are free to be amazing and true. That is why they make us smile and giggle until tears spring from our eyes.

Is it possible that one of the worst and most destructive lessons growing adults learn is that they must conform to some strange sense of propriety or norm? It is more than possible that because we are taught to limit our fear risk...there are far less innovators and a lot more bored and frustrated individuals on the planet.

Is there any area in your life that you need to be more authentic? Are there steps you need to take to embrace what you know you are meant to accomplish in your lifetime?

"When one performs his or her prescribed duty only because it ought to be said to be in the mode of goodness," says the Gita. "It is better to engage in one's own occupation (or the thing they are meant to do on the planet), even though one may perform it imperfectly, than to accept another's occupation and perform it perfectly."

In other words, be true to who you are and what makes you tick...and then see how it infuses your bones with life!

Wishing you a beautiful Friday!

What is in a Dream?

I've found myself thinking lately about the dreams that live within the heart. I fight for dreams realized, yet wonder just like everyone else if they should be given up for a different road that could grow into a new dream. Within my deepest longings, I've always longed to live by the warmest of seas...and walk barefoot 12 months of the year. I also dreamed of an amazing and fulfilling love. Today, I'm here in Gothenburg, amazing city near a chilly sea. It is for love that I'm here.

As I try to imagine my future, I am struck with how dreams evolve...and how things like love and family can reshape destiny. The balance of compromise and dreams realized is an art to say the least.

My mind tosses between my love for a dream and the call of reality. Today, I wandered into a tiny coffee shop called the's a famous spot with amazing coffee drinks and fresh pastries. Behind the desk was a man from Washington D.C. He was excited to hear that I am from California and shared with me how he misses his hometown and followed love to Gothenburg. "I miss my home," he said with emotion-filled eyes. "I'm just not sure how things will shape up." Now with a child and a Swedish wife, he's in a beautiful place, but lives between an amazing town and the place he calls home in his heart.

We all make decisions that lead us down a path...and sometimes our decisions split our hearts in two pieces. One piece loving a person...and the other loving a place or a cherished dream.

Yesterday I read the theory that Amelia Earhart may have survived her tragic crash and tried to make it on a small island in the pacific. Items such as a comb and compact mirror were found some time ago, along with a bit of bone thought to have belonged to a woman. DNA tests are currently being conducted. What if it were Amelia and her belongings found?

In an attempt at following her dreams, can you imagine her gazing at the stars at night on an island all alone, as warm winds swept from one end of the island to another? I wonder if she concluded that her dreams were worth the result? She could have played it safe and been strolling around the streets of Kansas or New Your City with a skirt and high heels...instead of sitting under the stars with a pair of torn trousers and only her thoughts. During the time she was praying she'd be rescued, did she dream of what life would have been if she had played it safe...or did visions of all she'd seen while flying in her plane  flood her mind?....of her solo flight across the Pacific to Europe...gliding high above animal herds in Africa...or circling the majestic skyline of New York City...

Dreams and decisions can be tricky...the process confounding. How about you? Things shaping up OK?

- Jen Engevik
Project BE Bold

Connecting the Dots, Steve Jobs, Justin Bieber & Dreams

While trying to drift off to sleep last eve, or should I say around 2am (because of a massive creative attack), I thought of a speech that Steve Jobs gave at Stanford University. He spoke of how one can only connect the dots when looking backward, never when looking forward. Meaning...if we try to piece everything together before it happens, we waste valuable time.

Will my dreams come true?

Will my family  be happy and healthy?

Will I finally be able to own my dream house?

Will I be able to travel the world?

What about work...will I be able to keep my job?

If I completely dislike my job and decide to quit...will I be OK? Will I starve?

If I leave my dysfunctional relationship, will I ever find love again?

The list goes on and on...

The truth as Steve Jobs so eloquently put that we simply can't know. We can only make wise/bold decisions in the present moment and have faith that the dots will connect in the future. One moment will lead to the next, no matter what we do. Time cannot be halted until we figure it all out.

The key is to stay focused on what we can do in the here and now. Begin writing before we worry about finding publishers. Start running for a while before we become concerned with whether the pounds are coming off. Do our best each second to create healthy relationships with the people we love...not try to connect the dots toward forever.

We must be the task...whatever it is...otherwise we push people away, we don't focus on the actual work that needs to be done to build our dreams. I was thinking today about Justin Bieber. That poor kid has so many haters and critics. But I'm going to tell you something...

he's doing it...

he's putting himself out there while...

well...while many people are sitting on their arses doing nothing. Staring at the TV with their mouths open...allowing for their minds to grow soggier by the moment. Laugh all you want...while he's singing and dancing his heart out...and traveling the world to boot.

It's not that we all have to become fans...but really we must respect those who are out there experiencing and pushing the limits.

If you have a dream...or a hope...just put one foot in front of the other and begin to create something.

The dots will connect while we're doing our work...

- Jen Engevik

Project BE Bold

Pure Inspiration!~~ Read the Desiderata by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrman

(c) Max Ehrman 1926

The End of Time Management from The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris

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I've been reading a book that I think that everyone should read called The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris.

Within its pages are amazing ideas for simplifying life and increasing its quality. Ferris shares his experiences and experiments on making life manageable while going for his dreams.

In chapter 5 - The End of Time Management he throws out a handful of questions and one command that he feels we all need to answer/follow ASAP...

1. If you had a heart attack and had to work two hours per day what would you do?

2. If you had a second heart attack and had to work two hours per week, what would you do?

3. If you had a gun to your head and had to stop doing 4/5 of different time-consuming activities, what would you remove?

4. What are the top-three activities that I use to fill time to feel as though I've been productive? These are usually used to postpone more important actions (often uncomfortable because there is a chance of failure or rejection). Be honest with yourself, as we all do this on occasion. What are your crutch activities?

Timothy Ferris

6. Learn to ask when attempting a task: "If this is the only thing I accomplish today, will I be satisfied with my day?"

7. Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important?

8. Instruction: Stop multitasking. Ferris writes surrounding it that "if you prioritize properly, there is no need for multitasking . It is a symptom of 'task creep' - doing more to feel productive while actually accomplishing less."

He then goes on to discuss things that keep us from focusing and suggests some great remedies. Our distractions include Facebook, checking e-mail constantly (and feeling that we always have to answer every email as it comes in), phones, people, etc.

He suggests that we work to limit our distractions by setting concrete time frames for projects to be completed. And I love this one...he stresses that we only look at our e-mails two times a day - at 12pm and 4pm. This way we don't work for a few minutes...skip back over to Outlook and read our mail...then go back to work...check back in a few minutes, etc.

I'm so darn guilty of checking my email every few minutes and have to admit that it's so distracting!!

You may be thinking..."well what if something important comes in?" Ferris suggests letting all colleagues and clients in on your practice and to create an Out of Office/Busy automated email that tells recipients to call your cell phone if there is an emergency.

Finally, today I used Ferris' method for staying on course with projects and/or dreams. He instructs readers to list projects and then apply 3 tasks per project. The tasks should be monumental...and serve to push projects forward. This may mean making difficult calls, completing a key document, etc. By eliminating tasks that just keep us busy...and focusing on the real heart of the subject and making smart choices that push things forward toward success.

We all have to admit that sometimes we keep putting off...and putting off...because we are afraid of rejection or are lazy or....we just don't plain respect ourselves enough to push forward.

Ferris calls for an end to all of the silliness...and invites us into bold living which requires smart action rather than fluffy busywork.

More on 4-hour Workweek tomorrow! And I recommend you buy the book if you want to get more out of life and take the first step towards following your dreams.

Also, for more inspiration visit Timothy Ferris' Blog...

- Post by Jen Engevik of Project BE Bold

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My Name is Rose: A Story about Dreams

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The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, 'Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?' I laughed and enthusiastically responded, 'Of course you may!' and she gave me a giant squeeze.

'Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?' I asked. She jokingly replied, 'I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids...

' 'No seriously,' I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.

'I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!' she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this 'time machine' as she shared her wisdom and experience with me. Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went... She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.

At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.

As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, 'I'm sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know.'

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, ' We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day.

You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets..'

She concluded her speech by courageously singing 'The Rose.' She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives. At the year's end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be. When you finish reading this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy it!

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE. REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a Living by what we get.

We make a Life by what we give...

- Author unknown

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Make today your masterpiece!!!

- Team Project Be Bold