Going for Your Dreams While Letting Go

In the act of committing to your dream, you set in motion a chain of amazing reactions . . .

Hobji Leaps for His Dream - Going for Your Dreams While Letting Go
The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. — William Hutchinson Murray

I love this quote. It is both reassuring and inspiring. But what it fails to mention is that in making a commitment to a dream there is always something you leave behind . . . even if it’s only your fears.

I recently turned 65. I am aware of the grains of sand slipping from the hour-glass. I am the purple dinosaur in mid-leap, not entirely sure if those filmy wings are going to hold me up, but flapping for all I’m worth.

In preparation for two speaking engagements, I asked a friend to show me new ways to fix my hair. I’ve been wearing the same style since my late 30s and been getting some feedback that I needed something more in keeping with who I am now.

The hair-training session involved a lot of combs, hairpins, gel and a second mirror for viewing my head from different angles. The second mirror gave me a view of myself that, I realize now, I’d been avoiding. It revealed all the little sags around my chin and neck, the age spots, the wrinkles, the few extra pounds. I was shocked. Who was this old lady?

Through my 30s, 40s and well into my 50’s, I have always looked pretty much the same. I inherited my mother’s gray-resistant hair. It has allowed me to see myself a certain way and to ignore any discrepancies. I’ve been wearing the rose-colored glasses of happy denial. The 2nd mirror destroyed the illusion and forced me to admit that I’m not young any more — not that sexy, attractive, pleasing woman of my youth.

This new awareness of myself was further reinforced when I needed a headshot for an interview I was doing. I requested some Photoshop help from my husband for a nice outdoor photo of me that was a little over-exposed but made me look great.

My husband, seeing this 4-year old photo, asked “Where’s the one I just took of you for your new passport?”

“Not that one,” I said, “It makes me look old!”

Hello? Maybe it’s not the photograph!!

Why am I so resistant to the changes of aging? Of course I could give a long sociological explanation about the devaluation of age, particularly of older women in this Western culture of ours. And much of it would be true. But I believe my resistance is deeper than that. It is about letting go of a worn-out conception of myself as someone who has to be “physically attractive” to be desirable or acceptable. It worked so well for so very long; I’m a little afraid to let it go.

My husband, sweet man that he is, told me that wrinkles are an asset in my work. They show I have lived life and have experience. I look like I know something about death, loss and grief.

I’m sure my husband is right. But, it is not easy to let go of who we think we are. It’s one of the biggest challenges of any loss — the loss of identity that often accompanies change — married, mother, successful, sexy, smart, young, healthy, intelligent, independent, rich, etc.

I also know that before I fully embrace the older me, I need to say good-bye to that younger self who was so admired for her beauty and attractiveness. On reflection I am aware that there are behaviors of hers that no long fit who I am — the coy, seductive, kittenish, silly mannerisms that young girls use to invite approval of men.

I need to become more comfortable with who I am now — an older, wiser, more authentic me, wrinkles and all. I need to accept that some people may not be attracted to this new me and that’s okay. I am ready to take the leap.

What are your experiences with aging? Does it frightening you? Do you feel the pressure to get on with what you are meant to be doing? Do you wonder if you are up for it? That is the gift as well as the pain of aging. If creates pressure. It puts a fire under you feet. It can be highly uncomfortable and that’s the whole point. In the face of death, everything becomes a lot easier. Let its heat to set you on fire.

I have a film-screening event next Thursday, March 17, 2015 in Oakland, CA. For more information go HERE.

WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include this complete blurb with it: Grief Transformation Coach Michelle Peticolas, Ph.D. helps professional women struggle with grief and loss. I find that these women have a difficult time allowing their feelings, letting go of their loss and dealing with others. What they real want is peace of mind, closure and meaning.  If you’re ready to shift into a whole new way to release loss and grief and have a life worth living, get Michelle’s complimentary guide, Essentials for Grieving Well at www.secretsoflifeanddeath.com

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