Thursday, April 30, 2009

The YIKES Factor

As we go through life there are occasional experiences that show up on our path that challenge us to grow and expand. These experiences typically feel very uncomfortable and can be pretty scary. What they can create for us is what I call the YIKES Factor.

A typical YIKES Factor situation may be one that calls us forth to play a bigger game. There is usually risk involved. We may risk what we perceive to be our reputation, money, being hurt, or our confidence.

The YIKES Factor may also be present when others believe in us more than we believe in ourselves. We are encouraged or invited to do something new and we are not strongly believing we have what it takes to be successful. We may also fear letting someone else down.

The YIKES Factor can also come into play when life hands us some big challenges. These challenges may be related to health problems, relationships or money issues. The list of potential YIKES Factor experiences are endless.

Although fear is typically present when a YIKES related experience shows up, there can also be twinges of excitement. It is kind of like standing in line to go on an extreme ride at an amusement park. Part of you wants to do it and knows it will be fun and exciting, but there's a part of you that is scared. Once we get beyond the fear, we can really enjoy the ride.

So, how do we move beyond the fear, which is the true culprit of YIKES creation? I like to ask myself what is the worse thing that can happen? Once I go through that process, which usually turns out not to be as bad as I originally thought, I ask myself what may be gained by following through. I then ask myself which is live life without risk and without excitement, learning and growing, or to take the ride, enjoy the thrill and know I will always learn something in my process?

After some self-training, I now pretty consistently look the YIKES Factor right in the eye. I have a different relationship with failure than I once had. It doesn't scare me as much anymore, so my desire to jump into the seat that opens up is much greater.

The truth is, you can't lose when you follow the call of YIKES. It is the stuff that makes life a joy to live.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


There is something simply beautiful about the word HOPE. It only has four letters, and they are even commonly used letters at that. It is a one syllable word, and is very easy to say. In spite of the simplicity and ease of the word, it holds a lot of power.

I'm a cancer survivor and also a volunteer for the American Cancer Society and ACS CAN. The word HOPE is a word used often and strongly when used in reference to cancer. Many would probably say it is HOPE that stimulates cures to be discovered, and that it reminds us all that it ain't over til it's over.

HOPE reminds us that the life deep within us cannot be harmed by anything outside of us. Diseases, difficult relationships, poverty or any other unwanted experiences are not as powerful as the HOPE that resides in our hearts.

HOPE is a direct connector to life. Hope reminds us to live fully, to trust and to allow whatever is needed to come to us. HOPE reminds us we need not resist or struggle, but to know all is well, even if the eventual outcome is not what we had in mind.

Many of us say we HOPE for the best, sometimes without knowing what exactly is best.

For me, believing that whatever "is" is just what is needed. I may not understand it, but I want to allow the strength of HOPE to carry me through whatever may be on my path.

For more information about the power HOPE holds for the ACS and if you would like to become a member of ACS CAN (only $10), contact your local ACS office. Your voice of hope for the availability of screenings for all, funding for research, and especially curative treatments, needs to be heard by your elected officials.

One person who has HOPE is very powerful. Many people with HOPE and a shared vision for a better, healthier world, can actually create it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Hidden Paths

A few days ago I came home and discovered two flagstone paths from my driveway and garage to the back door of my home were once again visible. Over the years, they became gradually grown over with sod. While I was away, my husband removed the sod, revealing two clear paths.

As I stood and looked at the long forgotten stone paths, I realized this is just what can happen in our lives as we get busy, often doing the things that do not necessarily bring us joy. Perhaps we were on a path long ago and somehow got distracted. As our attention got pulled to other things, we forgot the path we were on, or the path we were wanting to follow.

As the metaphorical sod grows, our dreams are no longer seen. If our dreams are not seen, the delight of living them out cannot be felt.

The grass did not cover these paths in a day. It was a long, slow gradual process. I had plenty of time to notice they were growing over, and if I had noticed I could have kept then clean and clear, but I didn't.

What I think about as I look at my now clear and clean flagstone paths is what dreams or desires have gotten "grown over" in my life with fears, doubts or a lack of faith.

I'm grateful for the once hidden paths to be open. They inspire me to stay awake in my life and not allow my dreams to be hidden in the same way.

The other interesting piece of this little story is that there are two paths. That means I always have more than one option. I wonder which one I will follow.