Riding Shotgun

What is one dream scenario that you have lost sight of?

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Yesterday I was crossing the street, waiting for a break in traffic.  A small, beat-up truck passed me — the very kind of truck I used to drive — and I saw a man driving with his dog riding shotgun.  Remembering my one most-amazing-and-wondrous dog who rode shotgun with me in my old truck, I felt a pang of sweet memory pass through my very core.

This particular dog went everywhere with me, so it was a common sight to see the two of us toodling around the county with the windows rolled down while singing along to some tune on a cassette tape.  The dog actually had a better singing voice than I did, but she was no critic.  Happy were we who got to go everywhere together.

When I saw this man and his happy pup in that truck, a dart of awareness passed through me.  It was one of those movie-montage moments where I could view time on film.  I could see me and my furry friend driving here and there in the succession of broken-down trucks that I had the misfortune of owning.

Yesterday as I watched the truck go jouncing down the road, I realized that one of my essential criteria for living a happy life had somehow slipped through the cracks of my ever-shifting paradigms.  At one time in my life, I would not even consider a job opportunity unless my dog could accompany me throughout the work day.  I turned down jobs in Alaska, California, Canada . . ..  If I couldn’t bring my faithful sidekick, I knew that the job wasn’t the right one for me.  As chosen priorities lead to reality, I ended up opting to live in a wall tent on 572,000 acres in a wilderness area.  It was a great situation where my boss did not care in the least if my dog tagged along.

The situation had all the potentiality of being lonely, but I never thought of it that way.  I was living in the midst of all of this incredible grandeur and my dog was right there by my side.  She was my true-blue, thick-and-thin companion in the middle of all that vast quiet.  She would run ahead of me on the trail and defy any bear, cougar, coyote, or free-range horse to come anywhere near us.  My time within all of that beauty there was such a rare opportunity, I appreciated every single day that passed.

All of this was bound to change.  And it did. During my years there, this ace #1 dog-of-a-lifetime passed on to Dog Heaven and other canine companions joined me.  Ultimately, a new job opportunity came up and I couldn’t pass it up.  The only problem?  I couldn’t bring my new dog to work with me.  The schedule was pretty good and the two of us were still able to get out and roam the trails on our 3-day weekends . . . but there was a shift.  And it was bigger than me not being able to bring my dog to work.  It was me compromising on what was important to me.

Looking back, I can see that “Bringing My Dog to Work” served as a bullet point on my Higher Self’s mission statement.

The years have passed.  That job led to another dog-restricted job.  Then I returned to school, and we all know how major universities feel about dogs sitting outside classrooms waiting for their human.  Not a good idea.  The mornings were full of classroom time and the afternoons were taken up by various half-ass jobs that supported me through school.

Outdoor-dog time grew to be more limited for me and free-range hikes turned into long evening strolls through the neighborhood.  Life had changed, as had I.  It didn’t occur to me at the time that I was focused on Ahead instead of looking at Right Now.

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All of these compromises.  With me feeling so buried by my decisions concerning education and future employment, the changes were all taking on priority status without me realizing that I was granting permission, one way or another, to something that was counter-intuitive to my internal mission statement.  I don’t rightly know how it all happened.  I don’t know when a yes became a no and a no became a yes.  Life changed when I consciously reversed the two and said it was all for a Better Future.

That’s the problem with giving in and giving up . . . you don’t realize that it has all happened until it feels like it’s too late to do anything about it anymore.  But that’s just it . . . it’s not too late.  Not at all.  All sorts of good decisions are before me.  All I have to do is choose.

Life is a lively event.  So many baby steps lead to where we are today.  Today, I want to honor my preferences.  Back up a little bit and review my Mission Statement.  Do a little editing maybe and re-commit to what is still important.  Invite my dream to ride shotgun with me again, roll down the windows, and belt out a tune.

How about you?

  • What’s riding shotgun on your Mission Statement? On your personal manifesto?
  • What’s one dream scenario that you have lost sight of?
  • Is it still alive inside you?
  • Are you ready to take some baby steps to renew it in your life?

We sometimes feel so bogged down by the progression of changes that have taken place in life that it can feel like it is impossible to reinstate one of our long-ago dreams.

Today might be the day that you sit down and ask what is important to you.

  • Commit it all to paper.
  • Keep the items approachable by using simple language. Dreams, written in your own language, will mean more to you than if they are crafted using lofty words and expressions.
  • Put your manifesto where you can see it easily and daily. Maybe it is your bathroom mirror or it is the wall by your desk or on a kitchen cupboard.  The important thing is that you make it visible.
  • Read your manifesto aloud. It might feel weird the first few times you do this, but it is as important that you hear the words as it is seeing the words.
  • When making decisions, think about what is important to you. Let your Higher Self guide you.
  • Dreams are meant to be followed.  Follow them.  They know the way.





Author bio: Kennedy Farr’s passion for writing caught light at the age of four when she first learned how to spell her name at a yellow kitchen table on a sheet of lined tablet paper.  Kennedy is a daily writer and blogger, a lifelong learner, and a true believer that something wonderful is happening right now in this very moment.  Kennedy lives high on the mountainside of an emerald-green island in the Pacific Northwest.

Website: https://theunseenwordsproject.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/theunseenwords

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/The-Unseen-Words-Project-1095815913825818/ 


A New World Is Born . . . a World of Surprises

Life is full of surprises.  All sorts of surprises happen every single day. I went down to the laundry room this morning and was surprised to see cat kibble spread all over the floor.  The cat was inventive throughout the night and discovered for the very first time in her 14 years of life that repeated clawing at a tough plastic-fiber cat food bag will spell e-u-r-e-k-a!  Needless to say, when she began her morning yowling for “More food!  More food!” it was her turn to be surprised that she wasn’t being fed on demand — her rotundness being particularly pronounced after her Midnight Kibble Party.

Then it occurred to me that the cat must have been incredibly surprised to discover that my sense of feline-nutritional guilt had kicked into gear when ordering her cat food this last time: I had just switched to a different brand to be delivered — a much healthier option over the cheap, grocery-store brand that I traditionally buy.  And then it was my turn to be surprised to discover that she actually liked the more healthful version over the super-cheap version.

All of these surprises.  Anais Nin wrote: “Each friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

And as Tony Robbins says, “Good surprises we like . . . but bad surprises we call problems.  Good point.  Surprises, like friends, represent “a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” I believe that how I embrace or deny surprises in my life defines my life in some small measure.  Am I open to an unexpected moment?  Or am I hunkered down, waiting for the storm to pass until the sky is predominately blue?

If I were to view surprises as friends that add depth and meaning and flavor to my days, then I would welcome them with open arms.  All surprises . . . the good and the bad.

There was one final surprise regarding the Magic Cat-Food-Bag-Turned-Feeder.  I had been surprised and a bit alarmed to see how much food had been consumed by my dear old cat while I was unaware that there had been a breach in security . . . only to discover that my 8-pound dog had been partying with the 17-pound cat — inhaling kibble with the best of felines.

Important EncountersThe moral to the story?  Do not leave temptation in the presence of an ever-hungry cat and a fairly-smart dog.  The other moral?  Be open to surprises.  What I perceive to be a less-than-stellar surprise (aka “problem”) could morph into an amazing journey that leads to “a new world [being] born.”  One never knows when one might be daydreaming or waiting in traffic or lending a hand to someone or doodling in a journal or taking that risk or enrolling in classes or standing in line . . . and encounter a world of incredibly wonderful surprises.  toaster oven



Uzima is the Swahili word for life: wholeness, vigor, and vitality of mindbodyspirit.  This word inspires me to be creative, adaptable, and compassionately aware in my service to others; to encourage others to seek balance in their commitment to wellness and learning in their respective lives; and to be open to the possibilities and opportunities that can transform perceptions of the ordinary into celebrations of the miraculous.

story telling ira glassOne way that I best connect with uzima is through shared stories.   The nature of narrative — with its origins of truth, knowledge, and heritage — makes for a powerful tool for unleashing Voice – the inner awareness of the possibilities and the power within.

Exercising Voice can shape the way we see the world and how we choose to participate in it.  Narrative is a lens by which one can view each experience, be it positive or negative, to build powerful metaphors that can better guide an understanding of how to approach life’s obstacles from an empowered state – rather than a hopeless state.

we all have storiesWe create and we grow our lives by being transparent with our stories.  By exploring the powerful tradition of narrative, it is possible to transform our ways of thinking and processing new experiences.  Through journaling and storykeeping, it is possible to make connections that lead us along our respective pilgrimages of healing and make us the authors of our life stories.  When we share our stories, we share our core beliefs – a powerful step in life’s growth and healing process.

I came across a passage in my reading recently that resonated with me: our blessings and gifts earn value when used . . . our abundance is an expression of how we use our gifts and how we can feel truly prosperous (from the Daily OM).  When we share — our hearts, our lives, our stories — our riches become more valuable because we have given of them with compassionate awareness.

Sharing is one of those uzima experiences that grows us.  Sometimes in ways of which we are completely unaware.

The ripple effect goes unnoticed.  We do not know what the ultimate outcome will be of bestowing a kindness upon another.  Maybe it is getting a box of tissues for someone who is crying.  Or it is letting someone into traffic.  Loaning someone $20 for gas money.  Rubbing someone’s shoulder while she is struggling against life’s current.  Buying coffee for the person who is standing in line behind you.  Sending an I-love-you letter via snail mail.  Listening to your best friend tell his story.  Laughing until your sides ache.

Abundance.  Compassionate awareness.  Wholeness in existence.  Happiness.  Contentment.  Significance.  Connection.  Sharing.

We can create abundance in our lives and in the lives of others by giving freely of what we have and who we are.  It is a humbling thing to write of this: to believe that we — you and I — stand to be instrumental in another’s growth.  It is life’s ultimate gift.  To others.  And to our own selves.  It is powerful, magnificent, and humbling . . . to think that we all have the opportunity to love another with uzima reflected in our actions.  toaster oven




I see you. I am here.

I heard someone say the other day that she is a lifelong learner.  I like this sentiment.  We are all lifelong learners.  I seek growth and feel fully present when I am in the process of learning and evolving.  My life experiences have been shaped by years of primitive living, sharing with my family, teaching, studying, researching, gardening, dancing, playing music, reading, painting, creating, seeking ways to express love . . . time draws together in a harmonious confluence – constantly moving and flowing in directions that connect me as a part of the greater whole.

I believe that we all want to be part of a bigger whole.  We seek empathetic connections that acknowledge each other, define our lives in powerful ways, and allow for us to be examples and inspirations of growth, kindness, and healing — to truly see each other.

Among the tribes of northern Natal in South Africa, the most common greeting, equivalent to “hello” in English, is the expression: sawu bona. It literally means, “I see you.” If you are a member of the tribe, you might reply by saying sikhona, “I am here.” The order of the exchange is important: until you see me, I do not exist.

What this acknowledgement means is simply empathy. It means that you acknowledge the other as one like yourself. It means that the ‘I’ and the ‘You’ are the same – parts of a bigger whole.”  [I dearly wish I could remember the source from which I read this translation.  My apologies to the author.]

i-am-here_webI believe that every little bit works together into one whole, one flow.  And it is sometimes simpler to banish the roots of uncertainty and doubt in others than it is in our own selves.   It requires courage for us to explore new pathways.  In life’s journey, I want to experience and communicate both sawu bona (I see you) and sikhona (I am here).

I came across a passage in my reading recently that resonated with me: our blessings and gifts earn value when used . . . our abundance is an expression of how we use our gifts and how we can feel truly prosperous.  When we share, our riches grow in value because we have given them with compassionate awareness.  Wow.  This is just so beautiful.

I so believe this to be true.  We can create abundance in our lives and the lives of others by giving freely of what we have and who we are.  It is a humbling thing to think on and to write of.  It is an enormous privilege to become part of another’s journey and to think that I stand to be instrumental in another’s growth or happiness.  Wow.  Sawu bona.  Sikhona.  toaster oven