Grasshoppers, Ants, and a Blue Moon (or, the Art of Practical Alchemy: Transforming Gold into Gold?)

Have you ever wanted something so badly it keeps you up at night? 

Although I’ve admittedly gained a more materialistic side as a byproduct of living in Orange County, I’ve generally always valued experiences (i.e., travel) over possessions and spent my money accordingly.*

* OK, Hubby is probably suffocating in sarcasm right now.  According to him, I’m clearly a champion “Spender” who is quite accomplished at throwing large sums of money at both travel and frivolous things.  (My retort: Someone has to save the economy?)

But I still contend that it’s rare for me to obsess over an object for months on end like I have been since even before this blog was born.

Maybe it’s the moon?

In case you missed it, this is what Friday’s Blue Moon looked like from our driveway:

Blue Moon on August 31, 2012

Assuming that 12/21/12 isn’t really the End-of-the-World, there won’t be another Blue Moon until July 31, 2015.**  (Of course if 12/21/12 really is THE END, then I really hope you saw that moon!)

** This is using the common definition of Blue Moon, meaning the second full moon in any month, rather than the Farmer’s Almanac definition referring to the third full moon in any season with an unusual four full moons — we’ll see another one of those moons on August 21 next year.

But back to my object of desire.

Remember Aesop’s Fables?  Lately I’ve been pondering the story of The Grasshopper and the Ant.  (Maybe this has something to do with Mitt Romney’s “pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps/create-your-own-success-in-life” rhetoric we can’t seem to get away from on TV these days.)

In any case, here’s a quick recap of Aesop’s version of the tale:

All spring and summer through the time of planting and reaping, an industrious Ant toils all day while a lazy (but artistic) Grasshopper kicks back and relaxes, not caring to plan for the future. Winter comes and the Grasshopper finds himself in dire need. He begs the now prosperous Ant for help, but is turned away.

The Grasshopper and the Ant - Aesop's Fables

The lazy Grasshopper quickly freezes and/or starves to death.

But somehow, the childhood version of the story I recall must have been Disney-fied, because I distinctly remember the ant in that tale did NOT let the grasshopper freeze and starve, but invited him into his home to share his hard earned wealth.

I am a Grasshopper.

Poor Hubby is the Ant.

Apparently men have known this about women for a very long time.  Just look at this painting by Jules-Joseph Lefebvre called “La Cigale” (the Grasshopper), first displayed in 1872:

La Cigale (the grasshopper) - by Jules-Joseph Lefebvre, 1872

Will she starve when winter comes?

I don’t think my grasshopper tendencies are my fault.  With all these online Goddesses and Queens (especially those purportedly blogging from exotic locales around the world) enticing us to “become more feminine” and simply “get better at receiving” in order to allow our “true prosperity” to arrive as result of our “higher vibration,”  who’s to blame us women for wanting to take a few grasshopper shortcuts?

But I digress, yet again.  What I’m trying to get at here is my mindset leading up to my big splurge last Friday on the night of the Blue Moon.  So just what is this object that has been keeping me awake all week?  A piece called “Gold” by magical realism artist Michael Parkes:

"Gold" by Michael Parkes

The unusual thing is not that I invested in a piece of art, but that I did so not as an impulse buy, and not by adding to my (often alarmingly growing) credit card balance. Like Scarlett O’Hara transforming her silk drapery into a gown, I plan to trade in some of my much worn gold for this “gold.”

I call it practical alchemy.

You see, last week I took this gold necklace and bracelet into Tiffany’s for repairs:

Tiffany & Co. 18K Gold Multiwire Necklace and Bracelet

Hubby gave these to me back in 2005 for our first anniversary.  Sentimental?  For sure.  Reparable?  Sadly, no.  I wore both pieces nearly every day of my litigation career, and I’m pretty sure the stress of that profession translated into the kinks and frayed, unraveling gold that make the jewelry almost unwearable today.

Don’t get my wrong: I truly love gold jewelry and always will.  But I love the “Gold” picture more.  I first came across Parkes’ work eleven years ago in 2001, when I moved to California from Australia in the midst of a failed marriage, right before 9/11.  The work that captured my imagination at that time was Parkes’ The Last Lion — a very sad piece that fit my mood perfectly at the time.  (You can read a previous blog about that artwork here.)

Yawn.  Yes, okay, I know people trade in jewelry for stuff every day.  But for me this is a breakthrough: letting go of something valuable to me in the past to make room for something valuable to me now It almost seems as if the Universe was conspiring to make sure I acquired this art: the gallery where I bought it was closing on the night of the Blue Moon (thus offering a hefty discount) and the price of recycled gold was where it needed to be.

The melt price of the gold is substantially more than the “Gold” artwork cost.

But it’s more than that.  The “Gold” picture represents my journey from the broken, scared girl I was in 2001 (as in “The Last Lion”), to the abundant, loving, and (more or less) healed woman I am now.

And like my litigation career, my stressed out, frayed, overworn and abused jewelry has been retired.

Hopefully to serve a higher purpose.

At the risk of sounding, guru-esque, I believe we need to combine the traits of both grasshopper and ant to live well.  True prosperity is something we create within, but in the best of circumstances also shows on the outside in the objects we care most about.  The things we find beauty in.  The things that keep us up at night.

—–

What about you?  Are there objects in your life that symbolize something greater than mere materialism?  Things that demonstrate your love of beauty or another value you hold dear?  Would buy the same item again at double the price?

Like, Literally, I’m Just Saying, Like, Seriously, Yikes! (and I’m NOT dying, OK?)

The older I get, the more annoyed I feel about the way people speak.  Especially young people.

And that’s a sure sign I’m getting old.

It just seems the rules I grew up with have all but disappeared.  When did every third word become “like?”   And why does everyone now add “just saying” (jus’ sayin’) and/or “seriously” every time they have a point to make?

Please don’t get me started on the overuse of “yikes!”

Even teachers no longer know the difference between “lie” and “lay.”  (My dog, on the other hand, knows to disobey whenever a trainer tells her to “lay down.”)

It's LIE down, Stupid.

And what’s up with the ubiquitous misuse of the word “literally?”  The next time someone tells me she “literally shit a brick” I’m going to ask her if she’s ever considered moving to a third world country.  (Such talent might come in handy in places where they LITERALLY build houses out of cow dung?)

But why am I ranting about English on a travel blog?

I’ve heard rumors some people are taking this site a tad too literally.

So, to clarify, once and for all:

I DO NOT believe the world is going to end on December 21, 2012.

I’m not planning to off myself or do anything (too) self-destructive on that date either.

But 12/21/12 will be significant in my little world because I will be turning 45 — which  isn’t really that old, for a cougar, but does increase one’s Botox budget significantly.  (And yes, I do like Botox jokes.  I can’t help it, living in The OC for as long as I have has that effect.  Please try not to take my humor too literally.)

On a more serious note, getting older has definitely made me more aware of time.  And just realizing that one day this party will have to end makes me appreciate what a gift life is.

So maybe the whole 12/21/12 thing on this site is a gimmick.

If this offends you, I apologize.

But if thinking about the “End-of-the-World”* makes me more aware of the literal fact that our lives are finite, I don’t see the harm.

* A slightly sarcastic note for the literally minded: Quotation marks as in “End-of-the-World” are sometimes used to convey the thought, “Do not take this literally.”  But don’t worry, I, like, “seriously” have no intention of teaching remedial English or punctuation on this blog in the future … jus’ sayin’.

When I launched this site eight weeks ago, I wasn’t sure about the whole travel blog idea, as I had no concrete travel plans for the second half of 2012.  But it’s interesting what opportunities present themselves once you open the door.  I hadn’t planned to go to Europe this year, but started out celebrating June’s Summer Solstice in Barcelona and will be at Stonehenge for October’s New Moon.  I hadn’t intended to meditate for a week in Taos (last month), nor practice telepathy with horses in Tucson (next month) but feel confident both these trips are important steps in my journey.

But I still haven’t decided where to celebrate 12/21/12.

And there are only 127 days left.

This leaves me with just one thing I can possibly say:

Yikes.

——

QUESTION:  Do you have any strong opinions about how others should speak and/or write?  Do you have any stories of others taking your remarks literally when you meant them figuratively?  Tell me all about it …

Further Proof I’m a Goddess, the Meaning of Life, plus a Rather Disturbing Discovery …

As if being born on the shortest day of the year and turning 45 at the putative end-of-the-world in 2012 weren’t enough, I do have further evidence of my possibly divine status/birthright to guru-dom.

Namely, my immaculate conception.

Even having been born in the late 60’s and being a child of the 70’s, I wasn’t the brightest bulb in the box when it came to sex.  When it finally dawned on me one day as a tween sitting in the kitchen staring at the date on my parents’ rosemaling embellished anniversary plate, it took me a couple of hours to get up the nerve to ask: “Mom, how many months does a pregnancy last?”

Because even counting three times, I was quite certain there were only six months between my parents’ wedding date and my own birth.

My parents were high school sweethearts and I was born during Dad’s final year of college.  Hardly scandalous material even back then. And I certainly don’t mean to disparage my parents in any way, as their generation shows far more loyalty, resilience, and just plain decency than my own.  My parents lived through Dad’s service in the Vietnam War and went on to have three more kids after me.  They have been married forever now, and from what I can gather, Dad still thinks Mom is groovier than Marcia Brady and foxier than any Bond girl of any decade.

Raquel Welch & Ursula Andress

how I imagine Dad must view Mom …

Which is why I still have just a wee bit of trouble believing Mom’s story:

“We just must have been hyper fertile.  I swear we didn’t even have sex.  Your father just got a little too close one night … of course we waited until after we were married to try it again.”

Did I mention my parents were born the same year Bill Clinton was? (Maybe their generation has a slightly more narrow view of what constitutes sex?  And if two decades make that much difference, I wonder how the meaning of “virgin” might have evolved over 2000+ years?)

But on second thought, I do believe Mom.

It wasn’t my parents’ fault.

I simply wanted to be born too badly.   I was in a hurry.

And now that I have just 135 days left until the End-of-the-World, I feel more panicked than ever to squeeze everything I possibly can into life.

Which reminds me that I promised to reveal nothing less than the Meaning of Life in this post.  Being the immaculately conceived Guru-Goddess that I am, I am unabashed by this challenge and will simply do what all the other gurus do. 

I will borrow someone else’s thoughts on this.  Here goes …

The purpose of life is:

“To be the eyes and ears and conscience of the Creator of the Universe, you fool.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions.

I don’t remember much about Vonnegut’s novel (apart from loving everything the man has ever written), but find his theory amazingly comforting.  The longer I go without working a “real” job, the more material I need to rationalize my hope that writing (“being the eyes and ears of the universe”) may, in fact, be all that is required of us.

But if simply observing the world is what we’re here for, I just realized I will never meet a guru who possesses more wisdom than my cat:

Boris the Buddha

Boris the Buddha …

I don’t know about you, but I find this slightly disturbing … my cat charges less than $2 per day (two cans of Fancy Feast plus all the premium kibble he can eat).  How will I ever make a living as a Goddess?

————-

What about you?  What are your experiences with Gurus?  Spill everything: the good, the bad, and the ugly … maybe I can even convince Boris to impart some of his wisdom in a reply if you have Pounce treats.

Why Protagonists Must Always SUFFER and a Friday Koan for YOU

I’m afraid my story is flawed from the start because even assuming that I am the protagonist of this blog (and who else would seriously want to be?), this blog suffers from other serious storytelling violations.

Writing Rule #1: Protagonists ALWAYS MUST SUFFER:

wet unappy cat

Protagonists must ALWAYS suffer!

But quite apart from my aversion to undue pain and general unwillingness to suffer as true heroines must, this blog has another problem: my goals are far too squishy to form the spine of a good story.

Let’s face it.  What precisely am I seeking here?  Health, Love, Adventure, Abundance, Beauty, Wisdom, Self-Actualization??  (See my “About Page” for my  slightly sarcastic thoughts on becoming Wonderful, Wealthy & Wise.)  Despite the fact that Elizabeth Gilbert earned big bucks for the film adaptation of Eat, Pray, Love, none of my fluffy aspirations usually work in movies because they are non-specific, internal goals (i.e., not cinematic).  And in real life, Tony Robbins would say they’re not even decent goals, because they aren’t measurable.

At least I have one solid story element going for me: a deadline.

December 21, 2012 is just 139 days away.

So what do I hope to achieve before then?  The travel schedule* is still in development, but this is the least of my problems.

(*For those of you who simply can’t stand being left in the dark, here’s a quick preview of what’s to come: playboy clubs and family confrontations  celebrations in Bridesmaids’ territory (Lake Geneva, WI) later this month, equine therapy on a dude ranch in Arizona in September, various adventures in London, Stone Henge, Paris & Normandy in October, the first international Baja Film Festival in Cabo San Lucas in November, and an as yet undetermined location (help by voting!) for my end-of-the-world/45th-birthday celebration on 12/21/12.  Plus, various writing & wine tasting (the only way to write!) adventures in California will be interspersed throughout.)

But what are my specific, achievable, external goals during the next 139 days?  (Believe it or not, this is NOT Tony Robbins speak, but rather screenwriting lingo.)  Here goes:

  • I want to re-write my three screenplays to a presentable level and land an agent.
  • I want to stop feeling guilty for no longer practicing law.  (Shoot, that’s  a pesky internal goal again …)
  • I want my work to pay for my travels, so that I’m not just another trophy wife.  (Is that an external or internal goal?)
  • I want to move to an oceanview home.   (We’re 2.5 miles away now, but those miles cost A LOT, even in this economy.)

Frankly, I have no idea whether these goals are achievable by 12/21/12, but there you have it:  I’ve at least stated my desires publicly and assigned a deadline.  (Tony, you would be so proud!)

But here’s the problem:  Protagonists must always suffer.   Remember the myth of Prometheus and ChironRomeo and Juliet?  Without suffering, there is no story.

 

Chiron saves Prometheus

Chiron saves Prometheus

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, despite what all the gurus say (right before asking you to spend $20K on a “personal intensive”  day with them …)  If I truly want these things (and if I truly did, wouldn’t I already have them?), I’m going to have to spend my time and energy wisely, and be prepared to make some sacrifices.  Just watch any movie; the downfall of the protagonist before she finally sees the light is almost always due to her wanting to gain the most while giving up the least.   (This may sound great in a motivational seminar, but would bore a movie audience to tears.)

Which brings me to the promised Friday KoanWho Are You Without Your Story?

We are all so attached to our stories; and no wonder, neuroscientists now say that attaching meaning to what happens to us is no less a survival skill than learning to run from bears.  Not only do we learn from our pasts, but our very memories are constantly reshaped in order to bring sense to what is happening in our lives right now.

The beauty of Zen koans is that they have no answer.  Or better said, only YOU know the answer.  So, if you could let go of being the protagonist (even for just a second) in your own story, how would that feel?  Is there a suffering you could let go of?  How would that feel?

And isn’t that feeling alone worth it?  Even if you never get that agent or oceanview home or (fill in your goals here: __________________)?

Happy Friday …

50 Shades of Purple and Where is this Blog Headed, Anyway?

One of the many things I’m learning about travel blogging (other than Hubby’s constant reminder that it’s getting to be an expensive hobby), is that it’s difficult to pull together an entire life (or even six months of a life) and spin it into a good story.

A story that makes people want to know what happens next.

Because let’s face it; boredom happens.  As does lethargy.  Sloth.  Laziness.  Reality TV.  Time between trips.  All the stuff best left out of screenplays and books.  Many authors might even say:

Today’s post has no business being part of a travel blog.

It’s August already, and I’m at home planting yet more purple flowers for the hummingbirds:

More Purple Dreams

Remember that cheesy song, Deep Purple

And as long as my heart will beat, sweet lovers we’ll always meet, here in my deep purple dreams …”

Purple Dreams - more flowers for the hummingbirds

It topped the charts in 1963 (even before my time), but I remember Donny and Marie Osmond singing it on their show in the mid-70’s.  The song is so schmaltzy, it’s hard to believe anyone ever liked it — much less the entire country.

It’s also one of those super annoying songs that once you think about it, it’s impossible to get out of your head.  And the more purple flowers I plant, the worse this gets:

Sweet Purple Dreams

But what does this have to do with this blog and where we’re headed from here?

Even though I do have at least one trip (both international and domestic) planned every month between 6/21 and 12/21 (will disclose all soon!), I’m afraid a lot of my journeys (the hardest ones) still take place at home.

Like this morning, when Hubby and I argued about my potential plans for 12/21/12 (none of them cheap).  Haven’t we traveled enough in the past ten years together?  And what is the purpose of blogging when I’m not even selling anything and have no plans to monetize all this online activity?

I’m not doing this for the money.

I’m not doing it because I haven’t traveled enough.

I’m not doing it (despite what you may think) to get attention.

And I’m definitely not doing it for my health.

I blog because otherwise I might sit at my desk and write about something completely useless, unpopular,  and unprofitable like erotica, vampires, or magic.

I bet Harry Potter and Kristen Stewart dream in 50 shades of purple.

Like my garden.

And even though that corny Purple Dreams song makes me feel nostalgic (living in the past) and planning my travels for this blog propels me into the future, watching the hummingbirds feast on their own purple dreams keeps me here.

Present.

Right here and now.

And for now, that’s enough.

——-

I will be disclosing my travel plans soon, but I need your help …

Question:  Where would YOU spend 12/21/12 if you were me?

A).  Somewhere Mayan (Belize, Guatemala, Mexico) with about a billion other tourists;

B).  Somewhere off the beaten track, like swimming with dolphins near the Bermuda Triangle or meditating in Bhutan;

C).  Somewhere productive, like at a writers’ retreat in Hawaii; or

D).  At home with the people I love because who knows, it might actually be the end-of-the-world?

I appreciate your input!

33, 44, 55, 66, 77 … Kate’s Sequence (or, what’s in a number?)

I used to be really good at math … when I was thirteen.  So good, they allowed me to skip a class and take Algebra II when I was a freshman in high school.  But by the next year, in Advanced Geometry, I had had it … my little brother (now an engineer) was two years ahead of his class, sat right behind me, and beat me out on every single test.

Being one of those shallow narcissists who can’t stand being bad at things, I dropped out of math and science before I ever took Calculus or Physics.  (Thankfully, lawyers don’t have to be good at math …)

But this hasn’t stopped me from being fascinated with numbers.  In fact, I noticed just this morning while getting my overdue Botox fix that a strange number pattern has emerged in my life this year:  33, 44, 55, 66, 77 …

I call it Kate’s Sequence.  The numbers represent the age of my (bratty beautiful) younger sister, my own age, my best Newport girlfriend’s age, my mother’s age, and my mother-in-law’s age as I type this in 2012.

But one of the most important women of my life doesn’t fit the Sequence:  Grandma turned 94 on Tuesday, as did Grandpa a couple of weeks earlier.  They are still married, still have their hair, still have their minds, and are utterly disgusting to the rest of us impressive:

My grandparents' 93rd birthdays in 2011

If you haven’t noticed, Grandma bears a distinct resemblance to Betty White.  And not just because she’s tiny, cute, and Norwegian … it’s because she still has that lust for life and sense of humor that keeps a person young forever.  Even (especially) without the Botox.

I owe Grandma a lot.  She was the one who bought me the all important Calvin Klein, Jordache, and Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in grade school … and later, Guess, Bon-Jour, and (when slumming it) Lee jeans in high school.

Grandma would have really enjoyed being a Real Orange County Housewife.  Not because she ever had plastic surgery or hair extensions, but because to this day, she is the only woman I know who has never washed her own hair.  (I’m not kidding!)

She also taught me to hide my credit card statements from Hubby. 

So what’s my point here?

I started this blog because I was afraid the world was going to end in six months.  How was I going to make the most of the scant time I have left?  And how was I going to cope with turning 45 in the high maintenance capital of the world?

Grandma is 50 years older than I am.  If I have her genes (and I must have at least some of them), I’m not even half way there yet.

So my Sequence (the ages of various beautiful women I know) is not so different from the Fibonacci sequence.  In that famous pattern, each number is the sum of the previous two numbers: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, 377, 610, 987 … The higher up in the sequence, the closer two consecutive of the sequence divided by each other will approach the Golden Ratio (approximately 1 : 1.618 or 0.618 : 1).

Why does this matter?

Because the golden ratio (also called  “phi” and depicted by the Greek symbol Φ) is in everything.  It represents no less than what constitutes BEAUTY in the world – both in nature and in art.  It’s the ratio used to design the Parthenon and the Pyramids of Giza. It’s the number expressed in spirals, snowflakes, flowers, fractals, and our own DNA.   It’s the ratio between a perfectly fertile woman’s waist and her hips.

It’s the closest thing to spirituality a scientist can believe in.

The golden ratio is also expressed in this ancient fossil I discovered last week in New Mexico:

ammolite & ravens

The photo isn’t great, but it’s a picture of an ammonite fossil affixed to a gold bracelet I bought last week in Taos.  (The background pic is just a notebook with ravens on it — the birds are considered to be messengers between this world and the next, a fitting totem for a writers’ journal?)

I realize I’m rambling here.  But heck, Grandma has been here for 94 years, and that ammonite fossil has hung on for 35-million years

And if Fibonacci’s number and the golden mean are found in everything beautiful from nature, to art, to music, then certainly there is beauty in women of all ages.

Suddenly, I feel like I have time.

And that’s not a bad thing.  Even at the end of time …

—–

Questions:  Do you find time to be elastic?  What state of mind are you in when time just flows effortlessly?  What are you doing?  And when does time drag?  Are you a chronic clock watcher?  If so, might it be time for a change?

How to Lose an Entire River and Tame Your Dragonfly …

Hubby always jokes that if map reading were on the bar exam, I never would have become licensed as an attorney.  I’d love to refute this in some clever way, but last Friday I couldn’t even find the Rio Grande:

Rio Grande near Taos, New Mexico

As you can see, the water level was extremely low but I’m pretty sure that only I could manage to miss the country’s fourth largest river and drive an extra forty miles through the entire 20,000 acre Arroyo Honda land grant before realizing it.

My week in New Mexico was supposed to be about learning MIndfulness.

But even though we meditated every day, sometimes I feel like all I accomplished was just more wallowing in my overly sensitive hypochondriac selfishness.

And I still managed to miss my turn.

Twice.

But getting lost is part of the journey.

A good portion of our week was spent on the theme of permission.  Dani Shapiro (author of the excellent memoir Devotion about the quest for meaning and spirit in middle age) delivered a keynote address where she pointed out that no one is going to fall out of the sky and give us permission to call ourselves writers.

Nor is anyone going to give you permission to do that big, magnificent thing you’ve been fantasizing about for so long now.

And that’s just one more reason why I adore travel so much … once we put ourselves in a new setting, after we’ve given ourselves permission to do something different … anything can happen.

I was expecting to spend a lot of time writing in New Mexico, to get inspired by the many talented writers, perhaps do some sightseeing, and maybe make a new friend or two.  All of that certainly happened, but what I didn’t foresee was the start of a new healing journey I will be writing more about soon:

In September I’ll be attending an Equine Therapy retreat … that’s right, horse therapy (not for the horses).  I’ve never owned a horse or taken riding lessons, but according to the website, working with horses is supposed to “compel you to reconnect with the truth of who you are through the mirror of the horse.”

Equine Healing Retreat

But that’s not the scary part …

I invited my mother to come too.

She said yes.

(Someday I’ll learn that those invitations you extend just to be polite can backfire.  Of course I’m just kidding, Mom, if you’re reading this … I really am scared shitless about looking forward to our coming adventure.)

So now I’m back at home trying to figure out what other adventures to take before 12/21/12.  And there truly is not much time left, as I was reminded of again last night when we attempted to rescue this poor little dragonfly from a huge spiderweb:

dragonfly

It wasn’t easy; I had to get him down from a web about 18 feet high and gently wash the gooey web remnants off his super delicate wings.  He was traumatized and clearly couldn’t fly; I didn’t think he’d make it through the night but left him in what looked like a safe spot with a lid full of water.

It turns out that dragonflies spend the vast majority of their lives in a yucky larvae-like state (up to four years!) but then only live a month or two as pretty iridescent flying things before they die.  Those that believe in animal totems say the dragonfly is a symbol of transformation and gratitude, reminding us to be present right here, right now, before it’s too late.

This morning the dragonfly is still alive, but won’t move.  He even lets me stroke his tissue thin wings; I’m pretty sure the rescue was in vain and all I’ve accomplished was to deprive a hard working spider of her meal.

But when I check on him a couple of hours later after the sun has come out, he’s gone.  So either he stretched his wings and gave himself permission to fly away, or he stayed where he was and was eaten by a crow.

I’ll never know.  But I hope he flew.

And I hope you do too …

——

Question:  Is there something in your life you have always wanted to do, but have yet to give yourself permission to?  What’s holding you back?   What will need to happen for you to decide otherwise?