Tag Archives: Gifts

A Dream Goes on Forever

A little known Todd Rundgren song is a favorite of mine: A Dream Goes on Forever.

My interpretation? Our dreams sustain us through difficult times. They are unsinkable corks, bouncing up as lifesavers (sometimes despite our best efforts to drown in our sorrows.)

Like flowers yearning to break through the cracks of cement, these resilient buggers called dreams stretch onward and upward.

“A dream deferred makes the heart sick…”

Oh, boy (or oy vey!) I’ve had some sick hearts over the course of 56 years. From not getting the part of Dorothy in the 4th-grade play (and instead, cast as the Lion) to watching my younger friends marry during my single 20’s and 30’s, life dumped some #$%^@ on some of my dreams.

“…but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” – Proverbs 13:12

Beating out thousands to land a job as one of the original QVC Show Hosts! Finally walking down the aisle to a packed church cheering the end of my single days!

Some of you quizzically read those last two lines, knowing that I was unceremoniously dumped by the shopping network and cut bait on an unfulfilling marriage after 14 years.

Hey, weren’t those dreams fulfilled supposed to be trees of life?

Well, they were. For a season.

My tears dried after losing the part of Dorothy. Life went on. Life marches on! What mattered SO much once is just (as my friend Roseann likes to say) a pimple on an elephant’s ass.

Gotta love my spicy Roseann-isms.

Thoughts of dreams stirred my soul this week when immersed in a Sex and the City marathon. The show begins in their twenties with invincibility fueled by cosmopolitans and a fabulous foursome of friends. Over the course of a decade we watch breakups, losses, cancer, babies and so much more that Carrie, Samantha, Miranda, and Charlotte could never have imagined.

Had they a crystal ball, they might have avoided most of their adventures to avoid pain.

And so might have I, as I pondered this photo from my past:

This photo captures the moment in time when I prepared to graduate from college. Already working in my chosen field, there was no doubt in my mind I would be the next Diane Sawyer.

It was my dream to write and speak words. To use them skillfully to inspire and inform.

Also, to be fabulously wealthy and famous. (Look, I’ve never claimed to be Mother Theresa.)

Oh, had I a crystal ball I would have definitely bypassed that QVC audition, kept driving past the church (that ended up being a cult)…

…but in the choices made to avoid pain, I would have lost some of my best stories. And my best friends.

I may not be Diane Sawyer, but I’m really glad to be Brenda Viola.

Yes, Viola. I loved my ex, still hold affection for him, and love that last name. It fits!

Just as I have changed over the years (my taste for pitch black, sky-high hair replaced by golden highlights), my dreams also evolved. Some have come true! (Published author, anyone?) Some remain to be fulfilled.

But that’s the beauty of life.

I believe the dreams of our hearts are Divinely planted. And they must grow! They will materialize in perfect form when the gestation period has ended.

But aren’t we supposed to learn lessons from disappointments?

Sure!

And once learned, we move forward. To think that life is meant to be a constant string of lessons learned from heartbreaks runs counter to the idea that God (Source, the Divine, All That Is) is good and life should be happy.

I believe life should be happy.

Perhaps my message today is if you are pregnant with a dream, don’t abort it.

Turning your back on your dream is to turn away from your very self.

Your dreams are intertwined with your gifts and answer the question, “Who am I?”

They light you up. You feel most alive when expressing from that deep, holy part within you where the dream lives.

This is what you were made for!

John Russo croons a standard from the Rat Pack. My sister, Shirlee, acts on a moment of inspiration and whips up a calligraphy masterpiece. Artists are brave souls!

I have friends who claim they don’t have dreams. Oh, but when they express their gifts, they so beautifully live their purpose.

Maybe that’s a better word…purpose.

But I’ll stick with dreams. And I hope you stick with them, too.

On this topic of how what we want evolves over time and how when WE change, everything changes, here’s this week’s video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7S8BZ-CNsc&feature=youtu.be

If your dreams are feeling choked, your hope has been deferred, and you feel a bit adrift – take heart. We all weather such storms. These, too, shall pass.

Ask for the grace to help in time of need (and don’t be afraid to ask for help.)

Much love –

Brenda

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Yippee – It’s Mine! Now, Let it Go (and the New WOW)

For many years I struggled with the concept of success and “getting what’s mine.”

For much of my 20’s and 30’s, I enviously observed other people achieving results, living exciting lives full of travel and material wealth and I longed for the same.

It seemed that there was a glass partition that I just couldn’t break through, keeping me from accessing life from the driver’s seat of the limo. This wasn’t a question in the back of my mind – it was in the FOREFRONT:  “Why can’t I connect the dots?  What am I missing?”

For as long as I’ve been me, I’ve wanted to live life to the fullest.  Along the way, I got sidetracked and convinced myself that I could settle into mediocrity and still be happy.

Here’s the thing: the definition of mediocre is different for everyone.  My idea of living high might be settling for you (and vice versa).

At our core, though, we know what we are capable of and what will make us fulfilled.  If we fall short, the question “Why?” is a worthy one.

One day I had my breakthrough.  The time I actually got an ANSWER to the question was on an ordinary day as I was driving home from work.

In my spirit, I heard, “You don’t really believe that there’s plenty to go around.  You believe in the idea of abundance, but not as a reality for YOU.  Do you truly believe that there is unlimited success, wealth, potential, blessing, resources available to you?  Then start acting like it.”

It clicked.

My prayer life changed.  I started THANKING God for provision.  I started EXPECTING favor.  

And my life took a major shift from scarcity to abundance – not just materially, but mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

Louis Vuitton handbags showed up in the mail (thank you, Shirlee.) I became an occasional guest at the Ritz-Carlton (thanks to my fairy godmother and father – you know who you are).

Yes, kindness and generosity flowed to me from amazing people.

And I even started to manifest some of my own miracles.  Speaking engagements and freelance gigs flowed to me, including travel to places I’d always dreamed of going.

But the shining example of my new way of living life abundantly was my beautiful home in Sarasota.  I’ve told you the story before, but it always held up as a high-water mark of proof that God loved me and wanted to give me the desires of my heart.

I wanted to live there forever.  I would proclaim to anyone, “This is my dream house.  I’ll spend the rest of my life here.”

Until faced with the decision to surrender it.

There was a critical point where I had to choose:  Should I stay in the house of my dreams…or start living the LIFE of my dreams?

At my core I know that no matter how beautiful the home or breathtaking the pool and jacuzzi, I had no peace.

I once read a quote (paraphrased), “Your net worth will never be greater than your self-worth.” – Robin Sharma

Here’s a good one, too:

Once I “got” the lesson about abundance, the second round of revelation was wrapped around the question, “Would my STUFF define me?”

What we have can have US; it can lock us up in a prison (a very comfortable one, mind you), but it can suppress what should be an irrepressible spirit.

This is not to say that I have since renounced abundance.  Hell no!  Remember, I’m the girl who wore her false eyelashes to a spartan retreat in Costa Rica and who goes to the lobby of the RItz Carlton just to sniff it.  (Really, it smells divine.)

But Brenda 2.0 is not beholden to any of the trappings of this life. Yes, they can be fun and the icing on the cake…but the cake is the peace in my heart, the love I have for myself and the respect I now give my tender soul.

I speak more about this in my closing thoughts on SURRENDER:

Here is what is so amazing and cool and miraculous about our new, never before received WOW, release:  When I stood in those rushing waters in Costa Rica, I asked for a RELEASE of creativity.  I asked for my laughter to be unleashed.  (And a few other private things that also go along with this wonderful word.)

My friends, perhaps the universe is saying that on the other side of our surrender; if we’re willing to let go of what has held us captive; if we relinquish your fears and let the white flag wave on the life we THOUGHT was our dream come true – what awaits us all is RELEASE.

Woo-hoo!  I’m doing a happy dance for all of us.

So now that I’ve told you mine, please tell me about your surrenders and releases. It makes this journey together all the more wonderful to share them.

Much love,

Brenda

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Making Your Vision REAL (and the New WOW)

If your vision for your life is something you just can’t shake, there’s one thing I know: You’ve got what it takes to bring it to fruition.

Let me temper that statement with a little special sauce.

I’ll keep it personal, but if the stiletto fits…

Some of my grand visions for me were planted in some rich soil called EGO.  This manure effectively fertilized the seed for these visions:  INSECURITY.

 I needed to be a successful, amazing, superior WHATEVER because on the inside I felt like a worthless, meaningless, nothing.

Sheesh! What a roller coaster ride of inflated-sense-o-self and inferiority!

Thank you very much, I no longer ride those waves of insecurity.  They sometimes beckon me with a free ticket to ride, but I’ve learned to say “been there, done that, gave it up for Lent.”

When you check your ego at the door and begin to love on yourself, your TRUE vision for you can emerge…and it is never unattainable, because LOVE never fails.

You were born for this.

Every gift, talent, resource, connection – you’ve got it.  And if it hasn’t manifested yet, it’s going to show up just when you need it.

What’s this “I don’t know what my gift is…” business?  Ha!

Your gift is the thing that lights you up and lights up everyone it touches.

And when it comes to VISION, yours is wrapped up in a bow made of your gifts.

For some practical VISION advice and the new WOW – here you go!:

We call this the WOW – the Word of the Week, but the feeling I got when I pulled that card was truly “WOW…”

I began talking about the sense of inferiority and how it can abort our visions for a happy and a good life.  To follow that up with the word HEALING and a sense that so many of you are holding yourselves hostage to the past…well, WOW.

Please forgive yourself.

Treat yourself as kindly as you do others.

Let those deep places heal so you can get about the business of living and loving and using your gifts.  The more you do, the more healed you’ll feel.

Love to you as you consider these things today – and thank you for giving me a place to use my own gifts.

In gratitude,

Brenda

xoxoxoxo

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