Chasing Dreams

Today has been a little rough. I’ve felt it all afternoon – this lingering sadness. I’d been tracking this day for a while. But in my distraction over facing a new week (when I don’t want to), it slipped from the forefront of my mind. But it all came back a little bit ago & now I know why today has been rough. Today marks six months since my baby brother passed away.

His death has been tough to process on so many levels. The thing I keep going back to besides missing him – is how very precious our time is. I make constant excuses. “I’ll start on my plan once I get through holiday events. I’ll make a decision after __. I’ll just stay a little bit longer – it makes the most logical sense.” 🤬👎🏼🤮

But time marches on. I know my brother felt time breathing down his neck, too. He was getting older and faced the need to get healthier. He was pursuing that when he passed away. But he had some things that he hadn’t been able to do yet. I know it weighed on him.

Six months since losing my brother. And time passes on without moves in the direction I want to go in. If there’s anything good that can come from grief and losing your only sibling, I hope it’s that I finally get off my @$& and create the life I know I’m meant to live.

I need to be chasing dreams, not counting down days until my next break from work.

Change of Seasons

autumn leaves, change in seasons, seasons change, yellow leaves, eastern north carolina, elaina avalos

Yesterday, I was out on my patio watering my plants. I swear I didn’t see this much yellow (there was no red) in the jungly vines in the woods. The heat & humidity are with us & probably will be all month (maybe into October), but there are little signs the seasons are changing. As I started to write this, a stray rainstorm blew in and yellow leaves fell to the ground. It really feels like autumn is on the way, now.

autumn leaves, red leaves, change in seasons, seasons change, yellow leaves, eastern north carolina, elaina avalos

I always find some renewed hope when the seasons change. There’s not a lot externally that’s changed for me, though change is what I long for. I long for a new place, new people, new relationships and opportunities. I’m waiting for my greatest dream. Usually, when I want something new I just go do it. I go get it. I make the move. I make the change.

For the first time in ages, I feel the pull toward the change, but know my change of seasons isn’t quite upon me yet. There were a couple moments this weekend when that made me uncomfortable. I like change and when I’m ready, I’m ready. It goes against every instinct in me to remain in the same place.

autumn leaves, change in seasons, seasons change, yellow leaves, eastern north carolina, elaina avalos

But something is keeping me grounded. Which tells me God is actually at work here. And while I may never understand the reason, I know the timing is off for the change I so long for.

So, if you, like me – are longing for change but it eludes you so far – maybe stop to soak in the change in the seasons. Let nature’s shifting & changing be enough right now (as hard as that may be).

As I enjoy one last day off on this holiday weekend, I wanted to say that I hope you will find the moments to enjoy what each season brings with it – even when it feels uncomfortable.

Pretty flower photos, from my patio, for no reason…

Chasing Dreams – A Tip for Beginning Your Journey

elaina avalos, chasing dreams,

I’ve mentioned that I’m ready for a new adventure & that I’ve got a timeline for making some decisions about the future. The closer I get to needing to solidify my plan, the more convinced I become of this one thing – I have more dreams to chase. When you grieve, it’s easier to lay aside the big, fat scary dreams that require stepping out of your comfort zone. It’s easier. It’s safer. I’ve done that (avoided scary things) since the moment I said goodbye to the sweet boy that made me a mom.

I don’t like easy & safe. I never have. I’m not made for it. I’ve never feared chasing dreams and I’ve never shied away from going after them.

That may mean that I have to travel paths others don’t, but I’ve always been good with that. As a writer and artist at heart, I’m comfortable with the hard things and grey lines. Those hard things make writing and creating, richer. If you’re willing, it also makes you a better lover of people. It makes you better able to love and care for others in their hardest moments. I think it adds more to my writing too. I don’t like to live on the surface. The hard things we face can either make life richer or they dwarf us and make us bitter.

I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”
― Anais Nin

I’ve lived in a dwarfed state, because of my grief, much longer than I’m comfortable with. I’m done with all of that though. I am chasing dreams again – whatever that means and wherever that takes me.

So, if you’re anything like me, and you’re ready to chase some dreams, what’s the first step? The first step is letting go. Letting go of what, you may ask? That I can’t tell you. Maybe it’s other’s expectations. Maybe it’s fear of the consequences of heading in a new direction. Maybe it’s a combination of a few things. Whatever it is, that’s your first step – let go.

By the way, the first step is the hardest one. But if you’re chasing dreams, it’s where the meat is. Make. Up. Your. Mind. And. Do. It.

Let go.

There’s a scene in The West Wing in season 2’s “Two Cathedrals” that I love. If I could have found it for you, I would have shared (below is what happens just before the press conference). The show has spent multiple episodes up to this point, dealing with a popular president’s hidden multiple sclerosis diagnosis. President Bartlet knows he wants to run again. But the looming possibility that by hiding his diagnosis, it will all go up and flames, is consuming the Bartlet White House. They’re all focused on the consequence of what happens when the country learns that he didn’t divulge this important information. They’re worried about the future – all of them.

Meanwhile, President Bartlet is reliving memories of his beloved secretary (that he’s known since high school – she worked for his father) who died in a car accident and is buried the very day he’s going public, with his diagnosis. The truth is, he wants to run again. He believes he has more to do. He has a dream. And in his gut, he knows what he needs to do. But the circumstances are seemingly insurmountable. Their pollster has already given them the skinny – you can’t win after telling the country you have MS (and hid it from the world).

But on this painful day that he buries Mrs. Landingham, he faces down the circumstances, the dream, and work left undone. He fights it out with God in the National Cathedral and has a conversation with “her” afterward – just before his press conference. As he stands there at the podium, soaking wet from an unusual May hurricane-like storm, with questions being shouted out at him, he goes against his Press Secretary’s advice and takes a question from the wrong reporter. She asks him if he’s going to run for President again.

At first, he seems disoriented. And then, and then. His gaze is steely, he puts his hands in his pockets, and he faces the wild press corps. He knows what he has to do. He lets go of the grief, he lets go of the circumstances (all telling him he shouldn’t do this thing), and he lets go of the worries about how hard the path ahead is going to be. The show ends with his Chief of Staff saying, “Watch this.”

He let go and went for it.

So that’s it – friend. Let go. That’s where you have to start. It’s not going to be easy. You’ll face tests along the way. But I’m convinced that’s often a good sign you’re where you need to be. Take the first step and the rest will become clear.

What dream are you contemplating pursuing? What holds you back? What are the chances you’re stuck at what could do wrong? Don’t stay stuck at what could go wrong . . .

Chasing Goals

I started writing my new novel on October 31st – writing over my daily goal. Yesterday, I wrote until I had surpassed my writing goal by a bit – for a total of 5,952 words so far.

I will be posting my daily word count on my NaNoWriMo profile (https://nanowrimo.org/participants/elainamarie). I won’t update here until I hit major goals. But I wanted to share if you’re still trying to decide whether to start . . .

This is your sign – start writing. I’m chasing goals. And on this chilly Monday, I wanted to encourage you to chase some of your own – especially if you’re a writer.