You Have to Ask

Andrea Chilcoteby Andrea Chilcote

I was standing on a ledge just wide enough to clear the length of my feet. It had those wrought iron bars you might find around a window box, and they stopped midpoint between my ankles and knees.

Perched many stories high with my back against the brick of the building, I cautiously looked down to the right, then to the left. There was only a thin strip of concrete on either side of my perch, and nothing to hold onto. No windows to escape into. I held my breath as I realized there was no way down.

Back to center, I straightened my head and thought hard. There was vague realization in the recesses of my consciousness: “This isn’t really happening. It’s just a dream.” Yet I couldn’t force my mind to wake.

“Pray!” The thought came to me clearly and just as I formed the words, “please help me,” my tiny platform began to descend. It was as if it had suddenly attached itself to a hydraulic lift and I was descending rapidly, feet firmly planted.

I hit the ground with a soft thud, exhaled and whispered “Thank you.” And then added: “A little slower next time, but really, thank you.”

Ask and you shall receive.

I can recite the verse, yet one difficult day (or year) can cause me to lose faith. And it seems that just about the time I begin to doubt, I get a powerful reminder. With my waking mind out of the way, I’m able to connect with the part of me that knows I’m always safe.

Several years ago I had a different but vivid dream that confirmed the same. I wrote about it in my post What Is Your Anchor? The lesson then and still today is to confront my fears, but not allow them to consume me. One of those simple messages, but not one that’s always easy to hear.

My belief is that the part of me that creates these dreams is the part I can and should trust. My waking mind is useful, but it sure can cloud the truth. In my dream state, I assessed a dangerous situation, saw that my human capability was of no use, and called upon the superpowers.

Let’s see if I can remember that lesson over the next few days. How about you?

What is Your Anchor? (2014)

What's your anchor-Faith seems to be a theme for many of late. Enjoy this throwback post that recounts a lesson of faith.

by Andrea Chilcote

So many people are making their way through difficulty, living through turbulence without an anchor. And an anchor can be an important tool for managing the natural fears that arise when life throws surprises at every turn. It’s one thing to feel fear and work through it. It’s quite another to let fear spiral out of control.

Several years ago, during a trying period of my life, I had a dream that made a profound impact then and became my anchor during future challenges.

In this dream, I found myself driving my car down a steep but very wide paved road. The road was covered with a thick layer of ice and I was having difficulty braking. My car swerved side to side at first, and then began to slide downward, out of control. About the time I realized I could not stop the forward motion, I noticed that the road ended just ahead, the pavement simply cut off and hung over an abyss. It was a look similar to that of a bridge or freeway ramp mid-construction. Just as the front wheels of my car neared the edge, a very large hand arose from the abyss, reached out and stopped my car. Just in the nick of time.

As if this was not enough, I then found myself once again driving on iced pavement, this time in a crowded parking lot. I was driving up and down the aisles, trying to get to the exit and onto the street. I was struggling to maneuver the lanes without hitting parked cars. After several minutes of white-knuckled navigation, I managed to safely exit unharmed, without damaging another vehicle.

The morning after that dream, I relayed it to a wise friend. Her reply was a question: “Andrea, will you ever again doubt that you are protected?” I hesitated at first, then answered firmly. “No. I have faith that I am indeed safe,” I replied.

In the years since, that dream, that hand, has served as a reminder that no matter how challenging things become, help is always available. The anchor is a comfort to me, even as I experience natural and unavoidable fears that accompany a full life.

What is your metaphorical anchor? What do you or can you call upon to remind yourself that even amid distress, life is still sweet and forgiving, endless possibilities exist, and all will work out?

The Paradox of Presence

by Andrea Chilcote

The following post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly The Paradox of Presence_imageblogger.

I’m beginning to believe that being present is the most important thing to be. That’s a big statement for me, at least the part of me that’s driven, calculating and constantly planning for this or that contingency.

This morning I received a note from a friend, Carol, who runs a successful business training and development business. She had just read my post, Be Present – Another Reminder, and she was compelled to share this story:

“In early April of 1999 I took a sailing trip off the coast of Mississippi with some of my experiential learning friends. We titled the trip, ‘You must be present to win!’ At that time I had been recently laid off and was just working contracts, trying to find what’s next. During the sail we discussed what it means to be present and what you win if you are present.

It was truly an amazing two days doing things I love to do and with people I love to be with so it was rather easy to be present. I could tell you almost every moment of that trip still today. The outcome was a very clear path forward. I was moving back to Iowa closer to family and starting my own consulting firm. And on May 7th, 1999, I did just that with absolute clarity and resolve.”

Carol’s story reminded me of my own that I recount in my book Erik’s Hope. One day, at a crossroads regarding a decision about starting my business, I abandoned my typical desk work and followed my heart (and dog) to the beach. After a full day of meandering among sand, surf and a bountiful sand dollar harvest, I was quite clear about my decision. Magic ensued, as predicted by these famous lines:

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!

For both of us, the present moment was the mechanism that allowed us to see our future steps clearly. That’s a tough concept, as our tricky minds hijack the moment and we think planning the future is more important than feeling what’s true now. In fact, the act of being present will carry us into our perfect future. It’s the paradox of presence.

Begin it.

When we embrace the moment (an idea), and stay present, we automatically embrace the next (a possible action). One thing leads to another.

If you are at a crossroad, overwhelmed, or even bored – draw in a breath. Look, listen and feel the presence around you. I’m betting your next move will serve you well.

What is Your Anchor?

by Andrea Chilcote

So many people are making their way through difficulty, living through turbulence without an anchor. And an anchor can be an important tool for managing the natural fears that arise when life throws surprises at every turn. It’s one thing to feel fear and work through it. It’s quite another to let fear spiral out of control.

Several years ago, during a trying period of my life, I had a dream that made a profound impact then and became my anchor during future challenges.

In this dream, I found myself driving my car down a steep but very wide paved road. The road was covered with a thick layer of ice and I was having difficulty braking. My car swerved side to side at first, and then began to slide downward, out of control. About the time I realized I could not stop the forward motion, I noticed that the road ended just ahead, the pavement simply cut off and hung over an abyss. It was a look similar to that of a bridge or freeway ramp mid-construction. Just as the front wheels of my car neared the edge, a very large hand arose from the abyss, reached out and stopped my car. Just in the nick of time.

As if this was not enough, I then found myself once again driving on iced pavement, this time in a crowded parking lot. I was driving up and down the aisles, trying to get to the exit and onto the street. I was struggling to maneuver the lanes without hitting parked cars. After several minutes of white-knuckled navigation, I managed to safely exit unharmed, without damaging another vehicle.

The morning after that dream, I relayed it to a wise friend. Her reply was a question: “Andrea, will you ever again doubt that you are protected?” I hesitated at first, then answered firmly. “No. I have faith that I am indeed safe,” I replied.

In the years since, that dream, that hand, has served as a reminder that no matter how challenging things become, help is always available. The anchor is a comfort to me, even as I experience natural and unavoidable fears that accompany a full life.

What is your metaphorical anchor? What do you or can you call upon to remind yourself that even amid distress, life is still sweet and forgiving, endless possibilities exist, and all will work out?

If you enjoyed this post, check out our newly released book, Erik’s Hope.