Going The Extra Mile to Live Big Dreams

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Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
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The Extra Mile to Live Big Dreams photo by Trey RatcliffLast Wednesday, less than a week ago, I was boarding a plane in Lihue, Kaua’i, saying goodbye to all that I’d fallen in love with on the Hawaiian islands: the palm trees; the coves with curving sandy beaches, green water, and coral reefs; the lush green valleys; and my two-year-old niece, who cried when I left (I did, too).

Today as you read this I am up in the air again, in another airplane, headed to New Delhi, India, to experience a whole new world and culture, colorful, spiritual, rich in history, and magical and mystical to me.

I will be spending the month of January in India, teaching workshops on “Creating Your Happiest Year Yet” with my spiritual mentor, Nithya Shanti, visiting spiritual sites, and seeing friends.

I’m thrilled to be headed off for the next adventure, although I wish I’d had a little more time to get things done in-between the two journeys!

From One Plane To Another…

It has been a whirlwind and wonderful week. I just landed back home in Troy, NY, this past Thursday.

Before leaving for New York City to catch my flight yesterday, there was unpacking to be done, laundry, shopping, bills, phone calls and emails to return, and packing for India! Of course writing this blog was a priority as well, since I knew I’d be 30,000 feet up in the air somewhere between Brussels and Delhi when it was scheduled to go live.

Traveling 13,000 miles in one week — 5,000 miles from Hawaii to New York and then 8,000 miles from New York to India ~ involves a lot of planes, trains, automobiles, laundry soap, and logistics. Trust me though, I’m not complaining.

I can’t believe how blessed I am to be able to make these two dreams trips, literally within one week of each other!

Learning to Let Go

With 96 hours total between landing after four flights from Hawaii to hopping on a bus, train and two planes to Delhi, I had a lot to fit in. Besides the unpacking, bills, shopping, laundry, etc. I also hoped to do some more marketing for some life-coaching programs I am launching this spring; do more work on mapping out my goals in detail greater; go to the gym a few times; whip my house into shape; and get a good night’s sleep!

Instead of the latter, I ended out carving out time for people who are important to me, spending New Year’s Eve with friends, spending time with the man I’m dating and his sister, who is also a good friend of mine, and visiting my dear friends and neighbors whose house burned down in October.

More time with people I love meant less time spent cleaning the house, doing the advance marketing I’d hope to do, and going to the gym. Turns out that my workouts for the weekend were dancing on New Year’s Eve, and a lovely walk by the river on New Year’s Day.

And that’s just fine with me.

Choosing What Matters Most

Now, I’d love to be that woman who finishes packing three days in advance and who on the night before her trip is calming sipping a cup of mint tea, perusing the guide book for India, before getting a refreshing eight hours of sleep. This time, that was not me.

Sunday night, I was up late writing this blog post, finishing packing and straightening up the house (since a friend is staying here while I am gone and I can’t leave it in a state of chaos), before catching some ZZZs and hopping on a bus to Manhattan the next morning.

With 96 hours to get everything done, including sleeping, I couldn’t check everything off my list that I’d hoped to originally. Yet somehow the most important tasks got done, and I got to spend time with people I love, which in the end is what matters most to me.

I want my life to be about love, and about giving back. The Hawaii trip, while a dream come true, was at its heart about spending time with my family, since my parents, brothers and sisters and I were there to help my sister after the birth of my one-month old nephew, Nicolas.

The India trip for me, while exotic and fun, is also about living my purpose of helping others live their dreams, through the workshops I am teaching with Nithya Shanti.

Going The Extra Mile to Live Big Dreams: Teaching with Nithya Shanti

Perfectly, Imperfectly Me

These 96 hours and 13,000 miles in one week forced me to let go of the more ambitious plans I had, and to simply get done what mattered most to me, including time with those I love. I had to postpone some tasks that would wait until I got back, because the people in my life matter more to me. And this blog is a priority, so I gave up some sleep to finish writing this post!

I had also promised myself that I would spend some quiet time in meditation and contemplation on January 1st. And I did. Years ago, I never would have been able to give myself permission to spend time with friends and then reflective time for myself on that day, when so much remained to be done on my to-do list.

This year, I felt that loving myself and others took priority, and that what was most important in terms of living my dreams would also somehow get done.

I still had to remind myself to let go of being “perfect,” and to simply do my best. Living my dreams may mean that there may be times when my house falls far short of Martha Stewart standards; that I may have to skip the mani-pedi that I’d hoped to get before I left; that I may not be able to fit everything else into my life that I’d hoped, some days.

The beautiful thing that I am realizing about my life lately is that it is precisely by accepting the fact that I will never be “perfect” and that some things will always remain undone that allows me to live my dreams fully, because it frees up energy that I used to spend worrying about not being “good enough” and beating myself up! As much as I used to love worrying, I have to say it is simply not the most productive nor fun use of time.

I feel so much more free when I can just stand in acceptance of the fact that I am simply human, like the rest of us, and am never going to hit that elusive target of “perfection” that I spent years aiming for. Yes, I want to be the best me, and I also want to simply enjoy my life as well.

In these full and wonderful lives of ours, it’s good enough to do the best we can do in any given day lovingly, and to let the rest go.

Making It Happen!

I have set some ambitious goals for myself in 2011, including completing and selling the book, expanding my life-coaching business, and getting in the best shape of my adult life so far, just to feel good and show myself I can do it!

I’m prepared to do what it takes to achieve these goals, and to have fun in the process, even if it means missing a few hours of sleep, spending 20 hours at a stretch traveling, or having a messy house sometimes!

Perhaps my house is not ready for Homes and Gardens magazine, and maybe I missed a few days at the gym this week, but I feel like I will be happy when I look back at my life someday, knowing that I went the extra miles to make my dreams happen.

More importantly, despite what is left undone, I feel “on purpose” in my life because I made the time for people I love, and am pursuing dreams with heart. It makes me happy to feel like what I am doing is making a positive difference in this world.

That is worth going the extra mile – or 26,000 extra miles in this case, including those two round trips to Hawaii and India, which is more than the circumference of the earth!

going the mile for my dreams

What Sacrifices Will You Make To Live Your Big Dreams?

Are you willing to go the extra miles for your dreams in 2011? And what can you let go of in order to ensure that you honor your highest priorities, including time with those you love? And some important time for yourself?

Wishing everyone your happiest and best year yet in 2011. Stay tuned for updates from India over the next four weeks!


  • julie

    Lisa so happy for you!

    sounds so wonderful, I only wish I had half of your energy, :)

    please, keep us posted on the details of your trip to India<3

    as far as my own dreams for 2011? I am planning a trip with my younger (12 year old) daughter to Europe this late summer, depending on how much time I will get off from work. I plan on visiting London, where my sister lives with her husband, (they got married in Sept, 2010 and I have not met him yet), Paris, where Catherine really wants to go, and Krakow, where my younger brother lives. right now I am also trying to win a scholarship for my graduate studies, so that I could finish my MS/FNP degree sooner. as it is now, I am taking one class a semester, becuase that is all I am able to pay for, but if I win the scholarship, then I would be able to take 2 classes per semester or even more. we also welcomed a new puppy to our family this January, so we need to spend extra time with her, and my girls still need me! my goals for 2011 are: spending time with my family and friends, our new puppy; working on my new house and garden, concentrating on my career, my graduate school and the rest of it all, haha…

    all my love to you, Lisa XOXO

  • Remy G

    Have a wonderful trip! Please keep us in the loop when you can…xox Rem

  • I love this, “let go of being “perfect,” and to simply do my best.” Sometimes when life is pressing down on us and a deadline is looming, all we can do is “do our best.”

    I am looking forward to your stories and images from India. We will miss you in the comments and will await your safe return.