Renovating your life plan means that you picture your best life, and then figure out how to make it happen. Facing the future we feel two major emotions: fear and excitement. For the time being, since nothing bad has actually happened to us from the future, we can set aside fear until and if it actually does. Whew! what a load off our minds. So that leaves us merely with the task of designing our futures. Since it is our future we can shape it by picking out dreams so glorious we can feel our hearts race and comforts so serene we can with a sigh take a wee nap.

The past is, well, in the past. We have talked it to death, cried over it, analyzed it, been angry about it, and it still lies there, as it was, out of our control to change. The intriguing thing about it is that trouble's occurrence is cyclical. There is also not just one trouble, there are many and they don't all stop and start at once. So at any one time we can be in all of the stages of grief, just related to a number of troubles. I call the entire pile of troubles TWBD, The Whole Big Deal.

In renovating your life plan, only look to the future and turn your back to TWBD. This article will focus on the renovation process because, let's face it, we will never make sense of TWBD. It will occur over and over again. And eventually we accept that and give it as little attention as we can.

So facing the future we begin planning. I think a good way is to engage the point of view of the Big Goddess: the person we really are. We then separate out the little girl inside us who scampers hand in hand with the Big Goddess. Big G and little g. Big G does not care about TWBD because she is utterly powerful, present in the now and treads about with a calm smile on her face. When she begins to look around for what she decides is important to do next, she has a notebook and an excellent pen. Ahh, the luxury of taking time to plan the future.

Now, let's see. Big G takes out her notebook and draws a cross with four sections. In each section she writes one part of the 4-H emblem: Head, Heart, Hands and Health. There is no percentage in ignoring some aspect of our lives when the surest way to spend a long time moaning over TWBD when it rolls around, and it rolls around a lot, is to have some part of our life weak or nonexistent. Naturally if the four quadrants have been attended to, if one suddenly develops a problem, then the other three can keep things going while the fourth is under repair.

Since Big G has lived for a long time, she knows that life is like a house which constantly needs maintenance. It is not just when a catastrophe occurs, like a flood or a fire, but on a routine basis. Routine maintenance won't help when there really is a complete wipeout, a death or the loss of an irreplaceable relationship. There is really nothing we can say about these times. It might take a second of reminder or months, but in the end whether the condition is small, or unthinkably huge, we survive by living with the TWBD but turning towards the future which always involves some degree of reconstruction. The amount of reconstruction and the time involved generally but not always correlates to the devastation.

Head, Heart, Hands and Health

Brainstorming on one of the four quadrants: Head, Heart, Hands and Health, will generate at the time, or later while we are standing in a line at the bank or looking at an ad in the playbill at the opera- too many ideas! Little g will think that there is a limit to these ideas and become worried and stressed. Big G knows that there is not only an abundance of ways and means, there is an infinite supply, that practice in brainstorming will increase infinite to, well, even beyond infinite. No alternatives is not the problem and remembering this is key to all renovation. Big G lives in a world of over-much, she makes sure that the fire is stoked, that baked goods are cooling on the counter, that her larder is spilling over with canning brought about when too many seeds were planted. She knows about TWBD. She simply creates around it and through it.

After a time, she has worked out the present plan in her notebook. She nibbles the rest of the roll left behind by little g and calls her to come sit with her. Little g is content now. She is listening. Here is what Big G advises:


Your brain is your biggest asset. Give it your highest attention. Learn something new. Books will never be superseded by magazines although they have their place. Going somewhere for a class is a help to maintain motivation but self-education is still the most cost and time effective. The best place to start looking for something, anything, to learn is at a book store or the library. Give yourself about an hour every ten days or so.

Schedule for adventures. Walk or bike through different neighborhoods of your city or your world.

Rethink your philosophy of life. Reanalyze the tenets of your spiritual beliefs. Write for yourself, to yourself every day. Get up very, very early in the morning to do this. Have you read the Tao te Ching? Shakespeare?

Immerse yourself in the performing arts, music, ballet, film and all creative acts. Don't try to hang on to the experience. Have you listened to Anne Akiko Meyers play Mendelssohn Violin Concerto?


Whether a certain someone loves you is always out of your control. Loving is in your control. Little g, you get insecure a great deal. You try really hard but you never meet your own expectations. You are actually a pretty nice little human being and you need to do something kind towards yourself. It could be as simple as cleaning out your sock drawer or as large as, well, only you know what would make your world explode. But what you must do for one day, one hour, one minute.

Every person you meet is a possible spark for human contact, either as an end in itself or a possibility. Some contexts, for example, impersonal interactions with clerical personnel often produce smart talk. But others especially in person, for example, the produce clerk at the grocery store add up and produce community. Opportunities to speak, to ask questions, to be agreeable, to SMILE! abound. I know making an effort seems like a form of discipline. But when you do it, you are transformed. I know your stern face reflects how hard you are trying. I know you are honest and innocent. Just smile. Don't burden the world. Just let them see how absolutely breathtakingly beautiful you are when you smile.

You should go outside to play whenever the weather is good,

You should avoid married men, unrequited love and romance where power between the two of you is unequal.

Do you have at least one houseplant?


Everything in life is achieved with hard work. Next to your brain, an excellent work ethic is another invaluable asset. Work can be enjoyable but it is rarely enjoyable all the time.

Money is usually the whalooper that you would rather not like to talk about. If there is stress it is in making it, managing it, saving it and spending it. I will bring my expertise in providing order, little g. We will make it our number one priority to reduce debt and rein in spending habits so you have solid finances for the day, month and years ahead. This means paying the piper first thing before other matters, knowing what is in your checking account and how far it has to stretch. I am the original Blondie, but I want the means to achieve my dreams, so I am always strategizing on how I can get them, with money as only a tool.

Do things for yourself. Don't procrastinate. Do your work before you play. Then forget about it.


The body is what you need to stay alive. No body, no life. Weight is every little g's nasty anxiety. It really doesn't matter whether your weight is normal or not, it preys on your mind constantly. I know. Try to see food like money, a means to your dreams. Grow food, cook it and eat it with immense joy. Plan what you are going to have for dinner early in the day.

Garden. A tomato or cob of corn eaten directly from your patch will satisfy your most pressing yearning. Have you ever noticed the beauty of the color and shape of an eggplant? A black pearl drop. Have you ever seen the blue purple flower that comes when an artichoke has gone to seed? And don't rub your eyes when you don't know which pepper you have picked. Oh yes, little g, don't mistake food for being part of the TWBD.

And sports! Movement! What a gift, at any age. Don't wait long to pick out an event—something that is wild and slightly beyond what you can do comfortably—and it will be like a match to the tinder. It will literally change your gauge as to what is in your power to do. Running or other endurance sports is one end of the spectrum, tennis or other hand to eye sport is the other. Get up early. Go to the forest, go to the lake. See the sun rise through the clouds and mist as you move. Yes, you need quiet and sleep but you probably need to experience this beauty more.

Sigh. Big G needs to stop. Little g is getting restless and ready to try some of this out. She adds only one more thing: Keep your attention on your dreams.

And then with a smile, a big hug and kiss she pronounces that it is time to be off, knitting and a notebook in her pocket. Today is perfect. It is happening right now. What is emerging here? I had no idea. Now isn't that interesting...

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