Love Your Life: Cultivating Your Vision and Tending Your Dreams, by Cheryl Marks Young

 

 

It’s an age-old question for many of us: What do we want to be when we grow up? Goethe encourages us with “Whatever you can do or dream you can do, begin it,” and Joseph Campbell tells us to “Follow our bliss.” In Love Your Life: Cultivating Your Vision and Tending Your Dreams, Cheryl Marks Young likens our life to a garden, and each of us the master gardener. Eight well-written chapters walk us through discovering our lifescape, with detailed interactive exercises following each chapter. These exercises assist us in determining our unique strength, how to find support, and the steps to follow to bring our new found knowledge to completion. When we are finished with this remarkable little book, we have a complete blueprint to design our lifescape: “everything you want your life to consist of, both now and in the future.”

In Love Your Life, Cheryl Marks Young asks readers to begin by “getting clear on what makes our hearts sing” and asking ourselves questions: 1) Where do we find joy? 2) When are we most satisfied? 3) What would an ideal day be in our life? 4) Are we a creator or a maintainer of that already created? 5) What are we good at? 6) What talent do we lend friends, family and co-workers looking for help? 7) What is our natural affinity, or do we have knowledge of something learned over our years in school and work? Once we have established our unique strengths, do we have all we need to accomplish this or could we augment our affinity by taking a class, getting a mentor, or shadowing someone who has those skills? We should not be afraid to try, even if we might not be perfect in the beginning. Young tells us to “try anyway, trust your instincts and work through your fear.” Most of all: “Don’t let others protect you from failure or disappointment. Know that you won’t know until you try.” Young reminds us to always keep in mind that we should leave room for surprises and look for that specific factor to make our life joyous.

Most helpful for this reader was the exercise to Create Your Survival List by writing down ten parameters you absolutely must have in your ideal life. These can include job-related requirements, such as salary, outside contact with others, autonomy and commute time, or personal requirements, such as location, routine, hobbies and relationships. Chapters also include how to communicate in writing, physically, and verbally, and not to be afraid of who we are. This jewel of a book is a must-read for all of us because, no matter how old we are, we cannot be afraid to know what we would like to be when we grow up.

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