#life coaching

Coolest bike trailer ever! (Or, how I spent my stimulus)

I’m so excited!! (And honestly kinda scared!)

I just placed my order for this amazing bike trailer, designed specifically for the Brompton by a company in the Netherlands (where they know a thing or two about cycling.) I saw the promotional video a few months ago, and couldn’t get it out of my mind.

Mind you, I’ve never biked with a trailer before. Not once.

I’m also not particularly mechanically inclined.

I know I will end up loving this, but I’m a little nervous about how I’ll feel when it actually arrives and I need to put it together, and then use it!

But.

This is such a tangible way for me to continue committing to this journey I’ve started. Part of me had thought, Why don’t I wait until later to get the trailer? What’s the rush? I don’t want to jump the gun.

It was fear.

“What if I later decide I needed that money?”

“What if something comes up to thwart the trip? I will have wasted the money!”

“Can I be the kind of person who has a bike trailer??”

And… as I’ve written before, these days I am choosing to allow my decisions to be guided by inspiration and trust, not fear.

The stimulus was the perfect nudge.

Meanwhile, I have been jumping into doing the interpersonal work that is every bit as much an essential part of this trip as bicycling equipment.

I’ve done 27 2021-intention-setting sessions since December 21st, which is more than one per day on average. I have loved every minute of it, and based on the feedback I’ve been receiving, so have the people I’ve been talking with. People are setting many different intentions for this year, but I’m loving some of the themes and overlaps I’m noticing, and I’ve also been enjoying connecting people with resources to support their dreams where I can. In some cases, this has included introducing some of these folks to each other, where their interests overlap.

This is what the trip is about. And the more sessions I do, the more powerful the network will become, to the benefit of everyone. I intend to continue doing this work from now through the end of the tour, and probably beyond. It’s not even just in the US, either: I’ve done one session with someone in Canada, and have scheduled another with someone in Australia.

I would love to do sessions with people in all US states (especially the ones I’ll be traveling through!) as well as countries around the world. How much of an impact can we all make, individually and collectively? There is so much important and beautiful work to be done to make this world a better place.

I continue to offer these sessions free of charge, with optional donations or trades welcomed but not at all expected. I believe this work needs to happen, and I love to do it, and I trust the money will work itself out.

Do you have dreams for the coming year? Would you like one of these sessions? Comment or email me (maren@dreamintochange.com) to schedule a one-hour phone call or video chat.

Would you like to support my efforts financially? I’m accepting one-time donations via PayPal (you can send it straight to the above email address) or monthly support at www.patreon.com/dreamintochange. My aim is to manifest $50,000, via various sources, for the year I’ll be on the road. (If you happen to know any fairy godfunders, please feel free to put them in touch!)

I’ll keep you updated on the bike trailer when it arrives. Meanwhile, I hope your dreams are unfolding joyfully in this tumultuous world. We need the forward momentum of our dreams more than ever at a time like this.

Our powerful dreams for the new year

Happy New Year, all!

I don’t think I can—nor do I even want to—say anything about 2020 that hasn’t already been said… but WOW, did I grow a lot through all of the pain and challenges I faced. I hope you all found growth in your own pain and challenges as well. 2021 feels like turning the page of a brand-new journal, getting ready to write all kinds of magical new stories, using alchemy to transmute the pain of the past year into something beautiful.

On December 21—fittingly, the winter solstice—I began diving head first into offering what I want to continually offer to the world from now at least until the end of my yearlong bike tour, and quite possibly for the rest of my life. Between the 21st and the 31st, I have held 17 one-on-one phone or video chat sessions with folks both known and unknown to me, to reflect on their past year and set intentions for the new year.

It has been amazingly rich, as I knew it would be. People are incredibly resilient and creative. And the power of simply holding supportive space for people to talk for an hour never ceases to amaze me. Many of these sessions started with people who were exhausted and/or in deep pain from the events of the past year, and/or their difficult current life circumstances, beyond their control. And yet, almost without exception, by the end of the hour they were feeling inspired and joyful, with dreams beginning to coalesce for the coming year. One person said, “Now I have a compass,” and I loved it! We all need a compass. We all need dreams. No matter our current circumstances, we need something beautiful, larger than ourselves, to move toward and light us up when day-to-day life is painful or tedious.

Dreaming up this bike tour has absolutely served that purpose for me. After many painful setbacks in 2020—from a flood in January that displaced me from my home for three months, to the abrupt ending of a wonderful seven-year romantic partnership, to fears of losing my health and/or income from a terrifying and powerful global pandemic—this dream rose from those setbacks. If not for the “openings” represented by the “closings,” this dream could not have come forth.

And it has transformed my day-to-day mental and emotional state from one of turmoil, pain, anger, and fear to one of excitement, empowerment, and joy. Of course I still have day-to-day emotional setbacks, but now that I have this “compass”—this beacon—it all fits within a very different context.

I will sign off here, lest I write too much. (I fear I did so in my last post.) I intend that I write shorter pieces here, more frequently. I love keeping in touch with you all. I feel joyful, humbled, and deeply grateful to my new patrons—I have five now! Yay! Thank you all so much!—and I am joyfully trusting that this will continue to grow, as my momentum grows.

I intend to write more about people’s dreams (with their permission, of course, and perhaps withholding names in some cases) because I believe that dreams shared become more powerful: they manifest much more quickly for the dreamer, and also inspire others to bring forth dreams of their own. I also intend to share more of the wisdom I glean from talking to people. I have begun noticing themes and trends, and I believe that these can be powerful to share with my readers as well.

I have several more intentions sessions lined up for the next week, and I am actively seeking more for January, so if you would like to schedule a time with me, contact me at maren@dreamintochange.com. Payment/donation for these sessions is optional, and if you do choose to offer it, it can take many creative forms. Right now my top priority is connecting with people for these sessions, regardless of compensation. I trust that the material abundance will find me, probably in mysterious and magical ways.

Thank you all for joining me on this journey. Here’s to an incredible new year for all of us!

www.patreon.com/dreamintochange

Manifesting decade-old intentions

I’ve been setting intentions for some time. I don’t know when I very first began the practice—maybe around 2004—but I do know that in January of 2010 I founded a small Google group (remember those email lists? Apparently that service is being discontinued as I type) called “2010 Intentions”. There were four or five of us in the group, and it continued in one form or another through 2014. At the beginning of each year, we would write a post to the group describing our intentions for the year. Then at the beginning of each month, we would write in and update the group on our progress toward our intentions. We would reply to each other’s shares with encouragement and celebrations, and occasionally share resources, such as books or websites to check out, or introductions to relevant friends or colleagues, to help each other to manifest the intentions.

I really enjoyed the group, and got a lot out of it.

As I’ve been planning this upcoming bike trip, I had a sudden flashback to some early intentions I had set at that time. I went back in my email box to look, and lo and behold, my very first post in that group contained the following intention I had remembered. I am going to paste it here verbatim, because it feels so powerful to me:


I want to begin traveling to at least a few of the North American cities I will list below. My intention is go there for a specific purpose, as yet unknown to me. The purpose will be one that will be joyful and satisfying to me, and that will also contribute to the greater good. I will spend probably 3-4 days in each city. I might travel there by train; not sure. I might travel in a sort of tour, or I might visit them piecemeal. When I arrive in each city, I will be met by locals who will be very excited to have me there for my purpose. They will help me to partake in most, if not all, of the following in their city: 1) vegan restaurants and/or gatherings, 2) karaoke, 3) ecstatic dance events, 4) touch- and/or sex-positive events, 5) probably a bike ride or two, 6) any other cool attractions–natural or otherwise–of their particular city. They may also host me in their homes, but this is not a “requirement” of my intention. 🙂 At the end of my stay in their city, both I and they will feel joyful and satisfied to have met each other and spent our time together in these activities as well as any related to my as-yet-undiscovered purpose for being there.

The cities (in no particular order):

Asheville, NC
Boston
New York
Atlanta
Someplace in Florida–not sure where yet
Nashville
Denver and/or Boulder
Chicago
Austin
Los Angeles
San Diego
San Francisco
Minneapolis
Montreal
Toronto
Vancouver
Victoria

I’m open to others as well, but those are the ones that came to my mind.


I mean… wow, right? I get chills re-reading that.

It’s really worth setting intentions. Doing so in front of witnesses is even better; when people can help you to hold an intention, it’s all the more powerful. Sometimes intentions take a long time to come to fruition—one might consider 11 years to be a long time, for example, in this case—but sometimes they stretch out over time, so that you get parts of them all along the way.

In this example, I began to fulfill that intention the following May, in 2011, when I visited Minneapolis over the Memorial Day weekend. (The pic is of me in Minnehaha Regional Park.) I had a wonderful trip—and a wonderful tour guide in my friend Nate—and I felt so excited to begin crossing these cities off my list.

And in the intervening years, I have visited all of the above cities—some as many as three times!—with the exceptions of Atlanta, Nashville, Boulder, and Toronto. I will probably miss Boulder and Nashville on this trip as well—they are just too far outside of the route I envision—but Atlanta and Toronto are definitely on the itinerary!

I set several other intentions in that debut email as well, of which a few important ones have come to pass:

I have managed to reduce the hours worked at my day job by about half, while retaining my full pay and most of my benefits.

As I also stated in my intention-setting, I used much of that extra time to focus on photography and filmmaking. (I did complete a short inspirational documentary film in November of 2011, and my tree-photography Instagram account is now nearing 5,000 followers.)

Looking back at this old document helps me to feel proud and joyful about my achievements, and also even more excited about how the coming two years are going to unfold, under this new dream and set of intentions.

Do you set intentions? Do you feel proud and joyful about having reached them? Are there some you are still working toward? Are you able to set new ones even during this scary and unstable time?

www.patreon.com/dreamintochange

A powerful mind trick

Some of you know that I am a huge fan of train travel. I have criss-crossed the United States several times on Amtrak, as well as traversed large segments of each coast. One time, frustrated by an order-ahead system that never seemed to work when I needed it, I even ran a successful petition campaign to get vegan meals on the everyday menu of the dining cars. (RIP.) Ever since my first cross-country train trip in September of 2000, I was hooked. And, I’m fondly looking forward to supplementing this upcoming bike tour with a few rail segments.

But, I wasn’t able to dive right into train travel; the time and money were outside of my means at that point in my life. Over the years, I slowly accrued more vacation time at work; switched around my schedule to four days per week, which allowed more long-weekend trips without even touching my vacation time; and I started using an Amtrak credit card to build up miles and earn free trips.

However, I also discovered a “mind hack” to help me bring about this new, dreamed-of reality as a rider of the rails.

In 2012, I flew to San Francisco to watch my favorite band Marillion perform, since that was the closest they got to Portland on that tour. I had only visited the Bay Area once before, very briefly. As a transit geek, I was thus excited to experience the BART, which I had only heard about. I was staying with a friend in Oakland, so I would take the BART to and from the concert.

Having paid my fare and taken a seat on that light-rail train, I was anticipating the evening’s show when I had a sudden thought: “Hey, wow, I’m a rail traveler! Here I am, in another city and state, sitting on a train and enjoying the scenery. I guess this is how I get around these days! I have manifested my dream!”

I chuckled in my seat, marveling at what this little mind-trick had done for my sense of self. I knew this wasn’t an Amtrak train… but I was able to “live into” my dream, by recognizing the similarity of what I was experiencing to some important aspects of what I dreamed of experiencing. It took my transportation geekdom to the next level: no longer was I merely experiencing another municipal transit system—albeit a well-known one I had looked forward to riding—but I was now a person who vacationed in various cities via rail.

The shift was powerful. Within one year of that moment, I became an international passenger-rail tourist: In January of 2013, I took a two-week “California rail adventure,” stopping in five cities. In June of that same year, I took my East Coast Empathy Tour, offering on-the-street empathy in four major metro areas while traveling between them on long-distance trains. And then in December, I took a 30-years-in-the-making two-week trip to Australia, where I traveled by train between Canberra and Melbourne.

I’m choosing to start that mind-shift again now, on my bike. As I enjoy my morning or afternoon commute, or take a spin around the neighborhood to do errands or explore a new food cart, I now think to myself, “This is my life! I’m a bike tourer. This is how I get around, wherever I go, and I enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery.”

I’ve always enjoyed biking for transportation here in Portland anyway. But now, I can feel that it’s part of something much larger. I am riding into something much larger.

www.patreon.com/dreamintochange