“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique." ~Martha Graham

Un Poco de Dinero, Mucho Amor

I was 16 years old and never been more than an hour's drive from Lake Michigan. I had just woken up in Ecuador after my first ever plane ride. I was simply not prepared for what I saw next. 

Mountains. Everywhere.  In this moment, 28 years later, my heart still leaps at the thought of being surrounded by mountains on that perfect morning. How lucky was I? I was in a completely different culture, surrounded by natural beauty that I had never seen. You couldn't wipe the smile from my face.

Our stated purpose on our trip was to serve the Ecuadorians who were poor and in need. There was no doubt that the financial need was great. On the other hand, I had never met individuals as happy as the men, women, and children who I met in circumstances far worse than anywhere in the US. 

The total impact on my life was huge. As a 17 year old HS student, I vowed to become a missionary doctor and bring medical care and a religious message back to Latin America. This is what I thought I should do and in the language that I used a the time—it was what I thought God was calling me to do.

It didn’t happen. Life had very different plans.

What did happen is that the career and life I eventually ended up with has more to do with what I was taught by them than what I was going to teach them. 

—Choose happiness regardless of circumstances
—Choose community 
—Honor the natural world as a partner
—Discover the fullness of our spiritual dimensions

It isn't much of a surprise then, that today I sit in Guatemala for a month-long trip continuing in my Spanish learning as well as a gaining a deeper understanding of a culture that has so much to teach me. 

How about you? I wonder what experience from your young adulthood mattered to the rest of your life? Looking at the totality of your life in this moment--what connections can you make to that version of yourself? What do you want to recapture? What do you need to put on your agenda?



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My Deepest Dreams

When I was 16,
I dreamed of family
A perfect family
Living the rustic adventure
Depending on gifts
And on strangers

I dreamed of becoming a missionary
Going to seminary and
Serving the needy  
In remote locales

I dreamed of truly coming alive
Dreamed of living from my heart
Connecting the world’s needs
With my passions

I dreamed of community
A loving community
Self-less in our care
For each other

Nearly 30 years later
I am a missionary of love
In an imperfect family
Living the adventure
With a community by my side

Not how I planned it
But much much better

If you ever doubted your own power
Look now
Look at those dreams
The ones in the deepest places
Aren’t they coming true?

By Ken Carlson

More poems by Ken Carlson here

Real Life, Real People, Real Conversations 

I made it! I'm in Guatemala for four weeks. I'm living with a family and as you can see, the youngest daughter is my new amiga. I'm here learning Spanish, working, and of course I'm having some fun!

I'd love to talk about your dreams and have a conversation with you. To set it up, even while I am in Guatemala,  r
eply to ken@authenticdevelopment.com, call 847-873-9559 or just make an appointment at https://authenticdev.youcanbook.me/ to get started. The link is always up to date.

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