Living with Intention or Wandering?


There seems to have been a grand movement toward the “living with intention” ideology. Of course, every generation believes that they are the first ones to think of it. Some use traditional philosophies or religious teachings to take the step toward living intentionally. Others reject the traditional, as it feels stifling and rigid with “should” or “don’t” around ever corner, guilt and shame being the motivator.

Some struggle for a lifetime, unable to see the joys of life through the challenges faced, often going to their graves feeling that their lives had no meaning or purpose, as defined by others’ definitions. Others accept their plights, taking on martyrdom as their sole purpose so others will not have to suffer the same unpleasantness and can live happily.

Then there seems to be those who have it all, exempt from the tragedies that have befallen others. They are born with societal standards of beauty, health, and success. If (when) they do find themselves in tough times, it is often hidden and rarely shared for fear of judgement by others or tarnishing the image they have worked so hard to maintain in their attempts to protect the status that they enjoy.

Each and everyone of us struggles. We humans are the ones who decide (and define) who are more deserving of those struggles.

Because we are bombarded by the definitions that others have piled upon us, it is often difficult to know what living intentionally means to us, as individuals. We are too busy trying to follow others’ acceptable versions of those intentions.

Some will choose a different path altogether, one that is seen as a wanderer or “dancing to the beat of a different drummer.” They are often rejected by family, friends, and society for being an  embarrassment. Years or decades later, they are still talked about behind their backs, and discussed as pitiful creatures who have not found their way.

The trouble with this is that the basis of these discussions is on very old perception, based on limited knowledge. It is often accompanied by an active refusal to seek new knowledge and understanding.

For the person who finds him- or herself as the wanderer, living without the intention that others think is acceptable, it is rather easy to fall into a habit of feeling unworthy or lost. It can be a challenge to find the meaning and purpose.  Perhaps, it is not in finding it; rather, in recognizing it when it shows up.

In the last few days, I have experienced some of those recognizable moments, which are evidence that I am, indeed, living with intention.  I will share more of this in my next post.

Until then, please remember J.R.R. Tolkein’s words describing Aragon…

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.



 Tolkien, J. R. R. (1954), The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings, Boston: Houghton Mifflin (published 1987), “Strider”, ISBN 0-395-08254-4

Photo credits:  Public domain photos via Pixabay

Copyright:  Author, Coral Levang, 2016. All rights reserved. May be used with permission and proper citation.





How Lucky Are You?

four-leaf-clover-711625__180Twenty-three years ago, when I was an Executive Manager with Tupperware, my Distributor, Karen Joyce Hanzlik, used to say “the harder you work, the luckier you get.”

She, too, was a baby boomer and grew up with some of the same work ethics that I was fortunate enough to have learned. I admired her greatly for her positive outlook on life.  I remember her best by how she viewed life and the challenges it presented. She was consistent in her messages to her team that there was something positive in everything that happens.  We simply had to be willing to view the situation differently and look for it.ladybug-354521_640

Some people say that success comes only if one is in the right place at the right time. Others complain that there cannot be success unless one is born at the right time or to the right family. There are so many reasons that one can use to justify why he or she is are not successful.

Although there are many factors that may influence one’s success, it is important to consider what the word, “success,” means. Money is only one way to measure success. When we limit our vision of success to money, power, or prestige, we may always find ourselves on the short end of the stick.

If you look for success you will find it. It may not always seem easy, especially if the unit of measure for that success is compared to what others have or what one does not have.

* * * * * * * *

By what other standards can you measure your successes? When you open up your vision of success, you may be surprised at just how successful you already are.

And luck has little to do with it.


I Am a Survivor!


Ah! The irony! It is almost funny to me that on the first day of this month I would write about being a “Survivor.”  It was in May last year that I received news of a diagnosis which would forever change my life.

Perhaps this is “The Great Set-up” for me to begin to tell more of the story about the events that transpired one year ago.  I have not really wanted to take a look at some of what has happened, generally in relationship to my fears, expectations, and the people in my life.

But, yes.  One year later, I am still alive.

I have survived…

Pokes and prods.  Opposition and defeat. Misinformation and misunderstandings. Tests and surgeries. Fear and failure. Disappointment and broken promises. Pain of body, heart and soul.

And as life has given me all of these things, I am also grateful to have received…

Encouragement and hope. Lessons and sound guidance. Surprise visits and special moments. Laughter and joy. Understanding and healing. Reconnection and renewal. Celebration of body, heart and soul.

And I have survived the A to Z in April 2013 Blogging Challenge.  Twenty-six posts.  Fifteen days.

I started five days late, having forgotten I’d signed up.  I skipped days because I couldn’t think of anything to write about.  I didn’t think I could get it done.  And I wanted to give up.  But I did it anyway.

Just like I’ve survived this past year with Stage IV cancer.

Survived CT scans, MRIs, a biopsy and a prognosis from one doctor that told me it was not likely I’d make it past one year. Survived the mother of all surgeries to live to talk about it.  Survived a year of my own crazy thoughts of death and dying.

And some days I’ve forgotten to “sign up”  for life. Skipped days because I couldn’t think.  I didn’t think I would be alive today.  And I wanted to give up. But I lived anyway.

May Day.

I begin this month in celebration of my “survival” of the A to Z in April 2013 Blogging Challenge.  And I ask that you celebrate with me.

Celebrate by working your way through each post and sharing your comments as you “survive” Coral’s A to Z in April Blogging Challenge.  (It does not have to be all in one day!)

And I also begin this month in celebration of my “survival” of this past year and ask that you celebrate with me and continue to LIVE life with me.  Challenge yourself to live life doing the things that you think you cannot do.

I will not promise that I can make you a “survivor badge” as you accept either of these challenges.

What I can and will promise you is a genuine look into my life, how I think, and an opportunity to get to know me better (whether we’ve known one another for days, months, or years online or offline).  I also promise that I will do my best to respond to each comment that you leave here on the blog.

I also promise you that when I give of myself to you–when I share my heart–I take a big risk.  I am vulnerable with you.  I will allow you in. Give of myself in a way where  I can feel hurt, pain and disappointment.  Just as I will share hope and joy and love.

Whether you know me face-to-face or simply through my writing, trust that I do not take whatever is shared lightly.  Ever.

And though I’m certainly not perfect, there are several in life and beyond who could attest firsthand to that.

From the depths of my heart, thank you all for your continued support of me as we learn together how to keep…

Laughing, hoping, loving, living (and surviving)…beyond life’s challenges.

(Note: Please share this list and/or a particular post wherever you deem appropriate.  If you should find that any hyperlink is broken, please let me know by leaving a comment here on this thread.  Thanks!)


A is for Announcement

B is for Bridget, Brunner and Brandy

C is for Courage, Connection and Community

D is for Decluttering

E is for Eulogy

F is for the F-Word

G is for Girl

H is for Honesty

I is for Inspire

J is for Jewelry: What I have learned of life from making and repairing jewelry

K is for Kindred Spirit

L is for Lamentations of an Old Woman

M is for Music: A story from my life

N is for Naughty and Nice

O is for Optimism: Fighting what life dishes

P is for Promises: Broken and otherwise

Q is for Quote: Facing Fear from Eleanor Roosevelt

R is for Roosevelt: Another quote Teddy-style

S is for Stop It! (A Shrink Speaks)

T is for the Thunderstorm of April 2012

U is for an Unstoppable and Unabashed Life

V is for small v

W is for Walt Whitman and Words to Live By

X is for Xenophobia Revisited

Y is for Yes

Z is for Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah

Z is for Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah



“Zip-a-dee-doo-dah, zip-a-dee-ay! My, oh my, what a wonderful day!”

These words from the song which won an Academy Award for Best Original Song from Disney’s 1946 release, Song of the South, seem appropriate for the Z post of the A to Z in April 2013 Blogging Challenge.

With this post, I have not only finished this challenge on time, but I have come to a wonderful realization!

On January 1st this year in The Beginning of a New Year as a Writer and Storyteller, I claimed:

” Last year, I neglected to write often or chose not to do so as a way to (perhaps) keep from facing those challenges on certain levels. Avoidance. Denial. Fear. 2013 is the beginning of a new year.  To build relationships.  Make connections. Tell stories. Other people’s.  My own. After all, that is what I do best.  I am…a storyteller. Facing into my own stories, sharing it for the world to see.  Writing them down. Regularly. That is what will make this storyteller…a writer.”

In the past four months, I have posted 51 times. Compare that to 2012 and 19 posts in 366 days.  The details speak for themselves.

Granted, some of the posts were revisiting articles I’d written years earlier that I thought were important to share again and, in one case, sharing a blogpost from another writer.

But the truth of the matter is this:  In 120 days, I have posted 51 times.  That averages nearly one every other day.  And I have faced into more of my own stories, sharing them for the world to see. Regularly.

So, yes!


I do believe this storyteller is becoming…a writer.


Why Are We Surprised…

…when things turn out superbly?

Sometimes, I find myself completely flabbergasted when I do something right.  Or it seems too easy.  And then there is the idea that something is not a meaningful experience if it isn’t painful enough. 

Where does this mindset come from? I’m sure that I could over-analyze this to death. 

My ability to do things well, put together a quality presentation, effect positive changes, and inspire others to look beyond challenges and see possibilities is no fluke.  It comes from living my life, learning lessons, and being willing to share my story in order to make connection to others. 

Rather than waste my energy on the analysis, I am simply going to smile and be grateful that I have lived long enough to enjoy the fruits of my labor of life. 

I encourage you to do the same.  You have earned the right.