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A Map To The Arena
January 2, 2021

New Year’s Day did not disappoint. It was everything I would have designed for myself. Maybe that’s because I did design it for myself. Following the treat of BF’s blueberry pancakes, I remained, for a healthy chunk of the day, at our Table of Truth, dressed cozy pajamas, surrounded by a year’s worth of moleskin, my calendar, and a new daily meditations book.

I am a believer in studying personal history–synthesizing events and feelings–enlightened by present knowledge. I had forgotten I eased into 2020 in bed, sick with a nasty cold and with sadness over the death of a dear friend. Little did I know how much sickness and loss lay ahead for humankind in the coming year.

By February’s end, I had taken up pickleball and an old-style aerobics class. We’d hosted Thanksmas with our kids and having Adi, Lily, and the rest of our family together under our roof was the highlight of my year. I’d taken two trainings and completed the first of my quarterly meet-ups with a group of like-minded seekers in Nashville, TN. I’d committed to try a plant-based diet for a year.

And then life halted.

My journals become a landing spot for rage, fear, sadness, and hope. I railed at our country’s tragically inept response to the coronavirus. I faithfully explored The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, completing daily exercises where I poked around my roots and events where I heeded my authentic voice and those in which I flat-out ignored her. Until I couldn’t anymore and quit after Chapter five.  I pontificated about This is Us. Should Rebecca have given up her singing career to marry Jack? Will Kevin ever get his shit together? I pondered many a podcast and positive quotations gleaned from my Instagram feed.

I treasured the periodic visits with the midwestern kids and manifested a way to travel westward to see the others. Buying and setting up a camper proved to be more lifeline than distraction.

As I brainstormed ideas for my 2021 goals and mantra, I came up with the following list:

  • Allow
  • Be curious
  • Be open
  • Follow joy
  • Be brave

The influence of one of my favorite authors and podcasters, Brene’ Brown, reigned. I settled on a single, overarching goal:

I will step into the arena.

Sounds simple, right? And easy to work around. But Brene’ is quite clear that when we do step into that arena, we will get our asses kicked. I will get rejection letters and suffer criticism and be ignored. I will be made fun of and questioned. Self-doubt will sneak in. I will fall on my face. But it will be okay because I’ll be meeting my goal. I’ll be in it.

For the upcoming year, I’ve decided to share my second cup of coffee each morning with Melody Beattie’s, Journey To The Heart, Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul. She writes, “Pack your bags.” I love that sentence so much. She invites me to pack lessons from the past and excitement for the adventure ahead. To map my own journey and allow the adventure, sans judgement. To follow my heart.

As I literally pack The Freedom Express for a journey south toward sunshine, I pack the lessons of 2020 and my 2021 mantra:

As I step into the arena, may I be open, curious, and brave.

And for my guiding principle:

Follow joy.



Podcasts | Brené Brown (

Journey to the Heart: Daily Meditations on the Path to Freeing Your Soul: Beattie, Melody: 9780062511218: Books

The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity: Cameron, Julia: 8601406316102: Books


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  1. You, my friend, are an inspiration! Bold and brave, leading me to examine my plans for these next weeks and months. Still on the sidelines, hanging my hat on the promise of a vaccine coming to set me free, I hopefully will adjust my attitude and join you in the arena. Yearning to pack a bag, but I’m still tethered by fears and unknowns. Thank you for sharing your devotional material for this year. I’m going to seek it out on Amazon. I wish you an amazing January! Love you! Hope to talk soon. I won’t be taking a deep breath til after Jan. 20! Joyce

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Thank you, dear friend. As always, your words are an encouragement, and it is my honor to have you step alongside me in the arena. Love you!


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Debi Dixon

Debi Dixon

The Universe is guiding me on an incredible adventure: my Plan B. I write here to share bits of my Odyssey, hopefully to inspire, encourage, or extend the virtual hand of friendship.

When I quit teaching in 2014, I could never have imagined the growth I would experience through travel, writing, reading, therapy, and introspection.

I believe human connection and compassion will go a long way toward our healing, and the best way to connect and feel compassion for one another is through the sharing of our stories.

Thank you for joining me here. I appreciate you and may we grow together.

Inspirational Quote

“You must give up the life you planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
~Joseph Campbell

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