Living Life in Chapters

Every moment is a fresh beginning.

Years ago, just before my first move to the Wild West, my boss at the time gave me a parting gift. It was a book called “Cowgirl Cuisine” about New York City chef and food writer Paula Disbrowe.

Paula packs up her city life and moves to a Texas ranch in search of something different and new. The book details her escapades with wit, charm, and stunning photography.

The story of Paula’s journey inspired and infused confidence into mine at that time. I was a young, East Coast native moving to South Dakota. Inspired and terrified, I was finally following my heart to a land I had dreamed about for years: The Wild West.

One particular quote in Cowgirl Cuisine grabbed me by the heart and never let go. Paula writes,

“I like living life in chapters because the days remain dense and vibrant with learning.”

That quote has become somewhat of a life philosophy for me. It’s carried me through big changes and hard times. It’s propelled me forward when I felt stuck. It’s given me courage when I was afraid.

Chapter Living.

The idea of living life in chapters puts the past in perspective and paints possibility for the future. It reminds us that we are the ones penning the ink to our story.

Every story has a story teller, after all. And we never stop filling our pages.

When we live life in chapters, we are free to decide whether we’re at the beginning, in the middle, or reaching the final paragraphs of a particular chapter. We refocus on what we want. It opens a door for us to walk through when we feel like we’ve been staring at a wall.

Life becomes an adventure ripe with opportunity and offerings.

Getting Started.

It doesn’t take a big move or event to start a new chapter. The upcoming summer could be the next chapter in your life story. Consider: What is it you want from the summer? Are there specific things you long to do? What would nourish your spirit? What would challenge you to grow? How do you want to feel? Who do you want to be?

Perhaps there is a song or a quote that can become your summer mantra.

Let your imagination roar with divine desire and sing with love. This is your beautiful life.

There may be a few final chapters of spring asking to be written. Reflecting on the last couple months, take an honest look about the story you’ve been telling. Be gentle with yourself and use what you discover to inspire your next chapter.

Once you’re finished with spring, take a cleansing breath and turn the page. An unwritten chapter basks before you like the beach at sunrise. A glorious adventure awaits.

As summer unfolds, you can always return to your original intentions for this season. How can you use what is happening to serve you? What actions can you take to align with your desires? Do you want to modify your direction or take a new one?

Inviting God.

There’s one more secret to chapter living. When you feel lazy, stuck, lost, or confused remember that you are never alone. Our lives are works of art in progress and the dawn does break after the darkest moment. If you feel burdened by doubt, hand your heart and story over to God.

God speaks through the whisper of our hearts, but sometimes there’s so much noise in our lives we can’t clearly hear that still, small voice. In these times, I find the best way to get out of my own way is to ask for guidance and surrender in trust.

Cowgirl Chapters.

My two year chapter in South Dakota proved enchanting and transformative. That wild, enrapturing experience awakened my spirit. I met amazing people, delighted in the expansive open space, and came alive in a way I would have never known without that chapter. I faced challenges and fears and grew stronger through them.

And of course, that chapter served as a stepping stone to adventures that have followed. It was a part of my bigger story just like this very time in your life is for you.

You are being guided and called to be your best self as life evolves chapter by chapter.

May your days be dense with discovery and vibrant with learning,

Trail riding in the Black Hills of South Dakota in 2009

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