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Prologue to Seven Steps to Choosing Joy and a chapter in Living Our Dreams by Leslie Ackles

October 31, 2015


A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, there was a little girl. She had a short pixie haircut and willowgreen

eyes. She loved to dance, play and explore. And she loved to help others

who were less fortunate.


As she grew older she discovered that in order to fit in and to be loved she

needed to behave in a certain way and follow a particular path. She learned to do

what was expected of her.


She learned to do what she was supposed to do—what she “should” do.

She quietly placed her true self in hiding, deep inside her core, and kept that self

safe from ridicule, judgment and criticism. That way, her true self would be with

her always and would be safe; she would not get

hurt. The little girl grew up and went off to college, got married, bought a house,

and had children. Along the way she forgot about her true self. She forgot what

she loved to do.


She forgot her unique gifts and talents. She lived her life according to what

she “should” do.


As time went on, she began to experience a vague feeling of yearning for

something that was missing in her life, but did not know what that might be.

So she continued her life of doing what was expected of her. It just seemed

easier that way.


So it happened that one summer the woman fell six feet down through a hatch,

into the engine room of a boat. She could have died. The next spring she was

diagnosed with fibromyalgia—a chronic pain of the muscles and joints for which

there is no cure. The follow-ing summer a bite from a deer tick gave her Lyme

disease. Again, she could have died.


It took these three life-altering events for her to awaken to her current life of

“shoulds.” These three crises created a tsunami of realization. She finally

grasped that life really is short.


She became aware that she was living her life according to rules that no longer

worked for her. She realized that she was not living the life she was meant to live

—the life that made her heart sing.

Her path then became clear. If she were going to find out what she was yearning

for, she would have to begin a journey of discovery. She needed to rediscover

her true self and her unique gifts. And she needed to do it now, before it was too



So began her search. She set on the path of “the hero’s journey.” She slew

dragons—those voices in her head that said “Are you crazy?” “What will people

think?” “People won’t like you!” She dis-covered new lands and terrains within

herself. She even found her “Prince Charming.”


To her shock and delight, she ultimately found that her true self had been kept

safe all these years—in a cage of her own making, deep within her core. With

great presence of mind, she finally set herself free. Her life was now her own.

From Leslie: “I am so thrilled to accomplish my dream of writing my book, Seven

Steps to Choosing Joy. This was a labor of love for me. I wrote Seven Steps to

Choosing Joy to make a difference in how women live their lives. I wrote this

book to support each of you on your journey to healing, peace and joy.


My mission is to make a difference in how you live your life because:

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” – Annie Dillard.

The Dream Factory was huge part of my success in publishing my book. Connie

Dunn, a Dream Factory member, created a writing circle and provided feedback

and insight into the writing process. Ellen Keiter, another Dream Factory

member, was my designer and editor. She designed the cover of the book as well

as the look for the inside. She spent countless hours editing the text. The

community was there for me throughout my journey as I took steps to learn and



Thank you Dream Factory for supporting me in living my dreams!”

Leslie Ackles


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