From the moment we can imagine, we dream.
We dream because we want to believe that the fulfillment of our dreams (and yes, there are always many dreams) will make life better, even perfect. We dream big and we dream small and we can all probably agree that there is always at least one dream floating around in our mind that we would like to see come true.
Many of our dreams are fantasies, things that catch our attention – wow, wouldn’t it be awesome to have that, do that, be that. We believe that if only this, or that, could happen, life would be so much better, yet as fantasies they can live only in the ether. Without our energy to bring them alive, to harness them, they quickly die or are put in the “one day” box to wither away as other dreams take their place.
Sometimes, when an idea begs to be taken further, we will feel an adrenaline rush. The thought of it excites us and we burn hot with the anticipation of starting something new as we set out to “make our dream come true”. It could be a project we’ve always wanted to get into, or to study, do, make, or create something. Perhaps it is that “trip of a lifetime” we have dreamed of for so long. We might want to paint like Picasso, give Hemingway a run for his money, sky-dive, read palms – or maybe just delve deeper into our own soul.
Yet how many of our dreams float away and are forgotten, buried beneath the layers of our busy lives?
Our dreams can be likened to a frog jumping across a pond, from lily pad to lily pad. The frog stays long enough to enjoy a croak, reach out and snare an insect, or just to see what the world looks like from that particular lily pad, before he moves on.
Some of us are like the Frog, we can enjoy each dream for what it is, moving on when the glow fades. Some of us put all our expectations and hope into the dream – and when it doesn’t return what we expect of it, we hurt, and beat ourselves up.
Often, when we start a new project – yes, that thing we always wanted to try, it isn’t as exciting as we had expected it to be. It’s okay, but where is the WOW factor? We expected more than this and we begin to turn to other things to distract us, to fulfil that part of us that continues to want something more from life.
Sound familiar! Who hasn’t got course books, webinars saved on their computers for the new directions that looked so enticing, boxes of materials bought for the hobbies we were going to get into, (woodwork, sewing, French cooking, jewellery, painting, cactus growing – the list could get very long here), but ran out of steam before the finish line was anywhere in sight? Yes, we all have those skeletons in the closet and each one of them can be an occasion for regret – for not finishing the project, for not going further, for even starting it in the first place (what was I thinking?)
But they shouldn’t be a regret – it is good to try things. How else do we develop skills – or at least discover what is right for us? Neither a dream nor a hobby has to last forever. They are milestones in our lives that we can take on and develop as a major expression of ourselves or let go in the name of experience.
One of my earlier wannados was to trek across Annapurna in India. It was a big dream, and I toyed with it for years, but I never got there. As I got older the thought of the cold and the discomfort of staying in a hut along the way, sleeping in a lumpy sleeping bag and having no privacy diluted the dream and it faded away. I have no regrets.
I used to think I had let myself down by not trekking Annapurna but I’m wiser now and I do see things quite differently. My life followed a direction that brought me here, onto this page, and into this present time.
Annapurna was a dream. It was something for me to activate, or not, to bring to life, or not and I believe if it had been right, it would have happened. In the end there was obviously a part of me that knew it should remain a dream, in the ether, not real. I believe not accomplishing that dream was ultimately a wise decision. I’ll never know what life may have been like had I gone down that road. I may have taken a different track entirely based on that experience, but I know, deep within me, how right it is for me to be here with you, in this life, in this time.
I think life is like that, isn’t it! It’s like being on a racetrack where we have to be able to deal with what’s coming at us. We have to learn everything about our vehicle and know how to tweak the things that aren’t operating at full capacity so when hazards come towards us, we are in charge.
Too often we see the non-fulfilment of our dreams as failures, rather than wise, innate decisions to follow the better path. We give power to the negatives, churning them around and around in our minds, making them stronger and stronger. We judge ourselves for what we haven’t done, accomplished or completed instead of focussing on the positives.
When we find ourselves going down the same track over and over, dwelling on one negative point that constantly bugs us, that is a warning signal. Giving energy to one small part of our life that we have judged, often unfairly, will blow it up to where it starts to run the show – and that is definitely not a good track to be on!
So, here’s a challenge for each one of us. Let’s spread this among our friends, our loved ones, and the most important ones of all – our children!
The next time one of those negative thoughts decides to jump out in front of any one of us let’s make a conscious decision to swerve, alter course and keep going. We’ll recognise it as a self-judgement thought by the way it makes us feel – annoyed, embarrassed, weak, useless – a failure.
Let ‘s not allow that negative feeling to stop any one of us from moving forward, and let’s not get caught up in the self-judgement, the disappointment or the frustration it tries to throw at us. We know we can master it, overtake it and hold to our positive track.
When we leave the negative emotions behind us to burn out, the freedom we feel from that one brave and positive act will always boost us to the finish line – and guess what?
Right there on the podium is where the champagne flows!
PS: If you feel you have an experience you’d like to share, please do – so often stories from our lives can help others understand how to handle their own journey. We aren’t here to do it alone, or do it tough. We are all connected and when even one person steps up to help another our collective energy can lift higher, and we all benefit.