This is what I wondered last night arriving home from a lovely weekend at the sea, excited about all the ideas that fresh sea air and breeze and a company of wonderful friends generated in my head for things I’d like to do and create. Fresh in my mind were a number of recent conversations with various people and client, and I literally thought of sending them this question. In fact, I’m making greeting cards to do so. Like many of us, they are at this point in their life, (a point, I have certainly been at myself and one I’m sure to revisit), grappling with difficult choices about what to do with that job that no longer motivates, uninspiring dwelling that weighs them down, relationship that is clipping their wings, or any number of things that somehow muddle happiness, ease and that lovely sense of joy life is meant to give us.
The question drifted into my mind as I looked around my own dwelling with a sense of love and pride, happy that my life was how I always dreamed it being. And I thought it’s a really great question to explore in a blog. In my mind, the question immediately invites along at least two other great questions: “What are my dreams exactly?” and “Are these really my dreams?”. So let’s look at the three questions is sequence.
Q1. What are my dreams exactly?
A great way to get at this question is to take a few steps from where you are so that you’re physically standing in a different space (whether that’s your living room or office) and look back over your shoulder smiling as you cast your eyes over the line between where you started from and where you are now. Imagine, it is ten years on! What do you have? Who are you? What have you created? What’s causing you to smile so broadly and feel that tremendous lightness in your heart and your step? Where’s all the confidence coming from and self-love? Note all that comes to your mind with as much detail as is clear to you.
Q2. Are these really my dreams?
Now have a look at each thing you wrote down and interrogate it. Where did it come from? What I have learned so far is that many so called ‘dreams’ are in fact false guideposts, often not even our own. People dream about running big businesses so they can be rich when in fact what they crave is freedom or a need to prove they are not a failure. We are surrounded by people judging us – when in fact they are simply judging themselves. I remember my own parents, and how much pride they took in having a daughter that was an accomplished student and later scientist. Was I any less or more of a daughter to them without it? Of course not. It is easy to get caught in pursuing dreams that are not our own because we are conditioned by rewards and punishments from early childhood. But whose rewards? Surely, if we stay and continue to lead our lives the way others want us to, we are not rewarding ourselves with anything other than erosion of our own self-worth. Being able to stand up for ourselves and actually doing what we want or desire for real.
Q3. Who is paying attention to my dreams?
And finally the crux of it! The question is actually best reworded by asking “Are you paying attention to your true dreams?” or are you spending time pleasing other people’s dreams for you? Good friends, supportive and loving parents, people who care about you aught to be happy with one thing: you being healthy and happy! Surely life’s purpose is for everyone to create that for themseleves and supporting others in creating it. It is in essence our responsibility. When we are happy, we can be generous to others and we invite them to be happy too. Are your ‘dreams’ causing you suffering right now? If they are, perhaps they are not really your dreams?
It takes courage, masses of courage to live your real dreams. To demand better for yourself and to believe that life is actually meant to be fun, enjoyable and exciting. After all, in the greater scheme of things, our lives are actually super short. It takes great courage to ask yourself what your dreams really are. To interrogate them, and to find the balance that affords you satisfaction now. That gives you the opportunity to share your dreams and yourself with others with an open heart.
What takes little time and is easy to do, and what I hope you will do is pause! Stop for a few minutes and acknowledge you have dreams. What this means is that it is up to you to make them happen. Being able to articulate them is the first and key step towards creating them. Give your heart a voice. You may want to lead your organisation, make a difference in your community, put your skills to better use, get a business partner, tell someone how much they really mean to you or that you’re sorry. Be true to yourself and your dreams.
The world is a wonderful place where the flow of positive energy will always belong with people who follow their heart’s dream because that energy is truly irresistible. It is innocent and pure like small children. Find yours and make a dwelling for it. Look after it. Pay attention to the very best in you! Your happiness.