There are so many reasons we stop dreaming.
Here are just a few…
Our dreams seem impossible and thinking about them is painful. Even if they are possible, the price of pursuit feels too high. We’re afraid of what we might lose. We’re afraid of what might change. We’re afraid of failing. We’re afraid of succeeding. We have legit limitations and obstacles. We don’t know what we want. We’re too busy to even think about what we want. We are grateful for what we have and feel guilty about wanting anything different or more.
All things considered it seems perfectly reasonable to stick with the practical and ditch this whole dreaming thing altogether.
But what happens when you do?
Take it to your journal: What’s the impact of not dreaming? (The benefits? The costs?)
Recently a colleague asked about my dreams and when I shared them, my words felt like the empty husks of something that had died or left long ago. I was shocked. When I asked myself whether I still wanted those dreams, I honestly couldn’t find an answer. So I did a heart check and came to some realizations.
- I’ve held these dreams for so long that they have started to feel more like farfetched fantasy than aspirational possibility.
- I’ve been worried my dream would cost me every drop of energy and every hour of my life.
- I am so deeply appreciative of everything I have, it feels ungrateful to keep dreaming.
For all these reasons, I had subconsciously been divesting from my dreams for years. I had withdrawn completely and left them like old castles sitting empty in a far-off land and I still didn’t know if they were calling me home. To find my answer, I had to clear the way. I started by looking at whether any these dream-dampening beliefs had any validity.
- Yes, I’ve had these dreams a long time. In fact, they have guided me well. I may not have realized them fully but every step in their direction has given me rich and valuable experiences as well as deepening fulfillment, wisdom and strength.
- Exhaustion and depletion don’t have to be the cost. There are other ways; I just have to learn them.
- I can love and appreciate everything I have and also aspire to new goodness without guilt or shame. I can do this in a way that honours my values and respects others and the world.
Once I worked through these beliefs, something subtle and magical happened. I didn’t have an immediate answer about my dreams but as Justin and I made dinner that night, I found myself laughing, dancing and feeling lighter. I knew that uplifting energy was a result of my dreams. They had been buried under the weight of those limiting beliefs. With some clearing, they were coming back to life and so was I.
The world rarely provides predictable outcomes and life is full of challenges, hardship and limitations. It’s not easy to be a dreamer in the midst of it all. No doubt there will be times when letting go of a particular dream will be painful but necessary. After mourning, we may be surprised to find how liberated we feel. But letting go of a particular dream is not the same as letting go of dreaming.
There is something essential in this creative act, in imagining our way into a future that calls to our hearts. This isn’t about being the masterful architects of our lives, fulfilling exacting plans to a mathematical degree. Dreaming is about discovering and strengthening our capacity to create and influence change, to have an impact and to bring possibilities to life for ourselves and for one another. That’s what we creatives are here to do.
Take it to Your Journal: What if you started dreaming again?
I have a funny feeling, there would be magic.