The Art of Dreaming
When is the last time you allowed yourself to dream — while you were awake? For some of us, dreaming is a lost art. While as young children we knew how to dream, over time we can lose touch with the skill. At the age of 30, 40 or 50, most people discover that in order to transition to a new life phase, they must relearn how to dream.
Day dreaming can have a bad reputation as a wasteful, idle, "pie in the sky" activity - and an optional one. Here's the truth: the ability to dream is a life skill and especially a critical business one. Our dreams carry us to the vision of what we want, they help us identify core truths and they help us relate to ourselves and other people. These are common objections, obstacles and oppositions to dreaming. Which ones can you relate to?
- Dreaming isn't realistic.
- If I dream about something, I must make a lifetime commitment to it.
- I don't remember how to dream.
- Dreaming is for kids, not adults with responsibilities.
- What's the value in a dream? I'll only think about something that I can't have.
- I have no idea how to dream; the thought of it makes me tense and stressed.
- I'm trying to dream and it's not working.
- Dreamers are people who don't get anything done.
Dreams help us form our identities. When we don't dream, we're cut off from an important part of ourselves - the unconscious mind that is such a strong driver of decision making and action taking. And the universe does want to help bring our dreams to fruition. It's truly enough to say, "This is my dream. What's the next best step?" This request scares some of us. It can dredge up notions such as, "What am I worth?" "Do I deserve to have my dreams come true?" "If my dream comes true, do I have to pay in some other area of life?"
Here's what I've learned: Dreams come equipped with big safety nets underneath them. And when we consider our dreams carefully, make the right decisions for us, and understand when to take a risk and when not to, the net is relatively close to the cliff that we've just leapt off of. But no matter how careful the consideration, any dream does require a leap of faith into the unknown. There's no way to skip this step.
So let's get dreaming. Here are some tips to start the process...
- Identify something in your life that excites you. Let's say that you're writing your first short story in ten years. Use that excitement as a springboard into a dream. If you amplified your excitement about your short story by ten, one hundred or one thousand times, what would the dream be? A best selling novel?
- Stop yourself from making dreaming a chore. You can't "try" to dream. You need to let it emerge in your mind, on paper or in the air - dreams live in the spirit of fun and adventure. "What if I could live in the house of my dreams? What if I could live in another country? What if I could become a consultant?"
- Dreaming requires space. Go for a walk, or a drive or a trip down the grocery aisle (without children). Do anything that allows your mind to free associate. It's important to remember that just because you dream something doesn't mean that you have to commit to it.
- A dream can be simply a dream. Notice little kids - they engage in one passion after the next. As soon as they've used up their passion, they drop it like a hot potato and move on to the next passion without judging themselves. Barbara Sher, the author of Wishcraft and numerous other books, talks about how you only need to identify one passion to start dreaming. This is because passion begets passion. One dream will open the door to the next dream. Knowing this, we can let go of the idea that a dream needs to be the "right" one.
- Excitement can not be overrated. If you feel excitement about anything at all, follow the trail and see where it leads you - there's probably a dream at the end. When you dream, notice how it makes you feel. Excited? Scared? A combination of both? All three can be signs that you're on the right track.
Reconnecting to your inner dreamer will move your life forward in new and exciting ways. Dreaming, an internal creative process, precedes most new ideas that populate our minds. Everything good starts with a vision — in truth, fantasy can be reality. Happy dreaming!
Claudette Rowley, coach and author, helps professionals identify and pursue their true purpose and calling in life. Learn more at Claudette Rowley.com.