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Issue 46

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In this issue ~~

* Recovering Lost Dreams

* Creative Tip

* Wise Words

* Bookshelf

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Recovering Lost Dreams

To me, one of the saddest things in life is to look back and regret that you never had the courage to live out your dreams. While we're in the day-to-day throes of living life, our dreams often fall by the wayside. They seem "out there," too hard to get to, an indulgence when we owe our time and allegiance to so many other people and things. We feel selfish and guilty rejecting a perfectly good, although less than satisfying life to pursue elusive dreams. But they continue to nag at us, demanding our attention.

There are many reasons we give up on our dreams.

~ We forget our dreams after college because we're pressured to pay the rent or support a family.

~ We're too tired after work to put in the time and effort.

~ Our dreams seem too hard to attain.

~ We're afraid we can't handle the criticism and rejection.

~ We're not willing to give up material comfort, even for awhile, to go after our dreams.

~ We want guarantees. What if we give up everything and it doesn't work?

~ We're not sure it's worth the sacrifice.

~ We're afraid people will either be jealous of us or think we're out of our mind.

~ We're afraid that if we're "too" successful and happy, we'll leave our friends and family behind.

~ We have other, "more important" responsibilities.

~ We don't know if we're good enough.

~ We're not sure we deserve to have everything we want.

We're given our dreams for a reason: to pursue them and fulfill our unique place in the world. And yes, to be happy. Sure, you may never become the astronaut or ballet dancer you dreamed of in childhood. But other dreams – adult dreams – emerge throughout life, and we can breathe life into those.

According to Suzanne Falter-Barns, author of How Much Joy Can You Stand?: A Creative Guide to Facing Your Fears and Making Your Dreams Come True, "the truth is that dreams can be both tantalizing and frightening. They call upon us to be our bigger selves, possibly bigger than we've ever been . . . so we extend our reach out into the world and finally begin to touch our lives as we are meant to."

That does sound tantalizing, doesn't it? So, how do you do it? To begin that process of reaching out, first you have to find out why you're holding back. Complete these lists to learn more about you and your dream. Falter-Barns suggests that you be brutally honest in responding to these questions.

~ What I'm Afraid of Finding Out about My Dream

~ What It Will Mean If I Succeed at My Dream

~ What Will Change If I Succeed at My Dream

~ People Who Support My Dream

~ People Who Do Not Support My Dream

~ What I Will Gain by Pursuing My Dream

(Excerpted from How Much Joy Can You Stand?, Suzanne Falter-Barns, Ballantine Wellspring, 2000)

As you can see from this list, pursuing your dream will precipitate changes in your life, and that can be scary. You may move to a different place, learn new skills, lose friends and gain new ones, have an entirely different lifestyle. You can pace some of the changes, but once the momentum gets going, you may get caught up in the wave and feel out of control. You need to balance the inner longing that's driving you toward your dream with your need for others' love and approval that may draw you away from it. All of this may take some tinkering and negotiating, especially if you're in a committed relationship or have a family.

If fears or circumstances prevent you from diving into your dream full force right away, consider how you might modify your dream, so that you can at least begin pursuing it now. Think about your dream, and ask yourself these questions:

~ How does it make you feel? What else can you do that would give you that same feeling?

~ What are the material and emotional benefits it brings you? How else could you get those that would be satisfying to you?

~ What value(s) does it respond to? How can you shape your life so that those values are honored?

~ What piece of your dream can you initiate immediately that will lead to your full-blown dream sometime in the future?

But what if you can't even find or remember your dream? Try working with these lists. Falter-Barns suggests that you take some time to complete them. Find a quiet spot and a chunk of time, and really dig into them as completely as you can.

~ People Whose Permission I Am Waiting For

~ Things I Loved to Make or Do as a Child

~ What I Daydream About When Waiting in Lines

~ Activities That Make Me Feel Connected

~ What I Think About When I'm Alone

~ Things in Life That Move or Irritates Me

~ Things That Intrigue Me or Strike My Fancy

(Excerpted from "What's Your Passion?", Suzanne Falter-Barns, New Age magazine, July/Aug 2000)

Give yourself permission to rediscover your dreams and put them into action, even if it's on a small scale. If it's not practical to dive into it right now, start taking steps. Find something that gives you the essence of your dream, and then build it brick by brick. Use the time to build confidence and skills and find direction for your dream.

In Feng Shui and Money, Eric Shaffert talks of unfulfilled dreams as a debt to yourself. You owe it to yourself to heed and pursue your dreams. Sure, it'll be a challenge, but the exhilaration of facing your fears is more energizing than the deadening feeling of unrealized potential. I've yet to hear anyone bemoan following their heart.

While you might not achieve your dream 100%, you'll learn from it, and it will lead you to something you couldn't have imagined when you started out. So, why not go for the gold and create a life that you can look back on with a sense of peace and satisfaction, one more exciting than you could ever dream right now.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

My thanks to Suzanne Falter-Barns for contributing to this article. Her website is a resource with tools and articles for coaches, seekers, and anyone else with a dream to pursue.


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Creative Tip

Pretend you're 80 or 90 years old looking back on your life. Write the story of your life as you would like it to be. Don't hold back. Allow yourself to feel the satisfaction and excitement of what you could accomplish. Review and update it from time to time as you grow and achieve pieces of it and see more possibilities for yourself.

 

Wise Words

"You are never given a wish or a dream without also being given the power to make it come true."

~ Richard Bach

"Creative expression is of vital importance. Artists must do what's in their heart, to dream and create outrageously."

~ Alex Grey, visionary artist

"There are always risks when you chase after a dream because growth requires that you leave your comfort zone and enter unknown territory. But without confronting those risks and facing your fears, you'll never, as Nike says, 'Just do it.' Now the truth is, you may fail in some of your efforts, but you will never succeed if you are not willing to risk failure. And even if you do fail, you can learn from the experience and try again. To do that, you will need courage, and you will also need to have faith in your ability to achieve your goals."

~ Stedman Graham

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours."

~ Henry David Thoreau

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Bookshelf

(click on the book or tape graphic to see a description at Amazon.com)

How Much Joy Can You Stand?: A Creative Guide to Facing Your Fears and Making Your Dreams Come True . . . Suzanne Falter-Barns

Creating Extraordinary Joy: A Guide to Authenticity, Connection, and Self-Transformation . . . Chris Alexander

Sark's Journal and Play!Book: A Place to Dream While Awake . . . Sark

The Practical Dreamer's Handbook: Finding the Time, Money, and Energy to Live the Life You Want to Live . . . Paul and Sarah Edwards

Create A Life That Tickles Your Soul: Finding Peace, Passion, & Purpose . . . Suzanne Willis Zoglio

Stand Up for Your Life: Develop the Courage, Confidence, and Character to Fulfill Your Greatest Potential . . . Cheryl Richardson

Finding Your Passion . . . Cheryl Richardson (audiocassette)

I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It . . . Barbara Sher with Barbara Smith

Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live . . . Martha Beck

Feng Shui and Money: A Nine-Week Program for Developing Wealth and Prosperity . . . Eric J. Shaffert

 

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© 2002 Sharon Good. All rights reserved.

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