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Ever since high school I have been in love with this quote:
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them”. –Thoreau
It is amazing to me how one line can be so inspiring and depressing at the same time. Depressing, because it rings true we all know people (maybe even ourselves) who have gotten stuck on the treadmill of life, quietly going along, doing as we are told without much thought to the possibilities that lie out there. In my mind life is full of possibilities, it is a blank canvas upon which we can write whatever we want. Yes, we may have responsibilities of mortgages, kids, partners and so we might have to work around them. We might not be able to drop all worldly possessions and hike up Kilimanjaro with our dog, 2 cats and 3 kids. However, we can start taking about that dream, putting the ‘crazy’ dreams on the table and speaking them out loud so they aren’t so scary.
I admit it is not natural for me to dream just for the sake of dreaming. I tend to want to get practical and figure out what steps we need to take to accomplish the dream. However, I am realizing that for many of us just the act of dreaming is scary. Just the act of saying I want to write, live off the grid, climb a mountain is scary and unless we can dream we won’t know what makes our heart sing.
Fortunately I have friends who have taught me the power of dreaming. They spend hours talking about their dreams and the plans they have for their lives. Yes, the dreams may be impractical or challenging to achieve. During the discussions, anything is possible there is great room for freedom, creativity, imagination, nothing is off limits or too crazy. Because they are in total acceptance of their dreams they can then start taking steps to achieve them.
There isn’t the negativity around dreaming, there isn’t the message of you need to be practical. What they have taught me is that we first need to have the space, the expanse to just dream. We first need to allow ourselves to be as impractical, imaginative, creative and dreamy as possible. THEN we can later worry about the is this practical part? How might we accomplish this? What might we do to get here? But first step is to dream and dream big. Because if we don’t dream, we have no idea what might allow our heart to sing and how we can best express that. These friends have created not only a culture of dreaming but of dream acceptance. In our society as a whole we don’t encourage dreaming, we encourage practicality. So I say we start encouraging both–dream, dream big first figure out what makes your heart sing. THEN once you are all dreamed out start adding steps to achieve it.
Ask yourself today what are my dreams? Then ask those close to you and listen with rapt attention. I believe the biggest gift we can give to someone (including ourselves) is to love and support our dreams!! Dream big and live happier!