People say that if they received the diagnosis of cancer they wouldn’t go down without a fight. This begs the question that if you’ll fight to survive, why not fight to thrive?
Why do we give up on our true dreams so easily and fall softly into the status quo? When does the fight to live life like we mean it begin? Should we wait until given a death sentence to feel the desire to really live?
Dream it to Live it
If you were lucky the adults in your life told you to dream big as a child. They encouraged your imagination and your ability to see how a piece of string on the couch is really a serpent perched in its castle.
We call this “inner child” in adulthood and some of us are lucky enough to hang on. But, for the vast majority moving from childhood meant “growing up” and out of dreaming.
I had an experience not too long ago that freed me to get in touch with that happy-go-lucky little girl that once built fortresses in dirt and belted out songs from the top of the slide.
While traveling in South America, life became play again, inspired by nature and the magic of life. For instance, I woke up one morning so full of energy after a long hike that while skipping to meet up with a horse I leapt a few times and kicked my heels together.
This spontaneity is joy and dreaming is joy. Our whole lives can be joyful. It happens when we decide to really celebrate each moment and to look at life as one endless opportunity for turning our dreams into reality.
From Surviving to Thriving
It’s easy to find yourself swept into the current of the daily grind. The alarm goes off and it’s one task to the next until your head hits the pillow at the end of the day.
All work. No play. You realize that play and dreaming have slipped off the radar – if you consider them to be important to your health, you may even think “how can I just out-source it?”
…Because, clearly, there is no time for play. Or dreaming. Or care-free moments (unless we get them scheduled).
Yet, you know there is more – more to life than surviving, just making it by with deadlines, demands, and traffic delays.
And, while at the surface life may be up and down and a merry-go-round, beneath all of that there is a deeper stillness, a quiet knowing.
And, I believe that in that stillness, in that quiet, in the silence of our hearts we hold a deep knowing – we know there is a way of life and a state of life that is so rich, magical, and alive.
And, you KNOW that you were meant for that rich, magical, open-hearted way of life.
You were meant to thrive, not just survive.
You were meant to see the beauty in life, to feel the glow of love in your heart, to experience a child-like curiosity as you live your one and only sacred life.
5 Steps for Reconnecting with Your Dreams
1. First, Empty Your Cup:
A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring.
The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s full! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “You are like this cup,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?”
In order to make space for dreaming we must first empty ourselves out, let go, and, in doing so, make space for creative ideas, dreams, and our child-like imagination to bubble to the surface.
2. Tune in to Your Senses:
Practice mindfulness meditation is a non-judgmental and open-hearted practice with the goal of paying attention on purpose, deeply, and without judgment to whatever arises in the present moment.
Research has shown its effectiveness in the management of stress, anxiety and panic, chronic pain, and depression. It’s also been demonstrated to decrease irritability, increase resilience to change, increase energy, and improve overall mental functioning.
This practice gives us a way to experience a life beyond the daily grind and to discover a calmness and harmony within ourselves that becomes the birthplace for innovation, creativity, and dreams.
3. Tame Your Life – Simplify:
Here we identify the essential. On a day-to-day basis prioritize your activities and leave enough time for them (even those that don’t involve do-ing such as unscheduled time for dreaming).
Give up multi-tasking – when we multi-task there’s less quality in everything we do and we are challenged to truly be present. It becomes draining and ultimately an unsatisfying way to live.
Instead, try single-tasking — focus on just one task at a time. In this simplified way of you’ll find there is more quality in each task you accomplish, you’re able to be more present, and centered, and less depleted.
Single-tasking will give you more energy and clarity in your life – again, evoking a harmony within yourself that provides more spaciousness for dreaming.
4. Move Your Body:
Even going for a 10 minute walk can change your entire perspective and focus. Through the physical movement and change of scenery you find your breath starts to change. Expending physical energy clears the mind.
5. Get Outside & Get into Nature:
Nature connects us with the “bigger picture”. Time next to a body of water, even a small pond reflects the existence of something beyond our current struggle. Nature reminds us of the impermanence of life and helps us to take ourselves a little less seriously. The serious mind is a dream squasher – so get into nature, lighten up, and let the dreams flow.
5. Practice Courageous Acts of Connection:
We are not meant to journey alone. The act of leaning in on someone else whether it’s a friend, family member, or health coach can make a huge difference.
Sharing your fears, concerns, and dreams with others creates the opportunity for deep connection. Through courageous acts of connection in which you show up, unapologetically as yourself you give yourself full permission to be seen.
And, you send a strong message to yourself that you matter, your dreams matter, and you are willing to dance with your fear in order to create the life you really want.
May you always thrive and live your dreams,