DREAM YOURSELF INTO YOUR LIFE
BY KALI MUNRO, M.Ed., Psychotherapist, 2002
Too often we lose sight of what’s important to us for example, enjoying nature, exploring our spirituality, connecting with friends, traveling, and being creative. Yet, we know that our lives are incomplete. The truth is, we can all have much more meaning in our lives – we just don’t know how to do it. This article explores different ways to live your dreams.
There are many barriers to living our lives the way that we would really like. Child abuse, alcoholism, grief, poverty, and the like all take their toll. Yet, from deep within us we hear a cry – a cry for more; for something inspiring.
Living an inspiring life is not just for some people. It’s for all of us. We can all live our lives more fully and do more of what we want. You might think that you’re too busy, don’t have enough money, or don’t know what you want, and while that’s all understandable it need not get in your way.
We need to begin by listening to our internal cry. What is it telling us? What do we need? What is missing in our lives. And, once we know that, we need to find ways to live our dreams.
James Hillman, in his book The Soul’s Code (Random House, NY, 1996), says that the answers to who we are and what we want can be found in our childhood musings. He says,
“Sooner or later something seems to call us into a particular path. You may remember this “something” as a signal moment in childhood when an urge out of nowhere, a fascination, a peculiar turn of events struck like an annunciation: This is what I must do, this is what I’ve got to have. This is who I am… If not this vivid or sure, the call may have been more like gentle pushings in the stream in which you drifted unknowingly to a particular spot on the bank.”
Hillman believes that in order to uncover what gives us meaning or pleasure (what he calls our calling) we need to remember what fascinated us, grabbed our attention, or spoke to us as children. He believes those memories even if they are only tiny glimmers or flashes of our desires hide our deeper longings to be or to do something.
To use this method, you might want to think about yourself as a child. What did you dream about? What did you like to play? What were your fantasies and dreams?
While it may not be clear to you what any of it means. Those memories or dreams may hold something you need to know about yourself. You might want to spend some time writing about it.
Dr. John Suler, who teaches at Ryder University, designed an exercise for his students called The Therapeutic Ingredients of the Vision Quest that can help with this. A full description of this exercise can be found here.
I found the Vision Quest to be very helpful in awakening my deeper wisdom and awareness of synchronicity.
SULER’S STEPS FOR THE VISION QUEST
- For a period of at least 4 hours, leave your room or home and go out somewhere, anywhere. Don’t plan ahead as to where you will go or what you will do. Don’t do anything in particular (e.g., don’t go bowling, to the movies, to visit friends, etc.). Just go where your instincts tell you to go. Let your “intuition” carry you. Just wander (of course, don’t do anything dangerous). Do this alone. This is very important! If you meet people you know, you may talk to them for a few minutes, but no longer than that. Continue on your way.
- While you wander, concentrate on some question about yourself, something you want to know about yourself, or some problem you have been experiencing in your life. You could simply focus on the question “Who am I?” or any similar question. Think, reflect, ponder this question – but also let your mind “drift.”
- The whole time keep in mind that you are on a “quest.” You are looking, waiting, expecting something. Something will happen. There will be a sign that will give you an insight into the question. It could be something that happens to you, something you see or hear. The world out there will give you the sign!
- Take along a notebook or some paper, and a pen. Every half hour sit down and write. Note the time, the place, and what has happened. Write about your reactions to what is happening to you. Write about your thoughts, feelings, and insights. Write these notes for yourself! …During the exercise, if you’re anxious, frustrated, or bored, ask yourself “why” and write about it. If nothing important has happened, think and write about why that is so. How could you make the exercise more effective?”
As Suler says, even if nothing happens, it helps to write about that. There can be answers within that place of nothing.
Another way to uncover your deeper longings is to think about what you really want to do, even if it seems impossible. Try not to let thoughts like, “I don’t have the money to travel” or “I can’t write” or “I’m too busy” stop you from at least thinking about what you’d really like to do. Too many dreams are stopped before they even get started because of self-defeating thoughts. Let yourself dream and spend time with this.
When you’re ready, tell one person your dreams. As SARK says, “Dreams love attention and will expand the more you share them.” (Living Juicy by SARK, Celestial Arts; Berkeley, CA, 1994). Try not to get caught up in thinking or talking about the practical aspects of your dream; just think about the possibilities. Keep checking in with yourself to see what fits for you and what doesn’t. Something nice that can come from sharing your dreams with someone is that your friend’s dreams can be awakened, too, and that’s fun to be a part of too.
Next, imagine yourself living your dream. Imagine yourself doing whatever it is that you want to do. Spend time visualizing this and be sure to include all of your senses – sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste.
When you’re ready to move in the direction of living your dream, think about one tiny step that you can take toward your dream. Make it tiny. As SARK said at a recent talk in Toronto, it helps to think about the steps as micro-movements.
For example, because I procrastinate about painting, my micro-movement was to put out my easel and clip paper to it that night. That’s it. I did it and the next day I put out my charcoal pencil. The next day I was sketching again.
Think about what micro-movements you could do and then set a date and time to do them.
Every one us of us has dreams that our soul needs to fulfill. Without our dreams, our lives are incomplete. Don’t worry if you’re not sure of yours, or don’t know how to fulfill them. It helps to try one or all of the exercises here, or another one of your choice, and see what happens. Write about what you learn and keep on trying. Dreams are lived one step at a time.