Do you let your dreams live or kill them with “reality”?
She raised her hands to cover her flaming pink cheeks. “Oh my god,” she said, “I’m a dream killer.” As a class, we had been discussing the value of dreaming and how most people snuff out the true power of their dreams because they equate them with goals. But dreams are not goals, they are the origin of all new creation. In the course of our conversation, the student recognized she had been consistently killing her husband’s dreams. Every time he expressed a new possibility, she would counter his excitement with, “Yeah, but how are you going to make that happen?” She felt appalled when she understood that this was crushing his spirit. To add to her mortification, she also realized she had been denying her own dreams from having life.
While it’s common that we kill our dreams with “reality”, there are also times when our dreams will die a natural death. For many of us, the last few years have been a profound time of letting go of who we thought we were to make space for who we are becoming. As we evolve, so must our dreams. Many of your old dreams may no longer be relevant. If you are currently grieving the loss of your old dreams, you may find solace in the fact that you are also freeing yourself to create a whole new reality.
As we emerge into this new paradigm, many of us are feeling called to birth new work into the world. The journey of creating your inspired work involves a two-part process:
The dreaming stage where you open to receive new ideas and allow them to gestate; and
The actualizing stage where you nurture the evolved ideas into being through action.
In the initial stage of creating your work, your role as the dreamer is to tap into unrealized potentials and then provide the conditions for those ideas to gradually develop. This is an essential phase that must be allowed to unfold before you even consider moving into action.
What do you dream of? Being an artist? Designing a passive house? Exploring the wilderness? Performing magic? Starting an animal sanctuary? Building a community? Developing a revolutionary technology? Bridging an unseen realm? Standing on a stage? Feeding the world? Realizing your enlightenment?
Your dreams are the seeds of your future. Not only your future, they are also the inception of the next evolution of our planet. That’s how important it is to dream. To make your unique contribution to humanity through your work, you must allow your dreams to live.
Let your “secret dreams” have life
As someone who works with those of you who want help facilitating your work into the world, I am an “unconditional believer” in your dreams. This is not to placate you. It is because I know, beyond a shadow of doubt, that your dreams are the origin of the work you are uniquely designed to create. I also know they are why we’ve been brought together.
Early on in the Vision Program, I will ask the person I am working with if they have a “secret dream”. Some will reveal an idea they have held close to their hearts for much of their life but never dared express. Others will shake their heads “no” and stare at me as though I had asked them if they wear pink polka-dotted pajamas. If, in the past, they were ridiculed when sharing their dreams with others, they may have decided to banish their ideas to the depths of their consciousness. So I patiently wait. I know that if I keep creating a safe space for the dream to be realized, it will rise to the surface of their awareness. As we make our way through the program, eventually they do whisper, “Well, actually, I’ve always secretly dreamed of…”
Why you kill your dreams
Dreaming is natural. Every person has the capacity to do it, however, most people have developed a disordered relationship with their innate ability to dream. Some of the common reasons for this are:
- You were taught to suppress your dreams. As a child, you may have been an extraordinary dreamer. You may have also been scolded to “get your head out of the clouds” and “get into reality”. So you did. But when others tell us to be “realistic”, what is meant is they expect us to conform to their limited perception of how the world is. The problem with “facing reality” is it keeps us stuck in the status quo, whereas dreaming is what creates our “new reality”.
- You don’t know how to actualize your ideas. To have a dream and not know how to bring it into the world is a very painful experience. So, for some, instead of suffering the agony of living with their unrealized dreams, they decide it’s best not to dream at all. Not only do their dreams die, so does their eagerness for life. Without desire, life-force energy stops flowing through our being.
- You’re uncomfortable with feeling desire. Ideas are a partially-materialized form of energy so to receive ideas, we must open ourselves to receiving energy. This experience is what we call desire. Desire is the summoning point of all new life. We feel it as a surge of excitement throughout our bodies. Some feel so much discomfort around having energy coursing through their being that they suppress their desire and subsequently block their dream before it can even take the form of an idea.
The purpose of dreaming
Many people misunderstand the purpose of dreaming. I’ve said it above, but it’s worth emphasizing the point: dreams are not goals. When we expect a dream to become a specific manifest thing in the world, we turn it into a goal. However, if we narrow our focus to achieving a concrete outcome, we are not receptive to the more expansive ideas that want to arise. Often those goals are still premature as ideas and have not been allowed to fully develop in the gestation phase of dreaming.
When I invite people into dreaming up what’s possible for their work, I explain that they are not attempting to dream up the end result of their creative process, they are dreaming up the beginning. At this early stage, too often people will kill their dreams with “reality”. Meaning they will take an initial idea and then immediately proceed to the thought “yeah, but how am I going to make that happen?” It sucks all the life out of the dream. This is not to deny that there is an action phase to the creative process, but action is not part of the dreaming stage. I have to lovingly remind people to give themselves permission to dream beyond any limits.
The purpose of dreaming is for the delight of imagining what’s possible. This feel-good state is what allows us to open to the flow of creative life-force energy. When we dream, we are the channels through which energy flows. It is a delicious experience.
Dreaming is what allows creative life-force energy to flow through our being.
Our work in the dreaming stage is not to figure out how we are going to hammer our dream into reality, it is to stay in that receptive state and allow the creative energy to flow. To stay open usually involves having to let go of the many internal blocks we have around creating such as self-doubt and fear of the unknown. Those blocks introduce resistance and restrict the flow of energy. In contrast, the more we allow the dream to evolve beyond limits, the more momentum we build. As the momentum grows, eventually we are so brimming with enthusiasm, we feel compelled into action. This is when your ideas reach the actualization stage.
Moving into inspired action
You will know it’s time to take action when your ideas won’t let you rest. They distract you while you’re driving to the supermarket. They interrupt your leisure activities. They wake you up in the middle of the night. Unlike goals, you don’t need to know where you will end up before you take steps to actualize your dreams, and you certainly won’t know “how you’re going to make it all happen”. Why would you want to know? Doesn’t that defeat the whole adventure of living? Regardless, you don’t need to know. If you trust your own inner guidance, you will be shown the steps required to birth your dream into being.
In this second stage of creation, your role as the actualizer is to have the courage to move into action without knowing the outcome. This is a vulnerable part of the journey because even though your ideas have grown from seeds and are now surfacing in the world as tiny sprouts, they are still very delicate. At this point, your work may have developed into an early prototype, a first draft, or an initial offering. You must tread softly so as not to stomp all over your fledgling creations. The steps at this stage are small and purposeful rather than big, erratic leaps. You will know what your next steps are if you feel for the gentle nudges, subtle impulses, and intuitive hints from your inner guidance. This is how dreams become reality – one tiny inspired action step at a time.
Your work has the potential to grow beyond what you can even conceive of from where you now stand. If you dream up the seeds of ideas for your work – and let them live – eventually, they will blossom into a lush garden that sustains a whole new “reality” for you, and for the world.