Are You Living the Life of Your Dreams… or Just Dreaming?
For the last few years I’ve had a dream of living in a beautiful tropical climate near the ocean doing the work that I love. But this calling of sorts started way before. I can remember being a small child and traveling with my parents and family, and the disappointment of returning home and leaving whatever ocean side holiday we had just enjoyed. I thought, as many around me did, that this was just a hazard of being a traveler. The longing to be elsewhere of not quite wanting to or being able to fit in when you returned. Inevitably after the first few weeks of returning “home” this feeling would pass and I would settle back into my everyday “regular” existence… leaving behind the lightness, joy and freedom I had felt by the sea.
In later years this urging to travel and see the world caused me to join the circus… okay, not really but going to work on a cruise ship as entertainment staff is close enough right? I was setting off on the real Love Boat to be my own version of Julie McCoy. I remember being so terrified and yet so excited to break-free from the everyday monotony that was already choking me at the young age of 20. I had never been away from home and yet the call for this adventure was so loud that I followed it all the way to Alaska, the Caribbean, Mediterranean and South America to name a few places. However, still indoctrinated in the ways of the Western world, where importance is placed on achieving, doing, titles, ownership and the lot – after two and a half years of travel I grew tired of the demands of cruising and not really going anywhere. I choose to get “a real job” on land.
Years passed and this feeling of not fitting in with my surroundings was almost palpable, although I didn’t have the words for it I knew that I didn’t feel at home in my life. In a beautiful city, full of culture and life I found myself feeling empty and lonely more times than not. I grew to accept this as “just how life is”. As I grew and changed careers, friends, boyfriends, houses and apartments this nagging feeling remained in the background – unnoticed and unacknowledged like a skulking child put in the corner to serve her punishment. But, like that child in the corner, never content to be ignored this feeling persisted. I was however able to ignore it long enough to get myself into the “perfect” long-term relationship to keep this monotonous existence alive. Fulfilling all my “shoulds” and “must haves” I unconsciously forced myself into a life that I thought everyone wanted and everyone should have. After all, all my friends and family had done the same… why not me. “It’s just what you’re supposed to do” right? White-picket fence, Home Depot and Walmart and the PTA right?
After years of ignoring and putting aside my dream of what I wanted, it was more than ripe for the picking. I had just finished my intense training in Homeopathy and medical sciences, my mom had sadly passed away after a long and awful battle with a disease that ravaged her body, and I found myself unfulfilled, engaged, living in the suburbs, extremely over weight and unhappy… and again that nagging question I had heard on so many days in my past… is this all there is?
Decisions had to be made, I would not end up unhappy, unfulfilled and dying…
A mutual agreement and a wonderfully bitter sweet friendship remaining I left to find what was missing… it took a wonderful vacation alone to California and a horribly disappointing and heartbreaking relationship in between… but I finally found the answer. I had been dreaming my whole life and then I finally stopped to ask myself “what is stopping you from living your dream?”. After all the excuses had left the building I had my answer… fear! So what did I do? I traveled again, this time to find myself, to find where my heart belonged. I found that again the sea was calling and after some time of contemplation, planning and dealing with A LOT of fears I decided to make my move. I now enjoy a very different existence that up until a few years ago was only a dream. I live in a beautiful tropical climate, near the ocean surrounded by nature and beauty doing the work that I love! How can it get better than that?
Have you taken the time to sit quietly and feel your heart, to ask yourself what it desires, what would fill it up to the brim with joy? Does that feel scary to you because it may threaten the safety of the life you “know” and have already planned for yourself? What would it take to live the life of your dreams… to truly thrive and not merely survive your life? What does your dream look like?
After much contemplation and experience the answer I can provide is this. Fear will come up along with a plethora of excuses but the simple fact is that if you settle for a life of surviving and not thriving it will kill you… maybe not all of the sudden but little by little over time. All that is required for you to start living your dreams is to realize you have them. Don’t shut them out and put them in the corner. Write them down, acknowledge their existence and start to breath life into them. You may find after writing them down that some are unrealistic for you at this time or that you no longer hold a true yearning for some others, but you’ll never know their potential unless you acknowledge them and start to take some small steps.
Here are some tiny steps to get you started:
Create a quiet space where you can be alone, comfortable and free to explore your feelings. You may want to include a little ritual like lighting a candle, putting on some music or even setting up you space with things that inspire you, like photos, books etc.
Take deep breaths and locate the area of our heart. Feel your heart beating in you chest, notice your breath as it easily and effortlessly moves through you. Ask yourself: “What would my dream life look like?” – Wait for the answers to come, but not from your mind – from your heart.
Write down what comes to you, be specific about what your surroundings would look like, who would be there, what would you be doing? What job to you have? What foods will you be eating?
After you’re done writing just sit there a little while longer. Put the book down and imagine yourself in this life.
This last part is the most important part… ready? Make a list of the small baby steps you can start to take right now, right this second to start putting that in motion. Be specific here too and remember, don’t get overwhelmed by the big picture.
If you use this exercise once a week you’ll start to learn to listen to your heart more, and as you take the baby steps you’ve outlined you will start to be guided by your heart and something bigger than you. Remember that anything is possible and if you allow yourself to take small actions they will soon grow to bigger things and then your heart’s song will be so loud that all the pieces will flow exactly where they should. Is this what happened to me you ask? YES!! It did (with tears of joy) and continues to each and every day.
Listen closely… your heart is speaking to you right now!