How do you feel when you hear, “Follow your dreams!” Or, “Make this your best year yet”???
Do you feel excited?
Filled with dread?
Confused as to what your dreams actually are?
Or maybe ALL OF THE ABOVE?
My journey of following (and not following) certain dreams has led me to see the nuances and paradoxes we all face when it comes to following our longings and passions to grow into our potential.
When I was beginning my final year of university as a vocal performance major at Lewis & Clark College, I remember meeting with my advisor and talking about what I might do after graduation (yikes! I didn’t know).
My advisor was a fantastic professor known for bringing music history to life through engaging storytelling and class discussions. At our one-on-one advisee meeting, as I talked in circles about not knowing what I would do with my life in nine months’ time, she took a dramatic pause.
“Sara,” she said with a twinkle in her eye, “do you have any dreams? I think you should follow your dreams.”
I furrowed my brow, taken aback by her question. I had seen many a motivational poster, but I could not recall any adult actually TELLING ME something impractical like, “follow your dreams.”
I was at a loss, groping around for a dream to share with her. Finally, I remembered one that had already faded somewhat for me.
“Well, when I got to go to New York City in high school, I was so in love with the Broadway shows I saw. I dreamed of performing on Broadway. But… I don’t have the dance training or skills to succeed. I know I can sing well enough, and I think I can act well enough, but I could barely keep up with the tap dance routines in my high school musicals.”
My advisor looked me in the eye and said, “You have to believe in yourself, Sara. You can learn to dance at that level. Go for it. You can do it.”
The conversation left me thinking for a long time. Was I a coward if I didn’t pursue that teenage dream? Did I really just need to believe in myself? Did I actually want to dedicate myself to building the dance skills needed?
Was it okay to let that dream die?
As is often the case when being encouraged to “follow your dreams” I got lost in the currents of conflicting emotions.
As the months progressed, a different dream emerged: to travel, improve my Spanish skills, and do volunteer work in Latin America. I followed that inner pull, which led me to meet the man who has now been my husband for 16 years in Mexico, volunteer in Costa Rica, and start meditating regularly. The practice of meditation opened my creative floodgates as I began writing heartfelt songs about overcoming struggle.
From following that one inner impulse to travel, new, aligns dreams of becoming a professional singer/songwriter emerged. Thanks to divine grace, I have now fulfilled a lot of those dreams.
The vulnerability and courage it took to put myself out there consistently also helped me excavate and fulfill another dream: to become an author. With the launch of my first book on January 12, I am making that inner calling come to fruition. (Pre-order Unleash Your Goddess Voice here!)
Looking back on the confusion I experienced as a 21-year-old in that meeting with my advisor, I now feel peaceful about letting go of my dream of performing on Broadway.
I also see that the dream didn’t completely die; following my life’s journey allowed that spark of passion to grow and evolve.
I see the common thread in all of my dreams of wanting to express myself, create, and share with others. As my longings have matured, I have also found great fulfillment in helping others to find their voices and become respected thought-leaders who spread their message from the stage.
As my personal dreams have evolved, I have also taken a more nuanced view of what I envision, long for, and pray for in the future of the COLLECTIVE.
I used to dream of world peace as a kind of fantasy where there would be no more struggle or problems to deal with in the world.
Yet my decades-long healing journey has taught me that struggle is not the enemy. A life without challenges is a life without growth. However, we can pour on the compassion, love, and lightness as we go through the necessary struggles personally and collectively.
My dream of world peace has not been squelched but has matured. I still long for (and believe it’s possible) for us to create a world without wars, abuse, or senseless violence. But rather than envisioning a “happily ever after” scenario, I now envision a world where:
- All people’s voices are treated with respect
- We learn to listen deeply and hold space for people of differing viewpoints
- We are encouraged to feel worthy and kind to ourselves as we go through struggles
- We feel supported by community as we face the current global challenges
- We create a sustainable world for all beings, ourselves included
I truly believe this vision is possible. Collectively WE CAN HEAL. Together, we can grow into our human potential of embodying love and wholeness.
Now I would love to hear from you. How does this land? What dreams of your own have matured and evolved in your life? Leave a comment or send me an email!
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