So much is unknown about this mystery we like to call “life.”
We have our theories and ideas about it, our values and beliefs that may help guide us through it, but watertight certainty about any of it is hard to find.
Except for one thing:
This is probably the only time your life will be lived.
Just think about that for a moment…
This is the only time when your unique talents and abilities and yearnings and experiences and even your pain can mix together in quite this way. It’s more than just the chance of a lifetime…
So it’s also probably the only time your dreams have a chance to be lived out in quite the way that you – and only you – could live them. So will you let them live?
Yep, it’s that time of year already – again. Welcome to the season that packs so much into itself:
It’s a complicated time of year…
So as you prepare yourself for whatever shades of the seasonal spectrum that you will face this time, maybe it’s work asking:
What will you give yourself this year?
(And you know I’m not talking about the material stuff here).
Or perhaps it’s easier to think about what you might like to receive from yourself?
I couldn’t help but smile when I walked past this building in my neighbourhood recently. There’s something beautifully absurd about a sign announcing “OFFICE” above a doorway that’s then been completely bricked-in. I wonder if they get much business…?
Yet what’s not so funny is how you might be doing this to yourself, to your life, at times. How you might be walling-off the very opportunities or happenings you’d like to take place. How you might be sending messages out there – to others, to yourself – that completely, unwittingly, contradict your dreams. And maybe even stop them from having a chance.
So let’s take a look behind the brickwork for a moment and see what’s going on…
Have you heard of ‘tall poppy syndrome’?
It’s that social tendency which sees high achievers – ‘tall poppies’ – as standing ‘above the crowd’ somehow; and it cuts them down to size.
And if it’s taken root in your patch, it can make it tricky for you to strive. To grow. To dare to put yourself out there in the world and try your best at what you’re passionate about. For it can be a pretty potent motivator to stay small…safe…(silent, even).
Once it’s put like that, tall poppy syndrome starts to sound a bit like fear of judgment. Or maybe even fear of success.
Do any of these things sound familiar to you?
If so, what is it, exactly, that you might fear if you stuck your head up above the parapet?
(It might be worth getting to know that stuff a little better, for, often, we can carry around fairly nebulous worries that can actually draw strength from remaining indistinct… Getting clearer about them sometimes brings them into sharper focus; makes them more known to you. Maybe even more manageable).
I’ve found a quiet, dimly lit corner, hidden away from the world right at the back of a café. When I came in here, I was only looking for a break and a cup of tea. Yet I stumbled upon something else entirely. Inspiration…
For emblazoned across the back wall is a quote:
in the direction
of your dreams.
Live the life
you have imagined.”
– Henry David Thoreau
This handful of words, so unexpected, is somehow more warming than the cup in my hands. So much held and hinted at within them.
Not only the implicit knowledge of what your dreams might be in the first place – those secret desires and hopes that can be hard enough to find or bring into being – but also the very direction that these dreams would take you in. The course they might set you on. The paths they open to you.
And then that idea of moving towards that stuff with confidence. Sure-footedness. Grace.
Well, that seems to contain another layer entirely.
At this time of year, when resolutions and goals and plans often come up – all those plottings on the graphs of the next 365 days of our all-too-concrete adult lives – it seems so timely to be reminded of our more ethereal sides, too. Our dreams… The internal imaginings that might defy logical ‘sense’ and just passionately exist anyway.
So how do you live with your dreams?
(And how do they live with you?)