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“Dreamstorming”: Making Time to Imagine Your Life Anew

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:

“Go confidently
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?)

For instance, how much space (or time) do you actually give them to grow in?
Has that changed lately?
Is it a limited space, perhaps the ‘leftovers’ once sufficient measures of your life have been given over to the ‘sensible’ things first?

Could the size of that dreaming space impact the size of your dream?

And where do you let your dreams start from? Maybe it feels easier to sort of start them off from where your feet are planted right now, taking into account only what seems ‘possible’ from here. Maybe it can feel more ‘logical’ to imagine a sequential set of steps spreading forward incrementally from right where you happen to be.

But could that approach sometimes leave other, wilder possibilities unseen?

What might happen if you carved out a space to deliberately dream now and then?
To find a secluded spot hidden away from the everyday world.
To just let yourself be taken in whatever direction seems to beckon.
To let the dreaming come thick and fast.
Maybe to try suspending your judgment or distracting your inner critic or ‘sensible’ side long enough to just see where this particular path might lead… and to initially just welcome whatever notions come, even if they don’t at first seem to make any kind of sense.

All these steps – a focus on quantity, suspending criticism, and welcoming weirdness – are all part of brainstorming. Might it be possible to use these techniques internally somehow, as well as just in workplace meetings?

Perhaps indulge in a ‘dreamstorm’ once in a while?

For, as this other quote, painted on a rock by the seaside suggests:

“Dreams are Free”

And perhaps not inviting dreams into our lives, can sometimes come at a cost of its own…


Photos: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar

Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also co-facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She is the editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.

“Dreamstorming”: Making Time to Imagine Your Life Anew

Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar

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APA Reference
Gawne-Kelnar, G. (2010). “Dreamstorming”: Making Time to Imagine Your Life Anew. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 13 Dec 2010
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