Scientists say we all have dreams during sleep, some more than others. Some of us remember all the details, some of us forget specifics while retaining the general gist, and others of us awake without a clue about the happenings of the world of slumber. This kind of dreaming has often been associated with our waking activities. Some argue that the unconscious mind becomes the dominant force during sleep, bringing to the fore the things we refuse to face while awake. Others dismiss this as over-analysis, sticking to the notion that much of it is random and unexplainable.
There is another altogether different type of dreaming, the kind we do while wide awake, which I am convinced is a parallel in some ways to the kind that takes over during slumber. For one, I believe wholeheartedly that everyone has dreamt at some point. While some of us no longer dream – whether because of social, political or economic circumstances, or some other personal experience – we have all at some point been proprietor of a dream or several dreams.
Dreaming is easy; for the most part it’s a very subconscious activity. Our dreams often happen upon us, without our input. But the attainment of these dreams, the ones we have while wide awake, is the part that separates the dreamers from the doers. Having the wherewithal to stick with a dream and do the work necessary to see it become real is not for the faint of heart. It often times has to be done despite the negative utterances of people who, with the best of intentions and who often mean us well, tend to do more harm than good. Beyond the negativity of others, many other challenges abound. Still, there are ways and means of safeguarding our dreams and bringing them to fruition.
Recognize your dream(s) as a gift from the divine (whoever or whatever you consider that force to be). Allow that conviction to grant you the courage necessary to do whatever it takes to see the dream through. Often times we fail to move toward our dreams because we wonder, worry and doubt. We think they are too big for us; too much for us to handle. But if we trust that they are gifts from the divine then we can embrace the reality that they are as much a responsibility as they are for our own benefit. We owe it to ourselves and to the rest of the world to achieve the dreams we dream.
Know that help is available. The universe conspires to grant us the deepest and most authentic desires of our hearts when we move toward them purposefully and with faith. The tools we need to achieve these dreams become available to us once we start doing, and making strides toward them. We have to start though. The dream is ours. The universe will match our efforts but it will not take the first step.
Realize that you cannot do it alone. There are mentors and experts in just about every field imaginable. A part of our assignment may be to find these people and align ourselves with them but it is always well worth the effort. None of us, on our own, knows everything we need to know when moving toward a dream. This is why it is so important to seek out those who know and learn all we can from them. Pride has no place here, as we sometimes have to surrender self to ask for the help we need.
Understand that realizing your dream will be a solitary experience. Most people will not embrace or understand your dream, and truth be told they do not have to. While there will be help to navigate your way to the dream, that dream is yours and yours alone. Don’t expect anyone else to see it quite the way you do or experience the same zeal you do every time you mention it. Even our closest family and friends, the dearest of loved ones, will sometimes grow weary or confused, their eyes glazing over, as we seek to explain again the thing that is so clear to us that it already feels real. Hold on to that passion and zeal that you feel but do not seek to force it onto others. It is the thing that will keep you going long after resources seem to run out and everyone throws their hands up in despair at the graveside of this dream they’re convinced is now dead.
Accept that dreams may change over time as we do. Sometimes in the pursuit of dreams that take years to achieve we may find that our feelings about these dreams change. This may not be a bad thing. We all change as we live and learn. Experiences shape the people we become and sometimes that new person is very different from the person we were before. Where this happens, it is likely that our dreams may change too. As we change, the things we want change and a part of adapting is embracing the new dreams while letting go of the old ones, gracefully and without struggle.
Celebrate wholeheartedly upon the realization of a dream. Making dreams come true is hard, often-times gut-wrenching and soul-stirring work. It is the kind of thing worth celebrating when done right. Many of us have multiple dreams and so achieving them may feel like a race to check items off a to-do list. Still, we must be mindful of our victories and pause to celebrate them every chance we get. Life is as hard as it is short, so as we seek to make it up the mountain we must pause to enjoy the views at each level on our way to the top.
Help others on the course to realize their own dreams. It seems simple enough, since many of us have had to stand on the shoulders of others to see our dreams realized. Yet, it is easy to forget the humbling and treacherous beginnings; the difficulties faced and the overwhelming unknown. And so it is that I implore you to be a mentor to someone on a journey that you have already walked and mastered. Not because you are desirous of commendations or accolades, but because you can remember a time when you did not know (or have) the things you needed to know (or have) and had to rely on the kindness of a stranger. Giving is after all said to be the highest expression of love.
When all is said and done, dreams fuel and shape us. They define us. Tell me your dreams and I will most certainly discover who you are. Yet so many of us allow this part of us – the essence of us – to wither away and die a slow and painful death, while we convince ourselves that the dreams we dream are simply not possible. In closing, I wish for you the endless, unrelenting childlike wonder that many of us were born with but somehow left behind. I pray that energy consumes and torments you out of your dreamless drudgery and forces you into a wondrous existence where you no longer sleep to dream but dream passionately without sleeping. The part of you that does not understand no, reason, logic, or impossibilities is waiting to be embraced. Why are you so afraid?