The phenomenon of having control over your dreams.
As I was driving home one day last week I caught a glimpse of my reflection in the rear-view mirror. I was smiling enthusiastically; the kind of smile that’s effortless, the one that simply shows up as a result of joy and excitement bursting through. I was amused by this because it’s not my norm- and certainly not while driving (a whole other type of dragon seems to do all my driving). I took a look at what was going on behind that smile. I was feeling energetic, inspired, creative, and empowered. I realized that this was in reaction to my goals for the year – for my new dreams.
I think of how invigorating having this feeling towards a goal feels; to be working towards something that feels attainable. Goals where my determination and efforts have an impact on the results. I love making lists of how to achieve my goals and knowing 1. that I can do the steps and 2. that doing them will most likely get me closer to my goal. It feels so rewarding to make progress. It feels powerful to be able to see these goals as possibilities.
I think back to dealing with infertility. I say back, because although now I’m dealing with being childless, I am no longer in the midst of fighting to overcome infertility. My goal, my ONLY goal, for years was to become a mother. I put all my time, effort, determination, and resources into making that dream come true, to no avail. Back then I would snort in derision every time I heard quotes about how “anything is possible if you try hard enough” and reject any ideas about how we have control over getting what we want out of life.
I can appreciate now that all of those ideas weren’t bullshit, they just didn’t apply to my situation, and in my defeated state I had generalized my situation to all of life. My experience had been that no matter how hard you try or what you give, you can’t get what you want. We learn from our experiences; a neglected baby who learns that their cries do not get their needs met will stop crying. They learn that their efforts are futile. In my case, I had become disempowered from years of chasing a hopeless dream. I had no control over it, and I applied that lesson to everything else. I couldn’t even imagine other things working out, I didn’t think my efforts would pay off anywhere, and this made me afraid to dream again.
Now that I’m dreaming again and going after new goals I’m amazed at how much possibility exists and how much influence my actions can have. The positive feedback I get from even minor successes makes me want to dream more. It gives me the drive to go after more goals; even goals that before seemed impossible and hopeless. My new experiences have certainly taught me that I’m a significant player in this game of my life…
…but not god. There are still setbacks to achieving dreams, not all actions are successful, and there is still a lot out of our control. That’s where grit comes in. And if there’s anything I got out of staying determined and unwavering with a goal despite years of failure, it’s grit. The tenacity that comes from countless efforts to become a famous omelet chef with rotten eggs. I’m grateful I have this strength because it helps me face life and my new dreams in a ferocious way. Now when I put my efforts toward a goal I have the strength and grit I need to push onward despite obstacles…and I can see it paying off with my newer, more achievable, dreams.
Dreaming while empowered…who knows where this will lead.. oh wait, maybe I do 😉