“I’m going to be an astronaut.” “I’m going to be a movie star.” “I’m going to be the President.” “I’m going to own a chocolate factory!”
What were your childhood dreams?
We still have the ability to dream big, no matter how old or young, no matter where we live, and no matter what our family believed and taught us to believe. However, most of us need to clear the cobwebs off our imagination. And that’s just what we’re going to do.
Why is dreaming so important anyway? Dreams play a significant role in determining the grandeur or constrictiveness of life. You’ve heard of the “glass ceiling.” Dreams are the glass ceiling we create for our own life. We can create a ceiling just above our head or somewhere out at the edge of the Milky Way!
When that glass ceiling is very low, it often is because we’ve allowed our dreams to be created for us, either by others or by our unconscious mind. Who do you know who chose a career because their parents “suggested” it? Who do you know that stays at a job they hate because it pays the bills?
Think about your own life. How much room do you have until you hit your glass ceiling? What parts of your life could use some dream expansion?
Your imagination needs to be used regularly or it will atrophy. In the same way that you keep your heart and lungs healthy by walking, or your biceps strong by lifting weights, you need to exercise your dream muscle to keep it in good shape. But before you can really begin working out your dream muscle, you need to know what gets in the way.
All of us carry limiting beliefs. Some we may be aware of. Others may lie hidden beneath the radar of our awareness. Read through the following list of beliefs slowly. Ask yourself if any of them seem familiar. Notice how you feel when you read each one. If your body reacts with anxiety or fear – fast heart-rate, shallow breathing, tightness in the chest or solar plexus, etc. – you may have discovered a limiting belief that has been hidden within you.
I don’t have enough money.
I don’t have enough education.
I don’t have the credentials.
I’m not smart enough.
It will never pay the bills.
It’s never been done before so it probably can’t be done.
It’s greedy, or selfish.
It’s not spiritual enough.
It’s too risky.
People will think I’m crazy.
I don’t have any extra time.
Some people might be hurt if I do it.
I might mess it up, or do it wrong.
This is just a small sampling of the limiting beliefs available for our use. There are hundreds of them, and thousands of variations. Whatever they sound like, whatever form they take, whatever specific words they use, limiting beliefs have but one purpose and that is to keep you small, to prevent you from dreaming big.
We’ll look more at limiting beliefs in future issues but for at least the next few minutes – and hopefully longer than that! – I’m going to encourage you to let go of those beliefs and allow yourself to imagine the biggest dream you possibly can. Let go of all the “yeah buts.” Let yourself drift back to that uninhibited dreaming space you had as a child. We’re not concerned about whether or not these dreams ever come true. Right now we just want to rekindle the dreaming ability.
Take a moment now and enter your dream-world to imagine your life in 5-years? Let go of the rationalizations. Remember, you’re dreaming, tapping into your imagination, creating a vision of your ideal life. So if you want to dream yourself into a vacation home in Hawaii, don’t worry about how much it will cost or where the money will come from. If you want to dream yourself into a new career, don’t worry about your lack of education, or your age, or an economic downturn. If you want to dream yourself into the perfect relationship, don’t worry that you are currently single. You are imagining, dreaming, visioning. Let go of constraints, fears doubts. Let go of limiting beliefs. Have fun. Play!
If you’re stuck, some questions to ask about your life five years from now are: Where am I living? What is my vocation? Am I married? Do I have children? What kind of car do I drive? What is my health like? What do I do for fun? Where do I travel?
If you have trouble letting go of the doubts try feeling your dream. In five-years, how do you feel when you wake up in the morning? How do you feel when you are working, playing, traveling. As you feel into your life, you may begin to get glimpses of what this ideal life looks like. If so, let yourself drift deeper into those glimpses. Let yourself explore the scenes that are lit up in your imagination.
Another trick you can try is to imagine someone else’s ideal life. You can dream an ideal life for your spouse, or child, or a good friend. You can also try creating the ideal life for a fictional person. Become the author of this character’s life. Make it a really juicy life! What would their dream life look like 5- years from now? It’s likely that parts of the life you create for them are what you would like to have in your own.
Still having trouble dreaming? Here are some other ideas: Make a dream life collage. Ask a good friend to brainstorm your ideal life with you.
Take some time to write down your five-year dream. Keep the description out and visible so you can add to it, change it, allow it to grow and morph as you settle more fully into your ability to dream big. But keep your dream to yourself, at least in the beginning.
As you start to dream again, your dreams and your ability to dream are fragile. They need to be nurtured and protected. There are very few people that know how to treat dreams. So if you must share them, make sure you do so with someone that you trust will treat your dreams and you with tenderness and love.
Next time we’ll look at what you can do once you have some big dreams. Until then, dream on!