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This is no time for pretty pictures or polish.
Some SPELers have questions. And just in case there are others, I thought I'd respond in a post instead of individual emails.
As I mentioned, after Tuesday’s post Dreams & Impossible Things a lively discussion broke out among SPELers & is still buzzing behind the scenes.
Emails landed in my inbox with questions like:
• “Doesn’t longing for the future threaten present-day contentment?”
• “Isn’t chasing the ‘extraordinary’ at odds with elevating the ordinary—the
core premise behind SPEL?”
• “Doesn’t dreaming set you up for disappointment?”
• “How do I get over being afraid of people’s responses? People will say
‘who does she think she is?’ ”
• “Do you have to have big dream? I just want to be a grandparent.”
Such good questions about what’s become a bigger “hot button” topic than I imagined when I pushed publish.
Since I’ve wrestled with most of these questions myself, I’ll share my experiences. But as always, I’m an expert on one life only: Mine.
SPEL is less about thinking alike & more about making each other think.
First off, Tuesday’s post was purposely intended to be over-the-top (thus the emphasis on “impossible” things) to help us uncover & question our limiting beliefs & commit our dreams to writing. But, of course, no dream is too small (or less than or more than another’s), though I question the use of the phrase “just a grandparent.”
Every single thing we do is what we make of it. Seems to me God intended the relationship between grandparents & grandchildren to be a sacred & strategic one — a way to pass life experiences & wisdom down through the ages. But LOVE matters more than anything. My grandparents may not have been sages, yet their love carried me through my parents’ divorce. So, Grandparents, rock on! We need you.
To those who said they didn’t share their dream publicly for fear of how people would respond. I get it. Sometimes we court bigger dreams than others are comfortable with. Dream-building should be protected until it’s no longer fragile & fraught with the fear of what people may think.
“If I dream that, people may talk about me / laugh at me / judge me.” Or “That’s unheard-of
in my family / religion / company.” Or maybe ‘That would make me look grandiose / selfish / wrong.”
This isn’t easy. It’s likely that not every person in your life will respond with support when you announce your dreams. (Joseph & his coat of many colors come to mind.)
But there are people who will, & they are the ones to cherish. True friends fan each other’s flames.
"I want to be around people who do things. I don’t want to be around
people anymore who judge or talk about what people do.
I want to be around people who dream. And support."
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
Tough love-y but true.
(You may be wondering how I gathered these quotes so quickly. I didn’t. They were already gathered. To encourage myself, I “collect” quotes for when I need perspective shifts, which is often.)
How people respond doesn’t give your dream its meaning. Even sincere admonitions from the lips of well-meaning people reflect more of how they see themselves than how they see you.
Ultimately, the part you play in the world is determined by how YOU see yourself. As a wo(man) thinks so is s(he). Time to rise & see yourself like God does.
As far as disappointment goes, I get it. After what I thought was my life’s dream derailed, I shut down & lowered my expectations in an attempt to insulate myself against disappointment.
Quiet desperation seemed better than trying & failing to realize my heart’s desire again. It felt safer for a while. But eventually “the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” (Anaïs Nin)
The time will come for you too. Dare to blossom again, sweet friend. To give expression to the talent, spirit & vision within. It’s scary but if we don’t, our lives will be shaped by fear, rather than love, & that shape will be narrow & tiny compared with our best destiny. Life in a bud is constricting.
When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less & less important whether I am afraid.
Poet Audre Lorde
Pursue your dreams not because you're immune to heartbreak but because your real life, your whole life, is worth getting your heart broken.
And you may find, like me, that your new dream isn’t as far off from your old dream as you think. That’s why I used the word “essence” when describing dream building in Tuesday’s post.
When one dream dies it seems as though God finds a way of resurrecting it through another. For instance, your dream to become a vet to help animals may have come to naught, but you end up fostering neglected animals in your home or running a shelter instead.
For those who worried about not having a dream, sometimes it gets buried deep under the duties and cares (& tears) of life. You’ll find it again in the still-quiet place within you. A real dream has been planted there. Follow the trail of your heart's desire—your soul's nudging. Gentle heart clues that align with your gifts & passions. What lights you up & fills you with enthusiasm? There you'll find your dream.
And when you discover what you were made to do in the world, faithfully pursue it with integrity & with hope. It’s the adventure of a lifetime —a “hero’s journey” (Joseph Campbell), "your own personal legend" (Paulo Coelho).
As far as “longing for the future threatening present-day contentment” goes: Yes, “future-tripping” in fear creates angst. A driven, achievement-based approach to our dreams can make us feel that we’re falling behind on some race through time causing us to miss the blessing & good fortune of our current lives.
Thoughts like “I should be going faster, getting somewhere or have more to show by now” can make us panicky & lend a driven quality to moments where we would otherwise be present & happy.
Especially if you, like me, have taken what feels like the circuitous route to your dreams.
Let me assure you. Though dreams rarely unfold in a straight line & rarely on our timetable, you’re not behind. You’re right on time.
"Everything is in its right place, under grace, and whether or not
this makes perfect sense yet, one day it will. And the time swiftly
approaches when you'll be exceedingly grateful for all that has brought
you to this day and contributed to who you've become, because it is
exactly that person who is now poised to live as you have
always dreamed you would one day live."
What we seek for in the future must not keep us from the awareness of what we already have. That’s a fool’s game. Who says the present can’t be as good as the future?
"Happiness postponed until dreams are realized is happiness that never comes."
Here’s a “grounding” fill-in-the-blank statement (courtesy of Alexandra Franzen) I say when I find myself attaching to a specific outcome: "It would be really amazing if I _____________(insert desire). Fortunately, it’s not required for happiness."
This helps release any stressful or needy emotional energy. The more important something is to us, the more important it is to surrender (& the more difficult).
For me, disappointment is usually the product of poorly managed expectations. So, I guard my heart pro-actively when presented with any new possibility by affirming: I’m excited but not attached.
After all, if God has the wherewithal to inspire a desire in me, He has the wherewithal to deliver it. What’s for me can’t pass by me. When I no longer believe the thought that I NEED to achieve my dreams, the world becomes a kinder place.
Our destinies unfolding come through peace, not power & might. (Abraham’s Isaac comes to mind.) Think of using a key instead of a battering ram. The shift happens once we stop trying to conquer our dreams & simply inhabit them.
The end of longing is being & being is like already having.
Instead of being driven, we’re drawn.
Inspired action naturally follows. As does growth & change.
See from the end. Assume the feeling that would be yours had you already realized your dreams. How would you feel were your wish fulfilled? Feel it now. Feel as though you already are who & what you wish to be. In spite of circumstances & appearances, assume the feeling of its reality now.
So much so that when your dreams come true it'll be like Déjà vu – as though you’ve been here & done this all before.
For me, this adds insight to the scripture, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is the tree of life.”
When we capture, in the present, the feelings associated with our realized dreams – the substance of the things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen – then our desire fulfilled becomes the tree of life. Right here. Right now.
No more hope deferred. No more postponing satisfaction until we cross the finish line.
When we assume our desires already to be fact, it guarantees that our journey feels the way we want our destination to feel contributing to, rather than detracting from our everyday happiness.
As far as chasing the ‘extraordinary’ being at odds with elevating the ordinary: Yes, it can feel at times like a tug-of-war between two seemingly opposing principles (contentment in the present vs. dreaming of the future) & is one of the reasons I embrace the practice of savoring simple pleasures & everyday love.
And why I chose it as the subject of my blog.
"The further I awake into this life, the more I realize that God is everywhere & the extraordinary is waiting quietly beneath the skin of all that is ordinary."
This “happiness now” strategy safeguards against the present losing its value to the future. Keeping me content with the journey & anchoring me in the present moment, even while embracing my future.
Each SPEL Facebook update is a chance to stop & be grateful. A simple, routine practice for increasing the depth & fulfillment we get from everyday life.
A way to create our own LIFE BUZZ by noticing & relishing the good all around us.
Everyday life is just so underrated.
How we spend our days," author Annie Dillard wrote, "is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
(This is why that even though SPEL’s Facebook updates reach only 1% of our intimate little community—rumored to be nosediving to 0% soon, I’m undeterred.)
Our futures do not have to come at the expense of our present.
Since life was designed for us to never fully arrive, before we get where we’re going let’s truly be here.
There is no place else we need to be then where we are right now.
Hope this helped, SPELers. Consider revisiting Dreams & Impossible Things —maybe new things will come to light.
Note: If you’d like to guarantee you receive every FB update as a part of your happiness-enhancing strategy, go here, hover over the 'liked' button & click 'get notifications' from the drop-down menu.
Live Life Well
Hello & Welcome!
I'm Cindy & so very delighted
to make your online acquaintance.
Simple Pleasures Everyday Love (SPEL) is a unique community of smart, funny, deep-thinking people proactive about increasing the depth & fulfillment we get from life.
It's a renewable source of things we all just seem to love: life's little joys, charmed moments, and everyday epiphanies that strike a chord.
SPEL's also a happiness-enhancing strategy, a continual reminder to notice & relish ordinary, everyday experiences. (And luscious details matter.)
Join over 6,000 SPELers for highly-classified happiness secrets here. Because you deserve to love your life, truly, madly, deeply.
The Nuptial Journey
(Reflections on 30 years of marriage)
Laugh Lines are Sexy
How to Stop Saying Yes When You Mean No
The Dalai Palma
When Nature Pulls a Fast One
A Mulligan (Life's Second Chances)
The Kindness of a Stranger
Making Uncertainty an Ally
Lovin' the Town You're With
Being Part of Someone's First
THE STORY OF A
"An Amazing Life Story..."
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It's Happy in Here (TM) (Series) | How to Be Happy: 22 Tips to Everyday Bliss by Cindy O'Krepki
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