ambition, arts, career, children, Dreams, Education, God, Happiness, honesty, how to listen to yourself, inspiration, letting go, listening to yourself, opinion, pursuing your dreams, self, self-motivation
This is part two of a three-part series ‘Living Your Dreams’. If you haven’t read it already you can find part one “What the Heart Wants” here.
In part one I talked about the series of events that caused me to embark on the path of craziness that I am on now. Why call it craziness? Whether it’s because you have to be crazy to do it or walking the path itself makes you crazy, I can’t recall. Maybe it’s both. However after comparing it to my current work life which I’m slowly working on fazing into the background right now, it must be craziness. It makes my daily work routine seem so calm and albeit still monotonous and brain draining, NOT difficult at all but the point is, I’m here. Embracing the madness and learning how to work it in my favour. It takes some time to learn how to do that and I’m still learning but it first comes from listening to yourself and this takes practice so this part two will be a bit lengthy.
Now ‘yourself’ has a lot to say, and it’s mainly about you and how you feel about the things in your life. It can help you find the answer as to what your heart really wants. However, we’ve gotten so used to listening to other people and just blindly following systems that most times our inner selves becomes this tiny voice, muffled deep in our consciousness. The good thing is that if you ask it a question and really listen to what it has to say, you will get an honest answer. Whether you act on it, is a different story.
But right now let’s learn about how to listen to ourselves and most importantly learn how to trust that voice. So, find a quiet place. For people with young children or extremely busy schedules I know it can be a hard thing to do but this is something that you need to do for yourself. Take off your phone for a minute, sneak into a corner when the baby’s asleep, when you get home late at night forget all the things you have to do for a second just this once, get a notepad and pen in case you feel the need to jot anything down and just sit still in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and breathe deep.
Now, imagine you’re on a beach somewhere, at night. You can hear the waves crashing on the shore, you can feel the cool night air around you, the sky is clear above and filled with stars and just immerse yourself in this fantasy and just let your whole body, breath and mind relax. For a moment tell yourself, I don’t have to worry about ANYTHING right now. In these few moments it’s just you and yourself. Plenty of time to start back worrying after this session if you want to but for now just let all the fluff go and most importantly, try not to fall asleep.
And sure enough, behind all that fluff yourself will be waiting for you. I like to imagine myself walking up that cool night beach sand and sitting quietly next to… well, me. Now if that’s too schizo for you !! :) there’s no need to see it that way but when you feel that almost scary, spiralling calmness where it feels like you’re the only person in the world at that moment, that is when you know you’ve cleared your mind enough to hear your inner consciousness. Now at the time when I did this, I was 20 and actually still pursuing that Associates. I had done some research and found that many people can find their true calling in the things that they loved to do as children. So that was my first question to myself. What did you love to do when you were a child?
Slowly my mind started to flood with memories of sitting on the ground by my mother’s sewing machine, taking her scraps to make my dolly’s clothes, of singing karaoke with my sisters and making up dances in the drawing room, of winning every poetry or writing competition in school, of loving to read book after book then reading them over out loud and making up different voices for the characters while I did. I loved to play with paper and any craft item and to organize things and put them in their own special place. Albeit an OCD tendency, I found and still do find great pleasure in doing this.
You see the mind of a child is different. Adults are burdened with responsibility and expectations so they do what they do because they think that they have to do it and the need to survive and make something of yourself in the world grows heavier with each new year added onto our lives. Children don’t think like that. They don’t have to. Their minds are still open to the world as a new and exciting place, they don’t care to live up to any expectations because nobody expects anything of them but to be themselves. So, in short, they do what makes them happy. The task for us as adults then, because at the end of the day unlike children we do have to take care of ourselves and have others who are dependent on us as well, is to see how we can take these childhood loves and turn them into a sustainable career.
At first I was excited about working on translating these beloved childhood pastimes into bountiful adult careers! And then… life got in the way, as it always does. Any plan I had would take time and I still had to work to take care of myself. Spending eight to nine hours on a job and at least three total in traffic getting there and back and then four to five more hours studying at school everyday doesn’t leave many daylight hours left or energy for that matter to do anything else. I found myself focusing more again on what someone else needed me to do than what I needed myself to do. Every plan seemed impossible and way too much to handle with all my other responsibilities. I found myself in a worse place where I knew what my heart wanted but I had no time to work towards making it happen.
I wasn’t getting anywhere. Not even with the things I had committed to. School was failing because I didn’t want to be there. I had chosen a job in an industry I had never been apart of before which was good, I had learned a lot but I was slowly getting sucked into the box of monotony because the company was done teaching me, now they just wanted me to do my job. And to top it off I had demands for my time at home to deal with.
So, I sat myself back down and talked to myself again. ‘We’ had to work this out because ‘we’ were going crazy. Please know that you won’t always hear the complete answer right away so you need to keep asking yourself questions. Really listening to the answers that come to you honestly and not brushing it off because you don’t want it to be true. Yourself will always tell you the truth whether you want to hear it our not! About you AND about the people in your life. You may not want to accept it but remember our inner man/woman reflects our deepest emotions and desires, things we feel without even knowing that we feel it because we hide it so well by fooling ourselves into believing otherwise.
At this point my mind got into a numbing tiredness. You know that exhausting feeling where you either shut your brain off or lose it? I found myself thinking, what if I just dropped everything? Stopped pursuing and doing and dreaming and wanting and hoping? What if I just gave up and slept forever? Back then I did love to sleep! Would sleep all day if you gave me the chance.
Well, what if I did? Yes, this was an actual question to myself.
My vivid imagination immediately placed myself in a hospital bed, paralyzed and unable to do anything that I wanted or didn’t want to do. With no option but to just lay still and watch the world pass by.
This wasn’t what I meant, self! But as usual, my consciousness was helping me sort out the fluff. Which is when the real question came, not from me but from some outer source seeing into me. The question that changed my perspective and unexpectedly cleared my mind in a way I didn’t think it would, with an answer that whenever I get confused I still go back to today.
In that imaginary moment, laying there on that bed, I heard the question, ‘If you were in this position, if you actually were here and God came down in a vision and said, “I’ll give you back your movement and enough time on this earth to accomplish one thing, ONLY one, and I promise you’ll succeed, but you can only choose ONE thing,” what would it be?’
Just one?! My mind started to race and I immediately started to whine, ‘but I love all my dreams!’ But my inner self knew what it was, and as I was getting better at this ‘listening’ thing, I stopped complaining when it told me to ‘shut up and listen!’ Well, what do you think it was? I’ve mentioned it several times in all my posts, the very fact that I have ‘posts’ is testament to it’s importance in my life, but for now let’s talk about you again.
So, in the end what do I suggest you do with this ‘waiting and listening’ time? First find that one thing that you want more than the others. Yes, I know I wanted to have it all and nothing’s to say that you can’t have it all but this is about being truthful to yourself. What is the thing that you want to accomplish more than anything FOR YOURSELF that if you could only do one thing in life you would choose that thing above all the others?
The one thing that feels like breath to you and you would do this thing without pay, motivation, praise, recognition or care from anyone else of it’s existence. The one thing that though it would break your heart to give up all you wanted to accomplish but once you succeeded in this ONE thing it would make up for everything else?
After I found that one thing this is what I did. I laid out everything I was pursuing in my life and I measured it accordingly.
If what I was pursuing would advance me towards succeeding at this one thing in the end, I went after it.
If it advanced me to one of my other dreams and didn’t interrupt my main dream, I kept it in my life.
But the moment something kept me away from my main dream or hindered it, I let it go.
And it was hard to let go of some of those things as I said in part one. School had to bite the dust because I spent all my time studying or doing projects in my free time for a degree I wasn’t going to pursue outside of school and frankly didn’t really care about anymore. Pursuing it never gave me the time to pursue what my heart wanted, and trying to do both wasn’t working AT ALL so as hard as it was I let it go and that comes from being honest with yourself.
Now of course I’m talking about letting go of things here not people. Sure there are some relationships that do more harm than good, those you should let go of but any dream that pushes your loved ones out of the picture in your life isn’t worth it either.
Looking at things from that perspective, as conflicted and confused as it felt sometimes, always helped to clarify things for me. By pinpointing that one thing that was non-negotiable, that I would give up all the other dreams to accomplish if, I repeat IF!!!!! ( God forbid :'( ) I had to, helped me realise what was important, what could wait and what was expendable?
It was hard and it still is but in the long run it actually left me feeling a lot more peaceful with what I accomplished because I knew that it was moving me closer to what I really wanted and not away from it. After this, slowly begin to explore the other things that make you happy as you find them through listening to yourself and remember to keep everything that you do as a step closer to that one major accomplishment that you value above all.
So in the final part of this series, I’ll be talking about courage, to let go and to stick to it. It is never easier when your heart isn’t into it so don’t settle, go for what your heart wants.
You can find part three ‘The Courage To Follow Through’ here.
– Written by Travesaou
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