“‘My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,’ the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky. ‘Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams…’” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Feed yourself wisdom, love and adventure
I have always admired people who follow their dreams. They are brave. They are true to themselves. They believe in the unknown. They see every encounter as an opportunity to grow and learn. They love with their whole heart, even if it means encountering heart break.
It’s been one year since I left my amazing self-created dream job, with benefits and people, to begin really living my dream. It’s not easy at first. It’s actually really difficult, sometimes lonely, but you have to continue to fight for your dreams because it is part of your being.
The truth is your dreams won’t ever go away. They’ll always be nagging at you to slow down and listen. They won’t be easy to “win”, but if you trust in your dreams they will find a way of working in your life. Just don’t have any expectations at first, because they will unfold in ways you never dreamed of.
I realized it was worth the risk to discover my dreams because no matter what happened I would learn a lot and have fun while doing it. I’d always regret not giving it a chance. Why wouldn’t I believe in the possibilities of where my dreams can take me? That is the adventure that will feed me wisdom and love along the way, no matter where I go or end up.
Seeing your dreams as a practical life mission
I find it interesting we are told to do the practical thing and leave our dreams for retirement. I ask what if we didn’t automatically respond to being practical with our dreams? Do we really have to wait until retirement?
I grew up in a family who did “practical” things. My mom was a little on the wild side every now and then, but my dad always found a way to reel her practical side back in. I get it. We need to be practical, but we shouldn’t always let that run our life. Practical things can’t protect us. They might pay the bills for now, but surely life has to be more than just paying the bills. What about responding to the practicality of our creativity, our heart, our soul: our dreams?
Holocaust survivor, Victor Frankl once said, “Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life… Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it.”
Our mission is our dreams. Our dreams deserve and require our honest attention. Our dreams are part of our life for a reason. Maybe if we spent a little more time listening to them we’d be a little happier, a little wiser, a little more humble. That doesn’t mean our dreams always work out, but it means you took a chance to follow your heart. Sometimes it’s not the right time, or maybe this is just the beginning. If you believe in your dreams they will believe in you. They want you to search for them, because it is in searching for our dreams that our biggest life lessons come.
I remember my first semester of college. I liked being part of an academic community, but I wanted more. I knew this right away. I joined the Model UN team, an African awareness club, and I was also on the cross-country team and studying public policy. I wasn’t feeling fulfilled the way I knew I could be. The second semester I withdrew from the college and began a 7 year journey that has lead me here today.
I have realized I am a person that will always follow her heart despite how practical it is. It doesn’t mean I won’t find a way to support myself with a roof over my head and food in my stomach, but I know I will find ways to support myself no matter where I end up. I’m not worried about that, I’m worried about not giving my dreams a chance.
Embracing failure, discovering the lessons it has to offer
Often we run from our dreams because we’re scared of failure. I see success and failure as the same thing. They both teach us things we need to be taught. It’s like anger and joy. I’ve had a lot of both emotions in my life and I can’t say one is more important than the other. Obliviously joy is more pleasant, but that’s not to say that we don’t need anger to truly appreciate joy. We need failure in our life. We need to understand what our minds and hearts and capable of.
Our dreams teach us about the possabilities of life. After I left my job I left I went into graduate school a few months later. What happened next? I left the second semester. I once again fell into the trap of doing the “practical” thing. I’ve had offers to get my Ph.D., to work at one of the most prestigious universities in the U.S. and let I felt if I took the offers I would be betraying my heart and that was my biggest disappointment.
This year has been not only about fighting for my dreams, but discovering who I really underneath the layers everyone else has assumed I must be simply because I’m good at it. Reality check: just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you have to do it! You always have a choice. Always. It took me a long time to understand this. I thought because I could do lots of different things, that I needed to do them all because those were for gifts I had to offer the world. Now that I know myself better, my limitations, my gifts and what makes me happy, I make whole hearted decisions on what I want to spend my life doing and being.
I realize I’d rather face the reality of my dreams not working out the way I expected, then not take the chance to discover them now. This past year I’ve learned more than I can imagine and I’ve failed a lot, but it taught me to be patient and humble. I’ve read over 500 books. I’ve meet some wonderful, amazing people. I finally committed myself to writing a blog that focused on empowerment and my authentic voice. I re-connected with my hometown and state, my family, my old, but dear friends. I made a daily commitment to my yoga practice. I have taken time to explore, to ask questions, and maybe most importantly: be okay with just being with myself. Learning to love who I am without constantly doing something or being someone.
Dreams do unfold, eventually: be patient, continue to grow
One year later I feel wiser, more confident and closer to my dreams. It is this time last year I completed my trauma yoga teacher training in Costa Rica and it changed my life. It set me on a path of self discovery, one of the greatest gifts I have given myself. In one month I will be leaving for Central America again, starting in Guatemala, beginning with a little traveling in the country before I begin an month long intensive yoga teacher training program on a conscious scholarship with the SchoolYoga Institute. I am beyond excited for what is about to unfold and emerge.
I am slowly beginning to re-discover myself through yoga and I see it as something I want to continue to learn about, while offering it to myself and others in under resourced communities. Yoga is the first thing that has come into my life that just makes sense and my heart is completely in it.
This year I choose my heart. I choose to nourish it and feed it with inspiration and positive energy. I choose to continue following my dreams without expectations and allow every person who I encounter to lead me to more wisdom, understanding and love. I will listen to what my dreams are telling me, embrace the failures, and I will learn to love myself every step of the way. I choose to allow my dreams to push to discover more wisdom and love.
Maybe it’s our dreams that are the biggest adventure of our lifetime.