It’s a cliché, I know. But unlike the old clichés, like ‘all the good men are taken‘, or ‘all women love shopping‘, this one is true.
Your dreams should probably scare the heck out of you. If they don’t, they’re probably not big enough.
I’ll admit that my dreams didn’t scare me when I was growing up. And that is precisely because they weren’t big enough. I wanted a flashy car, a big house, a jet-setting career. A husband and a baby rounded the whole ‘you can have it all’ catch-cry of the 80s. The reason my dreams didn’t scare me is that deep down I didn’t really believe I could achieve them. They were so far removed from the life I knew; growing up in a small city, renting a house, church on Sundays. The camel and the rich man entering heaven and all that… It just wasn’t what a good girl wanted and the conflict in me for wanting it was the only thing that scared me. I didn’t know anyone with a jet-setting career, except on the television. The only people I knew who had a flash car and a big house were the incredibly judgemental people at church that my parents didn’t respect.
In the 80’s, we watched Michael J Fox movies and we all said ‘Millionaire by Thirty’ (note to self, that could be a good name for a book…) and we all said ‘flashy car, big house’ but it certainly didn’t frighten me the way opting to work part-time last year so I could write my book did. Maybe it’s an age thing? I’m 46 now, and still have so many things on my bucket list, I can’t die; I’m just too busy!
“Midlife is when you reach the top of the ladder and find that it was against the wrong wall.” Joseph Campbell
Scaring ourselves with our dreams usually takes the form of the question
‘What does it mean to me if I don’t achieve this goal?’
If our business fails, the ramifications are far worse in mid-life than they are in our mid-twenties. The dream of having a family is far more scary for women than it is for men, and comes with a very definite time frame. Writing a book or creating artwork is a dream for many, yet people put it off because it’s not the dream that’s scary, its the spectre of criticism. Embracing our dreams, fear and all… That’s where the power is! I follow Julia Cameron’s advice to write three pages long hand, each day and that helps me shake things up, shine a light on my fears and sort through the things I believe to be true and the beliefs that no longer serve me. Fear has evolved in us to keep us alive, but what it’s doing now is keeping us from living!
Do one thing that scares you every day, the quote that is often mis-attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt, was actually written by Mary Schmich. One major fear of creatives is that their work will be stolen or copied. Mary’s gorgeous essay was re-titled ‘Wear Sunscreen’ and wrongly attributed to Kurt Vonnegut. There’s a delicious/vicious irony in this. We’re being challenged to live, Do, Be, without the thought of what can be lost. Think of what can be gained….
The creative mantra I’m living by is ‘By doing all I can, with all I have, the inspiration to achieve my intention will flow’. I’m following the call, I’m doing all I can…