Can dreams be more than misty apparitions belonging only to our inner world?
It took me a long time to realize that many of the things filling my day dreams were achievable and therefore possible. This truth both startled and exhilarated me. Dreaming was no longer a waste of time but a valuable investment of my mental energy.
The thing often misunderstood about dreams is that they don’t have to come true all at once. Many dreams can be realized in bite-sized pieces. That’s not only okay…it could be a delicious way to live. I was recently challenged in an article I read to savor a small piece of chocolate by eating it tiny bite by tiny bite over an hour. I have to tell you – each nibble was delicious and I enjoyed every tiny burst of chocolate more than when I popped the whole thing in my mouth. When I was finished, I’d had enough chocolate to last – I didn’t want another piece. Dreaming in small pieces can be just as satisfying.
We often put off the dream because we aren’t set up for it. We’re waiting for the right computer, a specific tool, an art studio, a class, cookware, a computerized sewing machine, or whatever. Sometimes these tools are necessary for the full-fledged dream to become our reality but, I believe there are steps we can take before we get there to make it far more pleasant in the now and easier in the future. The tools you need to get started are affordable and available. I’m going to encourage you to take action today in small ways to make your dreams become your possibilities and eventually, your realities.
First, buy a note book you will be willing to carry around with you everywhere you go.
Your notebook is literally your dream catcher.
If you’re an artist, you will want lots of blank space to sketch or doodle. If you’re a writer, you’ll want lines…or not. Decide right away what you want to spend. Prices can vary from the 49 cent spiral notebook at any superstore to fifty dollars and above. Maybe you want a certain kind of paper to write on or there’s a cover that catches your eye. Buy it and write in it. Go ahead and be picky but don’t let this picking time become another excuse for not dreaming on the pages. Don’t stay in the notebook finding process. Be brave. Catch the dream. Don’t let it linger on the misty edges of your mind.
Pick something to write or draw with. Prices vary as much or more here. If we’re shopping in a large mall, you’ll find me lingering in pen stores. The most expensive pen I own cost me fifty dollars. It’s a Sensa and well worth the investment. I have friends who wouldn’t be without their Bics. Pick what works for you and use it.
In this notebook every single time you’re inspired or see something that involves your dream…write it down. Scratch a drawing of it on the page. Cut out that recipe and paste it in there. Write down that comment. Record that contact. Tape in that photograph. Save the ideas and inspiration. Whey you see a book on the topic, write down the title, author, and publisher. If you can’t afford to purchase the book, go to the library. Fill your notebook up and get another one. Never leave home with out it.
When I see the information in my notebook, many excuses are eliminated as the notes come together in the form of a plan, a goal, or a solution.
Now…go places that inspire you.
Guys who love cars and want to race them get their dreams re-charged around loud engines, in car parts stores, or junk yards. People who love to cook, enjoy going to restaurants and trying something new. They find themselves jazzed by presentations and exotic flavors. Someone who wants to be a police officer will be energized by being part of the occasional ride-along in the back seat of a squad car. Artists enjoy galleries but can also see the world as a gallery on display for their intake and expression. Writers find excitement in a word used a new way or a story that catches the edge of their imagination and won’t let go.
You get the idea. When it’s possible go where people are doing what you think you want to do. At the very least, go where people are. If you have your notebook along, you can catch the impressions, facts, or sensory responses right away without losing something vital along the way.
Places that inspire me vary. I’m not kidding you, a flower growing out of the crack in a sidewalk is enough to capture my attention and get my thoughts spinning. If I have my notebook and pen ready, I can release the images and swirl of words to the page and move on to the next thing. You can apply this to any dream you might like to live.
Next…go place you don’t expect to be inspired.
Okay, the grocery store doesn’t do it for me. But, the little girl in the cart ahead me might say something delightful and worth saving as material for a new writing project. Or I might be cleaning the bathroom and listening to something on the radio (come on – we all need a little distraction when cleaning this room!) and a song or comment will provoke an idea or thought. I don’t enjoy going to the dentist or the doctor but if I’m aware of the people, things, and events going on around me, I usually get something for my notebook. Yes, many times I’m eavesdropping but it’s part of a writer’s job to be listening and aware of potential material everywhere.
I also write down questions I have and leave room for the answers. Once I’m aware of the things I need to know, I’m also conscious of the answers when they come.
My notebook is also a place I purge myself of unreasonable fears. Failure is most often fear-driven. When I write down what scares me about a dream that is fast becoming a project, confidence often replaces anxiety as I put the fear in the only tangible form I have at the time: words.
If I carry a small purse, which is the exception and not the rule (because I’m usually carrying a book or two as well as my notebook and ipod) I carry index cards. Whatever you choose…carry something to write on or draw on.
There’s nothing magical or mystical about this notebook. It doesn’t guarantee everything you dream about will be yours. In fact, you may find as you write about a dream you will discover it’s not what you thought it was and no longer something you want to do. So, you can discard it and move to the next one. If you see a dream you really wanted dying, you can grieve it on these pages and you can leave it there. The pages won’t condemn or judge your journey – ever.
I advocate the notebook because when I’m aware of my dream and what’s going on around me, I find all kinds of gems that lead me closer to seeing the dream become a possibility and then my reality. I find myself pursuing the dream intentionally and with intensity but without need to be aggressive. The fact that I’ve moved ahead (maybe only by a few words) eases the concern that I’m not getting anything done. I know I am. The notebook is my physical proof.
It’s in writing the dream down that moves it from the whispery place dreams are born into the realm of my possibilities. As I let the dream prosper on those notebook pages, I move ahead consistently one word or line at a time. Some days I accomplish pages of dream catching before I can stop. Other days I go back and read the entries. On those days I might modify the dream and continue to clarify it as it simmers in my heart and mind before it spills out on the page via my fingers on the keyboard.
Your dreams can be more than wishes made on stars. With the intentional use of these tools, they can move from the realm of the potential and be lived.
So, what are you waiting for?
Joy DeKok is an author and speaker. One of her life's passions is encouraging people to see and live their potential. Joy is not a coach but might be considered a “life cheerleader. " Because she's living out her dreams, she knows others can too. This is one of the driving factors in her writing and speaking.