Have you ever taken time to deeply consider the following question: “What do I desire to experience in my life?” Most of us haven’t allowed ourselves this exploration. Oh, we have a vague sense of what we in life, but few can describe their vision clearly, let alone step into it.
We get an inspiration such as, “I’d love to have a job that’s fun. Maybe I could use my football skills.” Then unharnessed thoughts quickly attack, “Don’t be ridiculous: work isn’t meant to be fun. Just concentrate on putting food on the table. You’d never be able to figure this out anyway.” Rather than watering the dream seed and tending it with care, we permit unruly thoughts to trample it and the inspired idea never germinates.
This need not happen. Fearful thoughts don’t have to run wild, crippling your insights and intuitions. They can be reigned in and replaced with kinder, more hopeful thoughts that support your yearning for fulfillment. No doubt you are seeing that the more responsibility you take for your thoughts and the more positive ones you consciously choose, the more time and energy you have to contemplate unique possibilities for your life journey.
Why not find one dream seed that you have tossed aside and nurture it this week? It can be anything—the desire for a loving relationship, financial progress, better health and fitness, an exciting career or some secret, personal accomplishment. Clarity is the first magical ingredient to help you incubate your dreams and move them toward reality. As Benjamin Elijah Mays said, “The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach. It isn’t a calamity to die with dreams unfulfilled, but it is a calamity not to dream…It is not a disgrace not to reach the stars, but it is a disgrace to have no stars to reach for.” Perhaps it’s time to determine what you are aiming for in life!
If you aren’t sure where you are headed or what your heart yearns for, how will you identify opportunities that appear? When you catch yourself (or someone else) complaining, “I just don’t know what I want to do,” say instead, “I can ask the questions I have in my heart. I can listen for whispers of guidance from God. With some soul searching and thought, my answers will emerge.”
Here are some suggestions to help you get clear about what fulfilling experiences you’d like to welcome into your life.
1.Start where you are. It’s great to know what you don’t like. Begin with that. Write it all down. List everything you know you don’t want to experience. Then, take each thing you prefer to bypass and turn it around. For example, I knew I didn’t want to sit in an office for eight hours each day. I transformed that understanding into this statement: I want a flexible job that I can do from any location. When I realized I didn’t want to spend my working hours on issues I didn’t care about, I saw that I wanted my work to tie into my passion. For me, that meant helping people find themselves and move into lives of true happiness.
2.Rediscover what brings you joy. Think back to who you were at ages five, ten and fifteen. What subjects sparked your curiosity? What activities couldn’t you get enough of? What made your heart beat faster? What dominated your thinking? If you can’t remember, ask your parents or others who knew you at those points in your life. You will find clues to remembering your personal passions and aptitudes.
3.Take time to DREAM again. Leave all the boundaries and fears behind. Answer the question, “If I could do ANYTHING, absolutely ANYTHING I wanted to do with this area of my life, what would it be?” Then pour your answer out on paper. Be creative. Activate your imagination. Engage all your senses: use bright colors. Make a sketch of your vision. Try to see, hear, taste, smell and touch your dream. Let your body experience the emotions that would come from living it.
4. Start a dream board or box. Watch what you are drawn to as you look through magazines and newspapers. What particular words, pictures or symbols generate enthusiasm in you? Look for clues that give you a sense of what you want your life to look like. Cut out these images and words. Then glue them onto cardboard or put them in a “dream box.” Let your dream board or box become an evolving representation of your heart-felt desires. Never mind your doubts and fears. Just open your heart and mind and have fun.
5. Ask God for direction. Then expect answers to emerge as you walk through your daily life. When we hold a question in our heart, we are bound to find the answer. Open your eyes and ears. You never know when just the right someone or something will show up to give you the key idea, item or opportunity you need to take the next step toward your personal goal. Your assignment this week is to choose one dream and cultivate it. Begin to clarify the vision in as much detail as possible. Use the ideas I’ve offered you and find some of your own. Be playful as you do. Don’t think yet about “how” the dream might come about. Set this week aside solely to plant and water it.