What does your dream look like?
I was watching TV when one of the characters asked the other, “What does your dream look like?” She had the same look on her face that I did. Blank.
If you’re like me, you’ve spent the majority of your time doing for others (customers or clients, co-workers, parents, children, spouse or partner…). You’ve sacrificed your time and energy taking care of everyone else, trying not to upset the apple cart, and keeping everything running smoothly so that you probably completely forgot you have your own wants and needs and somewhere, buried deep down inside, you have a vision, a dream, for your life.
The problem, for me, was that I had forgotten just about everything that makes me happy and trying to imagine my dream for my life was just a smidge overwhelming. It was definitely easier to try to maintain the status quo than it was to figure out what made me happy. Until it wasn’t.
I had forgotten just about
everything that makes me happy.
I had known for years that I wanted to take a break from the rat race, but I had no idea how that would be possible. And then the business that provided my main source of income failed and provided that sabbatical. COVID and a history of saving helped in a big way because I was able to take a chunk of my retirement savings to support me financially – I know not everyone can do that and I am grateful.
I took advantage of this opportunity and went on an internal expedition to figure out what I wanted to do next – and to do that successfully, I needed to figure out what lit me up. I also needed to figure out what being lit up felt like, what sensations existed for me when I was engaged, interested, and curious in a way that made me lose track of time.
During this expedition I went back to my coaching tools to figure out where my thoughts were blocking the way, I followed breadcrumbs to things that captured my interest (staying away from social media breadcrumbs because I wasn’t looking for that kind of time suck), and I tried to pay really close attention to the messages my body was sending me. I tracked what sensations were coming up, what thoughts were floating through my mind, and topics or activities that I was drawn to.
When I got stuck, I went back to my natal chart for ideas – both for ways to rest and play and for things that interest me and things I am good at.
At first, I needed a lot of rest (three-hour naps every day for weeks got a little worrisome) and then I needed less extra rest and more play (thank God for my always-ready-to-play critters). What was super interesting to me was that my mind was criticizing me whenever I took a break yet after, when I reengaged with whatever work I had stepped away from, I got more done than I would have if I had pushed through. This was definitely something to notice and even celebrate (so that I could encourage myself to do more of it).
It took a lot of practice, and a LOT of boundary work, and I still don’t know what my dream looks like (letting go of the concept of an outcome is a topic for another day), but I sure know how living my dream feels. I know when I’m on the right track. Sometimes it’s as easy as playing warmer-colder when facing a decision, sometimes it takes rest or play, sometimes it takes allowing myself to experiment with a decision and giving myself the freedom to change my mind and go down another path. The best part of all of this is now I am clear about how I want to feel and feel better able to answer questions about what I want to do.