Learning to dream

“The only place where your dream becomes impossible is in your own thinking.” ~ Dr. Robert Schuller

I talked yesterday about not really knowing what pleases me. Not knowing what truly makes me happy is obviously a rather large obstacle to my attempts to become clear on about my dreams, but it’s not the only obstacle.

My other challenge is my overly practical mindset. There are things that I do know that I want, but I automatically discount them because they don’t seem “realistic.” This becomes even more true when I try to think about dreams for ways to make a living. My practicality kicks into overdrive at that point and rejects so many ideas before I even have the chance to really evaluate them because they don’t seem realistic enough.

I know I want to write. I really want to write novels and spiritual memoirs and inspirational works. But my practical streak automatically scoffs at my chances of succeeding in those markets, so I find myself looking at copy writing options, magazine articles, and technical writing opportunities even though none of those options make my heart sing like the things I really want to write. My internal reality censor says that it’s still writing; that’s close enough, right?

Havi Brooks of The Fluent Self recently wrote about Gwishes as a means of loosening the need to be practical long enough to just dream. I’ve been enamored of gwishes ever since I read about them. Gwishes feel like play; things I can just toy with as little ideas. I can entertain them in a safe way as I would a fragile doll just to see what they can do. I can give them just enough space to see if there is any substance to them before I start looking at practicality.

As I’ve begun playing with gwishes, I’m finding that some things that my practicality censor would have rejected immediately have greater energy behind them than I would have suspected. Even if those things never become big money earners, there is great value in learning to follow the longings of my soul when they appear. The joyful energy that comes from doing the things that make me truly alive will energize and inspire everything else I may do.

Then again, when I’m chasing the siren song of my heart, who knows what can happen? The ways of the universe are greater than anything my mind can imagine with its limited perspective. If I allow my mind to determine what is and isn’t practical, I may miss the magic of watching my dreams come true.

Letting go of the need to be practical is not easy. And it’s even more challenging as I am facing unemployment and feeling the pressure to find ways to make money soon. I’ve got my work cut out for me as I try to figure out not only what I truly want but also to give myself the space to consider my true dreams without my practical side shutting the brainstorming down too soon.

I haven’t made any resolutions for 2011 yet. My real “new year” doesn’t start for another month, so it seems premature to start making resolutions now. But I think I can set an intention for the time being to excavate my soul’s gwishes. Practicality can come later. For now, I’m just gwish hunting.