I rushed into the hotel banquet room five minutes late, and the workshop participants were already milling around the room making verrry deliberate eye contact with each other. I found my name tag at the unmanned table near the front, slapped it on my yoga wrap and joined the group, unsure of what to expect.
Signing up for this three-day workshop was part of an experiment. I was testing out the hypothesis that I might be interested in this whole coaching thing. Six minutes in, it was not going well. The group leader paused the milling around to ask us a question.
“What is your dream?” she said provocatively. We were asked to share our answer-- repeatedly-- with different participants. Everything in me wanted to punch this lady in the face. What is my dream? What kind of question is that? An offensive one for sure. I didn't let on to my rage. Instead, I plastered a smile on my face, walked through the room and made shit up.
It took me months to get to the bottom of why her question made me so violently angry. And a few years to finally admit it.
I didn’t have a dream and I felt wildly ashamed about that.
I didn’t have a dream because I hadn’t let myself dream for a really long time. I knew what wasn’t working any more in my life, and I knew I needed something different, but I hadn’t dared to really let go and imagine possibilities that might really light me up. I didn’t go big, because for so long, I felt really, really small.
As a little girl, I was all imagination and fairy dust. I lived in the world of my mind, creating stories, building worlds. I was always in charge, forever the quiet and mysterious star of the show. It wasn’t a single event that shut me down or forced me to stop believing in my superpowers; it was decades spent meeting expectations that didn’t exactly match my own.
Remember what you loved to do when you were 10? That’s one of my favorite questions to ask people. It’s less confronting than “What is your dream?” (how dare you) and has the potential to spark much more insight. I believe that what we loved doing when we were little-- before our parents and teachers and the world told us who we should be -- is a clue to what might be missing in our lives now. That’s where I went looking-- my early childhood. While spending time remembering what I loved, I rediscovered the joy of telling you stories like this.
How does all of this relate to you, fellow creative, and finishing your creative project? Maybe it doesn’t, if the project is just something else to cross off your to do list. BUT if the reason you want to create in the first place is bigger than that-- maybe somehow part of your dream-- then listen up, because you’ve got work to do. The fun kind.
Your job is to imagine the most beautiful dream you’ve ever dreamed. Lie on the grass and look up at the stars, or close your eyes or lay on your bed, and get quiet. Tune in. No distractions or shoulds. Just you tapping into pure Youness. The young part that remembers what it’s like to play and create. Then, when it’s all so vivid you can feel it, write it all down. Write it down in the present tense, like it’s happening now. Read it back. Read it out loud. Read it to someone who loves you. This is how you start to build a bridge between your imagination and reality. This is how you start coming home to yourself.