PAGE 6 • OMG Magazine | Thursday 12th September, 2013
Have you stopped
Dreaming? I haven’t been much fun to be around since the New Year. I’ve been in a funk. Unmotivated. Defeated and resigned to the state of my life (a state I wasn’t happy with). In fact, now that I’m looking back, I realize that I began this downward spiral into a state of resignation this summer -resigned to all the things that went along with taking a steady full-time job with a reliable paycheque instead of trying to make a living from my passions. Resigned to sitting inside at a computer all day with no direct sunlight (I’m not good with no light. And I’m not good with not moving all day. Ask my office mate -- It’s not pretty). Resigned to the fact that if I ever want to have financial stability, this was just going to have to be my life now. Resigned to the fact that in order for me to survive this, I’d have to stuff down all my desires and dreams. I wasn’t exactly conscious that I was stuffing down my dreams. But I was conscious of the fact that I was getting used to the “Sunday night blues,” my dreaded weekly visitor. I was getting used to having to step outside my office to have sporadic crying spells throughout the day, getting used to feeling like a robot just going through the motions in order to get through my day. The way I was living started to affect my friendships ... I was just too tired and didn’t have the energy to see my friends, let alone be there for them. But when I did see them, I wasn’t even present. And it was affecting my relationship with my boyfriend because I wasn’t myself. The always “up,” optimistic girl he fell in love with was replaced by a pessimist. Finally, one day, he turned to me and said, “I’ve been trying to ride this out with you, supporting you as best I could. But it’s enough. I love you, but this isn’t you. When did you stop dreaming?” BAM. That question hit me like a triple shot of espresso (and I’m sensitive to caffeine). It woke me up. I started bawling uncontrollably, letting the months of repression come out. It wasn’t the job that was making me unhappy -- because truthfully, I like what I’m doing at my job. But it was all the meaning I had attached to having the job. For some reason I had equated having a reliable full-time job with being a failure at achieving my dreams, so I had decided that I might as well stop dreaming, because hey, dreams never come true anyway. Um, hello, of course I was depressed all the time! What a horrible way to think and live. My entire life, I’ve had BIG dreams. Those dreams filled me with excitement. And when some of those dreams didn’t come true (like being the first Academy/Grammy/Tony Award winner to also be an astronaut and a veterinarian), they were always replaced with new dreams. I didn’t let the non-achievement of one dream get me down for too long. One of my good friends Danielle has called me a “choo-choo” train that just keeps on going no matter what. But this train had been derailed. My boyfriend was right; somewhere along the way, I did stop dreaming. And with that loss of dreaming came a loss of zest for my life, a loss of passion, a loss of drive.
I spent the next few weeks at work just lightening up on myself a bit. I did the same things, but I had a shift in attitude. I started getting reacquainted with my most recent dreams -- dreams of taking the holistic weight loss program I so excitedly created to the next level, dreams of helping people heal through the holistic approach of body/mind/soul using Reiki and Physical Fitness, dreams of the book I had been writing which is a new take on dating and relationships for women. And in tapping back into those dreams just a little bit, in just sort of allowing myself to think about them and feel them again, things started to change. “Out of the blue,” I had three people contact me about giving them healing sessions. “Out of the blue,” an opportunity showed up for a training and certification program that would allow me to take my fitness knowledge further so that I can be better at what I do. I was still at my job (and “funnily” enough really started enjoying it more ... hmm), but just by reconnecting to my dreams, the universe started bringing me little things to have the opportunity to start living my dreams again. The energy I put out boomeranged back. We may not have the luxury of quitting our jobs. We may not have the luxury of going after our dreams fulltime. But we have the luxury of remembering that our unhappiness or lack of excitement or disconnection from our dreams is NOT our job’s fault. We have the power of choice. We have free will. We can tap into our dreams no matter what our circumstances are. They’re still there, though they may be suppressed way deep down by years of society or parents telling you you can’t and it’s not possible, by years of feeling like a failure because certain dreams didn’t come true, by a life-time of believing that you’re not worthy... by years of your own self-doubt.... by years of your own disconnection from your dreams as a means of protection (not seeing a dream realized is painful so the logic is that it’s better just not to dream at all). But when we stop dreaming, we have nothing really to look forward to. We have nothing really to be excited about. As we yell in this month’s intenSati fitness class - “I am ready for all I’ve dreamed... I release my fears. I believe! I dare to dream! I dare to believe! I keep reaching higher to achieve my dreams!” Starting now, today, DARE to dream again. Just start to allow yourself to do it, one tiny little bit. There’s a kabbalistic saying, “Open me an opening the size of the eye of a needle (you know, where the thread goes...it’s pretty minuscule) and I will show you the supernal wonders.” One little moment of dreaming, that’s it. That’s all you’ve gotta do.
The high cost of always being ‘right’ After years of coaching successful professionals in a variety of disciplines, I’ve come to see that when conflicts arise, many of us tend to care more about being “right” than we do about finding the best course of action. I’m sure you’ve experienced this in your own life, at the office and perhaps at home too. A disagreement arises, and we’re so afraid of “losing” that we won’t even admit there’s a possibility that there might be more to the situation than we can see. In our determination to “win,” we refuse to acknowledge the other person’s perspective.
As is often the case when we let ourselves be guided solely by our emotions, there are substantial consequences. Here are the three biggest ones. 1. We Stop Listening. It makes sense that if I already “know” what’s true, I don’t need to entertain the idea of another perspective. We see this happening both at home and at the office in the lives of the people we coach. Instead of having a dialogue about the best possible solution, there are two people simply doubling down in their positions.
Tip: Any time you’re in a fervent disagreement with someone, remind yourself to focus on what’s right rather than who’s right. 2. We Stop Exploring. Many of us hold onto beliefs, even about our own lives, that aren’t accurate. We tell ourselves “I’m good at, but I have never been good at,” or “I could pull off, but I could never pull off.” These unexamined mantras often turn into self-fulfilling prophecies, because we subconsciously seek to validate our position. Yes, we want to be proven “right,” even if what we’re right about keeps us from growth and change.
Tip: Whenever you catch yourself thinking “I can’t do that” or “that isn’t possible,” stop and ask yourself how much energy and commitment you’ve ever really put into trying. 3. We Stop Learning. Everyone believes that his or her view is the right one (otherwise, they probably wouldn’t have it). While a person’s view may not be optimal or even fully accurate, it’s always useful to try to understand how they came to it. Even if we don’t agree with their position, we can learn a great deal if we simply seek to understand where they’re coming from. Conversely, when we dismiss an idea out of hand, we never get the chance to expand our own perspective, and that’s a high price to pay.
Tip: Resist the urge to write people off as uninformed or just plain wrong, and instead ask yourself, “What can I learn from this person?” We don’t have to agree with someone to learn from them. The ultimate impact of righteousness is that we stay trapped in our current mindset. If we are always right, we never get to be different. And if we never get to be different, then we will always get more of what we have right now. Let go of the need to be right, seek first to understand, and you’ll discover a new sense of growth and possibility.
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