Start Dreaming Again
Tools for Restarting a Stuck Dreamer.
One of the many lessons and insights I’ve gained both from working with clients and my own personal journey is that women tend to stop dreaming as they navigate through life. Most of us as children had active imaginations and looked toward a bright future. Some of us imagined our dream wedding, some a dream home, some a dream career, the list could go on and on.
As life goes on, we lose sight of those dreams (or they came true and are over). We get bogged down in day to day living and responsibilities and gradually, we find ourselves just living day to day. No longer dreaming of and planning for that awesome thing we want in our future. Below are five tools that I use and encourage my clients to use to reignite that dreaming part of themselves.
Do something you used to do as a kid, but don’t do anymore. I encourage my clients to think back when they were a kid or a young person and make a list of the things they enjoyed. Then I encourage them to pick one or more and do it again. It may seem silly to spend a Saturday morning watching old cartoons, but what this does for us is remind us of how we felt as a child. It makes us laugh and lifts our thoughts from day to day stuff.
When I was a kid I loved lots of things, playing Barbie dolls with my sister, reading books and riding our bicycles together. I recently purchased a bicycle and got back on after 30 years of not riding. I find myself riding it (even though my booty screams), and laughing and having a great time. I don’t even care if I look like a loon riding my neighborhood laughing! This has reconnected me to the days when my dreamer was free and fierce! It has reignited in me, my love for dreaming about my future. My bike riding time is one where I can tap back into that part of me that created a whole world of my own.
Get into the “learning zone”. This is the zone outside your comfort zone. I recently heard it called this while reading a book by Susie Larson, called “Your Beautiful Purpose”. I love this title for it. Learning zone is so apt because this is most likely the place that we find ourselves uncomfortable, but growing!
My first foray into the learning zone was when I participated in a group coaching program. This program was designed to help women with their body confidence. I had never done anything like that before and it was scary and definitely in the unknown realm. There were also weekly assignments that scared me to death! But when I commit to something, I follow through and I was determined to complete all the assignments. Even if that meant talking to a stranger in an elevator, or taking a belly dancing class, or going outside in my front yard and having a picture taken in my bathing suit. All these things were so scary for me, yet I learned huge lessons from them. I learned that I can talk to just about anyone; it doesn’t have to be scary. I learned that people in general are not as judgmental as I made them out to be in my own head.
When working with my clients, I encourage them to step outside their comfort zone and do something that is mildly scary for them. Maybe something they don’t do because of internal inhibitions. But not something that makes them want to throw up. It is a build-up process; taken one step at a time. You see, as we take that first small step outside into the learning zone, we find that we can take another step and another step and another! Before long we’ve done the big, hairy, scary thing that made us want to throw up thinking about it. This, my friends, reignites that dreamer! It puts us on the path of thinking whatever other possibilities are out there that we can achieve. When we are thinking this way, we begin to see ourselves in a new light and realize that MORE is possible for our lives! We start dreaming!
Set aside some time for dreaming. If we aren’t bringing our focus on it, then we won’t do it. So, I like to recommend to my clients that they set aside even just a few minutes every single day to dream. For each person this will look different. It may be a morning quiet time with a cup of tea. It may be journaling time at the end of the day. It may even be time when you are walking or exercising. But if we consciously set aside time that we know we are going to be thinking about what we want for our future, we are also allowing ourselves space to create that future. What do I mean exactly? Well, when we are thinking about our future instead of our present, we allow the mind to expand into what that future looks like specifically, what it feels like and even how we get there.
If we are stuck in the present and just getting through the day, there is no space inside us for anything else. I can attest to this fact first hand. I spent over a decade with my head down focusing on the present moment, problem, struggle and task only. I never looked to the future and thought about how I might want my life to look different in the future. I find that if I allow time to think of that future and what it looks like, it gives me something tangible to be working toward even when I’m in the midst of my day to day tasks.
With my clients, I start with encouraging them to set aside just two minutes a day. During those two minutes really ponder about what they want in their future.
Write it out. Writing is a powerful tool and really can help us tap into dreaming again. I find that when I am writing, my creative juices are flowing and new ideas come to me freely and readily. Another thing that I find is that I can really tap into what my secret desires are without even knowing it.
One of the tools I use with my clients if for them to write a letter to their future self. Write it 6 months to a year in the future. Write it like they are writing to their best friend and giving her all the news of their life. What does life look like, what are they doing and how are they feeling? When writing this way, I find that people are surprised about how positive they feel. How excited they are to pull the letter out and read it at a later time or date.
Because you see, that sometimes when we write (especially if we give ourselves permission to turn off our brain and just feel it), our dreams come out. We are dreaming for that gorgeous new home with the perfect back yard. Or we are dreaming for that new career doing something we love. No matter what we aren’t acknowledging inside ourselves, writing can often bring it out.
Writing out a future for ourselves can also really help us start to see a road map to get there. And even if we don’t see the whole path or any of it, our mind is doing the work for us. When we least expect it, the first step comes to us and then the next and so on. Our minds are so powerful and once it knows the plan, it works on solving it without our even knowing it. It’s like when you are in the shower and you solve that work problem that you worked on for an entire day to no avail. Your brain is relaxed and now it can focus and bring forward the solution!
Create a Vision Board. When I first heard this concept, I had major resistance to it. I was like “no, that’s not me, that’s not how my mind works”. I broke through the resistance and now I find that I enjoy the experience and look forward to it.
A vision board can be virtual, but I like to do mine the old school way. This is where you take a piece of poster board, some glue sticks and some magazines. You go through the magazines looking for pictures or words that call to you. Don’t question it, just start cutting things out. When you feel like you have enough, you start pasting them to the poster board. Some people set up quadrants and do specific areas of their life; work, family, fun, etc. When I am vision boarding, I don’t do that. I just start pasting in a way that feels good to me. After all, my life may include segments, but I want all those segments to intertwine and flow in a way that fulfills all of me.
No matter how you proceed, putting a visual aspect to what we want and love in our lives can really set our minds working on the HOW to get it for us. I recently heard someone give a talk about a vision board they created years ago about a specific home they wanted. The vision board got packed away and they found it after moving into a new home. When they pulled out the vision board, they found the picture of the home they had placed on that vision board, was the home they had just purchased. What!!??!! They didn’t even remember the vision board, but their mind did and it helped them get to the state, city and exact address of the home they had envisioned! Wow! That isn’t the only story I have heard along those lines, but it is a powerful one. And such a good reminder that having a visual representation of what we want, can really help our minds get us there!
Is your dreamer working? Are you looking forward to a future that makes you happy? Your dreamer needs exercise to work optimally! Try one or all of these five tools and see how they work for you! I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Sherry Parks is a Rediscovery Coach who helps women rediscover themselves and reconnect to the core of who they are.
To contact Sherry for more information about coaching join her women only Facebook group Lives in Balance.