The Forgotten Dreams Recovery Program

How many of you would LOVE to be enjoying your life even more?  To have a life where you are living and achieving more of your dreams?  A life where you have more happiness, more love and more joy in your life every single week?  A life where you are enjoying yourself more and achieving more of your dreams?  

How many of you have sometimes had any frustrating experiences… or frustrating re-occurring circumstances in your life?  That stop you from having everything you want and are holding you back from achieving your dreams?

You know what I’ve found?  I’ve found that no matter how different we each look on the outside, inside we all want to feel good about who we are.    We all have many of the same reoccurring fears, habits and inhibitions that lessen the quality of our lives.  We all have pain, regrets and grief we are trying to heal. 

I recently read about a woman who needed to clean out her small fish bowl but she couldn’t find a container to put her two goldfish in while she did it.   So she filled up her bathtub with a couple inches of water and placed the fish in the tub.  After cleaning the fish bowl she went back to get the goldfish and was amazed to find them swimming around in a corner of the tub in a circle no bigger than the fish bowl.  Compare yourself to the fish in the tub.  

Do you sometimes feel like maybe YOU’RE swimming around in circles ….. always doing what you’ve always done?  Same old, same old, same old?  Are your old habits and the patterns of your life, and perhaps even your fears and inhibitions, keeping you swimming in a small circle when the whole ocean of life is inviting you to jump in with a big splash?

As woman – isn’t it true that we often put everyone else’s needs ahead of our own?  We want to be a good wife and wonderful mom or grandmother …. we want to do a GREAT JOB at whatever it is we do …. But even when we are successful in all of those roles …. As many women tell me, we sometimes still feel a VOID. 

The void is where our dreams used to be.

And as that old song asks us “how can you have a dream come true, if you don’t have a dream?” 

So many people I meet today seem to have forgotten how to dream…. They just packed their dreams away like last season’s clothes and forgot to take them out again.

I actually did that once… with clothes I mean.  I have a Lane Cedar Chest in my living room that was designed to look like an antique piece of furniture.  I got so used to looking at it, I FORGOT that it was a storage chest.  So imagine my surprise when I finally opened it not long ago and discovered a whole season’s worth of summer clothes all washed and neatly pressed and folded, waiting to be worn. I was shocked!  I couldn’t even remember putting them in there it had been such a while ago but as I pulled each piece out of the chest a flood of memories came with it.  I’d remember when I bought it or where I wore it or who gave it to me and I felt nostalgic and a little sad that I had let them linger in there so long unworn.  WOW. Think of all of those missed opportunities.    Years of missed opportunities.

Most of the clothes didn’t fit me anymore or they didn’t fit my style now…. But there were a few that I was able to freshen up and give new life to.  And that’s the way it is with our old dreams.  Many of the dreams we dreamed when we were 8 years old, or 24 years old or who knows when… don’t fit the person we have become or the person we now want to be.  But maybe, just like the clothes in my cedar chest, maybe…. way down the deep at the bottom of our hearts, there is a dream or two that we would still love to do!  A dream that still tickles our heart …. Or that encourages our spirit, reigniting our aspirations. Breathing new life into our dreams breathes new life into US.

Why do we put our dreams away in the first place?

  • We put them away because we didn’t think we had time to do them, or other things seemed more important at the time and perhaps we thought we’d get around to them later, but we never did.
  • Or we put them away because they seemed so big and so grand and impossible that we were afraid to pursue them or we didn’t think we were capable of accomplishing them.  So, we didn’t even try.
  • Or we put them away because somebody ELSE, somebody else, told us we couldn’t do what we wanted to do, and we believed them.

We need to remember how to dream again.

We all need to have something that gives our lives meaning and purpose.  Something to anticipate and be excited about.  

According to Bonnie Ware, a palliative care nurse, who talked to hundreds of patients in their last days and hours and wrote a book about it, the #1 Regret of the Dying is:

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and they look back clearly on it, most people realize that they had not honored even half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

So let me present to you my Forgotten Dreams Recovery Program:  It starts with a game you might have played when you were 8 years old. 

It’s called “Let’s Pretend.”

Pretend that you have all the time, all the money and all of the support and encouragement from others that you could possibly need to accomplish anything you might want to do. 

You have the total freedom to do whatever you want, any time you want, with anyone you want for as long as you want AND… you don’t have to do anything you DON’T want.

What would you be doing? 

Right now, just for a minute, close your eyes and put yourself into that space of having this precious freedom to imagine your heart’s deepest desire and let’s see what comes to mind.  You’re JUST PRETENDING, remember, so you can be as wild as you want. 

If you could BE, DO and HAVE anything you wanted…..

  • Would you be writing the book that you have always felt was languishing inside of you?
  • Would you go back to school for a degree in something that has fascinated you forever even though it seems to have absolutely no relevance to your everyday life?
  • Would you take up oil painting or sculpting or study ballet?
  • Would you start training to run the Boston Marathon or to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?  Don’t laugh.  I have a Friend who was 58 years old when she decided to climb Mt Kilimanjaro with her grown son.  She spent over a year getting herself in shape…. And then, not long before her 60th birthday, SHE DID IT!!!

I know of another woman, local to me, in her sixties who walked the El Camino de Santiago or The Way of St. James.   The El Camino was animportant Christian pilgrimage during medieval times that is still being walked today, starting in France and going across Spain.  She walked it by herself. It had been a life-long dream.

So, don’t ever give up on your dreams!

Okay, so let’s hone in a little more.  These next questions are fill in the blanks.  Ask yourself:

  1. If I could live anywhere in the world, where would I live? 
  2. If I could change ONE THING in my life to make my life better, what would I change? 
  3. I’m at my best when I’m ___________________________________.
  4. My family and friends come to me for advice about ______________.
  5. People always compliment me on _______________________.
  6. When I’m reading books or browsing on the computer, I am usually reading or researching _____________________________.
  7. When I was a child, I said that I wanted to do ___________ when I grew up.
  8. When I’m involved in an activity and I am so lost in it that the hours pass by like minutes, I’m totally in THE ZONE, what I am most likely to be doing is _________.
  9. And the last question for today….. If I knew… If I truly KNEW, that I could do anything I wanted to do, what would stop me from doing it?  _______________.

Author Harvey MacKay says “Time is free but it’s priceless.  You can’t own it, but you can use it.  You can’t keep it, but you can spend it.  But once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.” 

Start living your dreams now.  We all need something to anticipate and to be excited about.   Something to give our lives meaning and purpose.  We need to remember how to dream again.  And that’s what I do best.  I teach people to dream again.

I believe that everybody who accomplishes something great had help from someone, some single person or perhaps an inner circle of ultra-helpful individuals who provided encouragement or support in their own way.  If you’d let me, I’d like to be one of those for you. 

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