Some time ago, I had one of those “Aha” moments – you know the type…the moment you finally answer a question that has been preying on your thoughts and emotions for some time. The elusive answer to my quest of “What was happening in my world?” and Why was I so incredibly sad?
And then, I suddenly had the answer……I had stopped dreaming – Intentionally Dreaming to be exact!
I’ve always been a dreamer, even as a child, I had the ability to wander off in my head to distant places and adventures, the wonderful, happy and fulfilled future that I would have, and its different options and endless opportunities and possibilities. I would be able to visualize, plan and enjoy every last detail of my elaborate dreams. This ability continued throughout my life, often helping get me through some really tough times. I could always picture myself in a future positive setting, living a life I loved, with the people I loved. Whether it was the pony I so desperately wanted as a child, the home I would live in, the places that I would travel to... the next awesome job or role I wanted to have in my career….. or even just the next project I wanted to take forward at work.
I had the ability to tune out my often crazy busy world and dream, even if just briefly……..and for me, many of those dreams turned into reality, they had become goals that inspired me and drove me to achieve. There was always something to dream about – even if it was just a short imaginative escape, to enable me to cope with a harsh situation I was dealing with.
I didn’t even notice that I had slowly been losing my ability to intentionally dream! Yes, I would still have dreams during my REM sleep, some good, but mostly bad, usually shaped by my fragile emotional self. A self that was losing confidence, that had lost her resilience, and could only dwell on the drama de jour. My ability to close out negativity and focus on what would make me happy had disappeared……😢
No-one could fix this broken part of me – a piece of my heart and soul had been torn, and I was truly the only one that could heal them – albeit with the support and guidance from some very special people that thankfully, had found their way into my life.
I had to find a way to intentionally dream again - It seemed that it should be so simple to do this, to just visualize my hopes and plans for the future, the same way I had always been able to do – but it still appeared to allude me at my time of need. Now I know I’m an extremely fortunate and blessed individual, who has so many special people and things to be grateful and thankful for, and I felt ashamed, as there were so many people not as fortunate as me – in poverty, gravely ill, homeless, lonely, and in so many other desperate situations, but something suddenly occurred to me. This type of hopelessness and heartbreak is indiscriminate to age, color, religion, sex, financial situation – rich or poor, alone or surrounded by love…it just is - and can happen to anyone, but there is usually a trigger point or points.
For me, feeling that my core values were being compromised - the loss of trust and lack of integrity in some I worked with, core values that were exceptionally important to me. Seeing that no matter how hard I tried, I was unable to make any progress…..my passion for my work had been subdued.
At one point, I just wanted to shut my bedroom door and completely cut myself off from my world, (which anyone close to me knows, is so far from my normal positive, resilient self), but this is a place I retreat to, when the hopelessness of a situation sets in. A dark place where all the mountains of problems I have created seemingly disappear and there is just nothing,....only a comfortable numbness.
But it’s just an illusion, the issues and problems don’t go away, and in fact mine generally worsen in my absence. My problems aren’t suddenly solved by some magical creature sprinkling fairy dust on them! Do some go away, just because of the time spent away? They can, but most just appear larger, more complex and even more difficult to overcome. The ones that you thought have gone, are left unresolved, an open suitcase that won’t close so you can pack it away.
How many of those open cases do we have, slowly taking up space in our mind and soul? How many of those unresolved challenges do we leave unclosed, festering away and stealing time in your thoughts and sub conscious? What would happen if we could release and get rid of all that time-wasting, happiness-stealing baggage we have stored? How incredible would you feel? What space would you open in your head and your heart for positive and happy thoughts. Allowing you to store these experiences and feelings so that when life does throw you a curve ball – you have so much happiness and positivity stored up, that the mountains become mere molehills that we can deal with quickly and thoughtfully. Most importantly we can resolve and close those particularly nasty, sad, chaotic, or upsetting suitcases before they get time to steal space in your head or your heart.
To close my open suitcase - the answer was to deal with my feelings of betrayal. To realize that we all have different core values and in how we may interpret those values, and to recognize that some things are just beyond our sphere of control (which for someone who’s a bit of a control freak like me, is really tough😊). That there will be instances in your career, and in your life, that your input will not be received or valued, that your opinion (no matter how strongly you feel about it), will have no bearing on the outcome of certain situational decisions or plans. I learned to better understand my own spheres of control and influence (and where I wanted to change them) – the areas, circumstances, situations, plans, within my work (and life) where I could affect change, improve, hope to find ideas and potential solutions for - I finally learned not to beat myself up emotionally, for actions or decisions that I have no control or influence over.
I closed that huge suitcases, padlocked it and threw away the key! I made the choice, it was completely mine to make…..it didn’t make me weaker or less of a person or leader, it actually made me stronger, more resilient. I freed up the space in my head and my heart for much more positive thoughts and plans……and yes – I've been intentionally dreaming ever since!
And that was how I came to be renovating an almost 100yr old inn on the Outer Banks....it started as a dream...
Do you know what you want to achieve?
Are you intentionally dreaming?
What different options, opportunities and possibilities do you want to dream about?
Do you have any of those open suitcases……what will it take for you to close them for good?
Thanks for taking the time to read about my adventures 😊 Please feel free to reach out to me with comments or questions.
Until next Time....