Five things about dreams that I know to be true:
1. The dreams you have in “real life” are similar in the dreams that you have during sleep- they usually SYMBOLIZE something else.
For years I thought I wanted to be a curator and work in a museum. Why? I was obsessed with art but thought I wasn’t good enough to create it. So I figured working in a museum would be the next best thing to being an artist. It was only a few years ago that I realized I *was* supposed to be making art, not taking care of it. I tried for years to figure out how to make a career as a curator work for me, with a lot of frustration. When I chose art as my path, everything fell into place.
If you have a dream that’s not coming into focus despite lots of effort and dedication, take another look at it. “Interpret” it like you might interpret a dream you have while you are asleep. Is there something else beneath the surface? Is there a hidden message in your day-to-day dreams?
2. To quote Julia Cameron: “As you move toward a dream, the dream moves toward you.”
EVERY STEP COUNTS. Even the tiny ones. Make a resolution today to do something – no matter how small – towards making your dreams a reality every single day from here forward. Record each and every step you make, whether it’s doing some basic, two-minute research online or actually picking up the phone and making a connection or signing up for a class or committing to something that scares the pants off you. It all matters. If you keep a record of it, you can look back at the list and see how far you have come. It’s powerful stuff. And one step inspires the next- remember ” a body in motion stays in motion”. Use inertia to your benefit.
3. Your dream is unique, and therefore, the path to your dream must also be unique.
Joseph Campbell said: “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.”
Gathering inspiration and “filling the well” is crucial when you’re working towards making your dreams come true, but make sure you are truly filling your own well as opposed to clogging your brain by seeing what everyone else is doing.
The key is this: make sure that the steps you take towards your dream is truly towards your dream. For instance, learning a new technique in Photoshop is much better than looking at someone else’s blog to see what *they* do in Photoshop. Making a business plan for yourself is more effective than looking at other business plans, etc.
This leads to the next truth about dreams…
4. STOP COMPARISON SHOPPING!
Seriously- I can’t emphasize this enough. If you are constantly watching whatever everyone else is doing, you are basically silencing your own voice and dream.
How do I know this is true? Because I do it constantly. I’m addicted to creative blogs, especially those of working artists and creative business people. I LOVE seeing new artwork and I LOVE reading about the things people are doing on behalf of their creative business.
The issue with this? When I shut off the computer and try to get to work on my own creative dreams, all I can think about is what everyone has has achieved. There’s no room for me to forge my creative path in the world when all I see are the “maps” that other people have created, if you know what I mean.
Remember: we all start out as beginners. All of us. We develop our skills and our paths only by putting the time and effort into our own creative work.
5. Enjoy yourself.
It’s not worth anything if you don’t love at least part of what you do. Let’s be honest- making dreams come true is not easy, nor is it always pleasant. But at the end of the day, there has to be something about it that makes you want return to the process the next day. If there isn’t, take a step back, think about what your last fully-felt achievement was, and get yourself back to doing something (no matter how small) that makes you feel that way. Instead of making your dream your goal, make that “oh, wow!” feeling your goal.
Chel Micheline is a mixed-media artist, curator, writer, and avid gardener/reader/swimmer who lives in Southwest Florida with her husband and daughter. When Chel’s not making art or pondering the Bliss Habits, she’s blogging at gingerblue.com (come say hi!) or posting new things in the gingerblue etsy shop.