I have some dear friends who volunteered to be part of my first "Big Dreams" Group...to be my "guinea pigs"...my test group. One recently called to say that it wasn't the right time for her to be Big Dreaming just now. What she shared with me was that she has spent years Big Dreaming: earning advanced degrees, running multiple businesses, raising kids...and that now is the right time for her to step off the treadmill, to go at a slower, more relaxed pace. I completely understand her feelings. In addition to her current business, she has college-age children who still require some time and emotional support, AND, she and her sibling are now caring for their aging father. This is a time for focus on self-care...when she has a moment. Or, better still, to create those moments to relax and refresh. She will be of help to no one if she falls ill, or becomes overwrought, or depressed. I very much appreciated her openness with me. Thanks in part to her openness I am becoming more aware of the cycles of Big Dreaming. Let me explain:
For me, Big Dreams have often come about as a result of life difficulties. For example, I decided to go back to school and study art after a divorce. I was saying to my soon-to-be ex-husband that, after the divorce I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. He was kind enough to suggest that, as I'd always loved art, maybe I should consider going to art school. There was a "click" in my brain/ in my heart, and I went directly into Big Dream mode. I knew. It felt right for me! I was very grateful to him for "holding up the mirror" for me so I could see in myself what he saw in me.
There were other Big Dreams over the years: opening Terra Art & Frame, teaching classes of my own devising, as well as from established curricula. I began a Business and Spirituality monthly lunch discussion group. Eventually, I dreamed my "What if...? Cards" into being. But, I had yet to see a pattern to my Big Dreaming.
In walking the Camino in 2011, a really Big Dream experience for me, I gained clarity about the framework...the steps of Big Dreaming... I came to understand the cycle:
- Learning/knowing what I want.
- Becoming open to the possibility that I can have what I want.
- Committing to what I want.
- Making my dream broader...acknowledging its Divine Purpose.
- Asking for help.
- Preparing to deal with fear/negativity.
- Realizing my Big Dream.
- Learning and growing from my Big Dream experience.
Part of step 8, "Learning and growing..." may involve a period of down time to integrate an experience, to assess and absorb all that one has learned. One may ask him/herself questions such as:
- How did I do when under pressure?
- How do I feel when in the "spot-light"?
- What did I do well?
- How might I learn or practice what I did not do well, to improve for the future?
- How did I best handle my fears?
Then, there may be time to "lie fallow" and wait for whatever is next to spark in the head and the heart. Part of "lying fallow" is about resting up...about self-care...just what my friend is doing right now. Perhaps some time in the future, when her responsibilities have lessened, when she feels rested and refreshed, she will begin to "spark" in her head and heart with what's next for her. For now, she is loving herself, and I am proud of her! She told me "... even small dreams are good... not all are BIG.... we struggle more with accepting the small victories as victories...there is a beauty in the ordinary that many of us have not honored." I agree. Not all Big Dreams have to be big by society's standards. They just have to sing in that individual's heart. A Big Dream may be to raise happy, healthy children, or to learn ways to communicate better with a spouse, a co-worker, or a boss, or to master knitting, or the art of the oil change...or, finding time for self. It matters not what we label it, only that we notice what we want and honor ourselves by going for our dream...big or small!