Suggested Instructions For Reading: Put on a kettle, boil some water, pour yourself a cup of tea & get cozy. Read mindfully, with presence.
The unfolding of becoming the person of our childhood dreams ends up being easier for some, and more difficult for others - if not seemingly impossible.
For those whose odds are not in their favor - be it by birth, how they were raised, or other life circumstances that decreased their odds - for these people, it can be a tumultuous, arduous, downright defeating slog at times. That is, if we even choose the becoming.
Many do not. Many unconsciously say ‘fuck it’, and decide at some moment to settle where they are at. Perhaps highly skilled in a vocation, but the emotional development of a 12 year old. Her childhood dream of being a profound artist, or revolutionary leader, left far far behind in her past. The distance between her and her dream is so great now, it truly feels like a fantasy.
The sooner, and the more we permit this dismissal of our own soul’s dreams, the more likely we are to give up on them. To settle. To become a cog in the machine. Keeping our infinitely creative minds dulled and distracted with television, social media, other people’s business and drama. Keeping our emotions numbed with food, alcohol, drugs, sex, fantasy - running from substance to substance to keep the screaming pain of our soul at bay.
When did you give up?
When did you permit the humdrum of non-living in place of your deepest passions? Can you even recall?
For some, perhaps it was around adolescence - the social pressure to fit in was too great and the support at home for your dreams was too little. Perhaps there was an accident, or an illness that, seemingly, swept away your potential. Or perhaps it was before you can even consciously recall.
This is an insidious degradation of your true self. It starts so small that we don’t notice. Like one lost fishing hook in the vastness that is the deep, dark ocean. But over enough time, this turns into clumps of fishing line strangling a whale, or a plastic straw that has lodged into a turtle’s face. Or full-on islands of plastic floating atop the sea - it is undeniable now.
And it all started with one, tiny, seemingly insignificant act. Or non-act.
And this is part of life as we know it. Part of life’s beauty is its complexity and wildness. We don’t know how things will turn out, until it’s already happened.
And this is why the inertia of our settling in life often takes precedence over our lost dreams. It takes, not only mustering the power to stop a full speed train, but then the reverse engineering... methodically, diligently, patiently... simultaneously tossing broken, rusty parts that are hindering the train, and adding in enhancements that will help it run smoother than ever previously it had.
I had a dream once, probably around age 19, where the earth was in such a desperate state. Our mounds of garbage were no longer hiding in landfills, protected from our acknowledgement - they were in our cities, our backyards, our gardens, our schools, our workplaces. In this dream, I was bestowed the immense honor of sifting through our collective garbage, to find what could be reused, what could be recycled. And it all could be - for nothing we create can not be uncreated. Life and death, creation and destruction are of the same natural cycle. We just have to find the way if we’ve not yet. (Look up the magic that mushrooms have on cleaning oil spills for example.)
As I stand in the midst of a landfill, mountains of trash towering over me, I felt no overwhelm. I was overjoyed. I started to cry with gratitude of being given such a privileged and deeply important job. A job that would not only cleanse my own soul, but that I would be an example to others. That one can do this work joyfully, lovingly, forgivingly, beautifully, amidst its pain, shame, confusion and disgust. That it does not need to be swept under the carpets or tossed in the landfills any longer. We may be able to ignore it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there.
Dreams don’t always stick with us - we often forget them as soon as we wake up. And the ones we do remember, we don’t always understand their meaning. And even beyond that, we never know when we can call upon a dream to provide us meaning and power and depth and link it to our real lives. As I just did, some 16 years after I had that dream.
And you know, in cleaning up our garbage, or upgrading the train… it allows our soul’s dreams to resurface. To come up for the air they’ve been choking for. We don’t know when that might happen... But when it does, as it does slowly, or rapidly, unfold and resurface, we remember. We breathe it in. Life.
We remember who we were always meant to be. The beauty that is us. The gifts we are bestowed and that we imbue in our resonant presence.
A friend recently wrote to me, “Embrace the folly of your youth and the lessons learned. The two are not mutually exclusive.”
I have this in my mind today as someone who does her best to be mindful. To be present. To be conscientious. To be kind. To hold grace. And I am, imperfectly, this way. I still use the plastic disposable cups for water in my yoga class. I still hide things from myself in my shadow that I’m not yet ready to shine a light on yet.
Ours is an unfolding from dark back to light. For the light is what we ultimately are. We’ve just forgotten.
In the center of a rosebud is pure darkness. Potential. If left uncut, unbothered… And, oh the delicate, vibrant, aromatic, intoxicating beauty of its unfolding, over time. And then, it returns to the earth. Disintegrates. Becomes one with its source again. Feeds back into its source. Nourishes it.
Live your dream. Or not.
It doesn’t actually matter either way.
But, it is absolutely your choice.
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