You set out to be a doctor, but as you mulled over those math equations, your mind started to wander. What about being a salesperson in the medical field instead? If you dropped out of your Ph.D. program, are you a failure – or are you finding your own path?
If you ask 20 children what they want to be when they grow up, you are going to get a lot of answers, such as, “a lawyer, a ballerina and a cat.” Or “a baseball player and the president and a plumber.” These seem to be in conflict, but are they? Children feel free to express what’s in their hearts because no one has ever told them that their desires are wrong, or impractical, or the big word – impossible.
Yet eventually we have to pick one dream to be realized and go forward with. For some, that dream unfolds just as they envisioned. But for many, the dream changes and shifts. Even if you get exactly what you envisioned, you may only find that a new dream has come knocking on your door. So if you hang up your ballet shoes to prosecute crime, are you giving up your dream, or just shifting your consciousness? How do you know when you are dropping out and when you are opening up?
Where dreams may go
Dreams are arrows to a destination unknown. We don’t know every option we have in our lives – how could we? Some deeply intuitive people can see a dream for themselves that does not exist at the present time. Others see people they like in certain occupations and gravitate toward that path. A child who aspires to be the President may find that what they really want is to be a leader, or famous – or just wear great suits.
Our dreams come from a place deep within. They may compel you to move to a new city, or accept a place in a certain school. Whatever the outcome of your movement toward your dream, you must go toward it. Yes, you may end up exactly where you set out to go. Or you may find yourself on an adventure you never would dared to dream about. If you allow the mysterious forces that set you on your path to compel you, you could end up anywhere. Practice withholding judgment of your ultimate destination. It’s easy to see that not everyone is meant to be the President. Yet many people are needed to work in government. Or teach. Or grow gardens. Or find the place where they will be truly, deeply happy.
Check up time
So how do you do this? You can start by placing your desires above your to-do list. We have such busy lives with our already appointed time goals – so it’s hard, but it’s important to stay connected with ourselves. If you have locked yourself into law school, but realize that the volunteer work you are doing on the side is far more interesting to you, you owe it to yourself to get honest about that.
Achieving your goal only to realize it’s not the right destination for you can only become more uncomfortable over time if you deny it. Many people accommodate their discomfort through overeating, overspending or lashing out in relationships – or at themselves. There is such a joy in doing what you are meant to do! Don’t let anything stop you from finding it – not even the dream you had years ago. Don’t let your doing overwhelm your being. Allow your being to inform your doing. “Dropping out” is a strange word to describe a profound spiritual awakening. But perhaps it’s just right. You are giving up, so you can set yourself free.
True to you
If your vision is something you have publicly declared, or even confided to the important people in your life, you could be up against some judgment. If you know that telling your family you’re going to be a sculptor (after you just made it to corporate VP and your parents paid for you to get an MBA), will cause them disapproval, be prepared. Their emotions can cause you to question yourself.
Others may have an illusion of your security because they have packaged you in their mind. You are on a path to corporate success/being a physician/practicing law, etc. But real life is never that simple. And the pressure doesn’t have to come from external sources. If you have been looking at a vision board that includes a big shaggy dog and you realize that you hate to vacuum, it’s really okay not to get the dog. You are free – you are even free of your own goals! You were a perfect being before you even dreamed the dream, so you are still perfect if that dream changes.
The only person who can decide what feels right is you. And the only person living your life is you. So dream big, and set out on your path. But if smelling the flowers along the way makes you re-draw your map, laugh in delight! It’s never too late to follow your true path.
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