Excerpt from the new book, Do Not Go Quietly
DO YOU REMEMBER dreaming that one day you would be a great writer, painter or composer? Do you remember wanting to invent a remarkable new product, pitch a perfect game, find the cure to a debilitating illness, become a great actress, right an injustice, or throw your hat into the political ring? Do you remember dreaming of bringing a brood of children into the world and raising them with incredible love and consciousness? Do you remember dreaming of being a coach or a teacher, a dancer, choreographer, a musician or song writer, a cook, carpenter or fisherman, an astronaut or mountain climber, a religious or spiritual leader, a humanitarian or a healer?
Perhaps in your case, you did not know exactly what you wanted to do with your life, but felt a longing you could not name, a restlessness to do something more and different than others around you were doing. Maybe both of these things were and are still sometimes true for you. If that is the case, we invite you to spend a few moments with us exploring the possibility that the next stage of your journey can not only be more satisfying and rewarding, but also more in alignment with the dream you came here to manifest.
All you have to do is take a little time to listen to the hints and promptings that come from that “still, small voice within.” And if you do, we are confident you will soon discover that the dream you once had is still very much alive inside you. We also believe you will discover that by directing your attention to that place where your dream still lives, you will either rediscover or discover the beginning of a pathway that can — no matter how old or young you are — lead you to live more of the life you were born to live.
Our experience confirms that when we are in touch with our personal dream and stay true to its call, we are not only more creative, impassioned, and energetic, but we are also more involved in our own lives, connected to and concerned about others, our planet and in tune with the natural rhythms of life. In short, we find that being in touch with our dream is an essential key not only to living more consciously and aging wisely, but to fulfilling our spiritual promise.
For more than 30 years we have been testing this premise — not only in our personal lives, but in the work we are fortunate to do with hundreds of major organizations and with thousands of individuals who have attended our organizational and public programs. During this time we have come to recognize that those who are in touch with and living out even portions of their dream are more content, impassioned, engaged, loving, healthy and successful.
Yes, our dreams hold a blueprint for a unique, satisfying and successful life, in fact for the precise life many of us long to live and know somewhere in our hearts is possible. And yet, too often in this world where economics has come to be worshipped as the primary reason for existence, it may not be and often is not the life we are living. We could, of course, spend months exploring why this is true. But in the end, we believe what matters most is not why, but what we can do to correct this misalignment.
Our exploration also indicates that this blueprint is often as close as the longing we feel in our hearts and our next breath. Indeed, we have discovered that it doesn’t matter whether it has been days or decades since we have last paid attention to our dream, it is always there, literally as close as our next breath.
So no matter what is going on in your life, please take a little time to touch that place in your heart where your dream still resides. Get quiet enough to hear what that “still, small voice within” is saying so that you, too, can once again remember that living your dream is not just a possibility, but your right and privilege as a spiritual being who is currently having this physical experience.
Just go to that quiet place inside you that is not limited by the boundaries of physical time or practical considerations. Take a few, slow deep breaths and give yourself the gift of getting back in touch with your dream. We know you’ll be grateful to yourself for doing so. Indeed, you will be taking your next step in honoring what the poet Mary Oliver has called, “This one wild and precious thing called your life.”
Even if this first experience only provides you with a vague sense, a few hints of a direction or a fleeting image or two, allow yourself to glimpse it, sense it, feel it. And do not try to hold on too tightly or be disappointed if you do not receive the complete game plan for the rest of your life. Just let it unfold in whatever way is appropriate and for which you are ready.
And if by chance you find yourself suddenly feeling the impulse to…blow the dust off those paintbrushes…open the cover of the piano or of your toolbox…dig out that notebook you tucked away on the bottom shelf of a bookcase, the one full of notes for that humanitarian project, business venture, or novel you once wanted to create…then please don’t be shy.
How can you be sure you’ve found the right place, the place where your dream resides? You’ll know. And be sure to express you gratitude for the fact that the light of wonder and longing is alive and well inside of you. Hold your dream sacred, nurture it, and above all, be willing to allow this re-connection to grow inside of you.
We celebrate your courage, wish you a remarkable journey and leave you with our sincere hope that you will celebrate this very special and unique note that you and only you can contribute to the great song that is life. We also leave you with these remarkable words Oriah Mountain Dreamer, the author of The Invitation:
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being live.”