Are you living the dream?

 "The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams." - Oprah Winfrey

"The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams." - Oprah Winfrey

Looking into the eyes of dreamers

In the last several months I have spoken to high school seniors about their plans after graduation. Sonya and Damian game me a full sketch of their dreams. Cody and Eleanor shared a mere outline. Each group appeared nervous and excited to work on their chosen canvas. Common threads emerged from our fun conversations. Their eyes sparkled. They were all high on dreams!

These “senior's moments” left me with a different type of impression than my typically older clients. Adult clients clearly demonstrate the impact of dreams in their lives and well-being, although in more obscure ways.Trauma blocks dreaming. Joy resuscitates. Fear and anxiety generate turbulent dreams. Peace brings loving and peaceful dreams. I have learned:

  1. Dreams provide freedom so authentic selves show up. 
  2. Dreams promote bravery to allow us to communicate exactly what is wanted and needed to say.
  3. Dreams dare us to take on the unknown, yet promote trust its gifts will lead us home. 
  4. Dreams inspire others to dream their dreams.

What is the secret sauce behind dreaming?

Webster's offers three dream definitions:

  1. A series of thoughts, images, or emotions occurring during sleep;
  2. Strongly desired goals, such as singing at the Super Bowl;
  3. Something that fully satisfies a wish, such as winning a trip.

Using this blended definition, let's look at how Dorothy Gale in the "Wizard of Oz" harnessed the mighty power of dreaming:

The Art of Dreaming

Dreams begin in the imagination. Dorothy dreamed of going home. In her mind she saw her family, the dirt road and her bed. Although she was adrift in far-away places, dreams took root in her heart and mind.

Dreams have power. As the dream of going home built within her, Dorothy added the element of emotion. Emotion is essential fuel activating dreams. Without realizing it, Dorothy pushed aside fear and let courage shine. Emotions provided room for her dream to take hold.

Dreams contain wishes. Known as Kisses from the Divine, wishes are powerful undercurrents. We close our eyes and smile when making a wish. This energy is joyful and life-giving. Wishes help us detach from strangling our dreams, and allow the Divine to join with us on our path.

Dorothy wished to go home immediately. However, circumstances dictated she follow a dream road - The Yellow Brick Road! She was clueless that her sparkling ruby red slippers held the power.

"Forgetting" to see what we already possess increases "travel time" many times over.

Read more about dreams here.

Dorothy, an iconic dreamer

“Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!”

When ego takes charge, we experience unexpected twists and turns. Dorothy’s strong will marches her straight into a dark forest and into the hands of the Wicked Witch of the East. She is held hostage and doomed to die without saying goodbye to family and friends. 

In times of fear we must be vigilant to monitor our dream button. Fear paralyzes the heart and mind. Fear injects doubt and skepticism.

If the size of the dream scares us, then we may need to seek inspiration and summon our wishes. How can I use wishes to get me out of this funk? This trauma? Yes there are times when dreams demand blood, sweat and tears. On the other side of hard work lies our greatest reward - a realized dream.

”Oh no, please, I have to rest for just a minute.”

Dorothy gets confused and sleepy in the field of poppies. Somehow she loses touch with her dream. The idea of drifting off for a while and putting the dream on hold makes sense. After all, the dream won’t go away. Or will it? 

Dorothy suddenly heads down a road of fantasy and illusion. Fantasies and illusions - like the poppies - dull the senses. When we engage them, suffering ensues and so do feelings of emptiness and exhaustion.

Although fantasies and illusions may appear to be part of dreams - they have a dark side. They repeatedly play the same scene with no genuine outcome. Fantasies may give us a quick happy jolt - only to keep us hooked on what isn’t real. 

“Surrender Dorothy.”

It’s not easy to walk away from our dream. It may be especially difficult to ignore the dream someone else wishes for us. When we dream a dream for a long time, it is wise to check in and see if the dream still stirs. Has it taken on new meaning? Does it continue to inspire? Is its passion burning out or flourishing? Does this dream generate even greater dreams?

When Dorothy’s dream is put to the test she wonders if the effort is worth the reward. Dorothy seeks the help of a great and powerful wizard. She believes this Powerful Wizard will complete her dreams. Dorothy's heart trusts the wizard to bring her home. It almost happens, but one more cliffhanger shifts the scene and the wizard disappears into a large poof of smoke.

Dorothy is faced with a major choice: to entrench herself in a pit of despair, or to surrender to the only good option. Thankfully a strong ally, Glinda the Good Witch, suggests a life-changing idea. The idea demands she use a tool she already possesses to guide her over the threshold from dream to reality. Dorothy closes her eyes, uses her last wish and clicks her heels. The ruby slippers remind Dorothy her dream matters.

“We’re off to see the Wizard.”

When we express joy for our dreams we encounter others who love and support us. They bring us gifts to stay energized. Supporters join us in the manifesting of our dreams. 

The movie would be boring without the passionate commitments of The Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman and Lion. The tag-alongs are inspired by Dorothy and soon share their individual dreams. Together they offer their gifts and grit to follow the Yellow Brick Road of Dreams. Thanks to Dorothy’s assurances, their dreams come true. The road of dreams gives space for the characters to conquer personal fears. Together they overcome the many opposing forces along the path.