Why is it that when we talk about realizing dreams, we do it with a sort of detached, airy, or romantic tone – as if dream realization is a distant hope or out of reach – perhaps reserved for the fated few, the outrageously determined, or the extremely talented? Why isn’t the fulfillment of dreams a common thing? What happens in the fulfillment process that scares people into avoiding, diminishing, or abandoning the quest?
In Paulo Coelho’s inspiring story, “The Alchemist”, he reveals:
“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one 'dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.”
What if, as this quote suggests, there is a predictable process in the fulfillment of a dream and, if understood, would make it easier to see things through to fruition? Since uncertainty is one of the most challenging aspects of big change, maybe breaking the process into understandable steps would ease the fear of uncertainty enough to take the leap of faith needed to not only pursue a dream, but keep going when it gets hard.
This topic is foremost in my mind because I’m in the midst of a dream realization – stretching from a life of mediocrity to one of bold, large-scale living. As I near the birth of a new existence, pressure builds, feelings intensify, and the stakes feel higher. This is the point where the temptation to shrink back is strongest. But instead, I’m determined to master this process by identifying its steps, clarifying its logic, and internalizing its brilliance. I’ve been through enough transitions into new careers, different lifestyles, and in and out of relationships to identify common steps and challenges…and along with those, some techniques and perspectives that facilitate fulfillment of dreams. So theoretically, if I can create a recipe for dream building, I can use it over and over, fine tuning it until any dream becomes attainable.
But before sharing what I’ve come up with, let me just say that I’m approaching this from the standpoint of emotions and feelings. I believe that if anything can stop or interfere with the dream-building process, it is fear, doubt, or emotion-based limiting beliefs. With that in mind, I’m describing how it FEELS at different points of the process, along with ways to work with or through those feelings. This is my take on how it works:
How to Realize a Dream
(How to Move from One Reality to Another)
Step A – You’re in a reality that is satisfying. All is well.
Step B – You begin feeling restless. Life feels too small so you begin dreaming. Perhaps you long for fulfilling work or have a talent that has yet to reach its full potential; you want true love or to find self-love through self-discovery. Through daydreaming, you begin reaching out to connect with a bigger/bolder/different reality.
Step C – You land on a dream and envision a new way of being that inspires you to begin moving out of your Old Reality. It’s exciting to think about a change, and not too scary because you’re still enjoying the security of the Old. Most of your energy is directed toward the Old, so it is still pretty well supported and intact - but its inadequacy becomes irritating and a motivation for change. You take small steps in the direction of the New. Maybe you tell a friend, do some research, set some goals and make a commitment. Synchronicities begin and you feel supported as life responds to this New direction.
Step D – The more you dream about the New Reality, the more real it feels. You can see it more clearly and take steps to make it real – perhaps even a leap of faith. As you do this, less energy is going toward your Old Reality and it starts to dissolve. This can feel unsettling because old sources of support dry up and emotions become stirred up as you let go of the Old. Even though you know you want out of your old world, doubts creep in as the Old falls away before the New materializes: Is this really possible? Am I being foolish? Will I fail?Am I good enough to have the New? Who do I think I am chasing this dream? Limits or patterns that are out of alignment with your desired New Reality will surface so they can be resolved. This is not designed to stop you; it is not common sense kicking in; it is not the Universe telling you you’re going the wrong way. This is simply the part where the way must be cleared for the new to arrive. Since your inner world creates your outer reality, there must be a change within to create an outer change. This is the part we refer to as “doing the work” and there are no shortcuts. There are, however, many tools and techniques available to help you work through fears, doubts and limiting beliefs. Find them and use them. Feel all your feelings, cry lots of tears, and remember that emotions are the fuel that keep this creative process moving. Most importantly, KEEP BREATHING to allow the Old to fall away and the New to come in.
Step E – You have almost completed the important step of letting go of the Old, smaller life, and are just beginning to see signs that the New may be arriving soon. Emotions and doubts are at their highest as you are aware there is nothing to go back to, yet nothing solid to land on in the New. Straddling two worlds, you are not fully in the Old or New Reality and anxiety creeps in. Your identity and even survival may feel threatened, but you’re merely sensing the departure of what no longer serves you. It feels like everything is falling apart, because it must in order for a significant change to occur. Know that your feelings are normal – that this is the scariest part. It would be easy to (energetically) curl up in the fetal position or turn to favorite escapes or become paralyzed with fear, but it is important to keep your energy moving. Nurture yourself to the extent that you can feel safe and hold compassion for yourself. Intuition and trust carry you through this transition. The tendency is to grip the Old Reality, while grasping for the New, but this is disempowering and will create more anxiety. Let go of the Old, even through ritual or symbolic letting go actions. Cry, mourn, and honor the Old as you set it free. Surrender, BREATHE, allow.
Step F – The more you let go of the Old, the more empowered and trusting you feel. Clarity increases and more details about the New Reality arrive. They inspire you to keep moving forward in spite of fears and doubts. You’re shifting the balance of your energy andattention from the Old Reality to the New. Stoke your passion for your desired new state by connecting with it in your imagination or taking active steps in the physical world. Breathe and allow; breathe and allow, imagining with every breath that you are embodying the desired New. Watch for signs and synchronicities that indicate the New is materializing.
Step G – The gripping is over, the New Reality has not fully materialized, yet a calm takes over. You know your world is changing and the more relaxed you are, the more easily you transition. Take actions toward your New Reality to make it feel real and it will become real. Acknowledge synchronicities and landings. Take time to consciously breathe in and allow. Honor all your feelings and allow divine timing to take it from here.
Step H – Success is yours! You’ve made it through the transition and can pamper yourself as you adjust to a new way of being. Congratulate yourself for creating and realizing a dream with your eyes wide open!
© Carla Berg 2015