A year and a half ago, in June of 2012, I felt the inner nudge to give some time to imagining what I wanted to bring more of into my life for the remaining 6 months of the year.
I put on some of my favorite music, poured a glass of wine, took out a couple sheets of printer paper and a sharpie and started listing out dreams. Every-day kind of dreams (like finding a hairstyle I loved) to big-ticket kinds of dreams (like taking the family to Africa for a safari vacation.)
One of the things that I wrote was “Show one of my pieces of art in a gallery show.”
I began painting during my undergrad years and many of my large paintings have traveled across the country with me from California to Boston to New Jersey, even though I hadn’t “done” anything with them in many years.
After I wrote my open dream list, I began to ask myself what actual steps could I take that would activate the elements I began to see woven into the dreams I wrote. So even though I had no idea how to move forward on getting my art shown in a gallery exhibit…I saw that dream as signaling the element of creativity that I wanted more in my life.
I started thinking that taking an art class would be something fun to do.
Once the Fall came I did end up finding a mixed media art class that gathered on Monday nights. It was fantastic- and exactly what I needed at the time, which ultimately was a place I could get lost in my own world for a while, get creative, and get messy far away from the reach of little hands.
I never once thought going to this class would directly connect to a gallery showing of my work. And perhaps that’s one of the most important points of this process.
It’s so important to name what you want, it’s important to take forward action toward it, but often it’s equally important to let go of clinging so tightly to the outcome that you aren’t open to the divine nudges along the way.
If I was too focused on the end result of showing my art somewhere, my action would have been stalled.
I would have had no idea what the next steps were. But by looking deeper into the dream and getting clear on the essence of it, I could find a way to bring some of that goodness into my life in the here and now.
Later that winter, I ended up rearranging my office and the dream list got packed away, but I did continue to paint more at home and bring the skills I learned from that class into art pieces I had begun 18 years earlier and knew I always wanted to complete.
Fast forward six more months to the end of this last summer when I get an email from the art teacher I took the class with.
She explained that she was able to secure a “Student Exhibit” show at the Papermill Playhouse Art Gallery (which is a prominent theater in New Jersey) and that we could submit up to two paintings as long as they used the method she taught us in the class.
As soon as I read that email I immediately thought about that 2012 dream list I hadn’t seen in 6 months.
My art was going to be shown in a gallery exhibit!!
Within two weeks I was driving my art work up to the theater for it to be hung. Here’s the second piece I worked on at home, which is one in a series of four paintings I did when I returned from working in Kenya 18 years ago.
Dreaming is an essential part of goal setting and success planning in your life…but it’s important to be able to distinguish the difference between an actionable dream you can get to work on right away and a “core feeling” dream that helps you identify the essence of what you want more of in your life.
Guiding ourselves through dreaming is a way to help us get comfortable with NAMING what we want in our lives.
I’ve come to see the power of naming what we want as a crucial first step in the process– and many of us (myself included) have lost the ability to really know our own desires and preferences in our lives. I think it can be an artifact of a life spent focused on others’ needs and desires.
As you may have heard, I’m leading our second annual go around my Whole-Life Mapping Blueprint webinar for 2014 (over 1200 women have sign up so far- woo hoo!)
It’s a very hands-on and heart-connected kind of call where we walk through exercises that help connect the different centers of our brain in order to get a wider view of where we want our lives to be heading and how we can make the strides we need to get there.
I would absolutely love if you’d join me for this special (no cost) webinar as my end of 2013 gift!
*Please note, the webinar is now over…but this is a yearly tradition at WellGrounded Life- and we’ll do it again next December together!