Life can sometimes feel out of control, as though we have no say in where we are going. But we actually do have a say, and we can affect where we are headed – we just need to take a moment to get our bearings in this busy world. In fact, I believe there is a single question you can ask yourself that can change your life forever – but before I give you the question, I have a request. I want you to take some time to really think about the question without boundaries or limitations, and don’t hold back. Answer honestly and completely, whatever that means. So – are you ready? Then here is the question:
If you could wave a magic wand and your life could be anything you want, what would it look like?
When you first read it, this question may seem deceptively simple, but it I can tell you that it holds great power. Through it, we can realize how similar or different our lives are today compared to what we ultimately want, providing healing either way. It can shed light on the areas of our current lives that may already be a part of our dreams but might not be obvious to see. It can also provide a guiding light in the distance that leads our spirits in the directions in which they are intended. As much as I’ve seen this exercise change the lives of my coaching clients, personal experience is always life’s greatest teacher. So let me take you through my answer and how it helped me.
Many years ago I was a single mom of three small children living on welfare and scared as to what my future would hold. I had lost my job and gone through a horrific divorce when I was invited to a New Year’s Eve party that my girlfriend Jackie was having for our close circle of friends. As each of us arrived, we were given a small piece of paper and instructed to write down our dreams for the New Year. When we finished, she told us to fold the paper several times, and we placed them in a box. Jackie picked up the box and set it outside under the moonlight. At midnight (when most fairy tales start to get interesting!), we stood around our “box of dreams” and said a prayer. Then we opened it and read our dreams aloud to each other, intending that all of our wishes would come true.
Here is what I wrote that fateful evening: “I dream of being empowered, centered, strong, energetic, loving, and compassionate! I want to be fully present and connected with others. Fear is gone. Unconditional love surrounds me, my family, and my friends. I listen to my intuition and my authentic self. I am the healthiest that I have ever been, and I am financially sound. My family is secure, close, and connected. I am at peace and continue to grow every day. I love my life!”
When I wrote that entry in my diary, I never thought it would come close to really happening. After all, it was a dream – a fantasy. But from that tiny seed of a dream, a beautiful new life took root and grew. Keeping the image of my dream in mind, and pushing through the difficulties in my world over time, I was able to take my experiences as a woman facing challenges and translate them into a career of helping other women to face their own challenges, tell their stories, look inside themselves, and in turn shift their lives (and my own) toward a positive way of being. I’m arriving in my purpose of inspiring people to break free of fear, resentment, and anger so that they can live their dreams. I will share more from this journey as we go along. But it all started on that fateful New Year’s Eve, when I wrote my dreams down on a piece of paper and read them aloud… they became accessible, and tangible to me like they had not been before, and I could suddenly act with them in mind.
From that day long ago, I learned that keeping track of your dreams is a good thing, not a weakness, and I also learned to live with a hand outstretched to the Universe to allow it to let my dream unfold. I wasn’t clinging with white knuckles to a specific outcome, nor did I let myself get too attached to my description of how things would work. In other words, it’s important to realize that when we wave our magic wands, events might not unfold in the exact way we envision them… yet they will manifest. If we can find the courage to dream, we can find the courage to trust in the ultimate outcome, too.
Sometimes, I know now, we are too afraid to dream, even on paper. We are afraid of opening that door. But when we acknowledge our dreams, we can create the blueprint to reach them. Let the Universe help you here – all you need to do is recognize what your dream is, and stay true to it. The specifics will come in time. I’ve discovered that when a dream blooms into fruition, anything is possible. That prompted me to dream again—a bigger, richer, more beautiful dream. One realized vision leads to another; and this incredible cycle is more incredible each day. It has been years since I wrote that journal entry, and my dream is still unfolding.