We become attached to it, holding on for dear life, grasping what we want to be true. We move forward with blinders that block even the largest of red flags. And, we tell ourselves, over and over, This is the one! I know it! I can feel it!! And, sometimes we entrench ourselves so deeply that it’s hard to find our way out again.
Evidence may even mount that it might be time to reconsider, but we are so married to our idealized view that we can’t (or won’t) let go.
This is really fresh for me right now. Ever since I was a young girl, spending summers on a lake at our family cottage, I have wanted badly (desperately even) to live on a lake. My heart has never let go of this dream, even though most of me has never really believed it could happen.
A month ago I got a hit that it was time to make this move. My husband was immediately on board, and off we went… searching many lakes within a couple hour radius, spending way too many hours online scouring listings, driving hundreds of miles and seeing a lot of junk!
Then we found It (with a capital I!)! And, even though we kept on looking, we kept returning to It. It was unique and charming, and had everything we wanted (minus a few hundred square feet, but we decided we could manage a major downsize at this time). We visited several times and began making plans for our life in this new idyllic lake house. We began purging and cleaning like crazy to get our house ready to sell, and most of our life took a backseat to this venture. We willingly and eagerly poured in most of our time and energy to moving. And, we were excited – so excited to begin this new chapter of our life where we imagined peace, serenity, creativity, and community… We were deeply enmeshed.
Then came the inspection. We expected it to be a formality that would simply move us onto the next phase toward living here. We were even inclined to dismiss some of the findings in favor of the fantasy. But, thankfully, my inner guidance woke me up at 4:30 the next morning and smacked me between the eyes! HEAT! Heat is kind of a big deal here in Western New York!! The inspector had said in multiple ways, that for a variety of reasons we might be cold (as might our pipes)…
The dream came crashing in. First came terror. What had we gotten ourselves into, and what do we do when we’re this far into the process?? Secondly, over a period of time, the sadness and grief of loss for this envisioned future seeped in and hit me so hard that it was almost paralyzing. Everything had been wrapped up in this dream.
Thank goodness my husband and I each have ways to ground ourselves and clear our heads. Letting ourselves be willing to see the truth of the situation allowed us to provide a thoughtful response about the work needed for us to feel comfortable moving forward. We still wanted the house if it could be fixed up the way we had envisioned it to be, though we knew our request was unlikely to be met.
So began the process of letting go of the dream.
When we let go of dreams, overwhelm and disappointment can come rushing in. It is easy to wonder if we have to let go of the whole dream altogether. This happened for me, but thankfully, I’ve realized that the dream itself is not lost. It was just this version of the dream that no longer fit.
The essence of the dream is still there, and now it’s time to move on to find the right package for it.
To do that, we need to tap into the core of the dream. For me, it is the feeling that comes from imagining life on the water that pulls me forward, even when things seem impossibly frustrating.
So, whether it’s a job, a house, or a relationship, sometimes it’s a good thing to have a firm reality check. Is this really what I think it is? Or, do I just wish that it were? When the veil of illusion is lifted, we become free to move forward again. Perhaps toward a better fit.
It may feel like a screeching, twisting, fast-paced roller coaster ride that all of a sudden slams to a halt, and we want to let out a blood curdling shriek! However, it’s better to know now than in January when the fantasy vanishes and your pipes freeze and break. Or 5 years into the job or relationship and your heart breaks.
When we soften our gaze on our dream, we can see it for what it really is rather than being fixated on obtaining it no matter what. We can tune into the qualities we are seeking and look around for them, rather than going after this particular thing like a cat in full body tension, ready to pounce on its prey. This isn’t about survival, after all. It is about finding what will be deeply nourishing. Only from a place of discernment without grasping or clinging can we discover what that might be.
What dream is calling you? Are you able to tune into the seed of that dream or are you being pulled off course by some imagined “it?”