Do you remember when it was fun to dream and believe? Have you had that dream come true? When I was 12 I dreamed of going to Russia and Africa. I had no idea how it would happen, but I lived in great anticipation that it would happen. Several years later, I jumped at the chance to spend a month in Moscow and then 6 months in Kenya. It’s so much fun when dreams actually happen!
And then there are other dreams. They taunt us with an ever-mocking, “Close, but no cigar!” These are the dreams that are close enough to see and smell but no matter what we try, we never get close enough to actually taste and fill our hunger, sometimes for years. Proverbs talks about these dreams when it declares, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” In other words, a delayed dream can really suck. I’ve had these dreams, too. Have you? Maybe it’s regarding a spouse, children, a business or your health. The longer the dream is delayed, the more discouraged, even frantic, we become. And giving up all hope seems like a better option than enduring one more day of the pain and disappointment tearing us up inside.
And therein lies the universal struggle we create for ourselves: we confuse concern (worry, anxiety, upset, fear) with care (love, peace, trust). We experience our worry as a sign of love. Consider that it’s possible to love without worry, to care without concern. And consider that it may be freeing and empowering to do so.
We don’t just have dreams, we have expectations as to how those dreams are to come about; rules, requirements, should’s and shouldn’ts. These expectations are attachments. And it’s the attachment to who, when, where, why and how the dream is fulfilled—not the delayed dream itself—that creates the worry, anxiety, upset and fear. If we’re willing to take on the paradox of being committed to the dream and unattached to how it comes about, the concern just dissolves. It leaves us living from love, peace and trust right now and free from the struggle with the details in bringing the dream to pass.
Up until our conversation, my client believed that in order to love his son he had to agonize over the situation, and that to not agonize meant giving up the dream of ever being reunited, to essentially stop loving his son. It was amazing to see what opened up for him when he was willing to take on a clear commitment of their relationship being restored while giving up his attachment to the details of how it would come about. Being free from fear and worry, being fueled instead by genuine love and peace, new possibilities and actions opened up for him in a way he had never experienced before. It was really incredible.
If you missed last week’s post on creating a life worth waking up for, check it out!