Last updated on July 13th, 2022 at 05:43 pm
Are you worried that you can’t make your big dream come true?
My favorite dream expert and best-selling author, Barbara Sher, has a dream exercise she calls, “Reclaiming Wonder.” She developed this exercise because she found that when people attempt to get back in touch with their big dream, they become stuck in daily life burdens.
They suddenly can’t see past their responsibilities to pursue their big dream–even when they desperately want to achieve it.
You spend so much time worrying about what to fix for dinner, when you need to buy new tires for your car, how you are going to pay for your or your kid’s college, and so forth–down to worrying about what you need from the grocery store for dinner–you forget to stop to be present the current moment.
It’s like Christmas. I bet many of you spend the holiday season in a blur, running around frantically trying to buy gifts, bake, wrap, work, and prep for guests until you collapse in your pajamas once everyone is gone. During the crazy, did you stop to notice the changing season? What about the trees in your yard? The weather? How about the smell? Did you stop to notice the smells of the holiday season?
All too often, you forget to look at the current season with childlike wonder because you are busy worrying about everything and everyone else–then BOOM, another year ends along with the season.
Wonder is the place where big dreams are born. It’s the place of new beginnings.
To start any new venture, like blogging, you have to get to a place of wonderment. Do you remember what imaginative play felt like? Do you remember how play had no rules? Sometimes play simply involved spinning in circles until you fell on the ground and laid there staring at the sky lost in your daydreams.
Wonder put you in touch with what drew you in–what was calling out to you to inspect at a closer range. It’s about living in the moment and taking a chance. It’s about being lost in thought and not caring if anyone is watching you. It’s almost as if you are separate from the world in your own private place, observing nature and the space around you as if it had a life and voice of its own.
Then you grow up, take on a world of responsibility and give up on play and imagination. You stop connecting with that child who found everything about the world an exciting, captivating place.
Maybe you dreamed of traveling the world, giving motivational speeches to large crowds, becoming an accomplished photographer, dancing on stage, staring in a movie, or painting a masterpiece. You didn’t care what anyone thought about these dreams back then–you just languished in them, twisting them into personal stories whenever you wanted to escape into your mind.
Those were the days when the flowers and butterflies felt like they were talking to you. How do worried adults bring back their childlike wonder and awe at life?
Barbara Sher has an exercise in once of her books, “It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now.”
How to Reclaim Wonder
1. Find your favorite dried spice–something that you love to smell.
Place some of it into a small plastic bag that is easy to access and can fit in your pocket. You can just put the spice directly into your pocket, but if your seasoning is ground cinnamon, it could get a little messy. You want this spice easily accessible at all times as you go through your day.
Whenever you hang up your phone after a business call, or look at your cell phone, or finish running for the train, bus, taxi, or race across town to pick up your kids, reach into your pocket and squeeze the spice with your fingertips, and watch yourself snap back to the pleasure of wonder.
2. At this very moment, take the palm of your hand and touch something near you, like to polished wood of your desk or the fabric on your pants, or sleeve, and pay attention to the sensation.
See how many different surfaces you can touch without getting up from your chair. Imagine what the same experience must have been like when you were only a one-year-old.
3. Discover how many senses respond to the atmosphere outside.
Sit somewhere outside or next to an open window and close your eyes. Take in the bluster of winter (or the warmth of the air if you are somewhere warm at this time of year). Take in the quickness of the wind, or the stillness of the sky. Notice how much you know about this day without using your eyesight at all.
Listen to the wind blow through the trees, or the rain on the roof, and feel the heat or cold or dampness on the skin of your arm and the wind in your hair and smell the fires burning, or fresh-cut lawns. And notice the increased awareness of quickness or calm or crispness, of hints of memory about days like this or the expectation of rain or snow or nightfall that comes from somewhere harder to name.
4. Once you’ve taken in all you can with your eyes closed, open them and look around you.
Take special note of what shows you the kind of day it is; screen out other distractions. Note the clouds moving, bright shadows, or the absence of shadows, dawn or evening light, or the purity of winter.
All this belongs to you. That’s what you’ve lost and what you want back again. And now it rests in your hand.
When you see the extraordinary in the every day, you’re always on a journey, no matter where you are.
This where you can begin to enjoy the possibilities that life has to offer. As part of your plan to work on your dream this year, start first with reclaiming your sense of wonder. Look at all the beautiful things that work in your life right now. Let go of your thoughts about needing to be responsible and remember what it was like to be a kid full of imagination.
Then get up and find your favorite spice.
Make a commitment to yourself to bring back your sense of childlike wonder. Try doing something only a child will do and see if it helps you remember the hobbies you once loved. Pay attention and listen to what your soul is telling you about the experience. Your big dream is there waiting for you.
Catherine Hughes is the editor and founder of 8WomenDream. She’s also a magazine columnist, content creator, blogger, published author, and former award-winning mom blogger. Catherine collaborates with companies to craft engaging web content and social media narratives. Her work, highlighting stories of the resilience and success of Northern California residents, appears in several print magazines. Outside of work, she treasures motherhood, her close friendships, rugby, and animals.
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