Permission to Pursue the Dopest of Dreams

Permission

Sat around the dinner table this evening with friends, talking about life and our dreams, I was thinking about permission. Too often we hang fire on chasing after our dreams because we’re waiting on someone else to give us the permission to do so. Whether we’re conscious of it or not, we’re awaiting permission from parents, society, our peers or even ourselves.

There are two kinds of people. The first are those who are spoon-fed. The second are those who grab the bull by the horns. The former are those who do things the way things were done before them. Even if it doesn’t feel the best, they do what they feel they ought to be doing. It’s what everyone else is doing, therefore surely it’s the smartest choice…The latter are the people who don’t wait for someone to give them the permission to chase their dreams and do what calls to them. These are the people who instead commit to going after what they want – regardless of how difficult it is and how many ‘no’s’ they encounter along the way.

It seems the pattern is fairly consistent here. It doesn’t matter what the committed pioneer is pursuing. First, he tries and goes against societal expectations. He faces the ridicule of friends and family who are still stuck in old ways. This ridicule only stems from those who can’t imagine doing things any other way, or those who have tried and failed. He then faces self-doubt. ‘Why am I doing this to myself?’ he asks. And then, he wins. And it’s that win that feels more fulfilling to him than any amount of spoonfuls presented on a plate. This is because the meal he’s finally tasting is enriched with the most decadent and exotic flavours, far exceeding twice the quantity in slop.

This is metaphor heavy – I realise – but for someone who’s tasted the freedom of dream-chasing, any other life is a sure-fire path to starvation. It’s slop on the plate and a weevil-infested pantry in the mind.

We wonder why mental illness is at an all-time high. Loneliness and unfulfilled dreams permeating every ‘social’ circle. These brilliant minds are bored. They don’t believe in what they do and they’re craving the satiation – the satisfaction – of dreams come true. They’re craving the boomerang effect of vibrations just like the ones in their heart and soul bouncing back at them from a manifested existence that they want to be a part of. More so – that they want to create.

So if we’re all created equal. If each of us unique, with our own set of skills and strengths, why are only a few of us calling the shots? I call it a disease of awaiting permission unnecessarily. And it has quite simply got to stop.

There’s a formula for how the world works at the moment, and few who dare to go against the system and make an attempt at doing things differently. What would be the wider outcome if this became the way of the world? How would the system change?

Today’s food for thought.

Photo: Flickr

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The Tree Won’t Let You Fall

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The other day I was taking a walk in the woods with a good friend, catching up on life and enjoying the sunshine as it trickled delicately through the leaves. We came across a yew tree which was calling to be climbed; it had branches protruding in a natural, circling ladder all the way up the trunk, inviting us to discover what lay at the bough and beyond.

Emmy – one with the trees – had made it to the top before I could even place my water bottle on the ground and begin the ascension. But as I eventually scaled the branches, I began to feel the adrenaline of being at height; something I realised in that moment that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I was fearful of plummeting to my death of course, but exhilarated and alive all at the same time.

Fear is good for us and moments of optional adrenaline-fuelled activities are important because they require our absolute focus. When I was up that tree, I was not thinking about the conversation we had been having on the ground five minutes prior; a conversation that was literally talking through some pretty deep and dark aspects of life, but taking in the view, getting a higher perspective of the woodland and embracing the absolute presence of the moment. And this wasn’t even an optional frame of mind; being in a position where you feel your safety at risk, your focus will not leave your presence.

It is incredible that we now live in a day and age where we have homes with running water, central heating, locks on the doors and health and safety regulations wherever we turn our heads. These things are designed to protect us; save us from danger. But are we meant to live this way? That’s the question I pose today. Are we bubble-wrapping ourselves from life?

If I look back over my life, the moments that stand out the most are the ones of adventure, exploration, risk-taking; the ones that had me experiencing new things for the first time, taking a chance and attempting something outside my comfort zone. The days I have lived a safe life following all the rules and sticking to the plan all merge into this murky place in between the adventures. And if I analyse all of this on a timeline, I realise the unfortunate reality that those interspersed moments of glory and excitement all combine to a small percentage of the year, each year and that there is far too much mundane taking place in between.

So a realist would chime in about now and say, “Well, you can’t be having adventure time all day, every day. You have to work and run errands and what about when you are tired or get sick?”

But I say: what is life? What did we come here to do? And actually, can’t I make every day adventurous if I want to? Isn’t that you projecting your fears or unhappiness in your own life onto me? Who says that my obligations need to be your obligations?

It is so easy to settle these days. So many of us do it; we don’t chase after our dreams because we fear the worst case scenario. But why is that what we focus on? Why aren’t we focussing on the best case scenario which is just as likely to occur? So many of us find a job, get a house and a partner that aren’t what we truly want; they are the settle options. They are the things that we tell ourselves ‘this will do while we look for something else’, however that something else never comes. We expect it to fall into our laps or slap us round the face.

So we need to be striving for greater things for ourselves. Whether it’s embracing the ‘Law of Attraction’ ideology or jumping ship and having a leap of faith, why aren’t we of the belief system that anything is possible? There’s a simple answer for that really; the way that society is currently staged, everything revolves around scarcity. The concept of money: scarcity; there never seems to be enough. Our way of working: there just aren’t enough jobs on the market. It’s all loans and debt and interest and competition and scarcity.

We are a collection of sick people, a sick society going against our intuition every day and not being able to strive for what feels good because we are bombarded with the message that everyone is dangerous, everyone is broke and the world is a terrible place. We have the media to thank for the way that these ideas penetrate our auras on a daily basis, but I guarantee that the people behind that sensationalism and fear-mongering can’t even stand it themselves.

Next time you encounter a situation that makes you scared, ask yourself this: what is the worst that could happen? Would that even be so bad? And then end on this: what is the best that could happen? Imagine if you could strike that worst case scenario off the list; would you still have the same qualms? No. And isn’t it so much worse to not try anything at all?

If we are in a universe that cultivates those thoughts we think, what does that tell us we should be thinking? You get it.

 

4 Easy Steps to Bring Your Dreams to Life

If you’re reading his, give yourself a pat on the back for being a unique, majestic creation. Before you vomit in your mouth, hear me out. You are the only person on this planet fit to do the job of being you; able to contribute to the world in the way that you can. And you need to embrace that. You need to become the person you were born to be. Doing so is embodying kindness and encouraging expansion.

Every single one of us has our own dreams unique to our interests and talents. However, so many of us live our lives according to another’s mantra. You may have a wonderfully supportive family, but still find yourself trying to get a foot in the door to an institute of hostility or trying to climb a ladder up a burning building; in either scenario, you’re going in the wrong direction.

If we look closely at this unfortunate pattern we observe amongst society as a collective, we see the suppressing of our own inner guidance system, to the point where we actually forget what it is that our gut knows will make us happy. We begin to have faith in the blind leading the blind, thinking that ‘if everyone else is doing it, then surely I must too’. It’s a sure fire way to misery. If you’re lucky, you’ll wake up one day and realise how off-track you are and still have time to make a change. If unlucky, you’ll be writhing with regret on your deathbed.

Anxiety (speed scribbling)

Irony smiles its smug grin when you stop and think that so many of us are lucky enough to be living in what could be considered a ‘free’ country, yet still we’re enslaved to an elephant stampeding through every room: ‘the should’. I ‘should’ go to university and obtain a degree to make me an upstanding member of society; I ‘should’ get a corporate full-time job to make my parents proud; I ‘should’ be married with children by age thirty, otherwise I have failed as a human.

Isn’t it tragic? Isn’t it awful that so many of us waste away the years living a ‘should’ life rather than one of passion and joy? We work ourselves into the ground, constantly preaching that it’s only temporary; a better time will come.

The idea of achieving your dreams can feel so impossible when you take a cold, hard look at your life and feel a thousand leagues away, but there are some really easy things that you can do right now to get one step closer.

  1. Put down the phone and grab a pen and paper – yes, like old times – and write a list of goals that you want to achieve. Don’t put a timescale on these, as it is likely that some of these goals may take a few years to fully accomplish. That’s okay; that’s not the point of this exercise. Stick this list in your workspace, on your fridge, wherever you get ready in the morning or on your bedside table; you want it where you can see it so ideas can start brewing on the backburner.

 

  1. Assess each goal and ask yourself the following question:

What is one thing that I can do, right now, to get one step closer to this goal?

You’ll find that it’s quite surprising how much you can actually do relatively easily to get you a little bit closer. Remember, it’s no use focussing on some non-tangible idea that feels miles away as us humans achieve in action steps. Give yourself the tools to pave the way to your goal. Now, these instant steps will vary hugely depending on the goal you’ve jotted down, but I recommend spending an hour that day, or at the next possible opportunity, totally focussed on one of your goals. That hour could be spent researching courses, classes, volunteer placements, travel tips, bank accounts to switch to, sustainable energy providers, or whatever else. That hour could also be spent doing. If your goal is to do more of what you love, make the time in that hour to take photos, cook, exercise, call a friend or whatever else you already know how to do and have the means to. You’ll feel fulfilled by feeding the soul.

 

  1. Share these goals with others. You might not feel proud talking about the day-to-day if it seems mundane to you, but share these goals with others when the opportunity arises. This will not only further encourage you to make them happen, but it will also most likely inspire that other person, stimulating creative conversation. It’s also rather remarkable how opportunities come to you when you simply plant the seed and start talking about them. Before you know it, your friend will be putting you in touch with their friend who knows someone who does what it is that you want to do or can help you with your mission.

 

  1. Make a point to dedicate time to these goals throughout the week; preferably daily. Unless you’re incredibly lucky, those big ‘wow’ goals won’t happen overnight, however keep chipping away at them by whatever means you can and you’ll have carved something beautiful before you know it. Each step counts, because with it you are putting distance between you and the start line. If you start doing these things today, I guarantee you’ll be grateful in a year from now that you committed. There’s no time like the present.

Goal!

Caffeinate, stimulate, hyperventilate, vegetate.

I’m fascinated by the pull of city life and also its implications to mental and physical health. What we see globally is the trend of young people moving into the city for work, where they remain until they decide they’ve had enough, pack up, and retire to the sticks for peace and tranquility – if they’re lucky. Of course there are exceptions, but I think it’s safe to say that en masse, this pattern occurs.

I want to throw technology into the mix here. Back in the day, before the smart phones, tablets, social media and selfies, there was a need for people to talk to one another and interact within this city environment. This didn’t make things so bad, right? Aside from the prices that people couldn’t afford to pay and the car fumes that clogged up their skin and lungs, cities were bustling hubs of life, culture and interaction.

Whilst this is still the case to a certain extent and there is an undeniable pull that makes me want to stay in Bristol and also visit many of the world’s cities, I can’t pretend that I don’t feel the eerie loneliness of living in a city where you’re pretty must on top of each other but without any interaction. I commute by train to work each day. I sit at the station either reading or listening to music and look around at everyone else on their phones and feel the irony of all these people in one place but no interaction amongst us.

Worse still, I look around me in a coffee shop or cafe and I see couples or friends sat together – one or both with their phone on the table – sending out the unspoken message of, ‘you’re important, but not quite as much as someone who might contact me through cyberspace’. At a time when we’re better connected to people across the world than ever, are we forgetting social decency and how to interact with each other in the flesh?

So combined with this fascination with the smartphone we have the rat race. I’m talking about the ‘career building’ bullshit that we force ourselves to sit through because we feel it is expected of us. We put ourselves entirely into someone elses judgement whilst applying for jobs, losing our power by handing a stranger a brief synopsis of our ideas and abilities and let them tell us how capable we are.

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We feel we must go out and get a good corporate job in order to be somebody and win at life. We feel we must leap over the hurdle of a title that is good enough and an income that is good enough and a house and car and 2 holidays a year that are good enough, so that when we converse with others we can stand there proudly and talk about how wonderful we are, only to really go home that night with the empty feeling that something just isn’t right. And worse still, that our life is flowing right by us like a river that we simply can’t keep up with.

Working 9 to 5, gotta be drained to make a living.

In this day and age, with more and more people making their own rules in the world of work, are we progressing towards the end of the 9-5 era? When I think of a 9-5 job, the feeling that stirs in the pit of my stomach is one of regimented boredom. This structured work day allows no room for spontaneity, social surprises, or adventure. It doesn’t work with your changing energy, mood, desires, needs and health, but rather controls your life.

9 to 5

I know I can’t speak for everyone, but what I’ve learned in my twenty five years is that if you love something, you don’t just want to do that thing between the hours of 9-5. You may want to do it through the night or over the weekend or from dawn til dusk 7 days a week. The people I know that are working the 9-5 do it for the money and the people I know that work an alternative do it because they love what they do.

We’re amidst the age of technology and over time we’ll see more jobs become robotised by machines that don’t need to eat, sleep or get sick and quite honestly can do our jobs far better than us. If our society catches up, this would allow us – as creative beings – to focus on creative pursuits. What would you do if money wasn’t an option and you could wake up each day and decide how you wanted to spend it?

Imagine how much more dynamic and vibrant our surroundings would be if musicians could spend their time playing music, rather than waiting a table. Or if painters could paint, teachers could teach freely in their own style, scientists could research without fighting for funding, chefs could cook, designers could design, all without the scarcity of money.

Now the leaves are turning and we’re getting ready for another winter, but I won’t stop waiting for a spring to roll around and bring with it creative freedom unleashed. Perhaps I’m an idealist and my desires unrealistic to many, but what fault is there with wanting the evolution, rather than demise, of man?

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