Alert readers will pick up the paradox of my last post. Since no one mentioned it, allow me!
On the one hand, I can tell myself it is selfish to pursue my dream. I may waste years in the pursuit, and valuable time or money, right? (This assumes the product is more important than the process.) I may sacrifice my children’s education, my marriage, my financial stability, in order to accomplish my dream. I may not eat this week, or pay my bills. If I pursue my dreams, I cause others to sacrifice. They lose out because of my focus. They may not eat this week!
On the other hand, I can tell myself that if I pursue my dreams, I will become a larger person. The discipline, dedication and perseverance build my character. Relationships and networks form that might never happen otherwise. I might actually inspire others, and foster their dreams. My dream, realized, might even provide for others, generating new ideas, income and relationships. So I owe it to others to pursue my dreams, right?
I’ve tried both philosophies. How about you?
With the paradox comes the deeper question: how important is it to pursue a dream?
My current paradigm is: I would rather start something and not be able to finish, than to not start for fear of not finishing. No guts, no glory. No pain, no gain.
And here are some things I’ve discovered: I have to pursue dreams. I become a larger person. It is a divine attribute; there is something eternal about it, life-giving, life-saving. It can go toxic. I have to know when it’s time to sell the boat. I’d rather trust and enjoy the process than worry about the product, although I admit, the ‘product’ of this chapbook is mighty satisfying!
So I’m going to ask you a question someone asked me once, with profound repercussions: What do you earnestly desire? If you can’t name that, take some time soon to dig it out. Listen to Thomas Traherne, 17th C. poet from England, for the most affirming message on desire I’ve ever come across:
“Desire is a mighty force, one of your most divine attributes! Whatsoever thing ye desire when ye pray believe that ye have received them and ye shall have them! See the God-like quality of desire. For it is part of the Atomic energy of the soul. The Kingdom of heaven within you is operating through desire. Do not quench it or crush it or suppress it. Rather offer it to Me. Offer Me your most elementary desires, your craving for happiness, for love, for self-expression, for well-being, for success, for joy, on any level of your being—offer these freely and without shame to me and I will transmute them so that you shall achieve release and fulfillment and complete freedom from frustration.”
Kinda makes you want to go home and make a list, eh?!
What do you earnestly desire?