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“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Do you love what you’re doing? If you could change anything, from tiniest niggle to largest adjustment, what would you do? Would you keep forging ahead for the dream du jour? Or would you modify, skew slightly left, leave the beaten path entirely? What will it take for you to pursue your dream?
As a child, I dreamed of being an artist. If I couldn’t be an artist, I reasoned, I’d become a telephone operator (when there were such things). I understand there are people who know what they want to do, early and always. They’re determined and focused and never waver from the ultimate goal. Me? Well, I needed to wander a bit – ok, like 30 years or so – and experience all sorts of highs, lows, and in-betweens. Where would I find success? How could I be the DreamWeaver I once visualized for myself?
My past is so checkered it’s plaid; while I had tools for survival, I didn’t know what kind of life could be available to me. How could a high school drop-out, former domestic violence victim and Meth addict do anything big? My dreams were not supported. Lots of people told me I couldn’t do art and make a living. I believed them for a long time. I worked many years as a telephone operator and customer service specialist. Then I realized no one else was going to fulfill my dream, so I better do it myself.
The hardest part of any journey is just getting started; mine felt like it took forever to begin. Every step seemed to create four more steps; for every easy pathway there were three roadblocks. It was tough, I’m not gonna lie; single parenting as a full-time student on welfare is never easy. I learned that what I don’t know can throw a monkey wrench into my works in a heartbeat. I also had to learn how to ask better questions. With a lot of work, heart ache and fatigue, I did it.
Plans, maps and realistic goals
What I didn’t do was make a plan. Silly me. I was pretty sure that graduating with an AA in Graphic Art was the goal. I have since learned that goals are and always will be ahead of me; now I see that how I achieve those goals is a choice I make. I’ve spent many days (and nights) circling drains and rattling chains, bound by the ideas of others. I’ve tried to half-ass my journey to make it easier – which I don’t recommend, since it just makes it twice as hard in the long run. I’ve filled many journals (currently residing under my bed) with plans, maps and goals. I consider myself a true DreamWeaver, since I’m working hard to create my own. Yes, I do have a plan now and I refer to it often. I also update it frequently because, let’s be real: Life has curves and corners we never saw coming…
Conformity is delightful. Really! There are clear boundaries and mass routines that make existence easier. The flip side is that, sadly, there’s no room for out-of-box behavior. To remain flexible in a rigid world is a talent and a skill. It’s easy to build “What’s always been done” structures around us. Going rogue is a scary thing -- and I’m very much a fan of it. Sometimes, however, to live our lives fully we need to learn how to swing from vines; we do that by learning which vines are strong enough to hold us. We learn THAT from crashing to the ground…
Life is a Process. Trust the Process*
Every day we create an existence, aiming for our best life. Still, we’re human and sometimes that means that we do, say or think things that may not be to our immediate benefit. Sometimes we walk away from a job, relationship or a situation and that leaves a mark. Sometimes we zig instead of zag, stand up when others are sitting down, speak up in the face of silence. Sometimes there’s a high cost of living; sometimes there’s a huge reward. We’re following a path that we have complete dominion over, no matter what anyone else would have us believe. Life – like DreamWeaving – takes effort. Believe in the outcome. And remember: You are the only one who can fulfill your dream…
*The best book about the creative process that I’ve read so far is Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff
About Athena WiseNrich
Once upon a time, a baby boomer named after a middle-aged soap opera star realized that with everything she’d endured, enjoyed and was embarrassed to remember, she had achieved goddess status. And thus came to life the Goddess of All She Surveys, Athena WiseNrich. Artist. Author. Advisor.
A talented and skilled communication consultant with over 35 years of experience (Amazon.com, IMDb.com, and Doneby.com as Nancy Rich) Athena writes and illustrates books (http://www.amazon.com/Athena-Wisenrich/e/B00JKRVDVE/ ) and consistently posts a daily inspirational message on social media. Currently at work on the fourth book, “A Year of Affinitive Thinking”, Athena incorporates calligraphy and original art to inspire and motivate others.
Athena knows that life as a DreamWeaver isn’t always easy or pretty, and understands there are days when the chuck-it bucket looks mighty attractive. During her years pursuing her own dreams, she’s learned the value of finding the positive angle to every situation and shares her decidedly different perspective often.
Everyone has a mission in life and Athena believes hers is this: To Share Light, Love and Laughter everywhere, with everyone…
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