Somewhere, very early on in my life, I decided that inspirational quotes like this one were the answer. I have been collecting them for as long as I can remember. I have viewed them as the exquisite blueprints for creating the life of my dreams and, not surprisingly, I have deeply internalized the notion that I should be pursuing a big, juicy, delicious life. And I really have been … BUT …
As inspiring as it sounds and although many of my dreams have actually become realities … I have learned something that those inspirational quotes don’t tell you. Pursuing any one of those dreams can be exhilarating … pursuing all those dreams can be exhausting. Unless you are not a dreamer. But, the problem for me, is that I have so darn many Dreams, Desires and Delights on my 3D List as my bestie Marie renamed the infamous ‘bucket list’. (If you would like to view my 3D List, please request the password.)
And yes, I am eager to live out my days in high-def ‘3D’ but here is the thing: I often feel like my mouth is completely stuffed … so jam packed with delicious, delectable morsels that it’s difficult to sufficiently savor of any one of them in particular. And, because I am so passionate about it all, I can’t fathom the idea of spitting anything out. So I keep chewing and chewing and chewing and chewing and chewing. And, although I am nourished in some very wonderful ways … there is also a part of me that longs to simply stop all the jets, come screeching to a halt, and just settle into a more mediocre but manageable ‘one bite at a time’ existence. These competing desires have created a conundrum for me … as well as some health issues. Argh.
BUT … I had a dream. Not to be confused with Martin Luther King, who also had a dream. My dream was not a dream of that magnitude, but rather … it was the kind of dream you have in your sleep. I could have chalked it up to some silly nocturnal nonsense, but upon deeper reflection, I’m thinking that this dream might be the dream that I most need to follow in order to actually create my biggest, juiciest and most delicious life EVER! Let me explain …
In my dream, my husband and I were teamed up in a foot race around the world (kind of like The Amazing Race). We started off in some remote location in the woods with a winding dirt path that led up to a rustic old log cabin that was to be our first pit stop of the race. As we started racing up the road, I fell into a faster than usual pace for the ‘runner’ within me only to be advised by my husband to “run slower”.
I shot him the ‘what the hell would you know’ glance that unequivocally questioned how he (the non-runner) could presume to know the right pace for me? Without accepting my invitation to spat about it, he reasoned that it would be downright impossible to sustain that pace for the whole distance. He humbly suggested that we could maximize our time and optimize our physical resources by slowing down. Hmmm … maybe he was right. I hate it when he’s right, but I knew I had no time for self-righteous bantering. I reluctantly conceded that maybe this was one of those Tortoise and the Hare times when slow and steady wins the race …
And, we were “The first team to arrive!”… at the quaint, old-fashioned store constructed out of ginormous logs … that sold all kinds of hand-made eats, crafts and memorabilia specific to that area of the world. Now, in my wide-awake life, whenever we travel anywhere, I always buy a Christmas tree ornament because nothing pleases me more than fondly reminiscing about my 3D experiences while dressing the tree each year. So there I was … in my ‘racy’ dream (sorry – couldn’t resist the pun) torn between finding a meaningful memento to mark this memory or dashing out the door to maintain our first place lead (not that I am competitive). 🙂
I headed out the door, but as soon as the gravel crunched beneath my first foot step, I could vaguely hear that small inner voice pleading with my sensibilities: “Just how much are you willing to lose in order to win?”
Huh?? That provocative question sparked me to pause in mid stride. As I considered going back for my ornament … I gazed back over my right shoulder and caught a glimpse of the most idyllic purple, orange and pink sunset. It’s spectacular splendor stopped me right then and there. I instinctively gasped as I paused to inhale the magic in that miraculous moment. Just then … the awareness struck me … if I had just kept on running in order to ‘win’ the race, I would have ‘lost’ that precious but unexpected prize.
Absorbed in awe of the colors, I found myself questioning how many other unpredicted, un-pursued but munificent moments like this I had missed as I sped through my days doggedly determined to claim my biggest dreams, desires and delights. It became exceptionally clear that if I wanted to win something big, juicy and truly magnanimous by participating in this race … I would need to do three things:
1. Run … more slowly.
2. Pause … embrace moments and collect memories.
3. Notice … the unexpected magic along the way.
I’m sensing that my dream was a humbling metaphor for my very full, busy ‘follow your dreams’ life. It strikes me that it is far too easy to confuse a ‘big, juicy and delicious life’ with a ‘busy, demanding and overwhelming life’. In order for something to stir the soul … one needs time and space. And when I get real with myself, I can see many places in my life where I have unwittingly traded depth for breadth. And, when I get really real, I can see that I am weary. I have been racing through my life at a ridiculous pace … claiming many dreams at the expense of missing other blessings that weren’t/aren’t on my radar.
And with this awareness, I have been seriously flirting with scaling back to a “one bite at a time” pace. I remain entirely befuddled about how to actually operationalize that desire. I have no clue how to prioritize my bites … and the fears of not being able to ‘do it all’ makes me edgy and uneasy in the most prickly ways. My anxious mind warns me that, at my age, I am over the hill and on the home stretch. If I don’t keep moving quickly, I am going to run out of time and miss out on the miracles.
But … I am also open to the possibility that many ‘unexpected’ dreams, desires and delights will be surreptitiously tucked into a more slow and steady presence. And, I want to leave enough space to savor them. I really do.
Wish me luck and sweet dreams to all of you … Karen
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