The relevance of those words hit home again fairly recently as I sat at a local coffee shop and (inadvertently) overhead a conversation between a life-coach & her client. Have you ever witnessed others go on & on about what they really deserve and should have had, but they didn’t accomplish and are still lacking? You can encourage them as much as you want - from here to eternity and back - but if they are not absolutely convicted that there’s more to it than just wanting, wishing and waiting, then it becomes, as Langston Hughes would say: “a dream deferred”. The life-coach had a tough time trying to convince her dreamer-client that she needed to do more than just dream, and it got me to thinking about my future dreams versus my present reality.
Over a decade ago when I was at a pivotal crossroad in my life, I created a specific vision board as part of a manifestation ritual I was doing for the New Moon. It’s interesting to see how I have not had to change the content on that particular board after all this time, but on each New Moon, I always revisit my original dream to see if I am on target, or if I need to do something differently. It’s almost like gardening: with each season and even in between, you have to weed, dead-head, fertilize and tend to your crop. Assuming nothing needs to change - if nothing else - you have to at least stop long enough to ‘smell the roses along the way’ or appreciate the fruits of your labor. My vision board has representative pictures of what I wished to manifest in my life with a central theme of fulfilling my Soul’s purpose. Yes, it included elements of my dreams, but I knew if I didn't do anything else but sit and look at it, nothing would ever come to fruition. If I didn't develop a plan for accomplishing said wishes and dreams, they would never materialize.
My present day reality is an attestation to the hard work I put in and the sacrifices I made. Now that’s not to say that I was all work and no play. I have played hooky and partied, napped instead of being “productive”, resisted and rebelled, got distracted and took a wrong turn, and I have kicked a can or two in disgust or despair or when I got super frustrated. I am proud of my hard work and the progress I have made, but it doesn't stop there. There are days when I still feel as if I haven’t done enough, that there is so much more to do, yet very little time. I cannot rest on my laurels. I think I can credit my ancestral lineage for my determination and drive, and my parents for raising us the way they did. They instilled in us through their words and their actions, that if you wanted something, you work for it. “IT” wasn't going to be handed to you on a silver platter. Their wisdom came in succinct but deeply powerful sentences such as: “You weren't born with a silver spoon in your mouth”, “Hard work never killed anyone”, and perhaps the other half to the above opening quote: “God helps those who help themselves” (Algernon Sydney).
I am now in the process of learning how to manage my own business, and so the vision board that I created 5 years ago for the practice of my dreams continues to morph and change each month on the New Moon. Its structure and foundation is driven by a step-by-step business plan, but what warms my soul and provides fuel for the fire is my vision for how I want to practice and the capacity in which I am called to serve. It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. That space in which I live is where my dreams meet reality. The Elders ask: Where lie your dreams, and what steps will you take to manifest them into reality?
Audrey Steele, L.Ac.
“A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work” (Colin Powell)