Dreams do come true – the day dream kind, the wish upon a star kind. I know this because many of mine have. I know they have because I wrote them down. Two examples stand out and show how writing dreams down can benefit life writers.
Moving to Pittsburgh
Around 1983 I began dreaming about moving away from what I considered to be the serious career limits of life in Washington’s Tri-Cities (Richland, Kennewick and Pasco). That was during the hey day of the goal setting movement, at least for me. So I drafted a list of everything I wanted when we moved, even though no move was in sight. That list had over twenty items. Among other things it included
- Major university.
- Major corporate headquarters
- A house with high ceilings
- A stream in our backyard. (That was pure whimsy, nothing I expected to get.)
I stuck that list somewhere and forgot about it.
In 1985 my husband accepted a job transfer from the Westinghouse Hanford Nuclear Project to the Westinghouse Nuclear Center in Monroeville, Pennsylvania. I was thrilled to be in a suburb of a real city. Fast forward about three years. I found that list. I was stunned. Every item on it had been fulfilled. True, the high ceiling is only a half-cathedral and the stream only runs after a serious rainstorm, but it is a stream, and it is in the woods in our backyard.
in 1993 I wrote a future vision as part of another goal-setting/dream-building exercise. Over the past several years I’ve remembered that exercise often, and looked all over for it, primarily to show my daughter that a dozen years before she met their father, I knew she’d eventually have two daughters. My memory was of writing it by hand in one of the pile of notebooks I began as journals of one sort or another and then abandoned. I’ve found it perplexing that I’ve never been able to find it.
Yesterday I found it. While sorting through various artifacts in my office, thinning things out before packing to move (date as yet undetermined), I found some gorgeous 20-year-old overhead slides I used in workshops and programs on holding effective meetings. Hoping I could find the original file on my computer, I began digging through back-up folders uploaded from old floppies (remember those?). I never did find the slides, but I found something even better:
I found my dream building file, the one I’ve been looking for. Memory was wrong It was never on paper. It’s beautifully done in workbook format. I remember now that I had visions of publishing that workbook, without my personal content.
Reading over the elements of that dream, I buzzed with excitement. I’m living most of that dream right now. Other elements, like the office and house I describe, exactly match what I recently wrote about the house I hope to find in Austin. The dream document said Seattle, but at this point Austin is a better choice. My daughter has built the free-lance writing business I foresaw, and she does have two young daughters. Nearly 25 years after writing that, we will live near each other.
Quite aside from any mystical, metaphysical “laws of attraction” aspects of goal-setting, these documents are jewels for lifewriters.
- They document with laser precision just what we hoped and dreamed for at various points in time.
- They provide a mirror for reflecting on subsequent events. If we were on target as I have been, we can follow the trail of events that led from then to now. If not, we can explore the insurmountable obstacles, how they affect us, and how they shaped our lives.
- They provide a focus for stories and memoir.
Sowing and reaping
It’s never too late to start harnessing the power and fascination of dreams. I can’t guarantee they’ll all come true, but I do guarantee you’ll have a fascinating experience as you consider the possibilities. Although it does work to lose them and find them years later, I suggest you start a journal for this specific purpose and keep track of it. That might be on paper, but a computer file serves well too. Just back it up and file it where you’ll be able to find it again.
Write now: write down a dream of life as you’d like it to be at some point in the future. Give your inner critic a sleeping pill and call in your muse to help you be creative. Be precise and specific about describing details that make it real. Include whimsical elements like that stream. Include emotions and feelings you expect to have. Don’t worry about editing or spelling. Just write it all down. It’s worked for me to file this stuff away and forget about it. Most gurus have you post it on your wall and keep it in sight to keep its power alive. Follow your instincts on this. Years from now, you’ll find it again and have something to remember, write about, and maybe share with your family and the world.
Image credit: Ruben Alexander