On Living Your Dreams
Yesterday I posed a question; what talent, gift or expression are you holding in? I was warmed and delighted by the wonderful responses. I was also reminded of an assignment I had back when I was in college when as my daughter says, dinosaurs roamed the earth. (She’ll have kid one day.)
I attended Jacksonville University in Florida. I had come from a school system that desegregated after I graduated and had attended a strict Pentecostal Church. While I maintained my culture and my beliefs I opened my mind and my heart to learning new things. I took a course in art therapy from my mentor Sally Myers and was rewarded with a way to realize a dream and expression that I had not allowed myself to even think about. Back then I was intimidated by the newness of everything around me. I worked hard and stayed focused on my desire to be a sociologist without even understanding how far it could take me. I saw every book, class and professor as a tool for climbing out of poverty and oppression. While some learned for the test, I learned for life.
Sally Myers was not only the instructor for my course she was also my boss. She was in charge of the dorms and I had become a Resident Assistant. I was intimidated by this artistic and brilliant woman but I also wanted to do my absolute best.
On the first day of class everyone introduced themselves and shared their preferred medium. I had no idea what my medium was. I could not draw, paint or sculpt but my sister Myrna had been a painter and a photographer. I had grown up with an appreciation for art and wanted more of it. I told Sally and the class that I was there to appreciate their work since I was not an artist but I had no idea how that class would forever change me.
At the end of that first day we instructed to bring a pillow for the next class; we’d be doing an exercise called the Pillow Fantasy. I looked around the classroom to see if anyone else was concerned and I noticed that my classmates looked as confused as I did. Still, we all complied and brought in our pillow. I had had nightmares of the orgies and madness that might ensue. (When you grow up expecting Jesus’ return at all times, you have a tendency to think that everything and everyone, including you, is sinful.)
Sally told us to put the pillow on the floor and to lie down on it. “Here it comes,” I thought. It’s about to get freaky up in here. We were told to close our eyes, but I couldn’t. I wanted to see what would happen to me. When nothing did, I finally closed my eyes and opened my mind to the process. We were guided in a meditation where we imagined the most magnificent art project we could dream of. We were instructed to see ourselves presenting or performing the work of art in every detail. The meditation took the entire class but the tie flew by.
I saw myself standing in front of a large audience. I was lecturing, but at times, I sang and at others I told jokes. The audience in my fantasy was laughing one moment and crying the next. They applauded and nodded with each story and lesson that was taught. At the end of my lecture/performance, people came to tell me how their lives had been changed.
When the meditation was done we were instructed to write out what we had seen as a homework assignment. Then we were told that this would be our assignment for the semester. I told Sally, that I did not see myself painting or sculpting as other students had. She said that it didn’t matter, that our hearts knew our desire and that it had informed us.
I didn’t know how I would pull the assignment off, but I did and because I have to catch an early flight, I will get right to the point, I am now living this fantasy.
Every time I lecture I present information through stories and humor. I open with a song and close with wisdom of the ages. I watch as the audience laughs one moment and cries the next and I am rewarded with applause, hugs and their stories in return.
I sometimes wonder what might have happened if I hadn’t ventured away from what was comfortable; if I hadn’t opened my heart to something new.
Yesterday I heard from a woman who has always wanted to illustrate a children’s book. The first story I ever wrote came from a dream I had and it was a children’s story. You already know what’s going to happen, we’ll be collaborating.
What dream or fantasy do you have that has gone untapped? Open your heart and your mind to see the possibility unfold.
· How has a dream shaped your life?
· Without quitting your job, find ways to explore the dream as a hobby.
· I dreamed of lecturing and I get to do it. For every dream there is a need. Find a need for your dream. Volunteer at a school, a long term care facility or in a community theatre.
· Take a course in something you’ve wanted to explore and develop the talents you've allowed to lie dormant.
· Encourage a child in their dream. It’s never too late to realize a dream and always time to support a child.
Every day I get to live my dream.
“When you do what you love, you’ll never work a day of your life
BE well, Be you, DREAM
Bertice Berry, PhD.