Shattered Dreams Have The Power To Change Our Lives For Good

“Everyone needs wishes and dreams, because the bridge you build between them and reality is your life.” – Marilyn Bagel

Many people are afraid to dream, either they simply don’t know how to, or more often because they are mired in only knowing how to color within their comfortable world-view box. So many of us are afraid to color outside our limited lines. Sometimes the fear of failure and imagined pain keeps an individual from reaching higher. So, many people don’t dare to dream!

Many walking wounded have walked through my psychotherapy doors in pain, hopeless, and hurt. Often, life has dealt them a harsh blow and their ache from something they wanted that went awry has resulted in a sense of helpless defeat. Then there are others who have reached too high without laying the necessary groundwork and planning the requisite steps to get where they want to go. They come bringing shattered dreams with little sense that a better outcome is possible.

One dream may die, only to be replaced with different dreams holding deeper appreciation and greater joy. The journey, though, is not without times of despair, eventually to be replaced with hope.

A less threatening and often more realistic way to follow your dream is something I call “The Three Bears Rule.” Finding the right balance between too little, too much, and one that is just right is a process that entails the ability to be both focused and flexible. Focus keeps your eye on the goal. Flexibility allows you to let in new potentially useful information, to try new ways of being, and to let go of emotional and pragmatic tools that simply don’t work. It also allows that magical “aha” moment when an idea suddenly takes a new shape and answers seem to appear from out of the blue. This is rarely an easy balance, and few are prepared for it without flips, flops, and failures along the way.

Those in creative fields tend to be our most imaginative and frequently leading-edge dreamers. They do dare where others fear to tread. The most productive of these dreamers are often born with and/or given the opportunity to create without being stifled. Not only do they have talent, but also they usually score high on a measurable scale with a quality known as Emotional Intelligence, what we loosely term intuition or a sixth sense. More pragmatic types such as scientists can also dream big. However, they tend to follow their dreams in a more logical, systematic, and goal-oriented fashion.

Whatever type or combination you may be, it’s always a mix of luck, timing, ability, and the discipline to practice as a great athlete, dancer or musician must to achieve one’s dream.

Ah, but, as Shakespeare might say, “There’s the rub.” Life is not linear and neither is the achievement of dreams. Anyone who has tried to dream beyond their current status knows they risk physical and emotional injuries. Frequently one feels like a small sailboat tossed by turbulent waves. Yes, we often get “seasick” when we follow our dreams. Shattered dreams happen every day in everyone’s real world. At the end I will list some ways to go beyond enduring pain, growing, and, in fact, learning to thrive.

A few exceptional people are akin to Cervantes’ Don Quixote or Voltaire’s Candide who live for their dreams and, a sin the latter’s case, are carried by an eternal optimism that whatever happens “this is the best of all possible worlds.” We humans embrace this sense of a hopeful dream. That’s why the varied, eternal productions of Man of La Mancha are sure to be available in a play, ballet, opera, or some other creative art form in a theater near you at several points in your life.

What is a shattered dream? It isn’t always not flying to the moon or not winning a Nobel Prize. In the world of the mundane, most of us fall short of expectations daily. Our positive attitude, how we “roll with the punches,” makes all the difference.

  1. Perhaps we didn’t get the “A” we anticipated.
  2. Or, we didn’t get selected to be on the baseball team we always dreamed of playing for.
  3. Or, the marriage we anticipated holding for “better or worse” forever didn’t last.
  4. Possibly we became a caregiver and gave up our own desires for someone we loved, as illness took over our life.
  5. Our child became a drug addict, not the star we raised her to be.

The list is endless. Yet, we can reframe our expectations and a cathartic change can occur. In that change we may find greater joy in small accomplishments or in a transformational love that we never dreamed possible.

Shattered dreams are never fun and always require time to heal and the ability to morph into what will be. In fact, many believe the very act of dreaming during sleep is one way we stay balanced and heal. Old dreams may die. New ones can always emerge. One only needs to believe they can succeed.

Dr. Dorree Lynn

Used by permission from Life’s Journey Magazine

Dr. Dorree Lynn is a well-respected psychotherapist, mentor, consultant, life coach, author, educator and workshop presenter. Her lectures are peppered with humor and salted with wisdom. She is available for presentations. Dr. Dorree can be contacted at: DrDorree.com

 

 

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Our lives are entirely up to us

“To feel ambition and to act upon it is to embrace the unique calling of our souls. Not to act upon that ambition is to turn our backs on ourselves and on the reason for our existence.” “Turning pro is a mindset. If we are struggling with fear, self-sabotage, procrastination, self-doubt, etc., the problem is, we’re thinking like amateurs. Amateurs don’t show up. Amateurs crap out. Amateurs let adversity defeat them. The pro thinks differently. He shows up, he does his work, he keeps on truckin’, no matter what.” “The amateur dreads becoming who she really is because she fears that this new person will be judged by others as “different.” The tribe will declare us “weird” or “queer” or “crazy.” The tribe will reject us. Here’s the truth: the tribe doesn’t give a shit. There is no tribe. That gang or posse that we imagine is sustaining us by the bonds we share is in fact a conglomeration of individuals who are just as fucked up as we are and just as terrified. Each individual is so caught up in his own bullshit that he doesn’t have two seconds to worry about yours or mine, or to reject or diminish us because of it. When we truly understand that the tribe doesn’t give a damn, we’re free. There is no tribe, and there never was. Our lives are entirely up to us.”

 

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12 Stupid Things People Care About Way Too Much

What would a month in blogging be without yet another obligatory “X Things that Blah Blah Blah” post for all of you and your friends to share? Because reading these days is just too boring unless it’s put into an easily-digestible list form.

Well, good news: I’ve heard your attention deficit disorder calling and so I have responded: 12 Stupid Things People Care Too Much About.

1. Whose Fault it is

Imagine this. You’re babysitting two kids. Hell, maybe it’s your own kids. And they’re running around shoving each other and doing usual obnoxious kid things. Then suddenly you hear a crash. You run into the room, and the super sacred $5 billion dollar vase that Grandma made with her bare hands during the holocaust was knocked off a table and broke into a thousand pieces.

What happens?

Whose fault is it?

The two kids immediately point to each other and blame the other. They present their cases. They start whining and cutting each other off. Now, let’s say one of them seems to have a more likely story. Let’s say one of them is a little violent shithead and you have a hunch that it’s probably his fault anyway. What do you do?

Nothing. You either punish them both, or do nothing.

None of this changes the fact that both of them were running around and being reckless around nice, precious objects. None of this changes the fact that theoretically, both were behaving negligently enough to cause destruction. It also doesn’t change the fact that the vase is broken and is never coming back. One could even argue that it’s your fault for putting such a valuable item in a vulnerable place around kids (idiot.)

We spend a lot of our time and effort looking for whose fault something is, even when it doesn’t matter. You order a cod at a nice restaurant that is undercooked and sucks. You want to blame the chef so you call the manager over and go on a tirade. But who knows, maybe the cod was poorly prepared by the sous chef, or the manager himself didn’t store the cod correctly the night before. Or maybe they tried buying from a shitty supplier. Or maybe there’s a poor system of communication in the restaurant and so misunderstandings are prevalent and this affects how the food is prepared.

But no, the chef sucks, fuck him. Fire him.

As humans we all enjoy a scapegoat; we need a scapegoat. You see this most often with government. An entire bureaucratic system may be fucked up, causing continuous waste and inefficiency. So what happens? A few people get blamed and fired and the system continues. The public is satisfied. Someone is blamed and punished, so everything must be right again? Wrong.

There are times when it’s important to know whose fault it is. Like when engaging in chemical warfare. Or finding out who pissed on the toilet seat. But in most of the cases of our lives, it’s an inconsequential distraction. And it’s based largely on ego gratification and little on actual life improvement. What’s done is done. Accept it and move on.

2. Celebrity and Sports Gossip

These people directly affect your life in absolutely no way whatsoever. Your obsession and investment in them is worse than harmless entertainment, it is a way to live vicariously through the idealizations of who you wish you could be — if only you weren’t so afraid to get off the couch and actually do something. Yeah, there, I said it.

Or as Lil’ Wayne once said, when asked if he was concerned that people may look to him on how to live: “If you need a rapper to tell you how to live your life, then maybe you ain’t got no life.”

3. Sexual Jealousy

A lot of people get jealous and possessive in relationships. They don’t like their partner talking with someone else, or hanging out with members of the opposite sex without them. Some people get even crazier. They get jealous about things that happened before they met their partner. They get jealous about things that might happen in the future. Hell, they get jealous about things that didn’t happen but could have happened.

Sexual jealousy is a waste of energy and toxic for your relationship.

It’s really simple: either you trust your partner or you don’t.

If you trust your partner, then shut your mouth. If you don’t trust your partner, do everyone a favor and dump them.

“Well, what if I trust them but they lie to me anyway?”

Then trust that one day you will find out. Dishonest people cannot hide their dishonesty forever. Eventually it will surface and be obvious. And on that day, dump them.

The worst part of sexual jealousy is that it drives your partner to commit the exact actions in which you’re trying to prevent them from doing in the first place. Imagine you’re dating somebody and this person is insanely jealous. Everything you do they accuse you of lying to them or sneaking around behind their back. Every person of the opposite sex you speak to they accuse you of flirting or freak out that you’re sleeping with 10 other people.

What’s stopping you from actually cheating then? I mean, you’re going to get yelled at whether you’re honest or not. Apparently they believe you’re a dishonest person anyway, so you may as well get the benefits from being dishonest, right? What’s stopping you from cheating? Not much.

4. Being Right

There’s an old saying, “The man who knows everything learns nothing.” Let go of the need to always be right. This one is really simple. How do you learn and improve and become a better person? That’s right, by being wrong about stuff. So try to be wrong about stuff a little more often.

Besides, nothing’s more annoying than somebody who will argue to the death over some inane detail that doesn’t matter anyway. I like to punch those people.

5. National Politics

Pop quiz: name your town’s mayor and one representative to the state legislature.

No? Then please shut up about Bush and/or Obama.

Our lives are more directly affected by the results of local politics, yet nobody cares except old people, religious nuts and conspiracy theorists. Instead, we all want to focus on the big stage. In the US, there’s particular weight and importance placed on the US President, someone who ultimately wields less power than Congress, the Federal Reserve, or in some cases, the Supreme Court. But the president is an easily consumable personality. He’s easy to argue about and to blame for everything (see #1), when really the fucked up roads by your house, the poor medical funding, the zoning laws that are screwing up your neighborhood, the education crisis and the disaster relief are all city and state issues that you’re all but ignoring.

flip flopping obama from trekbbs thanks obama meme lol wtf

National politics matter, but they are given a disproportionate amount of attention and importance. National politics drive profits for the national media markets, therefore they get the air play. Since they get the air play, everyone loses their shit over them.

6. Trying to Impress Other People

If you’ve read this site at all in the last two years, you know how far this doesn’t get you. Take a moment and think back to the three most embarrassing moments in recent memory. Let me guess, at least two of them happened while trying to impress someone. Funny how that works.

Trying to impress other people is a natural human trait. We all want to put our best foot forward. The reason trying to impress people rarely works out very well is because human beings are wired to not simply look at surface-level behaviors when judging another person’s character, but to also look at their intentions and motivations for each behavior. So you can do a cool action, but if you’re doing it because you’re insecure and want people to like you, people will see through it and find you annoying. See: Bono from U2.

This is why one-uppers — people who take what you say and then tell you how they’ve done something bigger or better than that — are so annoying. They’re trying to impress us, to dominate us, to show superiority over us. And the fact that they’re trying to be superior proves to us that they’re not.

8. Being Offended

There are some people in this world who seem to believe that they have the right to never be offended, ever. This drives me crazy. Part of freedom of expression is that some people, some times, are going to annoy you or offend you. That’s part of life. And unless you’re inciting people to commit acts of violence, then you really can’t tell them not to.

Being offended is a choice. It’s the difference between getting upset about an insult and simply laughing it off. It’s the difference between trying to silence somebody else and simply acknowledging that they have different values than you do, even if those values are really fucked up.

I get comments on this blog all the time that I find offensive. I almost never delete them. Recently, I had a guy who made a sexist comment about women (the comment was to an article about dating, what a coincidence.) Instead of getting up in arms about it, I simply informed him that I thought he was an idiot. I probably offended him back. And now we’re not friends. It’s amazing how a free society works.

9. The Fact that I skipped Number 7 on this list

Get over it.

10. Buying a Bunch of “Nice” Stuff

I’ll spare you the Fight Club spiel. I’ve already written at length about how owning more possessions can limit your identity and happiness, and how wealth is determined by the quality of your experiences and not your assets.

But let’s look at this from a more practical point of view. What’s the point of buying a bunch of nice crap? 1) To impress other people. 2) To feel better about yourself.

We’ve already covered how well impressing people goes over. (Spoiler Alert: Not well.) Not to mention, what you’re also concurrently inspiring jealousy from other people, which just turns nice people into assholes. And then you might get offended! So that’s no good.

But let’s look at feeling better about yourself. There’s mounds of psychological researchshowing that materialism leads to greater rates of depression and less happiness in people. There’s a reason the US has some of the highest rates of depression and anxiety disorders in the developed world. That dependence on external validation to feel good about one’s self causes low self esteem and makes you miserable. So let’s just leave it at that.

Sure, buying luxury items can be cool and enjoyable. If you’ve got the money to throw around, there’s nothing wrong with it. But basing your identity and self-worth on the quality of your possessions and how those possessions stack up to others is a losing battle. Even if you win and have the biggest toys, you lose.

11. Waiting in line for 36 hours to buy some new product the day it’s released

Seriously, don’t you have something better to do? And if not, isn’t that a problem?

Go home. The iPhone 5 will be there tomorrow.

12. Hiding Your Flaws

People fall in love with each other’s rough edges. Paradoxically, it’s our flaws and vulnerabilities that make us unique and endearing towards others. The more we’re willing to reveal where we come up short, the more intimacy and connection we’ll generate in our personal lives, and the happier and healthier we’ll be in the long run.

I’ve written at length on vulnerability, and a few years ago I based an entire book on the idea. But it really is amazing how our culture encourages more and more to live up to some impossible ideal, some empty vessel of perfection.

Of all people Mike Tyson recently said, “Just because you’re famous doesn’t mean you’re successful.” You could replace “famous” in that sentence with “rich,” “beautiful,” “popular,” “intelligent” or a myriad of other adjectives.

Where does real success come from? It comes from being satisfied — not because you’ve reached some pinnacle or final destination of success — but satisfied with that constant process of improvement. It’s recognizing that life is riddled with faults and mistakes and appreciating them as much as the successes. Because when you appreciate your faults, they lose their power over you. Instead of your weakness they become your strength. And ironically, they’ll draw other people into you more than ever before.

 

How to Let Go of Materialism

Enhance your well-being by focusing on deeper goals

Money can’t buy happiness, but placing less value on the things it can buy may improve your mental health. The longest ever study on this topic finds that becoming less materialistic leads to more contentment in life—and suggests ways to get to that happy place.

Four related experiments investigated how changes in materialism affect well-being. The first three studies surveyed natural changes in materialistic values over six months, two years and 12 years in adults in the U.S. and Iceland. At all three junctures, a decreasing focus on acquiring money and things led to more joy and contentment in life.

Fortunately, materialism can be purposefully altered, as the team discovered in the fourth study—the first ever to use a randomized, controlled design to try to change materialistic beliefs. A group of adolescents from the U.S. joined a program designed to lessen the value they place on materialistic goals, whereas a control group did not receive the intervention. In three sessions lasting three hours each, participants were taught about consumer culture. They were also encouraged to clarify their intrinsic values (such as self-growth, closeness with friends and family, and contributing to the community) and to make financial decisions based on those values.

Adolescents who were in the course—but not in the control group—became less materialistic and had higher self-esteem over the next several months. “Intrinsic goals tend to be ones that promote greater well-being and act as a kind of ‘antidote’ to materialistic values,” says Tim Kasser, one of the study’s authors and a psychology professor at Knox College.

An important component of the program was that participants went through it with their parents and other adolescents, so they had a lot of social support in changing their values. “It is important to find some like-minded folks who want to join you in shifting away from materialism—they are out there, I promise,” Kasser says.

Inspired by Professor , Tim Kasser

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Stay connected to who you are!

What does that mean?

It means to remember that at your center you are Love, abundance and joy. You have come here not to be needy and take, but to be full and give away to the world from that place of fullness.

When you remember who you are, the desire to chase, to grasp and to yearn stops. You remember that you are a child of The Uni-verse and were created to fulfill a very special purpose.

You remember that one of the great promises of Life is that you will be provided for as you walk along the path of your dreams. The fearful mind calms and the mind full of Faith emerges.

You remember that you are enough as you are and that nothing can prove otherwise, other than your own admission that you are less than who you really are.

When you remember who you really are, you surround yourself with loving people. You bask in the fellowship of Love and no longer accept or tolerate abuse and hate.

You pull back from judging others and instead keep your eyes on Love and purifying your own desires and intentions.

You line up your thoughts with Love and then the actions and the fruits of Love naturally follow. You let go of the need to control and let The Uni-verse fill in the gaps, because The Uni-verse is very intelligent and knows what you need even more than you do.

When you remember who you really are, you Love yourself and your Creator enough to take care of your body with healthy foods, exercise, yoga and breath. You Love your mind enough to not let it run the show, and instead make time for meditation to calm it down so your Love and Spirit shine through.

When you remember who you are, you embrace challenge and catastrophe with acceptance rather than disdain. You know that with the Light comes the Dark and that both are needed in the dance of Life.

When you remember who you are, you are attractive to those who believe what you believe. You don’t see rejection as bad, but rather as a sorting device keeping unhealthy matches away from you. You naturally and effortlessly find Love because you already embody It.

When you remember who you are, life ceases to become difficult and transforms into an adventure you can’t wait to take.

When you remember who you are, you live your life following your Heart so that when you get to the end, you say: “What a ride!” instead of wondering, “What if I had…?”

Remember who you are today and all this & more will be yours.

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Keep An Open Mind

Keeping an open mind is one of the true keys to happiness and success.

One of My teacher, once told me that “everyone is a beginner to their next step”…

This was so profound to me. It reminds me of the great school of thought, which tells us that the path to enlightenment begins with the beginners mind. Or the Theological wisdom, which reminds us that if we wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must think like a child.

When you are new, like a baby, you are flexible and open. Being stiff is a sign of old age and death.

This has nothing to do with age. Flexibility and openness are a choice. You can be stiff in a young body or flexible in an old body.

But, if we are to engage life and learn, grow, give, share and rip away the layers and beliefs that hold us back from being simply ourselves, newness is the key.

How do you be new? If you ever hear the voice that says, “I know this already” – you are being stiff (aka dead). If you ever hear the voice that says, “All men or women are (fill in the blank)” you are being stiff (aka dead). If you hear the voice that says, “I’ll never be, do or have (fill in the blank) – you are being dead. This list goes on and on.

The goal is to renew our mind through prayer, meditation, yoga, community and purpose, so that each and every moment, we are open and available to life and The Uni-verse being new.

In this state of openness and receptivity, we actually allow ourselves to be reborn. We are reborn out of the death of the thoughts that held us back. We are reborn to be able to be in a new, healthier body, job, relationship, career or business.
In my opinion, one of the greatest spiritual commandments is, “Behold, I make all things new.”

We are starting to see that the nature of reality is far different than we could ever imagine. At the smallest level, particles are appearing and disappearing so fast, we can’t notice them. But literally in every moment, we are brand new beings. The world is brand new – disappearing and reappearing.

But – what remains stiff, inflexible and dead are the beliefs and patterns that prevent us from feeling or experiencing this newness.

Over the last year or so, I have been so blown away with how my life has become brand new. The Love that this Life as a teacher and I share is so profound, the continued expansion of my thoughts through self learning, the new places I am traveling, the book that I am finishing and all the new friends and people I am meeting – being able to meet the people that inspired me – all this is brand new from the place of deep addiction and depression I found myself in only a few short years ago.

My life changed because my mind changed. Because I believed it was possible, even though I didn’t know HOW it was possible.

Our job is not to know how. Our job is to be open, receptive and focus on why. Why must I change?

Because if I don’t, I will miss out on beauty, love, success, excitement, family, friends, success, connecting to The Divine, being of service and truly being able to give my gift.

I didn’t feel that it was possible, but I did my best to believe it was possible and, no matter how much my heart ached, to know that it could be reborn brand new. Perhaps not all at once, but perhaps slowly over time. I wanted to find out if it was possible or not.

Today, I know that it’s possible. My life has become the vision that seemed SO impossible.

It starts by a change of mind. It starts with the belief, “I know it doesn’t seem possible, but if it did, what would I think?”

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Change and Changelessness

Change is the basic truth of our existence.

Has it not been said that nothing is certain or permanent in life except change?  The entire cosmos is changing every moment. The Samkhya system of Indic philosophy talks about the evolution theory concerning the entire universe.

It was many centuries later that Darwin came up with his theory of evolution. Constantly and continuously, change is occurring to improve the outcome of effort. Nothing remains static. In every evolution there is a movement towards perfection. Perfection is a relative term, though. What perfection may mean in one situation may mean something else in another. Our perception of what is perfect is also something that undergoes change, depending on the circumstances and the level of evolution of our consciousness.

The changes, however, are not limited to the physical sphere only. At the emotional and intellectual levels as well, and even within a finite time horizon, changes can take place at a rapid pace, whether we are aware of this or not. Sorrow and joy, upswings and downswings are all part of this process of change. Every moment we are created and recreated. Every moment we are evolving. Those who are steady and have a relatively stable mind that is alert and aware, are able to understand this process of constant change. Therefore they remain unmoved by the impact of the transformation. They do not get alarmed by change. In the process of unending change the seeking that characterises the human mind extends to what is and has been changeless. That changelessness exists when the entire universe is embodied in a single point and when it appears in its most extensive and spread-out form.

The human mind is able to comprehend all of this. The vastness which appears externally is present within us as well. The capacity to hold or to realise the nature of the entire universe receives mention in the eleventh chapter of the Bhagavad Gita as Krishna unfolds and reveals his Vishwa Roopa or universal form to Arjuna, who stands dazzled by what he sees. The senses have limitations but the capacity to go beyond experience exists in us. As Rabindranath Tagore said, within the limited spheres of what we have known we are able to perceive the unknown. This is a wonderful capacity we are blessed with as human beings.

The wonder is that within the microcosm exists the universal, the macrocosm – within the confines lives the limitless and within the illusion is the truth. Between zero and one there are infinite possibilities. The superconsciousness pervading the whole cosmos is beyond any change. It holds the basic notes of all music which is emerging like bubbles in an ocean. Once we recognise that basic note, it is possible to see similarities in diversity and comprehend what remains beyond any transformation. Rather, in every new transformation, the indispensable old exists.

Once the mind looks inward and starts experiencing notes that are basic to all the music around, then the transformation appears superfluous – the permanence becomes prominent. And it is that state of mind which can claim ‘This is That’. A piece of stone and a living being are the same at that level of awareness and awakening. It is then valid to say that if we deduct anything that is complete from something that is also complete, then, the residual is complete, too. Infinity minus infinity is infinity, not zero. Hence, where is the loss or gain? It is peace, and peace only.