HOLD FAST TO YOUR DREAMS

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I have never forgotten two poems by Langston Hughes that I first encountered in a high school segment in my English class about the Harlem Renaissance movement in literature. Both these poems are about the importance of having and realizing your Dreams.  Whether you relate these poems to your personal LIFE DREAM or to a more political notion such as in Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream!” speech, the value of holding to your dreams and to your collective Dream is the same.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up, like a raisin in the sun?

Or fester like a sore, and then run?

Maybe it just stinks, like rotten meat…

Or crusts and sugars over, like a syrupy sweet.

Maybe it just sags, like a heavy load…

Or does it explode?

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The importance of having a Dream, of being a Dreamer, is fundamental in all approaches to self-development and to spiritual practices, isn’t it? Our imagination, the ability to creatively envision a ‘better ending’ to any situation you are in or that we face in society, is our greatest strength. To dream is to transcend, to free yourself from undue self-limitations, to soar.

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So here’s the second reminder from Langston Hughes  (http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/dreams-2/) :

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

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images from pixabay.com

 

Parallel Lives?

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 “Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly. I was conscious only of my happiness as a butterfly, unaware that I was myself. Soon I awaked, and there I was, veritably myself again. Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.” ― Zhuangzi

Since Life is but a Dream

It presents a web of potentiality framed around themes you are focused upon Now. It constructs a seemingly coherent life history with the illusion of a consistent identity, a life story that you develop from infancy until your departure.

Yet you are by no means limited to this Reality. Daydreams, nightly dreams, and creative visualization provide many windows to open and avenues to explore that are not bound by your daily drama.

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Have you ever wondered about parallel realities and how this notion might pertain to dreaming?  Have you had glimpses of what felt like parallel lives?

A few years ago I had a lucid inner experience just before waking. In this alternate reality, I was a female scientist returning home to her family after having been on a space voyage (routine travel in her reality). She is met at the door of her home by her husband, who welcomes her home. She knows he is her husband and that they have two young children. But beyond that, she suddenly realizes that she doesn’t remember anything else about her own life; she is experiencing a form of conscious amnesia in the moment. Her husband says some friends will be coming over that evening for dinner. She tells him, “I’m sorry but you are going to have to cover for me when they come. I am not remembering anything right now about my life!”

I then shifted consciousness back to my body and life in Colorado and opened my eyes ‘here.’ I felt immediately that I had been experiencing a “dual conscious” state of awareness. I understood that this was what was causing the partial amnesia in my alter-Self awareness. Because of the dual-conscious moment, some sort of overlap had occurred between two parallel realities, two of my own parallel identities.

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This experience also reminds me of a Star Trek Next Generation episode where Captain Picard lives an entire alternate lifetime in 40 minutes. He has been affected by a probe from a planet that had been destroyed when its sun “went nova”; they had programmed the probe to reach one person who would learn this way about their lives and existence.

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What stands out to me about the parallel life awareness is that this was something other than a normal archetypal “personal unconscious” dream event. It did not feel symbolic at all, but very lucid (I was aware somewhat of the dual consciousness state while it was happening), and it was simply very real.

What can we learn from this sort of glimpse into a parallel reality? Mainly, for me I suppose, that there is “so much more” to Life than what our limited minds can perceive. Also, it suggests to me that a true change in consciousness can allow us to alter anything about our current life dream “drama” that we deeply CHOOSE to change. This is by no means easy, because it requires a true change in our conscious construction of the life we are living. It is not simply a matter of having a strong intention so that a “law of attraction” can operate. It requires a fundamental shift in your awareness of what is possible, and then a conscious choice and decision to act on establishing appropriate changes in your life.

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So, allow me to end this week’s pairing of the life metaphor Life is a Dream with the universal archetype of the Teacher with a self-development journaling technique I invite you to try for yourself:

In first person, present tense, simply establish an alternative identity. Maybe this identity would realize a wish you may have had about a life you might have lived if you were not ‘you’. Describe yourself in this alternative lifescape.  Be as detailed and as descriptive as you can be. Write until you feel like you are really experiencing this other lifetime clearly in your imagination.

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When you finish this technique (which you can also do multiple times from several different alternative life perspectives), just take some time to reflect. At very least, this technique might help you to become aware of some unrealized but desired (or, not, depending on the alternate identity you have imagined!) potentials in this life.

I would love to hear your insights or stories from exercising this Better Endings practice!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Are You a Threshold Dweller?

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One of the greatest benefits from identifying the Life Chapters of your Life Story by naming the phases that have occurred BETWEEN your pivotal Turning Points is that this brings you naturally to a position of being a Dweller at the Threshold, in Joseph Campbell’s terms (as in The Hero with 1000 Faces).  We each live always in the Present Moment, most often as if the Present is a bubble, like the bubble in a leveling tool, relatively sealed off from yet positionally linked to Past influences and Future potentials. Life Mapping can open your awareness to how the “Past” (i.e., your meaningful Life Chapters with their inherent Life Lessons) has carried you to both this Present Moment and to the potential “Future” that your Life Path is trending toward. Your mindful awareness places you at the precipice of embarking upon or unfolding more consciously into a future Moment of your own choice and envisioning; see?

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If we are to constructively affect the course our life is taking—and I personally believe this is not only our right but our responsibility—we may step forward from this Threshold of awareness that links Past-PRESENT-Future into a more integrated Whole.

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Being a Dweller at the Threshold, you have the opportunity to pause and to reflect; to scan the Past while envisioning the future course you desire to undertake in your continuing Adventure.  There will be another, big step to take after this, called Crossing the Threshold (stay tuned for later tools and for the Life Paths book to engage in the full process). But at this fertile, vital junction of  reviewing your life course to Now, you are able to discern meaningful trends and potentials you have already established in your unique Life Story.

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I have observed in over a decade of helping people compose and reflect upon their Life Maps a very common trend. However difficult a person’s life may have been, a high percentage of people (not all) reconstruct their CURRENT Life Chapter as either at a state of Balance or as a Resolution stage after successfully negotiating earlier hardships and challenges. How about you? If you have named your Life Chapters based on the methods shared on Tuesday, what title have you given to the CURRENT Life Chapter you are in? I welcome your sharing about your own Life Chapter titles or experience.

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Next week we will expand this discussion to the topic of “Life Story Genres”.  This might help you to contextualize the dramatic quality of your personal life experience.  It is a natural cognitive function of the human mind to reconstruct our life experiences in Story form. Neuroscientists believe this helps us establish a sense of coherence and “flow” to our stream of life events and it helps us to construe our sense of identity as a continuous, integrated Self. So, please stay tuned to Sunday for an introduction of our next topic of discovering your Life Story Genre.

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I’d like to add two remarks today. First, I’d like to express my gratitude to GraphicStock, the website at which I have found most of the images I use in this blog. For an annual fee I have discovered a rich well of images to represent the ideas being presented here.

Also, as it is Thursday and I’m mounting the Friday blog, as usual I am a day ahead in posting. (When I receive a story about applying these tools or find a very appropriate piece to re-blog, I will also post a separate Thursday blog, as happened last week.) My work schedule makes it easier for me to post in the afternoon or evening the day before a post is scheduled, so thanks to you, dear readers, for your patience. – Linda