I keep a journal. And at the end of every year I review what I wrote. Sometimes it takes a long time depending on the year and how diligent (or neurotic) I was that year, but it’s very informative actually, especially if you are a candid writer in your journals (which why keep one if you’re not, but that is another tangent I will embark upon another time). I’m not very good about writing details nor do I write every day to be sure. But it’s a very good way to observe what you did and did not accomplish, reflect on what your dreams were and what they’ve become, and remember what was heartbreaking and when you were triumphant. It is a record of your growth. Or not. So in reviewing this year, I started thinking about my dreams and disappointments and thought of writings of others that have been exceptionally poignant and helpful for me in this area.
“Letting go of a dream is hard, yet liberating. Sometimes it’s just time to start living a different dream. ~ Bart Knaggs
A very important quote for me from my book is Bart Knaggs’s. It was one of my editor’s all-time favorites too. Bart talks about his epiphany being when he finally let go of a long-time dream that he’d experienced some success with and began taking action toward a new dream that led him to heights and satisfaction beyond his imagination. Here is an excerpt of his interview that could really be applied to anything, not just a career dream:
Letting go of anything you love is hard…Knowing how and when to move on from one dream to another isn’t easy, but I knew it was time to start living a different dream. Letting go of a dream can be extremely hard, yes, but it’s also liberating. ~Epiphany, p. 224
Below is an excerpt from Martha Beck’s writing. I simply love her work and her writing, and this anecdote about disappointments and dreams is spectacular. Thinking about letting go of our disappointments and beginning, creating, and discovering your new dreams is a wonderful and exciting way to start the new year.
My favorite story about handling disappointments comes from the India guru Amrit Desai. He had a collection of very rare crystals that he’d accumulated over many years. One day his cleaning lady knocked over a display case and smashed most of the irreplaceable crystals. When she tearfully pointed out her mistake, expecting a violent reaction, the guru shrugged and told her “Those things were for my joy, not for my misery.” This month, accept things for your joy instead of making them the reason for your misery. Hope for your wildest dreams to come true, and then spend all your time imagining, discussing, dreaming, and enjoying the happiest possible outcome in advance. If your heart’s desire does not happen, you have my permission to be extremely disappointed—but not for very long. The fact is, the only reason you are alive is that far more has gone right for you than has gone wrong.
Your dreams are for your joy; even if they lie crushed on the ground, you need not make them responsible for misery. If you raise your eyes from the shards you’ll find more dreams all around, and many of them can come true.
As Marcel Proust wrote, “If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less but to dream more, to dream all the time.” ~Martha Beck
May this be the year that your dreams that are meant to serve your highest and best become realized in spades — for you and for the good of us all.
(And if you aren’t already, you might want to think about giving writing in a journal a whirl this year. I just write in those 99 cent old-school composition notebooks you can get at any drugstore and end up using about 4-6 a year. Or you can buy a special leather-bound notebook, or write and keep it on your computer, or there are even apps for it now so it’s kept for you somewhere in cyberspace. But try it and see what happens. Maybe you’ll find yourself next December having an extraordinary experience as you review a year in the life of the unique and magnificent YOU…)