March 30th, 2012

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Embracing Life with the Dreamer at the Wheel

As part of my focus on embracing life this year, I've been working at learning to accept life as it is, being with what is so. What does that even mean? It means that when something unexpected happens, instead of freaking out and trying to change it, I take a deep breath, remind myself to trust that this is what needs to happen right now, and that even if I don't understand why, it will make sense down the road. I'm getting so much better at taking things in stride and not getting hung up on how I wish things would be, enjoying life as it is.

But there's been an unfortunate side effect. Letting go of control has been very confusing for The Dreamer.

The Dreamer is an identity I've always loved. When I was young, people said it like it was a bad thing, "You're such a dreamer." But as a teen, I decided to own and embrace that. It was who I was and I loved that part of myself. I would dream up some future situation, set my mind on it, and work towards it with everything I had. Many, many times, those dreams came true. Sometimes they took longer than I'd expected, sometimes they were harder to make happen than I'd expected. But if I just kept at them, I could make them happen.

So when I started accepting life's bumpy road, started letting go of the need for control, started stepping back from the steering wheel a bit, The Dreamer went into hiding. 'I guess you don't need me anymore,' she seemed to say.

I miss The Dreamer! She was fun! She was bold! She was downright crazy most of the time! And I loved that about her. And without her I've been feeling dry and grey. So how do I find a way of blending these two elements -- the one who sits back and accepts life as it is and the one who drives with the pedal to the metal toward a goal?

For me, the answer is simple. I have to let The Dreamer run the show, because without her I'm not happy. And then, when life slings its arrows, I step back and say, 'Looks like that direction wasn't exactly where I needed to be heading, maybe I need to bear right at the intersection.' In other words, as I've said here before, the closed doors are signposts and there's no sense trying to knock them down. But there's no sense becoming passive either. Where's the fun in that?

So as I forge ahead, I will continue to embrace life as it is, but I won't be sitting back waiting for life to happen. The Dreamer will be at the wheel.