I Have a Dream. Quite possibly the most famous four-word phrase in the history of the 20th Century. I am sure that across America, students are using this phrase as a class writing assignment this week when they study Martin Luther King. His speech was and is, a significant and powerful part of American history and his words live on today.
But, for us personally, what does it mean when we say those words. I have a dream. Dreams are a real event in our life of something that may or may not happen. A dream is like clouds. You can’t control its content. It is there, but you can’t hold it in your hand. You can’t capture it for later. You can’t even snap a picture of your dream. It exists for you and you alone inside your mind, heart and soul.
So, what is your dream? Maybe it’s fitting to start off the new year thinking about this question and using your answer as a basis for your life goals for 2017. Does your dream involve your job or your family? Does it reach to something more personal such as your health or spiritual walk? Maybe it’s a dream of something you desire to do that until now has remained hidden and untouchable. Maybe your dream is more world-wide centric, based on a better life for your community…and world. You know, like a pebble in the water that ripples out to touch more people than just your immediate circle.
When I teach at women’s retreats, we sometimes do an exercise that involves creating a collage of images that represent everything we would and could dream of for our life. Then in our sharing time we talk about those dreams and discuss whether we are fulfilling them…and if not…what is stopping us. Many times, we have dreams, but they are like the mist rising off a pond. Fleeting. We only dream them without stopping to think about how to reach them.
Want to reach for your dreams in 2017. Here’s a few steps to follow to create your own dream collage.
- Grab a huge stack of magazines, scissors, markers and glue sticks. You will also need a white poster board as the base for your collage. If you don’t have magazines, ask at your local beauty shop, senior center, library or doctor’s office. They might have some to get rid of.
- It will take you several hours to create your collage. Pick a time when you won’t be interrupted by family demands or cell phones. That’s why a retreat has always been a great time to accomplish this process. Want to make a fun evening…invite some friends. Brew the coffee or pour the wine. Put on the music and start cutting.
- You will thumb through the magazines and cut out images that speak to you. Try to resist stopping at every recipe and article you find. You can come back to those later. For now, just make a stack of interesting pictures and quotes that you love. Anything is fair-game from scenery to food to beautiful people and interesting decorative shapes. You need to find images that when you look at them they evoke a positive emotion. They need to make you feel happy and peaceful.
- Once your magazines are filled with holes and your stack of pictures has grown, you can start putting them on the poster board with the glue. Use the pens to write little notes and comments to yourself about the images and what they mean to you. Get creative. You might even want to utilize some washi tape. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Some people like clean orderly spaces clearly separated and defined by white space. Some like to fill every single corner with overlapping images so it becomes a riot of design and color. It is your dream. You choose how you want it to look and what you want to include.
- The last step is to share. If you are doing this exercise in a group, go around the circle and take turns sharing. Be sure you are being kind and supportive of your “sisters” as they share. If you are by yourself, then use this time to personally connect with the emotions you feel when you look at the images you selected.
- On the back of the poster board, write out your dream goals. What goal(s) can you identify that is associated with the images you selected. Try to select at least three.
- Finally, take a moment to reflect on this list. What must happen in your life…right now…for you to achieve your dreams. What steps should be taken to make the positive changes necessary in your life so you can truly begin live for your dreams.
Even though this is a fun activity, it can also be a very emotional journey. So many times, our lives are not our own and we have to make tough decisions every day about our jobs and the people around us. For some, we don’t have an option to change jobs or travel more. It just isn’t the right time.
But, I would encourage you to not give up. Keep your dream collage up on a wall in your office or room to encourage and inspire you. Look at it often. Let the images speak to you. Let your dreams drive you to seek and nurture peace and fulfillment in your life.
What is your dream?