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Have We Lost Our Ability to Dream?

Everyone is born with dreams inside of them. Some big and some little. But we all have dreams. I remember being a young, enthusiastic college student preparing for a semester abroad in England and France. I came from a family always trying to make ends meet so studying abroad was a big deal! It just so happened I was boarding the plane on January 1, my birthday.

As I was saying good-bye to my parents I proudly proclaimed, “I’m going to make sure that I begin every year with a trip abroad!” I still remember the look in my parents’ eyes and my father saying, “Are you crazy? Who do you think you are?” Fortunately, I didn’t allow my Dad’s limitations (ones he most likely inherited from his father, and his father from his father, and so on), to spoil my dreams. If I had, I would have missed out on all of the amazing adventures that have blessed my life.

But here’s the point. Our dreams are the fuel for creating the world we desire. Deep down, there’s a part of us that knows that we are destined for joy, love, and connection. It’s our birthright. If our world doesn’t reflect this, then the first step toward creating this world is to dream it into being. It sounds too easy, doesn’t it? Just dream it into being. On the contrary, dreaming is not simply child’s play or something we do only when we sleep. It’s the most powerful thing we can do to co-create the world around us. This goes for our personal dreams as well as for the dreams we have for our beloved planet. Dreams are the seeds of transformation. It is our ability to dream–and equally important–our ability to believe in and act on our dreams that transforms our world.

John Perkins summed this truth up beautifully in his pioneering book The World Is As You Dream It when he said: “To create a new world, we must first create a new dream.” Shamans all around the world know this. To them, if we can’t imagine and dream of the world that our spirit tells us is possible, then we’re stuck.

What does it mean to dream? Author Alberto Villoldo in his book: Courageous Dreaming: How Shamans Dream the World into Being helps us understand the power of dreaming. He says: “Whether you realize it or not, we are all dreaming the world into being. What we’re engaging in is not the sleeping dream we’re familiar with, but the waking dream we craft with our eyes open. When we’re unaware that we all share the power to co-create reality with the help of the universe itself, that power slips away from us and our dream turns into a nightmare. We begin to feel we’re the victims of an unknown and frightening creation that we’re unable to influence or change. Events seem to control us and trap us.”

Maybe it feels like we’re living in a nightmare right now. Maybe even a global dark night of the soul. But what if this global dark night is preparing us for a collective initiation into something we’ve never before experienced as a species? What if we’re on the verge of a collective breakthrough? And what if in order to co-create this new world our part is to believe in our ability to imagine and dream it into being?

But have we forgotten our ability to dream a new world into being? Because if we can’t even begin to imagine what a new world looks like, then maybe we are stuck. Maybe this is the end of the line. I don’t know about you, but a core part of me bristles at that notion.

Instead, I believe that in the midst of all of this darkness and uncertainty the times are calling on us to be courageous and dream like we never have before. Joanna Macy says: “It is at the edge of uncertainty where our most creative inspiration comes alive.” This is what initiation means. To step into uncharted waters trusting in our ability and the ability of the universe to co-create the new world. Are you ready for this initiation? If so, the first step is to believe in and then act on your dreams. Give yourself permission to dream, to dream big! If needed for yourself and most definitely for the world.

At our core, we are all dreaming the same dream. For some of us that dream has been lost, ridiculed, or ignored. However, we are in the process of individually and collectively remembering it. So reach for the stars. Because when we believe in our dreams and act on them, there is nothing we are incapable of doing!

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