I have been dreaming for a long time.
Dreaming about the perfect prince charming, having an impactful, soulful business without really showing up, magically winning the lottery when I was completely broke. Pleasant dreams about fairytales and happy endings – with one essential catch: they were not connected to my reality.
I was not living my dreams – I was dreaming them. And they were often a way to escape my actual lived reality, a smart way not to show up, not to do the work or not to open my heart.
I can even say it was quite dangerous doing this. I was denying things that needed attention – such as my cash flow and base level needs, my desire for connection, my need to be met or to fully show up.
And I still catch myself doing this: when things get hard it is really easy to dissociate from my reality and fly up, instead of sitting with the pain, frustration, unclarity or even happiness of the present moment. It is truly a continuous practice to stay present and meet my life with an open heart and open body: to engage with it on a daily, moment-to-moment basis. To fully live my life, and embrace whatever is showing up.
But it is a practice I want to practise, for one simple reason:
it makes me feel so incredibly alive.
It opens my heart to whatever is around me. It connects me to the flow of life. It feeds me and nourishes me on a profound level. And it allows me to feel deeply connected with, and met by, the people in my life. And it allows me to have an impact.
It can be extremely scary to show up fully. It takes courage to take a good daylight-illuminated look at the poignant reality of your life. It was definitely less pleasant than living up in the clouds. It showed me all the ways I was disconnected from my life, all the painful spots I was not living but dreaming.
And, yet: the best thing I have ever done, is to stop dreaming
I am not here to dream, in a way that denies my reality. I am here to live. Fully. Courageously. Daringly. Vulnerably. Feeling at the edge of my capacity. Feeling alive. In line with my heart, soul and body. That is what I want.
So I needed to snap out of dream land and into reality. My reality. And take a look at all the things that weren’t working the way I wanted them too. And engage with them. One by one.
Engaging with reality is not an outside job – it’s an inside one
Reality is just there, for you to come at from whatever perspective; your mind, your heart, your fully engaged embodied self. It will always be subjective – as my reality will always be different than yours, by the colouring I bring to it through my experiences, upbringing, social context, age, gender etc etc. That is not my point.
My point is: how can you engage with your life in a way that you feel it? Deeply feel the connection with what is happening in you and around you, moment by moment, day by day? In a way that you can smell, taste, see, feel, experience it and soak it up? In all your fibres and pores? Ever changing, evolving, shaping. You. And your world.
Your experience is in your body
This is where to start: in your body. Your experience is in your body. That is from where to relate with your world. Not your head, or your imaginations. They are not bad, they are just not necessarily connected to your lived experience.
When I connect to my body, it is like a whole map of its own. A map of my world; showing me where I flow, where I am open and where I am closed. Where I connect with my world and where I close off.
I know that I keep finding places in my body where I tense against the world, and my direct experience. Where I am holding back. Where I am clenching, or, from years of tension, even numb. There are so many places in our bodies where we have stored past experiences – or where we have become so used to tensing we don’t even realise it anymore. And it is so beautiful to start unraveling these spots, to slowly unfold, relax, soften. Beautiful. And not easy. It can also be very painful and messy. Melting your defences against the world will likely be accompanied by a lot of emotions. Sadness, anger, or even joy you have not allowed yourself to feel.
But in my experience, underneath those emotions there is also a sense that this is right, that you are moving closer towards truly embodying your life and lived experience. So cry those tears, buy some waterproof mascara (or a pillow to punch 😉 ) and start melting. Allow yourself to melt. Allow yourself to land in your body. Allow yourself to live.
And yes, all this is scary as fuck and it will probably go against a lot of your patterning. So do what you need to do. Get support if you need it (and yes, you will need it – so really: ask for help). Be kind to yourself. Really be kind to yourself. Practise self love. Take your time. Forcing is not the way. Love is. We are all on this brave path together, so let’s supprt each other on it.
Start noticing when you check out
This has been a big one for me. I always thought I was really present to my experience until I realised parts of me weren’t: I have a tendency to subtly check out. For instance: I am in a connection and suddenly I am not fully there. It’s like a part of me has flown of. Usually at moments where there is something at stake – a big emotion, a pattern showing up, something I am really wanting, yet am afraid to show or ask for.
So, after the initial sobering realisation, I have started tracking this – noticing when this happens. And every time it happens I try to gently bring myself back. Back to here and now. Fully.
It is also really exciting since I found a way I am not present, that is also a gateway to becoming more present! How cool is that?
Check in with your reality
This is the place where the dream gets truly shattered. The place where reality can show you what is true, and you can feel that, versus dreaming about it.
Start to engage with your world. Show up. Start exploring what is real.
You dreamt of having that conversation with that man or woman you are attracted to? Have it! See what comes back to you.
Are you dreaming of starting your own business, bringing your passion to the world?
Do it! You don’t have to have all your shit together, just start. Try something out. And see what comes back to you.
Are you wanting to have impact and change the world?
Show up! Share. Begin. Let yourself be seen. And allow the world to see you.
I believe they call it a reality check.
Stay in connection – be willing to receive impact
So. And then there is another level. There’s sharing your full self, in a way that feels very much like a one-way street. And there’s interaction in connection.
The first one is kind of like barfing your dream into the world without wanting the world to give you feedback. That is still dreaming. You are not willing to relate to what comes back to you. You are still disconnected.
The second one is this: sharing what you want to share. And staying. Allowing yourself to be open to what comes back. Allowing yourself to test your dream in real life. This might sound scary, or horrible. But I can assure you that while sometimes it might be disappointing, equal times it will be exhilarating, surprising, and very much alivening.
And most importantly: it will be real. You are relating to your actual reality and allowing yourself to build a relationship with it. It is like building a bridge between your dream world and the actual world. And crossing it.
Allow your world to be impacted, so you can impact the world
The feedback the world is giving you, you can start to work with. You can allow yourself to be impacted – sit with this new information, and adjust accordingly. You start to really relate to what is actually happening around you instead of dreaming it up on your couch. And the beauty is, the more you are connected to your lived reality, the more impact you will have.
From that connection to the world you can start to impact the world. You are actually in relationship – one that you feed over and over again – with your reality so you can let it guide your way. You allow your interaction with life to show you where to go.
You are not dreaming. You are living.