Twenty people from the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands gathered at Tamanu Beach Resort on Aitutaki, Cook Islands for a retreat Dan and I gave on “Living the Dream: Spiritual Practices for a Grace-filled Life”. One of the themes of the retreat was recognizing the connection between knowing ourselves and knowing God. Only in cultivating a relationship of truthfulness, trust and love with ourselves can we have an authentic, intimate and trusting relationship with God. We are created in the Divine image, capable of reflecting in our souls all the virtues that are the fruits of the spirit. In the world’s sacred traditions, cultivating our virtues is the very meaning and purpose of our lives. With that understanding, we considered the dream calling to us at this time in our lives.
A dream often begins with a vision. Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” When Alice is lost in Wonderland, she asks the Cheshire Cat which path to take. The cat says, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” When you are ready to have a dream come true, here are some steps to take:
- First, reflect on what your dream is at this season. What would you love to do? What would spark joy? What service calls to your soul? Where are you willing to invest your time, energy and in some cases, money? What do you need to let go of in order to live this dream? Letting go of the familiar may take all the courage you can muster.
- Once your vision is clear, set your intention and create a goal. It doesn’t have to be a big goal, just one that matters to you. It could be quitting smoking, or turning an unhappy relationship into a happy one, solving a problem, overcoming a financial challenge or finding work that nurtures your soul. My wise granddaughter, May Kavelin, said, “Just make a start. You don’t need to know where you will end up. Take baby steps. One small step can turn into a leap of Grace.” Sufi poet Rumi said, “Choose the path you take, even if you don’t know where it’s going.”
- For me, discernment begins with prayer and meditation. As Albert Einstein, the great physicist said, “I want to know God’s thoughts. The rest are details.” Aligning our vision with the Divine will for us is true spiritual efficiency. Deep reflection can bring amazing clarity. It may even surprise us.
- Make a plan, with the steps to achieve your goal. If you have a clear picture of your dream, use the full power of your mind to imagine the goal as already accomplished. Some people make a “vision board” with images that represent their dream. My brother John Kavelin, as a Disney Imagineer always made a story board for a new event, display or ride.
- Once you feel clear about your direction, act! Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, in speaking of the dynamics of prayer said, “Have faith and confidence that the power will flow through you, the right way will appear, the door will open…Then as you rise from prayer…act as if it had all been answered. Act with tireless, ceaseless energy. And as you act, you, yourself, will become a magnet, which will attract more power to your being, until you become an unobstructed channel for the Divine power to flow through you.”
Make a start, and then, as Dan said in his stellar talk, “Grace will take care of the rest.” Goethe said, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness…the moment one commits oneself, then Providence moves too….Whatever you can do, or dream you can…begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Take each step with discipline, determination, trust and faith, and finish what you start.
- When you achieve a goal, pause for applause! Celebrate your achievement and give thanks for the help you have received along the way.
There was a boy named Monty Roberts, who held onto his dream despite the prejudice and discouragement of a teacher. His father was a horse trainer, so they moved from ranch to ranch, and Monty constantly changed schools. In his last year of high school, his teacher asked the class to write about what they wanted to be when they grew up. Monty didn’t hesitate for a moment, and wrote a seven-page paper about his goal to own a large horse ranch. He described his dream in detail, and even drew the stables and a house plan. He received his paper back with an “F”. After class, he asked the teacher, “Why did I receive an F?” The teacher responded: “This dream is so unrealistic for a boy like you, who has no money, no home, and comes from an itinerant (wandering) family. There’s no chance you will ever reach your great goals. I can help you rewrite a much more realistic paper.” The boy went home and asked his father what he should do. His father answered respectfully, “This decision is very important for you, son. So, you need to make up your own mind on this.” After several days, the boy brought the same paper to his teacher, no changes made. He said, “Sir, you keep the F, and I’ll keep my dream.” Now Monty Roberts is known as a “horse whisperer”. He owns a 4,000 square foot house on a two hundred acre horse ranch, and still has that school paper, which is now framed over the fireplace.
Follow your heart, ask for guidance, set your goals, and act. Never let anyone take your dream away. Rumi said, “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
I will soon be joining Betsy Lydle Smith in giving a webinar on A Pace of Grace (October/November 2017). See my Author Facebook page https://www.Facebook.com/LKPauthor?ref=hl for information.