Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Power of Unseen Dreams

Almost five years ago, I fought really hard to obtain my current position.  Yeah, I know.....funny, right?  Let me fill you in on my somewhat misguided twenty-eight year old self.  That is, if I can remember.  It really boils down to a few things: I was tired of having to worry about money and I wanted more, I was tired of having to work at least two jobs since I was seventeen to foot the bills, and I thought I wanted to be a business executive.  Now, some of these reasons are valid and others are just hysterically laughable. 

So I did what I usually do best when I think I really want something-become the ultimate schmoozing bull-shitter, annoyingly persistent in your face nuisance.  The thing is I should've stopped after the first shadowing experience.  My intuition was screaming "oh no, I don't think so honey," but I let my vision be blinded by the alluring promises of those things that I thought were more important.  In my heart and gut I knew this wasn't the right move or place for me.  Still, I lied.  I lied on the shadowing feedback form, I lied my way through three interviews, a second shadowing, and most importantly, I lied to myself.  Being rebellious and wanting to challenge yourself can sometimes mean that you disregard self-respect in exchange for going along with what you think others will approve of.  And by "others" I include societal standards and self-imposed standards based on a need for validation, in addition to the opinions of actual known peers or superiors.

I had a vision, or so I thought, of becoming a business leader (i.e. obtaining control and power) in a powerful company.  I had forgotten about writing and the artsy world.  I hadn't revisited it since 2003 and that was just a brief flirtation.  I got really frustrated when my ambitions didn't quite match up with my environment.  Being treated like you're incompetent, constantly criticized for your best efforts and ignored can do that to you.  Taking verbal abuse from some co-workers wasn't fun either and there were times where I would literally break down and cry during my workday (in secret of course).  But then I started to think that maybe my initial vision isn't what I'm here for.  Just maybe there's something else going on here.

Visions are like that.  They change because we change.  Some are recurring, sure.  But are they always identical?  I don't think so.  Sometimes when we step into one, those visions end up changing us.  Then it's time to wake up until the next one captivates our essence.  You can either give up and move on or you can keep fighting (especially if you're stubborn).  Or, my personal favorite-you can learn to appreciate and be thankful for the one that you're currently in.  Visions don't last forever.  They're not meant to.  Savor the good while you can.  Believe it or not, someday you'll actually miss it. 

Some of those visions are meant to be forgotten.  Some are meant to be remembered as a gift or a beautiful, rich experience.  Some help us develop ourselves or someone else into whom they should be.  Others lead us into another set of scenes that we didn't plan, but we end up loving more.  Some come back in a new form, reminding us that we're in the wrong picture; on the wrong screen; starring in a misguided montage.

But, no matter what they are or whether or not they match that blueprint we've so carefully drawn out in our minds, there's always a message there.  Seen or unseen, they need us as much as we need them.       


  1. Oh Helen, I love this post. I found your blog because you retweeted an HSP article I wrote in my Psychology Today blog (thank you for that!). I'm a medical doctor and I used to be a stressed out suicidally depressed Emergency Medicine resident, for the same reasons/logic that you describe above, what a mess. And I was 28 at that time, too, how funny is that?

    And guess what saved me? Finally becoming a dancer - first a salsa dancer, and now a professional flamenco dancer, I ended up performing across North America and still do (now in combination with my speaking work)! There's isn't space here to tell the whole story, but finally acknowledging and honoring the artist in me literally saved my life, and GAVE me the life I have today.

    Thanks for this,
    Dr. Susan Biali, MD
    Medical Doctor, Speaker, Coach, Flamenco Dancer & Author of "Live a Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You"

  2. Thank you for sharing (and you're welcome). Growing up I used to dance ballet mostly, with a little tap and jazz thrown in. When we lived in Chicago, my family used to make a tradition out of going to see the Nutcracker performed each Christmas season. I've thought about getting back into ballet again because dancing is such a spiritual and artistic experience. But I agree, being honest with yourself is such a release. Sometimes it takes going down the "wrong" path to make us realize what's really there.