Lately, I’ve been going strong on my path toward happiness and enlightenment… or so I thought. In addition to keeping a gratitude list going on Facebook in November (a daily affirmation of what I love about my life), I also recently chewed my way through several great books about living in the moment, slowing things down, and practicing gratitude every day–all important steps toward happiness and living an awesome, dream-filled life. (Read: The Power of Now, The Slow Fix, and Living Life as a Thank You.)
But this past week I had lunch with a friend, who asked a simple question that got my wheels turning.
In a negative direction.
She asked me how I could encourage other people to live their dreams when so many people obviously could not. “It’s easy for you to say,” she said. “When you’re living your dreams. But not everyone has the ability to do so.”
She said it lovingly and I didn’t take offense. What surprised me was how I stuttered through my response: “But… but… I believe everyone CAN live their dreams,” I said, not too convincingly. Why my response didn’t have more fire, I don’t really know. Maybe I was feeling vulnerable. Maybe I was having a down day.
The truth of the matter is, though: I truly DO believe that everyone can live the life they want, regardless of income, life circumstance, age, gender, or any other characteristic. The only characteristic that matters is that the person truly wants the dream to happen and believes in it with all their heart.
Here’s the thing: I’m still figuring this stuff out, right along with you. I read my fancy books, which tell me I can visualize what I want to happen and create the life of my dreams. (Read: The Secret.)
But then, when pressed in a personal situation as I was with my friend, I fell down on my convictions. I caved in. I acted as though I didn’t believe the talk I’ve been talking–and, more surprisingly, the walk I’ve been walking.
Because, folks, I’ve seen the dream machine working like a miracle in my own life. There was a day in my not-too-distant past where I was the person my friend was talking about: I didn’t “have the ability” to live the life I wanted. I was too scared. I was thinking too small. I was too busy. I didn’t have enough money. My kids were too little. I wasn’t talented enough.
Age, wisdom, and grace have gotten me to the point I am today, when I realize these all may still be true: but I’m going to do it, anyway.
Why? Because I believe dreams do come true. If I want them bad enough, they can happen–and have happened. I never thought five years ago that I’d spend six beautiful, soul-wrenching months in Belize. But I did it. I never thought I’d write a book and have people reading my words–but it has happened. I never would have guessed I’d travel across our entire, diverse, wild, wonderful United States of America. But I did. And I never imagined I’d have the awesome chance to connect with all of you in such meaningful ways, hopefully inspiring you to transform your own lives through the magic that exists in the universe.
I let my friend’s words swirl in my head, creating negativity and self-doubt. But after some quiet prayer and meditation, I remember that all of life is a miracle, intricate and awe-inspiring. The wonders of the natural environment, the goodness of people, all that’s been accomplished throughout history and all that’s in the process of being accomplished, and the blessed symbiosis of God’s creation are signs that miracles do exist. I’ve been able to return to my center and realize that I am a piece of God who has only amazing possibilities in front of me. Through prayer, visualization, love, gratitude, and faith, I can manifest the life I want.
And so can you. You only have to want it badly enough.
Over to you: I’d love to hear your take on whether you think anybody can find joy in their life. Or is it only reserved for a select few “lucky” ones?