grief and dreams for the future

Dreams are potent. This is something that was said to me recently and is something that I think I was already realising. To clarify, I am speaking of hopes and dreams, not crazy subconscious happenings during slumber. In a book I was reading this past year about personal development, the author encourages her readers to write down the dreams they have for their lives. Dreams they may never have voiced to anyone. Dreams they may never have truly taken seriously or felt to be an acceptable dream to harbour. Dreams that seemed too far-fetched or out of reach. She had done this herself and a few years later, she found the list and all of her dreams had happened. Statistically, the most successful people in life regularly write their dreams down.

I have written mine down recently and what struck me most was how they are different to what I would have written a year ago. I’m sure of it. Personal trauma has a way of drawing out of us what we really want in life. Some may be old dreams that we now throw no caution to the wind in pursuing having known a big enough knock to not worry about something as trivial as a lifelong dream being crushed to smithereens. Some may be new dreams, things we never thought we’d do or had never planned to do. New pursuits that help us to get through, cope, battle through another day and suddenly new dreams take shape. These dreams are potent for doing what I just described: carrying us through to another day. Giving us something to work for, invest in, feel proud of, achieve. Something we can control, within reason, that can bring a positive impact on our lives.

But there is another way in which they are potent: they can often draw others in and inspire, bless, comfort, unite and bring enjoyment. At the weekend just gone my sister ran her first half marathon. She completed it in an amazing two hours and nine minutes and achieved her target time of approximately two hours ten. Running has been a real outlet for her in recent months and she has taken that outlet and ran with it (lols). No seriously, this new positive habit produced a dream in her that gave her a positive goal to focus on and work for – it did involve work – most dreams do, right?

“I’m dying” were her words at mile nine
Half way and what else can be said looking at that grin as she waves to her supporters!
Half way and what else can be said looking at that grin as she waves to her supporters!
She's finished!
She’s finished!
It brought us all together
Her supporters – it brought us all together

It was a special occasion for her but also for us, her family. I can’t describe how it feels to watch someone you love perform a feat of sheer determination and effort. She said the whole second hour was “sheer pain”. When we waited for our train home at Victoria I said to her, “you just ran for longer than the length of our train journey home!” We were especially proud given that it was a momentous achievement that was for Dad, but without him. He was the absent inspirer, coach, encourager. Like all the dreams we see come about during the rest of our lives, there will be that pain in amongst the joy… Dad would have loved to see this. He’s always been SO proud of us that despite knowing we would always make him proud no matter what – we still desperately wanted to make him proud!! I think I am right in speaking for all three of us there. He will remain one of our most powerful sources of inspiration, pushing us on to the next mile. As I thought of him after the race was over I waited for waves of emotion to hit me as I imagined what he’d be doing and saying if he was with us, but none came. I thought, is this numbness?

It is hard to explain but I don’t think it was, I think it was a powerful, unexplainable sense that though he wasn’t there; he was, and he saw it all.

“For you, Dad.”

What are your dreams in life? If you’ve just taken a big knock and are feeling battered, I’d encourage you even more so to take some time and just write your dreams… don’t edit or limit them, they are for your eyes only anyway. Don’t base them on what has happened, just write what you want for your life. What can you do towards it, right now even? On Twitter, my Dad’s charity posted this quote yesterday…

Do it.
Do it.
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3 comments

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  1. Nicola

    Really encouraging Jeni. So important to have dreams and goals that excite you and keep you going. A dear and wonderful friend of mine lost her dad this time last year and she amazingly said soon after, in the midst of crippling pain, ‘there’s always hope, there has to be’ which bowled me over. Thanks x

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