by George and Sedena Cappannelli
Do you remember dreaming that one day you would be a great writer, painter, or composer? Do you remember wanting to invent a remarkable new product, pitch a perfect game, find the cure to a debilitating illness, rally the troops to save the day, become a great actress, enter the courtroom to right an injustice, or throw your hat into the political ring to make a difference? Do you remember wanting to play music or sing melodies that issued from your heart? Do you remember dreaming of being a coach or a teacher, a dancer, choreographer, cook, carpenter or fisherman, an astronaut or mountain climber, a religious or spiritual leader, a humanitarian or a healer?
Perhaps you did not know exactly what you wanted to do with your life, yet you felt a longing you could not put a name to, a restless tug to do something more and different than others around you were doing.
Perhaps both of these things were and still are sometimes true for you — specific longings to do or express yourself in a given way, or a restlessness that issues from not knowing quite what you want to do or how. If this is true for you, then we invite you to spend a few moments with us exploring the possibility that the next stage of your journey can be more satisfying and rewarding and also more in alignment with the dream you came here to manifest.
The first step we recommend in this exploration is to take a little time to be alone, a little time to listen to some of the hints and promptings that come from that “still small voice” within you. We believe you will soon discover that this longing, this dream that you once had, is still very much alive inside you. We also believe you will discover that by directing your attention to that place where your dream still lives, you will either rediscover or discover the beginning of a pathway that, no matter how old or young you are, can lead you to live more of the life you were born to live.
The Power of Your Dream
When we are in touch with our personal dream and stay true to its call — stay true to what is called our destiny — we are not only more creative, impassioned and energetic, but we are also more involved in our own lives, connected to others and in tune with the natural rhythms of life. Furthermore, when we are in touch with our dream we are more concerned about the well-being of others, this planet and all of the species that reside here. In short, in our experience, being in touch with our dream is an essential key not only to living more consciously and aging wisely, but to fulfilling our spiritual promise or heritage.
For more than 30 years we have been experimenting with and testing this premise in our personal lives and through our work with hundreds of major organizations and with thousands of individuals who have attended both our organizational and public programs. During this time we have verified that those who are in touch with and living even portions of their dream are more content, impassioned, engaged, loving, healthy and successful. In addition, following the call of our dream is not just important to us as individuals, it appears to be equally essential to the grand scheme of things.
Yes, our dreams hold a blueprint for a unique and successful life; in fact, for the precise life many of us long for and believe somewhere in our hearts is possible. And yet it may not be and often is not the life we are living. We could, of course, spend months exploring why this is true. But in the end, we believe what matters most is not why, but what we can do to correct this misalignment.
Our exploration indicates that this blueprint is often as close as the longing we feel in our hearts. Indeed, we have discovered that it doesn’t matter whether it has been days or decades since we have last paid any attention to our dream — it is always there, literally as close as our next breath.
If you have been faithful to your dream you know this to be true and we applaud and celebrate your efforts. If you have not yet been as faithful to your dream as you have wanted to be then you also know, or at the very least, sense that what we are saying is true. For we know that you, like us, periodically receive — sometimes quietly, sometimes insistently — those whispers, prods, prompts, and even demands that you pay more attention to that “still small voice within.”
So here in this moment we invite you to pause and take a little time to touch that place in your heart where your dream still resides. We ask you to get quiet enough to hear what that “still small voice” is saying, so that you, too, can once again regain that glint in your eye, that spring in your step and that flow of love that is not just a possibility, but your right and privilege as a spiritual being who is currently having this physical experience called life.
Indeed, no matter what your experience has been — whether it has been the hot and dedicated pursuit of a dream that has been clear and compelling for a long time or the restlessness of knowing that there was or is something else more inspiring that you want to do — we invite you to lean back in your chair, close your eyes, and for just a few moments go to that quiet place inside you that is not limited by the boundaries of physical time or practical considerations.
There are numerous techniques that can assist you to get in touch with this inner experience. Different forms of slow, focused breathing; various reflective and meditative practices; the use of mantras and simple phrases spoken on the out-breath and the in-breath; a walk in a favorite woodland; a run along a wild and beautiful beach; moments spent gazing into the innocent eyes of your child or that remarkable being you are spending your life with will all help you tap into your dream. Indeed, whatever allows you to connect to your heart and be available to the guidance that comes from within you — anything that allows you to remember your dream is perfect.”
Even if this first reconnection to your dream is only a vague sense, a hint of a direction, the barest impulse or a fleeting image, allow yourself to glimpse it, sense it, feel it. Let it unfold in whatever way is appropriate and for which you are ready. Just touch into that special reservoir of energy that is your dream and let it evoke in you the beginnings of a renewed sense of hope, purpose and passion.
And if by chance you find yourself suddenly feeling the impulse to blow the dust off those paintbrushes, open the cover of the piano or of your toolbox, or dig out that notebook that is full of ideas for that humanitarian project, business venture, or novel you once wanted to create, then go ahead.
Truly, no matter how old you are or what you have chosen to do thus far in your life to earn your daily bread, if you give yourself permission to touch even the edges of that dream that lives inside you, we are confident that you will experience a sense of rightness, of alignment with something that is deeply familiar. You might experience some pangs of regret for not listening to that “still small voice” more often, for listening instead to those who told you that you had to be reasonable and responsible and to find a practical and proven way to support yourself, and eventually, perhaps, a family. But don’t let that regret stop you from reconnecting to your dream. Just stay in touch with that sense of alignment and naturalness and let it be your guide. Hold it sacred and nurture it, and above all, be willing to allow these first moments, these new reconnections, to grow stronger and more alive inside of you. The only thing that matters now is that you honor this reconnection and allow these first stirrings to lead you step by step toward that greater unfoldment of the life that you were born to live.
We celebrate your courage in taking these steps and leave you with a remarkable quote from Oriah Mountain Dreamer, author of The Invitation.
“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.”
Excerpted from Do Not Go Quietly, A Guide To Living Consciously and Aging Wisely For People Who Weren’t Born Yesterday. (Hay House, 2013)
Co-Authors George and Sedena Cappannelli are also co-founders of AgeNation, a company dedicated to informing, inspiring and engaging Boomers and elders in a world where 50 percent of our population will be over 50 for the first time. For information visit: www.DoNotGoQuietlyTheBook.com and www.AgeNation.com