Last month, we were able to celebrate with the board of the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market Institute for achieving a land lease that will enable the market vendors to set down roots; and, secure a commercial selling locale for the first time in 35 years! The presidents of the board, along with other Santa Fe natives, have realized a dream that not only serves a diverse community, but also provides organic produce and drug free meats for nutritious consumption. How do you hold onto a dream for 35 years or a lifetime?
First, let’s define what dreams really are. Dreams are not just wild fancies or hope; and, not just goal achievement. Dreams are not the exclusive property of any gender, culture, financial standing, or public image. They are deep aspirations, inner callings for fulfillment and personal triumph, sometimes in the service of others, as in the Farmers Market.
Where do dreams come from? Artists, athletes, and dancers will tell you that they were born with their dream. Their vision was realized at any early age and deepened with each subsequent year. Their ultimate success was not dependent on luck; plus, they will tell you that they rarely consider their journey to success as having been easy. Others will tell you that a collection of events or a specific experience led them to their dream. As a social activist told us, “It seemed that lightning struck my landscape and everything became so clear to me in that moment. I knew what my dream was and how it would fulfill my happiness as well as the children’s health program I was serving.”
Dreams require determination and perseverance as well as talent. When highway construction forced the closure of Colonel Sanders’ tiny restaurant inside a gas station, he drove around the southern states to other restaurants to cook chicken for them. Ultimately, news of the quality of the chicken spread to other restaurants enabling the Colonel to begin franchising, well after he was 40 years of age! In his early career, Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for his lack of creative ideas for stories. Also, Disney went bankrupt several times before he built the original Disneyland in California. Henry Ford had the global vision of cars mass-produced on an assembly line. He failed and was financially broke 5 times before he finally realized his dream of an affordable car for hard working families.
Dreams are held onto, indefinitely, when core beliefs tell you that life will not be worth living if you don’t pursue them. Or that life for a specific family, community, or nation will be enhanced or quality of life improved by the pursuit of a dream. The element that accompanies belief is resolve. With resolve, no settlement is possible. And for those that have had a ‘dig in’ moment, resolve brought a sense of acceptance or inner peace. What appeared to be impossible odds or overwhelming tasks, seemed to fall into a logical order for victory. It’s crucial that you listen to the inner voice that calls you and pay attention to the people who seem to re-appear every time you become despondent. These folks are your support network, summoned over the airwaves to help you when your energies are low and seek motivation.
If you think you can’t make your dreams a reality, ask yourself:
- What will change for you, your family, or your community, if you begin the process in realizing your dream? Who else will you inspire, even start a movement, by publicly declaring you are in pursuit of your dream?
- What fears or uncertainty do you hold that keep you immobilized in your current space? And, how can you address each of them so that you can establish a plan to achieve your aspirations?
- What permission do you need to give yourself to stimulate innovative thinking about achieving your dream?
- If your dream is a humanities ‘calling’ such as, organic food harvesting or companion service to shut-ins, what is unique about your contribution that no one else can duplicate?
- Are you suffering guilt over ‘breaking out’ of the family or social practices in pursuing your life’s dream? What would be the benefits and consequences of pursuing your direction when it breaks out of the family’s or your generally accepted peer group? What invisible rules do you need to discard now?
- What options have you ruled out that others have told you will not work? How are you settling for someone else’s conclusions when your heart is telling you that those are wrong for you?
What are the outside challenges that jeopardize the progression of your dream such as, once the trash is removed from the city park who will maintain the trash-free environment?
“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable; and then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” — Christopher Reeve