Dust Or Diamond?

The song ‘War On Dreams’ – context and setting

IMG_5125

Sometimes with dreams, the struggles and apparent setbacks are essential to the satisfactory fulfilment of the dream itself. We just can’t always see it when we’re in the thick of it at the time.

That is the thing about great adventures and great ambitions; no-one can spare you the journey, the lessons or any struggles that you encounter on your way. Nor can they feel the swell of pride in your chest, the goosebumps and elated heart, fit to burst from a sense of fulfilment on it’s completion.  You can’t have the latter without the former. But you can find yourself living with the former, (the lessons and the struggle), longer than you ever imagined.

Many stories in films and books portray a version of the classic ‘Hero’s Journey’ that you’ll be intimately familiar with; a calling, a mustering of courage, a challenge, an awakening of some kind, a triumph and a return.

Usually, before Game Of Thrones ruined happy endings for everyone, it did somehow miraculously work out, every time. In life however, we don’t have those guarantees, it feels much more ‘Games Of Thrones’ than ‘Disney’.

So back to our scene, our crisis and soul searching. This is where the hero must go into the dark enchanted forest (or equally unfriendly territory) and face their nemesis. To top it all off, they must embark on this journey alone. It’s edge of the seat stuff. Very entertaining in a film, not so much when it’s your life and you’re feeling more ‘loser’ than ‘hero’.

The other difference with film (apart from the awesome outfits and potential for super powers to be written into the script), is that you tend to have only one main crisis, journey or battle, before it all ‘comes good’. However, in life you can easily find yourself at this crisis point many, many exhausting times. Each occurrence eroding your confidence and happiness until you just don’t know if you can carry on any more, or even want to.

This is where my song ‘War On Dreams’ begins.

In this darkest of moments, when you don’t know if you can take the pressure of the disappointment or struggle anymore: This is when the transformation happens. This is where you become dust or diamond. This is hard and it hurts. There are moments of weakness, regrets, and snakes in your head. The Dream Eater comes up so closely you can smell the rot on it’s breath and hear the gleeful beat of it’s wicked heart as it presses up against you.

This is your test. It’s always further along the path than you think and harder than you imagined. The tougher the test, the closer you are. You must dig in. Just as you are ready to give yourself over to this despair, there will be a small, tiny voice that is barely a whisper of a thought that will tell you to keep going. Hold on to that voice as if the best part of you depends on it. It does.

When you abandon a dream, you abandon part of yourself and people rarely get over that kind of betrayal. It creates a disconnect, an incongruity, a wound. It’s the stuff bitter people are made of. Be kind to them, it’s an awful pain to carry around and the hardest person in the world to forgive is often yourself.

I’m not talking about the dreams or whims that you abandon through logic and natural causes. When I was four I wanted to be a Fairy Princess – I grew out of that (although my husband might disagree with me). At nine I wanted to be the first female president of America. Bless my little ambitious (and British) 9 year old heart, I let that one go too.

I am talking about dreams that feel like callings and are woven into the very fabric of your being.

Dramatic, much?

Ok, I appreciate that not everyone has a dream that they feel that strongly about. I’ve heard people say that they envy those with clear ambitions and callings. I can’t help wondering if it’s a little easier without them though? Is it worse to feel compelled to follow what might be an ‘impossible’ dream. Or is it worse to be free to choose your own callings and mission based on your sane mind and preference? Some of the most interesting people I know have never had a clear or urgent dream and lead incredibly varied and exciting lives. Some fall into their professions and excel, some just take things as they come.

Others feel fulfilled being the muse or rock to the dream chasers. Behind every successful dreamer is a sane person holding the the strings of the kite/dreamer, keeping them up when there’s not enough breeze and making sure they don’t fly off in strong winds, or storms of their own making.

More often than not though, when a dream or calling is strong, you don’t get to choose it as such –  it chooses you.

This might sound like arty waffle to those who have never felt such a ‘calling’, but believe me, if I could choose something else, something easier, (something less expensive!) I would. That’s not how I’m made though, I need to create in this way to feel ‘normal’ and as much as it’s a pain in the ass sometimes, it is incredibly fulfilling and I would be completely bereft without it.

My point is, (and there is one I promise you), the reason it is hard and you can’t just let it go, is that it’s chosen you. Otherwise, when it got hard, it would be easy to just let it go and choose another dream, but it’s not, it’s heart breaking.

Also remember that it wouldn’t have chosen you if you didn’t have a fair chance of being able to bring it to fruition. Dreams might be crazy but they’re not stupid.

The song ‘War On Dreams’ is for all those people that have that strong calling. It’s for all those that have worked harder than they ever thought possible, hung on to distant glimpses of hope against hope, remained positive in the face of disappointments, put the hours in, done the work, studied, mastered their craft, visualised, networked, taken action upon action, sacrificed, sacrificed, sacrificed and still found that their dream seems to allude them.

It is a rallying song to stay positive, keep going, keep marching in the right direction no matter how hard the terrain is. Your dream counts. You have no idea of the ripples you will create on the journey towards it.

You don’t have to be the best, you just have to be you and do the best you can, from where you are with what you have.

As much as you are moving towards your dream, it is moving towards you too.

Remember, it chose you.

IMG_5232

“Follow your dreams; they are yours for a reason, 

not the least of which is to make them come true”.   

– Mike Dooley

Advertisements

In Bed With The Dream Eater

We are all at war. It’s just that some people don’t realise it. The enemy is sneaky; a master of disguise and it’s already inside.

It sounds like your best friend. Sometimes it even employs your best friend to do its bidding. It comforts you. It soothes you. It buys you chocolate. It pours you a glass of wine and puts on a box set. It backs you up when you cancel your plans. It cares about your comfort and will always prioritise pleasure, relaxation, lie-ins and treats.

It reminds you of all the other stuff you could be doing rather than going to the gym. It points out interesting distractions on social media. It orders you curry; we’ll start the diet tomorrow. It hits the snooze button for you. It convinces you of why today isn’t such a good day to start your action plan after all. You agree that ‘tomorrow’, for real this time, is the best day.

But tomorrow never comes. You will always be distracted, entertained and safe in your comfort zone because this is exactly where the enemy wants you. “That doesn’t sound so bad”, you say. And therein lies the power of this frenemy – you are complicit in your own imprisonment.

Your comfort zone is where dreams go to die – and that’s exactly what the Dream Eater wants.

 

In Bed With the Dream Eater

The Dream Eater has many faces. It will often use a coddling, friendly tone. “I won’t tell anyone about the lie-in and missed gym session. It will be our little secret.” But don’t be fooled. As soon as you start questioning its motives, going against its advice and turning your back on it, the Dream Eater turns into another monster all together and it will Take. You. Out.

Once provoked, its other faces manifest. These include, but aren’t limited to, the internal critic, the self loathing, the self doubts, addictions, jealousies, resentments, and regrets. It’s the voice that tells you that you’re not good enough, that people are laughing at you. It asks, who are you to think or create or do or act or say such a thing? It scans your memory and connects together all the negative past experiences that have ever made you question yourself.

It creates conversations in your head and plays the antagonist with all the gusto of a seasoned theatre pro. It knows the right things to say and the right buttons to push, until you throw that script, song or business plan in the bin. You’re left reeling from imagined humiliations so convincing you forget they haven’t actually happened.

The Dream Eater won’t show up for just any old goal though. Want to smash 3 Seasons of ‘Game Of Thrones’ in one ice cream-fuelled weekend? It’ll approve wholeheartedly, no resistance at all. This is how, without realising, the Dream Eater gives you a gift.

Its mere presence alerts you to the very thing you are most called to do. The bigger and more important the goal is to you and the higher the potential impact for good; the stronger, nastier and trickier the Dream Eater will become.

If you feel no resistance to pursuing something, the chances are that it isn’t a dream that’s gonna set you or the world on fire. But if you have ever pursued a goal close to your heart – a creative, physical, social or entrepreneurial endeavour that moves you, or others, forward for the better in some way – you will be all too familiar with the feelings of resistance that the Dream Eater provokes.

The key is to recognise it. See it when it shows up, call it out and have a strategy for crushing it before it steals another dream from us all.

I say ‘all’ because, although we are on unique paths, we are all in this together. The world needs our light. It needs us to be the best version of ourselves. It needs art, music, courage, healing, new businesses, charities, social change and movements that fire us up and move humanity forward.

I want to share my journey as a creative person and songwriter with other like-minded people trying to achieve their goals. I want to be accountable to my fellow ‘warriors’ in this battle, and to share inspiring resources and tactics that can help us become the creative ass-kicking ninja warriors we were all born to be. My blog and resources page will explore these topics in more detail.

I believe that, despite how it may feel, and indeed look some days, the odds are in our favour. Focus, practice, commitment, intent, gratitude, visualisation, tenacity and bloody mindedness will get us there.

The Dream Eater is beatable. Battle is inevitable but nothing is more important for you and the rest of the world than that we show up, continue to fight and win with small daily victories and bigs leaps of courage.

Come chase dreams and slay demons with me.

To arms! (Not arm-chairs!).

Ruth A-D