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.
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!).