I am a day dreamer; I always have been. I love to sit with my journal and write out my dreams and goals until I can fully visualize and feel the fantasy as it takes place in my mind. This was not always encouraged and was somewhat frowned upon in my youth, but I have learned since, it is a great way to build a roadmap for the future. One birthday, my husband, who entertains my vocal ramblings bought me a bracelet that I cherish as one of my favorite gifts. It was a simple silver piece attached with sliding string – a modest adornment, but it was the engraved message that sent my heart soaring as I knew he understood me. It simply read, “Dreams happen one choice at a time.” Through the years, this has been an ongoing reminder of my own truth.
My childhood fantasies and the stark reality of life as it unfolded rarely coincided. As my unintended choices led my life down dark and dreary paths, I began to investigate the reasons for my inability to reach the dreams I kept carefully concealed in my heart. I read and studied world religions, philosophies and too many self-help books to count, but found myself still frustrated at the lack of results. I had gathered the tools I needed, but still lacked the skills to use them in the most productive way. I could not reconcile the dream with the reality I observed around me.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow (1908-1970) discovered a value schedule for human being consisting of five basic principles including survival, security, personal relationships, prestige and self-development. This made sense to me until the words of Joseph Campbell in his book, Pathways to Bliss pointed out, “Maslow’s five values are the values for which people live when they have nothing to live for. Nothing has seized them, nothing has driven them spiritually mad and made them worth talking to.1” Aha! I thought. It is the very madness of the dream that makes it worth the sacrifice. I began looking at the wildly successful individuals in the world who had lived life with reckless abandon and seen their dreams come into reality.
Do I lack madness? On the contrary, I am filled with it and have carefully concealed most of my weirdness from the rest of the world only to discover this quality is what my dreams are made of. It was my own self-doubt that kept me from the pursuit. As I journey into myself, I found hidden in my subconscious, sabotaging beliefs. Thoughts came into view, as well as, the weight they carried in my very cells. I believed I was unworthy of success. I was damaged, selfish, irresponsible, foolish, and everyone knew it. It was horrifying to find these beliefs I held about myself. As I took each one into my heart like a fragile newborn babe, I examined the accusation looking for the truth in it. I found I was somewhat innocent of the destructive thoughts. I examined where the thoughts originated, the good reasons I held onto them, such as a protective mechanism in certain situations, or a driving force for improvement. In the past, some of these ideas had served me well, but did they serve me well now? I had learned to be thankful for all the treasures I discovered in myself as a way to know myself intimately. I thanked my heart for revealing the intricacies of my mind and body and let the destructive ideas go with the silent prayer, “thank you for your service, you are free to go now.” In place of these fears, I inserted new beliefs about myself like “I am love” or “I am a brilliant and prolific writer”. I did not instantly believe these new affirmations, I needed to retrain my brain by saying the words out loud to myself in a mirror, then writing them for my eyes to see, and finally, chanting them inside my head, until my actions slowly began to reflect the positive truths instead of the destructive ones.
The key to the mastery of the goal is to face the dark side of yourself. I do this by journaling and, believe it or not, this is terrifying. To put down my honest thoughts and feelings on paper for my eyes to see and my mind to better comprehend is an admittance to the shame of what I observe. However, an interesting thing happens when I do this practice, the flesh eating monster in the closet of my mind is exposed to the light. I can see the feeling and thoughts for what they really are and begin to confront the presumed danger. With the fear abated, I am free to follow my Kuzala with inexhaustible enthusiasm. I know what choices to make and when to make them. I move towards the dream in my heart and turn it from a playful musing into reality.
Synchronicity comes into play. Answers to the question of “how” come in one step at a time and I make progress and headway is the great motivator. When a seeming roadblock enters my world, instead of letting the fear grab my dream and bury it in the far reaches of the universe, I look at it slowly and completely and find an even better way to cross the river of adversity.
The way to your Kuzala is the hero’s journey. It takes undaunted courage, honesty, patience, love, gratitude and determination, but there is no greater reward in the life well lived. Following your Kuzala is the life of adventure, danger and ultimately the slaying of your own personal dragons to return with the gift to the world of your own success. Your victory gives power to those around you to follow their path to a life well lived, remembered and admired. It is the salt of the earth and the balance due in return for the gift of life.