Dream Big Dreams

Practice of the Week
Dream Big Dreams

Category: Slogans to Live By: Practices for everyone to keep in mind and pay attention to. These practices don't require setting aside a separate substantial chunk of time. Just have the intention to grow stronger in each of these areas as you go about your day, and sometimes make one of them the focus of your daily journaling. The titles of these practices are guiding slogans to live by.
"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." (James Dean)

Everyone has dreams: goals, big plans, reasons for living, contributions to others. They include starting a family, changing careers, going to college, deepening the emotionally and sensually intimate aspects of a long-term relationship, writing a book, living a spiritual practice, making art, getting a stoplight installed at a dangerous intersection, losing thirty pounds and keeping it off, saving the whales, saving the world.

Many of these dreams are rooted in childhood visions of what's possible. When the young elements are peeled away, what remains is often still deeply true for a person.

What are your own longings of the heart?

They could be quite concrete—and still be big dreams. Like everybody in the family doing their share of housework. Or finding a job that takes less than an hour to drive to. Or coming to peace with your mother or your son. Or planting roses. Or carving out half an hour a day for yourself.

Or they could be more far-reaching or lofty. Such as reducing bullying in schools or carbon dumping in the atmosphere, or pursuing your own spiritual awakening.

If you truly open to this question—What are the dreams that matter to me?—don't worry, you won't get caught up in silly stuff, such as wanting to get super rich and famous. Instead, you'll hear your soul speaking—your essence, your core, your deepest inner wisdom.

It's worth listening to what it says.

And then worth looking for ways—practical ones, grounded in daily life, that move you forward one real step at a time—to bring your dreams to life.


Find a quiet time and place, and ask yourself what you long for. Also imagine younger versions of yourself, and ask them what their dreams are.

Try to be open to what comes up, rather than dismissing it as unrealistic, too late, "selfish," or foolish. Perhaps write it down, even just a few words, or tell someone. If you like, make a collage of pictures (and maybe words) that represent your dream(s). And remember that your dreams aren't set in stone; you can let them breathe and change and grow.

Make room for your dreams in your thoughts and actions. Be their friend. Feel what it would be like if they came true, and how that would be good for you and others.

Without getting bogged down in details or obstructions, give thought to what you could do, in realistic ways, to move toward the fulfillment of your dreams. Look for the small things you can implement and build on each day. Perhaps go further and write down a plan for yourself, with—gulp—dates on it. Don't be daunted by things getting more real.

Then take action. If it helps, tell the truth about and keep a record of your actions—like writing down how much time you spend each day exercising, talking lovingly with your mate, or simply curled up relaxing. Focus on the things that will make the most difference; put the big rocks in the bucket first.

Throughout, let your dream live you. Feel into the wholesome heart of a dream—how it comes from deep within, how it is healthy, how it will serve you and others. Give yourself over to your dream.

Let your dream be a friend to you.

For Journaling

Questions to address in your journal:
  1. What are the dreams that matter to me?
  2. Thinking back to the person I was when I was half my current age, what were the dreams that mattered to my younger self? Is there a modified version of some of those dreams that I still have?
  3. What would my life be like if my dream were realized? How would the world be changed?
  4. What's my plan for realizing my dream?
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Rick Hanson on dreaming big dreams:

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For list of all weekly practices: "Practices of the Week Index"

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