Wisdom from a “Heart-Dreamer”
A Free Vacation
(For this experiential activity, choose a favorite photo of yourself).
Okay, I admit it. If you saw me right now, you wouldn’t recognize the person you see in this photograph. Although it was a great trip to Hawaii, I’m back home and reality has set it. It’s dawn, the weather report calls for a wintry mix, I haven't brushed my teeth yet, my face looks like I would scare my cat if I had one, I’m sleep deprived, and my inner thoughts are filled with unhelpful worries, fears, doubts and a busy to-do list. I know I could superficially function today, but who wants to just “function?” What about those feelings I experienced in Hawaii of aliveness and joy? How do I recapture them and snap out of this emotional paralysis?
As I contemplate my questions in silence, I hear an inner voice whispering, “trust.” Trust that the person in the photograph is still somewhere in your spirit and make an executive decision to invite her into your life as a mentor of inspiration today. I sit quietly listening for more inner guidance, and just when I give up, I hear her say, “Paradise is not situated in one specific place.”
What is she talking about?
My alter ego urges me to take another look at the photo, and when I observe it again, I can’t figure out what it shows me besides my curly frizzy hair. She gently encourages me to look at it again. She asks, “What qualities do you vibrate in this picture, and how can you invite these qualities back into your life?”
As I look at the stranger in the photo that is me, I can sense her exciting energy of unbridled freedom, joy, truth, happiness, creativity, playfulness, curiosity, empowerment and delight. I also see this fun-loving woman stretching her arms out wide to the universe while confidently shouting, "Ta-Daa! Here I am world. I'm imperfectly-perfect and enough just as I am today!"
Suddenly, I understand. I am homesick for that stranger, and I need to rediscover her without going on a vacation.
This exercise is delicious in its teachings, and I invite you to join me now. Select a favorite photo of yourself. Even if you dislike all your pictures, there must be one that stands out and brings a smile to your face. Is there a snapshot that captures a moment of innocence and joy? Is there a photo that represents a moment when you were able to say a temporary goodbye to doubt, self-criticism, fear, sadness, insecurity, anger and frustration?
Observe your true essence in this picture. What are the qualities that attract you about this person, and how can you invite these positive qualities back into your life? For example, does this person radiate playfulness? Do you wish you could feel more playful now? If so, dub “playful” as your mantra and imagine yourself like this. What do you look like? Sound like? See your playful gestures, hear your vibrant tone of voice, notice how light and silly you are, hear your laughter and see the twinkle in your eyes. Wherever you go, invite “playfulness” into your life. Walk with a more confident and upbeat posture, look up at the sky and breathe in a renewed breath of lightness and hope, and choose people in your life that can be playful, too. Instead of filling your day with self-criticism and heaviness, give yourself more love and moments of delight. Think in your mind, “playfulness, playfulness.” Create a positive affirmation … “I am light and playful.” Write the word, “playful” on sticky notes and place them everywhere.
Most of all, if you find yourself taking every aspect of life too seriously, do what the angels do. Remember? “Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.” (quotation by G.K. Chesterton)
If you find yourself experiencing a merry-go-round of bad days, stop the cycle before you dive more deeply into the rabbit hole. You have the power to shift. If I can do it, so can you. If you want to create a different energy for living your minutes on earth, step into the highest version of yourself. Open your heart a little more, smile at a stranger, give without expectation, laugh frequently, and welcome the day from the stance of an imaginative dreamer, lover of life, and as a person who has the resilience and determination to remain in a place of hope, love, possibility and courage, no matter what!
As my self-help book, “Heart-Dreamer-Stepping into Life, Love, Creativity and Dreams No Matter What, says …
“Paint your life with the colors of love, courage, risk, faith, self-belief, joy, trust, strength, sparkle, excitement, glow, magic and optimism. Paradise isn't something that you have to save up for and go to, and it doesn't require a hotel room, transportation and money. Paradise can be embraced into your being right where you are.”