Empowered Change

Nurturing Your Dreams

by Linda Maree

Article 8 in our series ETAIN
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Linda maree is a freelance writer, editor and is the creator of Etain Workshops®. For information on workshops and presentations eMail:
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E M P O W E R E D  C H A N G E

Nurturing Your Dreams

"If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."       

  —Henry David Thoreau; Paraphrase


Most people think of creativity as a means to an end, rather than an on-going process that infinite, endless, always flowing and readily accessible if only we remain open and receptive to its sometimes subtle, but always powerful influence. When we stay in the flow, focusing our thoughts and actions on our project, idea or situation, and ready to step outside the boundaries of conventional or "normal" patterns, eventually we come to the point of illumination, that stage of the creative process that is simply, "Aha!"

Illumination literally occurs in the moment and has been described as "a light bulb coming on," "a flash of lightening," a sudden "spark" of an idea; all apt descriptions of a step in the process of creation that many interpret as the apex—the culmination of true creativity, the ephemeral end that justifies all the preparation, dreaming, nurturing, and focus of the preceding stages. Yet illumination, for all its wonder and excitement, is merely a momentary, fleeting blip on the cerebral radar screen if it is not acted upon. Which brings us to the last and, unarguably, most important step in the creative process—transformation.

In this context, transformation refers to the mechanism of turning an idea into a physical, earthly reality. No matter how wonderful your idea is, how brilliant the illumination, it is not useful to anyone, including yourself, until it is acted on. This is where many (most?) people get stopped—and there are probably as many reasons why as there are people who are stopped, though in the end, it usually all comes down to fear. (See Etain #2—What's Stopping You?)

Fear can be a major stumbling block in the transformation of ideas into reality, ostensibly keeping us "safe" and "secure," preventing us from taking chances and going out on the creative limb (where, often, the most succulent fruits are). If, however, you stop responding to your fear, you will begin to see that, in truth, fear has no real power—unless you give it power. Once you recognize that, moving forward is always possible no matter how frightened you may feel. We have all heard of professional, accomplished, seasoned entertainers who suffer from severe stage fright, yet continue to perform before large crowds—without a hint of the fear they are feeling inside. While the fear is still present, they have learned to stop responding to it, negating its power. Often, taking action—any action that forwards your goal—is actually the first step toward getting over your fear. As Warren Berland, Ph.D. states in his book, Out of the Box for Life, "Action is always possible, no matter what you are feeling."

This is where the true magic of creation occurs—taking action that is consistent with fulfilling your vision, your dream. It's time to take your idea (Aha!) and fly with it!

What are some steps that you might take immediately to begin moving in the direction of transformation and manifestation? If you have prepared well, you may already have the first step in place by having the materials and equipment you need to get started. If not—get them. Now! This is not the time to procrastinate; it is time for action. Do you need to gather additional information? Do it! Perhaps you need to consult a professional planner, hire an agent, lease office or studio space, or simply clean off the kitchen table or make room in the empty guest room for a table, desk, or other space to work on. Whatever it takes to get the energy moving, now is the time to do it, to transform that bright flash of creative insight into something concrete, real, and potentially useful and/or beautiful for yourself and others. There is nothing in this world that exists that wasn't at one time a mere thought in someone's mind.

Whether completion is a matter of a few hours, a few weeks, or even months or years, be sure to give yourself time, on a regular basis, to work on your project/idea. Get up an hour early if you have to, rearrange your schedule whenever you can, unplug your television (it can be a time-consuming distraction). If you have small children, consider hiring a sitter for an hour or two—everyday if needed or, at the very least, a couple of days a week so you can give your full energy and concentration, during that time, to manifesting your dream.

Most likely, during this process of creation, you will find yourself drifting from one stage (preparation, incubation, daydreaming, etc.) to another and back again as you transform your idea into reality. This is normal. Remember creativity actually occurs in a continuous flow that changes, refreshes and renews itself as it weaves its way through the course of our lives. It is not unusual at all to revisit each of the stages of the creative process many times as we work to transform thoughts and dreams into physical reality.

Transformation requires intense focus as well as strength of will, stamina, and discipline. Alan Cohen says, "If you believe in what you are doing, you will be asked to stand behind it fully." If you don't believe in yourself and your idea, no one will. It's up to you to take your tender, newborn creative insight, embrace it, nurture it, and guide it lovingly into existence.

ACTION: Plan now to manifest your vision. At the moment of illumination (just after the Aha!) write down your thoughts and ideas. Even if you have a good memory, there is something about the power of the written word that somehow adds a measure of tangibility to this stage of creation.

Next, make a list of all possible actions that you might take to actually bring your idea into manifestation. Note that you will not necessarily take all these steps, but it is important to be aware of the myriad possibilities. In the coming days (or weeks, or months if this is a long-term project) add to this list as new potential ideas for action occur to you.

Now, right now, pick just one item off your list—and do it! Even if it is something as simple as getting your supplies ready, setting your alarm clock for an hour earlier, or looking over your calendar or daily planner to see where you might appropriate some valuable time to work on your project. This would also be a great time (if you're not doing it already) to begin a practice of daily journaling. Your journal can serve not only as a "project diary," but also a means for clearing away internal stumbling blocks and personal saboteurs, allowing your creative energy to flow freely.

Continue to take action until you see your dream take form and shape. Don't let fear slow you down. Remember, transformation requires focus, stamina and, above all, discipline. This is your statement to the world (and maybe even yourself!) that you believe in your idea and stand behind it fully.

Linda Maree

Writer and Editor

eMail: etainwrites@aol.com
© Linda Maree 2001    
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Editor's note:

Linda's Etain series offers an opportunity for Pathfinders participants to share their successes at meeting life challenges. The concept of Etain, the hero and heroine that is woven through the stories of all cultures, is the journey we all travel.

We wish you well on the path and look forward to your participation.

© dwij 2001
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