“Don’t let your dreams be dreams.”
How often do we all ask ourselves that one simple question? ‘Why Can’t I?’ Why do we choose to put ourselves in this self imposed cage? This ‘Cage’ is manifested within our own choices, belief systems, lack of self esteem, need for validation, past experiences, etc. Mostly, it stems from fear. Fear of getting hurt again, fear of failure, fear of not being accepted, fear of not being good enough, fear of the unknown.
We allow these ‘thinking errors’ to dictate our current moment and even our future. We are trepidatious to take chances, and even question our own potential. We start to become what our belief system is telling ourselves about ourselves. And, for many of us, we have to stay there just long enough just to see it. It’s time to start telling ourselves a different story, and start singing a different song. We have been here long enough. While constantly trying to wrap our brains around the chaos of the life that we are currently residing. But, deep down, knowing that there is more, much more. We seek something, anything that resembles some shape or form of basic stability. All the while forgetting that true stability lies within. It’s nothing that anyone can give us. It’s already there, it always has been. It’s just been covered and muted by internal and external forces.
We have to get out of the routine of these old self destructive patterns and remember that we do have power over these things. We can’t control the external world, but we do have complete control how we choose to internalize them. Where do we file them? How do we react ? How to we feel about it? That is in your control. We are our own worst critics. We know our weaknesses. We know the things that we need to work on. The problem it that we keep telling ourselves a story that doesn’t serve us well. What if we star telling ourselves the story that we want to live, rather that telling ourselves the one that we don’t? The one that is derived from my own wants and desires. The one that sees your full potential without boundaries. Our lives have been like been living under the shadow of a tree, one that we planted along time ago. A tree that we have watched grow and sat in its shade, fining comfort in its simple existence while not even noticing that it was growing out of control. Well, that tree, as we know it, isn’t there anymore and it’s time to plant another. But now, we have learned from our errors. This next seed is destined to be magnificent. Because we learned from the years of tending to the first, the mistakes we made and the flowers it has bloomed and shed. We can’t allow this new tree can’t branch off in unhealthy ways. We can catch it before it starts to grow in the wrong direction. Always knowing that this is in our control.
3 years ago, I found myself sitting on the side walk in a McDonalds parking lot. I had a duffel bag of clothes, a dead cell phone and $8 in my wallet. The treatment center had just dropped me off, and sent me on my way with no plan in place.
I spent a lot of time couch surfing, and just trying to pick up the pieces. Simply looking for a sliver of hope, and desperate for support and searching for purpose. At this point I had lost everything. As the weeks passed, I found myself living in my work van in the Utah desert. Broke and broken. The last few months I had been bounced around treatment centers and hospitals. And, now I found myself in this place. It was a life changing fork in the road and I knew it. I had 2 choices, pull the trigger or pull the trigger. I had to be stupid deep honest with myself. Weighing all options. One solution was easy, the other I knew was going to require me to do ‘the real work.’ I decided to give my story here one more chance. I packed up my stack of books and the photograph of my boys and took the first step. This time its going to be on my terms. No more holding back, no more pity parties, no more abuse. It’s time to start living life, my rules. It felt freeing and frightening at the same time. I had to hold myself accountable for every decision that I was going to make from that point forward.
All of my best decisions had gotten me to the place where I was, and I knew that wasn’t sustainable. So, it was time to ask myself ‘why can’t I?’ I started making lists of all of the thing that I wanted, but never went after. All of the dreams that were just dreams, and the reasons I hadn’t gone after them. Breaking it down one by one, I started to realize that the only thing holding me back from the ‘why can’t I’s’ was simply me…….
For the last couple of years I have been target focused on that list. Reading, listening, growing, observing, developing healthy relationships, and cutting the toxic ones. Slowing attending to the seed that was planted that day. I’m paying attention this time. And, playing for keeps. Focusing on transforming into the person that I ultimately want to be. All along knowing that there isn’t a goal line, it’s just one yard at a time. But, each decision I make now I always ask myself ‘WHY CAN’T I?’