It's the moment in between my waking life and my deepest state of slumber that I see the world clearly. Life only gets blurry when I open my eyes. In my limitless dream state world, in the deepest parts of my mind to the very last second before I'm fully conscious, I see everything in 20/2 like a hawk.
Five years ago I dreamed of finishing my first novel, I dreamed of curing breast cancer, I dreamed of helping people live longer, I dreamed of sharing my friend's and my stories, I dreamed of being happy inside and out.
Now, five years later, I dream of finishing my second novel, I dream of raising twice as much money for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer than I did last year, I dream of opening an artist retreat, and I dream of being present in the moment at all times.
I am not sure if it's harder to figure out what your dream is or if it is harder to embrace the dream and put it into action (once you realize what it is). There is a sense of vulnerability that comes along with declaring your dream out loud, whether it be to yourself or to the world. The other day, while discussing dreams over a glass of rosé with my childhood friend Frank, he said that some people love the idea of dreams more than actually achieving the dream. They carry their dreams close, like a valuable keepsake in a pocket next to their chest. They take out that keepsake at times to admire its beauty. The dream makes them happy for a minute and it inspires. But then they tuck it right back into their pocket for another day.
But I hope a day may come when you decide to hold onto that happiness longer. And instead of tucking the dream back in your pocket, you release it out to the world. It is then, in this moment that the fun begins.
This series, 20/2: Clarity, is about people who I admire, who inspire, and who have declared to themselves, and now to the world, that they will not wait for another day to make their dream a reality. This week, I'll start with my dream of finishing my novel, but for my next segment, who knows? Maybe I'll be sharing your story.
When did your dream become a part of your waking life?
Three years ago, armed with my laptop, a stack of note cards, and three bottles of red wine, I journeyed from Seattle, Washington, to Cannon Beach, Oregon. Lush trees, ancient mountains, and the Pacific Ocean were the stage of my unscripted journey, as they had been for so many others before me traveling on the Lewis and Clark Trail. As I journeyed along on the path of discovery, I found not only the ending to my novel, but also the first line in the next chapter of my waking life.
Three hours, fifty songs, 200 miles, and a million chaotic thoughts later -- three stories from my life floated their way to the forefront of my mind.
December 25, 1993. A Christmas card arrived in the mail, addressed to my 13 year old self, in my father's unmistakable handwriting, with a crisp one hundred-dollar bill inside. There he was. A Christmas card adorned with a poem about the love of a father and a daughter written over a green glitter Christmas tree. I flipped the card a few times between my now glittery fingers in disbelief. There he was. His signature. Love, Dad....Only my father had died five months earlier.
August 3, 2006. My mother's friend, her eyes filled with kindness, her heart filled with love, told me how much my mother loved the mix CD I made for her. There she was. And how my mother couldn't stop talking about it, and how my mother really felt like she knew me after listening to it. There she was. All I could think about was wanting to hold my mom's hand and listen to the CD with her in its entirety from the beginning to the end...Only I was at my mother's funeral.
October 11, 2001. Philosophy class at USF, I watched The Waking Life, a film by Richard Linklater. It is a film capturing the essence of two worlds divided by a fine line -- the world of our dreams and the world of our waking life. Do our hearts and minds differentiate responses between real life and dreams? Mine doesn't. There I was. My heart races in scary dreams as it does while watching horror movies. My heart flutters in dreams when I see loved ones as it flutters in real life. And my endorphins flourish in my dreams the same way they do when I'm filled with joy in real life. Is that dream you dream that very last second before you welcome your waking life what you really wish your days were filled with? Because I knew that dream... There I was.
I wanted to pull my car over, and scream at the top of my lungs, so the entire world could hear, and tell them to embrace their loved ones, to hold their hands, to dance into the wee hours of the night, to sit under the stars, to make love, to give love, and to be loved. I wanted to tell the world not to worry about the small things. To accept people as they are, doing the best they know how. To not leave things unsaid. To appreciate the things that enter and exit your life with grace. To appreciate everything, the good, the bad, the beautiful, the difficult, and most of all to be fearless.
It was that day, that rare sunny winter day in the Pacific Northwest, that I realized my dream was not only to write a book, it was to live a life worth writing about.
I wrote that weekend for three days straight and haven't stopped writing since. I write because I can't imagine my life without writing. Death, love, fear, anger, art, dreams, all make sense as they dance on my paper blurring the line between my waking and dream life -- until the lines become so fine that they cease to exist at all.
I cannot wait to see what beautiful dreams are created from the minds and hearts of those around me.
Cheers to each of us seeing our dreams in 20/2.
Friend Stella Mowen on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/StellaMowenAuthor
Follow Stella Mowen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/StellaMowen
Until the Beat Stops available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Until-Beat-Stops-Stella-Mowen-ebook/dp/B00NBIDJGA/