Is Pursuing Our Dreams Preventing the Peace We Long For?

You have to love us. We come to this life to make a difference, we want our lives to matter, and we know we have it within us to do so.

So why are we so stressed and tired? Why do we come to the end of the day too exhausted to give our best to our loved ones? Why do the most committed of us sometimes eat and drink too much, fail to exercise, or skip our quiet time?

Recently my physical therapist was encouraging me to find my own answers to these questions by considering why the pain in my hip is persisting. Bottom line? I expect too much of myself and allow others to do the same. More about my lessons in a minute.

But before you consider what you can do differently, think about why it can cost so much to do the most important things. I think Thomas Merton said it clearly:

There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The frenzy of our activism
neutralizes our work for peace. It destroys our own inner capacity for peace.
It destroys the fruitfulness of our own work, because it kills the root of inner
wisdom, which makes work fruitful.

So do we have to choose between having our lives matter and living a happy life? If you look at what we're doing, it looks as if we already have. And what's more, given who we are, we couldn't shut down our passion if we wanted to. So now what?

What I saw lying on the massage table was how I still waste time people pleasing, doing things that matter little just to gain others' love. Not only stupid, but also unnecessary because they already love me. I also saw that I've been chasing after every good idea that occurs to me, and wasting time procrastating about the big stuff instead of doing those things first and then being free of them for the rest of the day. Now that habit brings me joy!

And as the week has progressed, I remembered the three age-old secrets for having good come our way. Be aware of your biggest dreams, both in your world and in your home and then --

  1. Let go
  2. Trust
  3. Have faith

Yet again I remembered that life is happening right here, in this moment, not out there in a dream yet to be realized. When I live in the present, I am living my dreams. My inner peace allows good to come when I let go of the negative thoughts and actions that are blocking its way. It's a lesson worth learning because as Dan Pallotta says so wisely,

What we fear most is that we will be denied
the opportunity to fulfill our true potential.

In his recent TED talk he sheds such clarity and inspiration on this very issue that I urge you to watch it soon -- or better yet right now. Click here to watch.

Please share your experience of living with broken dreams, being overworked, and the price you're paying ~ or what you're doing to shift your experience. Either leave a comment by scrolling to the bottom of this page or write to me directly at

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