Kids daydream. Thanks to their encouraged imaginations and limited experiences on earth, to them, life’s possibilities are endless. When I was a kid, I dreamt of playing with all my favourite artists. I imagined performing to thousands of people around the world. I envisioned being deep in love with a wife and kids and much more. Most of it came to fruition, but how many of those dreams were perceived as realistic through the lens of an adult? Really, is it likely that a 12-year-old from Australia would tour with B.B. King?
Time showed me the truth behind possibility, but it also revealed life’s limits – mainly with the help of “realists” along the way, and a number of face plants. As a result of fears (a tangent of those face plants), you either become the, “Yeah it won’t work because…..” guy, or the, “We could do this!!” guy. I’ve always been a mix of the two, but bigger challenges along the way turned me into the latter.
After burning out, I spent a year giving my body and mind an overdue rest, which was a process in itself. I worked with amazing practitioners to sort out the causes of biochemical imbalance, along with a psychologist educated in mindfulness practice to help cultivate a healthier relationship with my thoughts and emotions. But I hit a plateau. At times I felt lost and didn’t know what I wanted, it was as if every day was about making it through. I experienced excitable energies when walking the tightrope of emotions, but other than that, things felt a little dull. I didn’t have that same drive and passion that I used to, and this layered with the shame of feeling heavy with a head full of amazing memories and a house full of love only worsened my anxieties.
One morning, I was sitting at a set of lights and fell into a daydream. A good one! I was playing the music that I love on stage in a small packed club. It was raw and authentic and nowhere in particular. Within seconds, self-doubt disguised as an inner “realist”, shut it down. Thanks to training in mindfulness, I was able to see my imagination being blocked in real time, it happened so quickly. Over time, this happened again and again until it hit me – life seemed dull because I wasn’t allowing my natural desires to breathe. Reflecting on them, those limitless daydreams as a kid sparked the fire that drove me to travel to the sun and back in order to turn them into realities. Thanks to fear, I wasn’t even giving them a chance. At times, fear took over so quickly that it would be easy to assume that I didn’t have desires at all. Sounds like a symptom to a familiar “disease”, huh? The process had to change.
Spontaneous brainstorming had been corrupted, so I had to work out a way to separate desire from fear. I scheduled time to “wave a magic wand”, but in order for the fears to rest (the inner-protector to lay his down guns), I also had to schedule time to address its concerns. Here’s an overview on what the sessions entail.
Wave a Magic Wand (In a perfect world)
Capturing raw desire. To wave a magic wand means to create beyond the limitations of reality. Naturally, the mind will say, “That won’t work because blah blah”, which is why I schedule a separate realism session. It gives me the opportunity to acknowledge and push the resistance aside as it arises so I can get a vivid picture of what I want in my head. Internal dialogue in response to the Monkey Mind may be something like, “Yeah yeah, I’ll get to you later.” Or “I totally get it, we’ll problem solve a little later” or “Fuck off and get over it”. Just like general meditation, the idea is to keep coming back to the intention of the session. Desire.
When brainstorming, it helps to start with, “In a perfect world, I see myself…” Or “If I were to wave a magic wand…” be as specific as possible. The amount of sessions will depend on the subject and the level of resistance. When themes appear, really bask in the possibilities, no matter how unrealistic they seem until things become clear. Write down the vision – that’s the anchor.
Now it’s time for a realism session.
The tendencies that surface during these sessions go unnoticed in the background of daily life. The goal is to recognise them, see them for what they are and know what to do as they pop up in the future. Personally, I like to draw on Dr Martin L Rossman’s system and separate the realistic from the unrealistic and the “within my control” from the “outside of my control”. It’ll also be a time for general problem solving and strategising. If I’m true to myself, I’ll also be armed with responses to the inner sceptic or over protective “mother”.
It all sounds a little drawn-out and unnecessary, and for some, goals it is. But for me, this process showed me that passion and desire never disappears, that the only thing stopping me from feeling the heat of the flames are the layers of protective-ware built up from the times I’ve been burnt. Before I surrendered the hollowness I felt in daily life to a label, I wanted to see if my habits were suffocating love – and it turns out they were. After a good year of separating love from fear, I’m feeling that spark again. But it’s different from before. This time, it’s brightness is independent of its surroundings. As long as I stay brave and focused, it’ll waver and flicker, but never go out.