Last week I got back from my European adventure. You guys, this trip was everything.
New faces, new places.
Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, and the UK. All within a little over 2 weeks.
Now before you think I'm a complete lady of leisure, you must know, that this trip was a year in the making. A year of saving up and planning. (Shout out to Dave Ramsey! My budget mentor) But this trip started as a small desire, than grew to a dream, than later became a reality.
I knew this trip would be amazing simply because of the company I would have with me (Two close girlfriends of mine) But this trip also took me by surprise by the way in which it shook me, inspired me, challenged me, and filled me with hope and the ability to dream again.
It's true, travel just does something to us. It stirs our soul, makes us feel invincible and vulnerable all at the same time.
You realize when you step away from the status quo of your life, fresh perspective arises. You are reminded of who you are, but more than that, of who you could be.
I understand afresh, of why people are filled with wanderlust, that notion of constant movement and travel to bring forth fulfillment and meaning. But I've found, that the complete fulfillment is not in the movement itself, but in what happens with the experience afterwards --how we go about incorporating it (or not) into our current revelation of things.
I could have had this European experience and said, "Ok. That was nice." And moved right back into the rhythms of my life here in California.
But I've chosen not to.
In no way shape or form do I want to simply digest this as just a "nice experience".
Instead, I will intently remember the places and faces that I have met and seen, allowing them to affect me, and to inspire me beyond my present understanding of things.
And that my friend, is how my old dreams became new dreams.
But then the fight began.
Coming back home after this trip was a bit like the shuttle re-entering the earth's atmosphere. It was thunderous and met with a great deal of heat.
Beyond the business of living, everyone seemed to be on a different page, on a different musical note. Could I play the same song? Did I want to? I've traveled quite a bit in the last 15 years, so I was well aware of the "Adjustment period" feelings. But this was different. In fact, it still is. It's that feeling, when you know everything, as you know it, is about to change. But that's what dreams often do, they're notorious for fiercely messing with the status quo.
And that is where I've landed.
The atmosphere is vibrating around me with promise.
And I'm taking intentional steps forward.
Meanwhile, I wanted to share with you what I've been learning in this new season of life:
4 Ways to Cultivate Dreams
1. Be Curious
Or as I like to say, "Be childlike". I think its ever so important to remain curious in life, to keep pursuing knowledge, to hear more stories from a variety of people, to choose to not get jaded throughout life's cycles and ever so sneaky disappointments, and to endeavor to inspire someone onward, to places beyond their wildest dreams.
2. Get Outta Here!
You may not be able to take a 2 week holiday to your favorite Continent tomorrow, but you can go for a long drive or a weekend trip at least. Dreams often surface or resurface once you are out of the familiar confines of your life. You have to be intentional about breaking out of your status quo. And remember, when you travel, be present in the moment. Don't bring all your status quo reminders with you, and try to limit your internet and mobile phone interactions.
3. Treat Yo'self
When was the last time you did that thing you absolutely love doing? When was the last time you just rested -- to clear your mind and get your head right. When we put down the garment of anxiety, which nearly suffocates us and any dreams that we may have. and put on the garment of rest, that becomes the good soil for dreams to grow in. It doesn't mean that we won't work hard and do the practical things necessary to move forward towards our dream when the time comes, but it won't be out of fear, rather it will be out of peace.
4. Seek Out
Pray. Ask for guidance. You might not be religious, but I'm gonna tell you right now, you're gonna need some help...beyond the natural kind, on your destiny journey. A dream is always bigger than what we could ever accomplish on our own. And that's on purpose. I believe that God is the Dream Giver. And He so freely gives us the promise of His presence in all stages of life. So while the dream is a precious gift, the Gift Giver Himself will be faithful to walk with you through it all. And trust me, that makes it all worthwhile.
But in addition to that list, and inspired by my time in Europe, I've realized that it is incredibly important to connect with your passions and your strengths -- to take the time to remember them.
Nevertheless, we often get numbed out. Or we simply forget. Or we just get tired.
I think I was a combination of all three of those factors prior to leaving for Europe.
But I have hope for us.
You're reading this for one of two reasons...you're either my mom... or you have a dream that is yet to be fulfilled. A dream that you may have never voiced to anyone other than God. A dream that you were told could never happen. Or a dream that has yet to tell you what it fully is, but you can feel something stirring within you.
Something is being stirred.
(Note: The new dreams of our heart are rarely new, but yet a powerful blast from the past. It's perhaps an old love being rekindle with a bit of a remix to match the times.)
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Photo Credit: All photos taken from the Switzerland portion of my trip.