We all have dreams.
We all have dreams, but how many of us truly pursue our dreams?
I am currently in the process of getting my certification as a life coach. One of the questions I have to answer for one of my assignments is something along the lines of, “How do I picture my life and what is it that I want to experience daily?” Or, in other words, “What is my dream?”
So, I started pondering. I have been contemplating about the life I want to create, the life I dream about that I am not necessarily living now. What would it look like? Who would be in it? What would it entail? What do I want to do? What do I want to leave behind for others to learn from when I am no longer living? How would my life serve humanity? So, I asked myself two questions: What imprint do I want to make and leave on this planet? And, and what or who inspired me to want this? Those questions got me thinking about rainbows and clarified my dream life.
As a former stay-at-home mother, I noticed one of the first activities that my three-year-old daughter loved to do was color on children’s coloring books or on any loose piece of white paper. She even tried to coordinate her colors so they, as she put it, “matched.” This endeavor is not rare, since so many toddlers love to color; however, a rainbow was the first thing she created. I did not teach her how to draw and color a rainbow. Neither did anyone else as far as I know. She must have seen one in a book or in the sky and just made it a point to create one of her own.
For her first rainbow, she used three colors: red, yellow, and orange. As she grew older, her rainbows became more elaborate, and she eventually perfected them. She continued to draw rainbows whenever she got a chance. In kindergarten, she sewed the above image as her final art project before graduation. I was in awe.
There is something about this detailed image of a rainbow sewn with patience, diligence, love, and talent by my little girl that touched me and inspired me. What does a rainbow represent? It represents hope after the storm. It is a mirror reflection of each and every one of us: we are all endowed with hope (whether we want to admit it or not); we all experience heartaches and difficulties in life; and, all of us experience moments of love and joy. The rainbow phenomena can be explained by physicists and scientists, but the wonder it brings when seen in the big sky is perhaps not a mystery but an example of how each one of us appreciates beauty and creativity of all types. The rainbow, itself, is inspiring.
As I thought about the rainbow, I could not help but think about the other woman in my life who was my greatest inspiration: my mother. She did not draw rainbows, but she was one of the most creative (and talented) human beings I have ever known, and she taught me far more than to appreciate rainbows.
My mother, who is now deceased, lived a life of creativity. She was able to create and beautify anything she put her hands on! As a talented seamstress, she created gorgeous wedding dresses from scratch, she put together fantastic Halloween costumes for my siblings and me every year, she baked and cooked better than any chef I know, and she kept a beautifully-decorated and coordinated home. Her creative nature and attention to detail always inspired me.
Mom taught me that beauty and creativity is not just about whether you have the ability to draw, color, paint, write, or sew; being creative is about what is within the heart and expressing it in tangible form. Famous writer Leo Tolstoy in his essay, What is Art? (1897), explains that art must create a specific emotional link between the artist and the viewer, and the viewer must be affected. He believed art is not only about beauty. He believed art is meant to transmit previously experienced feelings and experiences to the audience. My mother, in her talent and majesty, and my daughter, in her innocence and joy, transmitted and expressed their heart-feelings in their creations.
Creating is what life is about. It is what we do whether we realize it or not. Not only do we create our lives, but sometimes our lives are a reflection of what we do not want to create and not the lives we truly desire. At any given time, we choose to use our creativity to encourage, inspire, realign, change, or enhance, or we use our creativity to discourage, alienate, and destroy. And, as demonstrated by my mother and daughter in my life, art is a way of making those changes and expressing what is within for the ultimate purpose of connecting and sharing ourselves with others. So, now, my dream was clear:
I imagine a large retreat area for artists of any age or level and of all types: painters, sculptors, draughtsmen (draw-ers), sketch artists, textile artists, illustrators, photographers, digital artists, printmakers, glass workers, jewelry makers, scrapbookers, all kinds of craft makers, all kinds of writers, all kinds of dancers, and all kinds of musicians. The retreat serves two major purposes: for artists to reconnect by discovering the “artist” in themselves – whatever fashion that would be – after a tragic or difficult life experience, and to teach people how to live a life of purpose, peace, health, and joy.
My retreat center sits on a beautiful and serene cliff overlooking the ocean, perhaps in the California redwood forest. All rooms are decorated with a different theme and display the works of a different artist, writer, dancer, or musician. An abundance of art, music, writing, holistic health/wellness classes and workshops are offered at the retreat from music appreciation to art therapy, from poetry writing to jewelry making, from yoga and meditation to healthy vegan eating, and more! I spend my day teaching writing classes and workshops, writing, and coaching. When I am not at the retreat center, I am traveling, lecturing, writing, and coaching. I am a very successful published writer and coach. People from all over the world come to the retreat center to create, to experience, to learn, and to reconnect. And, there is no doubt that my daughter’s kindergarten rainbow is the FIRST decorative and inspiring image displayed on the walls of this place! The retreat center is named “Lexi’s House” in honor of my daughter, Lexi, and her rich rainbows, and it is dedicated to my mother, Amelia.
What is your dream? How do you imagine your life? Have you ever dared ask yourself this question, or are you living a life that is not your own? To find out what you want your life to look like, start by asking yourself the following questions, think and meditate on the answers, and write them down:
- What do I imagine my life to look like if all the money, time, and resources were at my disposal?
- What inspires me and why?
- What event or person in my life has made the most impact on me and why?
- What do I want to leave behind as a legacy?
- What are my talents, my gifts, my abilities?
- What do I love to do that makes me wish time would stand still?
What is your dream? Pull it out of your heart. It is in there.