A desire, in our lexicon, is anything we have wanted to do, have, or be at any time during our lives to date. You know the litany — “I want this. I want that. I want him or her. I want to go there, buy that, experience this, own that, become this or that, and so on.” Yes, hundreds, thousands, probably many hundreds of thousands of desires have accumulated thus far in our lives and each has some of our life energy and attention tied up in it.
In our restless, acquisitive world, the distinction between desires and dreams has become as blurred as the difference between believing and knowing, looking and seeing, and hearing and listening. Indeed, for many of us these terms have become synonymous and yet the differences between them are enormous. In the case of desires and dreams, they are actually worlds apart.
Desires (you can substitute the word wants as well) issue from a perception or belief that there is absence or lack. They arise in an effort to satisfy a hunger that cannot actually be satisfied. In fact, looking for the satisfaction of a desire is a lot like eating the menu instead of the meal. As a result, following our desires, as anyone who has ever done so can attest, generally does not lead to fulfillment. In fact, satisfying one desire generally gives birth to another larger one.
Dreams, by comparison — and we are not referring here to our night dreams, but to the flashes of inspiration and intuition, insights and knowing, that come to us as prompts and messages from our hearts — issue from the right side of our brains. They are the legitimate issue of our souls seeking expression and physical manifestation in this journey that is called life. Dreams are the hints that can, when we are brave enough to follow them, lead us to the discovery of new landscapes and destinations of remarkable individual and collective value.
Dreams can sometimes be quiet and so subtle that we almost miss them. This subtlety often causes us to doubt their reality — or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the loud glare of our desires generally obscures them.
Perhaps your dream is to be a social activist, a novelist, composer/musician, singer, dancer, painter, or explorer. Perhaps your dream is to invent some remarkable new technology, teach and inspire children, ensure the preservation of a natural landscape, protect wildlife, serve others, or simply lead a life of quiet contemplation and spiritual focus. Perhaps your dream is to be a statesman, a leader, a healer, a nurse or shaman.
Perhaps your dream has literally come up from time to time, during your sleep, late at night as you sit and ponder, or in quiet moments during the day — when you least expect it. Perhaps hints surface as daydreams. Perhaps you have seen these hints arise like mirages, there one instant — luminous and enticing — and then gone and almost forgotten the next.
You know what we are talking about! We have all had moments when our Muse has hummed or whispered seductively in our ear. But in a world where there are so many desires fighting for our attention and seducing us away — not just once but again and again — it’s easy to brush these promptings of the Muse aside.
One thing is certain, our desires have strong voices! There’s the desire for recognition, for money, for security and social acceptance, for material abundance, to be safe, for credentials, for fame, etc. So it is no wonder that many of us bypass the soft whisper of our dreams and go for the big brass ring of our desires! After all this is how we’ve been taught to get attention, applause, and satisfaction. And this is what we’ve come to believe is the important stuff in life.
So whatever you dream of doing and being, this next exercise will give you a chance to describe and to experience — even if only briefly — aspects of your dream.
You can, if you choose, just describe your dream to yourself in your notebook or journal. There is a tremendous amount of value in doing just that. You can also find someone you care about and trust and tell them about your dream. One caution here! Choose this someone carefully. Remember that many of us pushed down or turned away from our dreams a long time ago because someone or ones in our lives at the time laughed at our dream or told us it was impractical or impossible.
Whether working alone or with a partner, here are three questions we invite you to answer — repeatedly — until you feel complete:
* What is one dream I still want to experience or manifest in this lifetime?
* How would expressing or manifesting this dream make a difference in my life?
* Would fulfilling this dream contribute to the lives of others?
We want to remind you of the famous Marianne Williamson quote that states that of all of the things that scare us, one of the most daunting is our own beauty, power, and light. Yes, some of us are most afraid of standing out, of shining too brightly.
We suggest you stop going for the brass ring and the ever-elusive carrot of desire and focus instead on the authentic look and feel of your deeper dreams for soul fulfillment. Your dreams will open doorways to new ways of living and being that will generate genuine joy, lasting satisfaction, and enduring love. Your dream will lead you to meaning and purpose. Your dream will allow you to harness your potential and fulfill your destiny.
Nelson Mandela became president of South Africa at 75.
Please pay attention to the difference between your desires and your dreams. If you want to live the life you were born to live, stop focusing on desires and start living your dreams.
©2013 by George and Sedena Cappannelli.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Agape Media International. Dist. by Hay House Inc.
Do Not Go Quietly: A Guide to Living Consciously and Aging Wisely for People Who Weren't Born Yesterday
by George and Sedena Cappannelli.
Straight talk, valuable life strategies, practical tools and inspiring messages for the 150 million Americans who will soon be 50 years and older -- and for younger people who want to know more about the road ahead and be better prepared for the world they will be soon inherit.
Click here for more Info or to order this book and/or download the Kindle edition.
George and Sedena Cappannelli are popular authors; speakers; and co-founders of AgeNation, a digital-media company and social enterprise, and The Age of Empowerment, a nonprofit organization that supports people and organizations serving vulnerable sections of our aging population. They are experts on individual, organizational, and societal change and well-known consultants, coaches, and keynote presenters who have worked with thousands of individuals and hundreds of the world’s leading institutions in both the private and public sectors, including Boeing, NASA, The Walt Disney Company, Oracle, PepsiCo, the Los Angeles Times, U.S. Navy, and more.