What Does it Really Take to Follow Your Dreams?

By Misti Patrella

Many people, in this time of awakening consciousness, are choosing to follow the pursuits of their hearts instead of running the incessant rat race. In some cases the bold are starting a small business. For some, the adventurous path is going back to school. For the audacious their heart pulls them to the arts. In my case – acting. My parents were so pleased.

The glory of finally determining what your heart calls you to do can last for some time. It provides a natural lightness to one’s being that everyone should get the chance to experience. When I knew acting was my journey, I walked around in the glory of the realization for over a year. Even taking a small step in the direction of dreams brings bliss, and usually helpful coincidences, that drive us further down the road.

But in the oft-repeated, yet encouraging words of my father, “Even a thoroughly planned journey has its detours.”
“Then what?” I asked.
With a glimmer in his eye that said I asked exactly the right question, he answered, “You just look again toward the destination and adjust the route.”
“Cool.”
This all sounded well and good when I was twelve, looking down at a map of the country and listening to my animated dad show me how to make a life plan and follow it.

I find the real challenge in the pursuit of one’s dream is the Faith part.

Faith is the devout belief in yourself and your ability to make it happen. The solid inner knowing that you really can see yourself doing whatever thing tugs at your heart – no matter what gets in your way. The Faith is the hard-er part. When things are going badly, do you have the Faith to follow your dreams?

Are you going to:

1. Turn around and head back the way you came? (quitter.)

or

2. Adjust your path and keep looking forward toward your destination? (brave!)

It is the truly successful people who choose to continually move toward their destination with the Faith that they will get there no matter what. But sometimes it’s really freakin hard! Especially the no matter what part.

So, when things are at they’re worst, can you turn that negative energy around and use it to force yourself to the next level? What can you change about your situation to make things even slightly easier for yourself to move forward? Do you need more time, money? Do you have enough Faith?

Acting (as do all professions in some way) has a myriad of potential detours on the path to greatness. Actors get told no ALL THE TIME. We get called to shady auditions and asked to take our shirts off. Yeah – that’s real. We live a life in constant pursuit of work. When starting out you usually work for free and it can take some time to make money. And of course, there is the ever-present parental concern about acting and its lack of financial stability.

Given all of these ‘issues’, I still feel some indescribable need to keep doing what I’m doing. Being pulled by my heart in some way I can’t understand feels really scary, but also amazing. Literally, acting makes my heart tickle. And every day in this career is an adventure. Believe me, if I didn’t have to act, I wouldn’t. There are a lot more profitable things I’m actually trained to do.

So, what does it really take to follow your dreams? Hell if I know for sure, that’s your job. But I will tell you what you can’t do – quit. Quitting takes you down “the long road to the middle” – what becomes an endless series of nauseating U-turns.

Good thing for me is that after many years on the highway to Dream Town, I think I figured out what works for me – besides a yummy Crunch Cone from DQ. I take time each day to focus on my dreams, literally. Especially when times are tough and I feel like chucking it all in and going back to my old corporate job.

Take time (15 mins or so) every day away from everything and everyone and focus on YOUR dreams.

Close your eyes and feel what it would feel like to be doing that very thing at that very moment that lights your heart on fire. Keep your thoughts on the joy of it for as long as possible and keep expanding the vision – how specific can you make it? If your thoughts drift away to the next irritating email you have to send, gently guide them back to your dreams. Isn’t it way more fun in your imagination anyway?

Holding the vision of your dreams feels good, keeps the Faith part going during the hard times – and usually while you are “there”, enjoying your dream, you get ideas to get you back on the journey. Kind of a win-win-win situation.

Or your could simply follow the wisdom printed on a stone necklace I saw in a more recent edition of SkyMall:

“Never,
Never,
Never,
Give Up”

Sometimes less is more.

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