It’s good to dream.
It’s important to have big visions about how we’d like our lives to be.
But when we make these dreams so distant that we have no hope of getting anywhere close to them, they have the opposite effect we desire. Then, they only demotivate us, even depress us, and leave us feeling that if we can’t ever achieve these dreams, then why even bother starting?
Or, even worse than this, we find ourselves having these same defeated feelings without even realising we’re chasing someone else’s dream.
Either someone else’s beautiful vision of how they would like their life to be, or someone else’s vision of how they would like our life to be.
Whichever way, by having these kind of dreams, it means we spend a lot of time and energy trying to scramble up the wrong wall, or find our way into the wrong secret garden.
Another factor where this whole notion of dream chasing can end in painful disillusionment instead of joyful jubilation, is that most of the time we don’t recognise the dreams that have already come true, and that are thriving healthily around us.
So let’s rewind a little and break these dream dilemmas down.
Then we can find what being amazingly creative really looks like, feels like and tastes like, specifically for you.
What does your ideal artistic life look like?
What are the major elements you need in place? Take ten or fifteen minutes to detach from the world and just daydream about what your ideal day of being creative might be like.
Act it out in your thoughts, see this movie of yourself creating at your fullest and most free. Capture every last detail as in depth as you possibly can.
What can you see? What can you hear? What are you saying to yourself? How do you feel? Where are you? What are you doing? Who else is there?
Ask these questions as you let this daydream unfold.
Remember at this point to make sure this is your dream. Not the dream that your best friend – who’s also an artist – has for their life. Not the dream that your parents/ school teacher/ peers/ partner/ the well meaning man in the local shop have for your life.
It’s your dream. Your creative life, unique to you. No-one else can define it for you.
If you’d like, when you open your eyes, write, draw, talk about, or otherwise record this dream for yourself. Remember to make it as vivid, colourful, vibrant and detailed as you can.
Which of course, being the artist you are, is very vivid, colourful, vibrant and detailed indeed.
The next part is about recognising the elements that already exist.
This is not simply about being grateful for all you have in your life, although that is very important, and a strong element in being happy in our lives.
This is also about recognising the dreams that are already around you.
To give a simple example:
Let’s say you dream of one day having a large painting studio so you can work uninterrupted for hours on end and having dozens of canvases in progress.
You might feel that this is a crucial aspect of your dream life as an artist.
But maybe the reality is that the little spare backroom you use to paint in is perfectly adequate, and you’ve over the years spent many happy hours there, and created many artworks you’re proud of?
Maybe a quick reorganisation and tidy up would make it an even more suitable creative space, and you could spend many more rewarding days of creating there?
Another example, where we can get misled by the dreams of others.
Maybe you thought you wanted to sing at a world famous venue like Carnegie Hall or The Albert Hall. Because that’s what you do when you’ve become a “success”, when you’ve “made it”.
But in reality, at those small, intimate gigs you’ve done at local venues, you’ve been in your element, and loved every moment. At anywhere larger you’d lose that personal connection and rapport with your audience that’s so precious to you.
Don’t take away those experiences and memories by saying things like “but it’s not Carnegie Hall” or “I’m not singing to thousands of people every night”. Don’t devalue all you’ve created, and continue to create, just because it doesn’t fit someone else’s vision of “success”.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with having great aspirations if they’re genuinely yours.
But if they’re not, and if you’re so focused on this huge distant dream that you never notice any of the wonderful things already surrounding you in your life, it’s time to stop and reassess.
Ever had one of those journeys by car, train, or on foot, where you’ve suddenly realised you’re at your destination but barely remember anything about the journey or where the time went?
Don’t let your creative life be one never ending forgettable journey like this.
Instead, imagine an amble through a meadow where you notice every flower, insect and bird, every sight, scent and sound, and revel in the sensory abundance all around you. That’s the sort of detail you can become aware of and welcome in to enhance your life no end.
Finally, take this away with you:
Keep your dreams as your own, and notice how much they’re already taking shape around you.
When you do, you’ll realise after all, that this – what you already have, right here, right now – is what being amazingly creative looks like.
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