In the spirit of the new year, my January blog posts have been devoted to helping you set a clear vision for the rest of the year. The most common imbalance that my clients encounter when making a life change is overthinking to the point that they stop dreaming.
In grade school, I spent most of my class time staring out the window and daydreaming about future adventures. I made my teachers work, as they were always calling me back to the mundane assignments that we learning in class. I never had a shortage of dreams, so I had to learn how to focus my thoughts on the task at hand.
But it is possible to take it to the other extreme and think in such a narrow vein that we forget to allow our mind to expand and dream about new possibilities. When we are making a major life change, we get scared. To feel a sense of control during the uncertainty of change, we can prematurely plan before we have finished receiving the new vision. We want to hurry up and figure out what our new life will look like, so we force it by thinking too much. This is a sign that you are dreaming too little.
Dreaming and thinking are two separate functions of our mind. Dreaming invites visions and ideas to pop into our head. They come to us in a moment of inspiration. The word inspiration comes from Latin and means to ‘breathe in’, implying that a vision is received rather than produced by the thoughts of our mind.
Thinking is the process of sorting out and organizing what our minds have received. It’s the editing process, the force behind decision making and problem solving. Most people I encounter have very busy heads, a state of mind that leaves no gaps in between thoughts for the inspiration to happen. Thinking too much leaves no breathing room for the vision to enter our awareness. In this situation, we are left trying to solve a puzzle when we don’t have all the puzzle pieces. Dreaming gives us the rest of those pieces of the grander vision.
To dream more, try staring at the moon at night. The end of the day in the perfect time to daydream. The daily tasks are finished. The work is done. The unsolved problems can wait until the next morning. Stare at the moon. Marvel at its soft glow and how it keeps showing up at the end of every day, as if it were waiting for you to notice it.