How to own your dreams

Written by Varouna Baroud on Thursday, 19 October 2017. Posted in Inspirational

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A leap of faith

Ever since I was young, I have had this weird recurring dream. I'm standing in a circus ring, high up on a platform, holding out an umbrella about to walk the walk the rope. I know I am supposed to walk to the other side. Sweat drips down my forehead.  Far below me I can feel the spectators looking at me in anticipation. And then, right at the moment, I'm supposed to take my first step, I take a big breath and jump off the platform. I let go of my umbrella and feel myself floating down, experiencing a feeling of complete and utter freedom and happiness. Which always surprised me, even in my dream, because I understand I am about to plunge to my death. Just before I hit the ground, I wake up. 

Since my heart starts racing as soon as I stand on a chair to replace a light bulb, I always figured the dream was a representation of my fear of heights. Until I decided to emigrate to Curacao. 

Although I had always seen myself as adventurous, I am, like almost every human, a creature of habit. I believe most people are naturally wired to keep doing the same things we always do with the people we know and trust because that has been proven the most effective for survival. Our brain even rewards us for doing the same things over and over again with dopamine, the happy hormone. I believe that this is also the reason why it is so difficult for us to make changes. 

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Holding on to who you are  

By doing the same things over and over again, we create a cocoon of stability, safety and security around us. But although a cocoon protects you, eventually it also limits your growth. Over time we often start identifying ourselves with what we do, what we have, who we are with: I am married, I am a good daughter, I am a father, I own a house, I have friends, I am a successful financial advisor.  

These external things become part of our identity. We work hard to protect that image we so carefully built up. How we are seen by the world around us, becomes part of who we are and at that point, it makes us fearful of losing those things. We start worrying, feeling stressed and under pressure. We cling to what we have accomplished for dear life and we start bending over backwards to maintain what is considered ours. We stop valuing objectively if what we work so hard to protect, still gives us the fulfillment that we initially pursued it for. 

But what happens if we simply let go and see what happens? 

Moving to Curacao meant I had to let go of most securities. I left behind almost all the external things and arrived at a new life with only 2 suitcases. It scared the pants of-of me. More than once I was convinced I couldn't do it. But I did it and what I found were freedom and happiness. 

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Freeing yourself of excess baggage 

Taking that plunge in the unknown doesn't only mean letting go of securities, it means you can let go of the fears tied to those securities as well. The challenge to maintain what you have might make you resilient, but the challenge to make changes makes you resourceful. You are forced you to use your natural talents, get creative and grow. 

Letting go of who you are supposed to be, what you are supposed to have, what you are supposed to do, comes with the immense freedom.  The freedom to leave behind all the layers of what is expected.   

You are forced to go back to the core. There are no excuses to not go after what you want, to not be truly who you want to be. I know now that if I have to I can always start over because I have everything I need to survive and be happy inside of me. That realization is liberating and comforting at the same time. 

Off course not everyone wants or is able to move to the other side of the world. But it pays off to look at your life awake and conscious and ask yourself: Why do I the things you do? Is it what I truly want or is it routine? Are you creating your own life story or following expectations of others? 

 I finally realized my nightmare was literally trying to wake me up, I never had it again. I understood that whatever it is you want to change, take that leap of faith and trust that you have what it takes to land safely on the ground. 

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