Honouring Our Dreams - Little girl with her shadow as a ballet dancer

As young children we are encouraged to use our imagination.  We play ‘make believe’ with various lifestyles, career paths, and accomplishments and do not worry about the risks involved or how we’ll make it happen. Everyone is happy to entertain our ideas!

As the years pass, we suddenly arrive at an age where we are expected to know our plans for our future. This may start as early as high school when we are constantly being asked, “What are your plans for college or university; what career path are you choosing?”

We start to feel the risks involved as we are being tasked with having an actual plan in place and as the pressure increases to achieve specific goals.

Often, by default, we ‘tweak’ our vision, which then slowly chips away at the life we have imagined. We do this to feel comfortable – not just for ourselves but for the people around us. This is also the beginning of putting the comfort, needs, and expectations of others before our own dreams.

Looking back, I notice that I always had a big imagination and bold ideas. In my early adult life, I was able to tune out doubt and distractions that surrounded my dreams and just go for it.  I was only twenty-four years old when I opened a business with a friend. Then, a year later I took the business over by myself.  While I was faced with multiple challenges, I never gave up; because I stayed true to what I imagined it could look like.

Somewhere along the way, however, my vision shrank until I could no longer see it. In retrospect, I put the needs and expectations of everyone else around me ahead of my own, until I lost myself and was burnt out.  Reluctantly, I walked away from that business and the bigger dreams I had for it.

Now, at thirty-six years of age, I can say it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.  However, I would never have thought that allowing myself to imagine a new path and a new dream would be just as hard!

I still have big dreams and ideas but have somehow forgotten how to trust them and myself. Getting in touch with our free-spirited, and imagination-led, inner child again can be easier said than done, especially when so much life has since transpired and so many adult responsibilities have set in.

During a conversation with a very dear friend, I was ‘not so gently’ reminded with some tough love that it’s time to learn how to dream and to do things for myself again. I had fallen into a comfort zone that was stalling my growth.  I need to remind myself that I know what it’s like to follow a big dream, like when I took the risk of opening my own business. That dream connected me with so many wonderful people and experiences. It gave me the opportunity to learn a lot and to contribute to the woman that I am today.

It is time for me to enter a new growth and to trust my imagination again. But where do I begin?

One of the first experiences on my healing and self-reclaiming journey was to attend a Women’s Wellness Circle. A friend and inspiring woman I know was presenting. So, I called my mom and said that we needed to go and support her and have some fun.

Walking to the car after the Circle gathering, I said, “I want to do that someday”.  Like many of my ideas, I could clearly imagine what it would feel like to host my own Circle and bring amazing women together in community spirit.

A few months went by, and I continued to attend Circle. Frequently I would envision hosting my own someday.  However, that vision was put on hold because some big changes came into my life. My husband and I were moving, and we were expecting our first child. On top of that, we had no idea that life for everyone would be put on hold for the next two years.

As with all big changes in life, it takes some time to get settled. Once the two years had passed, I knew I had to finally make the time for me. It was time to trust my dreams and imagination again, even though I had no idea how to get started or what the future would hold.

What I do know from personal experience, however, is that big things do not start big — they start small and grow, just as we do. I recall this from the memories of how my first business developed, and I can see it now in the wonderful growth of my beautiful young daughter.

So, I’m excited to follow my vision and to take the steps in creating a warm, light-filled, and inviting space, a Women’s Wellness Circle, for myself and the women of this community. It will become a space where we can all imagine, inspire, and support each other as we grow into the next steps in our life’s adventures.

To Living Our Dreams,

Danielle Lawson

Women’s Wellness Circle Host, Kingston ON

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