Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Stuff of Dreams

As a recovering atheist, it hasn't been easy forming a trusting relationship with "God" or "The Universe" or "Life" or whatever you want to call that intelligence that governs the motions of the Cosmos.  My God has taken many forms in my mind's eye, but none of them were there for very long, and they were always rather distant.  Frankly, they felt like imaginary friends, and I never had imaginary friends, even when I was a child.  I didn't even really have stuffed animals who had personalities.  I just saw them as things, never as surrogate friends.

There are probably many factors that played into my finding it difficult to get close to God.  It really isn't easy to convince yourself of something that really just appears to be you talking to yourself.

But recently, something has shifted in my perspective.  For the last few years, I've been reading and growing and listening to teachers like Abraham Hicks and Lola Jones, and they all tell me that I am a Divine Creator who is worthy of all the dreams and physical manifestations and happiness that I want.  I believe this, but trusting it is another thing, because the teachers all talk about God or Source being the provider.  But if you've had a hard time believing in and trusting that there is a God there, who is paying attention to you and caring about every little desire you have, then how are you supposed to let go and allow those things in?

This is how I'd been feeling about it all, until recently.  A couple of weeks ago, I made a big shift.  I committed myself to pursuing my dream of being a great actress.  I knew it was important to me, but I hadn't quite made that commitment.  I was still going around looking for ways to make money, thinking it would take some time before my dream became reality and could benefit me financially.  But one night, when a conflict came up between an opportunity to make some quick cash and my final day of shooting for the film I had been working on, the obvious choice was to prioritize acting.  More money will always come along.  Acting is what sings to my heart and makes me feel on top of the world, more than anything else.

And that's when it clicked.  It really crystalized.  And I made that commitment then and there.  It's time to make this my life.

And I realized that that's what God is.  It comes to us all in different forms and translations.  We are all unique and have individualized desires and perspectives, and it colors the way we are going to see the world.  Our dreams speak to us in our own personal language.  My dream has literally become my God.  And I trust Her to provide for me, because She already has.

The beautiful thing is that I can feel Her here with me, all the time.  There are moments when I am more aware of Her, but She is no longer absent.  It's actually quite wonderful, because I know that my Dream unfolding is occurring perfectly, regardless of physical appearances.

I was experiencing some frustration and doubt today, mostly in response to my sprained ankle.  I know that I am being forced (gently, but firmly) to be still, slow down, take it easy, get out of the way, and allow the moment to be what it is.  But of course I still get frustrated at not being able to walk outside and enjoy the sunshine and run around and do the things I want (or think I need) to do.  And, knowing that I create my reality, I went through some internal conflict about how I created this, and how wrong it is that I did that.  Obviously the low emotions I experienced were telling me how off my thinking was.  But that's what I experienced.  And I listened to my Dream and She told me that I was doing fine, that this is all part of the process of unfolding now, and there is nothing wrong that has happened.  Nothing will stop Her from pouring forth from me.  Not even my own misguided choices, doubts, words, or actions.  My Dream will be made manifest.  Period.  It must now.  There is no way I can go on living if It doesn't.

It's amazing how quickly validation comes now.  Tonight in class, I had one of the best exercises I have had this semester.  I could feel how present I was on stage, and it was amazing to be so honed-in.  My teacher was proud of me and told me it was great.  But what was truly wonderful was that, during the break after that exercise, a woman who was a visiting alum of the workshop told me that she had seen me progress and said that I had come so far.  It was wonderful to receive that validation.  It was really my Dream coming through to tell me from the "outside" that I am on the right track, and that It's all ok.

My point in all of this is, since it may be hard for some to believe in "God," choose to believe in your Dreams instead.  They are there, and you know they are.  Nobody will deny that dreams exist, and are what create our lives (if we let them).  Every person on the planet has a Dream, and it wants to be Lived!  It wants so much to be experienced and relished by its Dreamer.  And the magnificent thing is, the Dream, once committed to, will use the entire Universe to prove its love to you.  It will bring to you every available resource that can help you experience Its Unfolding.  It loves itself through you and it selfishly demands you to live It out!  Once you decide to commit, it will be there to support you immediately, for it has already committed to serving you.

I read a quote today by Christopher Reeves:  

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”

This was exactly how I experienced my dream of being an actress.  About the same time as I decided that God couldn't possibly exist (after all, weren't his believers a bunch of right-wing whack-jobs who supported war and hated gays and all that jazz?  Didn't the very word "God" stand for hatred and injustice and everything else wrong with the world?  Ah the ferocious mind of a 16 year old!), I started really doubting my abilities as an actress.  I wasn't getting good roles in the plays our high school put on (auditions still make me nervous!), and by the end of high school I wasn't getting any roles at all!  "Well, I guess I must not be as good as I thought I was.  Never mind."  And I parted ways with my childhood dream, and went to college not knowing at all what I wanted to do.  All the while I saw friends of mine passionately pursuing their art and music, and yes even acting.  And it anguished me, because without an art form to be passionate about, I felt lost at sea.  Of course, the entire time, my heart longed for my Dream, and my Dream called to me so softly and I dared not listen to it. 

I didn't acknowledge my truest desire to be a great actress again until 2011.  After probably 4 or 5 years of hiatus from any kind of acting or performance (aside from a really bad acting class I took in college), I landed a role in a community theatre performance.  As I stood backstage, preparing for my entrance on opening night, I felt like my heart was going to leap out of my chest, flop across the stage, and land in the lap of some unfortunate soul in the front row.  And in that moment, I knew there was nothing else on this planet that made me feel so alive.  That night, my Dream was reawakened.  But it has taken me nearly two years to fully commit and trust in my Dream and Her ability to support me, not only in my realizing of the Dream itself, but also financially and physically.  

It doesn't matter what your dream is.  It doesn't matter if it's grandiose or simple.  That Dream wants to live through you, and it will make every effort to call to you, tempt you, make itself irresistible to you until you pay attention to it and decide that it means more to you than money or sex or anything.  And on the day you decide to commit yourself to your Dream, that day you will know you are so deeply and intimately Loved by the most powerful force in all the Universe.  That's what God is.  

God is the greatest Dream that (wo)man could ever have.  And (wo)man is God's greatest dream of Herself, played out into this strange and beautiful creation we call Planet Earth.


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