dreaming UP

I’m a sucker for dreams, especially when they involve helping others.

Today I received a phone call from a woman who is raising money to buy books for a secondary school in Tanzania. She recently visited the country and was moved by the beauty of the land and the gentleness of its people. Since returning from her trip she has been consumed with a desire to help and has committed herself to finding a way.

Marlene will achieve her goal and will be changed by the process. In fact she’s already been transformed by simply committing to the task. Any time we commit ourselves to a cause or mission bigger than ourselves, and allow ourselves to go where the journey takes us, our hearts expand and our lives become richer and more meaningful.

If your mission reveals itself in some dramatic or obvious way- then consider yourself lucky and get moving! For most of us, however, discovering our missions can be challenging, especially when we are consumed by the daily minutia of our lives. I have met many who believe that it is self-indulgent to think about “saving the world” or focusing our energies on the needs of others. They believe that only once we’ve achieved a certain level of success and have fully tended to the wants of our own familes should we focus on our greater contribution to society. These individuals see dreaming as an indulgence, a diversion from reality and our core responsibilities.

But what they do not know is that dreaming is magical. By making others the focus of your wishes, hopes, and desires it expands the possibilities beyond what we could ever know if we didn’t allow ourselves to dream. This pushes our focus and successes higher, towards bigger goals, ideals, and values and releases us from the emotionally draining and stressful experiences that pull us down.

Dreaming UP is a wonderful way to create movement both on an individual and collective level. It may take some practice, but a great way to get started is to allow your focus to drift to a community, population, or individual for whom you care a great deal- a point of natural resonance. Allow yourself to dream about what you wish you could give them, or what you feel they deserve. Allow this to continue until you can see it with clarity, until it feels real.

And then once you can see it as real begin to strategize about how you will make it happen. The rest is just tactical! I can’t wait to see what you dream UP.

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About mbhuber2013

convener and co-founder of BTEP, instructor for Tanzania Study Abroad course; Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning at University at Buffalo

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