I was speaking awhile back with a woman who is very good at making her dreams happen. She said “Unfulfilled dreams are like little points of constipation in our lives”. I found this very eloquent.

But it occurred to me that this phenomenon doesn’t always make us rush to take action. It often just leaves us feeling, well, perpetually constipated.

Dreams are slippery fish. We have a vague notion of some lovely thing, and an even more vague notion of how to make it come true. Maybe it feels scary and risky. The constipation occurs when all this vagueness leaves us with an impression that it’s impossible to achieve, even though we don’t have any hard evidence. We lust after it hopelessly and kick ourselves for not being able to make it happen. What an incredible waste of energy.

Being of a practical mind, this waste bugs me. Here’s a thought: what if you were to examine, now, what it takes to make your dream a reality? What is it really made of? What will it do for you? What are the actual risks and obstacles? How could you overcome them? Once you had done that, you’d be able to say, with conviction, one of three things:

  • Wow, I can do this thing and I’m going to start on it right now, OR
  • Wow, this thing I’ve been harbouring is actually not worth it to me considering the price I’ll have to pay in time, money, energy or whatever, OR
  • This dream is great but I can’t do it right now.

The first one is what we all want to be able to say, but the second and third answers are equally liberating. They’re all answers that allow us to stop wasting energy.

If you go through this planning process and discover your position is ‘not right now’, here’s what you can do. Put your dream, with all its beautiful details, into a box. Pull it out again in 6 months, a year, five years – whatever makes sense – and ask is it time yet? until it is. In between those moments, ignore it. It’s not gone, it’s not dead, it’s just patiently waiting, while you spend your energies on things that are more important right now. 

And you get to kiss that constipated feeling goodbye.