By: Lindsay Richards
Most of us can envision what our “dream life” would look like. For some, it’s a big house with lots of land, spending more time with family, having less stress or the ability to travel wherever our heart desires. Whatever picture your mind paints, what is it that stands in the way of this dream? And why are we not living our “dream life” already, every single day?
Obstacles are the companion to our dreams and wishes. It sounds bleak, but obstacles tend to get a bad rap. Rather than viewing obstacles through a lens of negativity, I invite you to instead see them as an opportunity to grow, to strengthen and expand beyond what previously held you back.
Here’s an example that has always stuck with me. I was having a rough day, busy with tasks—my head filled with worry and stress. I dialed a client and got their voicemail. While waiting for the tone to start my message, I heard her recorded greeting end with the salutation “create a great day.” I sort of froze for a moment and then stutter-started my voice message. After hanging up I thought about it a little more and realized that I always have the power to create a good day, everyday. Yes, there will be to-do lists, bills to pay and obstacles to face—but it’s about perspective. We can see our “obstacles” as road blocks, or we can see them as a ladder that leads us to new heights.
As a member of the Sadhana Yoga School team, I have the honor to connect with students and hear their stories. So often I hear students tell me what stands in the way of their dreams, why they “can’t.” Students that want to leave stressful jobs “can’t” because they’re uncertain about what else they would do. Students that want to travel more but “can’t” because they’re worried about safety. Students that want to join a teacher training program but “can’t” because they aren’t sure how they would get the funds. I tell myself similar stories all of the time. But I’m reminded that these stories are just that, stories. We narrate our lives in a way that makes our obstacles seem permanent and daunting, instead of seeing them as opportunities.
The top 3 obstacles that block us from creating the life of our dreams are fear, finances and denial.
Fear is by far one of the most common obstacles we encounter during our human experience. My favorite way to view fear is remembering that it is the absence of love, the absence of strength. When we feel fear we are no longer “in our heart.” Fear causes us to doubt ourselves and our abilities—thus becoming our dreams’ biggest adversary. What are you afraid of? Beyond simple things like bugs or the dark, what really scares you? How often does this fear get in the way of your journey to be your highest self?
For many, finances are often viewed as a limiting factor in our lives. Yes, life and sadly the world is driven by money. We “can’t” (there’s that word again) afford this, or we’re saving for that. We go to work so that we can pay our bills, and use the rest to enjoy ourselves—right? Maybe money isn’t a limiting factor for you, but instead you have quite a bit of money and finances are not necessarily a concern. Either way, finances become an attachment whether we are worrying about money, or identifying with having an abundance of it. By attaching to our finances, we allow finances to control the direction and manner in which we live our lives. How often does money control your decisions? What would your life look like if finances weren’t a perceived obstacle?
Perhaps we can view finances differently. Aside from money, where is there wealth in your life? Where can you grow and nurture more of this “non-monetary” wealth? When we allow ourselves to follow our heart and create more joy in our lives, finances become less of an obstacle. If you are dreaming to achieve something and do not have the funds to do so, think of the many riches you are blessed with already. How can you build those to help support your dreams?
This past year my partner Jesse and I decided to do our 300-hour teacher training in India, but as the date got closer we realized we were behind on our savings. Rather than letting that limit us and dropping out of the training, we brainstormed ways to channel our passions into ways to save more money. One way that we saved was combining our shared love for plants and craftsmanship to build and sell garden walls out of pallet wood. We ended up selling over 15 walls that ultimately paid for our flights and other expenses in India.
Denial can be defined as lack of faith, or disbelief. Denial is the “can’t” that I described earlier. When we believe and repeatedly affirm all the reasons why we “can’t” live the life of our dreams we are living in denial. Living this way causes us to lose faith in not only ourselves, but in our abilities—we deny ourselves the opportunity to live out our higher purpose.
By stepping out of the shadows of denial, we illuminate the path to our highest self—the life of our dreams. We remember that we are worthy, that we are meant to live a happy and fulfilling life. We believe that we can. We step out of that place where we question, worry and wonder and instead step into the place of knowing. What are the reasons you “can’t” live the life of your dreams? What if you could?
What if every day you believed and remembered that you could?
Above: Jesse and I in Kerala, India