This morning, I sat down to write my usual morning pages in my journal with two questions: What were my childhood dreams? What did I want to be when I grew up? My first response was that I didn’t dream of becoming anything. Then I looked further and images started appearing from my past. The first that came is a memory of playing teacher with my cousins and my sister. I was always the teacher. They were the students. I’d stand at the chalkboard at my grandma’s house and give my lesson for the day. Sometimes, my pupils lost interest and left but I continued anyhow! At my real schools, I remember always standing up for the underdog and what I felt was right when I was a kid. I never “dreamed” I’d be a teacher although I spent a lot of time “imagining” what it would be like on my own terms. I railed against it all the way to university despite people telling me I was good at it. I never felt good at it. I was patient. I was curious. But I was not a “teacher” the way I saw others being teachers around me.
Then there was my year long stint going to the convent regularly when I was 12 to catch up on what I needed to know in order to get Confirmed in the Catholic church. I briefly dreamed of becoming a nun. I loved the feeling of being in the convent. It was the opposite of my life. It was peaceful and the solitude was inviting. The energy felt good there. I didn’t groove with all the nuns and openly questioned a lot about what they were teaching me- something that didn’t go over well. I knew after a while that I would not last long as a nun in any order! I asked WAY to many probing questions. I was a seeker- not a follower.
I also dreamed of being a musician. Music was my healing salve as a kid. My godmother used to tease me about always having a song in my head. I’d slap on the headphones and listen, dance, or sing away the things that were troubling me in my life. This was probably the most persistent dream I remember having. I even applied to study music at university and got accepted to the Capilano Jazz Program. They didn’t accept part time students and my audition was traumatizing; in the end, I decided against it. And I am so glad I pursued music on my own terms.
I loved being out in nature. Nature was another healing element in my life. I remember sitting in the cedar tree in front of my house for hours as a kid. It was my favourite place- my refuge. I always felt loved, included, and completely accepted for who I was by that tree spirit. She was seminal in my upbringing. I went back to my old neighbourhood during a rough time in my life as an adult to find her. To see if I could climb her again. I was wanting some solace. When I got there, she was gone. I felt an icy stabbing in my heart as I stood there in shock looking at the spot where she once stood tall and strong. I later found out from a friend that she was cut down to make room for home renovations. She said it nonchalantly as if it were no big deal. I wondered how she could not be affected by this at all. She sat with me in that tree often. I see now that I was pretty sensitive to energy even as a kid.
After all these thoughts had evaporated, I was left to wonder about all these “dreams”. They were not the kind of dreams where I set a goal and drove towards them. They were more quietly persistent than that. They have been whispering to my heart all these years and I see now that I have manifested each of these elements into my life- albeit not in the conventional way. I am a teacher but not the “normal” kind- as the kids like to tell me. My natural teaching style is not authoritarian. It is co-inspirational, flexible, respectful, light, humourous, and fun. My spiritual seeking has been lifelong. I now practice shamanism in various forms and continue to connect with Spirit through ritual, prayer, time in nature, and community service. I now talk to nature spirits regularly- a skill I was able to regain. I learned that that cedar tree was talking to me all those years and I knew how to listen when I was young. She taught me how to stay strong inside myself. I also go out into the Spiritworld to find answers to life questions and to heal myself as part of my everyday life. I continue to sing and drum and dance music within a spiritual context in my life. This feeds me beyond measure. I enjoy pulling healing songs from Spirit and offering them to the community at large. I have also worked as a gardener happily for many years during summer vacations from teaching.
It was an a-ha moment for me to see how my Higher Self was directing me all these years and helping me to weave together these passions in such an integrated, whole way. If I had tried to plan this consciously, I would have certainly screwed it all up! Each of these elements is now an integral part of my life. I am actually LIVING my childhood dreams. And it left me to wonder why I didn’t see that or recognize that before. I think we get so caught up sometimes in what a dream is “supposed to” look like that we completely miss it when it manifests in our life. We grieve that old dream instead of looking around to see where it is showing up in our lives. It left me to wonder how many of our dreams are actually alive and floating around in other forms in our lives at this very moment. If only we would open our eyes to look. And I resolved to look and keep looking in my own life. To let go of the old ways of seeing and to embrace the new.
I’d love to hear about your childhood dreams and how you see them manifesting in your life today if you care to share.