Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman portrayed two terminally ill men on a grand adventure in a 2007 film, The Bucket List. These two ornery characters nudged each other beyond their comfort zones to pursue and accomplish journeys they had always longed to experience. The comedy-drama allowed viewers to traverse the terrain of pushing past limiting beliefs and focus on living every season of life to the fullest.
Which begs the question; do you have a Bucket List? Did you have one long ago that could afford to be dusted off and rejuvenated? What ideas are bubbling up within you that would be prime additions to your Bucket List today?
According to Merriam-Webster, a Bucket List is “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.” Common inclusions are places to travel, sites to see, projects to complete, items to have, and goals to accomplish. It is exhilarating to let our mind and heart wander to what we long to experience. Those moments often stir up energy and enthusiasm that inspires even small action that then propels us forward. And isn’t that what life is about? Growth…movement…pursuing our heart’s longing?
Flipping the calendar to a fresh new year is undoubtedly the occasion when most people offer time and attention to what they want to accomplish during the upcoming 365 days. Certainly, as we enter 2021, there is collective energy and desire for a healthier and more stabilized experience of life. What about you? Have you considered what it is you hope for in this new year? More importantly, have you written it down? The brain is a magnificent organ and science reveals that when we think something and when we write something, we activate different parts of the brain, making it even more engrained when we do both. Pro tip: Write (or type) your list!
Yet, this is not the typical ‘have goals and aspirations for the New Year’ article. That is not exactly my style though – and it should not be yours either. We are powerful and important beings and now more than ever it is critically important that we embrace our unique dreams and aspirations. There are three ways we can level up and soar above ‘typical’.
Dream List versus Bucket List
While a Bucket List is a great start, I would challenge that it can easily focus on things to do, places to see, and tasks to accomplish. All of which are outstanding goals to be intimately familiar with, written down, and pursued. That said, let’s take it up a notch and talk about a Dream List. Sure, some may say it is a matter of semantics, however, I heartily disagree. A Dream List encompasses the things we want to do, see, and accomplish and then it stretches even further! A Dream List also captures who we want to become, the characteristics we want to develop and hone, and the full essence of the life we would love to live. From this perspective, the Dream List is more aligned with our innate selves – individuals living in this time, during this moment of history. This simple shift of perspective from “what will I do this year” to “who will I become this year” allows us to amplify this one wild and precious life we have to live. Continue to dream of the places you long to visit and sites you wish to see…just make sure you are also dreaming about who you would like to become in the realms of your emotional, spiritual, physical, and intellectual self.
Hit Reset – Now
Although we feel a powerful sense of restarting in the new year, it is truly just a trick we play on ourselves. January 1st. January 23rd. March 19th. Two pm this afternoon. Any of these can be the moment we reset. It is a choice and a mindset. The reality is that our dreams are constantly circulating within us and aching for our attention. Since our dreams are not limited to a new year or new day, neither should we experience that restriction of flow. Instead, do what you can from where you are today. If two weeks of the year have already slipped by, do not believe that you are behind. In fact, you are exactly where you are meant to be to move forward today. By taking little steps toward the person you want to become, you experience both progress and momentum. These are gifts that begin to propel us onward and into the greatness we all have the potential to realize. We do not expect a baby to walk with steadiness or run immediately. Similarly, we must also take our first, sometimes wobbly steps, and know that by continuing to exercise our ability stay focused on and committed to a dream, we too will accomplish mastery that allows us to run forward with gusto!
Be Open to Receive
I started a Dream List in 2006 after reading The Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly. After creating a hefty list of dreams, I decided it may be a fun conversation starter with some close friends. Within days the few people I had shared it with were completely animated and engaged in the dreams I had listed. The longings of my heart seemed to spark their own awareness and interest in dreaming. Then something else happened. One friend asked if he could accompany me when I accomplished one dream. Another friend said she could help make one of my dreams come to fruition. In no time I was having up close and personal encounters with some of my favorite endangered animals and meeting nationally renowned leaders. The process had begun, doors opened, opportunities surfaced that allowed me to realize dreams written on my list – both simple and audacious. It is radically important to think about our dreams, write your dreams down and then fall so in love with the joy and energy they bring to our being that you let go of any reasons they cannot come to be. We must get out of the way and allow our dreams to flow freely.
While it is a new year, we are in the deep of winter. A time when many things are in hibernation – resting and refueling in order to rebirth in the Spring. This winter is especially quiet and perhaps isolated as we strive to remain healthy. Dreaming, however, is not a seasonal situation. In fact, there is no better time than now to dream.
As we embark on a new year, may you come to know that the longings of your heart span well beyond a list of tasks to be accomplished. You are powerful and important. The world needs you and all that you can conjure up in your head and heart. And, even in the cold, dark days of winter – we can all dream. This is the beginning of something wonderful.
Check out my interview series accompanying this article: Live your dreams with purpose and passion