Birthing a Radical Dream- Do you Dare?
A more beautiful world is possible and it starts with a radical dream.
The 9 to 5. The work commitments. The family gathering. The latest episode of your favourite series on Netflix.
With so many distractions and demands on our time, it is so easy to get swept away in day to day life. It’s not easy to find a moment to pause and reflect on what we really want in life. Are we happy with the dream we are creating or could something radically different be what our hearts are really desiring? In this post, I explore my own radical dream and some of the obstacles I encounter in my quest to bring it to life.
Those two precious days…
It’s been a long week at work and the weekend rolls around again. Finally, time to spend at home, catch up with the housework, do some writing, and spend time with the people I care about.
I find myself thinking “Yes! The weekend is here!” and I breathe a sigh of relief.
And this is considered to be the norm, what to be expected from working life. How could it be any other way, right? By Friday we’re tired and need a break. Life isn’t all about work, is it?! We work hard and need some time off to enjoy ourselves.
But I can’t help feeling that this mentality of living for the weekend is not a healthy one. As I have written before, is life really only meant to be lived on Saturday and Sunday, and between Monday to Friday, we are just in a state of waiting and wishing for these two precious days to come round again?
For me, the answer is no. It seems obvious when put like that, doesn’t it? It seems completely depressing and crap. But this is all I hear from my students, colleagues, friends and family, and even my class of 12-year-olds!
“I am happy because it’s Friday”, they tell me.
“But I HATE Sunday!”
Why? I ask.
“Because the next day is Monday!”
And what’s wrong with Monday?
“It’s schoooooool!” they cry, with a grimace on their face.
Indeed, they are being trained for adult life well!
More and more I seem to find myself really looking forward to not having to go to work for those two precious days. And this bothers me.
This is exactly how I didn’t want to feel, back when I was 23 and freshly returned from my travels and eyeing up adult life from afar. I eyed those grown-ups working long hours suspiciously, thinking that I never wanted to be like them, working until late into the evening, no time for outside interests and hobbies. Sure, they had a lot of money but they had none of what I had lots of: time.
And now I find myself coming home from work gone 7, having a bit of a rest and then it’s time to get the tea on (by tea I mean dinner, for those of you not accustomed to Northern English vocabulary!). By the time we’ve cooked, eaten, and washed up, I’m tired and all I want to do is relax for half an hour before bed.
I mean, it’s fine, isn’t it? Nothing strange or bizarre about it. This is normal life, the same as the majority of the population who are lucky enough to have a roof over their head and a job to go to.
But still, if I’m honest with myself, there is a feeling of dissatisfaction with all of this.
There is a faint voice that whispers in my ear in its devilish way,
“Is this how you want to spend the rest of your life?”
I tell it to shush and I go put the kettle on for that bedtime cup of tea. Comfort is good and soothing for the tired soul.
But it follows me to the metro the next day.
I’m there, stuck in the sweaty crowd of fellow commuters, and it tickles my neck again with its quiet interrogation.
“Is this really how you want to live the next 30 years of your working life? It really doesn’t smell good in here…phew! I can’t stand it, I’m outta here!”
And with that, it disappears as my stop arrives and we all spill out onto the platform. The race begins to see who can get up the escalators, out the exit and into work the fastest.
…However, it rears its head again later on in the staff room…
“Buff, no windows? No natural light? No flow of air? Urgh! Rather you than me…is this really where you want to be spending a large portion of your day?”
Luckily for me, I really do love teaching and being with my students and colleagues so this positive energy keeps it at bay for the rest of the day as I go into class…
The truth hurts
As annoying and inconvenient as it may be, this voice does have a point, doesn´t it? And as much as I don’t like to admit it, I would have to answer no to all of its questions.
I really don’t want to be on that sweaty metro for an hour every day for the rest of my working life!
Nor do I want to be in that stuffy staff room with no natural light!
Nor be out of the house for 10 hours a day!
The next 30 years spent living and working like this? No thanks!
So then this leads to the question:
How do I want to live my life?
Are you bold enough to go there?
Such as simple question but one which we all too infrequently ask ourselves, if at all. I mean, we don’t really get taught to ask ourselves this question, do we? The standard question is “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, or “What do you want to do when you finish your studies?” but no one asks us about the vision that we have of our lives, or how we might want to live it.
We focus on the job title that we want to acquire, maybe on our desire to get married and have a family. But no one thinks to ask how we want to live, how we envision spending our short time here on this planet.
When we start asking ourselves this question, we start to traverse the territory of the radical dream…
So what radical dream do I want to weave for the tapestry of my life?
Such a simple question but in order to answer, we really have to dig deep. In writing this I found myself rolling up sleeves and huffing and puffing about what exactly to write.
I went out for a walk, thinking that clearing my head will make it easier to articulate, to no avail. Then I got up and got a snack. Then a cup of tea. Then I notice that shelves need dusting so I did that. And then there’s the very important job of checking the latest Brexit news…
An old friend
We all know this guy. We met him in school and hung out with him at university. He accompanied us through our dissertation writing and exam revision. We see him at work, maybe lurking around the coffee machine or the photocopier. He might show up at your home when you are about to do something riveting like doing your tax returns or responding to student loan emails.
Yep, you guessed it. It’s our old friend Mr Procrastination.
Just when we really need to get our head down and concentrate he shows up! How does he do that?!
Always arriving in our times of need, he comes to our aid to relieve us of the effort of concentration.
He entices us away from the job at hand and towards the light relief of Facebook or Instagram. He tells us that there are very important things happening in the world that we just must be informed about. He insists that the house must be spotless before we could even consider doing that thing that we need to do.
And before we know it, the library has closed and we’ve only written 100 words; the working day ends and we still have that report to finish; another week passes and we still haven’t dealt with that paperwork that is piling up.
Or in my case, I write 1349 words without actually getting to the original point of the article!
The point being that it is so easy to put off those things in life that require a bit of effort. And that includes thinking deeply about how we want to live our lives.
It might cross our minds from time to time but our old friend Mr Procrastination is there to save us the effort and point us in the direction of Netflix.
Let us not put off our dreams for another day. Because you never know, there may not be another, and life is just too precious to spend procrastinating it away.
Birthing a Radical Dream
So then, how do I want to live my life? (up go the sleeves again). Here goes:
I want to wake up each day and walk out of my front door and be in nature. I’m not talking just a garden. I’m talking slap bang in the middle of the natural world, with the grass under my bare feet and the song of birds in the air.
I want to live in deep communion and appreciation for the Earth. I want to develop an intimate relationship with her; take care of her and in turn, let her take care of me.
I want to experience the Earths abundance first hand. I want to experience her generosity, receive her gifts and her blessings.
And most importantly I want to share this with others so that they too can experience the miracles of the Earth up close and personal.
I want to create a space that people can come to and fall in love with the Earth, and connect with their own planet in a way that they haven’t before.
I want to live in a low impact dwelling and experience what it’s like to depend on nature for my basic necessities such as fire for cooking and solar energy for electricity. I have been wrapped in the cotton wool of modern life for too long, and want to know what it’s like to be directly dependent on the Earth for energy, warmth and food.
I want to experience what it’s like to eat the food that you have grown yourself and have the time to plan and prepare delicious meals without having to worry about cooking in batch for the week. And I want to have zero need for transporting food in tupperware boxes! I want to have time to learn how to bake bread, make jam and generally learn how to cook properly!
I want to have time to develop my creative pursuits, drawing, painting, writing, and I want to learn how to play a musical instrument!
I want to be able to spend time with my partner doing things that we both love without one of us having to dash off to work. I want to create a space for him to fulfil his dreams too and let his talents come out into the world.
I want to wake up before dawn and do my yoga and meditation practice without the hurry of having to be somewhere at a certain time. And I want to be able to stop work to do my practice whenever I want.
I want every day to be the weekend. I want every day to be a holiday. I want to be free of the dictates of the calendar week and be free to do what I want, when I want.
Most importantly, I want to contribute something beautiful to the world. Something that I feel that the world really needs. I want to live a life of service towards the whole of the human race and all the plants and animals that cohabit with us.
I want to go beyond what I believe is possible and go for the impossible.
I want to expect the unexpected, and go for the most audacious, fantastically courageous and radical dream imaginable!
And I want the same for you, dear reader.
Because this life isn’t going to come round again.
Because this is our one chance to live according to who we really are.
Because the world needs the light of our authenticity.
Let’s not procrastinate our dreams away.
Whoever you are and whatever it is you are dreaming about, know anything is possible- when you believe that it is.
So forget everything you have been told and begin to believe in your own Radical Dream.
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Olivia, your blog is stunning! I’ve now read four back-to-back. Some amazing insights and truths. We met and were friends briefly through samba in Manchester a few years ago, and I wondered where your life has taken you. It’s lovely to reconnect with you through your writing. Keep it up! Helen x
Thank you so much Helen! you have no idea how much I appreciate your comment 🙂 So Glad that you like the blog and that it resonates with someone- it just shows that sometimes the most personal story can be the more universal. Will send you a message over on Facebook! Would love to hear how you have been doing too 🙂
I’m loving your blog! It’s so interesting reading about your life and thoughts – especially in these trying times. Your bio brought back some happy memories of you children growing up too, it made me smile.
Keep up the good work, I can’t wait for your next ‘installment’
Thanks so much for the support Aileen! I really appreciate your words of encouragement 🙂 Lucky to have had you as our next door neighbour! Special times 🙂
Build a house down the dip, or make that den we built on the back field in 1999 liveable. Sorted
🙂 Thanks for the support Ad! You gunna help out with the brambles this time? You were a bit of a lazy den maker if I remember correctly 😉
Nah, You and Suki can come and help us build our house and dig a veggie patch anytime! Let´s see if we can the Baxter brothers in on it too, it will be like that backfield den all over again
I’m sure the Baxter brothers would love to help!
Haha yes they must come – you, the Baxter brothers and their kids- all 3 generations 😀 I will make sure there is space for you all! Think backfield den times 1000- the little ones will love it!