Dare to Dream—and Face the Truths You’ve Been Avoiding!

Person smiling yet hiding behind their hands peeking out

What is the dream you currently have for you life? How are you working towards it? How is it going? And what obstacles are you facing?

So, I learned a valuable lesson recently. I had thought I was self-aware because I’ve been working on myself since I discovered coaching in my early thirties (a world of personal development that both humbled and excited me).

And after almost two decades of reading, journaling, counselling, learning to meditate and more, I thought: “I’ve got this. I know I still have work to do, but now it’s just refinement.”

Until last August. When part-way through the final renovation in our gorgeous little cottage on 5 acres on a beautiful island, a thunderbolt hit me: I don’t want this life any more!

It shouldn’t have been a thunderbolt of course. The signs had been there. Lots of them. Like the two new friends who’d recently moved to Salt Spring Island who would rhapsodize about island life. While I’d try very hard not to point out everything that annoyed me. I would go home feeling like a killjoy, wondering what was wrong with me!

Of course our dreams shift and change, just as we do…

But ‘super self-aware’ me had been unaware of my own huge shift.

And last night, while reading the memoir Song of the Sparrow by Tara MacLean1, I read just what I needed to hear (although I could have done with reading this 5 years ago!):

Dreams are transient; they are honest. Start with a dream and then work toward it. If it falls apart, dream again, dream something new. Dreams dissolve; they reform. They are a renewable resource.

My dream had dissolved and reformed and I hadn’t even noticed!

My previous dream had been to move to a small island (Salt Spring Island), renovate our little cottage, grow our own food and find community.

But over 15 years, this dream turned into every waking hour either working on my business or working on the land. And there always seemed to be some renovation or maintenance needed somewhere.

I wasn’t spending my time blissed out and growing food and flowers any more. Nope. I was spending my time clearing invasive broom, thistles, smartweed and blackberries, keeping the pathways clear and the never-ending tidying up of branches, maple/arbutus leaves, arbutus bark, pine needles, pine cones and pollen. Never mind the regular mowing and weed-whacking, pruning etc.

The community I craved shut down in the winter, people either heading to warmer climes or not venturing out from their homes and cosy wood-burning fireplaces. And it was also a deeply divided community with passions running high on so many topics it became exhausting.

My new dream John Eldredge Desire Quote with Bird (Fierce Kindness)

My new dream is to have more time and space, to be able to walk places and safely cycle. I want to spend time cultivating and gardening a backyard, not managing 5 acres of land. I want to have dog parks where I can safely exercise my dog off-leash, and a vet that is open more than 50% of the time. I want access to things you can only find in a (small) city…

My community of friends on Salt Spring can visit us here. We are now the friends “in town” who they can stay with when they want to go out somewhere nice for dinner, miss a ferry or have a super-early flight somewhere.

And whilst we did need to make some compromises due to a hot housing market, I am absolutely LOVING that we can walk or get the bus to EVERYthing from here.

Finally, after 15 years of (small) island life, we are now living a new dream. And adjusting back to suburban life.

Why am I sharing this?

Well, I had been clinging to my earlier dream. I was so determined to make it work that I was ignoring all the signs that said: Move on! This dream is dead.

Yes, there were still things I loved about living on Salt Spring Island: our cute cottage (every room now renovated by us!), the nature in our yard and our friends.

But just because you love some parts of your dream, doesn’t mean you’re not ready for a new one…

I had let myself get burned out…

I had been so busy running around trying to fix and resolve all the things I didn’t like about life on Salt Spring (as well as run two businesses, renovate our home and stay on top of the yard) that I didn’t realise my needs had shifted.

And by then I was burnt out and didn’t want to do the work of moving—and changing.

So like every other person who doesn’t want to face the truth, I ignored it.

And my big learning is that if we had only realised earlier, we could have avoided the crazy property market. Could have avoided the burnout. We could have had a much easier transition, and maybe not had to compromise so much on the home we purchased.

Does everything happen for a reason?

I know many people believe that it does. And while I don’t believe in fate, I think choosing to believe that everything happens for a reason can be a very positive and healthy approach to life’s challenges.

I’m not talking about traumatic events here. Instead I’m suggesting that when challenging stuff happens, when our lives don’t go according to plan, that we LEARN from it.

For me I’ve learned to pay closer attention to my needs and wishes. Acknowledging them doesn’t mean you have to act, but it does sow that seed so you can act when you’re ready. And hopefully before it’s too late…

How has Fierce Kindness helped?

One of the 4 threads of Fierce Kindness is Create a Life You Love. Because when we LOVE our life, that’s when we’re happiest AND have our biggest impact in the world. But following your dream to create a life you love is not always easy…

I have had to be Fiercely Kind—a lot—like:

  • Whenever my critic popped up and said, “You should have realised earlier, and then x/y/z wouldn’t have happened”
  • When parts of myself doubted we would manage to buy a house at all and began to panic we would have nowhere to live.
  • When I was just plain tired from moving around and living out of a suitcase (since February, we moved in mid-June) and just wanted to give my dream up altogether…
  • And as we uncover more things that need renovating than expected (rewiring a house anyone?). “You should have known better…” and worse, “What if we’ve just made a huge mistake?”

I’ve soothed myself with kindness and not allowed my critic to take hold. And I’ve bolstered myself, been courageous and stuck with my new dream of small city life, even when the going got really tough.

Becaise it takes courage to 1) see that a big change is needed and 2) make that change and see it through. It takes determination. Perseverance. That’s the ‘Fierce’.

But it’s the ‘Kindness’ that eases our soul—and gives us the inner strength we need to continue the journey.

So, over to you!

What resonated with you in this article? You might like to try answering the questions below, in your journal or just pondering in a quiet space.

9 Pondering or Journaling Prompts Hand with Butterflies
  • What was your last dream you had for your life? Is it still valid? Does it still feel like you?
  • What is working in your life and what is not?
  • What changes are needed in your life?
  • What are you avoiding: Seeing? Feeling? Hearing?
  • What is your upcoming dream? Where and what will you dream next?
  • What is your inner knowing telling you about your life or career?
  • Where should you be focusing now?
  • What should you let go of?
  • And from the gorgeous poem The Summer Day 2 by Mary Oliver:
    • Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?

Wrap-upFierce Kindness Logo

We should dream because we can. Because our dreams inspire us and take us places we would not otherwise go. Because dreams come from the soul and show us who we are.

And of course, remember that our dreams change over time—so pay attention.

Because when a dream no longer fit us, we can always dream again, dream something new. As Tara MacLean said: dreams are a renewable resource.

If you liked this, you may also like:

Change the world. Start with you!


  • 1 p278 Song of the Sparrow by Tara MacLean, first edition in paperback from Harper Avenue publishing.
  • 2 See Mary Oliver’s Poem The Summer’s Day here.

Image of Person smiling yet hiding behind their hands peeking out by Roman Samborskyi via Shutterstock

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