You Are What You Dream

Where is the line that separates fate and fatalism?
When does visioning and dreaming actually become doing?
When do you start living the life you want, instead of just letting life happen to you?

Ana P. Santos envisions a future cut and pasted on a dream board.

Self-fulfilling prophecy. Chicken before the egg.

Tear. Cut. Paste.

Put everything together and…you see the future? Your life will flash right before your very eyes?

To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect from dream boarding. Oh sure, I’ve hard about it. Just about everyone from Oprah to the everyday planner has something about a dreamboard, but I had never really done one.

I never thought of myself as a dreamer. I thought of myself as more of a doer. Let me again use my corporate background as an excuse. All my years in the corporate world trained me to be a do-er. It was ingrained in me to think of goals, then identify strategies and ways by which to reach those goals. It was think, write, do.

And in my personal life, I started employing that same three-step process. Listing down the goals that I wanted for myself, stated mostly in outline form with strategies listed as sub-topics, neatly written down in my planner so I would have  a constant every day reminder.

At the end of 2011, I looked back on my to-do’s and was surprised that I had crossed out a good number of them—not withstanding being fluent in French and pole dancing (does one trial class count?). But I thought I should forgive myself for those lapses.

How was I supposed to plan an entire year of my life on a dream board? How do you make everything fit?

The power of envisioning

“It’s more powerful than writing it down,” insisted my friend Nina about dream boarding. “You can write down you want a house, but making a dreamboard will show what kind of house, what’s in it and what it looks like.”

Nina has been making dream boards since she was in college. Her mother attested to how walls and walls of her room would be filled with various dream boards.

“Okay,” I said, getting my laptop out, ready to access my dreams with one Google search.

“Nope,” said Nina firmly. “No can do. That would be premeditated. You need to look through magazines and find the words and the visuals that will speak to you and the things that somehow catch your attention. You need to let your subconscious out.”

Oh wow. That was a little bit daunting for me. What if I didn’t find what I wanted in the magazine? Did that mean I wasn’t meant to have it?

But pushing those thoughts aside, my other friend, Nikka and my 10-year old daughter started looking through magazines and tearing and cutting.

Nina stopped me whenever I caught myself stopping to read things before tearing–

“Be spontaneous! That’s what dreaming is about!”

Spontaneity. Wow. Seemed a long time since I had a bit of that, but it was when I let go that the words came. And in much more eloquent a form and more arresting a structure than I could have made them:

Dividends are a girl’s best friend
Recession Proof
Famous Rouges

And I did see my dreams and what I hoped for my future. And I saw something else, too: an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

I saw it in the other words that somehow appeared right before me while I was cutting, tearing and pasting.

My Unexpected Family

This way of dreaming didn’t leave me a sense of being incomplete and longing for the things which I still do not have. It made me step back and appreciate what I had been gifted with and—yes, this is a word I use sparingly—blessed with.

I’m not going to stop listing my to-do’s, day by day, month and month and year on year. Old habits die hard and it’s hard to teach an old (female) dog like me new tricks.

But I’m going to go right on dreaming.  There might be a lot of magazines in salons and coffee shops with missing pages in my wake, but I’m going to go right on tearing, cutting and pasting my dreams on a board.

I know now that my dreams are nothing without my gratitude.

Just as I have always known my wishes and goals are nothing without my words and actions.


This article was also published here.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eighteen + 15 =