You have that dream you’ve been dreaming for so long — to write a novel or start your own business or go back to school. It’s that possibly-doable-yet-seemingly-impractical thing that you keep reverting to, in your conversations with your near-and-dears, or just in your conversations with yourself.
Let’s label it “Running Away to Join the Circus” as a catch-all.
What it’s really about is creating an alternate reality where you do join the circus and live outside the norm. It’s not that you get to shuck off all the cares of this life, because — sour news alert — that doesn’t happen, for anyone. (Buddha figured that out 2,500 years ago.) But it is about creating your own new living diorama of possibilities.
Constructing Your Own Reality, at Least in Part
The good news is, you actually get to live in that diorama, if you choose to. At least to a degree, you can construct it like a stage set. You can live where you want and how you want. You populate it. You dream up how it operates.
This is so because the real diorama is in your mind. Yes, the outside world imposes certain arbitrary limitations on us. A 50-year-old man will not bear a child. Someone in a wheelchair will not bring home the Olympic gold in the pole vault. These things happen. Yet within our natural limits, we have far more ability than most of us acknowledge to go and do the things that mean the most to us.
If you will exercise this ability, there are two poisons that you must stop ingesting.
The first one is called “Later.” It’s that deeply destructive impulse that tells you to put off your dreams, for whatever reason. It helps you draw comfort from the bad, indulgent habits of today, and it makes the new dream-pursuing behaviors you need to follow seem not just different or temporarily uncomfortable, but terrifying and bizarre. These are the lies that “Later” plants in our minds.
The second poison is called “Others.” It convinces you that you need to earn permission from someone before you can follow your dreams, or that other people will laugh at you when you join the circus — and that their laughter will matter in some fundamental way. Again: lies.
“Later” doesn’t come. “Others” — and especially the ones we imagine for ourselves — shouldn’t be permitted to run our own lives.
Let it be today that you stop taking these two poisons and join the circus.