Dream Deep, Reach High

“Dream deep, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Reach high for every dream precedes the goal.”

Starry, starry night by Vincent van Gogh

This is one of my favourite quotes. With passion, insight and resolve we can achieve whatever we want. How do we go beyond just knowing ourselves and our talents, and not limit ourselves to what we think we’re able to do now or in the near future? We dream … and then we can use what we know about ourselves and our strengths to move forward … and become passionate. Capable is good, but passionate is better.

I like the language: “Dream deep”, “Reach high”  the words punch through complacency, implying the passion and energy that we all have within us … “hidden in our souls”.

It’s one thing to dream though, it takes insight, foresight, thought and work to define our goals through those dreams. It takes courage to set ourselves goals. We have to have faith in ourselves, hope in a future, and trust that we can get there. We have to find a path, or many paths to reach a goal. And we have to work. And never, never give up.

I thought I knew about setting and achieving goals. It was expected that I would go to university. My mother desperately wanted it for me. It became my goal to become the first person in my family to get a university degree. I did. But I wasn’t passionate about it. “C’s get degrees”  was what my generation was about. It was elitist at that time simply to have a degree. It wasn’t until I got to work in business and discovered that I was good at it that I began to reach for something higher, something less ordinary. I became one of a handful of women in management, then one of an even smaller group who had children while working in management. But still I didn’t dream. I didn’t see myself as the CEO, although others may have. Because I couldn’t visualise myself in that role and because I couldn’t dream it, I couldn’t see it as a realistic goal for me.

I dreamt of being a good mother, wanting my children to be happy, to be kind to others, to be good, and to reach their potential. This was the first time for me that a dream preceded a goal. I learned to be patient, to love unconditionally, to see the world as they saw it, to be fierce for them, to protect them while letting them learn about risk … and so many other things that every mother learns.

Yet I had so much more to learn about dreams. I had to break my back to learn about turning dreams into something real. I dreamt of walking, and my goal became to stand up and walk with crutches. I found health professionals who could help me, or fate brought them to me and I wrung every bit of knowledge and expertise from them. I expanded time so that I could exercise, sleep, exercise, look after my children, sleep, exercise, try new equipment, care for my children, become exhausted, re-energise, love my children. I did not place limits on myself. I reached high, and I dug deep. In return my children took care of me. Young as they were at the time, just 4 and 10, they found ways to support me, nurture me and help me. They joined me in pursuing my dream. Now, as adults, they still support me. They are always enthusiastic about every small change, and support any new path I take. My husband too, supports my dream to walk. He helps with stretches, finances a personal trainer, massage therapist or any other resource that might help. When others doubt, my family and health professionals who work with me reassure. The universe conspires to keep my dream alive and to show new paths for me to explore.

I sometimes wonder if this made me a better or worse mother. I was less able to look after the children’s physical needs and less able at times to look after their emotional needs. I wasn’t always there for them. But my world opened another world for them. We skied with disabled skiers. The boys buddied skiers with one leg, or who were partially sighted, or who had had head injuries. My sons and daughter saw people with physical limitations having fun, reaching high, digging deep, coping and excelling in a world that is often hostile to them. They saw opportunities to help others, expected nothing in return and were rewarded with maturity, insight, empathy and an appreciation of privilege. Perhaps it gave them a desire to find the stars hidden in their souls, and to reach high. They are certainly wonderful adults.


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