The Dream Life Epiphany

The Dream Life Epiphany
Photo by Zach Lucero / Unsplash

This past year I got deep into personal development and gratitude practice is something that I have been trying to practice actively and intentionally. To remain consistent with the habit of gratitude practice, I have been maintaining a guided gratitude journal. One of the sections in my gratitude journal is about affirmations. I have been writing positive affirmations along with three things I am grateful for on a daily basis. However, the other day, I noticed a recurring pattern in my affirmation section. I had been repeatedly writing something along the line of, “I am building my dream life.” The day I noticed it I was like “Wait for a second, let me think about this again.” And I began pondering my thoughts and remained with them for a while. It was on that day that I had an epiphany! I realized that I have in fact lived my dream life multiple times in the past, and even today, I am living my dream life, the life I had dreamt of not too long ago!

A few years ago, when I was back home, my dreams revolved around coming to the US to pursue my higher studies. I worked towards that goal and eventually came to the US after completing my undergraduate studies. Just a few classes later, the grad school stress started to creep in. The initial excitement of coming to the US did not last long as I was struggling to adapt to the new environment, culture, and education system. Then my hopes and dreams shifted around getting done with school and finding a job. Now that I have a job and resources I did not have before, my dreams are now different. I made it to my dream life, the one I prayed for and worked hard for, and I am already into the next set of dreams again. Naturally, as we move forward in life, we live our dreams, and immediately we start weaving new ones. It’s a cycle and I am pretty confident that I am not the only one experiencing this. I think it’s safe to say that we constantly jump from one thing to another, non-stop for the most part of our life.

I realized that day that often in my life, I have been in a constant chase to that next thing, the next milestone, and the next plan that I have forgotten to acknowledge the present. My monkey mind is constantly wandering from one thing to the next, from one achievement to another. I don’t want to judge myself for wanting more in life though because I want more. As a matter of fact, I would not have been where I am today if I had been complacent in my life. As a human being, I think it's completely natural to want more in life. But as I have realized this, my intention for this year and beyond is to try to be more present and to truly live and feel these moments. I intend to take time to embrace now, soak in all of it, and live in the moment as I continue to work on other things in life. They say change is the only constant thing in life, and something that we dreamt of in the past may not hold the same significance today. But as I have grown older, I have experienced that this is the way of life. And something I don’t want in my life is to get constantly trapped in the perpetual chase of the next thing in a way that I get robbed of the present moment.

So, the big question is now that I have intended to embrace the present, how do I actually practice being present? One of the things that has helped me a lot in terms of emotional awareness is the journaling practice. Sometimes, I just start journaling and I end up surprising myself with things I write. For me, being able to pour my thoughts into paper is liberating and it helps with unpacking my thoughts and feelings. As I mentioned earlier, even this thought about being more present came with journaling and reflection, so I plan to continue to journal and reflect more. Gratitude journaling, in particular, helps me appreciate my life a little more than I usually do. Finding at least three things in a day that I am grateful for no matter how small they are is what keeps me connected to the present.

Another thing that I struggle with, yet strive to practice, is being observant of my surroundings as much as I can. I think a lot of time we all operate in such an autopilot mode that we are oblivious to things around us. For instance, the other day, as we were on our evening walk on our usual route, I noticed a house that I had never noticed on my previous walks. Every time I decide to be more mindful, I discover new things around me. So, being mindful is another way of being present and it’s a constant practice for me as my mind slips more often than I want it to.

I know I am not alone in this sentiment. Many of us are caught up in the constant race to achieve the next milestone, often forgetting to fully live in the present. Therefore, this is a reminder to me, and you to be more mindful and embrace the present moment. Throughout our lives, there have been numerous "next things" and undoubtedly we will continue to have more. However, in the pursuit of chasing these goals, let's not forget how precious this present moment is. Let's take a moment to reflect on our dreams and acknowledge how far we have come. Let's celebrate all the small and big victories we have achieved thus far while continuing to pursue our next milestones and aspirations!

"The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it."-Thich Nhat Hanh