It happens to all of us. Burn out. Unexpected illness or accident. Blindsiding family crisis. Unexpected financial hits. No matter what kind of dreams you’re tending, you can count on dealing with things you didn’t count on. I’m in that space right now.
I originally intended to record on the topic of the value and power of Mental Breaks and Emotional Escapes while tending your dreams, but that will now come in a later episode.
This year is doing a number on my family. In actuality, we’re dealing with everything I mentioned above, and then some. It started January 1st. And as the “fresh faith in business, life, and love” gal, you know I had a plan coming into the new year. But in dream tending, you have to prepare yourself, because though planning is good, so is flexibility. Things don’t always go as planned. And whatever happens at home is going to affect your work—as does the converse—what happens at work is going to affect your home.
Mid-morning on January 1st, I started receiving text messages telling me about events that would turn our family upside down. A member has apparently made secret choices for decades that has hurt more people than we can possibly know. I can’t share the details, because that part of the story is not mine to tell publicly. But I will say it’s bad—REALLY bad!
The ripple effect of emotions reaches wide and far. People with varying opinions, beliefs, and assumptions about the situation want to be heard, and understandably so. And when you’re a go-to person like me, guess whose ear gets bent? But in no way take this as a complaint, because I see it as an appropriate privilege in this case.
- This is family, and after God, family should always come first. Showing you care is different from simply saying you care, and you demonstrate it through your attitude and availability to those you love. It makes me cringe when my close family members say, “I know how busy you are, and I don’t want to bother you.” Here’s the thing, I am always busy, but not too busy to be there for the people God has placed in my life. Authentic dream tending is a balanced practice, where pursuits and people work in tandem. Like canoeing, sometimes one oar or the other is navigating the craft in the water, and sometimes, they row at the same time. Those oars represent our professional and personal desires.
- Few people dealing with truly traumatic and painful situations find someone willing to listen, show compassion and empathy, without jumping into fix-it mode. I’m not perfect at this, but I am intentional. Because of the calling on my life to educate, inspire, and encourage today’s influencers, it’s important that I influence well. I cannot effectively teach what I don’t walk out. Sometimes part of dream tending is living out your life, before you pass lessons on.
But the cascade that began on January 1st was far from the only thing this year brought—it’s being rather unkind. And far beyond normal annoyances, frustrations, or stresses.
The first week of February, my husband had an automobile accident—and it was his fault. This is a guy with a clean driving record, who needs to maintain it for his work. But conditions were very foggy that day, and he literally did not see the car he pulled out in front of, though he looked. He cannot explain exactly what happened. But regardless, the consequences could have been catastrophic for our financial well-being. Especially, because our health insurance comes through his employer.
For weeks, we’ve been on pins and needles as his mandatory court date approached. But knowing the power of proactive approaches to dream tending, including those of survival, I prayed, asked others to do the same, repeatedly decided to walk in faith, and then did my part. I wrote a letter to the prosecuting attorney on my husband’s behalf, explaining the truth of the situation, and humbly asking for a merciful hand, due to the job connection.
Just this morning, he had his hearing, and miraculously, the results were better than we could have imagined. Mercy requested—mercy received. I couldn’t be there to witness it with my own eyes and ears, as I had an international TV interview I really needed to make. But I did not let guilt eat me up, I found a stand-in, who proved much more fit for the task than me anyway. Our oldest son stepped up, assisted his dad, and helped guide him though. Sometimes, we dream tenders need to identify the need for and allow the benefits of simple delegation. Not only does it free us up, but it also lets others share in the blessings.
But now let me backtrack for a minute, because it’s early April as I record now. I skipped my own March madness event.
On March 1st, I woke up with pain in my neck. It wasn’t constant, and though the stings were intense, mostly I could work around it. After a few days, it became severe enough that I went to see my chiropractor, who is a gentle and prayerful physician. He carefully worked on me over the next few weeks, and I did get relief, but it seemed to only come for a couple of days, then things went back to increasingly bad.
A week ago, things worsened so much that I was driven to tears and a few times, onto my floor, writhing in pain. And I’m a high-tolerance lady. First thing Monday, I called and asked for an emergency appointment. (My chiropractor gave me a gentle chastise for not doing it sooner.)
But by the time I got in to see him, I was crying uncontrollably from the pain. Dr. Hagene said, “I had a feeling I should have scheduled you for a second appointment on Friday last week, but I talked myself out of it. I should have listened to my intuition.”
He did a tiny amount of work to relieve immediate pressure, but also sent me straight to see a medical doctor. He did not mess around. A few hours later, I left the doctor’s office having received a steroid shot, and with prescriptions for oral steroids and muscle relaxers in hand. She and my chiropractor both agreed, inflammation had started in my right shoulder, probably from the amount of typing I do, and not always from the best position. The swelling spread and intensified until it began pushing on the discs in my upper spine. Finally, two of my discs became bulged, explaining the horrific pain I was in.
The medical doctor told me to expect them to kick in within 24-48 hours. She was right on target.
Mid-morning Tuesday, I suddenly began to feel some of the pressure releasing as the swelling had went down. By that evening, the pain and pressure were about a tenth of what they’d been. The next morning, there was even more improvement. And though I’m not back to 100%, and still can’t be on my computer for long periods of time, I am recovering quickly. And the lessons learned from my physical challenge is multi-faceted.
- Be still when you need to and know that sometimes the best remedy is rest for your body, mind and spirit.
- Listen to your intuition—it often tells you a truth you could talk yourself out of believing.
- Don’t give up on your dreams, even when you feel like you’re dying.
What unexpected happenings have you dealt with while tending your dreams?
This episode’s Dream Tending Tips:
- Remember, it’s not what happens to us while we’re tending our dreams that has the most impact, but how we react to those circumstances.
- When you need to stop—stop! Overdoing will only undermine your efforts. Burn out, illness or accident, unexpected financial hits, or a family crisis are among the things that may signal it’s time for a temporary hiatus. Just don’t let a delay signal your dream’s end.
- Flex your flexibility when blindsided by hard times. Learning to bend and roll when your dream tending efforts aren’t going as planned provides fertilizer for long-term success.
- Never assume that a season of adversity means you need to quit. Instead, see it as a season of dream growth.
- Are you putting family first? If not, it’s time for a priority check.
- Put self-care on your calendar. Regularly, consistently, and persistently, keep putting your health and well-being first—otherwise, you will not be capable of tending your dreams.
- When disillusions and disappointment hit your dreams hard, look for the recipe to make lemonade out of your lemons. Then squeeze hard and pull the ingredients of your knowledge, experience, passion and education together, stir hard, and drink deep from the sweetness you can make from sour situations.
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Until next time, remember, your dreams are waiting for you to grab and tend:
Never stop believing.
Dare to dream bigger.
Host Anita Agers Brooks can be found on various social media platforms, and you can discover additional dream tending tips at tendyourdreams.com.