"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things that escape those who dream only at night." ~Edgar Allen Poe
I just finished talking wish a friend who's already been doing incredible things for the Earth and its poor, hungry and downtrodden. She's about to take a leap of faith. Actually, she's already significantly further along than mid-leap. But she hasn't landed yet, and people around her have begun saying one of two things: 1) "Are you insane?!" or 2) "Oh, you guys do such amazing things that it always makes me feel bad about my own life. I know you're on the right path, but I could never do that. Just watching you live your life makes me feel so bad about myself."
Comment 1 obviously doesn't help, but neither does comment 2, since my friend is a genuinely kind, loving, generous and exuberant person. She feels called to take her leap and to create a model for something that currently does not exist. She wants to make the world a better, more peaceful, abundant and joyful place, and the last thing on her mind is judging others who -- for whatever reason -- choose to live their lives along more typical 21st century trajectories.
Without sharing any of her personal identifying details, I felt led to post about this topic, because I find so many other visionaries faced with the same two challenges from those they know. Oftentimes, the people they most think would understand present the strongest resistance, which causes visionaries to question the foundation of what they're leaping towards:
"Whoa! I didn't expect that kind of comment from him!" or "Ow, now I'm starting to wonder if I've somehow missed it and this is really an ego thing. Is it? I mean, I know I felt led to do this, but ... Now I just feel bad for making other people feel bad. That's so not my intention. I just wanted to follow this call I felt to do something radically positive for the Earth and our community." These swings from others' projections and doubts can undermine the positive energy needed to complete the leap, and since the comments usually only come up once people have already committed themselves to the new, the shaky feelings hit them while mid-air. That feels particularly uncomfortable.
Here's what I told her, and I've said it to clients before, too:
Most humans are so out of tune with their own imagination that they've all but lost their ability to envision or create anything better than the status quo. Use it or lose it. That imagination is so dusty and forgotten that most people don't even know where to search beyond the ordinary and mundane. But here's the deal: the status quo has sprung some serious leaks! The boards are squishy, and the floor's about to disintegrate. Whether through growing denial or their equally diminished powers of observation, most people simply can't or won't begin creating replacements for the status quo until trauma arrives to take out the rest. By then, it's too late, because most of them will freeze up or die of despair. In this day and age, if you have maintained your ability to Imagine and Create, then you have a Sacred Duty to bring those imaginings into Being. People without access to their own, innate vision and imagination will demand tangible, "real" models to move into. Leaping into the unknown, even when the known is the cliff of death, just isn't a viable option recognized by the majority on this planet. One might argue that's how we got ourselves into this mess, but that's a different essay!
"Blind Faith" is how it looks to people without imagination. People in touch with their imagination, inner promptings and intuition may not know how it will all turn out, but -- like artists -- they sense Creation at work. They recognize the pull of the Divine as it works through them, shaping their desires and compassion into something "real." I've quoted The Velveteen Rabbit before, but it seems appropriate again:
"'Real isn't how you are made,' said the Skin Horse. 'It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.'
'Does it hurt?' asked the Rabbit.
'Sometimes,' said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. 'When you are Real you don't mind being hurt.'
'Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,' he asked, 'or bit by bit?'
'It doesn't happen all at once,' said the Skin Horse. 'You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.” ~Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
Imagining something and loving it enough to make it real is one of the most important Sacred Duties of our time. If you're a fellow visionary, then I hope this post strengthens your confidence and resolve. Remember, a Sacred Duty means that you have behind the scenes help available to you. It doesn't matter if no one else in your life can see that help. What matters is: will you allow yourself to accept that hidden help? When you walk a sacred path, you can expect synchronous answers to your prayers.
According to Deepak Chopra, "[a] synchronicity is a coming together of seemingly unconnected events. If you focus your attention, you may recognize that your life is shaped by those moments of meaningful coincidence. You may even be able to nurture and participate in those moments in a positive way. Together, this awareness and intention make up what I call your SynchoDestiny.
"In any aspect of life, attention and awareness foster growth. Whenever you focus your attention on a subject or phenomenon, the object of you attention will grow stronger. The more you become aware of meaningful coincidences in your life, the more often you will encounter them. Moreover, meaningful coincidences are well worth your attention. According to Vedic tradition, there are two characteristics that define a person on the path toward enlightenment: First, a sense that worries are disappearing. Things may go wrong, but they don’t bother you anymore. Second, in every area of your life, you become aware of a growing number of synchronicities."
If you're reading this post and realize that you're currently not a visionary, then I would simply urge you to pause before shooting arrows at loved ones leaping cross the chasm -- especially if those friends or family members have expressed a deep calling to heal the Earth by working with Imagination and the Unseen Realms. Some day you might appreciate the ready-made models these people are carefully dreaming, building and testing with their own energy, lives and risk. No need to feel guilty because you aren't them; each person needs only offer what feels right and of urgency for them. A little story in the Bible comes to mind, from the Book of John:
"So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, 'Lord, and what about this man?'
"Jesus said to him, 'If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!'
"Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, 'If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?'…"
Whatever your spiritual tradition, the same principle applies regarding someone else's sense of Divine Calling. If so and so feels inspired to take these steps, "what is that to you?"
If someone's actions, vision and commitment make you feel uncomfortable for not stepping more into your own power, then deal with that rather than shooting that discomfort at people mid-leap. If you would like to feel more Divinely inspired, then ask and listen. Request signs along with the wisdom to interpret them and the courage to act on guidance and opportunities. We can all learn from and support each other, and people who are mid-leap appreciate kind words and encouragement, too.
I will leave everyone with these words from Starhawk:
“Life demands honesty, the ability to face, admit, and express oneself.”
“Beware of organizations that proclaim their devotion to the light without embracing, bowing to the dark; for when they idealize half the world they must devalue the rest.”
"Our way out involves both resistance and renewal: saying no to what is, so that we can reshape and recreate the world. Our challenge is communal, but to face it we must be empowered as individuals and create structures of support and celebration that can teach us freedom. Creation is the ultimate resistance, the ultimate refusal to accept things as they are. For it is in creation that we encounter Mystery..."