Wanting Big & Playing Small
In high school I used to have the weirdest dreams. And I mean weird. Banana-morphing-into-dog-chasing-me type of weird.
I would report them to the girl that sat in front of me in Grade 11 French class (she liked hearing them, or at least she looked like she did) and we got a good laugh. No analysis or discussions of symbolism, just laughs and the occasional “my god what did you eat last night before bed?!?”
A few nights ago I had a dream that I would almost call lucid – but not quite. It was so fascinating it was one of those dreams where when you feel yourself waking up you reflexively try to “claw your way back in” to continue it.
A bit of backstory – early last month I went to a business seminar on a lark with a friend. Among the really odd parts – dancing, shouting, singing – there was actual writing work where you took a good look at what your path to success was shaping up to be. Or if it wasn’t shaping up, what were the roadblocks.
Before I did that exercise I thought I had my mental game in place: this is what I want, this is how I’ll get there, and I know I can do it. Which is pretty much true, except I wasn’t reading between my own lines.
As I listed reasons why some goals were not materializing as planned a pattern took shape immediately. These reasons (alright, alright excuses) were all simply justifications I had created for playing small – and continuing to play small.
I may have been saying out loud and telling myself I wanted to play a bigger game – expand my business, reach a wider audience, do more more more – but I kept hitting bumps, reasons (excuses) why I couldn’t (wouldn’t) take myself up a notch or 10. Bumps that were inexplicable until I went to that seminar and saw them for what they really were: my play it small excuses.
Now just writing out those excuses and seeing them for what they were and the pattern they followed was big – HUGE. It brought an emotional block in my energy to my attention so I could do the energy work on myself right away. The response in my outer world has been equally huge: things happen now with greater speed and traction, more opportunities appear, and my calendar fills up quick – a ton of things to do every day.
And still there was a deeper reason behind my playing small game – one of those pesky congested emotional pockets that I’d tap into if I were my own client.
Then my dream happened and in it – to keep it short – my boyfriend (no, not my real boyfriend) and I were playing a board game called “King of Pain”. No, not a real board game (and probably the worst name ever).
This part is foggy but from what I can remember the object was to one-up each other by naming problems. I named mine at my turn, “playing small and staying quiet”. And dream boyfriend, instead of taking his turn, kept asking why. Why, why, why.
And as I answered him I hit the reason: with two older siblings that were always causing mayhem with mental illness, physical problems, rebellion, fighting, etc etc. – I learned to gain brownie points with the parents using quiet methods. Quietly studying, quietly achieving top grades, quietly doing without being told. All good but I took it a step further and somewhere along the line I became more comfortable not making waves, equating wave-making and big playing with chaos and troublemaking. Born in a fire dragon year and a leo month, yet shy of my own spotlight.
At this point I started to wake and tried to grapple my way back into the dream with no luck. Instead I laid there in bed for a long time going, “Oh. my. god. There it is.” There was the reason and it was so obvious – finding that block is tricky but once you do – major breakthrough.
I’m a big, big believer in “everything is good, everything is perfect”. So I know that that “quietness” mindset was the right mindset for me to have until it wasn’t, and many good things happened as a result.
I have figured out most of those good things and I’m pretty sure more will surface – maybe the next time I meet dream boyfriend for board game round 2.
I do hope by then he’s figured out a better name for it 🙂