Have you ever had a strong sense that you were due for a change but found yourself resisting? Life suddenly felt wrong. You didn’t know what you wanted, only that you no longer wanted what you had. Maybe making a change meant the most frightening thing of all: letting go of a role that defined you. Under such circumstances, most of us hang on until the change is made for us. There is no shame in this. Listening to the still, small voice is heroic work.

Integrating Our Selves

Without going into matters such as origins, causes and methodology[1], part of the work to be done entails contending with a chorus of inner voices, most of which are not about to simply give in to vague idealistic yearnings. These voices seem to fight us every step of the way, warning against financial ruin, abandonment, pain and retribution. They should be considered: change usually does entail a measure of risk. Integrating them means laying out and analyzing options and deciding on a direction. Ultimately, though, one must quit the familiar and venture into the unknown.

Honour the dreams that will not die

Don’t let fear shut out the Keeper of Dreams. Hers is the song that inspires you to live more fully and to grow into the person you truly wish to be. She pushes you to live your being instead of live up to what others want or expect. Her job is not to reassure, but to make meaning manifest through you innermost dreams. Caution will try to drown her out because it wants to see its way clear. But there is no recipe to living a full, authentic life; you make it up as you go along and the only guarantee it offers is growth.

“…we Argonauts of the ideal, more courageous perhaps than prudent, and often enough shipwrecked and brought to grief, nevertheless dangerously healthy, always healthy again,—it would seem as if, in recompense for it all, that we have a still undiscovered country before us, the boundaries of which no one has yet seen, a beyond to all countries and corners of the ideal known hitherto, a world so over-rich in the beautiful, the strange, the questionable, the frightful, and the divine, that our curiosity as well as our thirst for possession thereof, have got out of hand—alas! that nothing will now any longer satisfy us!—”

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. “Thus Spake Zarathustra.”

Following your heart’s dream is about becoming. It is about changing yourself, discovering your true limits, allowing yourself to be touched, to try new ways of being in the world, to feel more deeply. It is about truly knowing yourself so that you may take full responsibility for your own joy and sense of wholeness. And here’s a well-kept secret: it can be done both on and off the beaten path.

Why be an “Argonaut of the ideal?”

Most of us know whether we are living authentically, though we do like to fool ourselves every now and again. For me, being real means paying attention to the Keeper of Dreams while taking into consideration those pesky nay-saying voices that work so hard to keep me safe.

To foster growth and integrate the different aspects of ourselves is to make proper use of life. Ultimately, it allows us to bring our greatest gift to the world: the unique blend of wisdom, strength and talents only each of us can manifest.

Thank you for reading. Please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section below.

[1] If this kind of thing interests you, you might want to check out Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child or Parts Work Therapy.