Wednesday, October 4, 2017

From Dreamer to Doer

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. Henry David Thoreau

What are castles but huge magnificent buildings?  What is the sky but something that is unreachable from the ground where you are?

The trick?  Figure out how to reach the sky from the ground where you are.  

I recently published a book that I co-created with my friend, Kathleen Schwab.  A dream that I wasn't sure would ever happen... and it was not even my own original dream.  (This blog entry on tells more about that little project kidnapping!)  For each of us, this dream was years and years in the making.  Excerpts from her prayer journals were paired with photographs of mine into a devotional that is also a work of art, each element enhancing the other.  

It wasn't that we one day woke up and said, "Hey, look!  It's a book!"  She had a dream of creating a devotional.  Over time she gathered the excerpts that spoke to her most.  She polished them one by one.  She put them into various groupings until she had 5 sets of 6 excerpts based around a theme.  She brought those pieces to her writing group getting feedback and editing grammar and words, removing details too personal for the public, adjusting the order slowly.  And then came the reflection questions for each set of excerpts.  And then scriptures that related to each of the readings.  This was a process of years, building and polishing. 

Along the way, she invited me to join her.  I read and prayed over the writings she shared with me.  I waded through years of images, carefully selecting images that related to each reading.  And then I paired the images with digitally created mandalas that picked up on the colors and textures within the images.  

All this was sent to a graphic designer, Regina Martine and slowly pulled together.  Sometimes images needed to be replaced, excerpts were rearranged, typos were corrected.  Things were added and things were removed.  

After two years of hard work, this dream became a reality.  It didn't happen overnight, but piece by piece with lots of stalling little breaks (that happens when two people working together are chronically ill).  

Doing begins with starting.  Two years would have gone by one way or another.  But rather than letting two years go by with getting no closer to making a dream come true, we piled up our little tasks one by one, one on top of another, until we finally reached the sky where that castle in the air was.

If you are feeling stuck, just do what you can each time that you can.  Keep piling those little stones of activity.  Do you feel like you are procrastinating?  Jessica Abel, author of Growing Gills, talks a lot about procrastination and the root causes of what is holding you back.  One of my favorite quotes from her book is "Procrastinating does not mean you’re broken. It means you’re trying to force something through willpower alone that takes a plan and structure to achieve." 

So, go make those plans, make some time to do little tasks each day, and keep piling up those little stones.  It may go slower than you hope, but slow is better than a dead stop!

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