What becomes of a football fan whose team loses in the playoffs? We weep, we mourn, we ask for consolation hugs and we begin talking of next year. It’s never too soon to dream. January was built for clearing out the mental clutter, making space for our imaginations to work and thinking ahead to how we want our lives to look. Dreams become reality when we focus our attention and act to make them so.

One of my dreams is to build my home near a picturesque lake. I’ve enjoyed looking at floor plans, customizing them to my specific taste and decorating the rooms in my mind for a few years now. Imagining my office looking out over the water, friends enjoying the guest rooms, and me preparing breakfast in the kitchen with the open stairwell to the second story is the reality I am creating. As I write in my journal each morning, sitting at my dining room table, sipping coffee, I am at my house by the lake, sitting in the dining room with the fireplace, the built-in bookshelves and a window seat graced by my two cats. One of the guests I imagined in this new house will be visiting me in a few weeks, welcomed by my dreams of the future that I am living and creating in the here and now.

Another dream taking shape in my mind is a series of retreats for women, small, simple gatherings in beautiful settings that allow us to speak honestly to our own lives with lovingkindness. Nurturing our hearts’ desires is crucial to living our greatness. We each have our own calling or purpose. We all need a safe, joyful space that beckons and celebrates our best. We also owe it to ourselves to be the beckoning encouragement for other women. Revitalizing this long-held dream in my heart and mind has expanded my energy and colleague support. I see myself welcoming smart, creative women to an inviting lodge, sharing intentional conversations of how to use our gifts, owning the truth that we can and are making the world a better place.

Pondering these hopes, bringing them into being, I also see pieces of myself I resisted for a really long time. In my house I am hosting people I love. At my retreats I am leading people whose love for others draws them to give the best of themselves. Seeing myself as host, as leader in these ways sets a different tone in my life. I have done these functions as tasks, but not as the true wholeness of my being. In my dreams I am more visible, whole and powerful than ever before.

Which brings to mind something important, that clearing out clutter thing for which January is built. Our minds only carry as much extraneous stuff in them as we allow. Choosing to think differently about our lives takes effort, energy and intentional focus. That is the prerequisite for dreaming and creating the lives that we actually want for ourselves. Take a moment and consider what your day has been like so far. Where have your thoughts headed? Are they your own or someone else’s opinions? Do you find yourself having conversations in your head that leave you feeling agitated and frustrated? My question to you is this: Is this what you want for the rest of this year or the rest of your life?

If you want something different, something more for your life, more of your own life, you can choose to clear out your old ideas and start fresh right now. The beginning of the clearing out process is to refocus your thoughts on what you like, what makes you feel good when you think about it. Practice often throughout your day. Every thought matters. When we let go of being irritated about the driver cutting us off in traffic, we make space to remember that we enjoy the freedom driving our own cars affords us, something we couldn’t wait for as teenagers. When we stop pitying ourselves for having to do laundry at the end of a long work day, we create space to feel gratitude for steady income, water and electricity available at our command and enough clothes to make a full load. Clear out the old thoughts and make room for the new. Soon, it becomes second nature.

I just noticed a Facebook status update from one of my team’s players. He suffered an injury at the beginning of the season that benched him for most of the games. But all he focused on was this coming season, how well he will be able to play. This is his dream, his plan, and so it will be.

Author's Bio: 

The Rev. Cory L. Kemp, a native of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, brings a background in communications, women’s studies and pastoral ministry to her work as a communication coach. Putting into practice the journaling skills she created and teaches, Cory founded Communication Leadership, helping healers, coaches, designers, ministers and teachers collect their thoughts, organize and savor their everyday lives. Cory’s unique skill-based Conversation: Journaling program gives you practical tools and simple structures applicable for many aspects of your personal and professional life. Over thirty-five years of journaling experience gives Cory an informed perspective on life challenges and how to transform them into triumphs. Connect with Cory at www.corykemp.com.