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  • Clara Mei

Have you practiced using your dream muscle?

So there I was with my zen on- doing what Jack Canfield- creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series- and author of the book, "The Success Principles"- said to do. He tells his readers to write down an affirmation statement -- essentially write down your dream goal. And, I have to be honest- it suddenly became kinda hard to do this exercise, and when I finally did write down my statement, I'm not sure I really-if I'm being honest- believed what I wrote. But--trusting the author's advice for being able to expand our capacity for our future--I remembered that sometimes, trust is a process. It's not something that happens over night. And so even if I didn't really trust what I wrote right then and there, that eventually I would come to trust it. So I let it be, even though I had a nagging feeling about it--almost like I had done something not necessarily wrong, but something "not right" about writing down the dream I had written down.

And then, and then--I get to this page with this cartoon...Do you see what I see??? Well, right then and there I felt a combination of utter frustration mixed with complete validation! So then that weird feeling I had about writing down my dream statement suddenly made sense. One reason for the weird feeling, I realized, is simply because as women, especially as moms in much of our society we don't get to PRACTICE dreaming! Or as the creator of this comic says "visualizing unparalleled success"! Many times that discomfort I was feeling is simply from lack of practice! And here I was trying to practice, and this comic just suddenly thrust me back into that role of ONLY focusing on being a mother. Is this because mothers don't want to, aren't capable of, or have no desire to visualize their dreams or "unparalleled success"?? No, no, and no! But here we have it folks, even in the midst of this book trying to get its readers to dream beyond reality, women and mothers in particular are suddenly pulled back into that stereotypical role of focusing only on the child- while allowing for "daddy" to do the dreaming. And without actually intending for this to be true for me- this has been my reality for over 10 years...

Breathe...Practice is hard...Practice when you haven't done it in a while really is hard and really doesn't feel comfortable. And practice when you are then hit with a roadblock really can be a struggle...

And, here's two other things: 1) Because the author is male, when he chose to put this comic in his book, he didn't realize the stereotype he was was perpetuating- however frustrating, he just doesn't have the same perspective and that's just how it is; and 2) I don't regret that I have focused on my children all these years especially being a military spouse and all the life complications that have come from that.

What I do regret- or rather what I will chose to do as I move forward and out of the role of being solely a stay at home mom- is that I will INTENTIONALLY PRACTICE DREAMING! And what I need to do in order to "visualize unparalleled success" is to practice using my dreaming muscle! Do you need some practice dreaming too? Let's do this! What is your dream goal? What does your unparalleled success look like? Wherever you are in your mothering journey, you can start practicing your dream muscle now!

And lastly, I will end on an optimistic note! It turns out that Jack Canfield is on facebook. So I decided to post on his page. I wasn't sure if he would get it or not, but I knew I needed to stand up for myself and other mothers who might also be frustrated by the image. In the post, I explained how much I appreciated his advice and guidance given in his book, but was bothered by the comic- especially for mom's who are trying to expand their purview of their present and future realities. His response: "Hi Clara, thank you so much for sharing this with me and for the feedback. I will be looking at replacing this cartoon in the next print run."

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