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We all have dreams that seem to die without ever seeming to have had much a chance to live. We may have felt passionate about them in the beginning, but our feelings about them, and our commitment to their manifestation faded.

Not every dream has to come to life, and some of the ones that don't simply die natural deaths because we've moved on to new visions. Other dreams, though, die, not because we turned our attention away from them, but because we didn't focus attention on them in a way that kept our interest alive.

For me, it's a lot like reading a book that intrigues me for the first few pages, then becomes less interesting. Thinking about what makes me lose interest in a book reminds me of one of the most important rules in writing: "Show, don't tell," a principle that can also apply to the nurturing and realization of our dreams.

The Written Word

Here's how "Show, don't tell" works in fiction.

In describing a character, one writer might say, "John was mean and horrible and vicious."

That's telling. The descriptive words don't say how these personality traits show up in his behavior. The statement provides no evidence for the author's assertion that John isn't someone we'd like. Right now, John just isn't a very compelling character.

Another writer might say, "Every night when he came home, John kicked the dog."

Now we have something substantial. If we love dogs or dislike cruelty, we immediately feel that John is mean, horrible and vicious. Our emotions are aroused. The strong feelings we now have about John can get us involved in the story. We may want to keep reading because we want to find out whether the dog bites John. We might want to know why he kicks the dog. We might be hoping that over the course of the story John changes into a kind person who volunteers at the local animal shelter.

Whatever our specific motivation for wanting to continue reading, the important thing is that the author's creation is real for us, and we want to see how it develops.

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The Spoken Word

We can apply this principle by thinking of ourselves and our dreams as characters in a story we're creating. To give this more dramatic impact, let's think of it as a play. Here's a character speaking of her dream.

I believe that a better world begins when children's creativity and spirit of cooperation are equally encouraged. Too often in this goal and success oriented society, children lose their desire to create and replace it with the desire to gain approval. they look at others as their rivals, rather than their partners, in creation.

She makes some good points, but if she continues to speak in this abstract vein, she'll begin to sound like politicians who want to appear idealistic without committing themselves to any plan for fulfilling their lofty goals. They lose their audience's interest way before they lose votes.

Suppose she adds this:

I'm designing art workshops for children that will help them experience creating art as fun: with finger paints, clay, collage. I also plan to have them work on group projects, like murals they plan together, and a clay sculpture garden.

These remarks make me think about children I know who would love such classes. I also want to know if the teacher would design similar classes for grownups. She has engaged my attention, interest, and possibly my involvement.

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The Inner Message

Now, let's talk about your dream.

Being focused and specific differentiates "Show" from "Tell." Many dreams suffer from vagueness from the very beginning. A lot of times we're semiconscious when we make a wish. Someone is having a terrible day and thinks, "I'm unhappy. I wish I were happy." That's telling. There's no focus, no color, nothing to stir emotions, interest, and motivation for change.

In addition, because his desire to be happy was stimulated by a feeling of misery (as is often the case), the vibrations of misery are all that can be present unless he begins to imagine specific things that would make him happy.

Sometimes that's very easy to do.

"I'm thirsty. I'm going to get a glass of water."

This seems like a simple act, but it embodies the process of dream fulfillment.

For example, I'm involved with writing an article for Rainbow Reflections on my computer. (In fact, it's this one.) I identify a feeling of physical discomfort, perhaps at first not recognizing its source. I notice a dryness in my throat, a slightly scratchy feeling. I realize I'm thirsty, but I don't want to stop writing and go up a flight of stairs.

Then I imagine a glass of water. This is not simply a visual image; it's tactile and has taste and smell. I hear the water pour out of the faucet or bottle. I show myself tangible images that help me to imagine the satisfaction of and following drinking the glass of water. Anticipating this satisfaction motivates me to leave my work, get up from the chair, and climb the stairs to get some water.

Active image creating describes both the overall process of bringing your dreams to life and of the steps within. Say, for example, that you live on the East Coast and want to move. You say to yourself, "I think it would be nice to live in the Pacific Northwest."

It will take a lot more than "nice" to move you on any level, so you think about the reasons you'd like to live there. Not shoveling snow appeals to you; you could live near mountains or the ocean; you love rain forests or deserts. You think about and visualize whatever initially attracted you to this part of the United States and feel it.

For example, you could in your imagination smell wet grass or the salty tang of the sea, feel sand scrunching beneath your feet, envision the magnificence of Mount Rainier or Mount Hood. You might see yourself living in a city with a more open feeling than you may have experienced on the East Coast. Overall, you find and experience ideas and images that make you feel good.

It will help to also look for specific sources of motivation. You begin to read about the Pacific Northwest. You exchange emails with people who live there. You choose a state, a city or locality. You investigate jobs, neighborhoods. Within each step, you find specific aspects of that part of your future (i.e., where I live) that inspire you (I'll actually have a back yard). Show yourself how great it's going to be.

Spend more time with positive visualizations if you either run into active inner resistance (I don't want to leave all my friends) or the more subtle resistance of exhaustion (if I have to pack up one more box . . .).

Spending fifteen minutes in visualizing your dream come true can save hours spent in resistance. I recommend having a stock pile of exciting images that show you whenever you need to be shown again why you're doing this.

An additional benefit is that there is no need for deferred gratification. You can start to enjoy the fulfillment of your dream long before it manifests in physical reality. Your pleasure in imagining that house with the rhododendrons blooming in the garden is almost as great as it will be when you're there sitting on the front porch. And because you've imagined it so many times, once you're sitting there, it'll feel comfortable and familiar.

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Creative Training

That's how I like to experience my own creations manifesting -- as opposed to a tumultuous transformation that shocks my system and gives me spiritual jet lag. The more I practice experiencing the goal while on the journey, the more possible that ease becomes.

I believe you will find it so, as well. Exercise your ability to "show," and you will find your imagination to be your favorite traveling companion.

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Crystals for the Journey

The quality I look for in crystals to help me become focused are those whose energy is focused. These would include any pointed crystals, whether in natural or carved shape.

A quartz point is ideal for any purpose. An aqua aura point is especially helpful for the purpose of self-fulfillment in service to others. Lemurian seed crystals help to deepen one's connection to spirit.

Carved wands can also be used for particular purposes. Sodalite wands help to balance the reasoning and intuitive sides of the brain, which helps to focus the imagination. Tiger's eye wands can assist in keeping one's attention on the goal and knowing when to act. If your purpose relates to healing, aventurine wands are a good choice.

You may be particularly drawn to the pyramid shape. Since pyramids can be placed on the third eye, they especially helpful during meditation. Again, tiger's eye and aventurine are good choices. Fluorite stimulates heightened mental focus, smoky quartz speeds up manifestation, and amethyst helps to relax the mind.

Two other crystals are worth mentioning here: ruby, for deepening one's feelings of passion about a dream, and blue topaz, for deepening the flow of creativity.

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Focusing on the Essence

Wild Oat (Bach) can help give you direction in terms of choosing a goal. It's especially recommended for very talented people who have trouble choosing a path.

People who can benefit from Clematis (Bach) are those who are more comfortable on nonphysical planes than the physical. Their powers of imagination are great, but anchoring them to physical reality is sometimes a challenge. Clematis helps in the anchoring process.

When you want to be focusing on imagining individual aspects of your dream, Madia (FES) is especially helpful. It helps to direct focus and energy to a particular situation, with the result of clear and productive action.

When we feel stuck, Cheetah (Wild Earth Animal Essences) can launch us into motion. If we are moving with great speed but little direction, cheetah energy helps us to keep our eyes on our goals and to find the most direct way of achieving them.

Beyond the Rainbow
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