Make dreams come true

SECOND WIND - Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura () - March 17, 2012 - 12:00am

Often these days I sit and think about life. You can’t blame me. I am on vacation leave and sorting out my desk, my closets, my odds and ends. In the middle of everything I find myself staring into space and just thinking. Today I was thinking about dreams. 

What is a dream? I think it is a strong desire I have. Once upon a time I wanted so much to write a book. Now I have written two books. That was a dream that came true twice. Once upon a time I wanted a job that would earn me a lot of money. That dream also came true. Another time I dreamed about wanting to become a painter. One day I saw a billboard for watercolor lessons at the Ayala Museum. I enrolled and became a watercolorist. I have had three exhibits. 

For a long time I was giving writing classes, stopped when the elevators at my place broke down and had to be changed. It got extremely dusty and every once in a while one had to climb the stairs. I was living on the ninth floor. How could I ask my students to climb that mountain? That put a pause on my writing classes. Any old day I can begin to give them again. I just have to sit down and fix my calendar which, right now, I don’t care much about because I’m on leave from a job that has me making costume jewelry, which I enjoy a lot, but can’t seem to find the right way to sell it. But I already have a few ideas buzzing around my brain. All I need to do is start acting on them once my vacation is over.

When I think about my dreams and how many of them have come true I wonder if it was just luck. No, certainly not. It was a lot of hard work too. Only you can make your dreams come true. You will have bitter failures before you reach success. Before I could write my first book, I had to become a columnist first. Fortunately one of my good friends then was Robby Lopez, Geny Lopez’s youngest brother. I also knew Geny. Both of them have since crossed over to the next life but I am still grateful to them.

I remember I sat down with all of Manila’s newspapers and looked at all the columns. There were so many but I had a background in advertising and I could see that then nobody was writing about real life. I decided I could do that so I wrote a few columns and brought them over to Geny, who sent them over to the now defunct Manila Chronicle. That launched my career as a columnist. I have been a columnist for 24 years!

I think it was 1990 or 1991 when Anvil Publishing called and asked if I might write a book on single parenthood. A publisher calling me? I better take it, beats begging her to publish my book. So I accepted and worked hard on my first book. Even if it was a collection of essays, many already written, it still meant unearthing my old diaries, reading through them, struggling with the way the essays would be organized, seeing the holes and writing the pieces that would sew them together.

It also meant asking myself if I had the courage to tell the truth and share my experience and to very openly talk about breaking up my marriage and taking responsibility for my children, who by then were almost all over 21. But I trusted my intuition, listened to it, followed the whisperings of my mind, the mutterings of my body to produce my first book, How Do You Know Your Pearls Are Real? That book speaks honestly to men and women and was very successful. It won a National Book Award. One of my big dreams had come true.

All right there was synchronicity, a term coined by Carl Jung, meaning a coincidental occurrence of events leading to something happening, in this case, the publisher calling me to ask me if I would write the book. But it all began with the dream and my willingness to work hard and honestly share my experiences. I believe that life is about learning and once you have learned you can share it freely with others and also learn from them.

So you see that’s how a dream comes true. First you have to dream it, define it to yourself, think about how you will do it, give yourself a generous deadline. Take years not hours or days. Then listen to your intuition, your feelings. Ask yourself — how do I feel about this? Does it make me feel good or does it make me tremble with fear? If it really makes you tremble with fear then revise the dream. Keep it foremost in your mind and opportunities will naturally come your way.

This is how my dreams have come true. I share my formula with you. Good luck!

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