Sometimes I get stuck in a dream. My eyes are open but behind them is an image of another place. It’s weird (and a little disconcerting). Reality is confused.
To ground myself, I drink water, focus on a task and become intentional in my actions. Sometimes it’s an effort because, at each moment, my mind wants to drift back. It wants to fall into the space created by the dream. The images run, colours kaleidoscope, they flicker and taunt, begging for attention.
I wonder why?
Why are some dreams more powerful than others. Why do they linger long into waking hours. They’re not nightmares. They don’t seem like ominous warnings or predictive signals. They’re simply experiences. It’s almost like a parallel universe. The people, the places, even me. They’re different to the life I live through the day. Yet the images are familiar and comfortable. The dream presents people and places that are known and recognised, but only in a dream.
Sometimes, I allow myself a little latitude. Instead of a brain focusing activity, I let my mind drift. I choose an activity, such as the one I’m doing now, that allows the mind to enter a deeply reflective, contemplative state. I write. This is where it all happens. Where I access my zone. You see, one of my key talents according to the Clifton StrengthsFinder is Intellection. This is a deeply thoughtful theme. It needs time. It must have opportunities to think. It craves play and the toys of choice are ideas. Intellection revels in the opportunity to think for no other reason than thinking is fun. It teases and offers mental gymnastics, flipping, twisting and doing multiple somersaults with possibility.
The wonderful thing I’ve realised since becoming acutely aware of my Intellection talent is that this is a Strength!
My mental dexterity is not something that needs to be controlled. Instead, I see how powerful the mind at ‘play’ can be. I realise, when I allow my mind moments of play and give it the opportunity to be deeply within itself – to think without constraints, it responds with joy. It gives inspiration. When I give myself time to think, in the way my mind likes to think, it works. The key is to remember that it is working. I need to feel content and patient even though, on the physical surface, it seems like nothing’s happening.
It’s like the frequently quoted garden metaphor. The gardener tends the garden. They till the soil, plant the seed and provide water and fertiliser. They maintain the external environment and allow the earth time to do its job. The gardener waits knowing, in the ground below, the miracle of life is providing something new, something that hasn’t been seen before. A new creation. The stem bursts from the ground and opens its heart to flower.
This is my story, but maybe it resonates with you. We are all gardeners of our mind, we are authors of our story. Being patient with my mind granted solace. When I give my mind its optimal environment, when I nurture it through wide reading and lively discussions and stand back and wait, creativity blooms. This is when solutions present themselves. I experience the fulfillment of ah ha moments. I realise I don’t have to process thoughts like other people. I don’t have to ‘look like I’m doing something’ to get the job done. Just like the tortoise and hare, I can move slowly and still have the outcome required when it is required.
This is a liberating thought.
Do you know what your garden needs? What are the optimal conditions for you to burst from the ground and achieve the things you were built to achieve? We all have our optimal success patterns. Once we’ve identified them, the next step is to intentionally use them. We can identify what we naturally do well and then use those patterns to achieve in other areas. A sunflower seed holds within all it needs to flower. It can flower in almost any location as long as it has its optimum environment. We can identify those conditions and then reproduce them. But here’s the thing. The sunflower seed, will always grow into a sunflower – it will not become a rose.
Perhaps that is my dream lingered this morning. It was reminding me to write.
Learn how to unlock your innate talent using the Clifton Strength Finder. Develop the relaxation and mindfulness habits that allow you to manage your mind. If you’d like to know more about improving your communication skills or gaining a greater awareness of your innate patterns of thought, feeling and behaviour. Contact Nicole today to arrange a complimentary introduction to Strengths coaching session.
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