Do You Still Dare to Dream?
When I was little, I had the dream of going to University. I dreamt of becoming a lawyer.
I was always dreaming about the kind of life I wanted to create.
Because I was from a working class family, my parents said, “Valorie, university is not for people like us. It is for people with money.” They were not in the business of crushing my dreams. They just didn’t see it as a possibility for me and did not want me to be disappointed. They also didn’t know about the availability of student loans in Canada.
Despite their warnings, I could never stop dreaming.
I wanted to travel places on airplanes (seemed so out of reach). I wanted to read about things I did not know about. I dreamt about having lots of books. I dreamt about having nice furniture. I dreamt about having nice clothes. I dreamt about learning to ski. I dreamt about being able to swim everyday. I dreamt about being able to hike in the woods everyday.
I was always dreaming.
When I was in grade eight, my parents and I moved from the tightly-knit community in which I was raised to a small town in the interior of British Columbia. I lost daily contact with my gregarious and large extended family. I moved away from my best friend. It sucked. A lot.
In retrospect, maybe it was that I became depressed. In this small town, there seemed as if there was almost nothing to do, other than watch television. Once a very active kid, I became sedentary and gained a bunch of weight. I was deeply ashamed of how I looked. Plus, I was a teenage girl. I don’t think being a teenage girl (or teenager in general) is easy for anyone.
Things began to spiral downwards.
I got my first real boyfriend. He was abusive and controlling. I was not equipped to deal with that.
Things spiralled downwards more.
Once a really good student, I was booted out of high school for poor attendance.
I followed my boyfriend when he moved to a town on Vancouver Island, over 300 miles and a ferry ride away from my loving parents. I earned my living working in greasy spoon restaurants. For a while, my dreams got much smaller. My dream then was that I wanted a job where I would come home from work and my hands would not stink like french fries. I admired the business people I sometimes served and could not imagine the decadence of wearing suits and having “meetings” and calling it work.
Ultimately I obtained a highschool graduation certificate equivalent. I earned it through an alternative program that permitted me to work full time while studying. I never did attend grade 11 or grade 12.
It took a few tries, but after I ditched the abusive boyfriend, I ultimately achieved my lifelong dream of attending university. After working in the restaurant industry full-time for more than five years, the “work” of being a student felt easy.. Although I continued to work part-time, attending classes and doing homework, being a university student was a thousand times easier than the minimum-wage work I had been doing.
I graduated with Honours, and then got my Master’s Degree and then went to law school. When I became a lawyer my biggest and dearest dream had been achieved.
I realized that I could really achieve my dreams and that is what I set out to do.
That is when I dreamt of having a waterfront home. I achieved that dream too.
Then I wanted to create a successful law firm that transformed the way family law was practised. I wanted to create a firm that nurtured its clients, and saw them as a whole complex person who might need more than legal help. I saw them as perhaps needing psychological support, counseling, or coaching. I wanted to be able to help with all of that.
The problem was that I thought the place to start such a successful law firm was by buying a beautiful piece of real estate to house the firm. I was not sophisticated about money or investments at all. Although I lucked out getting my waterfront home (the sun, the moon, the stars, and everything lined up to put my home in my lap), I was also not sophisticated about real estate or investments.
That property cost me tons and tons and tons more than I expected. After years of financial struggle and stress, I cut my losses and sold it for a loss of more than a million dollars. It was a million dollars I did not have and I am still carrying that debt load. It also cost me years of my life, my joy, my health, my marriage, and, at times, my relationship with my daughter. It has been the source of the financial turmoil that has caused me ongoing problems with the Law Society of British Columbia, my governing body.
The biggest thing that property cost me? I also, for years, stopped dreaming.
I stopped dreaming about my future. I stopped being creative about the kind of life I wanted to live.
For years, I was in survival mode in every part of my life. I kept waiting for things to get better, but never seemed to get any relief.
I thought, who am I to dream about things? Who am I to want things?
Who am I to create a life I would desire to live?
My husband also did not think I deserved to dream.
Although he was at one time very loving and contributed to our household he could not move past his anger about my bad real estate decision, and other mistakes I made. He became rude and dismissive to me. He rarely spoke to me and refused to give me eye contact. He stopped working and he stopped contributing in any way to our home life. When I hired a cleaner to help with the cleaning (I literally did not have the time and he refused to do it), he was angry when she came to the house because it interrupted his day.
So, with all of that going on, I stopped dreaming.
I had a living to earn, a law practice to run, and many many fires to put out in every aspect of my life including the relentless juggling of finances.
And so, I thought it made no sense for me to dream anymore.
When the pain of my marriage became so intense I could not take another minute of it, I finally ended it. After 18 years of this relationship, I was done.
That was in the fall of 2018.
Because I was not supporting a grown man anymore, and because I lived in a home environment that had some peace in it, I expanded upon a spiritual practice that I had started years before.
I start each day with some form of spiritual practice. Right now, I study a Course in Miracles (if you buy the book, by the one published by the Foundation for Inner Peace) and I meditate. I am also becoming proficient at something called Breath With Wonder. At 54 years old, I am discovering what it is like to just BE in my body. A very powerful process.
To discover more about Breath with Wonder, contact Deni Mariscal. She is a true healer.
So, yeah, my spiritual practice is important to me.
And then, when I started to take the time and the space, an old habit began to re-emerge. I started dreaming again, dreaming big.
I dream again about transforming the broken family law industry. I dream about things I want to accomplish. I dream about the people I can help. I dream about being fit enough to go snowboarding again. I dream about having a second bathroom in my house. I dream about my new boyfriend, the one with sparkly and dancing eyes, that dance when they see me. I dream about no longer having hot flashes. I dream about never having to put on my court robes ever again to do a Supreme Court Trial.
This is what I know for sure. So much I dreamed about has happened in my life.
I am so happy that I have dared to start dreaming again.
I love dreaming.
How about you? Do you still dare to dream?
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