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Laurel C. Day

September 18, 2012

It was after the TOFW event in Phoenix last year. I had just given my “The Faith Experiment” talk and was in such a good place.

I was approaching my year mark of the beginning of my “choose to become” journey and working to turn my life into exactly what I thought I had always wanted. I was chasing a dream.

Someone at the event had put a little note in my scriptures. It didn’t say anything to me personally. It wasn’t signed. All it had was this anonymous quote:

        “Sometimes on your way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one.” –Unknown

I thought it was a sweet quote but I couldn’t imagine finding a better dream than the one I was living at the time.

But, that’s exactly what happened.

Sometimes, in the midst of chasing what we thought we always wanted, we take a little turn on our journey (or rather, the journey takes a little turn on us) and we DO find something better. And, the truth is, we would have never found the “new dream” if we hadn’t been willing to try the “first dream”.

I’ve learned a few important things in this journey of chasing a dream:

        1.) Dreams are big. That’s what makes them dreams.
        2.) Part of finding a “new dream” is being okay with the bumps and failures along the way
        of chasing your original dream.

Can I be personal for a minute?

Some of you know I’ve been on a weight loss journey for the past 18 months.  Earlier this summer, I had to acknowledge I wasn’t where I was “supposed” to be and honestly, I had been carrying a bit of shame about that for the last year. So, one week this past July, I returned to Fitness Ridge in St. George, UT (the place the journey had begun for me).

I walked in and the trainer who changed my life last time was there waiting for me.
It was so good to see her and she was proud of how far I had come.
And was ready for me Monday afternoon in a personal training session I set up.

"So, tell me where your head is at?" she asked.
And I couldn't contain the tears.

The stirrings had started the night before and I had felt them all morning...on the hike...during the workout. I didn't know how to articulate what I was experiencing...until I started talking.

"When I was here last time, I was afraid of all the things I knew I couldn't do...but now...I think I'm afraid of all the things I know I can."

I don't know how to explain it and I don't expect it to make any sense but I knew that the life that I've known, even the "new one" of the previous 18 months, was comfortable and "good enough". It's a world I have understood and felt safe in. It's a world that didn't really need to change anymore.

Except that I still wanted it to change. 

I had a “new dream” for my life and I wanted to find it.

And I found it during a hike that week. It’s called “Stop Sign” and it starts at the base of Snow Canyon and goes all the way to the top. It’s 4+ miles all up hill (the last part being dramatically uphill).

I thought about all that had led me to that place and all that I had done in the previous 18 months.
I realized that I had been so caught up in my original "goal date" and so wrapped in the shame of not hitting it, that I had never really celebrated all that I had accomplished.
I felt sad about that. And thought of all that I HAD accomplished on this “dream journey”. I focused on all the good.

As I was approaching the last stretch, I looked down at my watch and realized that if I could make it to the top in 2 minutes, I would shave FORTY MINUTES off my time from 18 months prior.
And since I turned 40 this year, that seemed most appropriate.

In that very moment, Hilary Weeks’ "Past the Point" came on my iPod.
Oh, the timing of hearing that song of all songs!
And so I booked it.
I actually started running.
After walking an incline for 4+ miles,
After being seriously exhausted reflecting on the last 18 months.
After seriously considering the 6 months that lie ahead of me.

I ran right up to that stop sign with not a second to spare, without anyone seeing or being there to applaud.
It was just me.
I made my goal.
Forty minutes faster than 18 months prior.
And I cried like a baby.
The wailing kind of crying.
I had spent the last 18 months doing all the things I knew I couldn't do.
I hadn't been perfect but I have kept at it.
I had believed.
I had become an optimist.
I had asked for bread when I had previously been content with stones.
I had learned to trust and learned to love.
It's been a remarkably sweet and significant and sacred journey.

And, that morning, as I reached the top, reflecting on the past was only for a moment because in the moment I touched the sign, I realized the most important thing...

When you embark on a journey chasing a dream, there is a risk in believing there is some monumental “finish line”—as if you’ll arrive at a place and the journey will be over. But, the truth is, there is always a dream to chase. There is always the hope that things can be even better than they are.

Do you have a dream for your life?

Do you feel like you’ve failed at an attempt to chase something you’ve always wanted?

As cliché as it sounds, the experience, the becoming, the dreaming…it really all exists in the journey of the dream, not in the destination of arriving at it.

In many ways, there is no “finish line” when you’re chasing a dream. There are simply a series of starts and stops…a path filled with places where you can turn corners and make adjustments.  The key is to BELIEVE you can have the life you were meant to live and then have the COURAGE to live it.

Dreaming something more for your life might not be clean and perfect or follow the timeline you have in your head; but keep going. Keep chasing your dream. Because it really is true...”Sometimes on your way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one.”

And who doesn’t want something better?