Dream Small — Hyperopia
I was sitting outside again today and found myself mesmerized by our local ant colony. These ants are booking all the time. They only know one speed, and it’s fast. They don’t ever stop. Or do they? Of course, this question led to seven more and I found myself down the google rabbit hole this evening learning all about my new ant friends.
So! …. Did you know!?? ….
(I apologize in advance for my lack of peer-reviewed sources for these facts. I just threw some of my favorite findings together. Please always do your own research and don’t trust everything/anything I say for certain.)
-The worker ants are all females. They take short one-minute naps multiple times a day, but never really rest for long periods of time. At any given moment more than 80% of the colony is getting work done. Amazing.
-The male ants, who are fatherless, only survive a few hours to days with their only purpose to mate with the queen before they isolate and die. Yikes.
-The Queen can actually choose which eggs to fertilize. This gives her the power to choose if the eggs become males (unfertilized) or females (fertilized). She won’t bother producing virgin queens unless there are enough workers on deck to sustain her colony. Badass.
Of course, I spent entirely too much time learning about ants, but it was very interesting, and more so it indirectly gave me some much-needed perspective.
Our world is so big. But sometimes we need to see what is going on at a micro level. Stop paying attention to everything at a distance. Look at what’s going on right up close. Look what’s going on within.
There is so much happening. It’s easy to get lost in trying to figure out the ever-expanding universe, without taking an adequate amount of time to figure out what’s going on in our ever-expanding minds.
Now I can’t give these little creatures too much credit on the soul-searching front. But I do think they have a lesson to teach us if we just take a moment to stop, watch, and learn.
These little ants hustle, all day, every day. I mean seriously, one-minute naps! They give until they can’t. They make sure their community is stable and healthy. This is their purpose. These little workers don’t imagine going over to the neighbor’s yard to check out their grass, because they are making sure the fam doesn’t die on their watch, and they have things to do, right here.
Although I do imagine there is that one rogue ant lady that ran away and created her own underground lair. She’s laying back in her lounger made of leaves and twigs, snatching extra crumbs in the night to get by. Super-stealth.
No, I’m not high.
But I am over here rethinking my big dreams. I’ve been trying to figure out my next steps. I have the itch, like I’m supposed to be moving on to the next chapter of my spiritual journey. I’m waiting for the messenger to come down in the bright beam of light and give me instructions. What am I to do? Where I am to go? What am I waiting for?
Just carry on, worker ant. Keep doing what you do. No one needs to tell you, you already know.
Be still. Listen.
Maybe these dreams of mine got out of hand. It has happened before. When it does it usually leads to me backing down from everything. Throwing in the towel. But I don’t feel like that this time. Instead, I’m recognizing that the dreams I wanted to pursue were hard to follow given my current lack of resources, both financial and physical support.
I’ve got to admit, at the moment, my toolbox could use some work. I have a bunch of random skill sets. Any one of them could take me in a new direction, but there isn’t a clear plan right now where I can utilize all of them at once, or even a circumstance I can think of where there would be some overlap among them.
That doesn’t mean the opportunity will never exist, it’s just not ready for me just yet.
I know ‘they’ try to tell us that no dream is too big, but I think I need to bring mine back down to a modest size. It needs to be something I can handle realistically.
I love writing. I love music and art. I love Reiki. I want to create, but I want to do it on my own terms. Without a strong presence on social media or regular advertisement of my services, it’s hard to build momentum for a business in any of these fields. If any of my hobbies became my main gig, I think the pressure from it would kill my inspiration.
Stepping back, I’m asking myself… what is it that I really want? Because half ass-ing all of these random ventures isn’t bringing me anywhere fast. I think what I’m coming to discover is that I need to shift my perspective. Instead of focusing on the number of followers I might get on Medium (Coming soon, a follow-up article — How to get 10 followers in 10 years!?), or the number of clients booking Reiki, or obsessing over who is (not) reading and commenting on my creations … What if I stopped doing these things for acceptance and approval from others? What if I did these things purely for me?
What a novel idea!? I do believe my mother has been trying to teach me this lesson for thirty years.
I shouldn’t write, create, or practice Reiki because it will change the way others perceive me as a person. I need to do these things because I enjoy them, and what they do for me.
These things make me feel alive. They make me feel like I have a purpose.
Of course, it’s natural to be proud when your hard work is recognized, but the recognition needs to be the cherry on the top, not the bowl that’s providing a blank slate to build the sundae of your dreams. (And now I’m hungry)
Right now, I need to dream small. I need to do the next best thing. That is helping my people. The people around me. There is so much to do right here and now. Why am I searching the abyss for this magical purpose and meaning? I have more than enough work to keep me busy for the rest of my life right here in my own colony.
Thank you, ants. For distracting me for a few minutes so I could be still with my thoughts. I know I’ll never fail for a lack of effort. I just need to refocus sometimes. Every now and then I need that one-minute nap to get juiced up. Then I can get my little worker ant ass out of the secret lair and back on the mission.