Why Living Your Dreams Feeds The Soul and Why This Matters

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Lisa is a freelance writer, consultant and life coach. She has her BA in English and Creative Writing from Princeton and her MPA from Harvard. Lisa recently finished the first draft of her book manuscript, Burning Down the House. Her dream is to publish this first book and teach the world how to discover their hidden joy. Her post day is Tuesday.
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Why Living Our Dreams Feeds The Soul and Why This Matters: Snoopy's Guide to the Writing Life

I broke a promise to myself this past week, and I feel awful about it.

I hit my work deadlines. My clients are happy.

I got enough sleep. My body is healthy.

But I promised myself that I’d write for ½ hour a day, and I didn’t do that. I’m out of integrity. I disappointed myself, I disappointed my 8 women dream team by not keeping a promise to them, and I let down everyone who is reading this by not doing what I said I would do.


Yes, I was crazed coming back to piles of work after a dancing weekend away in Texas. Yes, my body was craving sleep every moment that I wasn’t working after all those nights of being up dancing until 5 a.m. No Excuse Is Good Enough! Then again there are NO excuses good enough for not living our dreams. Not a single one.

You either live your dreams, or you don’t, and you are the only one who is accountable for that in the end.  You can either have a litany of excuses, or simply somehow make it happen.

I am recommitting to making my writing a top priority this week. After all, I have six and a half weeks left before I meet with my writing coach again, six and a half weeks left to hit my next goal of 200 pages (I’m at almost 150 pages now).

If I write 2 pages a day six days a week for the next six weeks, I’ll hit that target, and keep the promise to myself to have a complete draft of my story on paper before I meet with my writing group in June… So I’ll have time to edit my manuscript before handing it to my writing coach in October.

Why Living Our Dreams Matters

When you make a commitment to living a dream, something inside you is going to feel incomplete if you don’t give it your best shot. If you don’t at least try.

Here are some dictionary definitions of integrity:

• Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

• The state of being unimpaired; soundness.

• The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

When I break a promise to myself, and feel out of integrity, I do feel incomplete.

I don’t know quite how to explain that feeling of “incompleteness,” but I know it’s what I felt during the years when I took a break from dancing. My ex-husband and I were professional dancers together, a teaching and performing team, traveling around the country for dance workshops and camps.

When we split up after six and half years on the dance circuit together, I stopped doing lindy hop for a while. It was too painful to go to events and have everyone ask, “Where’s Adrian? How’s Adrian?”

I simply couldn’t tell the story to one more person.

Yet during the year and a half when I was away from lindy hop, traveling and trying other activities including yoga and belly dancing, there was always this nagging feeling that I should return to the dance world I had left behind.

I felt incomplete.

There was always a gnawing sense inside of “something missing” in my life.

Getting back to dancing again, back on the circuit, was like taking a big deep sigh of relief.  I was right back home where I belonged with my dancer friends in the midst of a subculture that I love, staying up dancing until five a.m. again, shimmying and swiveling and challenging my body again, spinning in the arms of handsome men again, interpreting the music with my body again… Everything just felt right.

It still feels right to be out dancing regularly. My body literally craves it, and when I stop, I feel out of kilter.

Dancing feeds my soul. It makes me happy. It is a source of joy and contentment, deep-rooted.

Why Living Our Dreams Feeds The Soul and Why This Matters - Snoopy Writing Life

My Soul is Calling Me to Write This Book!

I have that feeling again right now about my writing. I am not at this moment in time keeping my commitment to myself to do all that I need to do regularly to get my book written, and I feel it in my body.

I have made a commitment this time not just to myself, but to the women of 8 Women Dream, and to all of you, our faithful readers, and our new readers. I owe it to more than myself!

Due to a few busy weeks spent on the road traveling, I allowed myself to get knocked out of my regular writing schedule. I’m not yet quite back in it, although I promised myself I would return to writing ½ hour a day last week. I had so much work to catch up on and was so exhausted after staying up all night dancing so many days in a row that… I didn’t do it.

And I feel that gnawing sense inside me now, that sense that I am not doing something I need to be doing. Something my soul is calling me to do.

Why Do We Deny Ourselves Our Soul’s Calling Sometimes?

There are dreams that we feel compelled to live because at a soul level, we feel called to do the work. We get intrinsic pleasure from it. It feels like part of our destiny.

Writing my book is one of these for me, so why am I resisting it? I am in what Catherine, our fearless leader, calls “The Dip” — that challenging middle when we’ve accelerated and completed a good deal of our project, gotten some of the thrilling beginning out of the way, and now just need to plod along for a while, do the work, and see it through.

This week, I am committed to completing a dozen pages by the week’s end and to simply getting back into the habit of writing regularly.

And, I’m going to address these questions to remind myself why I’m doing this:

• Why do I feel called to write this book?

• Why does it matter to me?

• What will I gain when I complete this, and what is the gift to the world?

• What will I lose if I don’t keep this promise to myself and others?

• How will it feel to complete this book and publish it?

I want to practice feeling that celebratory feeling of having a book completed. I know I will do it.

I will make it happen. I feel called to do this, and I’ve committed to everyone here to completing it. I believe in the dream and will live it with you…

What dream(s) is your soul calling you to this week? Take some action. It matters. Do it for your soul, do it for your happiness, do it because living our dreams matters!

Lisa Powell Graham

Give us your thoughts!


  • H

    Oh don’t get me started on how this is me with things that need to get done for Forward Motion Studios. Great post!

  • Rachel

    Lisa, my sister, you really spoke to me this week. I have set aside the little bit of writing I promised to do… because I didn’t feel well. Work was busy & stressful & I was having setbacks with the knee. And everyone is understanding of that.

    Then, too, it was because I couldn’t think of what to write. I know I had some ideas & notes (WHERE did put that little composition book I had them in?) but yeah, finding that, and thinking about them and wondering if I REALLY had anything to say… it all seemed too hard.

    I love that you ask this:

    *What will I gain when I complete this, and what is the gift to the world?

    I know why I promised to do that writing in the first place, and it was for me, and it WAS my little contribution to society, too. I know why I need to take it up again. And wow, what a great jumping off point that question will be for the next thing I write — by tomorrow!

    Hang in there, Lisa. You remember your motivation, and I’m sure you’re already back to doing that writing. Already, you’ve kept up with the writing here, and spoke to all of us! :*

  • Toni Schram

    I could be talking out my ass, but I believe there is an ebb and flow to writing. Life will get in the way of your writing.
    Sometimes, you need to take a time-out and do what you
    gotta do. And if you’re worried about writing for writing sake, it’s not gonna be your best stuff.

    Now that you’ve returned from the Lone Star State and you’ve gotten enough rest, I know you will come back with
    a newfound motivation and meet your upcoming target dates!

  • @Terry, thanks for tweeting this :)

  • @Cath – THANKS – I needed that… :) Will look deeper to see if I’m avoiding writing “the tough parts” (have a therapist to help with that now too, which is good!!).

    Glad to hear it’s something we all go through sometimes and that I WILL pull through this… and yes, could ya loan me Heather please? ;) You two are so lucky to have each other right there all the time, cheering each other on in your dreams!

    Just as I am lucky to have all of you cheering me on… Thanks for the constant encouragement and support.

    And YOU GO writing that ebook – yeah, so funny that you’re at the part about resisting living our dreams ;)


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  • Catherine

    Been there – done that.

    I am having one hell of a time finishing my ebook and it’s a little thing compared to a book.

    Anything that needs getting done around here distracts me from writing. I have to physically make myself sit at the computer.

    But to do it all for dance is a wonderful thing ;-) Every time I am at NIA class I think of you out there dancing your heart out.

    I am sure after some rest, you will get back on it. Just make sure you aren’t at a difficult place in the book and subconsciously you are avoiding this part of it.

    I am at the part in my ebook where I am talking about resistance to our dreams – how to recognize it and deal with it, so it is pretty funny that I am resisting finishing this section.

    The one after is fear. YEIKS!

    So I am with ya – but I have Heather in my face saying, “Is it done yet?” which pushes me back to the writing chair.

    I can loan her out if needed ;-)