top of page

Dreams + Reality = New Reality

Working toward our dreams while living in reality doesn’t have to be lonely. Let’s change reality together, guys!

charcoal drawing on blue paper by Nicole Sylvia Javorsky

Happy New Year Doodle Soupsters! ✨

As much as we don’t need a change in the date to reflect on our choices and goals, the beginning of a new year is often when we look to the future and ask, what’s next? How can we be better? What do we want to choose?

Goals don’t have to be measurable, though sometimes it can be helpful to name the tangible steps. It can be less about the pressure to achieve and more about connecting to our power to put effort into making our dreams reality.

Reality is what it is. It sucks sometimes! Yet, I don’t want to believe that how things are is the limit of what’s possible.

In my previous edition of Chicken Doodle Soup, I wrote this:

Sometimes, I believe that at least some percentage of humans will always find ways to hurt each other and all we can do is not be the humans who hurt each other. Yet, right now, I think that a question of “always” is kind of besides the point.
Hope doesn’t require me to predict the future or decide the limitations of what’s possible. I think all I really need to do is keep my eyes and ears open, do what I can, and try to believe in something. And that something can ebb and flow and change and criss-cross back over to what I used to believe and turn back around again. That’s okay.

This year, I decided to set some tangible goals. I’m separating out the toxicity of defining self-worth by achievement, productivity, $$$, goal completion, etc. from my own innate power to change reality.

It’s okay to admit that I want to sell more art, that I want to do more performances, get my music out there, publish the book I’m working on, and so on. It doesn’t mean that I buy into or want to buy into the idea that external success will bring me happiness and “fix" my pain, or define who I am. It means that I believe in myself and my ability to put myself out there while still being me.

Recently, I wrote a song called “Radically Pure (No Other Way).” I opened with it when I performed at Rockwood Music Hall last month. It’s my own personal anthem for how I want to live my life:

I am radically pure. I’d rather not be nice if it means I don’t get to be truly kind. I’d rather not be polite if it means I don’t get to stand up for what I believe.
No other way other than my heart, no other time other than now.
I forgo the way of the crowd, of the clock, of the restless, of the conquerer, of the conquest.
I live now, guided by my soul. I speak now. I love now.
Nothing more important than this, nothing more important than this.

I’m realizing that this spirit of who I am and how I choose to live my life can co-exist with the reality of paying bills and working toward financial stability.

This week, I had a bit of an existential crisis about wanting to live “radically pure” versus the reality of needing to make an income somehow. (Plus, a bunch of other processing mixed in, making my many questions and doubts feel super intense! 😱)

Okay, so, here’s a little blurb of the thoughts that were swirling, swirling, crashing, crashing, swishing in my mind: 

I hate that so much of doing anything ends up being about achievement or external gatekeepers. I hate that working and taking care of yourself and your family is so complicated in a capitalistic society and really any system. Being a person in the world is hard and confusing.
I just want to watch the sky and paint and make music and just share it and perform concerts and I hate strategy. Yet I love the possibility of being able to make a living from my art and be able to do the thing that comes easily to me as my means of income.
Sometimes I don’t know where I fit into this world. What if there’s just some part of my brain missing and I just never figure out how to be successful and still be me? I don’t even know what that means. I just want to sing — why can’t it be that simple? And I know it is that simple but it’s also not.
We can think of self-publishing as an alternative to traditional publishing that lets people express and share without gatekeepers. Yet it costs money and ultimately it costs even more money to get that book to reach beyond the few people you know. And being in the moment unconcerned about audience means ultimately you have to get your living, your income source from somewhere else.
And I know this isn’t anything new. Artists have always dealt with this — “Do I essentially woo the gatekeepers and spread my creations that way OR do I make money another way and fork over the money to pay for services when I need to put on events, promote, etc.? Or do I just give up on sharing all together?” 
The truth is this doesn’t have to be a terrible thing. I mean part of life is making it magical and dealing with the fact that we’re real: we bleed, we need food and water, shelter, etc. If I was some imaginary fantasy person, I could just be. Yet as a real human person, I need to deal with the reality of logistics sometimes and it doesn’t have to be all the time and in fact it ideally wouldn’t be all the time.
I guess all that doesn’t come naturally to me. And it’s hard to separate out my normal dislike of certain tasks versus the things I really don’t want or need to do ever.

I know I’m not the first or the last artist (or just person in general) to struggle with this — that’s why I’m sharing right now. And … regardless of “how the world is,” it feels good to just be honest.

So in the spirit of knowing I’m not alone in this, I’ve decided to share the goals and methods worksheet I made for myself yesterday.

Working toward our dreams while living in reality doesn’t have to be lonely. Let’s change reality together, guys!

It’s cheesy AND true: Art heals! Love heals! You being YOU is what the world needs. 

Even if you don’t want to make your own “Goals & Methods” worksheet, my hope is that if more of us peel back the curtain and get to just be honest, we can make being in the world better. We can be more real with each other. We can let our guards down and just be human together. 

Before I wrote down my goals with tangible steps, I listed out these notes to myself, things to remember:

  1. Start somewhere. 

  2. Your sense of safety, self-worth, and love is independent from your completion of these goals.

  3. This is simply a way of naming my dreams and naming tangible steps to work toward them.

  4. These goals can fluctuate and change, or stay exactly the same. It’s all okay! You’re still you. You’re still living life. You have a chosen family who cares about you and loves you, no matter what you do or don’t achieve. 

  5. It’s okay to want to achieve your goals! It’s okay to feel impatient! It’s okay to feel like giving up! Life is already hard and tiring. It’s a lot sometimes. It’s okay to take a break and come back to it later. 

  6. Do you feel warm there?

  7. Be here. Right now. Breathe in and out. It’s okay to care and work toward goals for the future. It’s okay to take a step back and just focus on this one moment right now. You don’t have to choose between honoring your past, living right now, and focusing on your future goals. Living means balancing all three. And that balancing act can look very different from day to day or month to month or year to year. 

  8. Breathe in, stretch toward growth. Breathe out, let what already is here be enough. 

  9. Let it be easy. 

  10. Let it be hard. 

  11. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Empowered and hopeful, 

Nicole Sylvia Javorsky

bottom of page