Our dreams don’t belong to us. They belong to the world.

Sep 23, 2012 | Life in Progress

There’s been this thing that’s been lurking around for a few years. A dream. I’ve written about it here in this blog space just a tiny amount over the years. Meanwhile it’s been hiding out in the pockets of my heart, waiting in the wings so to speak, standing in line, patiently waiting for its turn to be born. I like to think that my heart has been its incubator, slowly growing this little dream’s purpose from tiny whisper to what now feels like a calling, sometimes even a scream.


This particular dream has been slowly, now more aggressively, tugging at my sleeve, like a child trying to get my attention. I’ve not turned its direction yet, and so the tugging continues. And so the tension continues. We’re in a bit of a power struggle, me and this dream. As much as I’d love to tell it to back off, that I’m busy, that I have a small child, a full time job, and on and on, I know better. It knows better. 

The more I lean in and listen, I’m sure all the tugging and the tension has something to do with with my having some vague angst about my creative journey lately. And when I say lately, I mean about an entire year. And when I say vague I mean a deep sense that something is turning the tide, like my path is nearing a curve, yet I can’t clearly see where or when, but I can just tell. I just know.


Clearings are made to hold the uncertainty. Journals are kept to work it out. Tears are shed. But mostly, there’s a whole lot of trusting the process. The process of unearthing and birthing. Discovering and learning. Growing pains. Big stuff. Uncertain stuff. Important stuff. It’s not just about my creative journey, it’s about my life’s journey.

And the same is true for you. Tugging + tension = something is shifting. We have to listen. Our dreams know well before we do what is possible. We’re just slower to respond and get on the same page because we’re sure that there’s not enough time, not enough money, not enough energy.

As someone who has had the privilege of living with a remarkable dream these last many years, I’m learning that our dreams have big messages for the world – this is their gift and their purpose. Messages for us. For our families. For the world. They’re spiritual entities. We are simply their human deliverer, our hearts their incubators, our birthing them through hard work their legacy.

They can be modest, internal dreams (learning to apologize, to forgive, to love, etc), or external pipe dreams (create a small/big business, write a book, etc). Either way, their impact is the same. They change families, friendships, neighborhoods…..the world. And they start with a tug on our sleeves.

We have to listen.

I used to think that a dream was something we wanted, that was born of us, from us, delivered by us, made real and true by us and all of our hard work. But now I see how limited that view is. It’s a human view that comes with it all the limitations that we humans have. Dreams aren’t meant to have limitations. They’re meant to defy limitations. Now I think of dreams as divine entities that have chosen us to be their human delivery service if you will. They choose us – for our specific experiences, our good, our bad, our brokenness, our wholeness, our potential – to be the deliverer of their message, whatever it may be. They know we’re the best person for the job. Despite our imperfectness.  Despite our limits. Despite our fears. What an honor.
They choose us. We don’t choose them. 

So, in this way, our dreams don’t belong to us. They belong to the world. It’s our responsibility to listen to their tugging on our sleeves. To face their direction. To deliver them and their powerful messages to the world with all the hard work and courage we can muster.  We give our dreams a vessel for being born. And they give us a sense of purpose, aliveness, joy. That’s what I call a perfect partnership. And perhaps our most important, soul filling, impactful work while here.

Bottle cap wisdom
What’s tugging on your sleeve? What dream is waiting for you to usher it into this life? Whatever it is, however simple or big or out of reach it may feel, it’s got a purpose, and it has chosen you to deliver its message. You are the one it has been waiting for. And it promises to be one of the many dreams in your life that will give you the gift of showing you who you are, what you’re capable of, and what your purpose can be.
By the way, my dream, the one that has been tugging on my sleeve? It wants me to write and then it wants me to speak. Like in front of people. On a stage, with a microphone. I’m scared to death. But I’m listening and leaning in. And hopeful that it chose the right person for the job.


Sending much love,

Show/Hide Comments (31 comments)
  1. Annie

    beautiful post. i have been following you for a few years, and you have been an inspiration to me, sometimes speaking the truth i feel which i could not put words to thank you.

  2. Betsey

    Yes! That is so good. : )

  3. my two hopeful wings

    everything's bigger than we think at first, isn't it? you're modeling to us what to do to fly and be brave by doing it yourself. 🙂 btw, i loved the sweet pic of you and your hubby at 24. 🙂

  4. Elizabeth

    You never cease to amaze me at how you have the ability to find words that are hidden deep in my soul. Thank you.

  5. abergailia

    Ohh boy, my heart just expanded…love your brutal honesty kelly

  6. Jude

    Awesome post! You are a light in this world, a true artist. I love coming here for inspiration, and you never let me down. Fly Kelly Rae, fly. I dream of meeting you one day. Sending love and light your way 🙂

  7. Sheila@Chinaberry

    I love that you said the dream chooses you. Wise words.

  8. collageartbymichllelowe.blogspot.ca

    Wow! Fear can also be your friend. Let it in and you'll own the room of people you're speaking with.

  9. Dawn Brockman Petrill

    -And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free John8:32. – Even though our dreams may scare us they are a reflection of our authentic selves- but not always easy to define or act upon. Good for you for listening and responding. You are an inspiration!

  10. Anna Scott

    not sure why you are scared, Kelly – you are doing it already. Well all but the stage bit. You'll be fabulous. Just the other day I read something about 'remember you are the cherry'. Sounds familia? Go with the tug….

  11. Silvia

    Yes yes yes and yes ! Lovely post today Kelly, thank you (as always) for your words. I love the tugging at your sleeve line, that's it exactly. I am finally listening to the tugging on mine, even though I'm scared. I'll be buying a ticket if you come to the East coast too … here's to dreams unfolding. x

  12. Alicia

    I feel the tears, right behind my eyes. The right words at the right time. It's amazing how you share what's in you, and at the same time, you could be reading what's written on my heart. Thanks for not letting me forget. My have yet to be unleashed, but they are tugging ever insistently.
    As for your newest dream, oh, yeah, I can totally see it!

  13. Laly Blue

    What a wonderful dream!
    You already are an inspiration to so many, you can do it! And like you told us flyers so many times: "baby steps"!
    You could start as a guest at one of Brené Brown's wholehearted talks, wouldn't that help you feel safe and supported while you fly up to the next level? Plus we surely would looove to have you both rub some of that lovebombers' energy on us 😉

  14. Alanna Jane.

    beautiful, soulful delivery of truth. of light. of a call to action. Kelly Rae, you are an fine inspiration, both for me as an artisan and also for the world. If more and more people raise their children from this place, the world shall most definitely change for the better. from my heart to yours, never stop believing – and neither will I.

  15. Leah

    Wow. Your words are impactful. They dance and twirl and comfort and hug and gently nudge. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Marjie Kemper

    Fantabulous! I hope it also involves you getting on a plane now and then so those of us on the East Coast can hear what you're speaking about… woooohoooo!

  17. Alexandra Gerull

    Hey, if only Portland were around the corner from here. … Although I do think you know whom to aks for help, anytime you want to chat about devising a solo-piece … drop me a line. Been directing them for a while now. 😉

  18. Kristen (Creative Stash)

    you are pure light, pure truth. I admit I have never thought of my dreams that way. I feel like I have worked so hard to get close to my dream and it's always an arms length away. Maybe I have been going about ti all wrong. I do know that anytime I read, hear, see people living their dreams in the face of all the fear and doubts I start crying. Just tears pouring like right now. That has to my spirit be telling me something!

  19. Alisa Noble

    You are such an inspiration.
    Thank you for that!

  20. angie fraley

    Man oh man…..what a great perspective and one that I had not considered before. I definitely needed to hear that today….thank you for sharing your insight. You are a gift to the world.

  21. Stephanie Ackerman

    The world NEEDS to hear from you. YOU are the right one. Listen to your heart (like you teach us to do.)

    I love this…God does not call the equipped..HE equips the called.

    Big huge buckets of love to you my friend….

  22. Miss Marple

    Thank you for sharing these words. It helps me see my dream different and gives me more confidence in believing in it. When I see it like that it is not just a silly twist of my brain anymore…
    And I am sure, whatever you dream you can make it true. You have reached so much and so many with your work already, I am sure you can do it!

  23. LindaKay

    Sounds like you are continuing to push out those comfort boundaries. Keep growing and reaching for the stars Kelly!

  24. janice smith

    I'll be first in line to see you speak in Texas!

  25. Kelly Harms

    All your peeps in Portland would love to be your practice audience, just tell us where and when!

  26. Unknown

    I can't wait to hear you on stage, with a microphone, in front of a lot of people. We need what you have to say.

  27. nettiejdear

    Excellent, excellent – I imagine that when this dream comes to fruition, you will be as fabulous at speaking as you are in your artwork!!

  28. Bev

    wow, kelly. i've always thought that about you…writing. and speaking, in front of others. you have so much to say and say it so well. isn't it beautiful the way life unfolds, where the road curves on the journey?
    this is a great post, so much meat. much of it speaks to me and thank you for that…

  29. Gennifer

    "Our dreams don't belong to us. They belong to the world." Oh, my goodness! You don't know how long I've been feeling this way and searching for others who feel the same. Thank you so much for this!!!

  30. TwynMawrMom

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Delicious.

  31. Denise Tilley

    Gorgeous Truth- Thank You for sharing your gift of words xo


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Hello + welcome!

I’m Kelly Rae Roberts

Before I picked up my first paintbrush at the age of 30, I was a medical social worker. I followed my creative whispers, and today I’m an artist & Possibilitarian. I’m passionate about creating meaningful art and experiences that awaken and inspire our spirits.

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