Dreama Tolle Perry » Artist and Writer

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Lay Down ‘Til the Guilt Passes

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I think you need to hear this.

In fact, I am pretty darn sure you do.
How do I know this?  Because you are  human  and come equipped with dreams.
And dreams take time–more time than it seems like we may have.

As you know, along with those dreams,  there’s also a whole dance of life happening too. One that includes things like grocery shopping, house cleaning, volunteering, homework, car pools and the like—all  that have been assigned to you in addition to the big dreams.   When you realize you aren’t getting it all done (dreams and reality)….well, it’s easy to become convinced that you are somehow missing some genetic coding for wonder woman (or man) or something.

This comes up frequently in conversation.  Folks feeling like they may just be flawed because they aren’t getting it all done.
People often ask me of me how I get so much done (especially with the likes of Eddie dogging me all day).
I do, like you, have a full plate.  My days are full of things like painting, writing, blogging, taking photos, working online, Facebook, Pinterest, answering emails, paying bills, workshop planning, teaching, ordering supplies, etc.  And that’s only the art side of life.  I actually do have a personal life and family and doctors appointments and great nieces having birthday parties and trips to the vet for fur bearing peeps.

Word on the street has it that I work non-stop.
Never sleeping.
Probably not even taking time to go to the bathroom or eat (which could actually work now that I think about it.  Not doing one could cancel out the other until….hmmm, food for thought 😉 )
How do I do it???  How do I do it all??

Today’s text question from my sis Rhonda actually got me thinking on this.
Yes, the same Rhonda who texted me while I was in Florida in January with an invitation of “bite me”.
(We are now back on speaking terms, btw).

After a long hiatus, Rhonda is in the midst of getting her singing, songwriting self back in the game.  She has big plans.



She is running into the same dilemma that plagues all of us—to plow away at our passion OR waste precious time putting on clothes and make-up  😉



I know.
What did we do before the days of texting  🙂 ?

Seriously, you can place anything in that guilt question.  Any list of things left undone–fixing supper, cleaning house, making sure we have thoughtful birthday presents for family members, getting cards out for holidays, taking the dog for a long walk, having clothes that are ironed, etc, etc.  All the things that are normal and that we assume everyone around us is doing.  The idea that we can be like June Cleaver and answer our door at a moment’s notice and offer someone a slice of freshly baked peach pie while seating them in our immaculate kitchen (while simultaneously showing them our latest paintings and new best selling book hot off the presses).

Hear me now.



Not when you are pursuing your passion full speed ahead.  It is simply and profoundly not how it works.  You are not going to do it all.  You will live in a messy house, have clothes that you picked up off the floor, inspected for cat hair, and then donned to run out the door at the last minute for an appointment that you have known about for months and then get there just in the nick of time.  You will have long lists of things you are going to do that will eventually become lists of things that you didn’t do—they will have been pre-empted by your life of passion doing and pursuing the thing you love.

Which brings me to the next text from Sis Rhonda:


You must prioritize.

Which loosely interpreted means….a heck of a whole lot of things ARE NOT GOING TO GET DONE.

There are enough hours in the day for your dreams.
There are enough hours in the day for a perfect house and hair free clothing.
There are not enough hours in the days for dreams AND perfect homes and hair free clothing–
ESPECIALLY when you are  getting your dreams out of your head and into real action.

I  remember a conversation I had with my daughter Desiree about 4 years ago.




I was lamenting to her on the phone how EVERYTHING in my house and life was pressing in around me.  Stuffed, cluttered, undone, needing attention and there was still so much I needed to do for my art.  She pointed out (thank goodness) that J.K. Rowling was rumored to have said that she “lived in complete rubbish” while writing the first Harry Potter book.  It was how the work got done and what mattered was this….

And the rest of it didn’t really matter so much after all.

It never goes away (that worried little voice that says you should have had the perfect meringue on that pie if only you had remember to work with chilled beaters (or whatever), the one that chides you for not planning ahead to have the carpet cleaned and furniture de-haired because the family get together is at YOUR house this year.)
I wish I could tell you otherwise but I would be lying.

I can tell you this though.

Every time you pick yourself and choose your dreams, you are doing what you were born to do and the universe smiles back at you.

And you’ll find that your family arrives with their own sticky roller for pet hair removal and something gets spilled on the carpet that didn’t get cleaned—AND THEN YOU GET IT….

The important things DID GET DONE
and that’s what REALLY matters!

On the way to living your life’s purpose, you have to get comfortable with the notion of leaving some things undone—that’s how it works.  You are not doing something wrong.  You are not stupid, lazy, ineffective, or making bad choices.  You are choosing to do the things that will matter in the end.

Anyone, anywhere, who ever achieved anything  left a long trail of things undone.

We just don’t talk about it.
We remember them for what they did, not what they didn’t…do.

Dying with your song still in you is not a choice.  Sing and let the rest fall away.

Love yourself.
Love the vision you have been given.
Love the fact that you can’t do it all 🙂

And if all else fails….

Preferably in your PJ’s.



  • Joyce Corns - January 14, 2015 - 2:04 am

    The first thing I planned to ask you in the workshop this weekend was how in the world you do it all? I feel sooo much better now. Going to save this for my husband, adult daughters and grandkids to read. Is it really, finally MY TIME?ReplyCancel

  • Flynn Gentry-Taylor - January 12, 2015 - 2:34 pm

    I had a friend who used to make me feel sooo quilty, when she asked what I was doing and I said “painting”…she would say “Oh I want to paint so badly, but I can’t paint unless I have everything done, I just can’t live in a dirty house…you are so lucky ,there is only you so you don’t have to keep things clean”……so wish I had read this before I ended my friendship with her (20 years of it) but not sure she really wanted to paint anyway..lol..thanks Artist Dreama Tolle Perry…once again.ReplyCancel

  • Carol Watson Miller - January 12, 2015 - 12:59 am

    Oh how I needed to hear this! Thank you. And while I am gathering all the supplies for my dream (painting with you in 10 days!!), my laundry is piling up and there’s cat hair everywhere. And it is OKAY!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Sheffield - December 8, 2014 - 11:32 am

    Didn’t need this post … (Gasp, how dare she say this!). Hey, I learned from you before and I’m reading in my PJs in bed. Love it!ReplyCancel

  • Lois Keffer - October 6, 2014 - 5:07 pm

    Loved this. Needed it. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Julie Shiner - April 4, 2014 - 1:12 pm

    What an inspiration you are! thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Julee Holder - April 1, 2014 - 10:04 pm

    Thank you thank you. I need it to hear that. My dad recently passed away and I was away from home for three weeks. Things are a total mess. Including where I work. I’m feeling overwhelmed, but your words of wisdom have encouraged me that some of the mess just doesn’t matter. It will be here tomorrow.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - March 31, 2014 - 4:47 pm

    Hi Dreama. Trying to catch up on my reading of your posts. Totally overwhelmed for days now with moving into the new house and finding a place for everything. Then trying to remember where I put it.

    Must be very emotional right now, your words literally made me cry. Funny how words can affect you sometimes. Have been dying to paint (and take one of your workshops) for months but with moving, building and moving again haven’t been able to do much painting. Your words give me hope that some great painting times are coming soon.

    Thanks for being you. SherryReplyCancel

  • […] falling off of to one side?   That is the To Do list that is not getting done (for more info see “Lay Down ‘Til the Guilt Passes” […]ReplyCancel

  • Rita - March 23, 2014 - 12:48 pm

    Dear Dreama,
    One om my painter friends just shared this with a bunch of us. We all just loved it..thanks for sharing i. Will be looking forward to you insights and thoughts in the future. Thank YouReplyCancel

  • Jane Fletcher - March 22, 2014 - 12:17 am

    Thankyou Dreama, I really needed to hear that particular common sense advice from someone like you. I just love your paintings, all of them, love the colours and the way they make me feel happy. However, it is great to hear honesty from you about all the jobs that go undone………the boring housework type jobs that everyone seems to leave to the woman in the house…I do have an many unpainted images inside of me and I need to get them out!….here’s to a messy home and lots of paintings and feeling quietly pleased and not frustrated and thwarted. Thankyou…….. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Uchizono - March 20, 2014 - 6:16 pm

    I spend plenty of days in my jammies. I even will pop into the grocery store and run errands.
    Or spend the day painting. I don’t have time to feel guilty. I work too hard.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy Martin Piros - March 20, 2014 - 5:50 pm

    Hello Dreama, that was terrific!!! I see Eddie has this all figured out down pat! How true some days it seems like in the blink of an eye the day is gone. I’m going to take your advise today and see what happens and go with the flow. Hugs , Hugs, Hugs, MeReplyCancel

  • Fran Chuba - March 20, 2014 - 5:36 pm

    Dear Wonderful Dreama,
    Remember those WWII movies where James Garner passed secret info to Steve McQueen to avoid Nazi prison guards. Among my friends, we have our own little Dreama Network where we pass along and comment on your essays. It goes something like this, “Hey, did you see what Dreama wrote today?” ….. “Wow, she really knocked it out of the ballpark today…” “Bullseye!”
    You’ve helped my friend “journeying” through cancer treatment. You’ve helped my friend overwhelmed with “family issues” … and you’ve helped all of us to value the secrets of our heart’s desires … creating art. We often comment on how men put their art first and their families second. Women put their families first and their art a very distant second (or third) … all the time festering guilt …. Art is life survival. Art is a buoy to keep us afloat when everything else tries to pull us under. And you, my friend ( I assume everyone thinks you are a friend) are the cherry on top, the North Star in the clear night sky. Never stop writing …. you brighten so many days for so many people.ReplyCancel

  • Karen Mathison Schmidt - March 20, 2014 - 4:26 pm

    I just read this after the first day in four months cleaning anywhere else in my house except for the kitchen & bathroom. (I do those at least once every couple of weeks — LOL). Now our bedroom and living room look FABULOUS, but I felt guilt pangs when I finally walked in here to my studio to check my email and saw the unfinished painting sitting on my easel. No need to lie down now, though, since your post was like a soothing balm … Getting back to painting now guilt-free and full of joy! Love, love, LOVE your paintings and your blog!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer Saylor - March 20, 2014 - 3:45 pm

    Thank you, thank you, I truly did need to hear that message. ReplyCancel

  • Sheila Simpson - March 20, 2014 - 2:15 pm

    Dear Dreama, you’ve done it again. Your arrow of truth just pierce my innermost worries–how to do it all and what happens when you can’t. For instance, I have about a dozen beautiful ladies coming to my house tonight, but I’ve been working and painting, and helping to plan a wedding so I’ve asked my friends to ignore the dust and cobwebs, but have been feeling guilty about it. You’re right (as usual), but don’t let it go to your head:) The most important stuff will get done. Thanks for the reminder. However, I have no time to lie down!!ReplyCancel

  • Judy Baker - March 20, 2014 - 12:52 pm

    Love your post! I bet we all need this one. Great advice! Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Marion Corbin Mayer - March 20, 2014 - 11:43 am

    Love, love, love the spirit of this post!ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Chapman - March 20, 2014 - 11:14 am

    I am sure my UPS driver thinks I only own pajamas. Now I can just give him a copy of your post and he will then understand what great artist do…. Love the post. I can now fire my organizer. YES and get on with the important things.ReplyCancel

    • Karen - March 31, 2014 - 5:46 am

      Funny about the UPS driver! Ditto!ReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - March 20, 2014 - 9:45 am

    OMG did I need this today! THANK YOU!ReplyCancel

  • marie - March 20, 2014 - 9:17 am

    “Anyone, anywhere, who ever achieved anything left a long trail of things undone.Period.”

    May I quote you? I’m still in my pjs. And unless I need to go out today, that will continue. Scratch that. I have been know to throw a long coat over dark coloured pjs and call it passable for a trip to the post office.ReplyCancel

  • Rosita Henley - March 20, 2014 - 6:52 am

    Sorry, just noticed that I spelled your name incorrectly .ReplyCancel

  • Rosita Henley - March 20, 2014 - 6:50 am

    Well said Dreamma! I often have PJ days and do not feel bad about it one bit. And to those who do have home cooked meals and pristine houses… Congratulations as they are pursuing their passion ( or have fatter wallets ) … Different priorities and there is nothing wrong with that. Diversity! Creative minds work differently… Celebrate the difference. Would love today to be a PJ day…. But have to get ready now and go to my paying 40 hr week job that allows me to enjoy my art endeavors. Happy PJ day to all! Thanks Dreamma for your words of wisdom.ReplyCancel

  • Marilyn Leslie - March 20, 2014 - 12:44 am

    Thank you for writing this post. No matter what I’ve done I’ve always felt overwhelmed by the things that did not get done. Thank you.

  • Margaret Sheldon - March 20, 2014 - 12:41 am

    Yours is the voice I need in my head. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Linda Will - March 20, 2014 - 12:36 am

    So that’s it! I wondered why I could never keep up !!!ReplyCancel

  • Maggie Gilbert Beckjord - March 19, 2014 - 10:13 pm

    Great encouragement…. Love the raw honesty. Rather than saying pull back and keep a clean house! I keep a pet hair roller at the door……. Clean the off on your way outReplyCancel

  • Gail Mahood Morris - March 19, 2014 - 9:48 pm

    Oh man, did I need to “hear” this!!!! Painted five hours today…lots of stuff on my to do list remains, to do!! But…loved loved loved the time I painted!! ReplyCancel

  • Beth - March 19, 2014 - 9:17 pm

    You are the Tower of Pisa- I mean Positive!
    Rock it, Dreama!ReplyCancel

  • Yvonne Palmer - March 19, 2014 - 9:04 pm

    You are such a special person. You are like a heart whisperer 🙂 love and blessing gs to you!ReplyCancel

  • june - March 19, 2014 - 6:55 pm

    Dreama, you had me at ‘Lay Down ’til the Guilt Passes.’ Followed by ‘I think you need to hear this.’

    You’re right. I did need to hear this. I’ve needed to hear this, and this time, really listen, for a very long time.

    I smiled (very, very, very much needed these past few weeks) and nodded in agreement with every single word that you’ve written, and I also found myself crying (in agreement) as well.

    I echo the exact same sentiments as Meredith and Jobi (and I’m guessing pretty much all of your subscribers and followers also on their own creative journeys) – I just love you, and think the world of you, as a friend, as a teacher, a mentor, a guide, a beauty-filled and joy-filled creative spirit and a fellow dreamer and traveller on this journey called life, all rolled up into one.

    Thank you for this post, Dreama, and thank you for all that you do, and all the joy and beauty-filled art, the many smiles and laughter you offer up and share.ReplyCancel

  • Rosie Morgan - March 19, 2014 - 6:44 pm

    thank you !!! I needed to hear that, now I will lay the guilt down, and go play with paint..ReplyCancel

  • Barbara Grundeman - March 19, 2014 - 6:43 pm

    You’ve made my day! Thanks, I’ll be smiling whenever I think about your blog 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Dave Casey - March 19, 2014 - 6:13 pm

    With me it’s the urge to exercise. I usually lie down and let that pass. Lord knows how much needless exertion I’ve saved myself from.ReplyCancel

  • jobi - March 19, 2014 - 5:42 pm

    Well it’s a good thing I peeked at Meredith’s comment CUZ THAT’S WHAT I WAS GONNA SAY! haha Thanks Meredith for conveying what I was feeling about this wonderful post. I just love you, Dreama! You’re a goodie! Life is a process and I have had to learn to Let. It. Go. Thanks a ton for a much needed new take on the same ole’ struggle. I think I’ll pour myself a glass of wine and watch the pet hair dance across the tile… little swirls…the swiffer can stay in the closet today 🙂 xoxoReplyCancel

  • Meredith Adler - March 19, 2014 - 5:14 pm

    Dear Dreama…I just love you, and just love this post!!! Thank you so much for what you have done here to humanize yourself and normalize the rest of us…you Inspirer, you!!!ReplyCancel

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