How often do you let yourself dream? I’m not necessarily talking about while you’re sleeping but maybe that is when it predominantly happens. Dreaming about what you want, dreaming about your future? Dreaming and generally being dreamy. How often do you allow your imagination to take over? How often do you allow yourself to believe that anything is possible?
It’s easy to get bogged down. To stop dreaming. To tell ourselves that we should be realistic, rational, sensible. And maybe we do. We have commitments, obligations, things we need to do, bills we need to pay. So much of our lives are focused on the constraints that bind us. Within these constraints – money, power, time – we look for the edges of what we believe is possible and then fit our plans, our goals, and our desires somewhere within those.
Dreaming – something that seems so natural, gentle and heart-led – surely has a place in our lives. Because what if the constraints that we believe surround us aren’t really true. What if they are only constructs and, with or without our control, everything could shift and your wildest dreams really could come true. Then what would you want, how would your life look, what would you want to happen?
Sometimes we dream to escape. Our dreams or imagination can provide some comfort, some antidote to what we are facing. Constantly thinking about what scares us, and allowing worst-case scenarios to play out in our heads, despite our best efforts, doesn’t really help. Especially if things are out of our control and there is no actual solution that we can come up with. Allowing yourself to dream, to imagine wondrous rather than negative things definitely seems to bring some relief to our overworked minds. We can take solace in our dreams and feel safe there, knowing that there is a place where we are ok, where we are happy and joyful. And is that a bad thing?
The concern is that we will get stuck there, stuck in our dreams, with our heads in the clouds and will get a rude shock when we eventually come back down, back to reality. But what if dreaming is part of reality? What if it’s not something that we should admonish, but something to honour, to nurture and to give time to? I think the reality and demands of life mean we can’t really escape for too long anyway. Phones will ring, emails will be received, bills will be opened and we undoubtedly will come back.
Fear is a tricky emotion for me. It doesn’t seem as clear as sadness or anger. Once either of which are expressed there feels like there is an easing, a letting go, a sense of relief. Fear feels more encompassing, harder to let go of, harder to find relief in. Yes I can feel the fear but then what happens, it’s still there just as it always is. Daydreaming and imagination may be one way to let the fear dissipate for a while. Maybe the escape we seek isn’t from our lives but from our fears. We all have fears. We are all scared. Anything that can counteract all the fear that we are faced with must be a good thing. Imagination seems so natural, so beautiful and so pure. Something we did and were encouraged to do as children. Something personal, private and sweet.
People have long touted the power of positive thinking. And maybe sometimes it works for you and sometimes it doesn’t. Putting a positive or happy face on when you feel awful is probably not the answer. We don’t want to deny what is going on or pretend we feel something that deep down we don’t. But gentle dreaming and imagining, maybe just for 5 minutes before you go to sleep could really ease something for you. It feels like it helps keep hope and faith alive, to know that you are protected and to reacquaint yourself with your inner child who knows that anything is possible and that dreams really can come true. Enjoy this (a favourite of both my grandmothers and this cute 19-month old girl I know).