Where’s the Dream….?

For just as happiness is more than the absence of sadness, so is peace infinitely more than the absence of war. Even the refugee must do more than flee. He must arrive. He must at last return to a world as it is, however much in conflict with his hopes, and he must then do what he can to edge reality toward what he has dreamed, to change what he can change, to go beyond the wish or the fantasy. ‘We had fed the heart on fantasies,’ says the poet, ‘the heart’s grown brutal from the fare.’ Spec Four Paul Berlin, I urge you to act. Having dreamed a marvelous dream, I urge you to step boldly into it, to join your dream and to live it. Do not be deceived by false obligation. You are obliged, by all that is just and good, to pursue only the felicity that you yourself have imagined. Do not let fear stop you. Do not be frightened by ridicule or censure or embarrassment, do not fear name-calling, do not fear the scorn of others. For what is true obligation? Is it not the obligation to pursue a life at peace with itself?

Tim O’Brien
Going After Cacciato

I ran across this quote while rearranging files on my computer the other day. I had typed it up and saved it in April of 2000, which was a couple of months after I sold my company and about 10 months prior to leaving the formal working world in favor of other pursuits. Clearly, I was moved by it, and as I read this quote again 10 years later, I find that my mind is struggling with the concept of stepping into my dreams. Makes me think of the the Nancy Wilson song “Happy Talk” and it’s line “You gotta have a dream, if you don’t have a dream, how you gonna make that dream come true?” I have strivings for sure: to be a better more loving person, to be more generous, to not shy from the truth as it presents itself, to be more in the present moment and less in my mind; but I don’t know if I am operating in my life with any real dreams into which to step boldly.

My father lived for many years on a sailboat, and countless times people would say to him that they wish that they could live on a boat like he was doing. His response, often anger infused, would be “Well just do it!” to which in response they would almost always provide a litany of reasons for which living that life would be impossible for them. This points to what I perceive as the difference between a dream and a fantasy. A dream is something we hold to and strive to move our lives towards fulfilling while a fantasy is something which we think we would want but don’t believe we could ever have.

There is a line from a Rumi poem which I have always loved which speaks to moving into our dreams: “Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” The word “silently” in that line is powerful to me in that I believe we have to quiet down sufficiently to be able to be drawn into our dreams, into that which we really love. The word “drawn” here is beautiful as well as it reminds me of the pull of a spider’s single thread, strong and capable, yet fragile and easily broken, thus requiring our allowance in being drawn.

I am on an airplane flying off to London and a summer away from my home and familiar surroundings. I’ve been feeling a bit flat lately, and I think it may be connected to this topic. Without a dream, without a vision, without an overarching thread drawing me towards more the more heartful fulfillment of what I really love, perhaps I’m just nibbling away at life. I have lots of interests which I am good at following, but are they dreams?– Dreams pull us, interests simply tempt us. I bounce around the landscape of interests, from learning piano, to singing, to creating beautiful photographic images, to making lovely furniture, to writing, to making books, to building websites, to creating community, but I don’t know where the real dream is. Some dreams I have actually shepherded into fruition including perhaps the dream of growing and selling my company with my business partner Gary, and designing and building my current ocean-front home, but at the moment, I’m feeling a little blank on the dream front and thus finding myself a little less than fully motivated.

Do we really need to have dreams to guide our lives? It’s a fair question. Having dreams and visions feels in a way like food for the ego, food for the part of us that wants to be validated, wants to feel worthy, doesn’t feel worthy unless accomplishing something meaningful and perhaps landmark in stature. Whatever happened to just being here, just appreciating each moment, and loving as well as we can within each moment? As I sit with that, the truth seems to be that I want more than that. I want to dig in to something again, dive in and create and make manifest. Stay up until 3 in the morning making strong tea to keep me going working on a project that matters to my soul. My soul actually wants to express and I think has gone a little flat for the lack of engagement. Like a high-end BMW can cruise along quietly and with agility at high speed on the autobahn, I think there is merit in living up to our potential as humans and expressing and manifesting the unique capacities of our soul.

Perhaps this time away from home, away from some of the stresses that have weighed on me some, away perhaps even from my ordinary overly thoughtful mind, perhaps will provide some of the food for which my soul hungers. I think I need a little ease and a little holding space for me to loosen the tightness of my grip and allow myself to be drawn by that stronger pull. A little inner silence would go a long way for me in helping me to hear the call of that which I really love.

More, as always, to unfold….

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