I think we probably all have dreams. At least I hope we all do.
Dreaming is an integral part of our humanity, as far as I can tell. In fact I think it’s one of our strongest assets. I don’t think we would have accomplished half the things we have as a race if we couldn’t dream.
Beautiful churches, music, technological advances, delicious food, a well-organized home, cities, books and stylish clothing…all of it requires some sort of vision first; these things don’t happen by chance, they require intention and forethought to be put into action.
Dreaming may seem to be something of a luxury – for those with too much time on their hands and not enough practicality, but I would argue that it is a necessary part of life.
I think dreams don’t necessarily come out of nowhere, I think in a very real way we receive dreams. When we have the time and patience to sit still for long enough, something comes to us that lights a fire inside of our hearts. Suddenly we feel excited, hopeful, motivated, inspired.
It’s easy as we get older to dismiss dreams as not ‘realistic’ or even childish, but I don’t think Martin Luther King Jr was being outlandish or immature when he wrote his “I have a Dream” speech.
Even someone like JK Rowling or JRR Tolkien, in a way their dreams were outlandish and childish but they brought their dreams to life in the perfect way and we all have benefited as a result.
I think dreams are part of our identity, from them we glean a better understanding of what we are called to do, of our purpose, our mission. You see, while dreams are dreams for a time, they are not meant to stay dreams.
Dreams give us direction, inspiration to act. The kind of life we want to live, the things we want to accomplish – big or small – the relationships we want to have…they stem from our ability to envision something and then bring it to life.
Our ability to dream is one of our greatest gifts.
On the other hand, it doesn’t do to dwell on our dreams and not enjoy the now. The present moment is also a gift, one we would not do well to let slip through our fingers.
Something I greatly resent about technology – as wonderful as it is in many other ways – is how it robs us of the present moment. How many times I’ve looked up to see my friends looking at their screens, or have caught myself responding to a text instead of to the person I’m physically with.
Sometimes I get caught up in the vision I have of how things could be and give up on the time I’m given as a bad job.
This isn’t really fair as while dreams are beautiful, wonderful and necessary, they can only come to reality one moment at a time. We have to learn to be completely immersed in present moment awareness – reveling in the goodness and realness of it all – to then enjoy the dreams that later may come to fruition.
Being at peace with exactly where we are is a skill that will bring so much joy and ease of being to our lives. Of course it is also a hard-earned one since anxieties, frustrations, and doubts creep into our minds at any given moment. It seems that if I’m not being plagued by potential, dreadful ‘what-if’s’, I’m wallowing in the ‘should be’s’ and wishing away my current time and place.
It is not our dreams that are unrealistic, rather it is these unhelpful and unhealthy trains of thought which are far removed from reality. Our brains are hardwired to do, to race and summon thoughts unceasingly. This interferes with our more important call to be.
If we have any desire to live a good life and to realize our dreams, we must first learn to be content with where and how we are, now. While we may be suffering, while there may be difficulty and imperfection, the present moment is how and where life happens, and if we miss it, we miss our own beautiful and important lives.
It can be difficult to reconcile our ability to dream with the real, present moment, but I find that this can be helped by setting aside time to to dream. I realize this may not lie high on your priority list, but I think without this clarity of where we want to go and who we want to be, we run the risk of letting our lives pass us by, instead of seizing them and living them fully.
When we take time to dream, we can then spend the rest of the time fully present to our current reality. We can cherish the moments in front of us and search for the goodness and beauty which unquestionably lie inside of them. We can take concrete steps toward achieving our dreams which we have intentionally set upon. Dreaming is the beginning of living life as it is: an adventure.
Having been off of it a month now, I can also say that stepping back from social media has helped immensely in my quest to live a more authentic, present life. As much as I do recognize the good in it – I think it may be time for us to weigh the pros and cons of social media and consider greatly moderating our time on it – if not ridding ourselves of it completely.
Social media can often intensify our idea of what life should be, rather than how it is, and interfere with the very specific, personal dreams we are meant to embark on…as opposed to those others have set for themselves.
As we get closer to Christmas and then a new year, I encourage you to set aside time to let your imagination run wild: what do you want to do, who do you want to be, what do you want your life to consist of? These are questions we are meant to ask. I have a feeling if we consistently take time to do so, these questions will be answered and the answers will take us on a beautiful, incredible journey.
I also challenge you to be present: to where you are and who you are with. There will be upsets, there will be imperfection…but there will be goodness and you can find it if you decide to do so and embrace fully the gift of now.
Here’s to a dreamy, lively end to 2018.