Made me realize the distance between
My dreams and my reality
In late January, I admitted to a trusted group of friends that I felt stuck. For weeks I had been shuffling through different opinions about a recent health issue, which directly impacted my work. Seemingly, one issue begot another. Decision fatigue exacerbated my melancholic nature and the din of winter did its worst. The professionals’ stark disagreements led me further from a true diagnosis, a full knowing, even though a setback was clear. Thus, this small knowledge physicalized a deeper issue: I am a dream hoarder. Even though I was indeed living some of my many dreams, it didn’t matter because the piles of dreams grew taller as I shrunk in the wake of a physical reality. I thought I had been deferring hope because my dreams weren’t meeting reality, but I was deferring reality by misplacing hope. To only hope for the product, I failed to believe in processes and patterns and ultimately, I failed to believe that failure could be hopeful because it reveals what is innately hopeless – what will never work.
Unwilling to meet reality with my jeopardized dream, this physical setback enslaved me to a self-given prophesy that I am irrevocably set-back, in essence and practice, always and forever. Another stake in a slew of sentences that all state the same message: I am a back-sitting set-back because my dreams do not make my reality. Though circumstances still breathed with possibility, it didn’t matter because my mind was more comfortable continuing this limiting cycle, and after all, it is the mind that makes matter, matter.
Finding one’s own mind interesting, or at least tolerable, is the springboard to not only bear boredom, but thrive in blank space (or simply survive during a quarantine). As a borderline dyslexic child, mildly attention seeking and wildly stubborn, I learned early to entertain myself without books, creating stories in my head. This developed a colorful imagination and also created a covert coping strategy that I would take with me into life beyond my reading struggles. When life overwhelms me, I withdraw to the corners of my mind where I get to aggrandize my feelings – worshipping their best intentions or worrying their worst intimations. Momentarily, I get to make provisions for my lack. However, when I eventually wake up, as I always do, time passed me by, and I paste the reality of this drifting-slipping-escapism on my identity again: I am a back-sitting set-back.
Dreaming is a beautiful, important part of life; one that must be reverenced and also compartmentalized – honored as part of the process but never blamed as the pined-for-product. Dreams point to distant realities, though they are seldom exact replicas of what will be. Thus, they are dangerous when seen as ends. Dreams are means: the inspiration for starting, for daring, for doing. Thus, the literal living of life must keep dreams malleable, for it is there that real people find real solutions for their real problems. Paradoxically, a dreamer can be the worst kind of closed mind because they are unopen to the world as it is, the person that is in front of them, and the opportunities at their fingertips. In agreement with the law of physics, as all closed systems do, a closed dreamer breaks down over time.
Shut off in a tower of built dreams, I was too occupied with my dreamscapes to confront conflict, grief, and change, masking my control and fear as bohemian open-mindedness. This occupation of inoccupation left me frustrated and blue and totally closed. Thus, my dreams and my systems consequently broke down. This imploding dream tower initially holed me into a dungeon of doom and gloom, a reversed narrowing. However, it was in the recognition of the breakdown that I found my truest reality – I am not in control. Through connection – reaching internal realities to external influence – I know that reality is the safest place for my dreams because it is there that my dreams can find and face motion, breath, change, and even failure. There is nothing more debilitating than the dream that needed to fail but was never given the chance. Regeneration involves loss.
When I release my dreams to reality – to me as I am today, to God as he always has been, and to the impact of life and the living – I am liberated, realizing I am so much more than my dreams. Dreams are meant to meet life, not separate from it, so it is when I hoard them, that I live stuck and ultimately lose my real life. Honest dreams lead us to believe that life is possible, not impossible. I reverse this process of being stuck, this mindset set-back, when I relinquish my obsession with failure and success and the ability to know the difference; when I open myself to all life, the reality of breath; and believe that no matter the matter of the world or my mind, my circumstances aren’t a dream. They are real and so am I.