You know I’m a dreamer
But my hearts of gold
Anyone who knows classic rock music will recognize that line. Classic? Pffttt! That’s what they call it these days. The music I once listened to as a teenager. Old and out of touch, I guess isn’t really a nice label, so classic it is. I can’t help but giggle at the notion. “Do you listen to the classics, Carol?” “Oh yeah. I love the classics.” (I’m sophisticated like that. *snicker* Now cue vision of the 40-something rock music head banger).
The lyrics from this song are not just familiar in tune, but also, familiar in application to my life. I am certain it is to many others as well. I am a dreamer. I bought the adage “if you can dream it, you can be it,” hook, line and sinker. At 17 years old, I was cleaning offices at night at one of the skyscrapers in our city. This was the hubbub of the business elite. As I dusted and vacuumed the offices I would often wonder what the people were like who occupied those offices. I dreamed of having my very own some day. A marker of success.
This girl was a newly married high school dropout. Yet, my dreams paid no heed to the reality of my situation, to a world who wanted to tell me no, to a world often screaming… you can’t. My dreams allowed me to believe anything was possible. Some day I would have my own big office, in one of these skyscrapers, one with a big plate-glass window overlooking the skyline. Some day…
My mind is a powerful force. As is yours. My mind is a never-ending running movie. A series of scenes constantly scrolling through my mind. Multitudes of interactions being worked out. Constructed and deconstructed and restructured. Grossly imaginative and exhaustingly busy. I dream of wonderful things all the time. There is not a conversation I haven’t had (twice) or a case I haven’t already won. If I need to be somewhere else I simply close my eyes and go. Within the recesses of my mind are all the words left unsaid. A practice stage for life. A blueprint to the future.
My heart’s like an open book
For the whole world to read
I learned the power of imagination as a child. I was a shy child. Scrawny with stringy long brown hair. A girl who liked to read. Books were (are) awesome (Encourage your children to read…please). Books take you on magical journeys. Unknown worlds. A passageway to connect the dreamer to the dream. Knowledge lies between every page turned. Yours for the taking.
I, however, learned the real depth and the true power of imagination as a result of childhood trauma. I discovered, unintentionally, my mind has the power to transcend any moment. ANY MOMENT. My mind has the ability to swaddle me in a cocoon to insulate my emotions and to subdue my reactions to the reality of any given moment. The ability to transcend. Sometimes a blessing. Sometimes a curse.
I have also learned there is an abyssal quality which lies within the deeper recess of the mind, and when left unchecked, it can swallow you whole and take your reality with it. Powerful beyond belief. Your mind sets into motion your future. As well as having the ability to set into motion your demise. But, alas, that is a subject for another post.
As with exercise, it is not the body that holds you back. It’s the mind. Your body will go and do what your mind instructs it to do. You, and you alone, are either your own hero or your worst nemesis. You can exuberantly play in the hopes of today, tomorrow, and your future, or get sucked into the abyss of darkness and despair.
Hope. As a people we need hope. As a world we need hope. That is what dreams do. Dreams provide hope. A hope for change. Something different. Something better. “See it. Believe it. Achieve it.” (My mantra 4-EVER).
Watching a child in full-blown imaginative play is probably one of the best and purest things I ever have the pleasure of witnessing. Curse not the children for dreaming. If ever you hear an adult say; “Stop daydreaming and wasting time. Get back to work!” Punch them in the face for me. K? There are moments when reality can and should wait.
I’ve never understood why we feel a need to be a keeper of other people’s dreams. As a young adult I remember sharing with others how I was thinking I wanted to be an attorney. I heard responses like; “You don’t want to do that.” “It’s too hard.” “That’s so much schooling.” Those comments weren’t for me. Those comments were nothing more than the expressions of the limits of those speaking. Never feel confined by someone else’s limitations. Never take on their fears or restrictions as your own.
When young people now tell me they want to be an attorney, I often say: I neither encourage nor discourage the practice of law. I do, however, wholeheartedly encourage people to pursue their passions. If you want it. Go for it.
Be free to dream big dreams. Dream bold dreams. Unleash the child-like imagination within you. You are not wasting your time. You are building your future. Be the hero in your own story. Open the gate to those wide open pastures and let that horse run wild and free. No limits. No boundaries.
But, Carol, wait a minute. (Ugh! The nay-sayers never give up.) You’re missing a lot of pieces here. You can’t just dream. You must have a plan. You must work hard. You must apply yourself… Yes. Yes. And, YES! All absolutely true. But, you can’t build what you can’t see. There is a time for labor, but today, today… WE DREAM.
When others don’t understand you. When others can’t see your vision. When others can’t wrap their head around your journey or your destination. No worries! When others proclaim “You’re crazy!” You just smile and with a slight nod of agreement exclaim; “I know. That’s the best part!”
Creds: the lyrics are from Home Sweet Home sung by Motley Crue.