Many years ago, while walking along Great Portland Street in central London I came across a light installation in a store front window. The installation was in the form of a question: 'What Do You Dream About?' I took a photo of the installation and the question is one that I have been pondering over the years. The answers change depending on how I'm feeling that day but one thing remains--my dreams, if you take that question philosophically rather than literally, have been about a feeling rather than any one material thing.
Don't get me wrong, do I sometimes daydream about owning a house by the beach in the south west of England or a cottage by the lake in northern Ontario? You bet I do. Do I daydream about what it would be like to have unlimited funds so I can do what I please? Sure! Doesn't everyone? Yet, even those daydreams, if I was to really break them down to their core, I would find what those things represent. And it always boils down to a feeling. For me, it means simplicity, stability, and weightlessness.
Weight is that feeling we all carry on our shoulders filled with worries, regrets, sadness for what was or what could have been, and fears for what might be. And when we feel those things, we get weighed down--sometimes physically by drooping our shoulders and more often, emotionally. What dreaming does for us is kind of akin to a balloon that lifts us up, helping us feel weightless and free. What dreaming does for us is it essentially lifts our energy and reminds us of possibilities.
I recently read an article about a man who struggled with alcohol addiction for much of his life. After being sober for 4 years he said, "My life now is the life of my dreams. But that has nothing to do with money or possessions, it has everything to do with freedom, happiness, and joy." Whether you subscribe to that belief that we are all energy in various forms, and whether you subscribe to that understanding that we get what we put out there, one thing that is for sure is we know, we can feel the energy of those around us and we can feel when energy within us shifts. Our dreams don't just take us away from our reality, they are a way for us to envision what that reality could be. It takes work to get there but feeling it and committing to that feeling is the first step.
In my house, I have dream catchers--a talisman used by Indigenous cultures to capture our dreams--ensnare the bad ones and let the good ones filter through. Like the dreamcatchers, I am protective of our dreams because they hold our wishes, our hopes, and the whispers from our soul. Our dreams are fragile and if not handled with care can be squashed--by others through a word, a look, and even by ourselves. Sometimes it's best to keep them to ourselves until we feel stronger in our self-belief. We do that when we nurture them by nurturing ourselves. Only then can we believe that our dreams are there for us to feel free; free from all that holds us down.
This past week we saw the annular solar eclipse take place, the "ring of fire" as it has been described. Solar eclipses, in the astrology world, represent beginnings. A good friend described it as a time to get clear about what we truly want in life, to feel it strongly, to elevate the energy it elicits. It isn't about getting exactly what you wish for. It's about being open to the miracles that surround us every day, miracles we ourselves can't even imagine for ourselves. It's kind of like what the writer Anaïs Nin means where she says, "Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back--a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country."
We all have different dreams but I would guess that at the heart of it all, we have similar hopes--to live a happy life, one where we are free to be ourselves and to live a joyful life that only authenticity can bring. It isn't about all the riches in the world, rather it is about the richness of our spirit. As Marsha Norman the American playwright once wrote, "Dreams are illustrations...from the book your soul is writing about you."
So, what do you dream about?