Column #4 Motherland magazine

Above the door to my kitchen there’s an iron sign that says ‘Dream’. I’ve been thinking about dreaming recently. Not the dream about pain au chocolate versus chocolate croissants (which I actually did have this week) or the dream that there were Mulberry handbags on sale in M&S for £25 (another real example). Rather, the conscious dreams: like, the kind of thing I would dream about doing or being or seeing or becoming.

I wrote them down recently, on paper, to see what I really wanted. When I considered writing about dreams here, I dismissed it, because people might think it’s too wishy-washy a subject. Which is why I finally decided to write it, because it’s not.

‘Dream’ has been taken by the culture in which we live, and had a little ‘TM’ tacked on to it. It’s become the word for wanting to be famous, I think. Really dreaming, though, is not an insubstantial thought process – head in the clouds type thing – but the creation of a space for something to happen. It doesn’t have to be escapism, or the fluffy shiny better model of what your life could be.

Dreaming is not incongruent with believing that where you are right now is important, even if it seems far away from the dream. How come? Well, I think of a dream as a sail. All the work you put in to your own life provides the strength for that sail to billow. Like this: while you’re working into all the pernickety details of where you are, and investing in all the small things that actually are the important things, and doing your utmost to be your best (I know – ideals), there is forming, above your head, a canopy of the things you dream about.

I think dream is another word for vision: dreaming is seeing the future. If I articulate the dream to myself, I have metaphysically staked out the places I want to go. Then I’m conscious of it, which will make a difference to how I think about things, and how I act: the opportunities I take (is this in line with my dream, or am I just saying yes because I’m insecure about saying no?), and my level of contentment (because I think making your dream come true requires work behind the scenes).

Like all the tiny stitches that go into the seams of a sail, so are the minutes and hours and days you invest in the small things that are part of the bigger picture. Even the mundanities that seem nothing to do with your dream. Experiences of living well in the small things are reinforcing, strengthening of character, of resolve.

Increasingly I feel it’s not ‘all or nothing’ – it’s everything. With hindsight, I see things I thought were dreams were actually puffs of angst that clouded my vision of the bounty that existed where I was. I couldn’t have lived inside those dreams because I hadn’t learned what was really important to me yet. If I had achieved my wishes, I dread to think where I’d be now.

Where I am is nowhere near wisdom, but I’ve got a bit more wisdom now than then, and I see that dreams are important, and digging into the present is too. They work together. Because wherever we go, there is soil and sky, and that isn’t incongruous, is it?

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