I’ve been dreaming lately, not the sort of dream that comes with sleep, but the wide-awake kind. It’s a dream related to my business life, and that’s all I need to say about the sort of dream it is. I consider this my business blog, and while the below may not seem to have anything to do with business for some, it very much does to me.
When I hear or say the word ‘dream’, generally two things happen. My thoughts go in two completely separate directions; directions that can, if not properly harnessed, become quite debilitating. More on that later…
Direction #1: The heavens, sky, to soar, to fly. Ethereal. That place, so precious, but so easily destroyed. Like a balloon untethered, it will float away for no other reason than that no one held the string.
Direction #2: Down to earth, grounded. Tangible. That place so solid and necessary, but with a gravity to contend with; every step in life, soil, the path we walk and the foundation of life, but the place that will claim us, where we go in death.
Jedidiah Purdy, in his 1999 book For Common Things, a book he calls “a letter of love for the world’s possibilities”, he addresses what he calls “our terminal sense of irony.” Simply put, Purdy suggests that we have lost the way to dream, that in our initial eye-rolling responses that have become second nature, we doom dreams to a self-fulfilling prophecy of non-existence, for no other reason than that we choose immediately not to listen.
“Only in their dreams can men be truly free. ‘Twas always thus, and always thus will be.” –Tom Schulman
I’ve struggled with my directions, mentioned above, more so lately than ever in my life. I’ve used the word ‘dream’ more so lately, too. I’ve been pulled away from what I know is true, convinced by my own sense of irony, that my thoughts and dreams are just fuzzy verbosity and come solely from the mind of a child; a child who is divorced from the reality of the tangible world.
Divorced from reality…I know this isn’t true, or at least it doesn’t have to be. I know the balloon is real, that a balloon is either empty or full at the same time, depending on how I decide to define it. I know that the balloon will float away, it’s guaranteed to, but only if I choose to not grab the string, and that this analogy is all I need to marry my directions together.
A balloon is only its true self when we fill it. It only stays around when we tether it to the world. Whether it is empty or full, depends on the meaning we give it.
One meaning of dream, given by Webster and as the verb form of the word, is “to contemplate the possibility of doing something or that something might be the case.”
There it was, my two directions were simple to connect, marrying earth and sky is the act of creation, that we exist (literally and poetically) in that space between earth and sky, and that a dream is real if we can make it so. A dream can be simply how we contemplate doing something, connected to why we are doing it.
When people don’t believe in dreams; it’s not because they aren’t real, although it seems that way to them, it’s because they see over time how fragile they can be. It’s just too hard, and consistent a task, for some people to dream.
We should protect our dreams, we should see the need to ground our dreams; to protect and care for our manifested dreams; to keep them real, and that the act of creation is nothing but tying our dreams to the world.