Can Dreams be Dangerous?

Sep 5, 2012

I have long wondered: at what point, if ever, do we say to ourselves or a beloved, “This dream in this form is not possible. You are not attending to life’s realities. You need to regroup.”

Wait: I have to call myself out. I’m already hedging. In the above sentence I wrote “if ever.”

I want to declare here, strongly and clearly, I think there are times when we need to say “This is not going to work. Not right now.”

(By this I mean a dream tied to your economic well-being.)

Writing that, it seems so obvious, common sense.

Then why does my heart beat fast to declare this?

Because I live in a sub-culture (the mash-up of personal growth, coaching, spirituality) where the right to pursue your dreams is often considered more important than if you can pay your rent or provide a stable life for yourself and your family. Let alone save for possible illness and inevitable old age.

This makes me very nervous. It’s like a collective fairy tale where you are somehow defective and less spiritual if you don’t hold onto the biggest shiniest vision no matter what. You are being negative if you say “I’ve tried. I’m broke. I need to do something else.”  It would be wonderful if we lived in a world that supported us a bit more to develop our dreams – affordable health care and part-time decent paying work – but that isn’t accessible to many of us. 

It also make me afraid that I will fed into it. Michele and I are offering TeachNow again. We’re giving a free sample class on September 19th. We know the course delivers far more than it costs. And yet, I catch myself as we talk about the course to prospective students: Did I just reinforce the rainbows and unicorns live your dream and be blissful all the time narrative?

It also makes me feel like a pursed lipped old lady wagging her finger to even bring this up. Dreams are human miracles. Desires are whispers from the divine. No one should be denied the right to dream. In fact, the right to create, to dream, to explore freely, is one I would die for.

And how do we, as a culture and as individuals, dream and attend to our human responsibilities?

Are there times when our soul says “You must burn it all, risk it all, or shrivel up and die? Yes.

Are there time when we are blind to our lack of ability or selfish in how our choices affect others? Yes.

How do we make art and chop wood, carry water? This feels like a noble question to live into.

I so invite your insights. Hope I didn’t ruffle too many dreaming feathers.


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