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Dreams, Visions, Nightmares

Devil's TowerIf you’ve seen the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind (and if not, you should), you’ll probably recognize the monolithic rock outcropping in the shot above. Richard Dreyfus‘ character, Roy Neary, has an experience that plants an image in his mind, one he is drawn to recreate. The image is that of Devil’s Tower, where he goes to have a more meaningful and complete experience.

It is a metaphor for life, if you think about it. We have dreams. We have visions. When we’re younger, we don’t think about whether we “can” or “can’t”. We like to say that we’re too young and stupid to know we can’t.

As we get older, we start to worry about the sensibility of our dreams. How responsible we are supposed to be. And we let the dreams slide away from us and disappear.

Others take a different route. They live only in their dreams. Their dreams become nightmares. Roy Neary followed the visions in his head to the point of driving away his family. They just couldn’t understand his obsession. But in the real world, these are the folks who cannot see any version of the world that isn’t their dream. And when reality doesn’t conform to their picture of how life should be, they resort to other means to keep up that image. And this is the stuff of nightmares.

But losing the dreams entirely is a whole other nightmare. It’s living in a world devoid of possibility, without hope. It’s slogging through our daily lives without giving ourselves the possibility of seeing the beauty and joy there can be, if only we’d allow ourselves to see it.

When I was younger, I was the dreamer who couldn’t be told no. I took charge of a situation and I got it done, especially if someone said it couldn’t be done. That wasn’t an admonition to me – it was a challenge, an invitation.

Life has a way of trying to stifle that. You get kicked in the teeth, in the ass, in the tender bits. You start to doubt. And that doubt turns to belief. You question your worthiness. You settle for less, because you no longer believe you deserve it. You create your own quiet nightmare.

We’re better than that.  We deserve better, all of us. We deserve to be happy, to feel joy. We deserve to dream.

It’s a scary thing, because dreaming means we have to allow ourselves the opportunity to be hurt. Kind of an odd phrase, I know, “opportunity to be hurt”, like it’s something we want. But the fact is, we should want that opportunity. We don’t want the hurt, but without putting ourselves out there where we might get hurt, we’ll never fully experience the joy that comes with not getting hurt. We need to create the opportunity, the possibility that we might get hurt, to take that chance, to allow the dream a shot at becoming reality.

It’s taken me a ling time to truly learn that. Too long. But I’m starting to dream again.

Olympic Gold

Meals from the Salt Lake City Winter Games

Meals from the Salt Lake City Winter Games

A few years ago,  we were on a road trip and stopped by the Olympic park in Park City, Utah. We got to see junior lugers and check out the Olympic museum.

I’ve always had a connection with the Winter Olympics that I can’t quite explain. It’s an emotional connection at times, and triumphs seem to really touch me. So do the stories that go beyond sportsmanship, like that of the Canadian coach who loaned a Norwegian cross-country skier a ski so they could finish the race a few days ago. Those stories reach into a part of me that seems to have emotions very close to the surface, in a good way.

On display at the museum in Park City were samples of the medals given at the Salt Lake City games. Unless I suddenly take up curling and become a superstar in the curling world, I don’t think I’ll ever earn one of these. But it’s nice to dream a little…

Starting Over

You’d think I’d be used to this by now. Starting things over. Happens all too frequently. But things are better than they have been in a long time. A new relationship that makes me happy every day. A job that I love that brings me a new challenge every day, a new place to do that job.

A new place to live – soon – and a new start. Things are good. So, I guess it’s a really nice day to start over. Valentine’s Day. I hope yours brings as much promise as mine.