Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Visioning and Dreaming

We're all seeing Martin Luther King's "I've Got a Dream" speech on TV lately in honor of his designated day. His dream, his vision, his ability to eloquently infuse his followers with the excitement of that vision, still manages to inspire.

I've been thinking a lot about the importance of dreaming lately. I was asking my guidance for help in figuring out what of the myriad of things I typically tend to take on at once I should most focus on when my attention was captured by a quote on the side of the tea box I was holding in my hand. Sugar Plum Spice, yummy stuff.

Here's the quote:

"Know you what it is like to be a child? It is to be something very different from the man of today. It is to have a spirit yet streaming . . . . It is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear; it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything, for each child has its fairy godmother in its own soul."—Francis Thompson

What did I do as a child? I daydreamed. A LOT!

Then I got an email from Ann Albers, a colleague who channels weekly guidance from her angels and broadcasts them across the internet. If she wasn't so down-to-earth I'd be embarrassed but who she is shines forth in every email she puts out and the channeled stuff comes through in a normal-sounding voice as well. Anyway, the message for this week was about dreaming big about what really matters to your heart. You can read it for yourself online.
It's really good.

Anyway, there it was again. The same message—DREAM!

Hmmm. Dream about what? But I knew when to do it and what to do it about. It turns out I have choices to make, things I'd like to see come about. Instead of leaping right in, grabbing any boat that comes along and paddling like crazy who knows where, I thought....hmmm, slow down. What do I want, what might it look like when I got there, what might be a step in that direction, and, if I point myself that way, what can I see now?

It changed things. I started imagining a possibility I hadn't considered before. And that makes a difference in the things I might choose to do this week. Things that weren't even on the horizon before.

People mislead themselves all the time. Dreaming can be misinterpreted as laziness, doing nothing, wasting time. But Paul's quite the visionary. And while he's thinking and dreaming I often spend lots of time and effort jumping in and doing things that really do wind up being a waste. Why? Because the vision wasn't broad enough yet, not fully developed, not dreamed big enough. I see a way out of whatever difficulty I think I'm in and forget that when you lose sight of the big picture a person is just as likely to go down a blind alley or dig a big hole when the best approach might have been to wait for the weather to change or choose another approach altogether.

Having grown up in New England I frequently think of the seasons as a way to think about one's life. In January, the quiet cold dark time of winter, we stay inside physically and metaphysically. For gardeners it's time to get seed catalogs out and dream of what one wants to plant and harvest in the coming year. It's a good time for all of us to dream as well. The dreams we dream do determine what we plant. Without planning, without envisioning where we want to end up, the things we most want lie dormant, waiting to become manifest but never realized.

Dreaming is the first step on the way to manifestation. Little kids do this naturally. They know that just pretend games help them feel into what they might want to be and do. It's the first step of deciding what you want to be when you grow up.

That looks like fun—let's build a fort out of snow, throw snowballs at each other and have a war. Ow! That one hurt! I didn't like snowball fights one bit.

But I did like building the structure we had the fights in. I liked making the snow people who guarded our fort when we weren't in it and I liked figuring out how to decorate and dress these watchpeople most of all. Some kids don't like that part. They just want to dig into the snowbank, pack it into a ball and throw it.

Today I spend much of my time being an artist. I don't like to throw things—I create them. I make things. I design them.

"Each child has its fairy godmother in its own soul." Each adult does too. That's what visioning is about. It's how we get started in making our dreams come true.

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