What is the Point of Dreaming?

Note: this was written at the very end of a difficult time of Extreme Emotions, after my first week visiting my parents in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Paris

This much is true for me.

Sometimes all you can do is hold on

And when I say “sometimes” I mean, days, weeks, months, even years.
Yes. Years. Some years all you can do is hold on.
Without a plan. Without even any trust, for trust is a muscle and it grows slowly.

Some years all you can do is hold on. Breathe. Practice. Stay as present as you can, processing as much as you can and not more. Being as kind to yourself as your meagre hold on reality can allow.
Because sometimes life can be hard for a long, long time.

Sometimes all you can do is hold on, and no practice or technique will get you anywhere. Perhaps because, against all human understanding, you are not meant to “get” anywhere. Yes, I know, try explaining that to other humans.
It’s not that the techniques don’t “work”. They do, that is, they allow you to keep the pain, grief, frustration, anger, confusion, the whole thing moving through you. But clarity doesn’t always show up afterwards.
Sometimes you have no idea where you’re going, or what to do. And those times of not knowing can last a really long time.
And there’s no word in the English language to describe those times.

There are times when life says “nope”

There are times when life says “nope”. Did you even know this was a thing? I didn’t.
Like all Western people, I thought everything that happened to me was up to me. I was taught that I’m the master of my own destiny.
It was only when I failed, consistently, to make things “happen” for me, that I realised: there are times when life says “nope”.

That’s it, that’s all I hear, over and over again, whenever I dare to dream my dreams and wonder how, perhaps, sort of, maybe, someday make them come true.
Life says “nope”.
Nope. Nope. Nope.

There’s a quote in “The Sound of Music”: when the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.
Some times life closes every possible door. And every possible window, for good measure.
And there’s nothing. Nothing but closed off opportunities.
And then there’s just me… Sitting there, wondering… What is the point of dreaming.

An emotional side and an intellectual side to the question

The question “what is the point in dreaming” is complex, so for the sake of clarity, I will say that it has two sides: an emotional one and an intellectual one.

The emotional one, like all emotions, is messy and challenging to work with. It requires tons of acknowledgement, presence, loving kindness. Allowing the question to just be, allowing yourself to be in the question. Not trying to answer it, because you can’t anyway, just being there.

“What is the point of dreaming?”. Giving yourself love in that trying time, because that’s the only thing you can do. In rises the question again: “What is the point of dreaming?”. Tears, and yet more tears. What is the point of dreaming, over and over again, the question is part despair, part hope. But it cannot be answered while in the emotional state.

Nothing can be answered while crying unconsolably on the floor, and “What is the point of dreaming” is no exception. When crying, apply self-love, and hold on.

There’s not much that can be done, and these times will come, so it’s best to learn how to be in them.
There comes that question again: “What is the point of dreaming?”. More tears, more self-love. And a break, every now and then, because it’s exhausting to feel so much.

After all that, perhaps, maybe, you will arrive at a sort of answer. There’s no guarantee, though.
The answer may not even matter, in the end.

But for education’s sake, I shall tell you what I found out about the intellectual side to the question “what is the point of dreaming”.

The question might sting, and maybe it doesn’t even matter

Especially at this time, when all of the self-help world is running around like a spinning top, asking themselves, over and over again, “how they can have their best year yet”, and “how they can achieve all of their dreams”, the question, “what is the point of dreaming” might sting especially so, since you might have to face, like I have, the harsh cold reality of staring at another year gone by when none of the dreams came even remotely true, nor gave any indication of ever coming true. Ever.

Life can be hard like that, and there’s no guarantee that dreaming, or working towards those dreams, for that matter, will get you anything.
So why bother.

After a whole year of failing, spectacularly, on each possible level, to make any of my dreams come true (with the exception of one), and having to face the question “what is the point of dreaming” on a permanent basis, forever working with the emotional bloodbath of being in that question, the answer appears to have finally taken shape.

Though it began feeling unimportant. Like this: who cares about what the point of dreaming is, it doesn’t matter.
Yet, an answer had been forming at the back of my mind. And I believe it arrived at its final shape when I read this quote by Anne Lamott, only a few days ago:

“Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.”

I do like Anne Lamott. And she is echoing a common sentiment found in the self-help “live your best life” world.
You know the sentiment: time’s a-ticking, go live your dreams, get to Paris already before it’s too late.

Paris

Paris.
I was there nay 4 days ago. For all of 1 hour, I was in Paris, in between landing from one plane and taking off on another, on route to my city of birth to visit my parents.
The last time I found myself in Paris was 2 years ago. Once again, in between flights, and since I had 7 hours to wait, I had planned on going into Paris proper.
My Gosh, I was so excited. That was until I discovered that one wheel of my suitcase was missing, and I realised there was no way I could go into Paris and get to another airport while carrying a one-wheeled 20kgm suitcase. So I sat at the airport, too sad and grief stricken to move, for ages, before getting on a bus to the airport where my plane to London would depart from.

Paris.
I have been dreaming of visiting Paris for years now. It’s a dream now buried so deep I have trouble remembering it. I wonder if I still want it.
I haven’t been able to visit Paris, even though I live in the UK. Paris is so close, there’s even a train from London, straight to it. But I’m too poor to afford it.
I’ve been living in Europe for 12 years, and I haven’t been to Paris. That’s poverty for you.
Life says “nope”. Straight in your face: Nope.
You are not going to Paris.
Closed windows.

So yes. Paris.
Let’s just say I have more than a bit of personal experience with the pain of having dreams and not seeing them realised.
So I’m the ideal person to answer the question “What is the point of dreaming”.

What is the point of dreaming?

This is what I’ve found to be true.
Here’s the raw, gut-wrenching, bitter-cold truth.

What is the point of dreaming, when dreams refuse to come true.
What is the point of dreaming, when life closes doors and windows, not letting in even a glimmer of a possibility of a “someday, somehow”.
What is the point of dreaming if the Universe will continue to be relentless in its pursuit of “Other Plans For You That Don’t Include Your Dreams”.

You dream so you can stand tall, proud and grounded, and look at Life right in the eye and say:

“I wanted this dream. I wanted it with everything I had, I worked for it with everything I had. I wanted it and I worked for it, and I watched as life closed windows right in front of me, so as to leave me with no doubt that my dream wouldn’t happen then. I watched life close those windows, and I grieved, and grieved. I stayed present, dreaming my dream, opening my heart, and grieving the loss of not having it. I hurt and I ached every day, and I continued to dream and open my heart and watch life close more and more windows, so that I had no choice but to surrender and grieve. I will not wake up one day aged 60-nothing wanting anything, because I have wanted things, right then, right now, and life kept closing windows. If life had given me any indication, any clue at all that my dreams might happen, if life had been half as relentless in closing all the windows to my dreams, I would have done everything I could to make them a reality. I could not do more, and I could not want more. I I have done my part. I kept my heart open.
It hasn’t been for lack of wanting. God hasn’t been on my side. And I am not more powerful than God.”

You dream with an open your heart, so that you can be at peace, when the dreams don’t come true.

I dream of Paris, I keep wanting Paris, and I keep grieving when the Universe closes all chances of Paris happening. I keep opening my heart, asking if this is the right time, trying, searching, dreaming, only to be told, again and again, “no, not this time, you are not going to Paris”.

I am not going to wake up one day grieving not having been to Paris because I am doing my grieving right now.

The point of dreaming is to stay present, so that we know what happened to our dream.

If Paris never happens for me, I will know exactly why. Because I stayed present, kept dreaming and kept trying. I will know that lack of money was a legitimate reason, not a fear based assumption.
I am staying present, and staring at reality with clear eyes of truth, and I know what is standing in my way.
Sometimes life is standing in my way.

Sometimes life says “nope”.
Sometimes the Universe keeps all the doors and all the windows closed.
Sometimes all you can do is hold on.

And you stay present all the way, so you can say “I was there, I know what happened, and I’m at peace, because I gave it all I had”.
And it will be true.

Feel free to substitute “Paris” for whatever your dream is.

Weekly Log #75: First Log From Buenos Aires

My weekly ritual for looking at the week that was.

Weekly Log copy

Late Log. And it’s taking every ounce of effort I can muster as it is.

  • In Buenos Aires, Argentina. Haven’t seen my family in 2 years. I’m having all the feelings, so I am not well. I’m functioning, just about, and I give thanks that this isn’t like the Great Depression I went through the last time I was here, 2 years ago, the day after I arrived, when things got so bad, and I was so suicidal, my Mum had to intervene. This time I came prepared for Extreme Feelings, so I knew what to expect. Even so, it is still extremely challenging, and in many ways I am barely holding on.
  • Ghosts from AH#1. They are there, or should I say “here”. I am still not free from it all, even though I wish I was. A breath for this.
  • Spending New Year’s Eve with Super Friends. I’m not well enough to do it justice, but I’ll say this: we had food, we sang “Defying Gravity” (which took care of any dream I might have ever held of singing as a “career”), we journaled on what we were proud of on 2015, we watched fireworks, and we had an overall great time. And in the morning, Super Friends plaited my hair so it would be ready for my long travel across the Atlantic (it was a 2 people job, hair was that long).
  • Had a haircut. Probably not the best of times to do it, since the accompanying identity change only adds to the troubled waters (i.e.: Extreme Emotions) I’m already in, but hair was really long and needed to be done, so I can cope with the heat. My hair is now super short, which means it’s curly. A breath for going through changes.
  • Parents’ House. Everything is charged with memories, which in turn are charged with emotions. I am glad to be surrounded by memories, they carry meaning. And also, they contribute to Extreme Emotions. I am essentially on Emotional Overdrive right now.
  • Dad’s condition has worsen, which is to be expected since he suffers from an incurable, degenerative disease. All the pain and grief about that. I wish beyond all wishing I could do something to help. There is nothing I wouldn’t give for him to be better, and yet this is how things are, and there is nothing I can do. A breath for processing all the grief.
  • The “Big” Topics, all coming up amidst the troubled waters of grief and sadness. I want to give up on “The Big Purpose” and “The Big Dream”, fantasising with moving to an ashram in India and staying there, never to dream a dream again. A breath for staying with the despair of “nothing works”.
  • Falling on old emotional patterns. Did you know they are a thing? Well yes! They are totally a thing! And nobody ever talks about emotions, because we live in a patriarchy, where “Men Rulez” and men don’t do emotions (well). So nobody, even in the “self-help/spiritual/yoga” world ever tells you that it’s possible to fall into old emotional patterns, without any logic or reason (because emotions live outside of logic and reason, natch). I find myself getting irritable over the smallest things, which makes no sense. Back in the UK I accept far worse with far more grace, and I am almost never angry. Over here, though, I blow up over the slightest inconvenience. I am experiencing Extreme Emotions, and I am also in close proximity to my mother, yes and also falling into old emotional patterns, i.e.: defaulting into old automatic emotional reactions, is totally a thing.

Moments of Insight

I had this insight a few days ago, and wrote it down, during a brief but productive moment of sanity.

“We are never the same twice.
This is a realisation that begins to dawn on you after you start doing yoga.
We change. We are always changing. We are never the same person.
We think we are, because we remember things from the past, but right now we are a different person.
And this is healthy, or so they say, because the alternative is stagnation. We are meant to grow.
But it’s difficult, this never being the same again. A lot of grieving has to take place, a lot of comfort with dying and rebirthing. Over and over we die and are born again. And it only hits us every so often, when we raise our heads and look back and realise: I am not the same person I used to be. I have a memory of that person I used to be… but only a memory, only a thought. Nothing is the same.
Nothing is ever the same.
There’s no way we can fight the change.
We can only get comfortable with dying.”

Things of Considerable Worth (Un-missables!)NOPE

I am mad at the world right now, and deep inside this story of “I DON’T AGREE WITH ANYBODY!”.
So I have nothing to recommend today.
Boo.

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This log may be the hardest log I ever logged.
I am in a kind of Hell I’m well familiar with, but one I cannot describe to other people, so I’m left with “I am upset and no, I don’t know why, just give me space”.
I am trying to stay present and process as much as I can, which is all I can ever do.

*takes deep breaths*

Weekly Log #74: Home Alone for Christmas

My weekly ritual for looking at the week that was.

Weekly Log copy

Super late log because Life has been extra Life this week.
It was Christmas! And it’s the week before my Big Trip! So of course, busy has been extra busy.

  • Teeth have been really sore throughout the whole week, leading to fears that “Something is Wrong”. Dentist confirmed today that nothing is wrong, and teeth are less sore, so I’m feeling more relaxed about that. A breath for this whole thing finally being over.
  • This years, Christmas really didn’t feel like Christmas for me. Even as the weeks went by, I noticed a distinct lack of interest on my part towards all things Christmasy, especially music. I sang “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” a couple of times, when I heard others sing it, but that was it. And the more I noticed, the more I realise: Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas for other people either. It’s been… strange. I spent Christmas Day on my own, completely on my own for the first time ever. I prepared myself for the pain I thought might show up, but no pain did show up. I made myself some nice meals (or tried to, anyway), watched “The Sound of Music”, as per my Christmas Eve tradition, painted a couple of things for no reason, watched the very last Downton Abbey episode… Very quiet joy all around. My only regret is not yoga-ing and meditating and processing more… though I didn’t really feel like it. (I asked myself a few times, so that’s how I know I didn’t feel like it)
  • The Sales!!! On Boxing Day morning, I was there for the sales, at my favourite store. Bought shirts and sweaters for myself, and shirts for brother. Then went again and bought shoes. It’s been a mad few days, what with all that shopping, but I pulled it off. I got things I was planning to get. I’m only sorry I couldn’t find yoga pants.
  • Good Lord, did I do anything this week but run around like a maniac trying to get everything ready for trip? Probably not. Operation “Final Countdown” has been more demanding than I thought. I knew it would be a challenge to get everything done at the last minute, but I think I’m doing pretty well.
  • Super Friend came, and we had a great time. Twitter Friend going through hard life stuff. Operation “Expanding the Circle” taking unexpected turn.
  • Started “A Spinster’s Holidays” on Widdershins’ Facebook page, to record all my holiday stuff. I shared some doodles, and some deep spiritual lessons I got from Martha Beck, and they proved popular. On the grand scheme of things this is nothing, but to me it gives me hope that if I share the “deep” stuff with people, they might be interested, (rather than wonder what the Heck I’m on about, as my monsters tell me).
  • I can’t believe the year is ending. I started this year not caring much about the “New Year” thing, and it appears I’ll be ending it in the same way. I cannot think about all the things I “didn’t achieve”. Not just because it would be challenging emotionally, but because my brain seems to have changed, and I appear to no longer care about things like “achievements” and “status” and “success”. In one way, this is great: the only thing I want is to create and share my truth with the world, without caring at all whether people like it or not (if you think about it, it’s rather silly to care: if it is truth, and people don’t care, then it’s their loss, and if it’s not true, then it’s a good thing people don’t care). I would like to think I’m slowly getting to that state of mind, yet I am aware of how much trust this takes, because I cannot see what lies in front of me, at all, when I’m not obsessed about the things the world tells me to obsess about. I have to make my own path… again. Turn Widdershins, do things the opposite way as convention. Again, and again.

Moments of Insight

These insights came while watching “The Sound of Music” on Christmas Eve. It was the first time since my trip to Salzburg and yes, I enjoyed it tremendously.

  • Everything is beautiful in Salzburg. And beauty is a way to honour the divine, to try to vibrate at the same frequency as God.
  • “I always try to keep faith in my doubts”, Reverend Mother. I wonder whether there’s value in keeping faith in one’s doubts, rather than trying to squash faith, whenever it shows up, which is what I’ve been trying to do for a while.
  • “To find out what is the will of God and do it wholeheartedly”, Maria. Seems to be Life Purpose, according to the spiritual path.
  • “The Lord will show you in his own good time”, Reverend Mother. How hard is this lesson to learn???
    Very!!!
  • In a strange way, stories are truer than reality. Movies and stories cut off the “minutia” of life, leaving nothing but moments of awakening. In stories we can see clearly the characters’ karma, their struggles, what they need to learn. In our own lives this is harder to see our own symbolism.

Things of Considerable Worth (Un-missables!)

  • The Game is Rigged. If you’re caught up in “comparison” and “why can’t I do all the things”, here’s Havi with an important lesson: there’s no way we can do all the things.

    The Game is so ridiculously Rigged. For example, yesterday (Friday, for me), I intentionally left the day empty so I could devote it to writing and posting the Chicken. Here’s what actually happened. I woke early, made breakfast for me and my brother, laundry, made up the guest room, prepared soup stock and chopped vegetables so dinner prep will be easier, washed dishes, took out compost, did a small workout and suddenly it was 2pm. Wasn’t on my phone, didn’t open my computer. Even with my housemate picking up groceries for me, and my chronic pain on vacation, at full energy, with zero avoidance or distractions, and the tremendous good fortune of huge quantities of magic privilege beans, I wasn’t able to pull it off. I wrote two-thirds of the chicken, and it was already evening. Prior to Shmita, I would have skipped my dance classes and just finished this post to not disappoint people waiting for our weekly ritual. This past year has really opened my eyes to the fact that this blog-space I love so much is also a ten-hour-a-week (and sometimes twenty-hour-a-week) unpaid job, in addition to all the other unpaid jobs, and so I am trying to be more aware of my tendency to tend to [perceived external needs] rather than to my own joy-spark desire in the moment. Anyway, today went the same as yesterday — I still haven’t gotten around to making the soup, and also realized it’s been ten days since I last washed my hair. All of this is not the hard part, it’s just the truth of life. What’s hard is the way external culture works with impossible expectations of what can be done in a day. All the “productivity” people who want us to believe that if we just were more efficient, we could magically “balance” jobs and families and work on our dreams and goals, inbox zero and throw some self-care in there too, what a joke. The way we live is broken, fantastically broken, and no one talks about this. The uncomfortable culture of silence and silencing allows us to keep comparing ourselves to an impossible-to-achieve standard. There’s not actually any way to get anything done, never mind everything. A breath of acknowledgment for something that is true whether people talk about it or not, for a quiet powerful wave of revolution, and a breath of appreciation in my heart as I also take stock of the magic beans that make my life easier in so many uncountable ways.

    (Yes, this quote is from another post of hers, but it’s important, so I’m putting it here)

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Yay for another log, even if late.
Here’s a prayer: may we all receive the New Year in whichever way works best for us. And may we receive whatever qualities we need most.
Happy New Year.

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