Living Our Dreams

I’ve studied many poets over the years, but Langston Hughes always haunted me.  He wrote about dreams—those precious, elusive things that we build up in our minds, hoping they will hatch into the light of day at some point if we nurture them enough.  Sometimes they just don’t hatch—maybe because we fail to keep them warm enough or because they simply weren’t ‘meant to be’—and that’s why Hughes is still buzzing around me like a mosquito.  He posed several uncomfortable questions in “A Dream Deferred”:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Every Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., I am surrounded by people who would rather be doing other things.  It’s not so much that they hate their jobs—well, maybe some of them do—but they’ve lost touch with what actually motivates them.  It’s like the corporation is this giant vacuum that sucks out every last drop of energy, and there’s nothing left at the end of the day to pour into a creative dream.  But we have nothing if we don’t have dreams.  Something has to make us want to get out of bed in the morning.  For me, that used to be writing.  I didn’t particularly care what I had to do for a paycheck—I just wanted enough time and space to do my work, the work that mattered, the work that just might change the world someday.  (Hey, you never know!)   

I’ve had dreams begin to fester—some probably began to stink—and I did nothing to rescue them.  I just let my day job take more and more, and I gave my writing less and less.  This is how dreams die—they shrivel and rot because we don’t feed them.  We give up on them.  We say we can’t, it’s too hard, there’s not enough time, and who am I kidding? 

Any dream worth pursuing usually means that you have to change something.  You might have to carve out some time in your schedule, or maybe you have to move across the country to have enough space for your dream to flourish.  You might have to finally sign up for that course you wanted to take or read that poem out loud in front of everybody in a writer’s group. 

The incredibly cool, magnificent, wonderful thing that happens when you take that first step is that higher powers step in to support you.  We are all given talents to use for the greater good of humanity, and when our dreams are in line with what we really should be doing down here in earth school…then we don’t struggle so hard.  We flow with the current instead of flailing around and trying to swim upstream.

There’s nothing wrong with scrubbing toilets to pay the bills while you work on that art project or write that business plan.  Just don’t let toilet scrubbing define you and make you forget about what you really want to do with your life. 

I’ve had several job titles in my life, but somewhere deep in the recesses of my heart, I always called myself a writer—and that is the only title that ever truly mattered.  So, this is me flexing my creative muscle, keeping my unwritten books warm and toasty, and knowing that someday they will hatch.

 Blessed Be

2 thoughts on “Living Our Dreams

  1. I get the idea here that your dreams you speak of are of the “daydream” type, as I would “dream” one day of being a singer. But my real dreams, those that take me to different universes, different planes of existence, these are the dreams that drive my ambitions, to know that there is more, something different than what we have grown accustomed to in this life, this universe.
    Writers like Twain, Thoreau, Hemingway, Brown, and yourself, carry us with our minds eye to places and events we would not usually see, and with good imagination, be a part of.
    I dream of a world, people united by reason, wisdom, love and hope, not by war. Reading can help the people in this world get to that almost evasive place. For in reading, we are carried away from the stresses of our normalities, of want and need, even for the briefest of time. But the memory of what was read stays. Never give up your “dream” of being a succesful writer. As writing alone makes that dream a reality, even if you are the only reader.

    1. If not for the Transcendentalists, I probably would have settled for having/being/doing much less in life. I had a few awesome teachers who came along at just the right time…then I sold out to corporate America..and now I’m getting back on track again. I love what you wrote about dreaming of a better world. We’re here to help make that vision a reality.

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