touchstones

Last night I was reminded of the sheer power that facing your fears has. I found myself surrounded by dear friends and given the opportunity to share my dreams. My instinctive response: I do not want to! In that moment I was filled with such dread at the prospect of dreaming out loud, but as I put my dreams out there I found myself filled with new energy, peace and hope.

The evening’s beautiful exchange made me think that in some ways dreams are not unlike problems. When we keep our problems to ourselves they run amok in our minds becoming bigger and more impossible to solve by the day. Similarly when we lock our dreams away they tend to cower in the corner (keep in mind that the problems are behaving uncontrollably and disruptively) and seem more impossible to realise from one day to the next. Jack Kerouac formulated the relational dimension of dreaming excellently, “All human beings are also dream beings. Dreaming ties all mankind together.” Dreaming is not just something we do it is part of who we are, “Dreams are,” as Thoreau said, “the touchstones of our character.”

When we share our dreams, especially the impossibly big ones, we stir each other’s hearts and awaken dreams that often lie dormant. As Goethe put it, “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” In sharing our dreams we also open ourselves up to the illuminating perspective of the people who love us enough to remind us that, “he who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying” (Friedrich Nietzsche).

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