11/50: DARE TO DREAM

 In The 50 Things To Do In A Crisis

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” (Eleanor Roosevelt)

Dream (noun):
a series of thoughts, images and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep; a cherished aspiration, ambition or ideal

So at last it seems that coronavirus may have peaked and soon we may hear news about how we are to be released from the Lockdown. Dare we even ask ourselves if it could be time to start making plans? And if we feel brave enough for that, maybe it’s time to start dreaming again, too. But what shall we dream about?

I imagine that over the last few weeks of Universal Pause Button, a lot of us have had a chance to see our lives anew, from a 10,000 foot perspective, and that has only been possible because of the detachment we gained through this enforced retreat from our habitual daily round.

If you are like me then the enhanced perspective we’ve all gained has likely revealed some home truths for you, some of them good and some not so good, and for many of us there are now new choices to be made, new plans to be drawn up, new horizons to explore. Many of us will continue exactly as we were before but some of us will discover new lives to be lived. Should we choose, this is the moment when things can change forever.

But when you’re faced with overwhelming change, I think that it’s important that you don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed, and one of the ways to avoid it is to focus on your aspirations, your desires, your dreams. When the world is changing faster than you feel comfortable with, when the ground beneath your feet is shifting, it’s important to keep your eyes fixed on the prize.

Of course, the problem with dreaming is that it requires courage and right now not many of us are feeling terribly brave. If we’re honest, grateful though we are to be safe and well, with enough to eat and a National Health Service that is unfailingly wonderful and not for nothing the envy of the world, we are also slightly afraid about what the new future is going to be. Commentators and pundits are lining up to tell us that nothing will be normal again, people who should know better are happily predicting economic depression that could last a decade, and if you need to earn a living or support a family, these are not helpful headlines.

In such circumstances, fighting an internal narrative that is steeped in fear, and surrounded by all that negative newsfeed it’s completely normal to feel disempowered, as though the outcome of any future reality is beyond any of our control.

But that’s why I found Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote above so poignant.

Here’s the thing: the magic ingredient in all of this, “the beauty of your dreams” that Mrs Roosevelt refers to and urges you to believe in, that’s your wildest aspiration, the deepest desire of your heart, that’s the thing that right now your logical mind is telling you to stop fretting over and just get on with peeling the potatoes.

But if you can, just ignore the potatoes for a moment, – that’s it, just leave them over there in the saucepan, – and come and sit down for a minute. You see, in this moment, and indeed in every moment, there are a number of enormous different potentials. One of them is the opportunity to create anew your reality, align your life with your dreams, makeover the world you experience on a daily basis. And it is all down to your choice. That’s right, disempowered as you may feel, you still get a choice. More than ever, your vote counts. So what are you going to choose to believe? The negative newsfeed and the draining inner fears you carry, or do you have the courage to let your wildest dreams also become your guiding light and choose to believe in them instead?

If you can find the strength, my advice is to go with the wildest dreams. You may not achieve them, you may well fall short, but you may just go on a magnificent voyage of discovery in the meantime. You may change your own life and the life of uncounted others simply by having the courage to take the first step. Goethe said, “Be bold, and mighty forces shall come to your aid.” I love that quote. I love the idea that the universe is standing by, waiting for us to take action and ready to leap in and help the moment we do so. I’m reminding myself of that truth as I write it, because it’s so easy to forget something like that when times are uncertain, when the path ahead is not clear.

So in those moments of fear and doubt, these are the moment to remember who we are and to connect with our own power once more. We can, should we so choose, set new intentions, define new goals and aspirations and work towards them, solidly and doggedly. And if we do that, if we do not falter, then it is inevitable that we will surely get to where we intend to go. In order for that to happen, however, it is essential that we remember who we are and that actually we have a vested interest in how this turns out.

Mrs Roosevelt again: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

So, as you turn to face a future out of lockdown, in a world that is still working out how this is all going to work, remember to hold on to your dreams. If you make that choice, it will inform your decisions and your actions and the world, like it or not, will change accordingly to make it all fall into place.

And if all of that seems like too much pie in the sky for you, let me remind you what John Lennon had to say about it all:

Be well, stay well.

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.”

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