I’m thinking of the dream.
You know, the one we all have but maybe don’t want to claim or admit to. The one behind a red door, behind a locked gate.
I’m not talking about the dream of survival, of just making it, of just getting by or getting through it. I’m not talking about the dream of dirty dishes doing themselves or the trash magically making its way to the bin outside by the driveway, or the bin time traveling to set itself at the curb last Monday before the truck blazed down the street at 7am, waking all the oversleepers and shiftworkers and pre-menopausals, work at home ladies who stay up until 2am combing Facebook and Pinterest. No not that dream. Not the one where the bank loses your mortgage and the bills just stop coming. I’m not talking about the dream of having all the essentials, like enough toilet paper and coffee and gas to get back and forth to a job every day.
I’m talking about the dream-dream, the impractical, audacious, indulgent dream, the one that makes you a little sad to really look it in the eye because it feels so far away and just beyond reach, like all good dreams seem to be. I’m thinking of the dream where you can buy as much of those expensive salon products as you like, the ones with the rare essential oils and primitive flower essences from some far off corner of India.
This is the dream where all the work to be done matches the list of things your father said were a waste of time — reading poetry, writing prose, walking through Old Town with your camera, recording a meditation, listening to podcasts while you cut out words and images and drawings from an old book called ‘The World We Live In’ to use in an art journal you are building for a purpose not yet revealed.
This is the dream that is instantly interrupted by doubts, by naysayers and assholes with tenure sitting on your mental oversight committee. The inevitable questions stacking on top of one another like a cruel kind of Jenga tower:
Who do you think you are? It’s all been done before, done better, done by better people, hasn’t it? Who’s going to want this, need this, cherish this? Are you sure you’re not delusional? Are you sure you don’t want to sell everything and become a Buddhist nun?
This is the dream where success brings the ability to care for your aging mother when she starts to have trouble driving and remembering to take her meds. This is the dream that lets you rent a cabin on a lake up north a couple of times each summer — time to just listen to waves lapping up on the shore and the calls of distant loons beckoning their chicks into the safety of tall weeds.
This is the dream that comes from heart-centered work you can imagine doing until you’re 90, not because you have to, not because you didn’t save for retirement like your mother told you to do, but because there’s absolutely nothing you’d rather do or give to the world.
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