Have You Forgotten How To Dream?

These days, whenever I need a splash of entertainment to brighten my day, I tend to click on You Tube for fifteen minutes of instant fun.

But the other day, my fifteen-minute work break turned into forty-five minutes, when I stumbled upon a music video that I hadn’t seen in over twenty years, and that one video become two, then three, and then four…

It’s not that I needed to re-live the 1980’s, (although I admit to adoring the music of that decade), but watching the old videos of that time; Mr. Mister, The Police, Bruce Springsteen, as well as others, reminded me of how I felt as a ten year-old girl watching Music Television.

As a child, something about those videos brought my soul to life, and it wasn’t just the music. The creativity of the artists, their passion and pizazz, and the world of color and activity into which they projected their songs, stirred within me a deep passion for life. A yearning to find all that was fun, beautiful and good, and involve myself in it.

Granted, not all of these videos promoted what I would call healthy ideals, but they awakened my spirit to the possibilities of life. As a young girl, they enabled me to dream.

So what in the heck does MTV have to do with Lyme? You ask.
Don’t worry, I’m getting there…

As I sat on the sofa, watching my favorite videos, I realized that the ten-year old in me had re-emerged, along with all of the sentiments that I had felt twenty years ago whenever I would watch music videos. And as my spirits soared once again, I realized that many years had passed since I had felt that way. Maturity, life and then Lyme disease had stuffed the passionate, hopeful little girl into a little corner of my soul, where she would be safe from the ravages of the “real” world.

Children are marvelous dreamers, full of hope. In their imaginations, they fly across the world like Superman. Indeed, when you were a child, didn’t you believe in miracles? Didn’t you know you could fly?

A pang of sadness struck me as I finished my You Tube session, because I realized just how much life, and Lyme, had turned me into a practical survivalist, whose hopes had been relegated to a quiet place of the soul, to avoid any further pain in case life promised little more than a sedentary existence on the sofa.

How and when had that happened? Why did I allow it to happen? I pondered the possibility of resurrecting my child. Would it ever be possible to dream like that again?

Perhaps. Imagination is a gift that can be cultivated with practice, and living a life that fosters the growth of dreams; a life that encourages thoughts of beauty, fun, adventure and possibility, can be found whenever we meditate upon and involve ourselves in activities that bring out the best in our spirits and tap into the unfulfilled dreams that we yet hold dear in the quiet spaces of our souls.

Sigh. So how do you do that if you are bedridden with Lyme disease? Is it even profitable to dream? After all, dancing in a field of flowers may seem like a cruel joke if your ability to walk has been snatched out from under you.

However, it has often been said that we become what we think about. If you can sustain a thought that brings you joy for any length of time, your cellular behavior will be affected. So why not go back to that time; ten, twenty, or fifty years ago, when you truly believed you could fly, and life’s possibilities seemed endless? When truth what was you lived in your imagination, and not what you saw before your eyes? When, although you were just “playing pretend” you knew that you were the princess of a palace, or a knight in shining armor who had come to rescue the world?

If you have no recollection of such child-like thoughts, then I invite you to paint a picture of your dreams. What you would do, where you would be, and whom you would be with, if you could. Use as much detail as you can.

Even if right now, you don’t believe that life can get much better, why not do something that taps into your dreams and awakens your spirit? If you are an adventurer, watch a National Geographic special about going on safari in Africa, and think about what you would do if you were there. Better yet, make plans in your mind to go to Kenya or Namibia, even if right now it seems an impossibility.

Or suppose you have always wanted to do humanitarian work overseas. Start by reading about different projects that are being done around the world. Sponsor a child and get involved with a non-profit organization from home. Learn about the customs and traditions of your child’s country, and make short-term and long-term goals for your involvement with that organization. The more detail you can give to your dream, the more likely you are to realize it.

Or let’s say that you have always wanted to be a teacher, or some other type of professional, but Lyme has prohibited you from going to school full-time. On the days when you feel good enough to read a little, why not find some interesting instructional books on your subject of choice, and get started studying them, with the idea of simply enjoying what you find there?

But dreaming doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to perform any kind of activity. Children do the impossible in their thought-world; they fly, they conquer kingdoms, they marry princes, and they take great delight in it, even though that world is not “real”. Become like a child and learn to meditate on the impossible, or at least on what could one day be a reality. If you don’t know how, look to photographs, nature, songs, movies, people or anything that inspires you to remember your dreams and leave your worries of Lyme, and your practical life, behind.

For me, it was a few songs from the 1980’s that inspired me. Other things, such as uplifting fiction novels have been other food for my soul, as they invite me to envision worlds that are much larger than my own, and remind me of all the good that can be felt and found when I focus upon those worlds.