Friday, November 4, 2011

Container for Dreams

As soon as one reaches the age of awareness, dreams become part of life. Sparked by events and imagination, each of us begins a wish list. Special events during the year, birthdays and Christmas, increase the urgency, but usually, one’s dreams, wishes, hopes and wants are an outgrowth of personal and private experience. In ways not completely understood, we store our dreams in containers within ourselves. Early on, we guard these dreams in very private ways. We do not enjoy being teased or chided about our far-fetched, pie-in-the-sky desires that seem so impossible; so they are rarely shared. For the most part, we keep them to ourselves. As we gain self-confidence and self-assurance we begin to talk about hopes and dreams with trusted family members or friends. Guarded at first, we are cautious and sensitive when and where our innermost fantasies are given voice. During adolescence, this approach-avoidance conflict is tested with considerable anxiety, apprehension, and uncertainty. On occasion, trust is misplaced and we suffer embarrassment and personal distress when promises are broken, confidence violated, and our innermost feelings laid bare for all to know.

As we mature, we become more protective and wary to thrust ourselves into the limelight, reluctant to discuss dreams, hopes, wishes and wants. We subconsciously build protective walls around emotions and feelings, in order to prevent or reduce discomfort, pain, and negative reactions to our most sensitive thoughts; without encouragement and support, many dreams die.

Maturity also provides ability to reconsider early hopes and dreams. As a kid I dreamed of having a horse like Bobby Benson on Radio’s B Bar B Ranch. Another time, I thought it cool to have a cave like Batman. Thankfully, there are unseen monitors who prevent such dreams from becoming reality. As a youngster I wanted a bicycle—although promised, family financial problems prevented that dream from coming to fruition. To compensate, I scavenged alleys for bicycle components until I collected essential parts. I had to buy a seat and fenders, but my junkyard alley bike served me well for several years. A valuable lesson was learned: most of the time you have to make your own dreams come true.

Even so, there are numerous occasions when the dream maker takes control and guides events just enough to let dreams take hold, keep hope alive and grant wishes—unexpectedly and at opportune moments. The dream maker employs strangers, acquaintances, friends, family and a myriad of circumstance—some planned, some happenstance—in order to set in motion actions necessary for dream elements to blossom. The dream may involve relationships, employment, workplace, life lessons, vocation, recognition, success, or acquisition of personal property. Some call such opportune moments luck, good fortune, blessings, or fate. Most of us accept life’s benevolence without much reflective thought. But analysis would reveal one’s personal contributions of hard work, preparation; Faith, dedication, and resolve were in partnership with the dream maker. Without personal involvement, dreams wither. Dreams do not come true because they are supposed to; they bear fruit because of commitment, investment of time, energy and effort.

Over a lifetime, one accumulates dreams, hopes and wishes, which never come to be. Some are discarded as ill conceived, unrealistic, and impractical and are tossed away. Others have been set aside due to unforeseen circumstance: unplanned obligations, health issues, financial limitations or waiting for the “right” time. A number, on the verge of accomplishment, are consciously ended because the “price is too high.” These fill our container for dreams.

How many dreams have been set aside and left unrealized? How often have hopes been dashed, wishes silenced due to personal feelings of guilt, fear of criticism, ridicule and rejection because of what others may think? How many times has the dream maker been shunned because of timidity? How many opportunities were bypassed due to insufficient emotional strength? How many occasions have dreams, hopes and wishes not been voiced because of apprehension, suspicion, or doubt?

Now is the time to open the container for dreams—give them a fresh look and consider how richer life would be if these most personal desires came to be. Dreams, hopes and wishes do not have an expiration date. Like honey, they never spoil and are always ready to nourish the heart, energize the spirit and bring a special peace of mind. What treasures are in your container for dreams?

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