Saturday, April 20, 2013

Keep on dreaming even if it breaks your heart

“We plan our lives according to a dream that came to us in our childhood, and we find that life alters our plans. And yet, at the end, from a rare height, we also see that our dream was our fate. It's just that providence had other ideas as to how we would get there. Destiny plans a different route, or turns the dream around, as if it were a riddle, and fulfills the dream in ways we couldn't have expected.”

Ben Okri

Heard a great story the other day. A young guy shot 16 under par on the golf course. Some were even calling it “the greatest round ever played”

Although I was certainly impressed with this guy’s score, that wasn’t the part of the story that captivated me. When asked about his round, Rhein Gibson, the golfer in question, described how he had a song stuck in his head all day by the Eli Young Band called “Keep on dreaming if it breaks your heart.”

Great title.

Side note. I’ve always been fascinated by how songs get stuck in our heads. I vividly remember my mother playing the song “Caribbean Blue” by Enya after a friend of hers passed away. She said the song gave her a sense of peace and helped her make sense of her friend’s passing. That memory will always stick with me. I’ve had many such songs in my hit parade that have effectively made up the soundtrack of my own life. Music is wonderful that way. It gives us an anchor to remember things. To reconstruct time and place and memories in a way nothing else really does. Although he was mad as a hatter, I’ve always agreed with Nietzsche’s comment that, “without music life would be a mistake.”

I was however, particularly struck by this golfer’s story, because his dream was so close to my own. In my life I’ve dreamed of travel, and to be a comedian, and to write books, and to be a psychologist. I’ve accomplished all those things. But there was one dream that eluded me. I always wanted to be a professional golfer. I spent hundreds of hours as kid practicing and reading and playing and dreaming. But it never happened for me. Yet somewhere in the back of my mind, the dream is still alive. I’m old and I’m paunchy and I’m busy. But I haven’t given up. Not completely.

In pursuit of this improbable dream. I practice. A lot. I even moved out to the country so I could practice and play a little more. One particular little spot is my sanctuary. It’s a little practice green next to a cornfield off of a quiet country road. I spend hours out there chipping and putting. It gives me a sense of peace. Will I ever really be a pro? Probably not. But something struck me the other day that helped me make a little more sense of all of this.

Second side note. I’ve had a recurring dream for as long as I can remember. It’s of my grandparents old farm in Washington state. In the dream I am young and happy and contented. It’s a nice feeling but I always wake up a little saddened. To me the dream conveys a sense of longing to return to a simpler time in my life without all the worries and responsibilities. I’ve tried to make sense of it many times, but never quite get there. C.S. Lewis called these kind of things “tantalizing glimpses.” I think he was right on the money.

I bring this up because the other day I was in a bad mood. I was feeling sorry for myself, and decided to go out to my little spot and work it out. I spent an hour or two practicing as the sun began to set, and then I turned around and made a stunning realization.

I had walked into my own dream.

Seriously. There it was. A farm and a red barn and a cornfield and a place to quietly do something I’d always dreamed about.

It was kind of amazing really. I sat down and just kind of took it all in. How had I missed it for so long? Was I living my life completely on auto-pilot?

It was all right there…

I sat there for a while longer, and was eventually filled with a sense of gratitude for the moment of recognition. For a while at least, I understood something. Maybe dreams don’t come true exactly as we conjure them up, but they still can come true. Sometimes we may have to tilt the lens a little, shift our perspective a little, but they still might be there..

I hope I can remember this. Even more so, I hope I can help others see how their own dreams may have materialized in ways they may not have completely foreseen. Much like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”, sometimes we have to go out into the world and stumble a little before we realize we have all of the things we need right in our own backyards.

I’m gonna try and remember this..

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