July 28, 2014

Our Dreams: The Only Reality We Ever Know

"I believe in the dream. I think we only live through our dreams and our imagination. That's the only reality we really ever know.

— Diana Vreeland in A Question of Style: A Conversation with Diana Vreeland by Lally Weymouth, Rolling Stone Magazine, 1977.

Have you ever found yourself awake in the middle of the night after a scary dream? This happens to me sometimes and it's hard to shake that feeling of fear. I try to tell myself it's just a dream....it's not reality.

But then I ran across this quote from the iconic Diana Vreeland and it got me thinking. About dreams. And what's real vs. what isn't.

For so much of our childhoods, we are told that our dreams aren't real. Especially the scary ones.

"It was just a dream...it wasn't real. It can't hurt you."

What if somewhere along the way, we started believing this about all our dreams?

I'm not talking about nightmares starring the boogie-man. I mean the dreams that are rooted way down deep inside of us...in those dark secret places where they can barely get enough air to breathe.

What comes to me is a question, one that's somewhat difficult to ask...but asked it must be.

Do you think your dreams are silly? 

I guess in order to think anything about your dreams, you must first know what they are. [If you aren't sure, maybe spend some time looking inside your heart. You'll find a dream (or two hundred) in there.]

So, about that dream of yours....Is it something you've held out hope that maybe, just maybe, one day might be possible?

Is it something you can imagine yourself doing, week in and week out, in the face of any and all opposition, whether you ever earn a red cent from it or not?

Do you tell yourself your dream can become a reality or do you dismiss your deepest hopes for fear they might be silly? I think fear of being seen as silly is a terrible thing. Just consider what wonderful adventures you might have if you'd only allow yourself to look a bit silly in the process.

Beside my desk is a small postcard with a drawing of a trapeze artist. On it is a quote that says: "It is only by risking ourselves from one hour to another that we live at all."

What are you risking these days? I don't mean your stock market investments. I'm talking about your reputation.

Are you more concerned about what people think of you to the point that you'd let fear of looking silly be a good enough reason to by-pass the possibilities of your dreams?

Unlike those scary dreams that plague my sleep, the dreams of our heart are very, very real. As Dame Vreeland said, our dreams are the only reality we know. So doesn't that mean we can use them to shape our lives? I say yes to that.