Posts Tagged ‘dreams’

Extrapolate a day

Anastas shared the following dream: to tour Europe, spending more time at a place than an ordinary tourist would, i.e. he wants to live for some time in each town he visits. He also came up with a list of the countries. So far so good. However, that’s just an outline of a dream. It’s like an artist saying, “I would like to depict a horse.” That doesn’t say much about the work of art. After all, there are so many artistic media, techniques, moods, whose interplay might produce thousands of horses, but you know that a sketch of a horse affects you in a way that is quite different from the way an equestrian statue would. Thus, there is a long way to go from the simple utterance of intention to the detailed action plan, based on a vivid vision.

As we’re aiming at vividness today, we’d better focus like a laser, rather than radiate like a sun. Here’s why I, after hearing about the sights he would see, the food he would taste, the people he would talk to and the music he would listen to, I asked Anastas to focus on a day – a whole day – from the moment he wakes up to the moment he goes to sleep and fill it with his life. For some people it’s not easy to bear the world for a whole day; for most it’s not easy to bear themselves for a day. Do try to concentrate and experience the best introspection ever – be conscious and save the day.

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Dreaming communities

As dreaming turned out to be the murkiest part of our lives, I suggested we build dreaming communities to support one another.

I have not thought much of tools and ways, so the only thing I could suggest now is write in your blogs and comment in other people’s. I hope this will help dreams take shape.

Of course, they don’t have to be complete pictures because completeness implies boundaries.

Dreams don’t come easy

I substituted “dreams” for “goals”, as a goal sounds so scary – like something you have to roll up your sleeves for, something you might fail. It has nothing to do with playing safe, avoiding pain and frustration; it has something to do with guts.

Some people would have been glad to spend some time lost in reverie, visualizing themselves in contexts that have always fascinated them, being and doing what they have always dreamed of. Most of my students, though, are never keen on daydreaming. Why? Is it because they don’t want to cherish dreams that might never come true, thus getting frustration and disappointment? Or is it because daydreaming takes pro-activity, creativity and effort? Yes, dreaming is not easy – it’s like building a house on your own – coming up with the idea, the design, producing blueprints, laying foundations, and then brick after brick … It takes time, focus, passion and sweep. It’s a waste of time. Yes, developing a vision is costly. Taking orders to implement somebody else’s vision is cheap, unless you share in it, which, actually, makes it your own.

You don’t have goals? Well, aren’t you applying to college? Isn’t it a goal? Why do you want to go there? Is it because it’s the thing to do? Even if you don’t believe you have your own unique reasons, then think of common ones? Why do people go to college? What do they expect from it?

Let’s say it’s the trivial – a license to a well-paid job. We can dig further. Why do you want a well-paid job? What are you going to spend the money for? What kind of lifestyle would it provide for you? If the way you earn money does not matter to you, then focus on your leisure time – how would you be spending it – day in and day out, for years and decades? If the way you earn your living matters, then tell us how it does – what you expect from a good job.

If you believe college is more than a license to a well-paid job, then what is it? Hell, yes – isn’t it time to think what college is after all? Is it where you would like to spend four years of your life? How do you know?

Dreams and goals might be related to what you care about, what you are concerned about. These could be related to people and things outside you – the orphans and the alcoholics, landmarks, pollution, animals, energy, religion, family, etc.

If you have never cared about anything and lack the energy to build a dream, you might start in a reactive, rather than a pro-active way – by thinking of your likes and dislikes, i.e. “I would like to be surrounded by familiar people every day.” or “I would like to meet new people every day.” or “I would like to be away from people.”; “I would hate to spend time outdoors.” or “I would hate to spend all day in an office in a suit and tie.” Try to do that for every possible aspect of your life.

Why do it? Because the colleges you have chosen would like you to. Do you still want to go there?

transcendental dreaming

o wilde

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

People say you should have big dreams because you can never achieve more than you have dreamed of. It’s not just a beautiful adage; it’s down-to-earth logic – if you haven’t dreamed of something, you’ll never make efforts to achieve it; should it come to you out of the blue, you won’t recognize it for what it is, so you’ll either let it go unnoticed or deny it. In order to get hold of it, you should have somehow been prepared. Unfortunately, many people are not prepared for good luck because too often it goes beyond the confines of their little world.

Most people around have not heard of so many facts of life that they don’t believe me when I speak about them. How could they dream of things they don’t believe in? Well, we all have limited knowledge, but some of us recognize their ignorance and have in their minds free space for the unheard of, so when it comes, they don’t deny it and might wish to explore it and give it a chance. Some of us don’t even wait for the unknown to come; they create it themselves.

There are so many careers my students have never heard of. How could they ever dream of them? Besides, they refuse to believe that there could be any career they have not heard of, and they cannot possibly imagine that new careers could be invented. Yet, it’s a fact of life: people do invent their own careers and businesses, offering unheard of products and services, thus positioning themselves out of competition – at least for a while.

If you only dream of what you know, and you know so little, then you’ll have tiny dreamlets.

Consider this text when you’re working on your GOALS topic.

Goals = Dreams

The second suggested broad topic was Goals – personal, academic, career.

Some of you might have had quite specific goals for quite a while; yet, when asked to elaborate on them – how you happened to set them up, how you imagine the achieved results, you feel there’s not much to say. Then, how do you know you have these goals? Can you be sure they are truly yours? Are they what you have always known you should do or be? Well, if that’s the case, chances are these are not your dreams but your environment’s expectations about you. I don’t mean they don’t stand a chance of overlapping with your real dreams, but to make sure, you need to put them to a reality test.

Here is a way to do it:

Extrapolate your dream to the full, or … as much as you can.

You can’t? Well, if you have never played with a dream and extended it into the future, then how are you sure it’s your dream? Aren’t dreams supposed to fill you with bliss? Why have you been missing these happy moments so far?

You can? OK, now if you have reached the zenith, stop and tell me how you feel. Do you feel at home? If not and still hell-bent on reaching the goal, you might some day have climbed up a tall ladder only to realize that it had been propped against the wrong wall. That’s what some people call “mid-age crisis”. Buying a fancy car and changing your husband / wife do not always help much.

Still, how could you discover your real dreams? I have told you many times: first, forget all about your limitations – inadequate finance, body size, brain power, wrong place of birth – whatever you believe is the hindrance. Yes, explore the same old topic:

What would you do, how would you be spending your days if you didn’t have to work for money – you had all the time, money, power, health, support, etc. that you need. Dream wildly!

I know you have done that already. I know I have read some of your responses. You know what? I have not seen really wild dreams. You have been so sadly “realistic”, so shortsightedly confined in your provincial little world.

Try again!

If you have already reached what you believe you can reach in dreams, go small – think of the details. Try to imagine your dream life as vividly as possible. You come up with too many scenarios? Don’t be afraid of being inconsistent. Consistency is the last refuge of the mediocre, they say.

Turn every little stone to get out the treasure that’s lying underneath. Imagine colors, smells, sounds, sensations.

It’s useless? Well, that’s what my assignments for you have always been.