“A daydream is a meal at which images are eaten. Some of us are gourmets, some gourmands, and a good many take their images precooked out of a can and swallow them down whole, absent-mindedly and with little relish.” ~ W.H. Auden
“Let’s detox our cluttered academic brain. That’s what the poet does. People call it daydreaming, detoxing our minds and taking care of that clutter. It’s being able to let in call letters from the poetry universe.” ~ Juan Felipe Herrera
“Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.” ~ Bo Bennett
I’ve always loved daydreaming and saying “what if this or that happened?” And yet, I was also the “good” kid who, for the most part, did what she was told. I took responsibility very seriously but I was always planning when I could be alone with my own thoughts. In my daydreams I was free to be me without the masks that we all wear to protect ourselves.
When I dared to share how I dreamed the world could be, I was criticized for being a Pollyanna. I may not be a gourmet dreamer as the quote above states, but I learned pretty early in life, that the canned and frozen dinner type dreamers felt threatened by my world view. So I went underground and dreamed in secret.
Breaking the habit of hiding how I really feel about the things that are going on around me has been difficult. And yet, it’s the artists who are vulnerable and share their true thoughts and feelings with the world, who effect the most change. Today’s post is one of my attempts to share my true self with you.
Thursday as I was driving home from a hair appointment in Bisbee, the cloud formations were gorgeous. It reminded me of when I was a child and my friends and I would lie on the grass looking at clouds imagining they were horses, or ducks, or cars, or rocking chairs. I didn’t know it then, but we were doing something really powerful, imaging a different reality.
As I was driving, I was thinking about friends of mine who are going through extremely tough personal issues right now. And about my own little aches and pains as I grow older. Why do we make ourselves suffer so?
I don’t believe we need to suffer. It’s that we all accept without question that reality is particularly dark. But as Gary Zukav points out in his book Seat of the Soul, human existence has been dark because we have chosen it to be that way. And we have seduced ourselves into thinking it WILL ALWAYS be that way. In our minds and in the stories we tell ourselves, evil will always be battling against love and light. We also tell ourselves that we must all suffer with only occasional periods of joy, and then we die. What if all that is only “true” because we have never questioned the “fact” that suffering, or this war between good and evil will go on forever?
While I was on this train of thought, I turned the bend toward the valley where I live, and I gasped. In front of me was a most amazing sight. It was raining between where I was and home. The sun was low on the horizon behind the rain, and it lit up the droplets into a wall of radiant light. It was one of the most breathtaking sites I’ve ever seen. If there had been a place to pull off the road I would have taken a picture of it. It was so bright it lit up the surrounding landscape with the most amazing glow. That sight was so extraordinary it seemed to be the answer to what I had been thinking about just moments earlier.
I wish I could remember who said something like, “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional,” but the light seemed to be telling me that if I shift my thinking just a little bit; if I and a whole lot of other people play the “what if” game, we might be able to put evil back into the bottle, or at least confine it to a very small corner of our minds and hearts. Challenges will always be present in each of our lives. I don’t dispute that. But we don’t have to hang onto the pain until we make ourselves and everyone around us miserable.
This beautiful miracle caused me to ask some what if questions. And a kind of “what if” poem formed in my mind. I’m not a poet, but here are my what ifs.
We were taught to love ourselves,
have empathy for those we encounter everyday,
make sure the wounded were taken care of,
we were able to see the true essence of those around us,
we were able celebrate the successes of others?
People came before money,
Greed was a word in the dictionary that teachers and parents had to explain to their children, governments and corporations listened to their citizens and workers,
artists, creatives, and public servants were paid as much as lawyers, doctors, and other professionals,
religions were there to comfort rather than control,
nations worked together for the good of all beings on the planet?
Everyone was always safe,
had enough to eat,
had a proper roof over their heads,
had adequate health care,
a good education,
and work they loved?
Some people will say I’m crazy, or delusional to think that we can make radical changes to human existence. But I believe it’s possible for me to daydream new states of being into existence by examining my own and society’s long held beliefs. Think of it this way. What if what we have always thought to be real, or true, was just someone’s interpretation that took hold and now we accept as fact? If we knew that was true, would that change our outlook on life as we know it?
I’ve started to take a look at my personal thought patterns. When did I accept them as reality? Are they really true? If not, what new perspectives can I gain from looking at myself and the world in a new way? I hope if I continue to do this, I’ll be one of many dreamers who create a new world.
Thanks for following, liking and commenting. I appreciate it. Have a fantastic weekend and take a few moments to watch some cloud formations.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2018
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards. It’s a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel, and is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news on the audiobook version Lucinda is working on. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.