Dreaming and fearing and dreaming

Idea Box 1

For the last year at my old job, I kept a box on the shelf above my desk.  When I had an idea - for a post, for an art project, a book, a career path, whatever - I would write it down and tuck it inside.  It was my way of making it through a time when I felt zapped of any time or energy for creating.  Each little slip of paper was a promise to myself that when I left, I would take out all of those ideas and get down to business on the things that excited me.

Before I packed the box away - back in DC - I thumbed through it, glancing at a few pieces of paper, and then I closed the box and made the promise to myself again, except this time it was that when I got to Vermont, I would dig in.

possible plot

But since getting here, it's been go, go, go. Unpacking and getting parking permits and furniture and vet visits and now studying for the bar.  It's good and exciting stuff (minus the bar part). And I'm still so very happy to be here in this place. But the box of ideas is sitting and waiting.  

post about

And the closer I get to actually being able to sit down with it, the more I think about what I might do with those ideas.  The result is that I've been thinking a lot about dreams. Not the ones where I'm wandering the halls of my highschool without pants on.  I'm talking about day-time dreams and the dreams that you whisper to yourself when you're alone.  The amorphous things that you hope for and maybe fear saying out loud.

It's those dreams that are behind so many of the ideas in the box.  Dreams become ideas. And those ideas become goals, which become actions, which hopefully become dreams...realized.

brilliant idea for future life

But the process isn't straightforward.  There are hang-ups and detours and ruminations over whether that dream is really our dream at all.  Fears about whether we're silly to let ourselves dream such impossible/selfish/insert-your-word-here dreams. Fears about whether all we can do is dream up dreams and ideas, that maybe the next steps - goals and actions - are beyond us. That we don't have what it takes to put those dreams into motion.

Or maybe that's just me.  Maybe everyone else honors their dreams and knows how to carry through. (Another big fear). Or perhaps no one else is quite so silly as to be doing all this dreaming business. (The really big fear).

Rewrite the story

So the closer I get to opening that box and sitting down with all those slips of paper, the more excited I am. But, at the same time, the more afraid I am. Dreams are fun, and ideas can be exhilarating, but the next steps might be hard and scary. And they will requires choices - one dream over another, one idea over another. And trust that I'm making the right decisions. Or that if I'm not, that's okay.


I hope that when the day comes, I will honor each idea as I read it. I hope that I will have the strength to sit with those ideas and listen to myself - to refrain from judging the ideas by any standard other than what I really want and what sends my heart soaring. I hope that I will be honest with myself about what I am capable of, both what i'm not and what I am. I hope that I will have the courage to make the necessary decisions, to head in the direction of one dream even if that means folding up another and putting it back in the box for another day. I hope that I will have the humility to ask for help where I need it. And then I hope that I will leap.

If you build it they will come

I have always loved this poem by the French poet Guillaume Appollinaire:

Come to the edge, no we will fall...
Come to the edge, no we will fall...
They came to the edge, He pushed them, and they flew!

idea box 2