When I ask people what the word ‘dream’ conjures up, the response is virtually always about the subconscious night time drifting of the mind. The main characteristics they identify are the fantastic and convoluted scenarios that visit our sleep, scattered by fragile, often unrecognisable, fragments of reality.
The fragments can sometimes be traced to a conversation, the late-night news on TV, people we know and long-forgotten experiences. Our dreams assemble an infinite backlog of sensory jigsaw pieces with no attempt at organisation or order. It’s our very own personal chaos theory and yet a picture emerges that is sometimes so very clear that we can convince ourselves that it is real.
Then in an instant even the deepest of dreams have been erased from mind. How often have you woken with a wonderfully vivid dream in mind that seconds later has vanished and cannot be recalled?
Ask the same question about ‘day-dream’ and a deliberate fantasy world unfolds like the screenplay for a film. Dreams that are impossible, dreams that are unattainable, ‘if I won the lottery’ sort of dreams. A hopeful/hopeless yet wishful balance to the reality of a reality check.
Day-dreaming is light-hearted and frivolous. It’s a shared activity of tempting escapism and imagination. We play with questions like ‘what if’ and ‘wouldn’t it be wonderful if’ before our grounded selves take sensible charge again.
There is another dream though, one that lives within these other interpretations. It’s fragile sometimes, fantastic sometimes, thriving on imagination, but impossible? Not if you believe in it. This is the dream that is an idea, an aspiration, an ambition, a plan needing to materialise. This dream is tangible. It doesn’t evaporate when you wake. It means business. The people I talk to about dreams don't often mention this one and yet this dream can be the most powerful and influential of all. Perhaps it is held too close to our chests? Perhaps speaking out loud about this sort of dream is somehow scary, making us lay our cards on the table?
A dream is a river. It’s fluid, it meanders, it’s gentle but strong, it flows of its own accord but when it picks up speed it races headlong in one powerful direction. It’s your dream and your direction. Take the plunge and go with the flow.