That’s cool, I thought. I wonder what this page is about. But I didn’t have time to pursue it until last night. That’s when I discovered that the Dreamer he was referring to was me! When I got over my surprise, I read the page description and discovered it was about our mutual passions for writing, self-knowledge, and social change.
In my response to him I noted that I had never thought to call myself a Dreamer in the sense he obviously meant: i.e., as a person who is passionate about promoting her vision for a more conscious and enlightened world. But then these lyrics from my favorite John Lennon song, Imagine, popped into my head: “You may say I’m a dreamer/But I’m not the only one/I hope someday you’ll join us/And the world will be as one.”
Yup. That’s me, alright. Why did I never realize this before?
After reflecting on this last night and this morning, I think I know the answer. In the world, era and cultural group in which I was raised, the term “dreamer” was used in a slightly superior and disparaging way. Dreamers didn’t have their feet on the ground. They were impractical and overly idealistic. They were into hippy stuff like sit-ins and free love and eating organic foods. When they weren’t tripping on pot or singing folk songs, dreamers felt so strongly and cared so deeply that they were an embarrassment to ordinary folk. Worst of all, they didn’t seem to care about the chaos they created with their shocking efforts to “save the world!”
Caught between the naively optimistic post-war spirit that characterized the late 40’s and 50’s, and a new generation’s awakening to the intolerable injustices that precipitated the civil rights movement and Viet Nam war protests, I didn’t know where I belonged. As a young wife and mother I sided with my elders and took the easy way of conforming to their conventional wisdom. This non-solution suited me fine well into my thirties.
Years later I felt guilty about not participating in the revolutionary spirit of those history-making times. But now I realize it made an indelible impression on me anyway. I wanted to care and love as much as those students and intellectuals did. And occasionally I’d catch a glimpse of the rebel without a cause in me who hoped that one day I’d be brave enough to speak out about issues that were important to me and society.
I don’t feel guilty any more, because my rebel found a cause. But it wasn’t until I saw Skip’s new Facebook page that I realized how my early conditioning had kept me from openly claiming the tag of Dreamer. I’m ready to claim it now.
I was destined to be a Dreamer in both senses: 1) someone who loves herself enough to pay attention to her nightly dreams, and 2) someone who loves the Mystery of life enough to promote her waking dream of a more conscious and caring world. I think those seeds were planted in my soul’s code from the beginning; but my soul had a timing of its own and I had a lot of growing to do before they would bear fruit. I grew by listening to the promptings of my soul as she spoke to me in my dreams.