The last few months have seen me working to manifest a big dream of mine: Dream Your World, which is aimed at bringing dreaming tools to girls and young women, to create empowered young dreamers who will envision and manifest positive change in their lives and world. It’s exciting, important … and, has me thinking a lot about “change”.
Change is a loaded word. Every time we evoke “change” we have in our minds two things: a specific idea of how things are right now, and a specific idea of what we think isn’t working about that status quo. “Change” has us group up and pick sides – change over here and status quo over there. “Change” causes us to assume that everyone on “our side” holds the same image of what “change” looks like, suppressing divergent voices or seeking to push them into “the other side” if they don’t conform. In the heat of all this conflict the focus gets laid on “being right” rather than envisioning solutions.
The conflict over change and “being right” is playing out these days regarding the state of women, especially as it concerns their bodies and male harassment. There are very specific and narrow ideas about what it means to be a “free and equal” woman. Two young women – actress and neuroscientist Mayim Bialik and 3-time Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas – have been publicly shamed and harshly criticized for suggesting that women should dress modestly, so much so that Ms. Bialik withdrew a NY Times op ed piece with apology. The current voice is “Men” are the problem, “women” are the victim, and any discourse that attempts to discuss nuances, contextualize it within broader social conditions, or to look at it from the lens of relationship where both parties can hone and evolve are not allowed.
What also is not allowed is the recognition of individual truths.
The recognition of individual truths is essential for freedom; without it, there is only dictatorship. What is true for Ms. Bialik or Ms. Douglas may not be what is true for someone else; the idea of women dressing in ways that show their bodies may not support the idea of dressing modestly. There is room for both, and other.
Duality – us v. them, change v. status quo, right v. wrong – will always bring conflict. The environment of duality will always threaten individual truths. So how do we step out of it? How do we move past fighting against things and into envisioning solutions? How do we build a world community that recognizes individual truths?
Dreaming – as in engaging in our night dreams – allows us the gift of stepping out of duality to envision whole new ways of being. It catches us unaware, when our engaged, thinking mind is off-duty. Dreaming lives in a space that isn’t held by old ideas or history, criticism or judgement. Dreaming is alive and fluid … and free.
The project I mentioned at the top, Dream Your World, is a dreaming response. It came from a dreaming experience during the summer before the US election between Trump and Hilary. I saw many female clients at that time whose dreams were filled with images of dis-empowered females. In that context came the dream: Teach girls and young women how to dream. From there they can look inside and find their own truths, and recognize those of others. From there not only can surprising solutions be received, one can learn to push past the noise to identify the real problem.
To dream is to take back your own freedom to be. It’s not a whimsical fancy – rather, there are specific approaches and steps to engaging with your dreams that make dreaming a practical tool for building your inner and outer life.
It takes a lot of courage to step above group think, to step outside duality and offer something new. The reward is freedom; the price if we don’t is to lock away essential aspects of ourselves. The price is also communal – today’s stand-off already has casualties, such as with Ms. Bialik and Ms. Douglas. So while it takes courage to dream, the greater risk is to not do it.
Dare to dream.