Dreams and Dreaming

I’ve been thinking a lot about dreams lately. Not night dreams, so much — I really don’t like dreaming except in the rare case of a dream that seems to mean something but doesn’t really, such as my white dream. But the other kind of dream — cherished aspirations, ambitions, or ideas — that’s what I’ve been thinking about too much lately.

I had a bit of an insight today, though considering my cold, it could be more of a fever dream than a true insight: I wondered if maybe it’s time for me to put away the dreams of the past, impossible or otherwise, and create a new dream, something I’ve never dreamt before. But that assumes a dream is important to have.

Do we need dreams? Dreams seem counter to a life in the now, a life that goes with the flow and accepts what comes.

But we are never just one thing or another. Well, you might be, but I’m not. I often seem to be straddling the line of two opposing ideals.

While the ideal me thinks it’s important to live in the now, just flowing as life unfolds, the pragmatic me thinks and plans.

While the ideal me loves the idea of striving toward an impossible dream, the practical me realizes that impossible means impossible, and there is no reason to waste energy reaching for an unreachable star.

While the ideal me loves the idea of living a completely disciplined life, always eating the right way, exercising and stretching and doing weights almost every day, writing every day, being always kind and thoughtful and caring, and oh, yes, making a living, the realistic me realizes that I can only push so much without getting sick. (That’s what happened this time — I was doing too much and in my weakened state, caught a cold.)

While the ideal me loves the idea of a wildly spontaneous life, whether living in place or setting out on a journey, trusting to the universe and fate that everything will work out, the fearful me thinks I would end up on the streets (and not in a good way). On the other hand, if I did the practical thing and settled down somewhere, the fearful me thinks I would stagnate.

What I end up doing, of course, is always struggling to find a balance, which goes against all my natures. (Not the balance part, that I believe in, but the struggling part.) And thinking too much. I always overthink everything, and blogging every day gives me an opportunity to voice those thoughts.

I still have the strange idea that if I don’t do something spectacular with my life, I will be wasting the freedom Jeff’s death has given me, though part of me realizes that life itself is spectacular. It’s just a matter of paying attention to the spectacle.

For that, do we need dreams? I don’t know. I just know I want . . . something.

Even while writing that last sentence, I find myself thinking, maybe even overthinking, wondering if the wanting is part of my grief cycle. If Jeff were here, would I still be wanting something — wanting to be something — that seems just out of sight? I don’t remember ever having dreams while we were together — apparently, just living our shared life was enough.

Maybe eventually just living, even stagnating, if it comes to that, will be enough, but for now, I still cling to the wondering. And the wandering.

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels UnfinishedMadame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Light BringerMore Deaths Than OneA Spark of Heavenly Fireand Daughter Am IBertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

6 Responses to “Dreams and Dreaming”

  1. Terry Allard Says:

    So on 12/20/12 your blog titled 1000 Days of Grief read:
    “But now I know freedom was his final gift, though it was as unwanted and as unasked for as the grief. I haven’t learned yet what to do with this freedom. Perhaps if I embrace it as I did my grief, it will also take me where I need to go,”
    In the grief blogs I have read so far you never apologize for following your grief,actually quite the opposite,you give all of us permission to feel what we feel. I may be wrong but you sound apologetic for your ambiquity now. It strikes me as “OK” you feel two ways,even three,four or more about freedom as you follow it trusting it will take you where you need to go.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      You’re right on all accounts. I was feeling apologetic or maybe embarrassed. It seems so childish to one day declare one thing and the next something else, but that’s nothing to apologize for. Somehow, until the end of the article, it never occurred to me that this is still part of grief, and even then I didn’t seem convinced. But it’s all part of grief. I think grief is about becoming something, not something we go through. Thank you for your input. It made a great blog post. I hope you don’t mind my using your comment.)

      • Den Says:

        We don’t become grief. We are bereft. I am not trying to be a stickler for definitions, but we have to avoid, even fight against succumbing to grief. Grief is a cause. We grieve because of an event. Grief feels like being afflicted with a devastating disease, or as you have mentioned, an amputation. We hurt. We mourn. We fight an arduous battle to make sense of it all and not go completely crazy. Pat, you have shown us the trials we will face and the pain we that will cut us to the quick. But you have also shown us that the journey is forward and forward is the only way to go. That, given enough time, we will heal, probably not totally, but sufficiently. Thank you for serving as a guide and letting us lean on you to see that sometimes all we have is hope that we will emerge, battered and scarred, eventually. It is that hope, and some times only that hope, that got me to the next day and the day after that.

  2. LordBeariOfBow Says:

    That is a great looking photograph and fits perfectly with title and substance of the post. Great work 😀

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