Dreaming is mandatory, not a luxury

Have you ever noticed that women over 50y tend to have ‘settled’ into an ‘it’s just how life is,’ or ‘it’s just how I am,’ mindset, but then go on to complain about their life circumstances, wondering what to change but failing to change?

This is not in the least bit surprising – change is hard and scary.  As discussed previously (Master the way you speak to yourself) our brain considers change lethal, to be avoided at all costs.   Our primitive brain thinks “Familiar/Safe and Secure…..  Change/Lethal”

But there is a great paradox going on in our heads.  I call it “the great grey matter versus white matter debate.” (Technically this is not at all true – grey matter and white matter have quite different functions.)  Part of our brain despises change and loves the familiar (Change… Lethal.)  The other part, desires novelty and is exquisitely curious (Oohhh… What’s that?)

How can this be reconciled?  By dreaming.  Consciously dreaming.

But not just any old, random dream.  Not a dream conjured up from your memories, a slight variation derived from your past.  The past is boring, familiar and easily ‘repeatable.’

Dare to dream from your imagination – yes you have one!  Dust it off.  Dream in 3D, surround sound, technicolor and high definition mega pixels.

Dare to consciously design your dream.  There are multiple definitions of the word dream in Merriam’s Webster’s dictionary….

Dream the noun….

  • a succession of images, thoughts or emotions that pass through the mind during sleep;
  • an object seen in a dream;
  • an involuntary vision occurs to a person when awake;
  • a vision voluntarily indulged in while awake (day dreaming); an aspiration, goal or aim;
  • a wild or vain fancy;
  • something of an unreal beauty.”

Dream as a verb…

  • to indulge in day dreams;
  • to think or conceive of something in a very remote way;
  • to pass or spend time dreaming;”

There are more but you get the drift.  I had to laugh at the “involuntary vision while awake” definition.  Combine that with the “wild or vain fancy” and dreaming sounds almost delusional, as if we are bordering on schizophrenia when we dare to dream.  When you think about it, society these days condones dreaming.  “You’re such a dreamer.”  The day dreamer children and doodlers are swiftly redirected.  Even the definition suggests it might be wise to avoid dreaming – it’s “indulgent.”  Incidentally indulgent means “benignly lenient or permissive.”

All children, teenagers and probably many twenty-somethings dream of the future.  To get to the big leagues (what 9 year old doesn’t want to be a baseball or hockey pro, pulling in millions?), to graduate college, to get their first job, to make their first $100K, to have kids… The choices (dreams) are endless.  But dreaming fades by the time we get to thirty-something as we settle into routines, daily expectations and responsibilities. <<SIGH>>

Give yourself permission to dream.  Let go of the shackles of your past and present.

You don’t have to sell your house, file for divorce and move to Costa Rica.  It’s a thought experiment (I love thought experiments.)  A ‘what if’ experiment.  An ‘if then’ experiment.

Try this thought experiment.  Tonight, while you are sleeping, everything you have ever wished for and dreamed about comes true.  You wake refreshed after a solid 8 hours sleep.  As you brush your teeth you look and around, curiously.  What has changed?

Where do you live?  Where do you work?  How do you spend your time?  What do you think about?  What feelings do you predominantly experience?  What car do you drive? Do you have a dog or a cat, perhaps both?  No detail is too small or elaborate.

I found this exercise very challenging.  It is so easy to dream, but then immediately discredit the idea.

  • I’d love to cycle across Canada… but you are afraid of traffic.
  • Wouldn’t it be incredible to go zip-lining with a few friends… Your shoulder cannot tolerate that…
  • I want to get fit…. You hate the gym…

Almost immediately (if not sooner) my brain justifies its mundane, familiar safe and secure routines.

Fortunately, the more I practice using my imagination, the less challenging I find it.  You will too.

Go ahead.  Give yourself permission to dream.  Dare to design your impossible dream.  Discover your day-dreaming, doodler self.

Not only is it allowed, but it is encouraged.  Dreaming should be mandatory, not a luxury!

Buff it up, my friends
Dr Karen

Are you ready to Buff Up Your Brain? Ready to, lose weight, increase your mental clarity and polish up your thoughts? Let’s chat.
Email: DrKaren@karenbackwaymd.com