I don’t often have dreams. And when I do, it is only on rare occasion that I remember them.
As I’ve went about my business today, writing the content for an upcoming workshop, driving to a dance performance, doing yoga, I keep thinking it will pop back into my head. Sort of like what happens when I can’t think of a name or a word, and then suddenly, when I least expect it, there it is. But no, this dream seems to have vanished.
As I spent time, off and on, today thinking about dreams, I began to consider the concept of dreams. Not just the sleeping kind, but also the real-life kind of dreams; the kind where I hear people say, “This is just like I dreamed it would be” or “I always dreamed I’d have this job”. The more thought I gave to dreams, the more concerned I became with myself.
Am I simply not a dreamer?
I didn’t want to think this could possibly be true. It’s a bit sad to think I don’t have dreams. But I know I don’t have many night time dreams, and I know I don’t spend a lot of time in the light of day dreaming about what ‘could be’. When I hear someone say, ‘I’ve dreamed about how my wedding would be since I was a little girl’, I cannot relate. I never spent time dreaming about this.
These thoughts flitted in and out of my head and I assumed they would either simply end, or I would eventually make some sense out of them. This seems to be how my mind works. I let the ideas find their own way around. The more I try to ‘be the boss of them’, the more they resist. Once I let them have free roam, they sort themselves out.
Today, the sorting happened during the dance performance at a senior’s centre.
We danced in a lovely facility today. It was fresh and clean and very new, and the residents were happy to have a mid-week Oktoberfest performance to watch. All our performances at the senior’s centres are themed, so today found us in our lederhosen, black knee socks and suspenders. While the crowd was happy to have us, they were quiet, as is sometimes the case. When this happens, it takes more effort on our part to keep the energy alive. Luckily, we usually have such a good time among ourselves this isn’t really a problem!
In the front row, sat a very lovely, regal-looking woman. She had snow white hair, and a clean new-looking outfit. She sat up straight and I could imagine she had seen some elegant events in her life. I couldn’t tell if she was enjoying the show; her face wasn’t smiling, and yet she didn’t appear to be unsettled either. She had a blue blanket draped over her legs and she held a light cane in her hand. As we are taught to do, I smiled as I danced, catching her eye whenever I’d twirl past. She did not return the smile, but she also did not take her eyes off the dancers.
One of my favourite parts of our Oktoberfest performances is dancing to the song Edelweiss. When our theme is Oktoberfest, all of our music is Bavarian styled, but we throw in this one beautiful Austrian waltz, as it always seems to be a crowd favourite. It is gentle and familiar, without the high energy of the rest of the music. We ask the crowd to sing along with us as we dance. This day was no exception. The residents loved it and so did we.
As we performed Edelweiss close to the end of the performance, we only had a couple of dances left before we were finished. Just before our final song, a woman asked if we would be able to do Edelweiss again at the end. An encore, I thought! This is a first! Of course we could!
As we gently waltzed and sang our way through the song, I noticed our white-haired lady, in the front row proudly singing along with us. She had tears in her eyes and a most lovely smile on her face. It made my day. Clearly, she was content, and pleased, and happy and peaceful. There was something about watching her feel whatever it was she was feeling with this song, to help my put my thoughts about dreams into order.
I don’t believe this woman ever dreamt about living in senior’s home, watching other women, dressed up in lederhosen, dance for her. I can’t imagine this would be anyone’s dream. But I do think, that something about the feeling of the particular moment of the performance, something about the gentleness of Edelweiss, spoke to a feeling she had, a familiar, comfortable, deeply at-home feeling, that allowed her to feel something she had been longing for.
This, I can relate to. This is what I feel in place of what others may call dreams. I am a better feeler than thinker. When a situation feels just right, it is as though I am satisfying a longing. While others are thinking about their dreams, I am feeling my longings.
Longings are inside each one of us. Sometimes they are buried deeply. Sometimes they are but an ember. We do not often speak about them, but they are as much a part of us as our beating hearts. We know we are satisfying longings when we feel peace and contentment. Dancing satisfies one of my longings. Watching our performance satisfied a longing of at least one of our audience members. Based on the joy on the faces of the other residents, and on the request of the repeat of Edelwiess, I suspect it did the same for many others.
I’m now ok with not having many dreams. But I never, ever want to stop seeking the feelings I have when I satisfy my longings.
My inquiry for you this week is ‘What am I longing?’
Elizabeth is a certified professional Leadership Coach, and the owner of Critchley Coaching. She is the founder and president of the Canadian charity, RDL Building Hope Society. She works with corporations, non-profits and the public sector, providing leadership coaching. She creates and facilitates custom workshops for all sizes of groups. She has particular expertise in facilitating Strategic Plans for organizations. Contact Elizabeth to learn how to honour your and your organizations longings.