Sometimes I Have the Most Horrible Dreams

And then I wake up, and everything is back to normal. Where do those dreams come from? How is it, I think to myself, that I can be so creative in my sleep, the dream just rolls and rolls and rolls, places I’ve never been, people I’ve never met, situations I’ve never been in, and hope to never be in again, and feelings, my God, the feelings, the fear, the sweat, the terror, the breathlessness . . . and, then, when awake, again, why is it I often find it impossible to create, to invent new situations, to discover new possibilities, to confront new people, new parts of myself, new opportunities, new obstacles? Isn’t that a remarkable thing? To be able to create entire worlds when you’re sleeping, and then, when you’re awake you can’t create anything?

That to imagine something foreign to the way you do what you do, the decisions you make, the reactions you have to the people you bump into, to get out of your terrible habits and routines, is most often impossible. Does it frustrate you as much as it frustrates me?

Take this article you’re reading, for example. It started with an empty page. It started because of a commitment I had made some time ago to write this once-monthly column to stimulate you, the reader, by giving you some information or some insight that was worth your time reading. It came time to keep my promise. And then there were only two days left, and then I had to come face to face with the blank piece of paper, just like all of us have to come face to face with the blank piece of paper in our lives, in our businesses.

But, you see, there’s the problem. That you and I fill our lives with so much stuff, with so many already thought-out words, paragraphs, sentences, commitments, work, obligations, beliefs, attitudes, opinions, that we are more often than not confronted by a very full piece of paper rather than a blank piece of paper, and because of that, rather than going where we go when we go to sleep, rather than clearing the path to allow “it” to dream, to explore, to confront, to make up stories, as we do when we go to sleep, when all of our wide awake habits are out of the way, instead, you and I do our routine, don’t we? Our routine, which is to do whatever it is you and I are accustomed to do when you and I wake up . . . which is often like a waking sleep, the left leg, the right leg, the hand reaching for the coffee, getting into the groove of our day, the day which we have lived before, and the day before that, and the day before that?

Are you catching my drift here? Do you see what I’m driving at?

That there’s something you and I can learn about the mystery of that nightmare, which takes us to a wholly foreign place, to feel wholly foreign and afraid that we’ll never wake up! Because, perhaps, when we do wake up, panting, breathing deeply, glad to be alive — have you ever felt like that when you woke up from a nightmare? — perhaps, in that blank page of a moment, you will discover something, something called you without anything whatsoever you are programmed to do, to be, to fulfill . . . and just for that moment, give a blessing to the one in you who had the power to create an entire new world while the other part of you slept. Perhaps, tomorrow, when you wake up, you could find that blank piece of paper and start writing something new.

As for me, I’m simply thankful that on this morning, at this time, it all worked out for the best!

Happy New Year.