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Would You Know a True Dream if it Bit You?

Katrina Plumb, Chief Poet and Inspirer at Writing Tank


Some people make resolutions, some people choose mantras – my years have themes.

I don’t make conscious decisions about these themes. I don’t really think about them at all. But for the last five years, around the first of the year, I’ll say something, or hear something, or write something, and a quiet little voice will whisper, “There is your theme for the year – beginning right NOW!”

As the end of 2011 inched closer, and 2012 peeked over the horizon and raised an eyebrow at me to say she was getting curious about what I planned to do with her, my thoughts turned to dreams.

My theme for 2011 was “Embracing my Inner Pollyanna.” The year had started with a fanfare of high notes; wonderful clients doing meaningful work, an inner circle of dear friends that included an amazing man I’d been married to for nearly 25 years and continued to love even after we separated, a relationship with a new love I thought I would happily spend the rest of my life with, a head full of ideas for bringing new life and light to entrepreneurism and a heart full of gratitude for all the love and possibilities I saw in my present and my future.

I’d spent much of 2011 on “dream work,” helping other people clarify and realize their dreams. I’d been training a group of Certified Go-Giver Coaches to use the Stratospheric Success Mapping process I’d developed, and Dynamite Live, an event I’d hosted in October, was focused on “putting your dream in drive and you in the driver’s seat,” including a Big Dream Gathering with Mitch Matthews.

As I cast my mind toward the next twelve months, I thought about my dreams – the ones I’d seen realized, and the ones I’d watched slip through my fingers.

My dream of “exploding entrepreneurship” flourished, but my dream of creating products went nowhere. My dream of having even deeper relationships with like-hearted people was realized in ways I could never have imagined, but the relationship with the one I had imagined to be my soul-mate soured. I’d dreamed of finishing a business book on my Blast Thru Coaching™ method, instead I was nearly finished with a book of pseudo-fiction that had nothing at all do to with business. My dream of speaking at an event that had been in my heart-space for four years came true, but left me empty. However, I hosted my own event, a dream I’d never dreamed, coming true in amazing fashion and touching many lives.

Sorting through – celebrating dreams realized, laying to rest dreams relinquished, selecting dreams worthy of future commitment – I began to picture each dream as having physical form. From that grew a post on choosing the dreams to keep in the “closet” and letting go of dreams that no longer “fit.”

And there was my theme for 2012 – “The Year of Dreaming True.”

Following my sharing the post and my 2012 theme on Facebook, I received this question from a friend and amazing thought-instigator, Katrina Plumb (who sent me a couple of challenges – one of which I’ve featured above.)

She posted to my Facebook wall, “I’m trying to figure out what you plan to do with dreams this year. So tell us, is there such a thing as ‘dreaming false’?” 

Katrina is a beautiful thinker and poet, she often hands me conundrums like glittering, tangled chains, and I can’t rest until I’ve straightened them out in my mind.  But this was more like a can of Silly Putty – it said “Here I am, DO something with me. I DARE ya!”

Can we have ‘false dreams?’ If not all dreams are true, then some dreams must be false, right?

To explore the notion of dreaming true or false, I had to examine my understanding of dreams – and my understanding of truth.

What does it mean to “have a dream?”

As in, “Last night I had the strangest dream?”

Or, “Dreaming my life away?”

Or perhaps we refer to the unforgettable line, “I have a dream!”

Do we mean dreams born of the sleeping subconscious mind, the waking semi-conscious mind, or the wide-awake intentional mind?

Sometimes those thoughts and ideas reach us awake, sometimes they wait until we relax our mental barriers and surrender to sleep. And sometimes we craft those ideas into visions and plans that we are willing to devote energy to bringing to fruition.

What is a dream if not simply a thought, an idea, a mental representation of something we believe is not presently real?

So what constitutes a true dream as opposed to a false one?

Have you ever had a nightmare? It’s just a dream, right? But it’s a dream you would never want to have come true.

Have you ever had an idea or a thought that wasn’t true for YOU? Something you knew was a leftover recording of someone else’s judgment, or a belief cultivated by society, or a deep-seated fear?

What is true if not what you choose to accept and to own?

And what is false, if not what you choose to reject and refuse to make a part of your reality?

So to answer Katrina’s beautifully illustrated question to me:

Do you really think the dreamer escapes?
Really detaches from egotistic
Energies and joins a great agenda
Accumulated by other powers, Up
Miles away, beyond time and distance,

I think it is in dreams, all kinds of dreams, that we do escape our egotistic energies and our surface one-life-to-live agendas. I think that we are those “other powers” and it is in dreaming true that we join with our own divine agenda, take ourselves up beyond time and distance, and become truly free.

So what is a “true dream?” I think it is simply a thought, an idea, a mental representation of something we believe is not true for us now, but which we desire to make true.

What is a “dream come true?” I think it is the manifestation, the realization, the actualization, the awareness that what we desired is our reality.

I think that’s why we call it “living the dream.”

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  • Amy Wells

    Wowee wow. Great post Dix.

    • Another understanding we share? Having people like you in my life, the little family who comes to me by choice, THAT is part of my true dream.

  • Ann

    What an amazing post, Dixie. Live!

  • I love what you say Dixie. It reminds me of something Oprah Winfrey said: ‘God can dream a bigger dream . . . for me, for you . . . than you could ever dream for yourself.’
    (Do you share her wardrobe?)

    Your idea that we are inseparable from those “other powers” is blast-thru! Implicit in it is the concept that we belong in a world of striving, and, as Oprah says, we need to work and try and give and plead and bargain and hope. Only when there is nothing left for us to do should we surrender and ‘go with the flow’. The image I have is of a dark room, where paper is dipped in various solutions and the photograph slowly takes its true position. The solution washes over the page and knows precisely where its presence should sit. On a deeper level, the ideas incubate before coming to life.

    My intention was never to chide anyone into forcing their dreams on the world. I was just so curious about your theme for 2012.

    • Dixie

      WordPress continues to baffle me. I didn’t get a notification of this comment until I just switched my site over to a new host. Then it looked like a NEW comment. But it was a joy to find it!

      So much of our experience here is learning balance, isn’t it. Even sitting up for the first time. I think that striving and surrender are like many other things we balance between – there is a time for each.

      Loved that image – made me think of a billboard I never forgot. It said “life is like a camera, whatever we focus on is what we will develop.” Right, the photograph shows where our focus as been.

      I did NOT take this as chiding at all, indeed it was an impetus for greater clarity!

  • Excellent post, Ms. Gillaspie! You’ve moved our dreams from the misty half-world of Maybe Some Day and set them smack down on the workbench in front of us. “Dreams 1,3,6 and 8 I shall strive to make true. The rest, I’ll junk ’em, for this year, anyway.” And all of a sudden, we’re focused! Thank you for writing such clear practical ideas.

    • Every time you refer to me as “practical” I have the urge to giggle. My father said I always had my head in the clouds, not a practical bone in my body! So here I am trying to make dreaming practical.

  • I find the true dreams few and far between, thankfully. They are dreams worth giving my everything into for them to succeed and flourish. The ups and downs of last year leave many lessons to remember but the year ahead is filled with new opportunities and the same commitment to the few dreams worth it all.

    • I know you had an “eventful” 2011 – so glad you’re seeing it as a platform for possibility. And you are SO right, we cannot do justice to a huge list of dreams, that’s why it’s so vital to choose the ones that we truly desire to realize. Best to you always, my dear.

  • i like it! i am reading a book by Mark Buchanan caleld Your God is too safe’. i am hoping it will encourage me to stop playing it safe stop allowing my fears to continually stop me. To see My God as He truely is, not too small too safe!

  • Now, this is fascinating to me as I battle with the ivory tower of lifelong learning, I discover that in the Aeneid VI.893-6, Virgil described twin gates of sleep; from those of horn true visions emerge, from those of ivory, false visions. Is this a message to ‘beware the university’, or only if you are an elephant?

  • (for false visions read ‘delusive dreams’)