Beauty Breathes: On Dreams, Place, Imagination, Jobs vs. Work, and Being Against Gratitude
Many years ago, in another life, I wrote and directed a play about dreams that I put on in a tiny art gallery called “Dreamz”. It was so named, said the fey, dreamy-faced owner, because owning a gallery had always been her dream. Dreamz closed down a year or two later, and, in my head at least, the owner moved on to new dreams, a bigger gallery, a space more equipped to hold the sum of her imagination. But it’s just as possible that she got sad, or lost, or lonely, and forgot to dream.
Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that there is a difference between a job and work. I’ve always longed to have meaningful work; to be useful in the world. All I have ever wanted was to be given a task, and the freedom to carry out that task to the best of my ability. Because I’ve never known what it’s like to stay in one place for very long, my sense of place has always been tied up in my sense of meaningful work. I don’t feel fully at home unless I what I am doing is linked to a sense of purpose.
I believe that I’ve been granted much meaningful work in my life, although I didn’t always recognize at the time that was what is was. At the time I produced my play, it really wasn't my work to produce a play--it my work to learn how to fight for a vision. During the years I was doing healing work, it was my task to heal myself, and to come to understand what giving is, and what it is not. When I managed a spa, I was really there to to disseminate pride, courage and compassion. I have the ongoing, daunting and awesome task of loving my eccentric, sometimes difficult, and deeply kind-hearted husband, which has its own always-shifting lessons; its own deeper mission. I have made enormous mistakes. I have done none of these things impeccably, but through each I one, I felt driven; I felt some sense of home. At the time, each of these things was my dream.
I realized recently that somewhere along the line, I’ve forgotten what I long for. I’ve forgotten to dream. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be plugged into a source of electricity, of energy, of passion. To feel excited, to know that there is magic humming beneath the Great Veil. I’ve lost my perspective on the proper place of a job in my life, (as opposed to work), and let it negatively affect the way I feel about myself. I’ve accepted my lack of place with sadness but without any kind of a fight. I’ve let gratitude get out of balance--to blind me to admitting what I really want, and to rob me of my ability to imagine.
But most of all, I’ve either consciously or unconsciously cut myself off from spiritual fulfillment; I’ve not yet returned to a meditation practice although I’ve ached to; I have too long abandon a path that once sustained me because I have been terrified of being wounded in a way that I was years ago. I have felt restless. I have felt out of place. I always feel alienated, but my sense of alienation has become untenable. Something is moving within my bones; something is pacing in it’s cage. I don’t know what it is, but I think that it’s tied to a dream I have. A vision. New work, no the matter the job I have.
I don’t make New Year’ resolutions. But yesterday, I finally repotted two plants that have been bursting through their vessels for years. I reworked the décor to shift the energy of the space; bought a new plant, redid the lighting, opened up some external space. Next I will open my internal space; I will let things in, I will allow things out. I will begin to take root.