I discovered my kindergarten report card not long ago. Inside, my teacher had written: “Lacey is a joy to teach, but I find it difficult to keep her attention. She is often staring out of the window, as though she has something else on her mind.”
I can only imagine her frustration.
When I was a child, my ideal means for entertainment existed in the creation of other worlds. I’d spend magical hour after hour in a mythical realm (also known as my bedroom) – starry-eyed and companionless. My dad would knock on the door every so often, inquiring with concern, “Is everything okay in there?”
It always was. Sometimes I was standing in the sunlit glow of a formal Victorian garden – balmy and flourishing with colorful bloom. Sometimes I was aboard a pirate ship with a rowdy crew swapping slang and shanties. Sometimes I was in a satin gown, leaning cooly against a chair on an Old Hollywood movie set – air thick with the smoke of cigars and the intermittent smack of a clapperboard.
To onlookers, summer nights spent perched on a trampoline in my backyard – knees folded into my chest while staring upward at the glow of the moon – likely appeared to be a wasteful passing of time. They were not. I was often somewhere far away – dancing with the unseen inside of a thousand fantasies.
When we enter adolescence and adulthood, we often shed our spirit of dreaming. We put a muzzle over the voice of our imagination. We slice its tongue. We stop sharing our ideas with others, becoming ashamed of them and dismissing them as ‘silly.’ This comes after years of being fed defeating warnings such as:
“There is a lot of competition out there, so your chances of doing that are slim.”
“Get your head out of the clouds.”
“Don’t get your hopes up.”
We decide our fantasies are indulgent, frivolous and a waste of time. Paradoxically, we assume that fantasizing is the opposite of a sentient existence. But, it isn’t at all. Rather, fantasy is reality’s prerequisite. Fantasy is the seed; reality is the harvest.
Dare me to prove it?
Fantasy Is Reality’s Playful Prerequisite
Everything ever created – everything brought into the physical world from the beginning of time – was once a mere fantasy. What we see in our physical world is nothing more than evidence of what we previously dreamed:
The keyboard my fingers are currently gliding across as I craft this message for all who will read it.
The stack of novels to my right.
The lit candle to my left.
The burning incense filling my home with the smoky fragrance of frankincense and patchouli.
The paperclips bringing sanity to the pile of madness that once cluttered my desk.
The song on my playlist cutting through the morning silence.
The knitted blanket strewn across my lap.
The warm mug in my hands containing my cup of coffee.
The wifi connection making it possible for your thoughts to collide with mine.
The Google search connecting me to avenues of information my great-grandparents never had access to.
And, darling, last but not least: you.
Before we were a mass of cells, we were divine ideas. Before our eyes were blue, green, brown or golden, before our skin was ivory, caramel or mahogany, and before our faces became slates molded by the effects of love, laughter, desire, excitement, grief, shock and pain, we were flashes of creative inspiration. Before we became stories, we were the seeds for the stories we would become.
And we were meant to continue the trend.
With Imagination, Therein Lies the Power
Martin Luther King had a dream, and he chose to share with the world. So did Thomas Edison. Wilbur Wright and his younger brother Orville gave birth to their fantasy of taking flight despite being told it was “impossible.” Their neighbors thought they were crazy.
Nirvana was an unknown band inspired by the Pixies long before “Smells Like Teen Spirit” became an anthem encapsulating the spirit of 90s teenage angst. Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis were the masterminds who dreamed of time travel, courtesy of the DeLorean, long before the masses become acquainted with Marty McFly.
And, finally – on a crowded train en route to London from Manchester – J.K. Rowling dreamed of Harry Potter. She surrendered herself to such bud of an idea, then permitting a story to burst into bloom – expanding across page after page inside of her London apartment. This was years before her vision captivated the hearts and minds of millions of children – eventually selling more than 400 million books.
But what if J.K. Rowling – somewhere in between childhood and adolescence – came to believe that her ideas were fruitless and unworthy of pursuit? What if she had dismissed her fantasies as ‘silly’? What if the legend of Harry Potter and all of his splendid wizardry was stashed in the bottom of her desk drawer under a pile of old holiday greeting cards – covered with dust and cobwebs – before eventually being laid to rest in the graveyard of abandoned dreams?
What a shame that would have been.
So Dream Mindfully
So consider the fantasies your mind is currently housing. Perhaps an idea for a business? A screenplay? An innovative computer software program? A abstract piece of art?
Whatever is currently occupying your head space, make it progressive and worthwhile. Allow your dreams to unfold mindfully. And then have the courage to feed, water and bravely bring them forth.
An unexpected flash of brilliance could one day organize a thousand thoughts, captivate the hearts and minds of millions of children or forever alter and illuminate the way the inhabitants of this planet communicate. So give life to the fantasies which fill you with excitement and joy, for they pave the road to your reality. The state of the world is counting on you.