Dreams: Path or Reality
What will it take to trust this path? How many more years will I take the steps carefully, always watchful, before I finally give in and trust, not only this direction, but more importantly, myself?
Dreams far beyond my physical reach are an integral part of each day. I have read many adventure and outdoor books about expeditions to every corner of this world, but what captivates my attention more than anything, are snow covered peaks – above tree-lines with a reduced level of oxygen dotting the globe and touching heaven, while overlooking snow filled valleys and glaciers.
Reinhold Messner is a fascinating character and legend in mountain climbing with a few records in his honor, and many firsts (first to summit all fourteen 8000 meter peaks, and the first to climb Mt Everest solo without oxygen). He has written extensively about these almost unbelievable feats and the accompanying visions in several books: in very poetic language filled with images and brutal honesty, each step taken on the way to summit Mt. Everest is told with amazing detail and candor in “The Crystal Horizon”. What Reinhold accomplishes is for him, as he pushes through many obstacles, but with the goal and dream within his reach, he will do whatever it takes to reach them.
Lofty goals and dreams are vital to the human spirit, as they grant us a sense of purpose and when we find ourselves stuck and mired with emotional baggage and the weight of the life we are living at that moment, they give a reasons to get up each day. We have more energy and a clearer head to face the oncoming events, regardless of what happened to get us to that moment.
At some point, the dreams and all the energy they require and consume, will have to be released in one of two ways: 1) in the direction that pushes the dreamer into a new reality, or 2) pushes dreams into the minds archive to redefine the current reality.
I dream to summit a couple of the highest peaks – Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Rainier, Mt Kilimanjaro – but I recently let go of my dream to scale Mt Everest physically. That has not dampened any of my spirit, and I am still jazzed by real stories and people setting off on an expedition, and intrigued by the brutal environment, mystery, and tragedy. By letting this one go, it has allowed me to refocus and move the energy elsewhere, into other dreams and projects.
At this moment I hear, see, and feel the distant traffic as a rushing, swollen, and murky Alaskan river.
As years pass and I become more aware of my true passions, I have to keep in mind the reality I have already chosen, stemming from my decisions and experience. I have no energy left for some paths. They have become dead-ends after transforming and merging with other dreams. Besides learning about Reinhold Messner, I have taken the formed images from my mind and created pieces and essays about the spiritual and mythical landscapes surrounding mountain peaks, here and elsewhere. If I cannot get to them, I will bring them to me.
There is something spiritual about winter in general, and snow and cold specifically. The air is singular, full of meaning, simple, known, with no mysteries or things hiding – just answers and questions to the questions and answers that you already have. The suns light is magnified and blinding, and we retreat inward for warmth. The challenge is opening yourself up, and becoming ready what waits.
Winter is the season of awareness as we become more dependent on what we carry, the tools and resources we are born with and have been developing. From this space of knowing we can manage what is outside of us.
Late in the evening and what was a struggle to write, and the intention of this essay, has become a bit of soul searching about dreams and the path created and the path taken. While listening to Alva Noto, I let myself slip away so I may get out of my own way, and allow an honest assessment of my actions, thoughts, inward and outward energy and the place within this.
Dreams are an integral part of growing spiritually as an individual and within a community. What is a community in this context? A community consists of other things, people, in a person’s sphere of influence; obviously family and parents are included, but also people we may meet at the grocery store, in the coffee line at Starbucks, or in passing on a freeway. The more interaction of two bodies, no matter the distance, the more they will exert some influence on each other. So, our dreams and the energy we expend affects ourselves and the community; a neighborhood, city, state, country, global, or the universe as a whole, this and others we have not seen yet.
Alva Noto becomes BioSphere and I trace contoured lines on a map of Alaska and concentrate on lands north of the Arctic Circle. This dream of years ago became reality and changed the path I walk forever. Not a day goes by that I do not feel the land, or taste the sea.
Find, define, and chase the dreams you can and they become passions for life, forever altering your reality and existence. The dreams we cannot or choose to not pursue blend with this reality and provide creative juice and an opportunity to learn more, expand our consciousness, and then they will come to life through thoughts and writings.
The perfect saying here, for writers and the way to improve our work, is to write what you know. Even if a piece is fiction, knowledge of your subject matter, real landscapes, for example, add authenticity to writing and credibility to the writer. Your audience can taste the dirt, feel the salt water burning open eyes, or see the glorious setting sun from across the sea.
Reading an unrelated news article, and a photo of a mountain catches my wandering eye. I am quickly taken from here, beyond the city of industry, and transplanted upon its peak, and given an opportunity to experience one of nature’s gifts. It has taken me some time to be at peace with having to let one dream go, but with this open mindedness, and self-awareness, another has quickly taken its place.
In the end, each person’s reality is defined by choices, experience, dreams, passions, and learning to balance all of these, and make the life that works for us, within the community we have chosen to live within.