Cocktail Umbrellas are more important than we realize. Usually accompanied by a maraschino cherry and a slim slice of orange, those bright little, paper decorations are always found in a cheery coloured cocktail drink in yellow or pink. Innocently, and unbeknownst to them, these umbrellas hold a lot of power. And they are so important in fact, that there are countless images of them set in front of a sun bleached seascape, gliding us off into the Lala Land of our scintillating, romantic dreams of far-off sunsets and clear blue skies. These umbrellas are important because of their symbolic power; their ability to take us to our sense of imagining, which is our creative center.
Given practical access to a tropical getaway or not, this time to daydreaming that a Cocktail Umbrella provides, is so significant, that it is essential to our wellbeing. This meandering space of aimless mental wandering is our most precious resource, because it’s where we begin to sense what makes us tick in a very deep and personal way. Everything begins from the space of emptiness whether we realize it or not. Our imagination is the beginning of tapping in to what that vast silent space is telling us. Paying attention to what it reveals is productive, which is unlike finger-painting colours around in a fantasy. To take those hard earned hours of focused mind and allow it the free reign of creativity is the only way to produce our purpose, what we’re here on this Earth to do. It’s a beautiful, enriching, soul nourishing time, to be in this state of imagination.
While in the thick of it, when the seemingly ridiculous pops forward as some unexpected thought, instead of kicking it out, ask yourself some questions around it, with a practical purpose in mind. This will begin to harness the dream and bring it into logical form. Once the mind accepts it as manageable, you’ll see ways to act on this new idea within your own creativity. To immediately slough it off as ridiculous is a misunderstanding of the dream as a whole, it’s to be blind to all of what it is…once you start questioning it into form (not with doubt but with inquiry) then you will begin to see its practicality and its possibility. To immediately poo-poo this new insight and deny it, is a misfortune not only to your own life but to anyone else it might serve in the long run. Should you bring this daydream into form you have no idea how many people might benefit from its goodness. There is as much of a ripple effect of not doing something as there is in doing something. Think about this. What you withhold could be hindering another by the very withholding, but sharing it could be benefitting that someone. Many don’t understand what it means to give of yourself, of your love in this way.
So, the next inspiring dream you have, try what’s next:
First, Be at Peace with your Dream: Anxiety arises with anything new and unrecognized. It arises in many different forms (anger, jangled nerves, overwhelm, etc.) and it arises for many different reasons…but keep going because anxiety simmers down. Many of us deny and rail against our imagination because we judge it as unrealistic. So, we jump on it, trying to put it out in the same way we would throw a blanket to suffocate an unexpected fire. Of course a dream is unrealistic and impractical at this stage of the game, it’s never been done before! Nothing has yet been learned from it or by it, or how to do it. You need to focus now, hone in on it and refine your skill around it. The dream will show you how as you walk along with it. But be prepared because it will require you to be more of yourself…this leads to step two.
Step Two is, Bring It Back to Focus: Now that we’ve let go and given enough free rein for the imagination to kick in, we bring it back to focus (remember those focused hours you’re used to?). Focus and listen, listen deeply and with your whole heart. This is a refined listening, through the space of the heart, not the mental searching and grasping of the mind. Listening can come through sound definitely: through a snippet of what someone says to you at a seemingly odd time, or something unusually relevant in a song you’ve heard many times, or a confirming sound of a pindrop as you blink at the moment of a bright idea. But if our other senses are more dominant, then listening can also come visually, or as a deep knowing at the deepest heart sense, it can come as a symbol that simply uplifts you…you will recognize your own language because you experience it as set apart from other experiences. Give credence to all, in all senses it comes to you.
Now Step Three is, Take action: But this isn’t willy-nilly action of desperately doing SOMEthing, it’s the taking action according to how opportunity is presented. Now this takes a continued refinement of our senses. To continue to be watchful for opportunities is a new muscle being developed. There are indeed those moments when opportunity appears to come and you sit and question “is this the one?”. Usually the need to question shows that this is the one showing you that THE ONE is on its way…so continue as you are. When it IS the ONE there will be no doubt. Taking action will require habit adjustments, and you may need to give something up (most likely you will) and that can be uncomfortable…but you will do it when the IT you’ve been aiming toward arrives. And it all arose from your daydream on the beach or in the bookstore, your time dallying in the canoe on the lake or sewing a new quilt. It arrived in that time when you were meandering, wandering idly and free in your mind of creativity…that is when it arrived. By the time you’re at step three you’re seeing it but it was alive long before then.
You can do this. It might not be perfect, and it most likely won’t be, but maybe it will be, and maybe it will be beautiful in a way you never expected. In any case, it will be better than where you are now because you will be connected to your purpose, and this brings contentment and fulfillment like nothing else can. We can often rail against what we’re meant to do, thinking it’s not what we want to do…but what we’re meant to do is really what we want to do, Ego or no Ego. I think many don’t understand the luxury and necessity of healthy, dynamic dreaming.--with love, Letters In Yoga www.lettersinyoga.com