Lately, I’ve been asking myself this question: What is my deepest dream?
In many ways, my previous posts have all been leading up to this type of inquiry. And I believe that once an initial crisis is resolved, or at least tempered, this is what we all want from therapy. We may not know it, as most of us are drawn to mental health counseling to fix or solve a pressing problem. But once we engage enough to find some stable ground beneath our feet, then what?
Previous clients of mine have often come to this point as a complete surprise. One said to me, “you mean I get to decide what I want and go for it?” I found this innocent question so endearing. And yet it truly makes sense to me. When we are in the depths of grief, depression, trauma, or other crisis, it simply does not feel like we have any power left. Not even the power to dream.
Dreaming itself is a radical, empowered notion. That you, despite the darkness you have experienced, can come through it, and can even move beyond it. And that once you do, your options may actually be much more varied than you ever imagined.
While we can all recognize the limitations of loss, relationship turmoil, and financial downturns, to name a few, it’s not always so clear how these very same “problems” can eventually transform into the basis of new life, love, and hope.
For some reading this post, dreaming and hoping may feel very far off in the distance; an unlikely outcome to the current struggles they face. But even for you – if this is how you feel – even for you, I have found it powerful to just touch this idea.
Once I went to an aquarium which had a small tank, close to the ground, filled with small, harmless stingrays, swimming around and around. The tank was open on top, and many small children (and children at heart) were standing around, petting stingrays as they swam by. It was a very brief interaction with a creature that often invokes such fear. But the awe it inspired in all the visitors was so clear. The tank was located in the lobby, where those entering or leaving could enjoy the creatures. But I noticed that it was more of those children on their way out that stopped to pet the stingrays. Having seen the larger rays and sharks in the big tanks, they still took the chance, however fearful they might have been, to give this a try.
What would it take to place your hand, cautiously, along the back of a stingray as it swims by? What would it take to place your heart in the proximity of a dream as it slowly takes shape?