When I was in my teens and 20’s there were many things that mystified me.  Rental applications where the person asking me about my background was wearing a wife beater t-shirt and hadn’t bathed in a while, what was really in Cheetos and should I care, you know, the big stuff.  But also this weird dichotomy that people had between wanting and doing.

So many people want to do or be things. Like wanting to have a fantastic party for someone’s birthday or to celebrate a big event.  They start talking about all the things that would be great to do and that the person would really enjoy, but when you start agreeing and asking how you can help they immediately back down and say “No, no, no…it’s impossible. We’ll just order a cake.”  In my teens I actually believed them and looked for the reason why the logistics of it might be impossible and couldn’t find any.  In fact most of these people did way more difficult things routinely throughout their day and it wasn’t like the money and resources weren’t there.  Nobody was proposing hiring Ringling Brothers to come and set up in the backyard.

Then in my 20’s, when I had figured out that it wasn’t about logistics I started looking at why anyone would have a dream so simple to implement and they would back away from it or actively work to make it not happen. They would expend energy to make sure their life did not have anything to do with it.  Then I started looking at why someone would have the dreams at all if they didn’t want to enact them.  Seems like a weird form of torture. There’s no simple answer to that because people are complex, but what started to dawn on me was the fact that it was about identity. Some people label this reaction as fear. Being afraid to do something new, something different, something out there that will get them noticed, something outside the box or radical. But from what I can see, fear is the reaction to what is really going on.

Dreams are safe and wonderful and like TV or movies or books they are worlds of their own that we can slip in and out of at will whenever we want and we can go on living the same as we always have. Just like the Greeks and theatre its about the catharsis. Actors and characters living out our dreams so we get the emotional benefits without having to change anything.  If you challenge someone to actually live out their dreams, even small ones, you are challenging them to take on something new, to change. To become more than who they are or let go of something they are desperately clinging to.  That dream may seem inconsequential to us, but also might be the tip of an iceberg that once touched sets off a chain reaction causing an entire life to change.  So a party isn’t just a party, a dream isn’t just a dream, it’s a box they are working desperately to keep closed as if it’s full of all the tragedy of Pandora.

When they see that it’s not, that it’s full of happiness and happiness means change and acceptance and validating our true nature, then the party is on!