Dreams Die Because of LACK OF INSPIRATION

By Ivan H. Scheier

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart. ...Confucius

Often, for the kind of dreams we want to encourage, people who are not self-confident in the first place must face an essentially dream-unfriendly culture. When dreams do come true they are often misperceived as miracles. Contemporary magazines are replete with stories about individuals who overcame tragedy, serious illness, and emotional upheavals to achieve anyway. Though seemingly an encouragement for ordinary folks like us to emulate, these stories convey a paradoxical message--these miracles are really extraordinary and thus must be beyond the reach of ordinary people.

The Dream-Catcher's role is to show the reality in the seemingly miraculous. S/he must take the role models, examples, and words of wisdom that are everywhere and use them to create a vision-friendly mini-culture for the dreamer. Some of the possible techniques include:

  • Displaying inspiring words. Some people respond to illuminating quotations. Examples are sprinkled throughout this book just as they covered the walls at VOLUNTAS. Dreamers should not only be surrounded by such phrases, but they should be asked to contribute their favorites. Some of the more creative dreamers might even pen their own.
  • Providing examples and role models. Role models and real life examples prove that dreams need not rely upon miracles to come true. Wherever possible, Dream-Catchers should offer real-life examples of people who went after a dream and achieved it. Famous types suffice, but ordinary, now-living types like Annie Jones just down the road make even better role models. The Dream-Catcher can offer a true gift when s/he can help the Dream-Chaser connect with the role model "in person" or at least by telephone, fax or e-mail. These role models or examples offer the most inspiration when:
    • the Dream-Chaser's vision resembles the role model's area of interest (though it can be demoralizing if the dreams are identical, and sole proprietorship is at issue);
    • the role models are people who belong to a group with whom the Dream-Chaser identifies, affiliates and/or admires, in terms of gender, race, ethnic origin, religion, socio-economic status, disability, age, etc.; or
    • the role model or example involves a group that is generally considered "disabled" or at least not ordinarily supposed to have dreams and achieve them.

During my six years at VOLUNTAS, I sensed that a number of our visitors seemed quite astonished and perhaps even a little scandalized that, in my 71st year, I was still chasing dreams. For some, perhaps those of the older ones, I believe this led to encouragement, in the sense that "if this old codger can still dream, why can't I?" Otherwise, whether only a slightly raised eyebrow, or an explicit inquiry, the sometimes surprised reaction went like this: "How come at your age you're not resting and 'retired'?" My response usually offered something like the following: "What's to be surprised about? At my age, dreams are more than ever needed for preservation of soul and self-respect. I have more time and fewer obligations. Barring serious health problems, I've little to lose except my sanity - which never did much for me anyhow."

  • Offering a dream-nurturing environment. The Dream-Catcher can help the dreamer to find a place (perhaps like VOLUNTAS) where others, including the Dream-Catcher can provide encouragement-essentially a mini-culture in which dreaming is not only permitted, but is positively encouraged and expected as the norm.
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