Tag Archives: Dreams

When Life Kills the “Impossible Dream” part 2, When the Dream Kills Life

My son recently told me that the reason he doesn’t like his dreams is because he’s alone in them.
I didn’t know what to tell him.
The world’s big enough as it is, moreso when you’re four and a half.
And then you add a burgeoning subconscious that you’re only starting to navigate, and how do you come to understand who you are and process what this thing called living is when by no choice of yours, a hungry sasquatch comes into your house looking for snacks? And while that in itself is enough to cause you to question things, on top of that, the family that tends to always be there, isn’t; it’s just you, a four and a half year old kid, left alone to deal with this unprecedented situation.
What do you do as that kid?
Go hide in your bed, and find a sword.
…At least that’s what he said he did in the dream.

But more than just that one dream, what do you do as that kid having to face a reality where things seem normal until they’re not, and when you most need reassurance, comfort even, none can be found? Because you’re dreaming. And you’re alone. And you don’t know it’s a dream.

I think if I were being honest, I didn’t know what to tell him because experience has only really served to actually drive this point home. It seems like shit advice from an emotionally uninvested parent.

Guess what kid, it’s only going to get worse in the real (waking) world. You’ll find yourself facing questionable, unprecedented situation after questionable, unprecedented situation as you get older, that’ll all seem just as jarring as a bad dream, and there will be countless of those situations where you’ll look around for comfort and reassurance, only to find yourself alone.

Harsh… But true?
Just how much of life are you not alone in? And the more you experience life, the more it could feel like that child-like oscillation between being asleep and not knowing it, and being awake.
Between being alone, and being connected.
Being apart from.
And being a part of.
When you’re awake, you know you’re awake. Everything’s normal. But that’s only because you’ve experienced waking.
When you’re dreaming, and don’t know you’re dreaming, it feels like everything’s normal. It’s only after you awake, that you realize the experience you had prior that felt so normal (no matter how strange it got), wasn’t normal, and was the dream.

And how often in life does something feel normal (no matter how strange it gets), only for you to find out it isn’t?

How often in our lives does it feel, effectively, like we wake up?

So is it so strange that some people begin to feel like my kid does right now, and begin to despise the “dream”? But it’s not dreaming, is it, it’s an aspect of reality—the world—itself.
Ever had someone in your dream tell you it’s real life, not a dream?
How is that any different than telling someone who feels alone, that they’re not alone?
And if you can’t tell you’re dreaming when you’re dreaming, so much so that you begin to hate sleep itself because of that fact, how do you begin feeling about life after those situations where you look around for that comfort and reassurance, only to find yourself aloneagain.

I think at this point, there may be a tendency to differentiate between solitude and isolation. And it’s true. They’re different things.

Growing up, there was a lot of circumstances in my life that left me to my own devices. Family of five that grew up moving around regularly; with sisters that were not only just enough older than me that there was rarely any scholastic overlap, but are also twins. This solitude was further perpetrated by having an immune deficiency disorder, one which required plenty of self reflection if only to get the help I needed, because I rarely would show signs of being sick outwardly until it was INCREDIBLY bad.
Throw in experiences and trauma in my life that further left me feeling unrelatable, and the solitude I never really minded, turned to isolation. And it never mattered how many people I connected with, or how often I was told I wasn’t alone (cue the Christians with their “but God is always with you” rhetoric), didn’t change how often I felt like a four and a half year old discovering a sasquatch in his house, hungry for snacks, and no one else at home to comfort him in this scary, unprecedented situation.

We have moments of solitude. We FEEL isolation.

And that’s the point. My kid’s not afraid of solitude. He’s afraid of being alone when he’s really scared. He’s afraid of being alone when he really shouldn’t be alone.

Being afraid of solitude is one thing. Being afraid of isolation, of being alone, that’s something else.

The Bard put it best, “If tomorrow wasn’t such a long time, then lonesome would mean nothing to me at all.”

Sometimes tomorrow is such a long time, and the dream when you’re alone—unknown to be a dream—seems to stretch on forever.
Sometimes you’re so alone, you can’t remember the sound of your own name.

I originally planned on titling this “One and Done.” Because maybe one isn’t the loneliest number, maybe it’s just the most solitary. Which would make it more prone to bouts of loneliness.

How often, do you think, has “One” struggled to find another “One”? How many suicide notes has “One” written in its lifetime?

How many suicides prayed to God for SOMETHING to wake them up only for their prayers to go unanswered. Or maybe thought the answer—the “wake up”—lay at the end of the rope, or down the barrel of the gun, or the razors edge, or the bottom of the pill container.

I can’t enter my son’s dreams and make it so he’s not alone there, but I can make damn sure I’m there for him when he needs me in waking life (yes, my daughter too…not leaving her out to dry).

I recently spent one hell of a weekend where I almost wasn’t,
because I didn’t want to be.
I almost wasn’t here, because I was going to choose NOT to be.

And…those were some of the toughest words I’ve ever written out.
To admit to that truth.

And see, one of the worst parts of being in a dream that you can’t wake up from, and don’t know is a dream, is that you don’t wake up unless someone wakes you.

It may very well be that Alonzo Quijano is awake, and Don Quixote is the dream.
And Alonzo Quijano MAY have “friends” and “family” around; but the truth is, Alonzo Quijano is alone.
His existence might as well be a dream.
Don Quixote may be the dream, but the dream isn’t alone. Even if the dream requires being awoken TO it.

Alonzo was ready to die. And die alone.
Don Quixote was ready to live. And adventure.
Even though he dies shortly after.

The thing is, Alonzo would’ve died alone. Don Quixote didn’t die alone.

It’s probably crazy. Crazy to to be alive. Crazy to hope. Crazy to dream. Crazy to keep believing in a Dulcinea that WILL return and sing your song back to you.

But I’m done with the lie that we are alone. I’m done with “life as it is…

And you know what?
I’d rather be crazy, than dead.

And I’ll joyfully die a crazy madman who dreams he’s not alone, among other crazy madmen who dream with me.

Time to wake up, Darling.
Time to wake up. And keep dreaming the Impossible Dream.

->and the world WILL be better for this…


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The Kingdom of Heaven is an Irishman (Who Doesn’t F Around)

(Written 2.July.2011)

I had this dream not too long back that there was a whole bunch of people gathered in some castle singing about the hope to come when this tree outside (huge…think baobab) would bloom it’s fruit. The fruit were these huge alien gourd-like things that were multi colored and really…looked alien like. Anyway, before I entered the castle, I noticed the fruit (gourds) were actually opening up. So I get inside with the intention to tell the people that it’s happening—the very hope they’re singing about is going on right now. Well so the crowd quiets down to listen but the Music Man—who’s on stage playing piano with his back to the crowd of people doesn’t stop playing or singing. He just keeps droning on about someday the thing we hope for will happen, and kept giving cues and prompts to the people to sing with him about that hope. Well so needless to say, I was pissed. Everyone was waiting to hear what I had to say—though some were still murmuring about who I was and why they should listen to me, and this guy just wouldn’t shut up. So I got on stage and told him (the Music Man) if he was going to act like a child, I was going to treat him like one. So I bent him over my knee and spanked him repeatedly.

Needless to say that got everyone real quiet.

The floor was mine.

So I proceeded to tell them that the very thing they were hoping to come someday—when all will be right, was going on right now and they’re missing it. So they all followed me outside (except for the Music Man; don’t really know what happened to him after that) and in the courtyard of the castle was a huge table. And all these presents of varied shapes and sizes were on it. And there was so much food and it all looked so crazy (think the feast in HOOK), and everyone somehow just knew which gift was theirs. There were no names on any of them, but people began to go to where there gift was, sit down at the table and open it. When all were open, they ate and talked and showed their gift, and no one was ashamed of their own gift, nor was anyone jealous of someone else’s. We all kinda just knew that all of it—the gifts, the banquet table, and the banquet had all come from the gourds that had bloomed and opened.

I myself was walking around the table, observing everything, but mostly, I was looking for some of the gourds. I wanted more than anything to try the fruit in the gourds and see what it tasted like. I didn’t find my gift, or my chair, because I desired to find a gourd and try the fruit more than to sit down and open my gift — if there was one.

And then I woke up.

Never did find a gourd fruit and get to taste it.

Well so, it really got me thinking about a number of different things—namely God stuff (yes, as usual), and began to ponder the dream. Now I welcome all sorts of interpretations and if you think you know what some of it means, by all means, let me know and comment below. But here’s my interpretation: the Music Man is religion. I’ve always thought of religion in that way and in a number of songs I’ve written that’s the image of religion to me. I think the dream itself pretty much sums up why I call religion the Music Man, but if you just don’t get it, I’ll clarify. The man in the dream playing piano just wanted to lead the crowd blindly. He didn’t even face them. He was so hell bent on his own dogma that he could even stop playing his song for a moment to hear actual truth.
That thing that everyone was singing about was the coming of the Kingdom. The tree was the Tree of Life. The banquet was the Banquet. And it was all happening now—as everyone was so blinded indoors by the Music and the hope that someday it’ll come, but not soon. Maybe when they die. And they were all complacent in that. “Let’s all just sing about the someday but not yet when all will be well and everything that had to be endured will be made up for when the bad is destroyed and the good lasts.”

I’ve really had an issue with this sort of complacent, wishful type of thinking. And the more I read, and the more I looked and the more I hungered, I realized its just fool’s gold. Marx was right. Religion can be the opiate of the masses when what it does is make you settle in your seats, take the beating, saying “thank you sir may I have another!” all in the “hope” that someday it’ll all be alright. That all the pain and suffering and hardship and sin and fallen nature and messing up—all of it, will have been worth it when the day of Armageddon, the end of the world comes.

It’s not as if I was never there myself. I’ll admit. I totally had that thinking. I came to this point (very hippie, lots of Bob Marley influence) where I would say “we’re all just refugees of Zion.” (Read that out loud in your best stoner accent)

But this concept of the Kingdom is something that has been the velvet line running throughout all my thoughts; especially after the dream. I really wanted to wrap my mind around it. So I read through some books, like George Eldon Ladd’s “The Presence of the Future” and seeing just what people think. Then of course, I turned to scripture to see what it says.

I encourage you to go in and see what parables Jesus used to describe the Kingdom of Heaven (GOD), but I want this to be the thing that stands out: before the cross, Jesus told of the coming of the Kingdom—it was at hand. After the cross, he doesn’t really talk about it coming anymore.

It’s as if the cross was some pivot, some corner turned and some new day forming. As if the Kingdom is here—we just don’t see it fully yet. Some don’t see it at all. Some see it, and lose sight, and see it again, and then lose it again. I would fall into this last category. It’s as if I grasp it, only to open my hands and realize nothings there. Then again, there may be still others who may not follow the norm, know the lingo, or dance the right dance, but are caught up in it—knowingly or not.

So what in the world does it all mean (DOUBLE RAINBOW!)?

Part of me really wants to explain this out. Make it practical. Make it theological. Make it something with a profound depth that’ll change your life. But then the other part of me really doesn’t.

The banquet is here. It’s now; and…now. And now. In fact, it’s every now. There’s a party going on and we’re in it. And we’re mixing it up and we’re with people and some are friends of the guy who’s house it is, and others are friends of friends, and still others are people that just saw that there was a big party going on and the door was open so…here they are.
And maybe there are those—there’s some at every party, who’s goal it is to be the life of the party. To be it, the thing that keeps the party going, and all attention is drawn to them. I know that often times, I’m totally that guy.

That guy.
A lot of people have some sweet skills (like the gifts on the banquet table). Nunchuck skills, computer hacking skills. You know, skills. I have few. One of them though, is my sweet dance moves. My wife can attest, I’ve got some mad sweet sexy dance moves. Anyway, as I was saying, for me, I’m prone more often than not to get so swept up in the party that I wanna be the life of the party. The drunker on it I get the drunker on the attention I get, the more and more I crave it. It may start out that I truly add to the fun of it all; that people really like me being there. But the party invariably goes from being a rad gathering of people from all walks of life, to becoming all about me and my self gratification.
Love me love me love me.
Tell me I’m awesome.
Tell me this party wouldn’t be the same without me.
Until I get too drunk and the “life of the party” becomes the “death of the party.”

I don’t mean to crash here or make this about me, but I use myself to point out that it seems the more you desire to succeed at the party, the more you fail. The more you try to be the life of the party, the more you take away from the life of the party.

I know, I know. I don’t want to sound as if I’m saying “so give up, you’re covered by grace. Whatev’s.”


That’s not it.

This isn’t a ticket to just do what you want.

It’s a ticket to fail at the party.

I mean, maybe—maybe this whole thing is a celebration for us, but not of us. Maybe the Kingdom is a charming Irishman. And he comes in very polite, and wins you over with his awesome accent. And, you invite him to stay. You don’t mind. But then he gets comfortable. And he starts messing shit up. And the life that you thought you had some control of—that you were succeeding at (think Charlie Sheen, “winning, duh.”), begins to seem to fall apart. Until it gets to the point where you realize you never really had a handle on the reins at all.

Does that freak you out? It does me. I hate it.
I used to write scripts in my mind how I wanted my life and its parts to go and would then try my hardest to make life fit the script.

It didn’t.

It doesn’t.

But maybe what God’s inviting you to do isn’t break. Isn’t become heartbroken and forlorn. But join the Irishman. Join the party. Maybe God wants to get you to let go of you, let go of yourself, and party.

Maybe our world isn’t something to simply suffer through or to beget something greater. Maybe that’s just part of the bigger picture. Maybe the whole thing is getting it by not getting it, grasping it to let it slip away. Hear the music and dance. Freely. He–God, He’s got this. This is the story. This is His dream He’s dreaming.

The Kingdom is now. And not yet.

How that looks is between Him and you. Are you gonna let the Irishman in?

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