When I decided on the title of this blog post - A Head Full of Dreams - I googled the phrase and discovered that I had accidentally chosen the title of Coldplay's upcoming album, unbeknownst to me. Well... I have no idea what their album is about, but now I look forward to hearing it even more.
This blog post is about grounding your ideas and dreams. It was partially inspired by the book The Artisan Soul, where Erwin McManus points out that people who experience true healing, restoration, and transformation will be people who dream (based on Psalm 126:1-6). What ideas and dreams have been inspiring you lately, hmm?
A Head Full of Fears Has No Space For Dreams
All of us experience fear as a normal part of human life. Have you ever noticed, though, that when you imagine fears and worries, the process is similar to imagining ideas and dreams? If you fear public speaking, for example, you may see an image of yourself in your mind's eye - there you are, in front of everyone, sweating like a fountain and quaking in your boots. You vividly picture everyone giving you weird looks, laughing at you, and throwing vegetables. It's all so clear. You can practically taste the vegetables. It's like a waking dream but, unfortunately - it's actually more like a waking nightmare. The more we entertain these waking nightmares, the more likely we are to make them manifest in real life. We move toward what we envision.
When people experience true healing and transformation, they also experience the redemption of their imagination. This is my hope - my dream - for every client I work with in therapy. I want them to dream again, in a way that is life-giving for them and the people they will impact. Sometimes this means that I have to breathe hope into them via therapeutic conversation until they are able to inhale and exhale it on their own, until their lungs inflate again. Think about CPR: it's a process of breathing life into someone and pushing up/down on their heart until they can breathe on their own again. To use a related metaphor, think about a defibrillator: when someone's heart stops working, you grab those pads and yell "Clear!" You use the defibrillator to deliver an electrical current to their heart. God's energy reminds me so much of electricity, conducted through human beings.
By the way, a life-giving therapy process also involves encouragement. Have you ever thought about that word, en-courage? It literally means that when someone encourages you, they are putting courage into you.
Let's Go Fly A Kite, Up to the Highest Height
When your capacity to dream life-giving dreams is restored, what's that like? Sometimes having an inspired idea come to you is like having a kite float by overhead, with its wispy string gently hanging down right near you, right within your reach. This is not a tease or an annoyance; it's an invitation. As with any invitation we receive, you have an opportunity to respond with your RSVP. Responding with a yes means reaching out to hold that string in your hand, giving the kite a touchpoint with the earth, studying its movement in the wind, welcoming it without exerting undue control over it. Sometimes, there is a window of time in which you need to do this before it drifts away to offer someone else the golden opportunity.
As I write about this kite metaphor, there is a song playing in my head: "Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest height..." Thanks to YouTube, I realized this is a song from Mary Poppins that I must have learned as a child. Watching this scene from the movie is a beautiful reminder that entertaining an idea - sailing a kite in the wind - is a sacred form of play. The process is meant to be imbued with child-like joy, wonder, fun, and even exhilaration. We see this in Psalm 126:1-2 as well: "Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy..."
Storing Up These Things In Your Heart
When you're entertaining an idea, attune your ear to its frequency. Deafen your ears to fear and doubt. Let the idea whisk you away, lighting you up with dreams. Obviously, different dreams will take shape - and will shape you - in different ways. Sometimes you will be the main person to ground that kite, to run with that torch. Other times, the dream points you to people you need to invite and partner with - you run up to them and say, with a mix of excitement and vulnerability, "Hey, let's go fly a kite!"
Build up a storehouse in your heart as you dream (Luke 2:19 and Proverbs 25:2). Also make sure you are recording the vision (Habakkuk 2:2-3), whether that be writing it down on paper, typing it out via e-mail, or making voice memos/typed notes on your phone. I have developed a bit of (questionably healthy?) paranoia around verbalizing my ideas and dreams to people when they're first being born. This is partially my personality, but it's also partially based on research suggesting that people who talk most about their goals are less likely to carry out the action steps needed to meet them. Don't let your mind mistake the talking for the doing. If you're hearing music that inspires you to dance, remind yourself that dancing involves putting on your dancing shoes and getting those feet moving.
Now... go put on your dancing shoes and fly that kite!
Dr. Parke is a licensed clinical psychologist located in southern California. She is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Vanguard University, and she also provides therapy to children, teenagers, and college-aged young adults in her private practice.
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