Category: Druidry Written by Nimue Brown
Any serious action begins with an idea. Anything new that humans do will start with a thought, a vision, a dash of hope, a sense of possibility.
If we are to do more than repeat the same things unquestioningly, day after day then we need the time to ask questions, to wonder… what if….?
Daring begins with dreaming. Transformation emerges from the desire for something different. Making change is best done deliberately and with intent. It’s easier to do that well if you first dream up a direction to go in and some sense of what you want.
I’m not a big fan of sitting around waiting for life to change by magic. I don’t expect to put a paintbrush to a canvas and have a remarkable piece of art turn up with no planning. I wouldn’t sit down at a piano and expect to be able to compose a sonata off the cuff. While I like winging things when I’m writing, I spend a lot of time developing settings, characters, themes and intentions before I start trying to figure the story out.
All of life works this way. Anything that isn’t either repetition or reaction starts with wondering. What would be better? How can have more joy in my life? What seems exciting to me? What do I need more of? Having time to both ask these questions and to reflect on possible answers is essential to me. I also like to think about what the people around me want and need. What are the people in my life excited about? What do they need more of? What can we do together?
There have been times in my life when stress and urgency hasn’t left me any time for wondering. When all you’re doing is firefighting one day to the next, there isn’t time to think about how to handle things better, or what the priorities should be. If you find you do have time for a little daydreaming and contemplation, use some of that to think about whether the people around you have time for that, too. Mental labour isn’t always visible, and women carry a disproportionate amount of it, so spare a thought for anyone who may be carrying more of the thinking load and try to make sure that your space for contemplation doesn’t exist because someone else lacks for time to themselves.
Daydreaming is easier when you have time alone and some occasional freedom from responsibilities. Without that space, the freedom to choose and act may itself seem unthinkable. Daydreaming thus turns out to be something that has aspects of privilege, power and politics to it. In some jobs, no one will question your need for time spent staring into the middle-distance thinking about things. Low paid jobs may also require thought and reflection, but it’s seldom valued in the same way.
There’s nothing wrong with daydreaming about small and mundane things. If what you long for is modest, that’s no less valid than craving some more expensive and exotic thing. Allowing yourself space for longing makes room for the possibility of seeking what you need, which is really important for wellbeing. Daydreaming can also give you space for gratitude, for reflecting on what you do have and on what’s bringing you joy and richness. Life is more rewarding when there’s time to think about what has happened to you, and what you want to have happen, exploring experience and desire in gentle ways.
When you know what you want and value, that also makes you harder to manipulate. When there isn’t time to dream and reflect, unconscious desires can easily be tugged on to send you off buying things that promise to fill the gap. It’s better to know and name those gaps and stop people pouring snake oil into them.
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