How a dream can make you more positive:
Your life has been filled with daydreams and “what-ifs,” right? Chances are, you don’t use them very effectively. Yet.
Actually, quantum physicists suggest that a daydream might actually be one scene from a parallel life that’s just as real as what we call “reality.”
Or as an ancient Chinese poet wrote, “Am I a man dreaming I’m a butterfly, or a butterfly dreaming I’m a man?”
And wouldn’t it be cool if we could control which parallel reality we inhabit? And if they could become “reality?”
Dreams Can Come True
Decades ago I first daydreamed of building strong communities, filled with happy people– “making myself useful,” as my great-grandmother Mimi liked to say.
And who’s to say such a positive parallel life is less important or valid than my “real” one, filled with disappointment and partial successes?
I also try to understand other people’s daydreams, so I can avoid joining negative people in their imaginary worlds. Otherwise, I might start agreeing with them that one failure always leads to another and that everyone around me is a potential threat or problem.
That wouldn’t be the parallel life I choose to live.
Your Parallel Resume
I’m always filled with hope and fulfillment by my daydreams, and the parallel lives they’ve helped me enjoy. At least five of them made the leap from daydream to “reality:”
- Hosting a weekly pot-luck supper for homeless Bowery residents, at which fellow Quakers and I would cook and share home-cooked dishes.
- Developing an innovative “service exchange” program in my Seattle neighborhood, which won an award from the city’s Parks & Recreation Department, then continued for seven years after I moved away.
- Organizing and leading weekly classes in a Japanese village for Vietnamese boat people who’d been stranded there while waiting to settle in America. I prepared them to teach Vietnamese culture to American hosts–with pride and optimism.
- Developing classes and interviews for a Boys & Girls Club’s after-school program, in which a dozen preteens interviewed local business and community leaders. The interviews were then compiled in a fund-raising book.
- Training volunteers for a Taiwanese service organization on how to introduce foreign visitors to a major recycling center in Taipei.
Here are two other daydreams I’m still trying to bring to fruition:
- Social Media International Leadership Education (SMILE), which can provide any child in a less developed country a chance to design and activate his or her unique “microeducation” program–based completely on their innate talents, interests, and preferences.
- Providing online support to women in less developed countries so they can establish tiny home-based businesses with significant value to other community members.
Use your daydreams in daily life and interactions
Daydreams have a way of popping up whenever we need to be happier, more productive and a better friend or relative.
Just a few minutes ago, in the middle of a conversation with two friends, I sensed the arrival of some unwelcome judgemental thoughts about them.
Rather than criticizing myself or getting distracted, I remembered a recent daydream in which these friends and I were enjoying a happy conversation.
This enabled me to back away from judgment, and accept them as the good friends they’d been during my positive daydream!
They were pleasantly surprised by my sudden improvement in mood, and our conversation was soon as enjoyable as the one in my fondly remembered daydream!
We can all weave daydreams into our daily lives, for fun and profit.
So the next time I see you smiling, I’ll know …