Snapshots: Artists and Dreams

Night Dreams:

Most of us have experienced a range of night dreams. Some dreams arise unremarkably, as though our nervous system has reached its limit and decides to simply blow off stress. But other dreams have impact, in varying degrees, from minor to major. When you have this kind of dream, take note. Often, something from the past, future or the present is being pointed to. Dream images can help us summarize where we’ve been, reflect on our present, and guide us forward. Let the dream story roll around in your consciousness. There is no need to make hasty interpretations. Make associations, and the dream will tell you where it’s pointing.

Dreams of Transcending:

Well, goodness knows that inspired souls have traveled many avenues to formulate their large and universal waking dreams. Spiritual leaders, social reformers and caretakers throughout history have dreamed of justice, fought injustice, and amassed a wealth of wisdom to share. We need only take a look. But the secret in this exploration is: to notice what resonates and is in alignment with the core of who we are. Decide with your heart and soul, not with your head. There’s nothing terribly inspired about working for a Mother Teresa if you feel miserable while doing it. We must learn with our hearts what to give our lives and careers to. Listen for your dreams of inspiration.

Past Dreams:

Our view of the past is a dream, in an sense. Our experiences thus far–from childhood, adolescence, young adulthood and beyond–form a sort of whole. Each day sends clues, though we may arrive at clarification only in larger increments of assessment. Past dreams led you to the present and, perhaps, to new dreams. Examine the path of your experiences as they converge into a whole. The path continues to lead you somewhere: to the new perspective, new growth, and perhaps the new career.

Future Dreams:

As past experiences coalesce into a foundation, the present vision develops and changes. The future never really comes, as we know. We only have now. But in the now, we must be alert to new experience and opportunities. Our new decisions must issue from the dreams we are most committed to. Life is a brief candle, and true aspirations will keep it burning bright.

Pipe Dreams:

This phrase most often refers to flights of fancy. Despite its pejorative ring, we in fact need to test our dreams against this reference. Inspiration is good and well, but an important tension exists between vision and actualization. This “bridge” of tension can produce: realistic assessment of the present, viability of our plan, determination, grit, inevitable obstacles, consistency of action and willingness to persevere. And this is the tip of the iceberg.

No Uncertain Terms: Following Dreams is Hard Work:

…An enormous amount of work. But if you are on the right track–in other words, working at a project or career that brings happiness despite its challenges–then you are in position to overcome the inevitable obstacles. You are, in my observation, a good way down the road to success.

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*Essay by Barbara Bowen of - the definitive source for artists and creative careers in transition. Contact Barbara to empower your creative process and for help with your career goals. She would love to hear from you.*