An Ode to Dreamers

“To dream the impossible dream…

This is my quest
To follow that star
No matter how hopeless
No matter how far…

And I know if I’ll only be true
To this glorious quest
That my heart will lie peaceful and calm
When I’m laid to my rest

And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star”

These are some of the lines from the song To Dream the Impossible Dream from the musical Don Quixote. Do you have an impossible dream? Do you have a few? Have you allowed your dreams to fall away and be discarded? Maybe it was time for them to die and maybe it wasn’t.

A contemporary therapist, Mitchell, who has been making his mark on the therapy world, has asserted our need for grandiosity. Another psychology researcher, Schore, who has made it his passion to link therapy with human development and neurological development, seems to confirm this connection. It is grandiosity that allows us to run and explore for the first time as a child. It helps us momentarily defeat the fear of being away from mom and sweeps aside debilitating shame. Shore demonstrates how grandiosity is actually a regulatory system that helps us develop in a healthy manner.

Mitchell provides us with a clever illustration. He likens grandiosity to building sandcastles at the beach. There are three types of people. Those that refuse to build sandcastles because they will be washed away. Those that build as if the castle will last forever. And those who build with abandon and enjoyment, knowing that it will be washed away, but they can rebuild again. The third is the place of health and enjoyment. It is the place where we can dream, build, and believe without being crippled by the dissipation of those dreams. It is the person who can believe and strive in spite of the castles that have been washed away.

Do you have an impossible dream? Is it worth the scars? Perhaps that is the only question worth answering. Cervantes, who wrote Don Quixote, stated, “All sanity is great madness, but the greatest madness of all is to live life the way it is, rather than as it should be.” This is fitting given that the hero of the story Don Quixote spends his later years believing that he’s a knight and jousting windmills. It’s interesting because he is clearly the hero of the story and it is almost impossible to avoid being wrapped up in who he is and admire the tenacity of his refusal to live in reality. He defiantly chose to live as life “should be” not how it is.

I suppose there are dangers in this- delusion, madness, utter foolishness. So there must be some balance to wrestle with, but wouldn’t the world be so much better if it were filled with men and women who dared to dream their impossible dream? An army covered with the scars of washed castles, but with a fire in their eyes and a light in their souls that could not help but bring color to a black and white world. I want to believe in love. I want to believe that there is music in my soul that can bring others to dance. I want to believe that others’ songs can fill my heart with joy. I want to believe that the days ahead are filled with new triumphs and new adventures, that I will be a man more loving and more courageous as each year passes.

Stop, turn around, are there castles behind you? Are they worth building again? Is it time to build something new? Are you ready to dream?


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