Have you ever had a dream so strange?
And it recurred in your thoughts and feelings the next day
The details faded, but something…something unforgettable remained
An idea, A lesson, A feeling you couldn’t name
Why did a sound, a word, an object you never noticed before
reactivate the movie played out in your mind in your sleep the night before
The story only a whisper waiting to be told…on the tip of your brain
Only to dissolve from your memory once again?
Maybe you couldn’t speak, you couldn’t move, you couldn’t see
Familiar animals, people, time and places
Shapeshifting, untouchable, tilted, floating, reversing, changing
Leaving you with anticipation
Some kind of message you are meant to understand, just waiting
Could waking life be the same?
The subconscious, collective unconscious, and conscious choices colliding in the day?
Our histories…personal, ancestral and societal on replay in different ways
“How outrageous, bizarre and illogical,” we say
Never questioning that this is the “dream” we created, the life that we made
Before we awake forever changed
When nothing will ever look the same again.
Alice’s adventures in Wonderland and through the Looking Glass are seemingly nonsensical dream-world escapades. But like dreams, what the stories reveal is far from meaningless. If you have been following along with the Wonderland Campaign, you know the world created in the author’s mind through Alice’s dream is a satire of society at the time, seen through the eyes of both an intellectual adult and a curious child. In dreams anything is possible; our subconscious has no limits to create the sequence of images that play in our mind as we sleep. In literature, the author has the same freedom that is only limited by the conscious imagination. What about in real life? What about the American Dream? Can we imagine a society that has limitless potential? Or do we too easily confuse possibility with money and greed, pride and prejudice, power and superficiality? What about sharing, community, kindness, compassion, and empathy?
Psychology of the mind, including the role it plays in our dreams, gained interest during the Victorian Era. If dreams represent our subconscious thoughts (the scientific interpretation) and beliefs (the spiritual interpretation), doesn’t our political system represent a society of our own scientific and spiritual (or lack thereof) creation? Why wouldn’t our conscious thoughts and beliefs create our reality as much as our subconscious thoughts create our sleeping dreams? Are we happy with what we have created?
Lewis Carroll reflected somewhat somberly on his own journey after Wonderland, “Life, what is it but a dream?”; Do we have nostalgia or regrets over our American Dream? Despite a 150 year span of time since Alice in Wonderland was written and a distance of thousands of miles between England and the United States…has the dream changed? Are time and place irrelevant as in sleeping dreams? Is the pursuit of happiness through material means a universal waking dream? Can we change the collective unconscious?
Too often, too many of us look at our society and our political leaders as something that has happened to us rather than what we have created. As we argue amongst ourselves about who is to blame (Republicans or Democrats; rich or poor) and label the opposing view (fascism or socialism) we only continue to stay asleep in a nightmare; Dreaming in black and white when we could dream in the colors of understanding and a new way of seeing (the miracle – “…a shift in perception from fear to love” as described by Marianne Williamson). How have we contributed (no matter how intentionally or unintentionally) to the distorted dream? Don’t we acquiesce to corporations, media and politicians? Our well-meaning attempts to wake up only leave us feeling further trapped inside the looking glass world. How do we break free?
“The world is a reflection of who we are and if we don’t like the reflection, it doesn’t really help to break the mirror.” ~ Deepak Chopra (from Global Meditation for Compassion with Gabrielle Bernstein, July 2015)
The dream worlds Lewis Carroll created through Alice are not utopic where everyone agrees with her, everything is simple and everything makes sense. Alice’s dream-world is chaotic, frustrating and nightmarish at times. The mood is less Olivia Newton John’s Xanadu, and more Billie Eilish’s Everything I Wanted. Alice is learning and growing. Are we? And can we only learn through struggle?
“...it is not up to you what you learn. It is merely up to you whether you learn through joy or through pain.” ~ Marianne Williamson (from A Return To Love Workshop: The Basics of A Course in Miracles*)
In our own American “dream” too many people today feel like they are drowning without a government who cares. To wake up we need to know we have each other’s back. We need to stop believing that there are monsters under our bed (the fears fueled by propaganda for news ratings and political gain) and honestly face the dystopia happening in the lives of people everyday. How do you stop a recurring nightmare? You change your behavioral patterns and address the issue/trauma. Are we willing to shine a light on the shadows of our country’s history? Are we willing to change? Are we willing to love?
What would a true American Dream look like to you? How does it feel? What is your role in the dream? Look around….who else is in this dream? How does your loved one feel? How does the stranger feel? What about the person who hurt you? Did you choose to see them happy too? How do we create a new vision together? Where is the space between ideology that does not avoid reality and a reality that doesn’t dismiss hope? What are the limiting beliefs that hold us back from pursuing a collective vision? (Some I can recall from 2020 were “This country is not ready for or doesn’t deserve [a progressive candidate]…” or “I would vote for this [progressive] candidate, but…” or “I’ll just vote for the lesser evil THIS time” [said every time] or “Poor people didn’t work hard enough and just want a hand-out” or “Where will we get the money?” Economist Stephanie Kelton shares this answer).
What if we choose again starting now? To start here? To forgive yourself? To forgive others?
“You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one” ~ John Lennon (from Imagine)
“I have a dream…” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr
Do we only take visionaries seriously as legends of the past? If John Lennon and Martin Luther King, Jr stepped into 2021 with us today would we listen? Visionaries exist today. Are we listening to them now? Here is a good place to start (The Biology of Belief with Dr. Bruce Lipton and host Marianne Williamson) and here (I Believe in Art by Victoria Lynn Hall). Science and art, dreams and creation.
What would it be like to dream as if everything and everyone mattered? What would it be like if we waited? What would it be like if we didn’t?
“She was a good deal frightened by this very sudden change, but she felt that there was no time to be lost…”from Alice in Wonderland, Chapter V
* Love audio books, but want to break away from Amazon and Audible (owned by Amazon)? A Return To Love Workshop: The Basics of A Course in Miracles and other Marianne Williamson titles are available on Chirp. For more alternative options that support local bookstores choose bookshop.org and libro.fm (in partnership with Book Moon for audiobooks).
Kerri is an advocate for the introverted activist. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others. She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.