Manifesting a Dream

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It may look like part of a historical display, or just a place to shelter from the rain.  But it’s also a dream.

Soon there will be an old-style wooden gypsy caravan in my garden. There is no logical reason for this. Nobody will be living in it or travelling in it. It has no shafts, anyway, so it can no longer be drawn by a horse. Getting it into the garden is causing many logistical challenges. (There is mud. A lot of mud. There is hedge removal – hedge consisting mainly of things with very sharp thorns. There is a narrow lane and there is an electric fence.)

But this is not just a caravan. It is a dream come true. It’s a ride to future possibility. It’s creativity on wheels. It’s a huge, believe-in-yourself gift to my creative heart-led self.

Maybe that seems a lot to expect from a wooden shed on wheels. But squint carefully through the fog of time and, at a distance of about thirty years, you’ll see a little blonde girl gazing up at that shed on wheels with joy and wonder and a visible sparkle all around her. She imagines living a life of adventure under that canvas roof. She’s fascinated by its tiny cupboards and drawers and windows. She wants to snuggle up in the built-in bed and drift away. She writes a story with herself as the heroine and the wooden caravan as the place where magic happens. In the story-within-a-story in her mind, she imagines her writer-self scribbling her stories perched in its open doorway.  To see this wood, iron and canvas dream become real in front of her seems like a miracle.

We don’t all share the same dreams. One person’s deepest longing may be another person’s biggest folly. But dreams are important and it’s vital to support our own and those of others. My husband sees no need at all for a wooden gypsy caravan in our back garden and yet – and I bless him for it – he’s willing to acknowledge and accept that it matters deeply to me and to that little blonde girl I once was (and perhaps still am).

Dreams may be ethereal and mystical, but manifesting them is a strangely practical activity involving a lot of hard work. In this case I’ve sweated for hours removing bramble, hawthorn and blackthorn, suffered injury from all those thorns, carried out complex negotiations with neighbours over access, and been at the mercy of the rain that’s causing the mud that’s preventing final delivery. (My dream would be in danger of sinking into the neighbour’s field if we tried to bring it into the garden now. There is probably some meaningful metaphor here, but I don’t want to over-stretch the point!)

If a dream is going to come true, at some point we have to make the switch from dreamer to do-er. And there always comes a point when you wonder if it’s worth the effort. (A bramble whipping across your face and drawing blood will do that.) But it is. Even if no-one shares your dream, you can make it happen and it will be worth it.

When the field dries out and my caravan comes home, I can’t wait to go out and meet it and my little-girl self again.

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You know when you’ve found it

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, there will be a moment of clarity when you realise that this is the way you want to be, to work, to live. It may be the most fleeting of moments, but hold onto it, and use it as both a reminder and a yardstick.

Here’s my moment of clarity:

moment of clarity

I’m stitching together words and ideas, surrounded by pens, paper, books, scribbled notes.  I’m allowing one thought to lead to another and writing them down, and I’m doing it at home.  This is my way.

Skills for life

When I signed up as a charity fundraiser all those years ago, it hadn’t occurred to me that I’d need negotiation skills, a thick skin, and a creative imagination.

When I became a mother, I thought I was prepared for the sleepless nights, constant nurturing and complete revision of life’s priorities. (I wasn’t, but that’s another story!)  But at no point did I consider that I would need to learn any of the following:

Fixing a prized remote controlled car with nothing but duct tape.

An encyclopaedic knowledge of all things Star Wars and the ability to converse endlessly about it as if it matters.

Even more highly developed negotiation skills.  Especially at bedtime.

How to watch the same film forty-nine times, play the same game and read the same book four hundred and nine times without going crazy.

Whatever the job, there is always more to it than you think.  Any business has accounts, marketing, planning and a raft of other things to be done which aren’t what you might call the core of the business (the fundraising; the widget-making; the writing, whatever).  Even that dream business, the one you’ve been dreaming about since you were eight, the one that’s ideal because it uses all your natural abilities – even that one needs planning, financial and otherwise, and has a hundred mundane actions which need to be done to make it real. 

But if you’ve held down any kind of job, been a parent, or made anything else happen, then you do have the skills to make the dream come true as well.  It won’t happen with a flash of light and a magical rainbow.  It will happen with hard work and putting to good use the skills you’ve learned in other areas of your life.

Mind you, I hope I won’t need to use my remote-controlled car repairing abilities too often.  I think that skill needs a bit of work.