Hiding in the open

There are dreams that irk you because they are too real. They touch on things you hope to never uncover. Latent wishes, passions and desires that cannot be quenched. The unconscious parts of your being that you pay no mind, until you do. And when you do, it’s all you can do not to think of them. Sure, with time they will fade back into the background. But in the meantime you are left wondering: what was that about? What import does it have on my life? How much gravity should I give it? Is it a fleeting desire unmet or a deeper seeded need that should be addressed?

Deciphering through our varying layers of thoughts and emotions at any given moment can be exhausting. So many things can be true at once. Yes, I want to be in a committed long-term relationship. But yes, I also crave the excitement of the new. Yes, I want to be independent. But yes, I also want the security of knowing I have a network of people I can lean on. It’s the yin and the yang right? We are complicated creatures that contradict ourselves left and right. And sometimes our gut instincts conflict with the realities of modern life. We are trapped in bodies of an archaic time. We are not properly equipped for this digitized, global, individualized world where we are taught to have what we want, when we want it. To think globally, to buy locally, to give to others, to give to ourselves. To seek adventure but to create a cozy nest at home. When so many things lay on our conscious, how do we interpret our dreams and those intoxicating feelings that cloak our inner worlds? How do we cut through the puffs of bewildering smoke and find an answer to that central, driving question: what do I want? And then the more sensible sister of that question: what do I need? And, ultimately, how do we marry those two things together?

It can be hard to answer these central questions without a clear sense of purpose. Purpose. A term people love to bandy about these days. It applies to many life scenarios. Figuring out if you should stay in a relationship or not. Figuring out where you want your career path to go. Figuring out your place in the world. Purpose is the guiding light that is supposed to help us figure these things out, right? Or was that intuition? But what if you don’t have an overarching sense of purpose? And what if your intuition is marred by those unconscious desires and conflicting feelings we talked about before? What if you feel guilty for even being worried about not having a sense of purpose when so many other people on this earth aren’t afforded that luxury?

I struggle with purpose because I’ve never had a clear one. I’ve had things I’m passionate about and things I like to do, but the whole “I found one thing and now I’m going to dedicate my life to it” never happened to me. Maybe it is still lying out there somewhere waiting for me to stumble over it. But I’m starting to get used to the idea that sometimes we just blossom in many divergent directions without it. Sometimes we can purposefully tell ourselves to calm the f*** down and keep moving ahead. Do animals worry about purpose, about latent desires? I doubt it. And we are animals after all. The fear of not worrying about it is the fear of wasting time. If we don’t have a clear-cut answer of what to do about a given situation, how do we know we aren’t wasting time in a relationship, in a career path, in a city? And while it’s easy to fall back on the idea that “no time is wasted time”, it feels a little too easy. Sometimes time is wasted, in the sense that we aren’t serving ourselves what we need or perhaps we don’t go after what we know we should. But while that can be true, I think it’s also true that we put too much pressure on “figuring things out.” On finding a singular moment of clarity to direct us forward. Sometimes there are just a bunch of little choices that add up to where we are. There is no big declaration, no large turning point. And it’s in these moments when we “purposeless” people feel most insecure. When nothing large has shifted, it can be hard to pinpoint if what we’re doing is right, if what we’re feeling is valid. It’s like trying to judge the height of ripples in water that’s barely moving. Waves are much easier to judge.

The thing is, once we’ve wrapped our minds around letting our limbs branch every which way in the wind, then we can begin to accept the little contradictions. We can begin to let the larger things move us. The big issues that demand our attention as well as the grandeur of the simple things, like a fluorescent sunset or the way wild sage smells or maybe the beautiful transparency of a child. When we quiet the worries and fears over all of the things we want to “figure out,” we can create space for what’s vital. We can finally push aside the flurry of doubts and see what’s right in front of us.

So when those pesky dreams rise to the surface, let’s try our best to acknowledge them, linger in them for a few minutes longer, and then release them back into the ether. Sure, they may come up again. And maybe they are trying to tell us something. But we will find out what they are trying to say only when we look back. All we can do now is let them go through us, relish in any kernels of insight they may offer and stop holding onto them so hard.

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  1. Tiffany June 25, 2016 at 2:07 am

    I’m so impressed by you and your writing.

    1. esensky7@gmail.com July 17, 2016 at 8:59 am

      You flatter me. <3 Thanks for reading! It makes me so happy that you connected with it <3

      Love from Amsterdam!



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