If you don’t get something you want in life, don’t despair! You can always dream it. I think the modern word is visualization and I am a dab hand at it.
I have two lives.
My real life and my dreaming one!
And I can move between the two without much effort.
Many years ago, in the days of the white bicycle (which now leans in a dilapidated manner against the workhouse wall) I met an old man with whom I discussed my dream of owning a small cottage in the west of Ireland.
For years the sight of these simple buildings, with their three windows, off centered door and rain flow enabling steep roof pitch, maybe a sheltering tree, a cozy encompassing stone wall, a river, lake or sea location, and always that small vegetable patch have filled me with the yearning to make one my home).
But our conversation had originally started out about something completely different.
Something tasty and crumbly whose pronunciation is often disputed.
Scones or Scones!. (How do you pronounce yours?)
‘Do you pronounce it rhyming with ‘gone’ or with ‘cone’? I asked him (He was from west Cork and my love of that undulating accent caused me to spend more time at his bedside than I could afford to. (Plus, despite having no appetite, his eyes lit up when the daily scone arrived on his bed table and with all those ‘drips’ in his hands, he needed help buttering it)
‘With ‘cone’. He replied. ‘But because I don’t know which is the correct pronunciation’ he paused for effect ‘I’ll have one of each!’
I smiled at his wit as I cut the object of our attention in two and put some butter and a jam on each side before pouring his cup of coffee (a substance he was addicted to!)
‘Do you like a scone yourself?’ He inquired.
I nodded ‘Who doesn’t ?’
‘With cream and jam or butter and jam?’ He persisted.
‘With cream’ I didn’t hesitate ‘But the jam depends on whether they are plain or fruit’.
‘I would never put jam on a fruit scone’ He announced stoutly’ ‘Two such opposing sweetness’s would cause confusion of the palate’
I nodded my head in agreement ‘Its as bad as sprinkling chocolate on a cappuccino’
He raised his eyebrows in mock horror. ‘Chocolate on a cappuccino? A veritable sin’ He agreed and we smiled at each other, kindred spirits in the art of eating scones and drinking coffee.
‘What do you be talking to him about?’ my colleagues asked curiously. ‘You were in his room for ages’.
‘Oh this and that’ I replied guiltily knowing I had now so much work to catch up on.
But we did discuss more serious things.
His pain level, his concerns….
He always replied that he had none of the above even though I didn’t quite believe him.
His prognosis wasn’t good.
‘A good scone is the cure for all ills so’ I would say jokingly.
One day when we were discussing the simple joy of growing a vegetable garden, I admitted my dream to him.
That small cottage in the west.
‘Well ‘ He said ‘If you really want it, just close your eyes and open your heart, and visualize it.’
He sounded so confident.
I did as he suggested but halfheartedly. I knew I also needed other elements like money and time.
Later it occurred to me that maybe he meant to dream about it would be enough but I never got a chance to ask him.
A few days after our conversation I was whisked away for my own scans, biopsies, surgery and treatment and the thought of that cottage no longer become a priority.
Everyone has their dreaming place.
(My favorite dreaming place)
If you believe in a dreaming life you will know that, to maintain it, you have to nourish it. and to nourish it you have to visit it.
Visualization is an interesting practice.
I have recently become more familiar with it as part of my twenty minute morning meditation, which I started in the New Year.
The App I use suggested it might be difficult but maybe due to those years of creating the scene of my dream cottage in the west I find it easy.
I also cheat a bit.
When I visualize filling myself with sunlight, which streams down through the top of my head and starts filling my body slowly from my toes up, I am not doing it before work on my chair at home but have transported myself to my little house in the west and am sitting at the doorway in the sunlight. I visualize it so well that when the session is over I am surprised to find myself in my small apartment on the other side of the country.
And with this accurate visualization comes a longing to head west. (This longing usually becomes most intense at the time the first leaves of the hawthorn appear).
And I note that if I don’t fill that longing by the time the haw is in bloom I go frantic.
This brings its own problems.
Last year I woke one morning and not being able to bear it any longer decided to go on the spur of the moment.
After heaving my bicycle into my car and throwing in some ‘bits and pieces’ I drove out of Dublin like a lunatic.
Clutching the steering wheel grimly, I leaned forward, nose almost on the windscreen as if that would get me there faster.
When my car began to protest with squeaks and other unfamiliar noises I just turned up the radio louder ( A handy trick I learnt from a friend)
As I neared the turn off for Clare, I noticed a car in my mirror gaining on me.
A like-minded person following their dream?.
I grinned manically, urging my old car forward.
When he finally decided to put on the siren and pull me in, I cried bitter tears leaning my head on the steering wheel.
It wasn’t the thought of the three penalty points that made me weep but the fact that this was delaying me from getting to my destination.
As if he read my mind he took forever to wander around my car checking my tires, tax and insurance.
‘Are you the owner of this car ma’am’?
‘yes yes yes’.
‘Do you realize what speed you were doing?’.
When I didn’t lift my head from its position on the wheel he poked a camera in through the window to show me I was doing 110 in 100 km zone.
‘I wasn’t even supposed to be on this road today’ I moaned sadly.
He ignored my illogical statement.
‘Can I see your licence Ma’am?’
When he eventually let me go I nearly drove over his toes in my haste to make up for lost time.
But I did drive in a more sedate manner the rest of the way
And it was worth those three penalty points to be here in the west standing outside a cottage even if i didn’t own it and the roof was falling in.
One of the many cottages I put my ‘dreaming’ eye on