My reality and my longing tango again. The longing inside my heart, which I often describe as an ache, is strong, ever present. It won’t let me be. It isn’t a pain, it isn’t sadness, it isn’t melancholy, I don’t know how to describe it except that this ache is what keeps me alive, keeps me going. It is this ache that wakes me up in the middle of the night to make furious notes in my bedside notebook. Nine out of ten times, the notes help me find the characters for my fiction, the topics for my essays, the themes for my spiritual writing. The ache makes me constantly long for an unseen dream, search toward an unknown destination. I am looking for something, not quite sure what it is, but something in the back of my mind keeps nagging, pushing, nudging me toward an undefined future.

I talk to a friend who suggests visualizing my longing, in hopes that it will settle the ache. After all, argues my friend, there have been studies proving that the subconscious brain cannot differentiate between reality and imagined reality—meaning that if you visualize yourself succeeding at something, you can trick your brain into thinking that you truly are succeeding.

I try for months: yoga, meditation, deep breathing. I try to visualize the ache—I see muted colors, I hear high winds, I see storms, I see waves, I see dark skies, it is all foggy, it is all so far away. It takes a while and then the fog begins to clear. My longing begins to take shape. I can see the vision that my heart has for me. It is clearly an impossible dream. It is big, it is wild, it is terrific and terrifying at the same time. It is the highest of the high, and yet as I see the truth of the longing in my heart, I am suddenly hit with a thought: If the crazy, impossible dream does materialize, then what? Will I have nothing to aspire to, nothing to look forward to? Do I even deserve to think I can do this? What makes me think that this longing can be my reality?

During the visualizations the ache disappears but then, just like that, as soon as I stop it is back.

The more I try to tame it, the stronger the ache grows. The tango between my reality and my longing is almost violent right now. They are both pushing to define me. It is a scary proposition for me no matter how I look at it. I am content where I am and yet I am totally dissatisfied. The dichotomy of the human mind—or am I just insane?

I begin to stop resisting the longing. I begin to see it as my friend instead of something I need to tame into a more practical reality. Perhaps my longing is a sign of hope, a sign that I need to keep doing what I am doing, and that I should not try to lose the ache. Perhaps the ache exists to remind me that I have a lot to be grateful for right now.

Perhaps not every dream, however defined or undefined, needs to come true to have value.

And for now as I keep going on my creative journey, that is just fine.

Your thoughts? Does every dream need to come true?

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