Bipolar Futures:  Saturday 

Dreams are something I want but rarely get in the form I desire these days.  When I sleep, the mix of medication and a CPAP machine decreases the chances I’ll have meaningful dreams at night.  When they punch through, however, they tend to do so when I’m really relaxed or under intense pressure.  Always the crest of the big wave or the valley, never during gentle ripples.

When I woke up Saturday, I knew I’d dreamt of something because I was clenching my teeth.  My mouth tasted like chalk and my tongue could feel the rough places carved out from the pressure.  I brushed my teeth to get the taste out, not letting the mysterious dream keep me off balance for the rest of the day.  Besides, I knew what it was after a while anyway.

I have a genuine fear of success.  When things get a little bumpy or even spiral out of control, I’m always amazed at how ready I feel.  I might still be panicking, ripping and running to make sure things don’t go too pear-shaped, but that’s a relatively comfortable position.  I don’t know if it’s from becoming an adult in a labor movement where we lose more fights than we win or the byproduct of three decades of American racial education but I seem to have inherited the natural idea that I am never going to get what I want.  So when something good happens I get nervous.  I wonder what I’m about to lose to make up for whatever I’ve gained.

So when I sat down for breakfast (salmon and fruit) after meds, I turned on some Johnny Hartman and allowed myself to humor the possibility that I’m not going to spend this time from that place.  I need to work from a place of abundance, hope and mirth.  Why waste this tremendous gift on negativity?  

Seeing that I was nervous and scared of all the good things, feeling like there was no plan, I started with my Dreambook first.

The introduction describes the book as an opportunity to align your goals with the creation of ritual.

Ritual brings order, specialness, context and focus to our lives. The opening and closing, or the initiation and conclusion of a ritual aligns our intention with our actions, and it sets the stage for
the action to be as effective as possible. Ritual grounds us in the present; it rescues us from dwelling on the past and worrying about the future.

You probably already have some rituals – like brewing a cup of coffee and sitting down to plan your day. We believe it’s worth bringing more awareness to these rituals, and consciously forging new ones, even if their value is entirely subjective. Your experience of your day and your life will have a structure and specialness that’s meaningful to you.  Wouldn’t it be worth it?

You will see objective change, too. As you implement healthy rituals, your outlook will change, your beliefs may change, and the world you create around yourself will change. Don’t just dream and set goals, ritualize their actualization.

The book is set up as six sections:  

Connect, where you connect to what is important to you,

Dream, a place to think up whatever you want,

Craft, using mind maps to make the Dream section real,

Ritualize, where we create ritual to keep it focused and fun, 

and Plan, which ties it all together with a dose of gratitude.

The book actually gives you a lot to work with in the beginning, asking critical questions about what you want out of different areas of your life.  Being guided in the Connect portion was really helpful because I could treat it like a conversation between myself and an old friend.

You are then asked to think about the characteristics that define you, referred to as Core Values and Gifts.  I really enjoyed this part as I feel most of my life does not allow for much positive reflection.  

You are then asked to define your Purpose.  

As I settled into the process, I let myself relax into the pages and talk generally about what I’ve wanted as Vision.  The book asks you to envision yourself three years from now.  What will you look like?  What will your life look like?

After a nap, I moved into the Craft section in the late afternoon and I truthfully spent the rest of the day there.  

One reoccurring theme made itself present as the day progressed:  mental health and organizing melt together quite well for me, and not just in terms of taking good care of my brain.  I have a hunger to do more with my voice and love for organizing.  I also value our ability to travel and want Justice to see as much of the world as he possibly can.

Paris, KY doesn’t have many streetlights, so it got dark quickly.  Around 8 PM I realized I’d spent 8 hours solid working on my Dreambook so I stopped myself and watched an old movie.  Before I knew it, 10 PM rolled around and I found myself exhausted.  I went to bed, tired but not nervous in the slightest.

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