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Secret Little Dreams

Our dreams matter. Collectively, our dreams hold to the keys to a more kind, peaceful, joyful, compassionate, loving humankind.

our friends creating ornaments together at home

Dearest Doodle Soupsters,

One of my lifelong dreams, like on my bucket list, is to have a box of special, memory-filled ornaments that we pass down through generations.

It’s not about religion, or even Christmas. I was raised Jewish and sometimes, I keep some of those traditions. Yet, for me, spirituality is more about my personal connection to nature, the universe, and the beauty and magic I see in existence. Singing, making art, and spending time with people I love, as well as taking long, quiet walks outside — that’s primarily how I feel connected to a higher power, a core goodness or grace in the universe (and how I define this ebbs and flows for me).

When I was younger, I visited someone’s house for the holidays and they called their Christmas tree a Hanukkah bush. As I explored the ornaments on their tree, my eyes darting around and around, I felt this spark of joy. And as they pointed out the memories associated with different ornaments … i don’t know … It just felt so intimate and special.

This year, my husband came up with the idea to do crafting nights at our home with friends to make our own special ornaments to enjoy now and each year going forward, and pass down together. We drank hot chocolate and ate cookies, cinnamon rolls … so much cozy deliciousness! My husband and our friends helped me fulfill a secret little dream I’ve harbored.

And the truth is no dream is actually small. As Mary Oliver put it, joy is not made to be a crumb. Every dream is its own everything, means everything, so expansive, so precious.

Yes, there is so much about being alive that pertains to survival … lately, I’ve been wondering about this: what does it mean to be human? Is it part of our humanness to want our lives to be about more than survival? And in wanting more than survival, we carry all these dreams, some we’re extremely aware of and some that remain secret even to ourselves until we are ready to remember them.

And sometimes, those dreams feel like pain. Hope felt like pain. All that time I could hear my calling to make art, yet I had to cover my ears, hide my own voice away because I was being abused and I was so young and I was just trying to survive. Yet, those dreams, even when they felt heavy and crushing and lonely … they all held keys to something important. And I think that something is a life beyond survival.

The dreams weren’t the pain. My hope wasn’t the pain. The pain came from having to shut out the dreams, having to tell myself my dreams didn’t matter … how many times do we tell ourselves our dreams don’t matter because of the things people told us that we don’t want to remember? because the past is what really hurts? because we’re scared it’s too late? because we know that facing our dreams means facing our truth? because knowing our dreams means knowing our despair and ultimately finding the courage to know hope, to pursue hope too?

How many times do we tell ourselves hope is the problem? How many times have I blamed myself for having hope that things would be different when really, it was the people in my life who shouldn’t have abused me, hurt me over and over again?

Real hope is not easy. Maybe, blind hope is but is blind hope even really hope?

I think hope is choosing to see reality as it is and choosing to believe it can be better … not believing that it’s already better or believing that things that are bad aren’t really all that bad, no. I think hope is seeing things as they are and believing in ourselves to change how things are.

Deep down, I have always believed in love and the essential goodness at the core of people. I still don’t fully know how to make sense of what people I loved (/still love) did to me. Sometimes, humans make really bad choices. I don’t know what drives one person to act one way in a situation and another person to act a completely different way. Sometimes, I don’t want to believe in free will because it means my parents chose to abuse me.

I think I’m realizing all over again in a deeper way that choice isn’t really a matter of one-off decisions. We make millions, bajillions, of little choices all of the time. And those choices drive the direction of our lives. And maybe, being a good person is more about the general trends of our choices. We don’t have to be perfect. We can choose to prioritize care, love, and compassion in our own personal ways. We can choose to take care of ourselves and choose to direct our lives toward kindness for all beings.

The people who abused me made so many little choices throughout their lives … choices to look away from a child in need of love and protection, choices to hide the truth, choices to move away from self-reflection, choices that moved them closer to rage, cruelty, taking out their pain on others.

Sometimes, I believe that at least some percentage of humans will always find ways to hurt each other and all we can do is not be the humans who hurt each other. Yet, right now, I think that a question of “always” is kind of besides the point.

Hope doesn’t require me to predict the future or decide the limitations of what’s possible. I think all I really need to do is keep my eyes and ears open, do what I can, and try to believe in something. And that something can ebb and flow and change and criss-cross back over to what I used to believe and turn back around again. That’s okay.

At the end of the day, here’s what I choose:

  • To move ever closer to truthfulness, love, wisdom, respect, care, kindness, joy, and compassion with my decisions

  • To prioritize care for living beings, including my chosen family, myself, pets, as well as for people and animals I don’t know personally

  • To find and create meaning from the pandemonium

  • To move closer to my soul (spiritually — I don’t mean soul in a religious way), the glowing core of who I am inside, my inner child, my inner wisdom, my intuition, my gifts

  • To sing, to paint, to dance, to laugh, to take my time, to rest, to grieve my truth, to write, to express, to feel, to treasure my sensitivity and remind myself that my sensitivity is a gift not a curse

  • To treasure the special quirks of being human and keep asking questions about what it means to be human, even if there are no answers

  • To remind myself and you that our dreams matter

Our dreams matter. Collectively, our dreams hold to the keys to a more kind, peaceful, joyful, compassionate, loving humankind.

What are your secret dreams?

What keys do they hold?

In hope,

Nicole Sylvia Javorsky


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