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Dialogues Unfiltered - part deux
Q: How do your dreams nourish your soul?
Correspondence: From San Francisco to India - Summer 2023
Today was the first day of my maternity leave and it was glorious. It feels incredible to have a somewhat long stretch of time to myself - I’m referring to the one month I have before the baby arrives. M was teasing me last night after I got home and said “I’m guessing you are going to do all school drop off/pick ups for the next month and also cook dinners every day.” “Absolutely not!” I responded. This time, these four weeks (perhaps shorter if the baby arrives earlier than her due date) is for me. The six months after she arrives are for her but this time is mine. I want to slow down, nest, take long naps and short walks, write, meditate, lose myself in a book or a film and spend quality time with little A, M and a few friends including you. There will need to be some time spent on prepping for the baby but probably not too much.
Over the next several months, away from the structure of corporate work, I’m hoping to dream new dreams. Last summer I read The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho, a book he wrote before writing The Alchemist. It is about a man's journey on the road to Santiago. There were some parts that dragged on or were a bit too steeped into religion but there were some really good bits as well. I wanted to share a few highlights about dreams given that you and I are both back in that space of envisioning what the next stage brings forth.
"We must never stop dreaming. Dreams provide nourishment for the soul, just as a meal does for the body. If we don't our soul dies and *agape cannot reach it"
*agape, Greek agapē, In Scripture, the transcendent agape love is the highest form of love and is contrasted with eros, or erotic love, and philia, or brotherly love.
I have experienced this in my own life. A few years ago when we were brainstorming and experimenting building something together I was in that dreaming state. In that state I felt a lot more in harmony with life.
"The first symptom of the process of killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain that the day is too short. In truth, they are afraid to fight the good fight."
I am guilty of this. Of sometimes choosing to do less, opting to just be. I’ve been attached to my free time, a bit afraid that starting something new means giving that up. As you know, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about being vs doing which has had an impact, indirectly perhaps on my career decisions. What I do know now for sure is that there is joy in both - doing and being.
“The second symptom of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams—we have refused to fight the good fight.
When we renounce our dreams and find peace,” he said after a while, “we go through a short period of tranquility. But the dead dreams begin to rot within us and to infect our entire being. We become cruel to those around us, and then we begin to direct this cruelty against ourselves. That’s when illnesses and psychoses arise."
Correspondence: From India to San Francisco - Summer 2023
So good to be in the expanse of Ladakh after a week in Mumbai. Fresh air, clear skies, white capped mountains - I forget how much nature is needed to recalibrate our souls. Even though Mumbai wasn't chaotic this time - it was a good mix of free time, home cooked meals, family time with parents and getting chores done - it is still hard to appreciate your surroundings when there is constant noise and trash everywhere you look. At least on early morning walks, looking up, I found myself appreciating the greenery and tall trees that have somehow survived the crazy construction in Bandra.
Thanks for sending the quotes from The Pilgrimage - I think you have shared them before but good to re-read them and remind myself of the journey that I am on. It made me think of the internal turmoil I was going through in April - between signing up for building a coaching practice on AllTakes, taking the seven week course on Positive Intelligence and kicking off a new cohort of MIT Founder Circles - I think I was still not feeling in tune with a vision for the future. Each of them were good in theory but were not resonating with me and it was leading to self-doubt about what I really wanted to do with my time. I now realize I need time to let my vision come into view and each conversation and endeavour helps finetune it. It gives me data for the question that my coach Vandy posed to me "what made your heart sing today?". Instead of viewing it as a personal shortcoming when things don't seem right and judging myself, I should see it as an indicator that I am not in tune with my heart so I need to continue my search.
She shared these words with me -
Excerpt from Book of Hours
by Rainer Maria Rilke
I have faith in all that is not yet spoken.
I want to set free my most holy feelings.
What no-one has dared to long for
will spring through me spontaneously.
If that is presumptuous, then, my God, forgive me.
But I want to say just this to you:
my true power should come like a shoot, a force of nature,
no pushing, no holding back,
the way children love you.
And if this is arrogance, then let me be arrogant
for this, my prayer
that stands so sincere and alone
before the clouds that shroud your face.
I ended up downloading Rilke’s book of poems last night - "Book of Hours" (translated by Anita Barrows) and his words below reminded me of the patience with which I continue to go through each of my depression episodes. I find so much wisdom in the "old letters" of my earlier DD posts where I attempt to capture my learnings from each experience.
I love the dark hours of my being.
My mind deepens into them.
There I can find, as in old letters,
the days of my life, already lived,
and held like a legend, and understood.
Then the knowing comes: I can open
to another life that’s wide and timeless.