Yesterday, I observed a group of teenagers getting into the sea. One-by-one. Slowly. Reluctantly. When just one remained, dry and shivering by the water’s edge, his friends shouted words of encouragement: “Come on!” “Just do it!” “Don’t let my mam get in before you!”
One of the boys in the water looked up and said: “Just jump in! Pretend you’re dreaming.” I’d never heard anyone say something like that before. It got me thinking: What other things could we make possible for ourselves if we made like this was just a dream?
Pretending this is a dream would enable us to detach from fear. Fear is what keeps us stuck. If we were to extricate ourselves from the debilitating clutches of fear, we would finally start really living.
This way of thinking would also require us to stop taking everything so seriously. GK Chesterton wrote: “Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.” This quote was the welcome message on my phone for a number of years. It’s amazing how much easier life becomes when you don’t take it or yourself so seriously.
And, finally, pretending that this is all just a dream means having faith that everything will be okay. I came across this quote recently: “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.” Having faith means that even though things may seem painful, sad or difficult right now, you always have a knowing that everything is working out exactly as it should. Everything is in perfect order. Florence Scovel-Shinn wrote: “Replace fear with faith.” This is my new go-to quote any time I feel that familiar flutter of panic, dread or doubt. It enables me to let go.
If we could banish fear, take ourselves lightly, have faith and let go, can you imagine what we could achieve? And, more importantly, how we would feel? We would be free to really enjoy life. Isn’t it funny how acting like life is just a dream can result in really living?
And if you’re wondering what got that guy in to the sea in the end, I could lie and say that what his friend said about the dream had a profound effect on him and he jumped in, fearless and triumphant. But in truth, as his friend’s mother edged towards the ocean, he shouted: “You’re not getting in before me!” while dive-bombing into the water.