2021 – A Year For Dancing Dreams

Photo purchased from Shutterstock

As published on LinkedIn Influencers on January 14th, 2021.

Well, 2020 is officially behind us. This is not to say that the problems that plagued us in one calendar year magically disappear with the turn of a page, but for me, this has always been a time to hit the refresh button. For the past several years, I have posted a New Year’s resolutions article, wherein I take some time to reflect on the year that was, and look forward to the year that might be. That said, 2020 was so unlike any other year for so many reasons. It certainly was a challenging one for me on a personal level for many reasons, and so this year I wanted to do something different – share a poem! While I have written poetry for as long as I can remember, 2020 was a year where not only did I write a lot of it, but I read a lot of it as well. Last year made poetry a necessity for me, and it showed up right at the top of my self-care list. There are so many great quotes that ask, why poetry? And especially, why poetry now? Below are a few of my favorites before I share with you my poem to start a new year.

Poetry,” Audre Lorde tells us, “names the nameless so it can be thought.” This is pulled from my favorite poetry podcast, and said in the most beautiful of accents by one of the most beautiful, thoughtful, amazing humans I have ever met, Pádraig Ó Tuama.

Photo taken in Belfast where I, we (my family), had lunch with Pádraig

And this, pulled from another podcast from another one of my favorite humans, Krista Tippett. Martin Farewell said this: “I think poetry evolved to save us from ourselves. It questions our understanding of what it means to be human and, in the process, deepens our humanity. History teaches us — and the daily news reminds us — how easily we forget what it means to be human. Probably no other art form is better than poetry at getting us directly inside another’s mind, experience, perspective. The ability to imagine someone else’s inner life is where compassion begins.We could certainly use more of that nowadays.”

Krista goes on to interview Jericho Brown and leads with this quote: “Only the creative mind can make use of hope. Only a creative people can wield it.

My poem ends hopeful, so please consider sticking with it until the end. I hope you enjoy the poem, and please feel free to share your favorite one or ones in the comment section.

My Dancing Dreams

My dreams
As a child
Untamed and unmanaged
Without boundaries
Limited only by my imagination
The dance, begun
Wild, so wild
Free, so free
My dreams
As a teenager
A young adult
Such a driving force
Inviting courage and audacity
Only supportive and always unquestioning
My invisible companion leading me boldly forward into the rewarding place of achievement
I learned steps, moves
But the choreography
Was all mine
But with age
And change of circumstance
Comes responsibility
True and imagined
real and perceived
and its dance partner
A salsa turned into a waltz
With time, and thoughts, and people
and things

The thing about dreams is that
If we try to control them
Manipulate them
Manage them
They become something they were not meant to be
But.... And .......2020 

A year for me, for many, for most
Where dreams disappeared
or, got put in a corner
Even our tamed dreams
This year, 2020, like no other that came prior
taught me many things
important things
life changing things

I took pause, maybe you too took pause
I turned away from my hopeful dreams, ignored them, hid from them and them from me
and then, finally
When I realized how much I missed them, needed them, I invited their return
I called out to them, loudly, "please come back"
And they did
I received them. I listened to them. I learned from them.

What my dreams taught me is that at some point
I surrounded them with rubber bands
Designed to tame their reach
They stretched and then snapped back
Based on so many things 
That should not really have affected them
And yet
They did .............. they do
That is on me
For I am the one who bound them
I am the one who said
"too big" "too unformed" "too ......"
“no no, not now”
“maybe.. later”
“one day”
But ahhh… 2020
Teaching me, maybe teaching you, that one day may in fact mean
But ahh... 2020
Teaching me that dreams contained are not living into their purpose
Are meant to be big and wild and driving and energizing
Not small and captured and passive and painful
But that is what 2020 tried to do to all of our dreams
By trapping us in our homes, the temptation set in to trap our dreams too
And of course, responsibility and accountability were our dance partners more so than usual
And they invited fear to the floor
And they invited fear to the floor too...

I get it, I was in it, and it happened
They were all my unwanted companions
I stopped dancing
Maybe we all
Stopped dancing 
But as we shed the memory of a year filled with pain and suffering and loss and constraints
Let us let our dreams out
Let them lead
Let them invite our company once again
Of course
That much of what was true in 2020 is still true
So much suffering and isolation is still present
We remain in our homes
But our dreams can leave
Our hope can leave
Still attached to us
Not by rubber bands but by kite string
 A sky full of my dreams and your dreams
Dancing separate and together
Colorful and abundant
Pushing away the dark clouds that have surrounded your home, and mine
So take leave dear dreams
For you must
Let me open the door for you
And I will follow
And we both
We will all
Be free...