Did you ever have an imaginary friend as a child, or know someone who did? Whether it is the medicine man who speaks to plant divas, the child who sees fairies, the inventor who envisions something before it exists, or the composer who hears a symphony in a waterfall and then writes it; the mysterious nature of our subjective reality allows each of us to tune in to aspects of reality that others don't see. Something may be real for us, but not validated by the outside world, and all of us experience this feeling at some point. We live in a reality that is surrounded by mysteries, but our culture is obsessed with explaining them away, so we find peace in the mystery of our dreams.
Some cultures embrace the "Great Mystery" by understanding that what is known is dwarfed but what is unknown. Dreams allow multiple ideas (even conflicting ideas) to co-exist. This gives us some breathing room to gestate where literal worlds collide in the ever-changing landscape of our understanding of reality.
Anyone who has spent time making art with children or playing in nature with them has probably been awed by the wonderful worlds of imagination they inhabit. We have all seen art that has caused us to question the artist's sanity or our own sanity, or the sanity of our culture, or just make us laugh and cry at the colliding emotions that have been stirred. We live for this!
We all love to feel like there is something more, something beyond the reach of what is known that brings freshness to what has become mundane in our lives. Yet we usually resist it or push it away when it does present itself, choosing to reside in the comfort of what is "known." Some dreams are better left as dreams and some realities turn out to not be as concrete as we once thought. Regardless, we are caught in the tides that wash us to the shore and pull us back into the dark depths of ocean waters. Perhaps allowing ourselves to accept this process will help us cope with the ebb and flow of our changing times.
"Life is not measured by what you know, it is measured by what you are willing to explore of the unknown and the inspiration you share along your journey." -- A Box Of Secrets
At Culture Collective we are always exploring how stories continue to be the thread that holds the seems of our lives together, and celebrate the ways that media and art influence our cultural landscape. When our stories change, the reality we experience changes also.
Our stories come to us in subtle ways, inspired by dreams, a quiet moment in nature, or a good film. Yet we are still influenced by advertising that wants to convince us we are not enough, or that we don't have enough. We accept judgments from loved ones that may be based in their own fear and jealousy, or their inability to understand the unique people that we are. Yet we ingest these stories and perpetuate them without barely time to consider if they are valid to our own heart. Sometimes the line between dreams and reality is not so clearly defined. A liberating and scary thought!
If I told you that this post was inspired by a short and poetically beautiful film, would you want to watch it?
Over the holidays, my lifelong friend Chase Bowman shared a five-minute film he'd recently worked on. The film, Jolly Friends Forever More was written and directed by Kaz Phillips Safer. In 2010 she submitted her script to The Cinereach Reach Film Fellowship, which provides a continuum of financial, creative and professional support to emerging filmmakers developing vital, artful short films, and was accepted. The end result is below.
When I spoke with Kaz about the project she raised the question, "What is it about the power of childhood imagination which normalizes something that, in an adult, is pathological?" I am still pondering the thought.
She asked me to make sure that due credit was afforded to her awesome team, including cinematographer Chase Bowman, production designer Deb O, choreographer Dan Safer, producer Christina King, editor Carter Carter, composers Anton Sanko and Joel Thompson, as well as actors, Sean Haberle and the amazing Arden Truax who played the little leading lady.. Give her website a visit, or go and "Like" her new fan page. It is with great honor that she has agreed to make her film public and allow for it to be shared freely with the publication of this article!
You don't need to give up the responsibilities of adulthood in order to dream like a child. As we learn to accept and laugh at those parts of ourselves that we don't understand, we may learn to accept those parts of others that we don't understand. This compassion allows for the metaphors, the mysteries, and the magic to sprout new stories in our lives. Enjoy, "Like," tweet and make it viral and see if it changes peoples reality...