Becoming That Shape
“The ability to fantasize is the ability to grow. [For] boys and girls… the most important time of their day, or especially at night before going to sleep, is dreaming themselves into becoming something, or being something. Into being something. So when you’re a child you begin to dream yourself into a shape, and then you run into the future and try to become that shape. When I was 10, 11, 12 I began to dream of becoming a writer, and the rest of my life has been the real task of shaping myself to that boyhood thing. So fantasizing has been very creative.” – Ray Bradbury, from Day at Night Interview, with thanks to The Marginarian for showing the way.
It’s easy to spot potential in others, when you pay attention to such things. A nephew with a knack for brilliant cooking, a niece with an eye for brilliant photography, a friend with the aptitude and attitude for finish carpentry, a son or daughter with the unique combination of empathy and talent that they bring to the world. When you look for the spark in others, often it’s easy to see. And sometimes it’s barely detectible, needing space and air to spark into something more substantial. We, witnesses to the fire burning inside others, either feed the spark or snuff it out. Which will we offer in the moment?
And what are we with ourselves? Are we stoking our own dreams or snuffing them out? We ought to be arsonists with our spark, stoking our dreams and lighting the way for others. For in those moments alone with a dream, when we see so clearly what we might become, we discover our anima. In Latin anima refers to “a current of air, wind, air, breath, the vital principle, life, soul” (wiki). There’s magic in air as we dance with that vital principle, for there we form our (dare I say it) life’s purpose. For us humans trying to reach our potential, the question or what animates us ought to be front and center in our journey to becoming what we might be.
In our brief dance with light and air, we must build our beacon in earnest. Shaping ourselves into whatever we believe possible shouldn’t be the stuff of childhood fantasy, it can be our lifetime pursuit. For dreams ought to be stoked, if only to see how brightly that spark might burn.