Garden of Unborn Dreams
As I meandered over the tree-covered paths and bridges of Maple Leaf Cemetery on my bike one sunny Sunday morning, I came across the Garden to the Unborn. This was a new development, or at least one I hadn’t noticed before. I slammed on my brakes to get a closer look.
I began to wonder what it meant to be unborn. If you are unborn, does that mean you didn’t exist? But that can’t be right. If you didn’t exist in some form, then why would anyone create a garden in your memory? I determined that perhaps being unborn means not being fully realized. There was the hope of being born, but something happened to prevent it. To take it one step further I began to think about unborn dreams. Aren’t unborn dreams something that was hoped for and not fully realized?
I looked around the garden for other clues that would help me to take this idea of unborn dreams further and spied a red bench sitting beside the garden. It’s a place to think and reflect about what was lost. Red is the colour love, strength, passion, courage. Red brings things to the foreground suggesting that perhaps we need to bring those unborn dreams to the foreground of our thinking once again.
There were stuffed animals on the bench. A gift perhaps, from a sibling or parent. But it could also be a reminder that we need to get in touch with the child in ourselves that once believed that dreams can come true.
I have been fortunate enough in my life to realize many of my dreams: Being a writer, seeing Rudolf Nureyev dance, a trip to England after a twenty-five year absence, becoming a mother after ten years of marriage. But there are still a few dreams that have yet to be realized. For example, I long to see more of Canada. In particular, I’d love to go horseback riding in the Rocky Mountains, to see where Emily Carr painted in British Columbia, and visit Canoe Lake in Algonquin Park where Tom Thomson painted and was buried. And let’s not forget Newfoundland, to see a Viking settlement. So what stops me from realizing these dreams and what can I do to make them a reality?
I won’t lie to you to make things easier for myself. I have a fear of traveling alone. There, I said it. However, when I want something badly enough I know I have to somehow overcome my fear.
For example, I mentioned my trip to England after a twenty-five year absence. I wanted to go so badly I could taste it. I dreamed about it, imagined how it would feel to be there, and then I handed it over to the universe with no expectations. I couldn’t have any expectations. You see at the time my husband Wayne and I had two small children, a mortgage, and one income. But the dream was very real in me and I held on to that. I just had to re-connect with my roots somehow.
Then one day I was driving Wayne home from work (we only had one car then) and he said that I should go to England if I want to. I was sure I misunderstood him. “We can’t afford to go,” I said. “We can’t, but you can.” he responded. My mouth just dropped. I didn’t know what to say. It was such a generous offer — one I just couldn’t pass up. But my fear of traveling alone still dogged me. Getting to England wouldn’t be a problem because I could be travel with a tour group. But because I decided to stay an extra week to visit family meant I’d not only have to find my way from London to Crewe, where my family lived, I’d have to return alone on the plane. Sounds easy enough. But I have a hearing loss and need to read lips to fully understand what’s being said. That means announcements over the P.A. system just don’t work for me. I was afraid of missing my call to board the plane if I was alone. Or for appearing stupid because I tend to miss pieces of important information and have to fill in the blanks. But I wanted to go so badly. How could I pass up the opportunity because of a hearing loss? The answer was clear. I couldn’t.
This is where I learned to trust life. When I was dropped off at the Air Canada terminal at Manchester airport in England to fly back to Toronto, I got out of the cab and got in line behind another woman who just happened to be traveling alone. When I asked her if she’d be my ears, she agreed. I had worried for nothing. The universe had not only made sure I got to England when it seemed impossible due to our financial situation, it had also made sure that someone was there to help me at the airport.
I believe that once we make the decision to do something, if we want it badly enough, everything else will fall into place if we can just trust life to take care of the details. So if you have a long-buried dream you would like to bring back to life, ask yourself how badly you really want it? Is it just a passing fancy or is it something that keeps coming up in your life? This suggests that it will continue to appear until you say yes to the dream.
I think the answers to our questions can be found in nature in the same way this article came to me from being in nature and by opening myself up to my surroundings. If you have a question you need answers to, go for a walk or a bike ride, and be attentive to your surroundings. Try to determine what messages nature is trying to pass on to you. And trust. Trust your dream, trust yourself, and most of all trust life to lead you where you need to go.