I had a dream last night. It was probably on the mundane side, by which I mean it wasn’t terribly eventful, but it stuck with me and I’ve been thinking about it on and off all day.
About two weeks ago I went to see one of my favorite singers, Jewish reggae rapper legend Matisyahu. I saw him a few years ago when I was still living in Los Angeles. The show I saw took place a few weeks ahead of his Live at Stubbs Vol. II performance, and stands out in my mind as one of the best concerts I’ve ever had the privilege of attending. Matisyahu was in the height of his then-phase as a Chasidic Jew, and seeing the energy he brought to the stage and the passion he felt for his music and his faith was inspiring.
The more recent show was decidedly less full of life. Gone are remnants of Chasidism, and in its place is a new person, clearly struggling to figure out the way he feels about this life. In many ways, I can relate. Chasidic Judaism has never appealed to me, in part because I don’t do well with extremes, and in part because most people of Chasidic and even Orthodox background balk at the very mention of a gay Jew. The Matisyahu I originally came to know and admire was a person of extremes: an addict who found his way to sticter religion as a way to overcome addiction. I saw him singing songs two weeks ago not because he wanted to, but because he knew he was expected to. The powerful connection he shared with his music seems to have gone. My first instinct is to feel sadness, but with some thought I realized that he, like all of us, is just a regular guy trying to figure out this thing called life. So much of life happens in between the lines, and I think if I stick around long enough, I’ll get to see one of my favorite artists sing about this very idea.
I mention all of this because Matisyahu showed up in my dream last night. He didn’t sing, but we got to hang out for most of the dream, and we talked about life. I talked about how I love tools, and I love fidgets. I have a pretty big habit of thinking grand thoughts, and even being able to find or create the tools to make them happen. But rarely does it seem that I’m able to consistently use those tools. I’m my own worst enemy, succumbing to time, tiredness, and overthinking things. I want to become good at something, and have the means at my disposal to do so (mostly, that means is time), but get tired and discouraged along the way. The more I learn, the more I realize I still have to learn, and I’ve found myself succumbing to just how daunting an idea that really is.
In my dream, Matisyahu suggested that maybe I should worry less about whether what I do is good or bad. He made me realize that I’ve had the most fun doing something when I’m the least polished, because I’m not overthinking it, but just enjoying the moment and enjoying whatever it was I was doing. The tapping of the keys as I type, the sound of the shutter as I take a photo. Those are moments in time I relish, and I should make it a point to spend more time doing these things which bring me calm, exhiliration, and joy.
The dream was a timely one. I worked with a patient yesterday who made it very clear that she was scared about her situation, and seeing such raw fear left me feeling pensive for the remainder of the day and on into the night. Between the feeling that left with me and the message of my dream, I felt a gentle reminder to make sure that amid all the stress, I live a little. To use the tools I have to express myself. To enjoy my tools while using them instead of dreaming about the next tools I want to try out. To use the energy I have to get the ideas and thoughts out of my head and into a form where I can play with them, see them in new ways, and free up some space for new ones to take root.