Have your ever felt you’re living life in the clouds or had a desire to? For some people, dreaming is a way to escape the realities of their life. For others, it is a way to let their imagination explore new things. And for some, it’s about a person simply being out of touch with reality.
The popular idiom, Head in the clouds, typically denotes a negative sentiment defined as, “To be out of touch with the everyday world. Unrealistic. To have impractical ideas or dreams.” However, another definition is, “To be daydreaming and not paying attention to what is happening or being said. To be lost in your private thoughts.” But can having your head in the clouds be a positive thing?
Henry David Thoreau wrote, “It is better to have your head in the clouds, and know where you are . . . than to breathe the clearer atmosphere below them, and think that you are in paradise.”
While I would agree that is it necessary to be “grounded” in reality when it comes to expectations of ourselves and others, as I’ve said before, dreaming in and of itself is a necessary part of life. Without it, our minds would have little escape from the harsh realities of this life (pain, suffering, loneliness, bills, overwork, heartache, etc.). For me, it is like a self-therapy in which my mind can relax by thinking, dreaming, or wishing about the romantic notions of life, which is otherwise lost in the harsh reality of this world. For example, romanticizing an evening under the street lights, drinking a cup of coffee at a European cafe in the quite city streets is an image I enjoy because it helps my mind to relax and in some ways, gives me the drive to work hard to one day make that dream into a reality. (Incidentally, it’s probably not even the quite European setting itself that intrigues me, but rather the calmness of the night). Some might use their imagination to create stories or works of art that they later weave into stories for the rest of the world enjoy. I can imagine Robert Frost getting lost in his poems before writing them on paper or Van Gogh as he first painted his masterpieces in his thoughts before putting them on canvas.
Being lost in my private thoughts is not just a way for me to relax or use my imagination to dream of goals or places I haven’t seen, but it is also a way to cry or voice my emotions without saying a word. A way to collect my thoughts. It’s a form of meditation and one that I believe many people forget to do. Reality kills the imagination, but the will and need to imagine is always within us. God did not cerate us to live through this hard reality we call life. Rather, He created us to enjoy it. And when we let our imaginations run in our private thoughts and we dream of better things while in the clouds, I believe each of us are reaching for the things God intended for us: peace and a life without worries. Through our private thoughts, we can rest on hope if we allow it. Hope is found in Christ, and our private thoughts is one way to connect to Him.
This is not to say that we should have our heads so high in the clouds that our concept of reality is impaired. While optimism is a great quality, we also need to keep in mind that our bodies do not live in the clouds, but rather on earth where the atmosphere is clearer. The purpose of dreaming is to stay optimistic and find some peace, not become depressed over things we may or may not be able to control. While your head may be in the clouds, so to speak, the purpose is to pull your head over them, rather than letting the clouds block your vision.
If you want to know where your heart is, take note of where your mind goes. If you dream of traveling to another country, that is where your heart is and maybe it would be worth while to take the risk and go there. We only live once and even if it takes years to get there, you eventually will with good planning and direction.
As Henry David Thoreau states, I would rather have my head in the clouds and know where I am, then to breathe the clearer air below me and fool myself into thinking it is somewhere I want to be. Dream away. Enjoy your thoughts and organize them so your real life is made organized and collected. It will make going through this life much more bearable. And who knows, having your head in the clouds you might discover knew things about yourself as you look down to the ground below.
So what do you think about when you have your head in the clouds? What do you imagine? What emotions do you let out?