I love Star Trek.
I’m no longer ashamed to utter these words publicly, although there was a time that I hesitated to proclaim my love so openly. Life is hard enough when you’re a teenager. It existed as a guilty pleasure, emphasis on the ‘guilty’. Why add extra sci-fi-fantasy nerdiness to the equation?
I watched an episode recently that reminded me of why I love the original series and all of its successive series. Star Trek is excellent at addressing relevant current events through the lens of a distant time, different perspectives, and with the prevailing idea that we, as humans both collectively and individually, can and will evolve beyond the mistakes of our past.
In this particular episode, the captain of the space station “Deep Space Nine” has dream-like hallucinations and a subsequent unconscious vision transporting himself, as well as the entire crew and additional characters back to 1950’s New York. In this vision, he is a science-fiction writer, trying to make a living and also pursuing his passion. However, he is at a disadvantage. He is black. It’s the 1950’s. While the magazine doesn’t mind employing him, they are unwilling to acknowledge that they have a black writer on staff.
Additionally, in the episode as “Benny Russell”, he writes a story with a black protagonist – a story that essentially IS the story of Benjamin Sisko, the captain of Deep Space Nine, as well as the crew and the adventures they experience in deep space. The magazine rejects the story, unwilling to publish a story with a black hero. In the episode, we also see a young African American man shot and killed with little cause by white police officers, as well as the brutal beating of an African American man while bystanders watch and do nothing.
This episode was filmed nearly 20 years ago but it could just as easily have been filmed today.
In 20 years, it seems, we haven’t evolved that much.
At the end of the episode, there is a moment that gives hope both then and now. While Benny is led away in an ambulance from his former place of employment, a street corner preacher sits with him. I know, I know – makes no sense. Just watch the episode.
Anyway, Benny says to him, “who am I?”
The preacher says, “Don’t you know? You are the dreamer AND the dream.”
Benny looks down and sees he is wearing the uniform that Benjamin Sisko (the captain he “created” in his story) wears. He looks out the window and sees the stars of deep space whizzing by.
It’s a powerful moment of recognition because we are all the dreamers and the dream. But like Benny, we frequently don’t see that connection.
We might acknowledge that we have dreams, but we don’t always see our ability to make those dreams become reality.
I see this on the yoga mat all of the time.
A student wants to do a handstand, but doesn’t really believe it’s possible. So every time she tries, she doesn’t get very far. She gets frustrated. She thinks she’s not strong enough. Every subsequent time she tries handstand, she fails. Self-fulfilling prophecy.
I see this in the Conscious Healthy Mama program I offer, too. A mama wants to get healthier. She really wants to get more rest and have more energy. Instead of going to bed earlier so she can wake up the next morning and have time to move her body, she stays up late and finishes work on the computer, taking a few sugary snack breaks while she’s working. She feels gross, but also feels like she can’t stop the behavior no matter how badly she wants it.
We see the dream. We might even realize that we are the ones dreaming it. But we don’t know how to connect the two.
Here’s the thing:
We have within ourselves, the ability to make our dreams our reality. Just like the story of Deep Space Nine lived inside of Benny Russell, our greatest stories live inside of us.
This is why I am so drawn to yoga and coaching. The element of transformation is built in to each practice. Systems, tools, and support are built in to each practice to help guide the “dreamer” towards fulfilling their dreams.
What frequently comes up is the problem of limitation. Sometimes limitation exists in the form of injury on the yoga mat or lifestyle challenge as a mama.
Here’s the truth, though:
Everyone has a certain degree of limitation, but it doesn’t mean you are limited.
How you co-create with those limitations and turn them into the stepping-stones for further opportunities is where the dreams begin to take shape.
So let’s take a cue from Star Trek and its infinite wisdom.
Dream big. You are the dreamer. And also, live your dreams by acknowledging that you have the unique ability to bring them to life.