The first 'walk for dreams' is done, last Friday I put on the coat in a little cafe in Greenwich Market and stepped out into the unsuspecting world scattering dreams all the way along the Thames Path as far as the Southbank. And it was magical. Huge thanks to all those who's supported me so far - you've been amazing. Donations are still needed and welcome at this link.
I was unsure of how the reactions would be, I suspected a lot of blank, unresponsive gazes and a lot of eye contact avoidance - and there was definitely a bit of that! But I also discovered willing dreamers in all kinds of unexpected places - willing to engage with the oddball in the colourful coat and hand over a very personal part of themselves. And this little exchange of openness left them and me feeling rewarded and brightened.
As I mentioned in the previous post, when I first started doing the coat I had to do a lot of getting over my embarrassment of feeling like a freak. I had to do that again on Friday - but what I'd forgotten was how liberating it is to do that! It felt so freeing to be walking the streets doing something so out of the normal - subversive yet legal, and very positive. And loads of fun! I got to explore the riverside through London and came across all kinds of surprises….
There were dentists over from Zurich for a convention who were thinking they might prefer to explore London rather than the latest news in dental hygiene. Their initial dubiousness at the dreamcoat ended up in delightedness.
The scariest part was arriving at Canary Wharf in the lunch hour, surrounded by suits and sensibleness I felt sort of like a clown at a funeral, and I was sure I was going to encounter a cool and dismissive audience. It took me a while to get my guts together and make the first move. But I was very glad I did when I got proved completely wrong and had some lovely reactions, wonderful conversations and some of the most personal dreams of that day.
What turned out to be the most difficult part were the most touristy places, at the Tower of London people assumed I was a street performer doing a turn in exchange for money. Which actually I kind of am! But it really showed the difference in approach and response in the way you ask and offer. The exchanging of dreams from the coat has never been something people have to pay to do, and I found that if it's looked at like that it effects the openness of the connection and the balance in the interaction we're having. It puts a little bit of distance between me and the dreamer.
The dreamers were as varied as ever, the dreamers possibly more so than usual. I met a gorgeous travelling couple from Australia and Italy, sitting by the river enjoying a beer together. They invited me to join them, we had a long and lovely conversation and they reminded me of the beauty of that kind of travel when you're completely open and trusting to what life is going to bring you.
The girl traveller, Giulia, took out a dream that was the latest one to go in, 10 minutes previously at The Grapes pub, Limehouse. It was from a lovely lady who'd told me she thought her dream was too simple and corny to put in there. It was for her children to be happy and content. That seems like a huge, timeless and important dream to me.
I also came across a film shoot, a hawk handler chasing pigeons from a park, a hen do, exhibited myself at the Tate Modern (does that count as a dream realised?!) and had a costume-off with some Tower of London fellas - and I can't wait for the next walk!
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