Catch a Dream: Wendy Brown-Baez
Catch a Dream weaves a story of love, the search for self, pain and descernment, all of which happens in war-torn Israel. Written in the first person, the heroine, Lily, captured my attention immediately. I fell in love with this character and wanted to know how her dilemmas would resolve. I believe most women will see a bit of themselves in Lily.
After reading her book, I asked her to answer the following questions. How do we live within contradictions of loving someone, who is not good for us? How do we let go of the hold of a bad relationship?
These are a tough questions. How can we love someone and yet keep boundaries? I once shared my frustration about someone I loved and my friend said, “Just because you love him doesn’t mean you have to live with him.” But this is easier said than done when the heart takes over. In Catch a Dream, Lily is mesmerized by Levi’s charm and grateful for his attention to her son. The chemistry between them is dynamic and overwhelming. And yet, the more she gets to know him, the more baffled she is. She can’t discern fact from fiction about his army serve, his job, or his spiritual beliefs. On the evening when their relationship becomes more intimate, he receives a mysterious phone call and asks her never to repeat what she might observe that night. Even though this alarms her, she decides to ignore the warning bells. Every time he claims he is trying to get in touch with her, it doesn’t ring true. And yet his hold on her heart is strong. Levi echoes a part of Lily that has not healed. Although he is the start of her healing, he is also part of her heart-break.
Letting go can be painful when we dream of commitment, passion and partnership and we end up disappointed. We must trust our ability to discern loyalty, kindness, and integrity. Are we holding on because of fear that if we let go, we will be alone? We know that love can be confused with attraction and desire and we may not be receiving what we really need from the relationship. I also believe a relationship can only survive if we are willing to put the work into it. It is the final frontier, the place where we learn as we go, where we are the most unsettled, insecure, and terrified, because we are entering the unknown, including our own emotional responses. Our coping mechanisms we learned as a child might take over. Who is ever ready for the initiation of heart-break? How do we set boundaries and face the fear that if we do so, the relationship might end? In any case, accepting solitude and in fact, deliberately choosing it might be the best way to let the mud settle and see if the relationship we imagine is really the relationship that is possible.
Unfortunately, the advice from best friends doesn’t always help! It is almost inevitable that we will choose sides with the person who “floats our boat” even when our friends turn out to be right! In this case, time will tell…and hopefully they won’t say I told you so.
For me, writing completely honest letters not to send but put on my altar or burn is one way to resolve conflicted feelings. An important tool I use is journaling, writing down my thoughts and feelings, using spontaneous free writing so that my inner guidance can surface. I also write poetry as a way to express my emotions in concise lyrical language. Another way, of course, is to turn someone into a character in one of my stories and work it out through the plot. You have many of the answers already within if you can allow them to surface. Unresolved and painful emotions are the price we pay for love and there comes a point where we have to move through them by giving love another chance with someone else.
Wendy Brown-Báez is the author of a poetry CD Longing for Home, the full-length poetry collection Ceremonies of the Spirit (Plain View Press, '09), and chapbooks: transparencies of light (Finishing Line Press, '11) and Elegy for Newtown (Red Bird Chapbooks, '14). She has published both poetry and prose in numerous literary journals and anthologies, both in print and on-line. She received McKnight, Mn State Arts Board and Saint Louis Park Arts & Culture grants to bring writing workshops into non-profits and community centers.
Wendy has facilitated writing workshops since 1994 including at Cornerstone's support groups, the Women & Spirituality conference at MSU Mankato, Celebrate Yourself women's retreats, All About the Journey healing center, The Aliveness Project, Unity Minneapolis, El Colegio High School and Jacob's Well women's retreat. Wendy received 2008 and 2009 McKnight grants through COMPAS Community Art Program to teach writing workshops for youth in crisis. The project at SafeZone and Face to Face Academy developed into an art installation showcasing their recorded writings. When it was noted that students' reading scores improved, she was hired as Face to Face's writing instructor.
In 2012 she was awarded a MN State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant to teach writing workshops in twelve non-profit arts and human service organizations. She continues to teach at Pathways: a healing center, in Mn prisons, and in community spaces such as public libraries, yoga studios, churches, and cafes.
Wendy has taught memoir at MCTC continuing ed and through Minneapolis community ed.
In addition, Wendy has managed shelters for the homeless and visited incarcerated teens. She is trained as a hospice volunteer and as a facilitator of Monologue Life Stories. Wendy studied alternative healing, ceremony, and spiritual traditions with Earthwalks for Health and lived in Mexico and Israel. She has collected wisdom teachings from these diverse cultures, as well as written memoirs of her adventures.
You can find Wendy Brown-Baez at: