Keeping the Dream Alive by Münchener Freiheit
2024 / January

Keeping the Dream Alive

So lang' man Träume noch leben kann

The Retune Blog - 12th January 2024

Don’t adjust your sets (as they say), the above is the title for a well known song originally recorded in German and then re-recorded in English. If you’ve not already guessed, this week’s song choice is the 1988 hit Keeping the Dream Alive by Münchener Freiheit.

There are a number of ways of thinking about the context and application of this song. To start with it can be considered a song about bereavement:

Tonight the rain is falling, full of memories of people and places.

To have memories of loved ones we’ve lost which might be so intense as to overwhelm and drench us is a natural experience. Indeed, according to Colorado State University, research from evolutionary biology, cognitive biology and social neuroscience all seem to support the idea that such rich and deep emotions such as that of loss are not just a human phenomenon but are also experienced by animals.

But the song can also be considered an ode to a more philosophical and social form of loss:

The hopes we had were much too high. Way out of reach, but we have to try.

This might be more in line with Jon Meacham’s 2012 Time article entitled Keeping the Dream Alive. In this piece, Meacham considers the slipping away of the American dream. Yet he concludes that such difficulties have been overcome before, and that to do so requires a knowledge of where the dream initiated, how it became reality and why it matters.

Clearly this form of response isn’t appropriate for thinking about how to respond to the loss of a loved one. Yet, the song does point us in the right direction:

And while the past is calling. In my fantasy I remember their faces … Because we’re keeping the dream alive.

Talking about someone who has died is an important way of keeping their memory, and thus our connection with the person alive. And in a strange sort of way, this does link us back to the Meacham article as it reminds us why the relationship was so important in the first place. And again like in the article, it reminds us that bereavement and loss is an experience shared by all in different ways and in different circumstances. We are never alone in our loss. And this brings us to one more lyric:

No need to hide, no need to run.

As such a shared and natural experience, struggling to respond to loss is something we should never feel ashamed of, or allow to involuntarily isolate us. Each person experiences loss in a different way, and of course each loss itself is different in the connection the person had with us. As such it is a very individual experience. Responding to loss we will all feel something different and respond differently.

However, if we feel alone in our response to loss, it is important to remember that whilst our personal experience is unique, there is a shared nature to the experience. Whilst each loss is an individual experience, we will all experience loss throughout life, and as such we can feel united in our grief, even if it is experienced differently.

So, however you interpret and apply this song, I think it really does offer us the hope that our experiences are unique, and yet have been experienced by others. Intensity may vary, but this is not something to be measured and compared. Rather, being loving, listening and sharing are the only responses we can offer with any real integrity.

Founder and Director of Metanoeo CIC and Metanoeo Coaching. Working with individuals, communities and business to co-create #wellbeing4all through life coaching, resources for living life well and training and supporting life coaches.

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