I should start this post by saying I believe that dreams are important. I think they give us insight into our lives. They also give us a connection with those who have passed over. I see my sister Maureen every so often in my dreams and am confident that she has come to say “hello.”
In the last two weeks or so I’ve had some dreams that seem to illustrate where my life is headed right now. Normally, my dreams take all the little unused scraps of daily existence and stitch them together into bizarre patchworks of flying lemons, distorted yet oddly familiar faces and unknown locations. These were different, though. They were crystal clear and complete. That made me take notice.
In the one that screams for my attention, I am the lone passenger on a train. It’s a brightly lit car that I sit in. There’s no advertising, no frills; it’s just a clean, functional space. I’m in the first car and can see straight out in front, down the oncoming tracks, and am content to watch the scenery roll by.
Suddenly, there is a sense that we have missed turning onto a side track and are now hurtling headlong toward another train stopped on the same set of tracks. I see the second train far away and watch it grow larger as the space between us diminishes. Just as impact is about to occur, I throw myself out of my seat and begin to claw my way to the rear of the train.
My dream goes into slow motion at this point and I determinedly pull my way through the train, gripping the seat backs to keep myself away from the catastrophe behind me. The sound of scraping and twisting metal and shattering glass is deafening. I make it through the first car and wrench open the door to the second one. After fighting my way through the second car, I sight an opening ripped in the side of the train. I scramble through it and jump clear of the wreckage, hitting hard and rolling over several times before coming to rest in a grassy area well clear of the mangled steel. I lay there, unhurt but stunned. A rescue worker says, “Leave her alone – let her rest – she’s fine.” I am covered with a doubled yellow patchwork quilt and I sleep for a while, blissfully unaware of the bustle of people trying to clear the wreckage. I awake, fold the quilt, leave it on the ground and walk away, none the worse for wear.
The big question: What does the train represent? What part of my life is pleasant, clean, uncluttered, but not going in the direction it should be? Or does the train represent my life in general? At age, 48, my life is, indeed, fairly uncluttered. I have a daughter, a husband, a cat, a rabbit, two jobs. I live in an old farmhouse in a small town. I am not unhealthy, but could certainly benefit from improvements to my health. I am not rich, nor do I want for anything. Is there an impending crash in one of these areas, or have I just missed a critical crossroads? Is the uncluttered space a psychic or emotional one? It feels, with my daughter about to leave the nest for college, that I am at a place in my journey where a tectonic shift is imminent.
The question then becomes what can I do to avert a disaster in the next few years, or at the very least survive unscathed? How do I identify what needs “fixing”? How can I restructure my life so that the situations that bring me the deepest dissatisfaction now are transformed into ones that bring me joy? How can I change myself so I find my bliss right here, right now? I know there’s something better, or at least something that will make my life more full and authentic. It’s the next step on the journey, even if the destination is unknown when I take that step.
In his book, “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying”, Sogyal Rinpoche says, “As everything is impermanent, fluid and interdependent, how we act and think (emphasis mine) inevitably changes the future. There is no situation, however seemingly hopeless or terrible … which we cannot use to evolve.” So, recognizing and consciously changing my negative thoughts when they occur, being vigilant against my self-snark, is the key. When I replace, “I hate getting up for this job,” with, “I love these people; I love this peaceful space; I love this music,” I am on my way to changing the future, which is the now. However, I have to believe that I am worthy of the change, and therein lies the problem.
Why is it so easy to love others but so hard to love myself? Why am I always on the bottom of my own totem pole? I don’t have the answer for that yet, and I suspect it will take me years to figure it out. While I appreciate my own worth, my gifts and my contributions to the world, I am unable to find love. It feels selfish, somehow. I have much more work to do on this…
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