Tag Archive | love

THE EYE OF THE STORM

Storm 2

All of my life I’ve had extremely vivid dreams that become, sporadically, lucid or prescient dreams, and the lucid dreaming has become more consistent over the past year. Whether vivid or lucid, these dreams contain mirrors and messages for my waking life, often alerting me to information I need to receive, decisions I need to make, patterns I need to shift, or taking me to a new level of awareness.

Early this morning I had a vivid dream that feels relevant to the collective, with layers of metaphor and messages, so please stick with me until the end…

I was working at an early-model home computer. Although security was installed, I had inadvertently allowed a virus to infiltrate the system and disturbing pop-ups had taken over my screen. I could hear my boss coming and panicked because I couldn’t exit out of the system. I quickly pressed “power” and shut the system down, hoping it would reboot. 

Next, I was in the backseat of a car driving through the night. My boss, his wife, and their daughters were in front and I assumed I had become their nanny. In back with me was a little boy playing on the floor. He was tired, cranky, and not wearing a seatbelt. I understood that he was neglected and isolated from the rest of the family. I arranged a pillow and blanket for him on the seat, which he immediately relaxed into. I said, “You can stretch out and go to sleep; I’ll be right over here.” 

We arrived at a hotel in the middle of nowhere. It was just me and my boss unloading countless suitcases from the back. I was loaded down with three bags but couldn’t find my main suitcase. Suddenly, I realized I had left it in a previous hotel and, devastated, dissolved into tears. I didn’t understand why I was reacting so strongly but it seemed as though everything important to me, everything I needed, was in that suitcase. I told my boss that I had forgotten the suitcase due to my exhaustion and rushing to leave. He turned ice-cold, stared at me with dead eyes, and said, “I hate people like you.” I was weeping, ashamed, feeling completely worthless. Then I spotted my suitcase standing up behind three other cases in the car and exclaimed with joy, “I found it! It’s here!” It was a vintage green suitcase that belonged to my mom in our real life when I was a child. 

But my boss didn’t care; he hated me now. I sorrowfully dragged my suitcases behind him into the hotel. The rest of the family was there and we spiraled around in a circle, past dozens and dozens of rooms, until we stopped at one. I finally put down my bags and my boss looked at me with that hatred and said, “You’re 108.” I realized I was alone and we had passed my room a long time ago but that he wanted to make me suffer. 

I couldn’t stand being there and called a cab to take me to find some food. A woman arrived in a black SUV. It was night and we passed a gas station with several cars in the lot. From the license plates, I tried to determine if we were in Oklahoma or Nevada. I decided on OK because of the driver’s accent. 

We drove along a dark highway and all of a sudden a huge portal of white lightening lit up the sky, illuminating a terrible formation of funnel clouds from within and without. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. The driver gasped, slowed down, and said, “Will you look at that!” As she slowed, I could see a row of people standing on the median, also looking up at the sky. I urged the cabbie to drive as fast as she could to outrun the storm. She did, but as I watched the sky, I saw another terrible formation to the side of us. I screamed at her to drive even faster, to get away from the storm. 

The driver turned onto the road leading to my hotel and we were faced with a third formation, the most massive and apocalyptic tornado, directly above and in front of us. We had no choice but to drive straight into the storm. I was filled with fear, clutching the door handle in the back set, and closing my eyes. I could hear the driver exclaim as she tried to keep the SUV on the road, could hear the debris hitting the car, and could sense the darkness that we couldn’t see through. I knew that my life was out of my control–that at any time the car could flip off the road or be sucked up into the air. At that moment, beautiful music filled my awareness and I felt cocooned into the most tranquil and peaceful state of mind. I thought to myself how strange it was to feel that way when I knew the storm had us in its grip.

Then we were turning into the parking lot of the hotel. I urged the driver to come inside with me to take shelter. She said, “No, I think I’ll keep driving,” and rang up my tab on a little paper. I said, “I’ll pay you but please come with me! Don’t go back out there!” And then I had to run for shelter without waiting to see if she’d follow.

The hotel had became a rustic hostel or inn. Directly inside, the innkeeper held a basement door open while people ran down into the shelter. I was once again laden with bags and looking for a place to land. There were many people my age socializing in little groups. I knew I would be welcome anywhere but felt too insecure to impose myself. Then I became distraught again, believing I had lost my purse with the money to pay the driver. The driver, who had followed me down after all, caught my attention and said, “No, you still have your purse with you.” I was trying to get out my wallet and looking at her tab which said $200 and didn’t make sense. Then I thought, “Just settle and get safe. You’ll pay her in a minute.” 

I found an old chair and put down my bags, thinking, “I’ll just be alone.” I felt sad about it. Then a guy came up behind me and said, “Would you like to play cards?” I wrestled with what to say because I didn’t know how to play cards but I wanted him to stay. I turned around and he looked taken aback and said, “I’m sorry. Nevermind.” I said, “You want to play cards? Sure. I don’t really know how…” He smiled, holding out his hand and introducing himself. I shook his hand and told him my name. He said to me, We’ll stick together.” Over his shoulder, I saw yet another terrible tornado headed straight for our inn. I said, “Let’s go down now,” because there was another small room below us. 

We called for everyone to follow us, to shelter even further, and it sounded like they were. But we found ourselves alone in the dirty basement room filled with cobwebs. We sat on the floor against the wall but I didn’t feel safe so I crawled under the stairs and looked at the guy. We were both silent and then I told him, I’m scared.” I could hear the tornado bearing down and people screaming in fear above us. One man shouted, “Stay behind the pillar!” I could hear debris hitting the inn. I didn’t know how it all would end. Then, that beautiful music returned, and I felt myself sink into a cocoon of peace, warmth, and tranquility. I became aware that I was asleep and could wake up if I wanted to. I slowly floated into consciousness and woke up in my bed.

While much of this dream carries personal meaning for me, I feel that there are also affirmations and messages for the collective:

  1. We are caught in a great storm that we cannot ignore, outrun, or hide from. There is nothing to do now but face it directly, without knowing how or when it will end.
  2. We are human and will absolutely experience fear, uncertainty, grief, and the wildness of stepping into the Unknown. 
  3. Many of us will walk through an Ego Death, where everything that formed our identities is stripped away. The things that made us valuable to ourselves and to the outside world may not sustain any longer: money, jobs, security, relationships, image, projects, addictions, party lines, networks, health, or even our own lives or the lives of people we love. Who are we when we are all that remains? Can we love what’s left of us?
  4. We need each other.
  5. We each hold the capacity to become the eye of the storm. When all around us rages and dissolves, we can choose to surrender into the peace that is beyond all understanding.
  6. We are more than our former identities, our old ways of functioning, and our present circumstances. What do we want to wake up to? Who do we want to become?

ONE YEAR LATER

IMG_20191213_214319_794

So I am not a broken heart.
I am not the weight I lost or miles I ran and I am not the way I slept on my doorstep under the bare sky in smell of tears and whiskey because my apartment was empty and if I were to be this empty I wanted something solid to sleep on. Like concrete.
I am not this year and I am not your fault.
I am muscles building cells, a little every day, because they broke that day, but bones are stronger once they heal and I am smiling to the bus driver and replacing my groceries once a week and I am not sitting for hours in the shower anymore.
I am the way a life unfolds and blooms and seasons come and go and I am the way the spring always finds a way to turn even the coldest winter into a field of green and flowers and new life.
I am not your fault.

{Charlotte Eriksson}

But I still miss you.

THE ART OF LETTING GO

Wedding

Today I finally let go of a burden I’ve been carrying around with me for 17 years…my wedding gown, and everything it represented. I always thought I’d be married in white but my best friend worked in a bridal boutique. By then I was living in Boston but I flew back to Indiana and she took me into the shop when it was closed so I could try on gowns she’d set aside. The one she thought was meant for me was indeed the one I fell in love with–a shimmering, beaded, periwinkle blue. Tradition was still so important to me at the time that I struggled to give desire a place over expectation. But we called in my friend’s husband and he agreed–the blue gown was the one.

There were multiple somber notes beneath my wedding ceremony: the knowledge that my husband was newly diagnosed with Bipolar disorder and resisting a cocktail of meds that made him comatose and disinterested in me or anything else; the time that I postponed marriage until he was willing to seek medical attention–something he didn’t want to do–and he confiscated my engagement ring in a rage; his fights with his overbearing mother that my family tried to shield me from on the day; the hints of hesitation from people who loved me; the fact that when I asked my husband for a chair during our reception–because I couldn’t wrangle one in my gown–he impatiently replied, “In a minute” and dashed off to talk to someone, leaving one of my friends to help me instead as I flushed with humiliation.

I stayed married years longer than I should have. I held on to my husband’s letters and mementos even longer. When I finally made the big move from California back to Massachusetts, I looked through all of those keepsakes and realized that nearly every single card and letter from him contained an apology for something hurtful he had said or done. I cried for the first time in many years, knowing I would no longer keep them. I didn’t even miss him anymore but the grief was still there. The gown stuck around even longer, mostly in a closet or basement where my parents lived. Even though I knew I wouldn’t have children, there was a vague idea in my mind that the gown would go to someone special, or that it was too beautiful not to commemorate in some way.

At last, when I knew I was settling back in Massachusetts for good, I was ready to say goodbye to the gown. I tried selling it, I thought about dropping it off at a thrift store, but it still took a couple more years for it go. Then, recently, my mom discovered a local charity that accepts wedding gown donations. They take apart the gowns and re-purpose them to make burial gowns for infants who have passed away, for the families who need something beautiful to dress their sweet babies in. At once, I knew this was the place for my gown.

Last night, I took out my gown for one last look. I tried it on, ran my hands over the fabric, and thought about what that day, that marriage, that man, had meant to me. I cried from a lingering grief, which I honestly didn’t expect. The person I was when I wore that gown seems like an entirely different woman–a girl, really–from an entirely different life. While I truly wish the best for my ex-husband, I haven’t seen or spoken to him in many years, and I don’t miss him. It’s hard to imagine ever having been in that relationship but it was my first real, glorious, love and it contained oceans of passion. I also said a prayer over the gown, that it might provide one small drop of comfort or peace to a family facing the worst day of their lives.

It’s always been so very hard for me to let go but this was the year that taught me how to do it. In place of all of my history, experience, loss, regret, mistakes, growth, and–yes–love, is just…space. Having lost nearly everything this year, I don’t know what shape my life is going to take next but I have nothing but hope. A college friend recently posted that he had found “deep and abiding” love; that it had taken him 44 years but that it was worth the wait. I turned 44 last week and his post made me smile; maybe abiding love will find me yet.

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