—- Divine Spark, Cat Charissage, March, 2014
My painting afternoon went so well in so many ways. Of course, there are things I would do differently or better next time, but it was a very happy experience for all of us who participated.
However, that night my dear body suffered greatly. I was in quite a lot of pain, to the point where the medication couldn’t seem to touch it, and I alternately walked, stretched, and went into deep relaxation (when I could sit still, that is). Not a lot of sleep that night, either.
My physical response to the day made me really question whether or not I could do what I so want to do: have small groups of women here in my study, discussing and doing d & r’s (deep and real things). I thought maybe I should forget about it — the pain cost was simply too high. But then I thought more about how I could organize things a bit differently so that I wouldn’t have to do as much moving, carrying, and using my body in ways that are just too hard on me. As well, there were “first time doing this particular event” and “first time working in this physical space” stresses that would not be there in future events.
Fortunately, even though that evening was really difficult, there was within me a loving self, a loving voice that wouldn’t let me start to blame myself for “doing things wrong.” I mention this because we so often get swirled into a whirlpool of immediate feelings, and I want to encourage you to be aware that you can develop an “observer self” within, a part of you that does not need to get swept in to the immediate drama, whose voice can love yourself as you would love your own child.
And then I had a dream! (Drum roll, please! I was travelling on the back of an elephant, wearing 2 skirts of flowing gauzy cotton in turquoise and light purple, and I was going to meet my spouse, Andrew.
Short dream; one I could easily dismiss. Except that I associated my personal memories and impressions of elephants to the dream, and imagined myself back in the dream in order to feel again what it was like.
I think of elephants as huge, but able to move in surprisingly elegant ways. I think of them as very powerful and able to do work that demands massive strength. I’ve seen elephants in parades, and loved their slow swaying walk that seems so full of majesty. I think that if I were riding an elephant, I could see so much from so far up.
And it was then that the words “Move slowly, and have an aerial view” came to me. Dr. C.P Estes often speaks of the aerial viewpoint, meaning to step back and try to see yourself, your challenges, and your environment of people and needs from a much larger perspective. There we can see or intuit meaning that is just not available in the day to day grind.
I was incredibly encouraged by the dream. It feels as if a wiser part of my psyche is reminding me that it’s okay to move slowly, both literally and figuratively, and that this has an elegance of its own, and that if I take a larger perspective on the physical difficulties of the day, I don’t need to interpret the day as saying that I cannot serve in some of the ways I feel most drawn to. The aerial view is showing me that I am still learning how to use the space I have available to me, and how to steward and manage what energy is available to me at any particular time.
My wearing of those skirts in my favorite colors had me feeling beautiful and strong, and moving towards meeting my spouse felt that I was going home to comfort and love.
So, in working with dreams, the first thing to do is to write down everything that you remember about the dream, even if it’s just a fragment, as soon as possible after you awake. In order to do that, I have a clipboard and paper, with a pen tied onto the clipboard, at the head of my bed, and I try to write down my dreams before getting out of bed. (When my son was a baby and toddler, I didn’t have that luxury, and I so appreciate it now).
The second thing to do is to underline or list the major nouns, and then with the ones that have the “jing”, the energy that draws you in, write down your associations to those persons, places, or things. What do you think, know, and feel about them?
I’ll talk more about working with dreams in a way that can bring insight and encouragement. Do you now work with your dreams? Have you had any that were consoling or encouraging lately? Are there any dreams that you have remembered for years and years?
May you be blessed with sweet dreams that come true in ways that are good for you and for those around you, and with love,