Thursday, September 12, 2013

Leave Mama a Note

Leave Mama a Note is the title of my dream; in it, me and three companions have been bunking out at a house I lived in from time to time with my parents, during my college years. To avoid my mother, we’re up and ready to leave before dawn with our backpacks and provisions. I'm not comfortable with that; I feel I owe her communication and I should leave a note.

A small dream, perhaps, but it wouldn’t let go of my imagination; it kept popping up in consciousness, and each time, I felt the certainty that I should leave Mama a note.  My dream wasn't finished.

In my dream, when we left pre-dawn in a rush because we heard her footsteps padding upstairs, we turned left and headed up the street.  In waking life, I never went up that way, since in the suburban no- sidewalk neighborhood I lived in, friends, work and stores all involved turning right. In my dream, we headed up the hill that was our street to the left and found that it ended in a wooded dead end.

I recently had the great pleasure of spending time with my dear brother and sister-in-law in those youthful parts of the country; each traveling to get there there for a family reunion picnic.  My bro and I were driving around town doing errands to help out, so I asked him  to drive to the street we lived on when we had that house.  After we checked out the house, I asked him to go up the hill.  I felt a little disappointed as the street ends in a T with houses facing the street, but as he approached the road ahead, I saw it on the right, my dream locale, a wooded dead end.

Active Dreaming teaches that dreams require action; "What are you going to do to honor this dream?” is how Robert Moss has phrased it.

The first step, after writing it down, was the opportunity to visit my dream locale. It's synchronistic that  I was able to do so soon after the dream, since it's a distance away.  Another wonderful dream synchronicity is finding the wooded area I never knew was there.  Far seeing or clairvoyance is common in dreams, though things often have some distortion; like in my dream, the dead end is front and center, not to the right, which may well bear some pondering.  What is it my dream wants me to see that's right in front of me?  I think I'll go back in a dream re-entry to this locale and take a look in the woods.

There was one more thing I knew I had to do to honor this dream; write Mama that note.  Of course, I wrote in Spanish as that’s the language we always spoke before she crossed over. 

The trick to imaginal work is to do it fast, without letting your left brain get a hold of it.  I wrote rapidly, without pre-thought.  When I finished, I felt the words as a balm for my soul and a deeper connection with my Mom.  What I said really needed saying, to her, to me; I feel very grateful for the gift this dream gave me. I'll keep the note with the dream in my journal for when I need to read it again.

Following the thread of a dream through waking life is one of the great entertainments of a dream practice.  Re-entering dreams, dialoguing with dream characters, playing synchronicity games with the universe, there are so many ways of imagining what more a dream can offer me. It's even a great practice for those moments I find myself inadvertently waiting; I can turn waiting into daydreaming. 

Probably the #1 question I get from beginners, after they tell me a dream, is “What does it mean?”  Only the dreamer can answer that; the deeper you go in your dreaming, the easier that becomes.   

Sunday, September 8, 2013

When the Dead Come Visit

My husband’s younger brother died unexpectedly last week; while Jim was down south taking care of the funeral arrangements with his sisters, standing outside the hotel he saw a luna moth on the tree.  Luna moths are pretty rare sightings, as far as I can tell.  They are the most lovely creatures of the night I know. 

Yesterday, during a dream workshop I was leading, one of the participants told me a story of how her grandmother always said she wanted to transform to a butterfly when she died.  This makes good sense as butterfly is a classic symbol of the transformation of the soul in death because of the catepillar, chrysalis, butterfly existence they have.  The Greek word we chose as the name of our video production company, Psyche, means soul and butterfly.  Well, at her grandmother’s funeral, at the gravesite, her sister nudged her and pointed out a beautiful butterfly flying near the grave and said, "Here’s Gram."

Yesterday evening my husband called me and told me about the luna moth and sent me the picture he took of it.  We talked about how maybe it was Charlie visiting.

Today walking on the beach, trying to be present and open to the beauty around me and not stuck in the jabberwocky of thoughts in my head, (Thanks ET for all your excellent teaching.) I caught snatches of a conversation between a couple headed the other way.  I caught the words “funeral” and “ladybug” spoken by the woman as they approached me, then I caught more of her words as we intersected, “How does a lady bug show up in the car when we’re driving down 95?”  He says “Do you think it’s symbolic...?” the last words I hear as they move out of earshot.

I felt that thrill of recognition, three’s a charm.  Three times in a row, someone is comforted by the appearance of a beautiful butterfly or insect at the very moment when it counts, experiencing the loss of a dear loved one.  Maybe because insects have such short little life spans, the departed get to speak their comfort through them and then move on, leaving that beautiful image for their loved ones to share forevermore.

I pay my respects to Charlie in this post. Your brother loves you; thanks for comforting him just when he needs it the most.  May you travel to your desired home and may Love and Light guide you.

I also want to re-emphasize how natural it is for spirit to speak in symbol and dreams.  Just because someone tells you it’s all bullshit, don’t let that stop you from paying attention and seeing for yourself if this is true.  I ask myself if the person who is dissuading me with intellectual arguments has any dreaming experience; also, if this is a happy person?  If they have neither of these qualities, I tend to find their claims dubious.

I have a collection of visitation dreams told to me by men, women and children.  It’s probably the most frequently remembered dream by those who don't keep journals; usually remembered in vivid detail years later.  Wish fulfillment?  Do you really like Freud?  Ask yourself, what would Carl Jung say?  Most renoun dream teachers today, (Robert Moss, William Buhlman, Patricia Garfield) devote a great deal of attention to dreaming as an art of mid-wifing the transition of each person from the physical to the energy or spirit dimensions.  Listening to these stories is among the most beautiful experiences I have teaching Active Dreaming.  Dreaming is an amazing bridge between life and death, if only we hadn’t been made into scaredy kitties, (my apologies to my cats) by our religions, our out of control left brained, scientific paradigm or Hollywood.  Dreams have been tagged “of the devil”, just biological, mechanical, necessary but irrelavent and then we’ve got freddy krueger, ugh!

Yes, you’ve got to have some gumption to develop a dream practice, but as soon as you start, you get hooked.  Why?  Because it works.  Dreaming is a bridge, a lifeline for the soul.