Hello friends. If it were a normal day, I’d be singing to my yoga students right now, during their relaxation at the end of class. But, Pandemic. Therefore, no public yoga. So instead of teaching, I’m home distracting myself with NaPoWriMo and poetry and words. Today’s prompt is about dreams. I can totally do dreams. I have obsessed about dream recall, dream interpretation, and lucid dreaming for a great portion of my life. So here you go, a poem about something I saw in a dream.
Into the Blue
I had just strolled out of a conference room
and found myself walking in the old city of Briançon.
Instead of the scenery I was familiar with,
there was only vast blue sky stretching out in all directions from the old city,
an ocean of sky…no ground to be seen below the city,
only this feeling of space.
I realized suddenly that I was dreaming,
and I could do anything I wanted.
I wanted to fly.
I stepped onto the parapet and leapt off,
began swimming in the sky ocean
like a mermaid in ocean water.
My body undulated and I moved gracefully
through the sky. I never knew such freedom,
the exhilaration of open sky, open space,
and the power to choose my direction.
I had this dream in late 2003. I was experiencing tremendous angst in my relationship with a man 17 years my senior. We lived in an apartment in Briançon and I felt deep ties to the town, the mountains, the country of France, but there was so much unresolved pain in my relationship and I knew something had to shift.
At the time of the dream I was back in the USA visiting my parents for the holidays. I had performed a space clearing ritual in my room the night before and prayed for guidance from the dream realm. This dream felt like a great gift to me. I woke up realizing I needed to end the relationship. I need to leave Briançon in order to move toward my destiny. Realizing this, I felt a great sense of relief and expectancy about the good things to come in the future.
Suddenly, normal was gone.
My First Response: YOGA!
I told everyone how to be yogic about this,
how to breathe, take it one day at a time, be grateful,
how to stay in the present moment,
how to be in one’s body, feeling,
loving the ones we’re at home with,
delighting in nature, the rhythms of the day.
Then my kids went back to their dad
and I found myself alone.
My Second Response: NOOOOOOOOOOO!
I wish I hadn’t watched all those episodes of The Walking Dead.
I wish I had known a Pandemic was coming.
I wish I had decluttered my house first.
I wish I had met my soulmate before the Pandemic,
so that we could be inside, together,
sitting by a sweet fire, enjoying a Quaran-tini.
I wish I had been well-established in my dreamhouse
and my dream work and my dream life
before the Pandemic,
I wish I had been so busy being successful
that I would actually need a vacation
and all this social distancing now.
Alas, all I can do is look back and say
Lorien, you were barely scraping by.
You were tired all the time.
You didn’t have time to do anything except work and mother.
Maybe it’s ok to be alone on my birthday during a pandemic.
Maybe I’ll celebrate this breath. This life.
This being here regardless of what anyone else thinks.
I was sifting through
mountains of papers
looking for something.
One of the mountains shifted,
sending an avalanche to the floor.
And then in the next second,
And I said,
Okay, me too.
So I fell to the floor,
lay down on my back,
stared up at the track lighting
on my ceiling.
Here we all are, on the floor.
I felt my body was tired.
I didn’t want to search anymore.
I knew that whatever it was,
either it would turn up,
or I would replace it.
So I went upstairs,
and I got in bed,
and had dreams
about mountains and avalanches.
As I sort through boxes of papers,
kids’ drawings, greeting cards,
old photos, clippings,
my drawings, lists upon lists
of ideas, plans, goals,
as I survey many more boxes to go through,
boxes of stuff…random bits…
appliances, cleaning products,
textiles of every kind,
doodads and thingamabobs,
it brings new meaning to the phrase
Going through it.
I, my friends, am really
Going through it.
I’m going through layers upon layers
of the life I shared with another
when we were married,
when we were a family of four.
He left and took what he wanted.
He left me responsible for the rest.
I am going through it.
It strikes me as odd and yet fitting,
that I would need to take my old life
with me to this new place
in order to see how my old life
doesn’t fit in here.
I had to feel this feeling of my old life not fitting
in order to go through it and release
what no longer serves,
what is too heavy,
too laced with old memories.
I didn’t feel safe letting go in the old house.
Somehow the old things protected me.
But I had to leave the house we shared;
it’s no longer mine, or his.
So I took all our stuff with me,
and crammed it into my new space,
a smaller space,
a much smaller space.
Boxes and bags and bins
and little pathways in between,
it has felt like a hoarder’s den
the last few days,
as I carted the last bits
from the old to the new.
I see now:
My old life is choking the new.
I had to feel this.
I had to feel this discomfort.
I had to feel this feeling
of drowning in my old life,
surrounded by what no longer works,
so that I could clear some space
to welcome the life that wants to be lived
when I’m willing to stand in the present moment,
in a willingness to feel what is alive, right now.
Who am I to dream,
to believe these dreams could be fulfilled?
Who am I to envision,
to see myself serving in a bigger way?
Who am I to imagine,
to fantasize that the Divine wants me
just as much as I want it?
I have no idea who I am,
but I know that I am not
who I once thought I was.
God bless this journey
toward the unknowable destiny
of my dreams, visions and heart.
Bless the questions that I ask,
that they may swell into
wide open doorways of possibility.
Let me surrender into this process
of asking again and again,
Who am I
I can understand
it’s the asking—
not the knowing—
that calls life
back home to life.
Be bold when it comes to your dreams.
They need to see you mean business.
Otherwise, they might fly off
in search of someone who’ll
take the chance you were offered
but were too afraid to take.
Friends, you can have your excuses,
or you can have your success,
but you can’t have both.
Looking back on your life
as you lay there on your deathbed,
what will you want to see
written into the record of your years?
Let that question drive you forward
as you answer the call to live your dreams.
In the midst of chaos…
seeing my plight
is actually quite common,
finding relief in this,
the shared humanity.
During a night of insomnia,
for one brief moment
gifted with a lucid dream.
Inner self reaching out,
awakening my mind
within my sleeping body,
The voice said,
Don’t worry about your goals
and your effort…
if you try the same way as before
it will turn out as it did before.
Just let go and see what happens.
I stopped trying to fly
high enough to see the face of God,
I let go,
felt myself being pulled
up and over through the air
by a powerful force,
much greater than my small will.
There were many people in my dream
at first I was afraid of some of them,
men, who looked unsavory, unkempt,
my mind decided they must be criminals
and I therefore must be in danger.
The voice spoke again.
If you are afraid,
it is because you aren’t looking closely.
You are believing your thoughts
instead of seeing reality.
So I looked again,
and saw friendly faces
smiling warmly at me,
handsome faces, welcoming,
strong and kind.
The fear was always in my mind.
More upward movement
and I was surrounded by
and I let them know
they were an invention
of my imagination.
They looked amused,
so I showed them my proof.
See how your face is changing?
See how the words on the sign
are moving, never the same?
You are my dream.
I have created this.
And still there was so much warmth
coming from them,
I had no choice but to relax
and enjoy myself.
I awoke within my body
and I remembered.
I wake up from sleeping
remembering a dream
about finding something I had lost.
It’s early, before 5,
and my mind is hazy,
unsure of where to draw the line
between reality and the dream state.
I walk through the day as if in a dream;
sometimes I catch myself
being swept away in a current of thought
and I realize that it has been over an hour
since I have been truly present,
truly awake and aware of my surroundings.
My children remind me
with a flash of their eyes
and a flurry of movement
that I have been somewhere, not here;
they bring me back.
But the pull to stay asleep in the dream
and like a terrible force of nature,
a giant wave,
I am caught again
in some dreamy, quasi reality state,
believing what my thoughts tell me,
confusing them for reality.
Dreams can be very convincing.
I think a lot of my practice must be
learning true discernment
and relaxing into
the dream of existence.
I come back to this place again and again
in my dreams, the dreams I hold in my heart.
Green grass mown by munching goats and sheep
their bells sounding a right racket as they amble along
tracks they’ve worn into the mountain meadow.
I look up and see a crystalline blue sky.
I look out from where I’m sitting and see
more mountains than I can count and the city
where I left my heart nestled in the valley below.
I take off my shoes and dip my toes into the ice cold water
of the stream that has gathered momentum
from its origins in the valley behind me.
A bit of emmental cheese, a bit of dark chocolate,
a hunk of baguette, a sip of water
and now my hands are drumming this drum
I lugged with me from the valley below.
The breath of summer and the scent of wildflowers
caress my soul as the wind whispers through the conifers.
I have endured such heartbreak.
Let them rise and let them fall
like the waves of the ocean–
they will come to you your whole life,
it is in our nature.
To be human is to have wants.
To be human is to experience limits,
and if you are persistent,
you might develop the drive to rise above them.
The question isn’t whether we should want or not want–
it’s more about bringing awareness to what we want,
and discerning between a passing fancy and a dream dear to your heart.
It is more about meeting our deepest dreams with awareness,
and mindfully directing our energies to bring ourselves
to the place of fulfillment,
Not with the fancy cars or the big mansions or the dream vacations
(Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with those),
But fulfillment in a place that can’t be seen-
in the character that has been tempered within the fire of great challenge,
by the spirit that has been strengthened by overcoming adversity,
by grace that rushes in to let you know how absolutely loved you are,
by the realization that all we could ever want is right here, in this moment.