Crazy Wisdom, Southeast Michigan's largest holistic health bookstore and newsletter, contacted me and asked for an article on me and my dream work. Here it is: http://crazywisdomjournal.squarespace.com/featuredstories/2015/9/1/active-dreaming-and-messages-from-the-birds
"To spread butterfly wings you must transform again and again. You must let your old identity collapse into mush. You must use your imaginal cells to overcome the resistance of the old you, the little you, who clings to what you once were." These magical words, read by Robert Moss from his new book "The BOY Who Died and Came Back", welcomed me to the dream family gathering in the magical mountains of the Adirondacks. But they were not the first words I had read, or heard on this trip from the BOY. He had been our family companion as we set off on our first family vacation since our own transformation over a year ago.
Over the past two years, beginning with my own personal transformation and divorce, my family has had to learn to let our "old identity collapse into mush" and reimagine a newer, healthier unit. Part of the way I have imagined my new family was taking vacations and bringing my kids along when I either teach, or attend. dream gatherings. So very grateful and happy that Robert Moss and my dream family were inviting not only myself, but my kids, to join them on the mountain, I started to see take shape what I had only imagined.
Several days before the dream gathering, my kids and I set out on this journey. Coinciding with spring break, we would spend 2 days driving through Canada and New York. Of course, we took the BOY along with us, reading chapters as we traveled, and capturing photos along the way.
Day 1: Michigan to Canada.
Our day began with my daughter going out for a run, preparing for her first track meet the following week. She picked up running right before our family transformation, and had supported her in her own personal growth. On this crisp April morning, the BOY enjoyed the bird songs and sunshine, observing the pine and birches as she ran. After a shower, breakfast and good-byes to the kitty, we loaded into the car. The BOY front and center. The first one (hopefully of many) that we would take together as our family takes flight. As we left Michigan and crossed the bordered I handed the Canadian guard our small blue books and thought of the chapter titled "Where Dreams are Passports" These passports were taking us to dreams. And as we entered Ontario I pulled over so the BOY would be part of the "Welcome to Ontario"
The first stop on our trip, loaded as the destination point into our GPS was Antica pizza. On our first trip to Niagra Falls a few years earlier we stopped off at this local mom & pop pizza joint, where my daughter remembered was "the best pizza ever." Well, obviously others agreed with us as it had grown from a 1 room, dingy, plastic table cloth, joint into a beautiful two room, wood, stone and tile restaurant. The pizza, was as amazing as my daughter remembered. My boy and girl enjoyed a slice as the BOY accompanied us. We finally made it to our hotel room, and placed the BOY on our window as we all relaxed and enjoyed the view.
Day 2: Canada to Syracuse
With no plans for the next day, we crossed the boarder back into the US and entered New York. A few people had mentioned the Jell-o museum in Le Roy, so we programmed the GPS and off we went. We were only 1 of 3 other visitors to sign the guest book that day - the first family being from the same we had just come from in Michigan! We learned how the inventor of Jell-o sold the recipe and rights for $450 (the cost of a house at the time) to another man who eventually made it a household name - with the help of Bill Cosby.
We then headed to Syracuse and Destiny, USA - a mall built to rival the Mall of America. We weren't interested in shopping, but rather Wonder Works. A place where science and imagination meet each other. We spent over an hour climbing on the 3 story tall ropes course, and then over another hour in the science/imagination station. I thought it most fitting after reading the chapter "The Other Side of the Moongate", and remember a small exchange in the book between Sophie and Robert about astronauts, that the BOY have his picture taken in a NASA space suit with a huge moon in the background!
After all the travel across countries and to the moon, we were ready to just settle down in a hotel and relax the rest of the evening.
Day 3: Dreaming
The next morning we packed up, and traveled into the heart of the magic mountain and from the land of science and imagination into the land of dreaming and imagination - our dream passports in hand.
The first evening my kids relaxed and rested after the long journey. I, on the other hand, met the butterfly. Not the perfect picture butterfly we all imagine - but the one who is confronted by the threats of this world. I was a butterfly being chased by birds and predators. However, I found sanctuary and protection amongst the trees, leaves, and safety in those around me. I was being shown the while the life of a butterfly may appear beautiful, it too, has it challenges. A powerful and important message I needed to hear, see and know.
Day 4: The BOY
The following day my kids brought the BOY to their first dream workshop. While I've been leading dream groups for several years, as their mom, my teenage children are in their own transformation trying to re-imagine who they are, apart from where they came from. Attending a group that their mom is teaching - well, it's just not on the teenage agenda.
But now that that BOY had accompanied us from Michigan, to Ontario, from Niagra to Syracuse and up the mountain, they were ready to see it meet it's maker and experience dreaming like never before. They heard amazing stories, journied to the House of Time, met the Gate Keeper, and when they were ready, had their picture taken with the beautiful, amazing, butterfly or butterflies, Robert Moss.
However, teenagers, being teenagers, especially MY teenagers, you would have never guessed that any of this was making an impact on them. Through most of the weekend it appeared that my son was being tortured with boredom. My daughter didn't talk much. But I would look over at them and notice a smile, some excitement and a glimmer in their eyes. Their imaginal selves were coming alive.
The weekend had come to an end with amazing talented and creative people giving their dream offerings to the group. Immediately at the end of the gathering we climbed into the car to begin the long drive home. As we drove down the mountain both my kids talked of what they enjoyed and my son (the one that seemed the most disengaged) talked of what he would present next time he was on the mountain. "Next time"? A shock to me, considering my impression of him most the weekend. Less than 24 hours later as he lay in his own bed about to drift off to sleep he explained that Jack London used to write 1000 words a day, then went on to tell me that he had already written 3000 words of a new story. Of course, being a teenager, he says it has nothing to do with the creativity and trip he had just experienced. But even if the caterpillar cannot recognize what it is becoming, others on the outside can see the beauty about to unfold.
So very grateful to not only have the amazing kids that I do, but a dreamer like Robert Moss to welcome them into our community, and a dream family who accepted them with open arms. Our first vacation became our DREAM vacation. The BOY explains that "To spread butterfly wings, you must transform again and again." As long as we are alive we are given the opportunity to turn our mush into something more. What I thought would be a fun, first, family vacation after a transformation, turned out to be the beginnings of yet another transformation as my family is re-imagined into something more beautiful than I ever thought. Thank to the BOY for making our trip even more exciting than I could have ever expected.
I remember seeing him in Detroit: tall, thin, short dark hair, wearing shorts (in below freezing weather), with a left prosthetic leg, about 20 years old. He looked very comfortable and moved with ease. My assessment at the time was that he probably had lived with this leg for a good portion of his life. Like the white haired, running toddler, and the large, black woman wearing Drew Carey style glasses with no lenses, I took note, but went with the flow as I boarded the plane that early Tuesday evening.
I love to travel, and I love to drive. It's during movement that I'm most open to feeling the hand of the universe. It might be a short trek to work or a long drive across the country. So three years ago when a retired friend was looking for someone to drive her back from Florida, I jumped at the chance. It has since become an annual trip. This year, as I prepared for my flight to Florida, I was concerned about the predicted snow storm, set to hit the morning of my departure. But, as so often happens during travel, I felt an underlying force at play when I received a phone call notifying me my cancelled flight the following day. A series of events unfolded and 4 hours after the phone call I boarded a plane to Florida in Detroit, via Atlanta, a day earlier than expected.
The first leg of the flight I read Robert Moss' new book "The Boy Who Died and Came Back: Adventures of a Dream Archeologist in the Multiverse." It was the only book I brought with me and I was looking forward to giving it my undivided attention on this trip. As the plane began to land in Atlanta I finished the chapter "Through the Black Sun." What really stuck out in this chapter were sentences like "The difference between the mystic and the madman, it's been said, is that the mystic can swim in waters where the madman drowns" and "...the shaman is one who dies and comes back. He knows the roads between the worlds because he has traveled them." He talks of Jung and facing the darkness and the return. The chapter finishes with an amazing account of one of Robert's own journies, from which the chapter gets its name. Because of my own personal experiences, this chapter resonated with me in such a way that I had to stop and savor the stories - as I had done several times before with previous chapters. The entire book is composed of chapter of chapter, demonstrating the power of story, woven through, and with, Robert's life and experiences. It's a great demonstration of the "unseen hand" of the universe at play and a stunning account of living in, and through, transformation.
As I closed the book, and allowed my imagination to wander, we landed in Atlanta. I made my way to another terminal where I boarded the next flight. I settled into my seat and I was soon joined by the young 20 year old I noticed back in Detroit. He told me he changed flights from tomorrow morning to this evening, hoping to get ahead of the storm. We were scheduled to be on the same flight the next day. My ears perked up - the hidden had at play. The young man went on to comment about the cramped leg room and the prosthetic leg being an issue in this situation. We struck up a conversation and I learned that 7 months earlier he "met a tree” while riding his “crotch rocket" (which took me a bit to realize he was talking about a motorcycle). He was in intensive care for the first week balancing between life and death, woke up in a fog, and a week after that his left leg was amputated. The past 7 months were full of surgeries on his face, jaw, arm and leg. He was going to Florida for 2 weeks to visit his grandparents and take a "vacation" from the hospitalizations and surgeries, which would resume for several more months upon his return.
The young man and I talked about transition and how he is attempting to take everything in stride, one moment at a time. Several friends suggested he see a therapist, but he joked that they needed it more than he did. While he was meeting life on its terms, others were uncomfortable with the transition. We had brief conversations about life, death and living our passions no matter what the obstacles. Somehow the conversation turned toward how we would react if we knew the plane was going down. The young man said that sometimes when there’s a lot of turbulence on a plane it's scarey but after it’s over he realizes the excitement and fun of the experience. I compared it to a roller coaster ride and we both got a chuckle at the analogy. We agreed, right then and there, if our plane went down, we would both raise our hands in the air and yell, like we would do on a roller coaster.
We didn't talk much during the night time flight but I reflected on our conversation. I knew from my own life journey this young man, still in transition, had a ride ahead of him. There would be days when he would put his arms up in the air and yell with laughter, but there would also be days when he would be scared and wonder when the ride would end. He would be facing his own darkness, and it would be up to him if he sank or swam. While he had died in many different ways, he was still coming back. I was reminded of my own journey into darkness and the struggle to come back. I thought about transition and how I wished I had a powerful story go get me through those dark times. A powerful story can help us see that transition, while difficult, can lead to something more wonderful than we could have ever expected. "The Boy Who Died and Came Back" gives us those stories like no other book. And I knew, as our plane landed, what this boy in transition needed.
I asked the young man if he liked to read. He said he hadn't read since high school and even then it never really captured his attention. I took out my copy of "The Boy Who Died and Came Back". I handed him the book and said “This will capture your attention!” He was hesitant, as if he didn't want to disappoint me, a complete stranger, by not reading it. But he took it and was soon excited at the potential, telling me when, where and how he would be reading in Florida.
We disembarked, and with that ease of walking I had noticed several hours earlier, he speed ahead of me. We walked down the long terminal for about 10 minutes with him 50 feet ahead of me. When we neared the exit, I saw him turn around, look at me, turn back, and with "The Boy Who Died and Came Back" in his hand, raised it over his head. A recognition. An appreciation.
I love when I'm on the road, and something unexpected happens, an unexpected meeting, an unexpected conversation, an unexpected gift. It's in those unexpected moments that I feel that unseen hand of the universe. The image of this young man, on a his own transformative journey, celebrating the gift of story. A book. A boy. My adventures traveling. The hand of the universe unfolding stories before me.
Last weekend I was making the 3 1/2 hour drive to Ohio where I would introduce a new group of dreamers to Active Dreaming. When I drive, I like to use the alone time to think about stories I will share with the group. Some of my favorite stories I will tell at every workshop, but because life and dreams are constantly speaking to me, I like to share recent happenings and messages.
About half way into the trip I was talking out loud about how awesome it is that dreams can communicate with us on many levels. I said "For example, let's say you have a dream and there's a banana in it. Well, it's possible that the dream is telling you to use up those old bananas in your house. It's a literal message. Or maybe the reason why you have old bananas in your house is because your daughter asked you to buy them, and they were never eaten. Maybe the dream is speaking to you symbolically about your feelings or relationship with you daughter. Or, if you're a Freudian, I supposed the bananas could represent something completely different!" I kind of chuckled to myself at that last thought, and decided I probably would not share it in this intro workshop with people who are meeting me for the first time.
Then I thought to myself "BANANAS?!?!?! What made me think of bananas? I don't think I've ever had a dream about bananas! It is true I do have old bananas on my counter that my daughter asked me to buy, and I do need to use them for something. But I've never had a dream about bananas! Why would bananas be a good story to demonstrate the multifaceted ways dreams speak to us?" Just then, I looked up in front of me and on a billboard to the right of the road I saw HUGE OLD BANANAS! And I read, "Everything gets old,
even your shocks." I laughed. Never in my life have I seen bananas on a billboard. I'll probably never see it again. But there they were. I was contemplating old bananas and, walah, right in front of me they appeared! And at that moment I knew, bananas are perfect for demonstrating winks from the universe! A sign that I was heard. A demonstration of the hand behind the scene. A recognition that I'm connected and if I open up to what's around me it will come alive in ways that will amaze and delight me.
The universe doesn't just give us winks, it can also provide answers when we ask. Several years ago I was in Colorado having flown out to attend my first workshop with Robert Moss. The night before I stayed with a long time childhood friend to catch up and reconnect. The next morning, another friend picked me up and he headed toward the workshop in Boulder. I was telling him about my evening and the amazing dog that was at the house. It was such a cool dog and I tried to recall the name but I couldn't remember it. It was really frustrating me and I said out loud "Oh, what is her name?" I looked out the window and, walah, I saw a billboard that said "Corona". "That''s it!" I yelled with excitement, "The dog's name is Corona! It's like I just asked for the name and there was the answer!" It was the first time I consciously realized that when we ask for answers the universe can and does answer.
And sometimes, the universe gives us other messages, out of the blue, and we just need to pay attention. I have a former co-worker, let's call her Marg Smith. Now Marg has been posting on facebook lately about a difficult time she is having at her current job. I worked Marg over 6 years ago, for less than a year. She and I don't really talk to each other that much. About once a year Marg and I check-in through email just to keep up with each other. Well, today was that once a year "check-in". I've recently discovered that 'chat' feature on our internal system so Marg and I were "chating". She was informing me of all kinds of issues and problems at her current job. I was giving Marg support and encouragement, meanwhile trying to stay neutral to the situation. About 10 minutes into our "chat" my current coworker/office mate's phone rang. She picked it up and I heard her say in a slow, deliberate, confused voice "No.....No...ummmm....no, she doesn't work here anymore. In fact, she hasn't worked here for several years." My office mate then said "No MARG SMITH isn't here. She hasn't been at this phone number for over 5 years. Where did you get this phone number from?" And my office mate turned to me with a look of astonishment and confusion. I quickly sent a chat message to Marg and we decided a phone call was warranted at this point. For a few minutes Marg, my office mate and I were wondering if Big Brother had been spying on our chat session. We all were shocked, confused, and yet recognized the amazing, weird, synchronicity of this event. I haven't talked to Marg for over a year. She hasn't worked with me for over 6 years. Yet at that moment while I was chatting with her, she was being called on a phone in my office! Being the curious problem solvers we all are, the three of us needed to know that Big Brother wasn't spying on us. We hunted down the number that came through on the phone, and soon realized it was a car dealership contacting Marg, after 6 years, at her last known phone number. While not Big Brother, it was still a message of some sort. Considering the content of Marg's chat session, the message to us both, was be careful what you communicate because somebody may be listening! Warning message from the universe.
During the workshop last weekend, I explained how over the years I've read many different books and looked into many different systems on dreams. When I was first introduced to Active Dreaming it felt like a coming home. I love Active Dreaming for so many different reasons, but most of all I love that it's not just about night dreams, but about being open to all of life's experience - those that come to us at night AND during the day. These experience cannot, and should not, be isolated from each other. It's being open to all of these experiences when the fun really beings. When we open up to messages from the universe during the day, we have access to an amazing resources that allows us to be full active participants in how we create and dream our lives. In addition, it's just FUN! I absolutely love winks, answers and messages from the universe. Every time it happens, it makes my heart and soul soar just a little more. Looking forward to the next "walah" from the universe. Stay tuned!
One of the most powerful tools for understanding dreams and life experiences is keeping a journal....and reviewing them! One of my favorite places to go do this is at the Panera located next to Whole Foods in Ann Arbor. Every time I go to this location to track dreams I get affirmations from the universe. For example, I walked in the other day and overheard a customer talking about tomato soup, which came as a surprise to me because I wasn't even aware they offered tomato soup. I then sat down to begin logging the first dream. I turn to January 8, 2010 and the title for the dream was "Making Tomato Soup". During another visit I was recording a dream in which I was asked to pick one piece of clothing to represent me. In the dream I picked a lightweight plaid shirt that I like to wear to Lake Michigan in the summer. As I was reviewing and logging the dream, I look up and walking into Panera was a woman wearing the exact same shirt. These kind of affirmations come every time I'm in the dream zone at Panera...and I love it!
Because I will often record 3-4 dreams from one night, and also write journal entries about message from the universe during the day, I have a lot of information to review and log. Dreams and winks from the universe start to blur together, and can get lost among the every day of cleaning, shopping, cooking, etc. Taking time out and reviewing my journals is exactly what I need sometimes to see the larger hand at play - and how it evolves over time. I usually pick a day every month or two in order to do this. But over the past week I've immersed myself in my journals and dreams. I've not only been to Panera three times for hours on end, but I've continued to review and log my dreams during my "down time" at home.
Tonight, after I finished my several hour session at Panera I walked next door to Whole Foods. Last week I bought a red wine called "Immersion" that I really liked and wanted to pick up another bottle. To my surprise it was on sale, at almost 1/2 off. I bought 4 bottles. I looked around the store, but there really wasn't anything else I needed to buy. So I went up to the cashier with my 4 bottles of Immersion. As this rather solemn cashier rang up the four bottles, I heard him say "Do you want to sleep at all....or anything else?" I thought he was joking making a statement about what drinking four bottles of wine would do, so I cracked a smile and said "I'm good". But I looked at him and he was not smiling. I wondered if I heard him correctly, but he had moved on asking if I wanted to donate my bag credit. I took the 4 bottles in my bag and walked to my car meanwhile pondering the question "Do you want to sleep at all?" and what a lot of 'Immersion" would do. Taking life symbolically, I considered what I've immersed myself in lately and how I would answer that question.
During the past week at Panera and home I've immersed myself in reviewing dreams from 2010 and the recent summer of 2013. During the 2010 entries my dreams and life entries show me "waking up" from several years of sleeping through life. During my summer 2013 entries I review Level 3 of Robert Moss' Dream Teacher Training. At the end of the training, before a wonderful group of dreamers, I summarized the past three years, the transformations that have occurred and now living my day and night life fully awake. Over the past week, I've immersed myself in reviewing these two time periods which has given me perspective on my own growth, development, transformation, and affirmed my "waking up" from a sleep that I do not plan to return to.
So, as I pondered "Do you want to sleep at all?" and what I have immersed myself in, I felt like I was being asked if I would prefer a former state of "sleep"; a time in my life when I was not only asleep to the power of dreams, but to life and the universe itself. My answer to this very serious question is, wholeheartedly, "No. I don't want to sleep in that way again. I would rather immerse myself in dreaming than sleeping any day or night." Thank you solemn cashier at Whole Foods for your question...and there is my answer.
I'd like to make one note to the universe, while my consciousness does not want to sleep, my body very much would like to answer "yes, she does need physical sleep!" So while my body enjoys this glass of Immersion and the physical sleep to come, I'll continue to immerse myself in the very awakend experiences of dreaming and life.
I went to lunch with two friends for my birthday today. We had a delicious meal, great conversation and lots of laughs. After, we headed out on the town to make several stops to take advantage of my birthday discount. As we left the restaurant looking right at me was a poster hanging on the side of a pole with a fox. I commented to my friends 'Hey, look! There's a fox!" I explained that in Native American stories fox is a trickster - not evil or good, but when a fox shows up we need to be on our toes because you never know what may come up.
We headed to my friend's car. As she pulled out of her parking space, she noticed a piece of paper on her windshield. Stopping the car, she took the paper off and realized it was a ticket, exclaiming "HA! I kept my receipt when I paid for the spot just in case." She pulled out her receipt and I compared the ticket to it. The ticket stated it was for space 6016. Her receipt said #16 and she had at least 20 more minutes left on her spot. "Well, the fox is in play, but we've got a receipt!" After reparking the car, paying for that new spot and making a brief trip into a store for a discount, we headed to the county courthouse to dispute the ticket. Parking and paying for our parking again, we entered the court house. My friend went up to the counter and showed the clerk her paperwork. He responded "Mam, there is a spot 6016 and a spot 16. You paid for spot #16 which is on one side of town but parked in spot #6016 which is in another part of town." You see, in Ann Arbor, they have replaced most of the individual parking meters and changed them to an automated system. At each spot there is a sign with a number. You then go to a central machine (see picture above), punch in your spot number and pay. The nice part about this system is you can use a credit card, and you can be anywhere in town to add money to your space. The bad thing about this system is if you don't put the right space number in, well.....you see the issue. After a brief discussion my friend was handed some paperwork to fill out to dispute the ticket. The clerk seemed somewhat confident that the ticket would be waived.
Meanwhile, as my other friend and I chucked about this interesting wrench that has been thrown into our day, I received a phone call from my daughter who was stranded at school without a ride home. Because I was almost an hour away, I called another friend and asked if she could help out and pick my daughter up. Graciously she agreed and got in her car as we spoke on the phone to get my daughter. A few minutes later, my friend called back stating that my daughter's phone had an automated message saying it could not take calls. I realized that her pay-as-you-go phone needed to be renewed today - on my birthday. I recalled when I renewed it last time how easy it would be for me to remember to renew because it expired on my birthday. I guess not! Now my friend was on her way to get my daughter with no communication between the two that she was coming and where to meet.
After my friend finished up the paperwork to dispute the ticket, we headed out to our next birthday stop. Yet again, parking and paying for another new spot, we first headed to a chocolate shop then through an alley to the cupcake store. Meanwhile I was trying to figure out how to get my daughter and friend connected - I had both my friends with me looking up phone numbers and making calls. They called the school, no answer. I tried my daughter's phone, not working. The best I could do was to tell my other friend where my daughter might be in the massive high school and go look for her. After several minutes, I started to wonder, how my daughter called me if her phone wasn't working. I looked at my phone and noticed a number I did not recognize. I called it, and sure enough my daughter picked up. I explained the situation, told her were to meet my friend. I called my friend and explained where to me my daughter. Minutes later I got a text that they had met and my daughter was safely on her way home. Shew! Within 15 minutes, a problem arose and with the support from my friends, it was resolved. Another trick thrown at us and quickly resolved.
After the chocolate and cupcake my stomach was beginning to hurt but it was suggested we head over to another part of town to get free bubble tea -another birthday freebee. We again drove, and parked in a new spot. At which point I commented how amazing it was that we were able to find parking spots at every place we wanted to go in downtown! As my friend was paying for her spot I stated the number and she pushed the buttons to pay for the space. We went in and got our bubble tea. Yuck! I promptly gave it away and went to Starbucks next door to take advantage of my free coffee drink. YUM! We decided to go browse around a shop next door, but needed to add more time to the parking space. As my friend went to add money, I noticed the number she was typing in. "WAIT!" I said stopping her "That's the wrong space! You're paying for the spot in front of you!" We all laughed and thankful that this time with all of us together we were able to catch something before it became an issue. We could feel the shift. We had caught the trick before it threw another wrench in our day. We were now on top the foxy birthday tricks.
I said to my friends, 'You know, when fox throws tricks into the day, it's great to have friends along to help address the situations and find humor in it. This actually has been a really fun and interesting birthday!" As we continued discussed the events of the day and foxes tricks, we headed into our final stop - Middle Earth.
Moral of the story: when fox shows up on your birthday it's great to have friends along to approach the tricks with support and a good sense of humor.
In a dream from last night I was in a library tavern. While conversing with the librarian bar tender, I noticed my right leg was vibrating. It felt quite strange and I tried to figure out what was causing it. Was it a lack of some vitamin? Was there a train going by - well, no because only one thigh was vibrating. Was I experiencing a symptom of some disease? Even though I spent quite some time trying to figure out the source, I wasn't too concerned. The dream eventually shifted and right before the vibration stopped.
Later on in the night, I woke up to the sounds of my cat. I came fully back to realize my cat was next to my thigh, doing his kitty thing, massage and purring at the same time. As many of you know, when a cat purrs it can cause quite a vibration. I realized that this activity was probably taking place at the same time as my library tavern, vibrating thigh dream.
I shared this experience with my kids the next morning. My daughter then told me how a few days earlier she had several dreams where there was an alarm going off. The first dream she was at school. She asked her class mates "What is that bell? Why is it going off?" No one seemed to have an answer. So she ignored it. Her dream shifted and she was in another situation and a different buzzer was sounding. Again, she wondered what it was, but didn't have an answer. She went through several dreams, all with some kind of bell or buzzer in them. Eventually she slowly woke up and realized her alarm clock was going off.
We've all experienced these seepages between the worlds, where an experience going on in one reality blends into another. My daughter's experience of the alarm clock going off is common. In those experiences people often wake from one reality into another. But in the library tavern I had the experience, the dream shifted, and it was much later, when I awoke in another reality. Unlike the alarm dream, the seepage took place, but it did not pull me out of that reality. However, once I was in the reality causing the vibration, I was able to fully understand what was going on at the library tavern.
In my librarian tavern experience, when something out of the ordinary, like my thigh vibrating occurred, I only looked to "ordinary" explanations. I was limiting myself to only one reality of possibilities. It never occurred to me at the time, that my body in some other dimension was being massaged by a vibrating purring cat. Why? Because in that reality I didn't consider that I am a multidimensional being living in a multiverse of experiences, and that there are seepages that occur between the worlds.
I wonder how many times something like that has occurred in this life. How many times have I had some unexplained sensation or experience and just called it 'strange', 'bizarre', and then let it go. Probably about as many times as someone has said to me "it's just a dream". The fact is, they aren't just dreams and these experiences aren't necessarily "unexplainable". If we open ourselves up, open our sights, we may see what seems to be hidden, and possibly an experience from another part of ourselves living in another reality.
Over the past several years I have opened up my inner sight, and look beyond the worlds. But there are still moments when I feel bound to this reality. This dream, and my cat, have reminded me once again what I've always known, that there is a much larger context and we live in a multiverse of experiences.
As I sit here an finish writing this blog piece, my cat has decided to jump on my bed, purr and massage my leg once again. And I wonder, what part of me in some other reality is feeling, noticing this sensation. I hope at least one of them is opening their vision to see me, laying in bed, writing this piece, with a cat who loves me, purring away, vibrating my leg, and noticing them noticing me :-)
(For all you cat lovers, here's a video of my cat massaging and purring)
Who am I?
A temporary answer to a permanent question
My body is a temporary answer to a permanent question
My life is a temporary answer to a permanent question
I am a temporary answer to a permanent question
I am a temporary expression to a permanent source.
I am a temporary answer to a permanent question
Who are we?
I am Julie
I am a body
I am life
I am an explorer
Squirrel, squirrel, squirrel
We are all so distractable
Distractable from the permanent source
Distractable to what is right there in plain sight
We are the answer to the permanent question
We are the expression of the permanent source
One into the other
I often get some of the best messages from the universe first thing in the morning as I'm on my way into work. In Robert Moss' book The Three Only Things he talks about the 9 rules of Coincidences. One of these is that the world is a forest of symbol, speaking to us all the time if we just pay attention. I find that on my drive to work in the morning, the transition from dream time to "day" time, I get great messages if I just pay attention. Today was one of those day.
I woke up to this morning from a dream about food quality, GMOs/non-gmos and places to shop that label food so I can make informed choices. I then went downstairs, and put a rack of ribs in my slow cooker. Now, I rarely cook pork. In fact I think this is only the third time I've ever made it. But yesterday I ran across a great deal on these ribs and they looked delicious. But this morning, with my dream hangover, I began to wonder about the quality of the pork. Thoughts wandered through my head of chickens being shipped to China for processing then back to the US for distribution, and a disturbing video of pork processing I saw last week. On my drive to work, I continued to think about these things. I pulled into the parking structure, and decided today I would park in a different location so that I could walk an extra flight of stairs. As I gathered my items for the day out of my car, I opened the door and next to me I saw a very happy pig with the words "GO HOGS" written on the window staring straight at me.
A message for me that the pork I was making would not only be perfectly delicious, but also came from a happy pig. Sometimes when we are struggling with an issue, the answer we need is right in front of us if we expand our perception. Yes, the world is a forest of symbols, just waiting for us to pay attention. I LOVE getting these kinds of messages, today was no exception. My thoughts settled down and I was able to go about the rest of the day while nothing but the ribs in my crock pot simmered. The ribs turned out to be especially yummy and I had a hog smile on my face when I finished!
I love drumming! I think I’ve loved it my whole life. My first memory of drumming was as a very young child sitting on the kitchen floor with pots and pans turned upside down and a couple of wooden spoons. Oh, what awesome sounds I could make with those spoons! Thanks to my mom, I had regular sessions on that floor. When I was in elementary school I asked for a drum set for Christmas. I can still remember that Christmas morning and the sight of the beautiful clear blue drum set – with the base drum on the bottom that I had to use a foot pedal because my hands were too busy drumming on the other two drums mounted on top of the base with a symbol in the middle. It even came with real drumsticks. The drums are long gone, but I still have those drumsticks!
I always had a beat in my head, from sitting on the kitchen floor to playing my blue drum set. I would often times, just tap and pat out my beat using my hands.
I played with that drum set for many years, but as I got older things were piled on top of the drums, and my beat was buried along with it. I would find it every now and then like when I played the saxophone in junior high through high school. It wasn’t quite the same, but I was still exposed to the beat of my music. Later I would satisfy my love of the beat in college when I was took a gamelean class, and played with a group wherever my travels took me from Seattle to Indonesia. Many years later, at Unitarian Universalist women’s retreat there was a drumming circle. I had never experienced this before. What joy! What fun! It was like I had reawakened something inside of me that was buried so deep. I remember just dancing and dancing that night to the beat of the djembe. It was only me and maybe one or two other women dancing in front the large circle of women drummers. I didn’t care if I was alone with in front of a whole group. The beat carried me and I danced for joy.
When I turned 40 I knew exactly how I wanted to celebrate it – with a drum circle! I arranged for a friend and professional drum leader to bring all her equipment, and I was surrounded by the beat of family and friends as I welcomed a new decade of my life.
Soon after my birthday I attended by first dream workshop, and loh and behold, there was drumming! I I already knew I was a dreamer, but with the steady beat of a single drum I could access dream realms I had never thought imaginable. As I continued to pursue my passion of dreaming and sharing it with others, I bought my own frame drum. I now use it to meditate and lead others to help access their dream realms.
While I love drumming during workshops and classes, drumming alone to a single beat does not allow for the musical expression and dynamic interplay that you get in a drum group. So I occasionally attend drum groups to express that creative beat inside me.
A few weeks ago I attended a drumming group. I haven’t been to one in quite some time. I got there and was so very excited to see all the drums and percussion instruments (cow bells, rattles, sticks, things I couldn’t even name). I felt like a kid in a candy shop – so many awesome cool things to beat. Just like the pots and pans of my youth. I decided to start out with a djembe and its rich deep sound. The feel around my legs and the goat skin on my hands were amazing. Around and around my hands went as I rubbed the goat skin top preparing to drum and express my beat.
Once there were about 15 of us, we just started playing. Free for all. As we played I felt myself settling in, finding my beat. Boom chaka laka, boom chaka laka. You would think if you stick 15 people together with no direction chaos would ensure. But I’ve been to enough drum groups to know, the exact opposite happens. A group beat starts to form. It seems as humans we tend to sync up with those around us….and sometimes, even begin to play together and with each other. Some even started to do “call and response” type drumming. Cow bell (cling, cling, cling), base drum (boom, boom, boom), cow bell (cling, cling, cling), base drum (boom, boom, boom. They looked at each other, allowed for space for each other, then followed the pattern, back and forth, back and forth. No words. Only looks. Only sounds. All playing together.
As the night went on I started to notice several things. If I relaxed and just let myself flow I found a steady beat that came from the inside out. But I also noticed that I would sometimes get distracted. I would hear another beat and within a few seconds I would be playing that beat. I would match those around me and my own beat would blend in with that other beat. There were times I struggled to find my own beat. Sometimes a drum would be playing so loud I could not hear my own drum. My own beat was drowned out and over powered by the other sounds. As the night went on, and the instruments changed, beats came and went. I started to ponder “How do I learn to find my own beat when there are so many others going on around me? Once I have found it, how do I learn to maintain it amongst all the other, sometimes louder, beats among me?”
It felt like an analogy for life. How do we find ourselves? How do we maintain our identities among so many personalities and relationships?
During the drumming, it took consciousness and awareness on my part to realize when I had lost my beat and started following another. Once I was aware, I’d gently bring myself back to my beat. This happened several times. Find my beat, get distracted, start to sync with another one that caught my attention, conscious of the change, then settling in, relaxing, returning to my own beat.
And when the other drums were too loud and I couldn’t hear my own, I’d put my head as close to my drum as possible, slowly took some breaths, closed by eyes and concentrated on what wanted to come from me instead of concentrating on what was outside of me. With that I was able to bring myself back to my drum, my beat. This was not easy. The call of other beats was intense. It would have been so easy, to play “follow the leader”. But I had a beat and it wanted to be played. It wanted to come out and with awareness, concentration and allowing it to flow I was able to relax in to my own beat.
This is what I realized that night. It’s easy to play alone, and sometime, like when I was young on my mom’s kitchen floor with pots and pans, it can be amazingly fun. When we are alone, it’s easy to find our beat. But alone the complexities and richness that a group brings are absent. Groups allow us to try on different beats, ones we may not have thought of, but they also challenge us to remain true to our own beat when amongst so many others. And when all those original beats come together, what amazing rhythm, music and creative expression there is.
What an amazing gift drumming has been for me. I found my beat the other night at the drum circle and so much more. I found the memory of my “original beat”. I may just have to sit on the floor tonight with my wooden spoon surrounded by some pots and pans and play my beat once again.
Insights into dreams, coincidences, synchronicities.