Every self-challenge needs a sexy title so I called mine, “60 Days to 60; 60 Nights of Dreaming” and now that I’ve finished my challenge, I’ve combined all the posts into one large post, since some entries are quite small. I decided to blog about the journey, knowing full well that “60” is just a number, and yet wanting to celebrate the milestone and set my intention to catch a dream for 60 nights in a row before my 60th birthday. I hope my journey will inspire you to celebrate and challenge yourself. Feel free to jump around, as each post has a stand-alone message, although certainly the 60-day journey is a rich one that deepens over the accumulation of time, dreams and insights.
March 23rd-Day #1, I Begin
I thought I might dream my future; visions of what is to come and the rest of my life. Instead, I dreamt chaotic, cast-of-thousands kind of dreams. Well maybe that is my future! (I was able to catch two dreams but at least four others got away. Note to self: write dreams, then blog about them. Really Patti?)
So here I am honouring the days leading up to my 60th birthday and setting time aside to write and ponder my dreams. Am I nuts? Probably. In this two month period, I have Passover (which is like scheduling a major invasion), finishing up the nailing down of my mortgage, a move to our new condo and then the cleaning up and the setting up that goes with downsizing and settling in.
On the one hand, I feel like 60 is no big deal, especially from the perspective of hindsight and the passage of time that will hopefully follow at 70 and 80 and beyond. 60? “I was still a kid”, I will think. But on the other hand, from the perspective of one who feels 20-something on the inside, this feels big. I believe that on a soul level, all marking of age and time is somewhat arbitrary and possibly even artificial and unimportant. In this world where time is linear, we naturally count it in a linear way. Even so, age is a state of mind, and I am what I believe I am. Marking 60 as if it is any different from 59 is ridiculous and I’m psyching myself into believing the cultural beliefs about getting “old”. I’m already the grandmother to two boys and another grandchild on the way and being their grandmother is enjoyable beyond belief, but what is even more beyond belief is the fact that my inner world and my outer world are not in sync. I am not just someone’s old granny. That is not denial so much as a reflection of the growing gap between body and mind. Marking being 60 means looking into that gap and seeing what it is all about. Many of you reading this will have already figured this out, but I believe that this is a journey that if we are to walk through life with consciousness, each of us must take for ourselves. (As I type this, the radio is talking about media cruelty to women. I take synchronicities seriously. Erin Davis just said that 60 is the new 40!)
One of my all-time favourite t-shirts from the 90’s showed a man on a cliff, staring into a huge chasm below. The caption read, “Standing on the edge of a new beginning.” That’s where I am. Standing on the edge, staring into that chasm which is the gap between my body and mind. My heart and soul will be leading this inner safari but will the gap close? Or will it widen, taking me on a new adventure, a new head-trip, and delivery me someplace foreign and altogether different? Common wisdom says that it’s not the destination but the journey that is important. But I know the destination anyway. It’s 60. Or is it? In any case, this leaves me free to explore the terrain along the way. Here’s to the journey and the road!
P.S. I find myself hoping that there won’t be too many twists and turns, blown tires or potholes along the way. So I start this adventure secure in the knowledge that I like to travel in comfort and this inner adventure may very well be fiction!
March 24th-Day #2, Expectations!
I started thinking about my expectations for these 60 days. What if I don’t have any extraordinary dreams? What if nothing happens that is worth writing about? What if I have no insights to offer nor wisdom to share? Even as I write these expectations I can feel how it is possible to be two ages at once; the 59 year old who knows that expectations can become premature resentments and the 5 year old who wants to get it right. Ahh…. Letting all that young/old stuff go. What a wonderfully complex creature I am! We all are…
Last night’s dream was ordinary beyond belief! My inner 5 year old was very disappointed. The 59 year old knows that the dream had a message for me even so. It told me how tired I am and how concerned I am in keeping warm, metaphorically. But even using the word “ordinary” in describing my dream, speaks to expectations. My 59 year old self knows that all dreams are both ordinary and extraordinary. And all I mean by “ordinary” is that the dream was filled with the common people, scenes, and issues of daily life. My “extraordinary” dreams are not common, nor are they typical, though I wish it were otherwise. These dreams have numinous scenery, wild animals, deceased loved ones or psychic, precognitive or other-worldly energy and information. I long for these dreams. These dreams seem to connect me with Source and with something much larger than myself. Yet even as I write this, I see that this longing comes from seeing the world in its duality; either/or, black/white, male/female, Source-is-outside-of-me thinking. Another part of me believes that Source isn’t outside myself but it lies within me, within each and every cell.
Returning to my expectations for my dreams and these 60 days, then I have to admit that nothing is ordinary and every seemingly common dream character, setting or event that I dream about is Source made visual and manifesting through my dreams. And if this is so, then the same must be true of life. What if the everyday world was the extraordinary world and every so-called common event was Source manifest in the world? (“What if God was one of us”?) Then you are source as much as every annoying person or event is part of this sacred, light-filled, whole. So all of this really can turn my expectations for my 60-day journey on its head. May this journey- and yours- be extraordinarily ordinary.
I’m not generally a Bible-quoter but this popped into my head as I wrote so I will honour that: “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” [Pslam 90:12…I had to look it up!] So here I am at day #2 of 60, numbering my days and my dreams, hoping it will lead to a heart of wisdom. So may it be for us all!
March 25th -Day #3, Grandma Appears
My grandmother made a guest appearance in my dream this morning. My grandmother was a stellar grandma. She baked, sewed me dresses, knit…That’s what grandmothers did back then. She lived to 99 1/2 years of age and even at the end when she grew frail, she still had a room-brightening smile that lit up the room when I saw her last. But for the last 15 years of her life, after a fall, she sat mostly in her chair and watched CNN and tennis matches. (She loved that “young” Wolf Blitzer!)
I don’t think it was a visitation dream, but my grandmother did have a message for me in her actions. In this part of my dream she was in a chair, but it was elevated, almost throne-like in its position. She got up to tell a story, that was quite theatrical and I think she even started dancing! Very un-Grandma-like!
Last night before I went to bed I read about 89 year old Phyllis Sues, who took up tango, yoga, and the flying trapeze in her 80’s! So I can see the influence of this story and her active lifestyle contrasted with the inactivity of my grandmother’s chair. In fact, I come from a long line of chair-sitters. My mother, my grandmother and my great-grandmother, living with the after-effects of a stroke, all spent a lot of time in their chairs once they reached a certain age and I can see myself heading down that road. I spend a lot of time at the computer but I suspect that it doesn’t matter what kind of chair I’m in, it’s still a chair!
When my grandmother got up out of her chair in the dream, I got the message! It really speaks to me about how I want to do my 60’s and beyond. It tells me that I’m still telling stories (sharing dreams) but with movement and flare! And if I am blessed to live to 120, as my tradition tells us is a good age, 60 makes me still a youngin’! My dream grandmother’s message is to dance my way into the next 60. Good advice.
March 26th -Day #4, The Not-Quite Extinct Dodo
Crazy dreams last night that make me fairly certain that late meals and wine do influence our dreams! Then, between dreams, I heard a disembodied voice say one word, “BOB”, that woke me up immediately! (What about Bob? Who, in fact, is Bob?) When I fell back to sleep, I dreamt about my mother’s caretaker who charged us for services we never asked her to do. So there I sat, having an argument with the woman on the left side of me, and my mother arguing on the phone in my right ear. In the middle of that (and being the middleman in my family was typical), I look out the window and see a huge bird swoop down, landing briefly on a nest, before taking off again. It was so big, at first I thought it was an eagle. But as it paused in its nest, I saw that it was spotted- almost polka-dotted- and in the awkward shape of an extinct dodo bird (which were flightless birds, by the way!) End of Dream (EOD)
Many women my age are dealing with children and grandchildren, while taking care of elderly parents. We are not only the “sandwich” generation, we are the baloney in the sandwich! I don’t think this was as prevalent in previous generations as people weren’t typically living into their 80’s and 90’s. Even so, what every generation seems to say is, “I will do it differently than my parents did.”
So as I march towards 60- which I’m redefining as “middle age”, not old age-am I really any different than my parents? As always, my dream gives me some insight. In the middle of that intense conversation with the caretaker, I looked out the window and saw that strange bird and admired it while treasuring the unique moment of encountering wildlife in the city. It felt like a gift. In my dream, I was the only one who saw it. I didn’t say anything to the others because it happened so fast, but also because I knew it wouldn’t matter to anyone else. But I noticed it. This may seem like a small point, but it’s big! The difference for all of us, whether we are 60-something or any other age and stage, is what we choose to put our attention to; the arguments or the beauty of the strange and wonderful birds in life. Where attention goes, energy flows. I’m putting my attention to spirit, soaring ideas, self-knowledge and convictions that the old way of being in the world shouldn’t “fly”. But hey, it’s my dream! What’s your dream that wouldn’t/shouldn’t “fly” in the eyes of another generation?
March 27th – Day #5, Make-Up & Kimonos
I dreamt I was selling Shiseido in a store. I was on the phone, getting prices for products that a customer wanted and was having trouble understanding the woman on the other end because of her very thick Japanese accent. The customer wanted two of the many products in question, even though one of them-a cream- cost $308, because her grandmother had used it. I wondered if it was rose scented. I was working the register alone and there were more people waiting. I began to feel rushed and uncertain what to do as I was new to this job and didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing. Other workers began to arrive and help. I asked, “Can I get my kimono?”
I began to explore my associations and knowing nothing about Shiseido, other than the fact that it was a Japanese cosmetic company, I googled it. I was surprised to learn that it’s one of the oldest cosmetic companies in the world, founded in 1872! The name can be translated as “praise the virtues of the earth which nurtures new life and brings forth significant values.” Boy, it takes a lot of English words to explain one Japanese word! I have no idea if that means anything to me but it doesn’t resonate in my body or give me that “light bulb aha moment”, which is one of the things I listen for in understanding my dreams. What did resonate for me was the reference to the customer’s grandmother and the scent of rose. My other grandmother (not the one I wrote about on day #3) was named Rose.
While I was googling, I looked up “kimono”. It literally means “thing to wear”. Young women, upon turning 20 years of age, were given beautiful kimonos to signify that they were ready for marriage. And while kimonos were the traditional clothes for men and women for hundreds of years, they are now worn for ceremonial events or special occasions.
So where do my dream associations lead? There is plenty to explore beyond what I’ve mentioned, particularly the trouble I had understanding the woman and the cost of $308 for the cream. But the emotions in the dream were generated by the feeling of being new on the job, not knowing what I was doing and needing help. (And help did arrive, which is good to remember in waking life!) There isn’t anything obvious in my waking life that is giving me these feelings, except perhaps the fact that I’m entering a new phase of life. The reference to the grandmother and the scent of rose is a nod to Grandmother Wisdom and the dream clue that takes me in. Yes, I’m entering the Crone Age! The kimono- a ceremonial and traditional garb- marks my transition into a new stage of life. I can buy the expensive, metaphorical cream for its value in my own life. I’m ready and other women will be there to support me. Can I have my kimono now?
March 28th -Day #6, Finding My Place
This morning’s “ordinary” dream had me switching tables in a restaurant like Goldilocks after breaking and entering into the home of the three bears. This one was too casual; that one too formal. Without too much unpacking of my dream, I’d say I’m trying to find my place.
Turning 60 is not that different from my dream scenario and of course my dream knows what’s on my mind, even when I don’t. I’m writing these posts for my inner process (and sharing so I’ll have company along the way) yet a part of me knows exactly which table suits me. I believe that each of us has a purpose in the world; one is personal and is about our own evolution as a soul, but I also think that we have something we are supposed to do in the world. Which table?
In my personal life I’m working toward being the family matriarch! With four grown children, it’s only a matter of time till more grandchildren appear on the scene. I don’t actually consider this my soul evolving purpose, though it certainly is a fertile ground for growth and love. And that could be what I’m here to do. I’m sure I have Sacred Contracts with the souls that I’m spending this lifetime, and perhaps that is “purpose” enough. But I also know that I’m working on self-esteem and acting “as if” until I internalize my value and self-worth. I’m here to master balance and I’ve come a long way but have more to go! In the world, I’m a teacher and dreams have become my subject or, as they say in Canada, my “teachable”. As an aside, should teachers really be using made-up words? (Do not write to tell me it’s a real word in the dictionary. I looked it up but it sounds made-up even so!)
So for someone who thinks she knows her direction and purpose, it’s interesting that I keep having dreams telling me I’m not so clear on this. Society says we should be active, doing things and accomplishing things out in the world. Even Dr. Seuss in on our case: “You’re off to great places…So…get on your way!” But what if I’d rather get off this merry-go-round of accomplishments and “doing”? I could spend my days on FB and be someone’s granny! I could “do lunch” with the girls who are no longer girls and probably wouldn’t be available because they’re still working! I could fill three hours a day, minimum, taking care of my body, mind and spirit in the form of writing, meditating, yoga and belly-dancing! Before I know it, it will be Friday and the kids will be over for family dinner and so it goes.
Maybe I’ll find the “just right” table by the time I hit 60. Or maybe I’ll learn to dine somewhere altogether different. Life is like that. But wherever I choose to sit in life, my dreams will be my dinner companion!
March 29th – Day #7, To Fear Less
One of the pleasures of living in the downtown core, is the abundance of noise. So when we try to catch our dreams in the morning, by not moving, no alarm, and other dream-catching practices, there are still uncontrollable things out there like sirens, traffic, neighbours….Not unlike life.
If a sampling of two dreams is enough to say a theme is emerging, this morning’s dream finds me heading to a meeting in a place I’ve never been to before, and I’ve left the directions behind. It’s too far to go back and I pull over onto a grassy area on my right to search for them in my purse in case I left them there. There are two roads I could take and the other one to the left becomes a very narrow bridge over a steep drop and would take me down into a ravine. I can see there is a small synagogue down there but I can’t find the directions in my purse, nor do I remember where the meeting is held. While I’m looking through all the papers in my purse, I see my husband across the street and call to him, bringing him up-to-speed on my situation. It seemed like I might as well wander down there and maybe a building will jog my memory….Cue the ridiculous emergency vehicle and its obnoxiously loud get-out-of-the-intersection horns.
[One of the dream fragments that got away preceded all of the above action and included setting up a meditation area in my old living room that I would call “Sanctuary”.]
In case I didn’t get the message of trying to find my place in yesterday’s dream, today is telling me that I don’t have the directions I want, the bridge is narrow, the way is possibly treacherous, but I’m willing to explore. There is definitely more in the dream that I will continue to play with, especially the small synagogue, my husband’s appearance, the terrain and so on. But for now, what captures my attention is the developing theme, and the narrow bridge. Coincidentally (NOT), there is a song we sing around the table on Shabbat based on the teachings of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, “Gesher Tzar Me’od” which means “a narrow bridge”. They lyrics are simple but it’s sung with hand motions and banging on the table that makes it fun for kids (and grownups): “The world is a very narrow bridge and the most important part is not to be afraid.” So there is the wisdom that I will take from the dream for now, even in the face of my unknown sense of direction: to fear less.
March 30th – Day #8, The Song is Love
Well my psyche is hard at work now that it knows I’m listening. A Facebook friend posted a link to the video of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield being interviewed by 800+ kids at his namesake school in Milton, Ontario. There is also a post of Commander Chris singing “Is Somebody Singing” with the Barenaked Ladies and a children’s choir and the lyrics struck me as mirroring my dreaming attention.
“So sing your song I’m listening out where stars are glistening
I can hear your voices bouncing off the moon…”
It’s the same way with our dreams. In a reflective cycle, like light bouncing of the silvery moon, where our dreams are at home, we listen to our psyche and our psyche listens to us.
This morning’s dream was a good example of this. As I wandered from one dream scene to the next, it took me through the past, showed me what still hurts and took me through the present and gave me a hint of the future. In this last part of the dream, I am with my husband at a retreat. “It is run by Georgina Cannon. She is running the event, hasn’t slept for days and is exhausted.” (I checked with Georgina- www.georginacannon.com – to find out what might be about her and if I could mention her name.) We call this a “reality check” and it’s always a good thing to do as a lot of our dreams can be offering some information that is more than symbolic. And while there were some aspects that resonated with her, mostly it’s about me.
What is the Georgina in me? Georgina and I met 15 years ago when we both had office space in the same wellness center. My associations to her are that she is someone who knows how to negotiate the unconscious, an excellent networker and self-promoter and someone who has given up the daily grind of running a center and school, but has carved the freedom of time to do what she loves. I’m not quite there yet, but apparently my psyche is using Georgina to help me recognize my future self, while warning me not to exhaust myself. A part of me is very tired, so taking the time to go on retreat, as I did in the dream, whether short pauses daily or bigger chucks of time off, is giving me information on how to manage my inner and emotional resources.
Me and my psyche are singing our song together and by tracking my dreams, I know that our messages to each other are being heard….And who expresses this better than the lyrics from this Peter, Paul & Mary offering?
March 31st – Day # 9, Fragments
This morning’s dreams were harder to catch in a coherent form and the “connector pieces” were missing. I suspect this is like life. We go from event to event and we don’t understand the transitions that get us from point A to point B. We don’t see the bigger picture. I’m a big-picture kind of person, but maybe this isn’t a bad thing?
Do you remember the movie , “50 First Dates” with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore? It came out in 2004 and wasn’t well reviewed but was very cute nevertheless. Barrymore’s character Lucy suffered from an unusual form of short-term amnesia after a car accident and she woke up every morning having forgotten what happened the day before. Do we live our lives this way? In the movie, Sandler’s character Henry makes a video that Lucy watches every morning to remind her of her life. In real life, our dreams do this for us. If we “watch” our dreams like Lucy’s video, we, too, can remember who we are.
When I only catch a fragment of a dream, when I only have part of the picture, I feel frustrated and disappointed, as if I lost a great opportunity. I think it was Ann Faraday (anyone reading this, feel free to correct me on this) who said that the remembered dream is but a postcard from the entire journey that our dream represents. The parts that we recall may be missing details from the whole dream and may, in fact, be rearranged or parts filled in by our brain as we wake and try to make sense of all the dream bits that make no sense at all.
But what if fragments, rather than leaving me unsatisfied and frustrated by what got away, served as an invitation to be mindful in the moment with my dream? What if I could just be with the fragmented images and explore them? I don’t have to dismiss them as incomplete and unworkable. They are, perhaps, the way in; the way into understanding and experiencing whatever shows up in that moment. Fragments are an invitation to dance with our own Mystery, and delve more deeply into the fragmented pictures that our dreams show us of ourselves. To explore the fragments, we side-step the logical and rational self-the domain of the Ego- and swim in the waters of Soul.
Daughters of Earth A gallery of works in clay and paper by lettering artist Liz Mathews
April 1st -Day #10, Clearing Out the Old
I remember bumping into an older woman I know who is 80-something and she told me of a recent illness. She didn’t dwell on it as most would and she shifted the conversational gears to say “Growing old is….. (My mind rushed ahead to fill in the blanks as my mother would, “Growing old isn’t for sissies” or “After 60 it’s patch, patch, patch.”) This woman continued, “Growing old is… a privilege!” Whoa, didn’t see that coming! This gracious elder, in that one moment, helped me release other people’s ideas of what aging looks like. I don’t have to buy into my mother’s way of seeing her life. Each of these women, this acquaintance and my mother, have proven to me that we do create our own reality; one is surviving, one is thriving. What happened to us in the past is our “sacred wound” that gives us the opening for soul to emerge. I release and bless the experiences of my past as opportunities to grow my soul. How I choose to think about my past and what meaning I give it, is what moves me forward or backward; growing or stuck.
When I look at pictures of my grandmothers, they looked “old” in their 50’s and I know this is about more than using moisturizer! It’s about attitudes and expectations for our lives as well as cultural notions of how women of any age should look. How do I want to think about my life from 60 onward? I want to continue to be vital, engaged, contributing, but also more relaxed, less driven, less conforming…more myself! I’d like to look good, sure, but I’d also like to stop comparing myself to my younger self. I’d like to please others less, and please myself more. I’d like to be my own barometer rather than checking what others think to know if I’m okay. I want to laugh more and worry less. I want to be able to choose happiness even when life isn’t perfect.
What about you? What attitudes hold you prisoner in a world of your own creation? What might you do to make a commitment to yourself? What could you do less- or more- to be more authentically YOU?
My dreams continued to offer me fragments, but it’s all about what meaning I will assign to them. It showed me a blast from the past and “clearing out the old” was the theme that ran through it. This is good.
April 2nd – Day #11, Inspirational Women
Yesterday a colleague and FB friend asked the question, “Who is an important teacher in your life?” I went to sleep with that question still on my mind and a few possible choices in my thoughts. I dreamt of Oprah (not one of my choices) along with Ilana Rubenfeld, the founder of the Rubenfeld Synergy Method® and the woman under whom I trained.
This isn’t an easy question to answer, as there are all kinds of teachers in life. A teacher can teach through love, or by example and inspiration, or by button-pushing. And in addition to teachers from my past, who do I want to learn from as I move into the next and last stage of my life?
There are no shortage of inspirational men and women in the 60+ category.
If I have not had a personal interaction with them, however, I consider them interesting or inspirational figures but not teachers. Teachers can also be our actual teachers (My favourite was Mrs. Campbell back at Millikan High in Long Beach, Ca. who taught me the value of my voice before I knew I had a voice. She held a space for my potential.) My parents, my family, people I’ve hated and feuded with, are all teachers. But so is anyone I encounter and interact with, if I do so with mindfulness.
If that is so, then we have to also accept the fact that we too, are teachers for all the people in our lives. How do we want to teach? Are we teaching through love or by button-pushing? And ultimately, if our souls set the curriculum in this course on Earth School, then are we not our own teachers, guiding our encounters and choices? If that’s the case, and I believe it is, shouldn’t we treat ourselves with greater respect?
In my dream, Ilana gave everyone in the room crystals; mine was a rose quartz. I associate this stone with the heart and Ilana and my training definitely was heart-opening. And maybe that’s where this reverie is leading me; my greatest teachers have been heart-openers and have done so with love and compassion. As I head into the next chapter of my life, may I be a heart-opener to others.
April 3rd – Day # 12, Looking “Back”
When I dreamt up this little plan of posting for 60 days, today was the type of day I feared: a busy day with nothing to say! I did catch a bit of a dream. In it, I am somewhat lost and trying to find what I need! Really? Psyche, is this the best that I can come up with? I know this already! How about a BIG dream- a dream in exotic places full of numinous light and mystical beings?
What’s with recurring themes you may ask? I follow the sage dream view of Jeremy Taylor who says that dreams don’t come to tell us what we already know. I have found this to be true and that dreams will perhaps use what we know or a setting that we are familiar with as a jumping off point but then will move us into new territory….unless we haven’t made any changes in waking life according to the dream messages delivered. In other words, we need to shift something in our waking world or the dreams/theme will return!
Kvetch as I may, the truth is, I know that a part of me feels lost and yet I do know how to find the message from my dream. In my dream, I was traveling with some friends, and they asked me to pick some over-the-counter medicine for them, that wasn’t over-the-counter in the place we were visiting. So right away that has me wondering how I became everyone’s “gopher” ? (You know: “go for” this, “go for” that!) One of the items was “Robaxacet” (over-the-counter back pain medication in Canada). It’s not a product that I use in waking life so I’m imagining the “back” problem is a symbol. The last few days I’ve gotten worked up over something that happened that changed our lives and found how easy it is- still- for me to get worked up and angry over it. So while the overarching theme of this dream feels familiar, as I searched for the drug store in an unfamiliar place and a doctor to write a prescription, the need for “back” medication was new information. I so love my dreams. They are so clear once I pause to spend time with them.
Now, what can I do to move this dream information into my waking life? It tells me I need to work on this “back” i.e. old issue as well as find ways to not do everything for everyone. I don’t actually do this much any more, though I used to so that’s interesting in itself. In waking life, we’re moving in two weeks so my “me” time will be limited. But plans are in the works and me time will come later in the spring. And… I need to move this old energy and feelings out of my body-mind-emotions-spirit!
How do you move old energy and stuck issues out? I have some tried and true methods but would like to hear from you. With the coming move, my #1 plan is to clutter-clear everything that doesn’t work for me any more. I did that 9+ months ago when we initially down-sized, but I will do some more once we are in our new space. It’s been 9 months and I’m now in “labour” getting ready to birth the rest of my life… with no “back” problems to hold me “back”!
April 4th – Day #13, Not Perfect
Today is my thirteenth day of commitment to my self and my dreams. I think I jinxed myself last night when I told a bunch of girlfriends that I’ve managed to catch something every morning! Today’s catch of the day was down-right Biblical: speckled sheep breeding. That’s all I’ve got. What was the feeling? That it must really be boring for the shepherd!
Let me be your cautionary tale. This happened because I started thinking about my day ahead. This is something I warn dreamers about all the time. Don’t do that, I tell them. Stay where you are when you wake up and ask yourself “where was I just now?”. Geez. Yes I’m human but can’t I be human and still remember my dream?
Of course I firmly believe that what is important in life, is not our traumas but how we choose to respond to those traumas. So the fact that I’m beating myself up over this, responding with a certain lack of self-compassion or forgiveness is where the work is; my growing edge.
I am hard on myself and I rarely apply the same standard to others. I don’t even think it’s about being perfect for perfection’s sake, but there is a very young, core part of the tender child within me that thinks I have to always get it right to be enough; to survive. That very old (it’s not that I haven’t worked on myself over the last 20+ years) belief resurfaced and I suppose it’s always on the edge of my awareness. Early on in my training as a Rubenfeld Synergist, one of my teachers, dear Rob Bauer, told me “You are enough”. I was so used to never being enough, I wasn’t even sure what that meant. I have come to understand that we are all enough-perfection or any role we play is not required to survive or be OK once we are out of childhood—and it is a mantra I constantly repeat to remind myself. I thank you every day for that guidance Rob; for that affirmation.
So I’m trying to shift back into the compassion I show others and allow a bit of it for myself. Maybe you, too, have kicked yourself a little too often for the smallest of disappointments? Let my cautionary tale remind you to put yourself first when you wake up and think of your dream or your life, rather than focus on all the other people and things in your day ahead. Self-compassion first; then love the world. And when you forget—and you will—love yourself anyway.
April 5th – Day #14, No Dream! Yikes!
I’m not sure that two days in a row of no dream recall counts as a “drought” but I feel like I’m going through a dream-catching drought. Not for lack of trying, but I don’t like this new apparent direction and it’s likely to get worse as we are about to pack up and move! This morning’s challenge came in the form of the fire alarm going off at an ungodly hour of the morning. We live in a high-rise condo (temporarily, while the condo we purchased is finished) so this morning’s alarm was loud enough to wake 30 floors of dreamers. The good news is it was a false alarm. The bad news is my dreams went up in smoke!
But rather than complain, I thought I might experiment with something I learned from Denise Linn. She said that even when we don’t consciously remember a dream, there remains a part of us that does remember! So, here’s my question to my Self: If I did remember my dream’s message, what would it be?
For this experiment, I’m using my own oracle deck that I created, The Abaton Keys®. (Artist: Julia Still) The card I picked: Sanctuary.
Some background, according to me: A sanctuary is a “Temenos”, which was the space that surrounding or was adjacent to a temple. It is a sacred enclosure and comes from the Greek root “to cut off” meaning to separate and dedicate an area of land to the holy temple. It is Sacred Space and could take the form of an actual sanctuary or a sacred grove of trees. C.J. Jung, the great psychiatrist and one-time student of Freud referred to Temenos as a space where one could safely do one’s healing work.
The Sanctuary card calls me into Sacred Space. Have I made space for my spirit? Have I dwelled in the tents of the holy? When the Sanctuary card appears, it’s time to step inside the sacred. This card asks me to separate or dedicate some sacred space for myself and enter in.
How do I step into a hurricane to find the calm center? And while I know I can create and dedicate a space for myself in the new condo, life will be crazier than ever over the next eleven days leading up to our move. Temenos is precisely the hardest thing I might attempt at this time….. and exactly what I need! I might have to go back to meditation so I can create space in my harried mind. Inner temenos.
The next time you don’t remember a dream, pick a card!
April 6th – Day #15, Dreaming Dreamwork
I finally had a good night’s sleep and caught a dream. In my dream, I was doing dreamwork!
“I’m doing a dream workshop, which I think is held in a mall. There’s an elderly couple and both brought a dream that involved—or was represented by—sandwiches. I work on the woman’s dream, because his sandwich is really falling apart and there is nothing but crumbs. All the symbolism in the dream could be described as part of a sandwich. Her sandwich had several slices to it, many slices of cheese, and more than 2 slices of bread…. I asked, “Where are you in the sandwich?” and then said it represented friendship. She was falling over a bit and I asked one of my daughters to help hold her up. We arrange the sandwich with kitchen tongs and I tell her, “See! It’s Lourdes.” As if that was both a religious shrine and a famous cooking school. Somehow that was supposed to verify or confirm my interpretation. ”
So much to play with here. It does highlight the role of dreams in rehearsing our future as I am leading a dream workshop this weekend! But what else is here?
Here are some of my associations:
Mall- a place of mass consciousness… Potential (in the way we start out window-shopping and potentially make a purchase. The thrill of the hunt, so to speak.) I usually come out of malls with headaches.
Sandwiches- I love them. Too many carbs sadly. A “container” for something yummy.
Lourdes- Known for the healing waters and the miracles that are claimed to happen there. I have no personal association with it.
Cooking school, tongs…..
I could go on and on! For me, if dreams help us rehearse, this alone is useful information because I’m rehearsing sharing my work with others as I “sandwich” Dreams with Soul Coaching and Rubenfeld Synergy. My conscious brain has been flirting with retiring so this dream gives me some new information. 60 is starting to look busier than ever!
But I’d like to hear from you. What do you think this is about…if it were your dream?
April 7th – Day #16, Dream Reduction
Since yesterday’s dream drew on “Lourdes, the cooking school” I thought I would continue with another cooking analogy. Just like you, I often find that my dreams have too many ingredients and I just don’t know were to start. I will usually go for the part of the dream that has the most energy for me. But today I found it difficult to separate what was me and what was referring to the people in the dream, so I reduced the dream down to it’s action verbs: Tossing, worrying, fixing.
This makes it all quite clear! I’m doing what I usually do! The dream involved people in my family so it’s about both our relationship as well as representing their traits that I also carry within myself. In this case, I believe it’s mostly about me even though the situations in the dream were quite realistic and plausible. It tells me that my psyche is going through a time of sorting and tossing as I cross into this new “rest-of-my-life” phase. I do, however, fret too much and this dream is showing me how I do that. New information? Not really. So the dream reminds me that it’s time to shift that and make some changes in waking life.
To “reduce” in cooking means to reduce the amount of liquid through evaporation. As you boil it down, the liquid becomes thicker (depending what you’re boiling) and more concentrated in flavour. Reducing the dream action to it’s key action words brings the flavour up, showing us what is the essence-the essential part of the message.
I decided to pick a card from Denise Linn’s Soul Coaching® Oracle card deck before I wrote all this. I was looking for direction in what to write. I picked “Action”!
Soul Coaching® Oracle Cards by Denise Linn, available through Hay House and Amazon.com
This confirmed for me what I would write about (pretty cool, eh?) but also the importance of this simple cooking technique for dream exploration. It was time to talk about the action in the dream! The card’s meaning: “The time is now! Don’t hesitate—take action! Face your fear and do it anyway.” I think that sums up aging too. Face the fear of the unknown and just do it anyway! Considering the alternative, I think I’ll choose action… But I have to shift that worrying side of me into a more easeful, trusting practice….Worrying doesn’t fix anything, though mothers everywhere like to think otherwise. “All is well in my world.”
April 8th – Day #17, Dying Icons
Annette Funicello died today and I am more aware than usual of my youth slipping (or has it already slipped?) away. Margaret Thatcher also died today though I didn’t associate her with my youth. Annette isn’t the first youthful icon to go and truthfully, there are far too many to mention. These people exist in a dream-like realm since I never met them and most of them were associated with the music of the 60’s. I took the passing of Mary Travers of Peter, Paul & Mary fame pretty hard in 2009 and there’s something about the music these almost “mythical” people created that connects us with very real times and places in our own lives and the emotions that surrounded them.
I never really understood my father’s daily interest in reading the obituaries but I think I do now. And my mother who is not doing well physically, has begun reading about near-death experiences as well as books on the topic of life after death. I just started reading Eric Weiner’s 2011 book called Man Seeks God that tell of his adventures and “flirtations with the Divine.”
I think what we all have in common is we are trying to find our place in the bigger scheme of things. How does it all work? What will happen when I die? Will I ever know God? In my father’s case, if his name wasn’t in the obits, it was a good day! But with each friend that passed before he did, he felt his mortality become all too real. For the most part, we think we can ignore the Grim Reaper when we are young.
Not trying to be morose but I’m a keen observer of people and behaviour (and dreams) and I notice things. I cannot help but notice that as we age, as we are privileged to age, we start asking these questions. And we start noticing how many friends are starting to die. Behind it all is a wondering about ourselves and our lives. What will our obituary say? Would it list our accomplishments in the world or would it also mention our inner accomplishments, the people and things we loved too? All of this is good. Because we’re not dead yet. Use the opportunity of the passing of an icon to pause and see what you would like your own obituary to say. And if you don’t like the way it turns out, you can still change it. Change is a constant in life so why not continue to grow and change?
Annette, we’ll “see you real soon…. m-o-u-s-e.”
Annette Funicello REUTERS
April 9th – Day #18, The Road Not Taken
Wow! I’ve kept this up for 18 days. Doing anything for 18 days would typically impress me but I guess I’m a “half empty” kinda dreamer. I’ve got all sorts of negative self-talk going on in my head that I won’t repeat here. Yes, I can see the positive, but my brain chatter is totally critical. I must have learned this in childhood (no blame, just a fact) and negative self-talk feels like the old wallpaper on the walls of my brain. Time to strip off the old.
Do you ever look at the “old” and wonder if you should pick it up again? I’m not talking about regrets and do-overs. I’m referring to the “road not taken” and wondering if I should go back to it? That’s what I dreamt about last night. In my career as a Rubenfeld Synergist, I had taught as a graduate intern in one of the trainings and I loved watching people open up to their potential and holding the space for them as they grew their souls. It’s very similar to doing dreamwork in that way. But there’s a different group running it now and a new training structure and I doubt they would be interested in me. In my dream I was applying for a teaching job and the first “test” was to sauté meat! It wasn’t turning out the way meat usually looks but no one seemed to notice. Then I was asking someone who worked there what they were paid and generally trying to get more information from them.
What’s this about? Is it my inner teacher archetype wanting students? Is it about wanting to recapture that love of teaching in that specific venue and the good times that were part of that? I haven’t figured it out yet. Dreams have a way of taking the past, present and future and whipping them up into something new and in so doing we get to consider the possibilities. Hmmm….
April 10th -Day #19, Blessings
I had an interesting dream about babies popping out of people’s navels—whether men and women—and being declared “a blessing”.
I can figure out the symbolism without too much work… but the blessing is in the timing. How weird that I was just talking about obituaries two days ago but I got a call later this morning that a friend in California died today and the blessing of knowing her, connects with the blessings in my dream.
One life ends and another begins in never-ending, eternal change and all we can do is count the blessings that cross our paths in the little time we have. I was blessed to call her my friend for 34 years.
I wish my friend Sharon God-speed, and her husband, children and grandchildren much comfort in the blessing of her life.
Go and hug someone you love or make a phone call to a distant loved one.
You are all a blessing in my life.
April 11th -Day #20, A Child Shows the Way
Many people seem to be curious about their dreams, yet it is a small percentage of the general population. I know it’s a cultural phenomenon, after generations of “it’s only a dream” attitudes. Sometimes that makes me sad and discouraged. But last night someone posted on my wall the following:
“Had to share the importance of talking to kids about their dreams. Just had a convo with my niece because she’s scared to sleep because of bad dreams. I showed her how to change the bad things in dreams and make them something beautiful instead of scary. She says she shares her bad dreams with her friend at school, but her good dreams she locks away into her heart. This is so awesome! She thinks about it in her head and sucks it in and says it out loud so it travels to her mouth, then she moves it into her heart and locks it away. She said she can even keep my good dreams for me in her heart!! Patti Allen, how cool is that?”
This child (and I don’t know her age) keeps the good dreams in her heart! Brilliant! Kids intuitively understand the importance of dreams and take them seriously.
For all that Freud, and those who followed him, did to make us aware of the importance of our dreams, dreams became associated with psychotherapy, and therefore, neurosis. But dreams are our birthright! It is as normal as breathing in and out. If we are mammals, we dream. The children understand this.
If you have children, encourage dream sharing around the breakfast table. Don’t dismiss their nighttime experiences, rather, ask them to tell you about their dreams and connect with what they felt. Don’t say “monsters aren’t real”. Tell them, “That must have been scary!” Ask, “What happened next?” Engage with your children and their inner life. It will be time well invested.
This morning’s dream fragment was about two people from another country talking to each other. I wondered why they were speaking in English rather than in their shared native tongue. I might ask us the same question… Dreams are our native tongue! Why aren’t we talking about them?
April 12th – Day #21, You’re Wiser Than You Know!
In my 2:00 am dream this morning I was exploring and analyzing my dreams! I said, “These two [dreams] are flat in their imagery but this last one is three-dimensional”. It featured a colourful watermelon-like fruit that I held up to illustrate my point saying, “It’s three dimensional and colourful. See? This shows a change has taken place.”
And a change had taken place in me. After two years (Hmm, three “2’s”: the 2:00 am dream, the 2 two-dimensional dreams and two years!) of change – sometimes painful-and questioning my direction, I decided to put my practice on the back burner while I focus on my creativity. I want to finish my Oracle Deck, my book on kid’s dreams, my meditations for better sleep and dreaming, my teleseminars and….?) I decided that I’ll still see my regular clients but I won’t beat the bushes for new ones. This isn’t a dramatic change, just some mental clarity that I hadn’t felt before. And I also decided to get healthy! I can thank last night’s dream group for that. As I listened to so many of their dreams that grappled with their future, I could feel the energy of their discussion resonating inside of me. I drove home with new resolve. My dream and my consciousness sent me a clear picture—a change has taken place.
The answers are inside of me…inside us all. Paying attention to our dreams is such a fun and easy way to access the wisdom we seek outside ourselves in books and courses. Training courses and other workshops can certainly give us some tools to do this but if I could tell my younger self one thing, it would be this: You have it all inside you!
When Dorothy finally found her way home from Oz it was because she had the power all along.
“Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda, the Good Witch: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn’t you tell her before?
Glinda, the Good Witch: Because she wouldn’t have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.”
We have the power too, and always have. And it is accessible every night in our dreams. But we have pay attention and work/play at it until we get the message!
April 13th -Day #22, Recurring Themes: Same Old, Same Old?
Can dreams that feature the ordinary settings and characters of waking life be called “recurring dreams”? I often have dreams that take place in just such scenery with the usual suspects in my life. Recurring dreams come when we are in the same emotional situation as all the previous dreams- which can be identical or a similarly themed variation. When we pay attention and get the message, then they often stop.
Can the same be true of these apparently ordinary dreams? In my dream, I dreamt of four little babies that needed a home. Although I didn’t want to break up the siblings, I knew I couldn’t handle four and said I would take one. The dream went on from there to wandering through typical places from my waking life…. all settings and people who are in my daily life. Ordinary.
Births and babies….Been there, done that. The people and the setting… Typical. Now if I were some of the dreamers in one of my dream groups (you know who you are), I would just brush off this all too familiar dream scene as “…It’s just a snippet. Nothing special.” I encourage them to explore it anyway, and I can do no less with my own dreams.
Yes, ordinary dreams can be considered “recurring”. Births and babies: I’ve dreamt about these many, many times over the years. In this case, I am about to move and because of my husband’s changing work situation, that has an impact on me as well. I also have come to some conclusions about the direction of my work and it’s time to focus on creative projects that feed me. Babies speak of new beginnings and this reflects my emotional state: ready for something new, and about to start a new phase of life in a new residence, but possibly overwhelmed at four new things (which was the number of projects I’ve got planned.) The second part of the dream reflected the characters of my husband’s work world. Not unusual at all but that points to the impact of his world on my psyche. In the dream, I wasn’t interested in this world at all !So this gives me information that I already knew, so I must continue to unpack the dream and see what else is there.
The symbols and the people can be said to be recurring, as are the feelings that they carried in their imagery. I think they point to recurring emotions that come up for me in new situations but also in the same old situations, reminding me how I feel about them too. Not quite as fun as those old high school dreams where I can’t remember the combination to my locker, but just as instructive.
See what recurring scenes, themes and characters appear for you and start to unpack them. The message will be one your psyche/soul wants you to hear.
April 14th -Day #23, Just Wondering
I dreamt that my iPad made a popping sound and then “blew”, shorting out in some way. It stopped working.
I’m packing up our temporary home of nine months and getting ready to move into our brand-spanking-new condo on Tuesday. May the moving gods be with us! This may certainly disrupt my writing commitment, at least in terms of the posting, though I will continue to write. I wonder if I will be able to catch a dream with the moving van showing up bright and early on Tuesday?
I wonder if the iPad is for iPat, or Patti? I am a communicator after all and I communicate on my ipad. The move is about to shift my availability to communicate with you, at least for a time. But the “i” in the device is telling me that I need to put in some time for myself so I don’t short circuit myself. I wonder if there is an even more dire possibility in that symbol? “It stopped working”…I wonder if that has to do with me or my work or my body? I hope not!
I think wondering is good for us. In the best Socratic tradition, there is value in asking questions, even when there is no answer in sight. But like all things, wondering has to be in balance with other thoughts and activities or we can drive our selves nuts!
I wonder if anyone is reading these posts…. I wonder if…
April 18th – Day #26,Unpacking My Psyche
I’m back. Did you miss me? Since I’m writing this for myself (mostly) I might as well ask, “Did I miss myself”? Taking a few days off while moving, I DID miss what feels like myself! I think I was a dust monster from the depths. I’m still surrounded by boxes but I’m starting to see a bit of the floor.
And I did catch some dreams during this chaos! Is there anything potentially more chaotic than a move? So while I didn’t write as I hoped, I am thrilled that I caught some dreams. And I think that the chaos of a move, mirrors the reorganization of our psyche. If this is so, then we aught to do this every few years…Okay, not really! Not necessarily moving physically, but clearing out the old, decluttering, and clearing out what no longer serves us. Last June, I cleared out at least 80 % of our stuff… or so I thought. Now that I’m trying to find a space for it all, I can see that my clothes and the kitchen need to have another go ’round. If this is so—and I thought I did a really good job of tossing—then what must need clearing in my psyche? Too much to think about as I unpack, but I know and trust that this is going on in my inner world, whether my brain can parse it out or not.
Like Vasilisa in the old story (if you’re not familiar with it, read a wonderful version of it in Women Who Run With The Wolves, Dr. C.P.Estes), I can just keep on sorting as the work is done in my psyche. My dreams have thrown me characters from my past, and weird tales with those in my present, so I suspect much reorganization is taking place. Let my psyche’s unpacking, clutter-clearing and reorganization begin! Here’s to the new me!
April 19th -Day # 27, My Life as a Dr. Seuss Book
I dreamt that I was waiting for someone to come…. Waiting to make arrangements for someone else? Vague, as dream recall can be.
My little dream fragment- and my life- seem to take me back to Dr. Seuss. In this case, it’s the Waiting Place.
“The Waiting Place…
…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow or waiting around for a
Yes or a No or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for
Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.”
Not that this is a bad thing! Seuss said his work was based on “logical insanity” and to be Seussical is to be colourful, defy gravity and think with imagination and creativity. I’m not sure what is next, but a part of me seems to be waiting, or worse, waiting on someone else! I know how that happened. As a young child I always checked if I was ok, by external references. I could tell by the flick of a raised eyebrow, or the twitch of a muscle in my parents’ faces. But now, enough is enough. I’m tired of waiting. I think I’ll put on a few of the 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins and find the Boom Bands in my new neighbourhood.
April 20th -Day #28, You Are More Beautiful Than You Think
Why do I- do we– keep forgetting this? Check this out…..http://realbeautysketches.dove.ca/
Word for the day:
noun ( pl. anamneses |-sēz| )
recollection, in particular:
• the remembering of things from a supposed previous existence (often used with reference to Platonic philosophy).
• Medicine a patient’s account of a medical history.
• Christian Church the part of the Eucharist in which the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Christ are recalled.
ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from Greek anamnēsis ‘remembrance.’
To my way of thinking, it’s about remembering what you somehow already knew. Like the fact that we are beautiful, radiant beings of light. Don’t forget who you are. (I’m talking to us both here!)
April 21st -Day #29, Ode To Joy!
I dream that I’m in a long black evening gown. There are two snags in it that are starting to become holes and someone leads me to small mall to find someone who can repair it. We end up going to a woman who is a midwife. I think the man leading us there is her husband. She sings about being happy, about joy….I think we end up singing with her and hanging out. The gown doesn’t get fixed.
I like this one…Well, honestly, I like all my dreams. The midwife is a great archetypal figure who will help me negotiate what’s next, the birthing of my new life as I move into the Crone Age. Her feminine energy is paired with her husband’s masculine energy and I like both the balance implied and the fact that he’s leading me through the mall of mass consciousness, to find her. I love the challenge of the two snags in my gown, and the fact that it didn’t get fixed is okay too because we sang of joy and happiness together. I think when we shift to joy and happiness, the snags that we think are an issue (from the ego’s point of view) are not issues at all.
April 23rd – Day # 30 & 31, Music For The Soul
In any prolonged project there will be energies that shift from day to day. Yesterday, it was nearly impossible to get to write, though I caught a dream and today’s dream evaporated into thin air so I concluded that I had better write! It will be a waking dream.
The truth is, I feel like I’m in a slump with this process. I slump easily. I remember the first time I did the 28 days of Soul Coaching® I didn’t feel any shifts until the 3rd week. Maybe all this thinking my head does pulls me out of just being in the process. It’s the journey not the destination, or so we are told. So I continue on, waiting for an epiphany on becoming 60, which is the new 50. (Or is that denial?)
In this journey, then, I’ll just put one foot in front of the other as I hobble into my next decade. I say hobble because since moving into our condo, I feel like I’ve aged another 10+ years. I’m stiff and sore and I’m thinking this must be what 100 feels like! It could be environmental as we are living in a new building filled with dust. Or maybe I just over did it…..
So I’ll follow the advice of the last two dreams that I caught… and sing! Yesterday’s dream was the following:
I am at today’s meeting for a dream school. An Israeli woman comes in and sings a song she wrote. It was beautiful. Later I take her guitar and journal and look through it….I give it back, thinking she wouldn’t like me going through her journal. M. and I have the same drink…a Jewish apple juice. Who knew there was such a thing? There is food put out even though M. said there wouldn’t be any….C. is serving.
There is plenty to look at here and I don’t think my arthritic fingers are up to taking up the guitar, but you never know. In any case, this dream reminds me that beautiful music and inspiring words can be just what my psyche needs. Maybe you need some time to listen to beautiful music too. The world is so noisy, I think music is good medicine.
Neon Neon Music Sign Nevit Dilmen 2006
April 24th – Day # 32, Some Assembly Required
I’ve passed the half-way mark in this 60-day inner journey to 60. I know that on the surface 60 will feel like 59 did and probably the same as 61 will. I know all the clichés too: 60 is the new 50 (or 40)…You’re only as old as you feel…Age is a state of mind….
My journey has very little to do with the number or the age. It has everything to do with coming to grips with the internal change that’s blowing through my psyche. It’s about wrapping my brain around being an elder and wise woman, grandmother, and in the last phase of my life. It’s about taking on the role as guide, holding up the lantern so those who follow can avoid the potholes of life, while still feeling like I have to find the way for myself. I don’t feel particularly wise let alone old enough to be someone’s grandmother. And I’m certainly not evolved, perfect, patient or saintly.
All I’m doing here is putting one foot in front of the other with awareness and mindfulness and watching the process as I dream it.
In the small dream fragment that I caught this morning, I had to assemble something. I wondered why it was my job. I am, in fact, in the process of assembling something in waking life. But on another level, I also wonder if what I am assembling is the new me? And yes, it IS my job though I often wish the work of living consciously weren’t! I guess “some assembly required” isn’t only for Ikea purchases.
April 25th – Day #33, Patterns
I never liked math so I never really did well at it in school. I think I was absent when they did fractions and that threw me off for weeks! But what I do love is patterns, so seeing 22’s and 222’s all year has been pretty interesting. And today is the 33rd day of my 60-day challenge to myself. Like 22, which is also the day on which I was born, 33 is considered a “master number” by numerologists. Intuition and dreams figure highly in this equation, and with a focus on humanitarian issues, this high-energy number is known as the “master teacher”.
Dreamwork is not unlike looking for patterns. Last year I awoke with the word “tessellation” in my head. I looked it up and learned that a tessellation is a small tile or cube used in creating geometric patterns on a mosiac. Then I remembered watching an episode of Touch, called Tessellation. The genius child who didn’t talk, narrated, “…infinite tessellation. Each a singlecell in the honey comb. And though individual pieces of this puzzle may never physically touch, they all form part of that grand mosaic. Like bricks in a wall, the whole is made stronger by each brick. Remove one, and it all comes crumbling down. That we may not realize it, the integrity of this wall is tested daily. But the wall holds…because of everyone’s collective support.”
I like that—a pattern of collective support. As I end my 33rd day, spent playing with my almost two year old grandson, I know that even if no one reads these blogs—whether they “physically touch” anyone, by putting them on my dream-focused website and Facebook page, the wall holds and we support each other’s journey.
April 28th -Day~ #34-36, Angels Among Us
Sometimes I just let myself NOT do what I think I should be doing. Like writing my blog…. I call it silence. It’s the pause between the breaths, because truthfully, I don’t always have something to say! Sometimes I just need to “veg” and just be.
I could look at this as a lack of discipline; a failure to produce and follow through on my intention for myself vis a vis my up-coming 60th birthday and a deep sense of self-sabotage. But what’s the point in doing that? I’ve been hard on myself all my life and it doesn’t produce happy, balanced or healing results. So I’m forgiving myself for not living up to my expectations that I would catch a dream every night and blog about it every day. Sometimes I didn’t catch a dream but other times I did but just didn’t blog about it.
I also have been questioning my direction in my work. I do this a lot but this time it has been accompanied by doubt combined with “what’s the point?” When out of nowhere, my Facebook friend “DBV”, who I’ve never met, wrote the following on a thread on Denise Linn’s Page, which isn’t where I would expect to be mentioned. She wrote, “Although my dreams scare me for some reason I admire that you can delve into it and help others…keep it up always and follow your heart Patti Allen.”
I shared with her what I shared with you above and she responded with, “Patti Allen please don’t give up because I have been following you for some time in your love for dreams right down to your radio/internet show. I am feeling that shortly the rest of society, including me, will be there and need the understanding that you can help with. We follow your journey and before we get to understanding dreams there are many steps to take first which is where most of us currently are….I say 2014 will be a year of shift for you in your career.”
DBV is my Synchronicity Angel! Out of nowhere, saying exactly what I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it. Be blessed my angel. And another FB friend (who I have met), filled in the background of astrological influences in my chart that could also be creating my state of mind. VR is another angel! With tons of Grand Crosses/squares, it’s a wonder I can get out of bed at all! She wrote, “All the planets/points in your Grand Cross are ‘fixed’ quality – hard to move, and you basically have a huge tug of war ensuing in four different parts of your chart (self, home, relationship and career).” Holy Crow, best to leave the contemplation of my life for another day!
Here’s my point, even when I feel like I’m letting myself down and missing the mark with my goals, the angels among you- Earth Angels- help me see the bigger picture, whether to tell me that my work matters to you, or just to give me the bigger picture and a broader perspective. You all have access to these wonderful angels among us too. And if you don’t, I’m telling you now: You MATTER , so keep on keeping on! XOX
April 29th -Day #37 & #38, From a Wise and Wild Woman
I have become a “woman of size”. The “over-culture” tells me I am awful but perhaps there is another way? Here is a long post (I hope you will stick it through to the end), courtesy of Dr. Clarissa.P. Estés who writes, “Dear Brave Souls: On Weight. Many A Tree is Meant to be Strong and Bold, not Cut Down at the Whim of Others.
Worth her/his weight in gold.
The weight of his/ her words were persuasive.
Her/His substantial body weight was, ah, well, er, uh, um. hum, erk…
How can a body be so precious if it were made of gold, but not if that body be made of flesh?
Perhaps the concept of body as cold gold, is not all it is said to be. Remember the King of Lydia who with his foolish granted wish that all he touched be turned immediately into gold? He reached to pat his child, and she immediately turned into gold… and King Midas, her father wept and wept for all the animation was taken out of her, and she was cold and unmoving, and unmoved.
More so, Midas, by wanting all to be gold, betrayed his heritage, for in some accounts he was said to be of the bloodline of a humble father who knew how to expertly farm the earth, and a mother who was from the prophetic race.
Too, Midas had not counted on the facts that every food he tried to consume, and every drink he tried to drink turned into golden lumps and golden ice…
Thus, he turned to hating ‘the golden touch’ for it petrified all meaning, made the warm cold, made the animated into woodenness.
And, sadly, Midas not being able to rid himself of this accursed idea that all must turn into gold for he once so valued gold…. now his very love and food despoiled, Midas slowly starved to death thereby…. not only from lack of food, but also from lack of warmth and love.
I tell you this teaching story in my own lyric way, as a person who has inherited a saying from my mother’s and grandmother’s time, that is, ‘the battle of the bulge,’ as they used to say. Lifelong I know that plain of engagement, as I know many of you do too.
Up the hill toward victory, then down the hill to retreat, back up the hill to take the citadel, then sliding back down into retreat again. Thus, I have been ‘thin’ once I think for five minutes, lol. And most of my life I have been round, curved… sometimes more of bodily flesh, sometimes less of bodily flesh, but ever I have had an extravagant body that does not like to be flat nor small no matter what hill, plain, battle or generalissimo strategy.
However, though not ‘thin,’ I am healthier than I’ve ever been in any younger years, from cardio and lifting weights. I also have much peace with this one precious wild body of mine… letting the over-culture bleat its messages about how if I were a size 8 [I actually am a size 8, it’s just however on only one side. The other side is also a size 8. [I hope you are laughing with me] life would be perfecter and more everything… and instead returning time and again to knowing that chasing certain forms of ‘happiness’ can seriously interfere with a beautiful sensual contentment.
I gradually made the turn away from being ‘pleasing’ to whomever and whatever, and instead having mercy on this faithful Consort, my body– to seek health and health and health, no matter what stone one’s weight comes to, to use the British way. I am still learning.
And I have a special place in my heart for ‘women of size’, for ‘men of size’ for as a lover, I know the beauty of weight, and of being covered with warm flesh, pressed into the very root of self by one who is large…. and as an artist I see how in life drawing salon, the naked larger body flows from waist to hip to thigh in curves that are sumptuous and elegant whether they be men or women.
I know the travails and ridicules and shaming the culture and individuals try to douse our spirits with. Was for too long a recipient of such daily. Don’t allow that. No one who loves you will judge you by a number on a scale. Neither can one be judged in any heaven or soulful mind I know, by whether they make some one critical person salivate. Sorry to be so blunt. Rather, the worth of the person, I am very sure is by the strength of the golden fuse of Love and Mercy and Compassion that shines from their hearts– those being the traits of the giving lover who also receives so beautifully.
There is, as usual, much, much to say about these issues. I suggest, as always, be led into wisdom by those who have walked the rough road and are “ss/sd”, still standing, still dancing. Though we can learn much from evolving science, in terms of ‘being built’– another old saying meaning to be curvaceous and striking and striding in full confidence that we carry our own unique forms of beauty just like everyone else… there is no substitute for a finely honed human and humane heart- meaning a not negatively judgmental view- toward self, and toward as many others as possible.
It takes practice not to take in the opprobrium many in the over-culture try to drench us with. It is an ongoing daily practice of kindness, to care for the body. It is a daily meditation to not accept ‘the gold standard’ the culture holds out if it leaches the warmth and verve and animation of the body into cold determination, without love nor humor.
You know from my work, I’m not wont to throw out the pap of ‘just love your body and all will be great.’
That’s not my experience of how to do this work of removing the cultural intrusions into our lives with regard to this tender and strong body we came to earth with. So, not to ‘love’ the body Consort, but rather to speak good words, and true words, and no bad words to the body, to listen to the body, to respond to the body, to be good to the body in your own ways, just as the beautiful loyal body strives for us, and is so good to us.
Like that. Daily. Keep a short list. Respond. Be at weights [notice the plural… it means a range, a panorama] that YOU feel good at and that leave you pleasant of mood, and not perseverating on weight alone. Live. Really live. Don’t wait. Live now. And especially add daily to your healthiness, add daily to your strength and flexibility. You will not regret it, especially as you gather more years. The culture is waiting under cover of night to trounce you about age also. Fool them all. Jump up as a fully alive human being, no matter who says what.
Here is an old poem for you… when I write poetry, I often think I am writing a little movie: Here is my little movie on Size.
people have tried, all my life,
to rob me of my bigness.I, carpeted breastworks; a wide body;
extravagant— meat on the hoof.Erosion is not the goal. No land swept away
here, no dust bowl eating the grasses.
No predator management.Leaving the soil loose to blow away? No.
Arid landscape? No.
River wearing down the mountain? No.Instead Yes! to these richer crops of myth;
the plow bites open my earth leaving the welt —
same as yours.
My flesh, so disheveled by sex,
so drowned by seas and floods
and folds and babies:
here is my skin: the female map.I, eternal hills and ledges, yes
will be the bony desert, yes,
the flat-people crave for me, yes,
once I’m dead — not before.
Then, my arm bones will fold
like the blades of forceps,
and the stick-people will be gratified;
for I will be slim at last.But now belly steals onto thighs;
this lap has grown to hold so much.
Whose work is this? Yes. Woman’s work. Yes.The only thin I really love
is the slender shape of soul,
washed and washed by a diamond god
who loves the stone that stands the sea,
not a sandstone rubbed by wishes.Yo Soy, cañon hondo, Deep as a canyon;
deep, so deep, my heel print;
the tracker knows I carry
two-hundred pounds of story.–
This comes with much love that you go easy on yourself, no bad words, no mimicking the cultural put downs… instead thinking through health and strength and your own brand of beauty and movement and feasting on peace and contentment with the Consort… we can do this. Literally, it only takes practice. Two steps forward and one step back perhaps… but here is my mantra for me, and for you too if you like… progress, not perfection!”
Excerpt and poem ‘Women of Size’ from La Pasionaria/ Bright Angel manuscript, collected poetry of Clarissa Pinkola Estés, ©1983, 2013, all rights reserved.
April 30th – Day #39, Playtime Anyone?
Wow, I wrote this whole piece then pushed the wrong button et voila, all gone! Then my wireless mouse, which I was using because my trackpad stopped working, flashed “connection lost” and I thought man, there’s a theme if ever there was one!
What have I lost connection with? Maybe my inner life. All this dreaming and blogging, puts certainly deadlines before me- all self-created- but I wonder if it’s keeping me from spending more time with the actual dream and my inner life? I know the answer.
This morning I dreamt that I was traveling with a group that we actually have traveled with in waking life. But the place we were going to kept changing and chaos ensued. And then, to make matters worse, the locals were trying to sell us cheap jewelry! (Quelle horreur!)
I’ve also lost connection with play. I was born old and was a serious child, so I’m not sure that I actually “lost” this so much as “lost out” by never learning to play. Obviously some play happened but to my little Capricorn-rising self, I took my play very seriously. Now, as an adult, I don’t play enough.
With 60 around the corner, I’m willing to revisit my lost connections. My dream tells me that my destination keeps changing and perhaps what I thought I was doing here, by honouring the 60 days before I turn 60, isn’t quite what I think I’m doing after all and where I think I’m headed isn’t necessarily where I think I’m going! (Are you still with me?) If I don’t show up here too often, don’t worry, I’ll be outside playing dress-up with the cat!
May 2nd -Day #40-41, Dreaming “Reality”
Yesterday I missed writing and the opportunity to write about day 40. 40 is a great number and a big hit in Biblical times, as in “Forty days and forty nights…” Ah, the good old days!
But today is a new day! Day 41 and it’s May! The month of my birth, which is a month I love. In Toronto, the trees are starting to blossom and spring is finally here! (I hear that other parts of the world get spring in March or April. Sigh.) Yesterday, one of the ways I played was in having a friend over for breakfast and planning. Doing things I love is a form of play for me so meeting to plan a new dream school was wonderful. I dreamed of having a dream school ten years ago but knew it was a huge project that I couldn’t do alone, and I let it lapse. So when some other dreamers I know approached me to join them in their similar dream, I said YES!
How will we dream this into reality? Well, clearly we will sleep on it. Sleeping and dreaming on a problem is something that humans have been doing since “time out of mind”. According to the channeled material brought forward by Seth via Jane Roberts, “The imagination, backed by great expectations, can bring about almost any reality within the range of probabilities. ” (This was the same entity who taught us that we “create our own reality” back in the 60’s.)
Who knows if this will manifest, or if it will manifest in the way we first planned it but I wanted to put it out there so many dreamers can help create this reality and help bring forth a dreaming society that values its dreams. Will you dream on it?
May 4th -Day #43, Giving & Receiving
Letting go… I wrote a blog post for yesterday, didn’t realize it was highlighted and hit delete. End of story. I decided to let it go. (That’s what I get for composing in FB with no easy remedy.) And now it is a new day and I will begin again as wise Leonard Cohen advises in the name of singing birds.
In my dream, I was teaching in a Seneca-type setting (The college where I used to teach) and I find a headset that I’m supposed to use. It is a combination microphone and receiver.
I love that. So many times I’ve complained to the Multiverse that I’m not connected with Source, that the voice of my intuition sounds like my voice, that, in fact, I’m not intuitive at all. This dream, which has more than one level of meaning, tells me that I am open and receiving as well as speaking and giving and sharing knowledge.
I think for many women, but certainly for me, I’ve spent most of my life giving. Now, as I creep up on 60, I’m ready to stop giving so much if I’m doing it in order to be ok; to be enough. But in the dream, I was teaching what I love and there were fists full of $20 dollar bills in my bag. I was giving books from my library to the students as gifts.
May 16th -Day #55, To 100 and Beyond!
While I was away, I read John Robbins “Healthy at 100”. His book focused on the studies done on centenarians in communities around the world to see what we can learn from the way they live and use it to gain health and longevity in our own lives. Now that I’m five days from completing my countdown to 60, perhaps I’m looking ahead, searching for my next goal. Robbins claims that we can turn our health around for the better at any age and I thought, “It took me 40 years to get into this shape and I have 40 years until 100. I can do this!” (In reality, it was the stress of the last 3 years that undid my health, so I can give myself at least as much time to reclaim it, though I probably won’t need 40 years!)
It’s not that reaching 60 was my goal, so much as wanting to mark the moment in time. In the Jewish tradition, 120 is considered the ideal lifespan, the length of Moses’ life, so this puts me squarely in middle age… But then I took a bus ride in Bermuda and saw this on the bus, “Get Ripped in 90 Days”. Being dyslexic, I thought it said 60 days and only just saw it clearly now! At the time, I thought, both “Is that possible?” and “Wow, someone else is counting to 60!” Fortunately, I don’t need to look like the muscle-bound hulk in the photo to reach my health goals.
Back to John Robbins’ thesis… It seems that my early dream of my grandmother dancing is exactly what these centenarians do: they stay active. There is no retirement; they walk, the work, they dance. They are surrounded by family and friends and they are not put into nursing homes and forgotten. They also live in a world that honours the elders in the community and where reaching old age is an achievement to be celebrated. In our world the scene is decidedly different.
In addition to staying physically active, centenarians also eat less, eat slowly and they stop eating before they feel full. Typically, they consume less that 2000 calories, compared to almost double that consumed by North Americans. They don’t eat too much protein; a little fish, a little lamb, but mostly whole grains, fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts. Certainly, NO fast or processed food is eaten.
At the end of the book, Robbins addresses the question, “How then shall we live?” It’s a rich chapter and I won’t try to reproduce it here but here are but two of his suggestions:
“Get enough sleep. Remember your dreams and share them. Keep a dream journal. Over time, watch for recurring images or themes. See what you can learn from them.” (Very wise…Of course you knew I’d love that one!)
“Remember that one who forgets the language of gratitude can never be on speaking terms with happiness.”
There is a lot of wisdom in this book. May some of it find its way into the next 40-60 years of my life!
May 18th -Day # 57, Wabi-Sabi, an Ongoing Tale
It’s hard to believe that I’ve almost reached 60 days of counting. I haven’t done it perfectly, which is something this perfectionist has given herself permission to do and be: perfectly imperfect. There are a handful of days where I didn’t catch a dream, though I was aware of dreams when I woke up and there were another handful of days when I didn’t write. But every day I’ve been aware of the “count” and this transformational period of my life.
It is said that the Navajo’s always left an imperfection in their rugs or pottery. It’s where “the Spirit moves in and out of the rug…. Perfection is not the elimination of imperfection. That’s our Western either/or, need-to-control thinking. Perfection, rather, is the ability to incorporate imperfection! There’s no other way to live: You either incorporate imperfection, or you fall into denial. That’s how the Spirit moves in or out of our lives.” (Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the 12 Steps)
It is the same with the Wabi-Sabi philosophy in Japan, which is based on the transient and imperfect nature of life and existence. It is an aesthetic that finds beauty in the cracks. As we age, no different that any object in nature, our cracks become all the more visible. If we are lucky enough to age, we have an opportunity to choose: we can rail against the aging process and live in denial or accept the beauty of our cracks and imperfections as places where spirit moves in and out.
And right on cue, my body is giving me an opportunity to practice self-love within the context of imperfection. This week, every day has given me more aches and pains. Parts that never hurt before, are screaming at me. Never one to think a “cigar is just a cigar”, I certainly can connect the dots. Lately, I’ve had a spate of angry dreams. They weren’t classic nightmares that woke me, rather they featured me angry and yelling at people. Between the screaming in my dreams and the somatic hints of my screaming body, it seems something is moving into my conscious awareness. When I figure out what that is, my body clues will no longer need to scream at me. Even so, I accept that there will be imperfections surfacing and moving through. Sometimes we are just pissed off, seemingly with or without cause. Wabi-Sabi.
The challenge in all this is that Western society doesn’t value imperfection and it certainly doesn’t value its aging population. Elders are not valued, celebrated or honoured. It becomes more important than ever to find a community of friends who will not be in denial about aging and who will celebrate our milestones with us, perhaps even turning the tide of a youth-worshipping society into one that values all life, in all its stages. May it be so.
May 20th – Day # 59, Books, Counting & Patience
As you may recall, I’m not only counting days, I’m counting boxes. After our big downsizing move, where we released most of our possessions, we were still left with a lot of books. I’ve done my share; I donated hundreds of books to women’s shelters and jails, and a little library in Nigeria. My husband is the real bibliophile and even he is coming around and releasing some of his books. Even so, we still need more book shelves!
A move means living with a certain amount of chaos. I don’t really like chaos. Does anyone? I suppose I can admit to loving a certain amount of change or variety- I’m a Gemini after all- but not flat out chaos. A move can bring a lot of actual chaos, but it can bring… or reflect… inner chaos too. I think, in the end, it will all be good. It’s a reorganization of my world, inside and out. I think we have to fall apart in order to come back together in a new and better way. Disintegration/reintegration. (Or, falling apart and getting it together.)
And I’m not actually “falling apart” so don’t call for the men with the padded van and the funny white jackets just yet. (Ok that image has dated me!) But I am noticing the outer disorganization and it’s parallels to my inner world. Some dreams are angry, some are forgotten, some seem ordinary… most are memorable. I went through three years of disorganization of my world and now it is coming back together and without my dreams, I would not have had the bigger picture to serve as an organizing function in my psyche, as well as a source of hope. More simply put, without my dreams and the view of my inner workings that it afforded me, I would not have had a clue about myself!
I’m one day from my goal of marking the 60 days before my 60th birthday, two days to my actual birthday on the 22nd, and this reorganization of my life, along with counting one day at a time, has taught me patience. I’m not naturally a patient person, so it’s a hard and often frustrating course-of-study. But there is just no way to get to 60 without going through 1-59! Patience. So patience for my inner process and the inevitable days of chaos when working is impossible. Patience while I set up my inner and outer house.
May 21st – Day #60!!!!!!!!!! Sharing a Meal with the Tibetans
Yes! I made it to day #60, imperfectly, but here! My last day of counting before tomorrow’s big 6-0 birthday. I’m not feeling particularly wise yet, so I’ll gather what wisdom may come and save it for my post script from the “other side” tomorrow. But I caught an interesting dream fragment this morning. It was the end of a larger dream (you know how you can feel that there was more, right?).
I dreamt that, “I am at some kind of a community centre, or a space turned into one. There is a dinner that involves a group of Tibetans. There is ritual involved and a point-person handling it all. It seems a scroll is missing that needs to lie on the table. Someone (youngish, non-Tibetan) complains about the meal and its seemingly bland choices (boiled chicken and vegetables). “I say wait and see, this is only the first course.” (Me? Counselling patience?)”
I find this interesting because in 2002 and again in 2008, I had a series of Dalai Lama dreams, and now the Tibetans are back! I worked on those previous dreams but never had a strong sense of their purpose. At the time, I would have benefited from having a dream group with whom I could share them! This dream is interesting because of the imagery and characters connecting them with the previous series. But I wonder what is in that scroll? And what is the next course?
I might imagine that it’s an ancient text filled with wisdom. Or maybe it was just an old ritual and I don’t need to follow another person’s way of doing things. Certainly, the younger part of me didn’t care about the ritual or the food being served. (Does food equal ideas in my inner dream dictionary?) Too bland! The older part of me counsels patience. Given my last post on the subject of patience, I am happy to see that this quality has begun its integration!
And what is it about the Tibetans? I do, in fact, love the Dalai Lama for reasons I don’t totally understand. Is it a past life or am I simply a cause-du-jour groupie? Or is it the recognition of the joy and love that radiates from his eyes, while possessing some evolved qualities that I value? Equally possible, is the psychological option that the Dalai Lama symbolizes a more evolved part of myself so this meal with the Tibetans might symbolize the integration of the very qualities that I project onto them into my psyche. Not bad for 60!
This little dream meal gives me plenty to chew over and really, in the end (and from the beginning of this series), I believe that “60” is the journey. It is a process of growth that, if we choose it, continues over the whole of our lives.
There is a Native teaching that I might have received from Denise Linn as part of my Soul Coaching® training, I’m not sure….. That the circle of days that we have been given is different for each of us. Some circles (lives) are small, some are large. But all are complete, all are perfect, even when a life seems to be cut short. In counting these 60 days before my 60th birthday, I hope it is part of a larger circle, but whatever it turns out to be, I am complete.
May 22nd -Day #1 of the rest of my life!
Well here I am. I’ve reached my goal of blogging for the 60 days before my 60th birthday and I’m both proud of myself for doing it and ready to take a break! I did it for myself, to honour and challenge myself and of course, to really take a look at aging in our society as I experience it.
Here is what I think is important for me (and you) for the next 60 years:
- Don’t buy into society’s youth obsessed culture and take every opportunity to teach the next generation to see aging in a new light. I’m going to become a Dangerous Old Woman! Who’s with me?
- Family and friends will teach us everything we need to know and grow as humans. The children—yours, mine…anyone’s kids— will especially keep us laughing.
- Become a shark and keep moving. For me that will likely be dancing, swimming and other things, as I can. I feel better if I keep moving and I move better when there’s music.
- Everything in moderation.
- I need deadlines and motivation. These 60 days gave me that and I’ve never caught as many dreams as I did over this time. What motivates you?
- Passion is NOT overrated! Find something you are passionate about and just keep doing/loving it.
- If I’m not sure if something matters or not, I ask myself, when I’m on the other side of this life, will this be something the Creator will ask me about? (I’m guessing that God will not care if I’m 20 lbs over my goal weight!)
- While I can probably come up with a longer list, here’s what’s important, in a nutshell: love, respect and integrity, growth. We are here to grow our souls and expand God’s love and light in the world. And so it is.
With love, Patti