Lost and Panicky: Megan, like almost everyone in her family, joined the military as she completed high school. She couldn’t wait to get away from home and begin to see the world. Once at boot camp, however, she was horrified at the decision she had made. Somehow, she was unprepared for the rigors of the service; she felt homesick, uncertain and trapped. Slogging through her days, she was tormented by stress dreams at night. Then an unexpected dream changed everything.
Embrace Your Decision: Megan dreamed that her grandfather, who had been her best friend and protector when he was alive, came and visited her. She felt him sit on the edge of her bunk bed, holding a cigar in one hand as he so often had. “Little Fish,” he began, calling her by her childhood name, “You’ve got to get a grip. This seems bad now, but you are going to be glad you made this decision, and you are going to go to college, and do great things for your life and for your community when you finish up here. Don’t let your fear call the shots, you call the shots. You’re going to be okay. You have a great life ahead of you. You remember everything I said, now.” Megan agreed, and felt loved and whole again. Her panic had made her feel she had lost her gutsy, adventurous spirit, but seeing her granddad again reminded her of who she was: “Little Fish,” the girl who could rarely hold still because she was so bursting with life and enthusiasm for the next thing.
Megan awoke early the next morning, saturated with a feeling that she was happy and alive. Then she smelled smoke. Sitting up in bed, she immediately recognized a hint of cigar smoke. As she sat there remembering her dream, the smell faded a bit. Had her granddad really come? She felt so different. Megan’s family comes from a culture comfortable with the notion that our ancestors and loved ones visit us in dreams, so she simply accepted what had happened, and what the message was for her.
She finished her stint in the service, came home, got married and had a child, and is now finishing her college education. She is very much a “wild spirit,” full of energy, plans and ideas, but she also radiates personal power and focus. Apparently the message of her dream was, for her, the right message at the right time.
Springboard Dreams: We are enriched by our dreams to the extent that we allow ourselves to accept their gifts. This is not an intellectual exercise, it is a an opening up to what we need most, when we need it. Perhaps the most important question to ask of any dream is this: How does this experience function as a springboard for me to move forward in life with greater strength and kindness?
Trapped in Grief: Deb and her husband should have been the perfect couple. They met and married at a young age, and seemed ideally matched, like twin souls on the same mission. But over the 3 years of their marriage, Deb’s husband became more and more distant, finding excuses to be apart and avoiding intimacy. Although Deb did everything she could to keep the marriage going, when her husband finally confessed that he wanted a divorce, she didn’t fight any longer. They divorced, but remained friends. Deb continued to grieve for years about the breakup, bewildered, because she felt they did love one another, and unable to understand what had gone wrong.
The Field Beyond Conflict: One night, she dreamed that she and her former husband met in a magical field illumined by a strange light. In that field, they met and held hands as if taking some kind of vow. Her former husband said: “Deb, I just was not and am not ready for a real relationship. I have a lot of growing up to do, and I could not do it when you were doing all the work for both of us. You are there, you are ready to find someone who is your match. I do love, you, I am simply not ready. Thank you for loving me and for giving me only good memories.”
Deb contacted me after her dream, in the hope that possibly this was an indication that her ex-husband was “coming around,” to the idea of a reconciliation. We explored the dream together and I asked her to close her eyes and step back into that luminous field, and let the knowledge and love in that place saturate her being. “What do you know to be true, when you are there?” I asked. “Oh,” she said, after a pause. “It is just exactly as he said. Nothing less, nothing more. He was not ready for marriage, and he is not ready now. He may never be ready.” She opened her eyes in some surprise. “This is not the relationship, the partnership, I need and want. I get it now.”
Deb had been stuck, because she had used her desire for this particular relationship as her compass point. She had also used her awareness that her ex cared for her as a reference point. But in this instance, those truths were not the landmarks that defined the journey. When she used the truths of readiness and mature love as markers, her past and future looked entirely different. The events were the same, but their meaning was different.
For Deb, this dream brought peace and closure. She was not “crazy,” and she had not been cut adrift in a world without love. She was able to truly let go of her imagined relationship for the first time, and to embark on friendships that held the potential for mutuality and intimacy.
Movement: Any dream can help you to move forward, to evolve your understanding, or to simply gather your forces for what comes next. While analysis and discovery are thrilling pursuits, perhaps the greatest power of our dreams lies in the energy they bring us to travel forward in our journeys, and the peace and relief they bring to our aching hearts.
Good luck in your journey!