Archive for the ‘dreams’ Category

beyond miracles

November 13, 2017

Just a few hours since the Venus – Jupiter conjunction in early Scorpio.  Last night I went to bed not long after reading one astrologer’s take.  Although I’m Scorpio Rising, since the conjunction is occurring in my 12th house, I read the Sagittarius one.  Within his brief listings of possible manifestations, the astrologer used the word “miracle,” so I started joking about it with George the cat.

“Do you have a miracle in your back pocket?” I asked.

He started scratching.

“Well, that’s where your back pocket would be if you had one,” I conceded.  “Check and see if there’s a miracle there.  You know I share whatever good fortune I have with you.”

Being the sort of obsessive thinker that I am and knowing this alignment was coming up, I’d been wondering how it would present itself.  Additionally, I’ll admit, I’ve spent too much time gnashing my teeth that whatever good luck might sweeten my life, it wouldn’t be in the form of partnerships or money.  In my 12th house, it could be as quietly hidden as, say, not stabbing myself with scissors while walking with them.  Too often the words of an old song seems to apply: “if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all.”

As I fell into sleep, I thought about what I might point to in my past experience as a miracle.  Yellowstone seemed less like one and more like winning a ticket to a thrilling adventure.  The Indigo Night job, offered 9 months after the interview and 5 days after I’d decided to take in my kitten Bandit?  Yes, that felt like a miracle of sorts at the time.  But more accurately, it was more an answer to my prayers.

Prayers are funny things.  What we’re convinced we need to make us happy – love, money, forgiveness, attention – are what we’ve identified as what’s lacking.  So if we give ourselves love, respect, justice, etc., eventually, in some form, it will manifest.  Can we call that a miracle if like the little red hen we’ve cultivated it ourselves?

So maybe those aren’t miracles.  The miracle was Bandit and my seeing that, my refusal to give him up when it seemed the only logical thing to do since I had no income and my housing was ending.  The miracle was continuing to hope the park service had an adventure in store despite the misery of my first season.  The miracle was holding onto former lovers despite all the ways we’d misunderstood and hurt each other so that now when we need reassurance, we can draw from that deep well of love.  The miracle was allowing my father to help me last winter in spite of a lifetime spent in grief and anger over his cruel neglect.  The miracle is that there are still moments before the sun rises, no matter where I might be, where I believe I have something to offer and that there is a place where I belong.

In my dreams last night, I was absolved of the charges my park supervisor made and reinstated at the park.  As the day begins, it appears more like the kind of joke I was making with my cat.  The miracle is that I’m no longer there, can no longer be bullied or forced into silence.  What happens next will be the answer to my prayers.

sunrise over the Potomac

messages from the world of spirit

November 11, 2017

from this morning’s journal:

Strange dreams and more of them than I can recall.  The final one: I’m traveling with someone and we’re in some Scandinavian country.  My companion is there to visit friends.  The day we’re departing arrives and for the flight I choose the strangest outfit:  a bustier with garter straps (unused), a black down vest, and my grey and white pajama bottoms.  At one point, I wonder why I’ve dressed this way, then decide that since we’ re traveling, comfort is all that matters.

We’ve been staying with my companion’s friends, and we’re about to leave when I realize I never brought my passport.  I can see in my mind’s eye where it is still wedged in my organizer basket.  Now it will be at least a few days before I can leave.  While I’m waiting, I’m still at the home of my companion’s friends.  When something strange and complicated occurs very quickly, I am the only one in the room.  From what I can recall right now, one of the men of the family – husband? father of the wife? – comes into the room and collapses.  Before I can do anything to assist, a large object detaches itself from the ceiling (?) and falls, piercing his chest and killing him immediately.

Faced with the prospect of trying to explain this outlandish chain of events and then being accused with murder, I decide to leave, friendless, without a passport, not knowing the language or the land.

Now for how I interpreted this:

Fear of being accused of something one didn’t do doesn’t come naturally.  At first we believe in justice.  We think the truth will out because our innocence shines as brightly as the sun.  But then experiences teach us something else, something that doesn’t draw from within but is forced upon us from without.  People, hungry for restitution from lives twisted by wrongs rush to satisfy their desire to blame and to punish on others.

One’s own faith that justice will prevail begins to erode.  Everyone, one learns, has a point of view where they are the wronged person, and even if adjudicating the situation in front of them won’t erase the stain of wrongedness, they will take what small pleasure they can get.  The pleasure will be even sweeter if the accused “thought she was better than we were” (which could be translated as “she was different in some way we couldn’t measure,” ie, an outsider).

What I learn from this, I hope, is not to join in the blood fest of fear.  The pain I’ve endured as an outsider has been hard and beyond my capacity to describe.  Even my ex husband threw me to the wolves rather than negotiate his next wife’s insecurity over our lingering friendship and past dependency.  To justify his shameful behavior, mine had to be wrong.  In his construction, my hands had to be covered in blood; my heart must have harbored hate.

Yes, my heart has harbored hate.  I am human, with the full spectrum of all that’s implied with that condition.  But I have struggled, alone & unwitnessed, to address that particular kind of guilt.  And while there have been too many instances where I’ve failed to master my worse behavior, there have been many others where I have succeeded.  And most of all, I try, try, try to leave space for others to evolve.

“Forgive but not forget?”  Is that the answer?  Let wind and water disperse the resentment.  But we must testify.  We must say there is a better way of being in the world, a better way to understand ourselves and others.  If we don’t, how can we hope to survive with grace the horrible storms that most definitely lie ahead?  And how will we account for our lives at the end if our actions have not matched what we know to be true?

Know peace. Know justice.

November 3, 2017

I have just started a fascinating book entitled American Taxation, American Slavery.  To paraphrase poorly her argument, the writer, an historian @ Berkeley, uses her examination of how tax codes were written and implemented in the colonies and then the newly formed states up until the Civil War to illustrate how today’s anti-government rhetoric is a narrative that can be directly tied to the elitist, pro-slavery, anti-democratic governments of the southern states.

For me, having returned to the south and with my own connections to slave-owning founding fathers (including living 4 miles from Robert E Lee’s birthplace), this a timely link, but I think it is also an illuminating way to perceive how racist assumptions underlie what’s transpiring in our culture.  It’s also a useful reminder that until we ALL work to pull apart these complicated skeins, this stain of injustice/abuse of power will remain and pollute our possibilities toward peace.

I had an interesting dream I’m still processing. It was quite disturbing, although the graphic elements were mercifully absent. At a celebratory party (maybe my birthday), close friends and I treat an outsider in a dismissive way. As others laugh at him, I do too and he gives me a look that I register as hostile and aggressive. After the others are gone, he comes in through an unlocked door, holding a bat. Because I cannot bear the thought of being beaten, I submit to his raping me. As time goes on, this situation continues, with me saying nothing to anyone. My friends wonder why someone so unpleasant is permitted to hang out with me/us, but I’m too subdued by guilt and shame to say or do anything. At one point, a group of us discover the bodies of girls who’ve been tortured and murdered in an empty building, and I am sure the perpetrator was him.  I realize that by allowing him to abuse me, I have not minimized his capacity for violence but instead in some manner increased or at least continued to conceal it.  I confide in one friend, and together we begin to devise a way to bring him to justice.

This issue of justice is one I’ve been allowing to remain in my peripheral vision, the way one yearns for beauty or love or community as an ideal. For instance, what’s happened to me in my various park positions are examples of power being abused and of my allowing the situation because of some degree of guilt/shame. My growing interest in the subject of slavery also involves the abuse of power,  finding it threaded through the stories we tell about our country when we talk about “founding fathers” like Thomas Jefferson & George Washington whom, we explain, hated slavery but couldn’t find a feasible way to free their slaves (a story that desperately needs to be re-framed). What I’ve found, however, in my own heart, is that when I think about justice, I allow myself to accept injustice being perpetrated in my own line of sight because, I argue silently, “the world is an unjust place.”

In a newsletter he sent out early this morning, an astrologer whose cultural critiques I find perceptive in an intuitive way wrote about the Trump-Manafort news in terms of justice. I’m not quite sure I can completely agree with the assertions he made in this instance, but he provided an observation that’s provided a useful description of the path my mind is tending:

Having faith in justice is in part the result of being a just person, since if you’re not personally connected to something, it’s difficult to imagine its existence.

That this issue of justice and each person’s connection to it are fascinating and fruitful to me I can feel in my heart which feels tight with possibility. It’s a scary feeling, one I can sense others (and me in the past) would easily turn away from.  If I take what the wisdom this astrologer has offered here and my own intuitions, I know the difficulty involves working through and moving beyond one’s own collusion with injustice (through the vestiges of our guilt and shame) so that we can stand on the side of justice.

I hope I can find the courage to commit to unearthing the layers of the stories that are offered to me as a means of testifying to a different way, a better way.

old hurts and new solutions

March 2, 2017

Does anyone read this blog who isn’t obsessed with makeup?  Not that it matters, I suppose.  Young women who are mesmerized by makeup, let’s hope, can grow into an awareness that what matters is deeper than appearances and that dumping one’s money for Sephora products doesn’t truly soothe the spirit.

Since December I’ve been seeing a therapist for help in shifting the ways I respond to events.  Those old patterns of behavior might have helped me survive past traumas and might still be helpful in the future, but I felt that if I wanted to issue in a new future, I had to come up with new techniques.

Like clockwork, a trauma arrived.  Chronologically, it appeared new, but it was old (deep-time and karmic, I’ve been told).  Rejection.  I was not being asked to return to Yellowstone; it was my supervisor’s doing, something she’d hidden from me and would have kept hiding if I hadn’t persisted in ferreting out the truth.  It was unjust, perhaps provocatively so.  But it was what I was going to have to accept.  I’d faced this situation again and again throughout my life.  “You’re not wanted here,” “You don’t belong,” “What you possess is not needed,” were the messages I was hearing, and they triggered all the emotions they always had.

Unsurprisingly, one of my many responses was erratic sleeping.  Awake for three hours Tuesday, close to that Wednesday, two this Thursday morning.  Because of my unemployment, I’d accepted some mild disruptions as an alternative mode of getting my rest (“I’m sleeping like a cat,” I told my acupuncturist), but Wednesday’s sleeplessness became something else, a kind of wrestling act with my cat companion George, the pillows, the sheets, and presumably some element of the world.  When I awoke, my right side was in a state of semi-paralysis.  The stiffness spanned my ride side from head-to-toe making every movement an act of submission to pain.

All day Wednesday it continued.  I grew despondent.  I’d just been to acupuncturist and here I’d fucked up my back.  One center of the radiating pain seemed just behind my shoulder blades, the back of my heart chakra where she’d done so much work.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t ease the aching and wondered if I would have to return to her office much sooner than scheduled.

I have this oracle site I go to once in a while.  Last night, I shuffled to the computer and eased myself to the chair.  I asked it for a clarity on a situation that my mind kept punching at.  It pulled a card that told me the night and the dark were powerful elements for me right now and suggested that I contemplate my deepest darkest desires.  Even with the losses I’ve been encountering of late, the task I’ve given myself is not to look at those dark desires but instead to head into the light of compassion, faith and forgiveness.  Still, I tried.  Given how not too long ago my darkest desires seem uncomfortably close to the surface, now it took a lot of digging but they were still there.  I wished for lot of things, giving those dark desires up into the power of night, pitching fits, hurling insults, designing curses.

Then as I continued sitting it finally dawned on me that I was really, REALLY angry.  I was so angry that I had wrenched myself into a literal pretzel of throbbing pain.  I decided then to take all the things I hated about being at Yellowstone and put them in a box.  I took that hiking boot box off the lower shelf where I had placed it in my Yellowstone apartment and packed in it the overweight tourists with t-shirts bearing the beautiful faces of wolves stretched across their indecent bellies, the overindulgent parents and their persistently nagging children, the RV drivers towing cars who drove 15 miles beneath the speed limit, the visitors who got too close to the bison, the motorcyclists who thought they were cooler than everyone, the tourists who stepped off the boardwalk to take a selfie, selfies, the young maintenance guys who brought girls back from the pub at 2:30 am and built bonfires 20 feet from my bedroom window open to the night air, the fire alarm that would go off every time I cooked, the curling linoleum in my bathroom, the garbage truck’s reversing sounds.  Then I decided to add some of the many things I loved.  The sight of the Absaroka mountains as sunset touched them, the Lake Quartet playing while a soft wind blew across my skin as I lounged on a hotel couch and looked west at the evening stars just emerging, walking the campground before an evening program and seeing friends and families around their campfires, having a visitor tell me thank you for my work, Hayden Valley at sunset and sunrise, the sun flashing off LeHardy rapids and the aspens yellowing.

I took that box, grabbed my keys, and told George I’d be back soon.  I had to remember to hold the apartment’s exasperatingly heavy door that never failed to shut on me before I was fully out (and once locked me out after I’d stepped outside in the darkness at 3 am to tell the maintenance guys to quiet down), got into my car, drove down the road with the Mess Hall on my left, the trailers to my right (where the sounds of screaming children made my loneliness last summer almost impossible to sit with) and turned left toward the park’s loop road.  I had no idea where I would take this box.  When I got to the road that headed north to Canyon and south to Grant, I took a left, then turned right, heading east over the impossibly bumpy Fishing Bridge which spanned the Yellowstone River.  I knew by now that I was heading to Storm Point, a hike I’d walked so often that now, once I’d parked and started out carrying my box, I could see in my mind’s eye how it looked after a rain and after two months of no rain.  I could envision the lupine and the yellow wildflowers whose names, frankly, I would no longer need to recall from the dim reaches of my memory because I was not going back after this.  That is why I was taking my box here to this place I loved.  I would bury it in that spot where the hike looped back from skirting the lake.

On my trail hikes, before we got to this place, my visitors and I would have come to know each other.  If the wind wasn’t blowing terrifically, I would have talked while they sat on the stone cliff that rose above the lake.  As they looked south toward the Tetons, I would discurse about the supervolcano, how it had shaped what they were seeing, how people had come to this place and how they had decided to use it and then to save it for these visitors and so many others who’d come before and would arrive in the future.  I would share my concerns with how we as citizens would  honor what they had decided to do, whether we would follow a similar set of actions to preserve a place that not only was important to our collective past but to the species who’d been coming to this site for hundreds of thousands of years.  Then we would have followed the sandy path eroding down to the lake’s edge, passing by the rocks where the marmots sometimes perched, their dark fur camouflaged with the rock’s same rusty spots in order to hide from the hawks’ searching eyes.  We would smell the sulfur rising, we would spot the depressions in the sand where the bison wallowed, the wildflowers that bloomed in the sandy soil despite all odds.  It would be just after re-entering the forest, where the young lodgepoles and firs intermingled sparsely with a few older ones, where I would bury my box.  I would dig a deep hole so no one would find it.  And I would leave it here, in much the same way everyone who has come to know and love Yellowstone has left their memories and part of their hearts.

When I awoke in the middle of the early morning (thanks, George), I got up for tea and toast.  My side still ached distressingly  Later, in the last gasp of the night’s dreams, I had an encounter with a very spoiled woman.  She’d accidentally spilled cider on me and in a sudden burst of anger, I’d tossed some on her.  She wailed and wallowed in her wrongedness like the spoiled brat she was, and to calm her down and assuage my guilty conscience, I proceeded to attend to her.  We went inside a small diner and as we were waiting at the counter, she commented about how she’d never had to fill out an application for a job.  “Wow, that’s amazing,” I replied, hoping to help her keep feeling as if she were exceptional and not let her focus on how cider was melding her t-shirt to her skin.  “I had something bad happen with a job application recently,” I said.  Then I tried to remember what it was so I could tell the story of how I’d been humiliated and rejected once again which would continue to help her feel superior.  But I couldn’t recall.

When I awoke, most of the pain I’d been struggling with had disappeared as well, just some sore muscles reminded me of past battles and making room for new opportunities to grow.

Love is all around

January 11, 2016

Last night I had a marvelous dream, one of the kind that can take years to arrive and which lingers in the mind long afterward. Following a string of interactions with other people and in a decidedly public venue, a gangly man dressed in goth clothing offered to massage my aching lower back. “What do you need?” he asked my body, and while he bent to soothe its ills, he told me he’d noticed how much I gave to others without asking for anything in return. “Thank you for saying that,” I answered, allowing tears to flow. When I returned from straightening up in the ladies’ room, he was gone.  The band played “The Way You Look Tonight,” and while I was sad the man wasn’t there so I could sing the words to him as we danced, I knew it was the recognition of my best achievement – this detached expression of love and support – that had been the gift, not the person himself.

When I awoke, the night still held dawn at bay, and I dressed warmly and went out to view Venus and Saturn shining together on the eastern horizon.  Days of clouds and rain had prevented my witnessing their closest approach, but still it was a beautiful coupling of the planets associated with romantic love and stoic discipline.

When I was young, the long plodding toward a goal was the last thing I thought would make me happy. Because I was afraid of the rigidity and depression I had witnessed, I thought the only way to prevent this was to follow passion as it arose, heedlessly. My logic was immature, no more than an extension of a childish vow to avoid my parents’, and their parents’, mistakes. Still, in my own round-about manner, I searched for ecstasy, and when I found it, mistook the feeling as one generated by the person I was with. When that person left my life, when I was alone, it was impossible to feel loved, to feel love. Anger, resentment, blame – which really are more palatable versions of fear – would reside in my heart as I tried not to sink into the emotional emptiness that had always terrified me.

I like to think the dream was given to me as a sign that I’ve come out the other side of that desert. With almost seven years of solitude behind me and perhaps more to come, I know that even with no one recognizing my best (and worst) qualities, they still exist. A flower that blooms unseen is no less a flower. Two planets hidden behind dark clouds still shine. My goals, my dreams, are mine and if I don’t realize them, that failure is mine as well. But I will soldier on, with stoic discipline and love.




what comforts

November 13, 2015

Grief over Bandit’s death has led to some revelations.  Perhaps not all the pieces of the puzzle are in place, but enough have been found scattered around me so that a wholeness can begin to be assembled.  The process and the knowledge unveiled are both humbling and healing.

This morning an astrologer’s message confirmed a conclusion I’d been stumbling reluctantly toward.  To be brief, his November 5 post had led me back to a pair of dreams I’d had the week of February 10, dreams about losing cats, one of which I described in a blog post on 2/11/2015 titled “Mid-life thoughts.”  Nine months almost exactly later, the grief foreshadowed in those dreams caught up to me.

At first, when this evidence that Bandit’s death might “mean” something surfaced, I resisted.  I didn’t want to turn once again to my mind’s ability to form higher, detached concepts as a way to escape my emotional turmoil.  I wanted to feel the senselessness of his death fully, and so I allowed waves of sadness to crash over me, swallowing me, subsuming me, again and again.  And I do believe that by going down into those depths, I touched the submerged remnants of what has scared me throughout my life.  It is not a unique fear, but it is one I’ve kept covered with various complicated devices until I fooled myself into believing it was no longer operational.

I still don’t believe Bandit’s death meant anything.  It was a stupid accident that robbed me of his joyful presence.  But his death was as inevitable as mine and any other creature’s is.  What comforts is the sense that there exists another dimension of time and space and energy, one I am occasionally provided a glimpse of.  The message from that space is that I truly am being protected by an invisible force, protected not from the biological facts of life but with the assurance that what love is meant for me knows the way to my front door, is indivisible from me, was there before I was born and will be with my spirit after my body dies.  Bandit and Clarabelle, my parents, my sister, my friends, my joys, my sorrows, my sunsets, my shooting stars, the past, the present, and whatever lies ahead.

If I did not believe this, the book I opened yesterday would have reminded me.  As George and I watch the late autumn days flow from the bench we’ve placed near Bandit’s grave, we sense the deep truth that Marjorie Kinnan Rawling captures in this paragraph from her glorious Cross Creek

Folk call the road lonely, because there is not human traffic and human stirring.  Because I have walked it so many times and seen such a tumult of life there, it seems to me one of the most populous highways of my acquaintance.  I have walked it in ecstasy, and in joy it is beloved.  Every pine tree, every gallberry bush, every passion vine, every joree rustling in the underbrush, is vibrant.  I have walked it in trouble, and the wind in the trees beside me is easing.  I have walked it in despair, and the red of the sunset is my own blood dissolving into the night’s darkness.  For all such things were on earth before us, and will survive after us, and it is given to us to join ourselves with them and to be comforted.

balloon over chathill