~Oriah Mountain Dreamer
|The Guiding Spirit by Brooke Shaden|
I woke up this morning to the sound of my alarm and with an unfamiliar feeling of sadness in my chest. Not fully understanding the sadness, I considered meditating to move deeper into the feeling and to unearth the source of it. But something nudged me to put my head back down and sleep a little longer, to let the mysterious and magical nature of the dream world do its work on me, as it always does. Very quickly, I was there.
I woke up a little later fresh out of what I would call an epic dream – long, deep, detailed, and layered with characters, rooms, events, feelings and decisions to make. The dream took place in one of those huge, old hotels, and I was staying in a room in the basement. But the climax of the dream occurred on an upper level, which is what I will share with you here.
Four of my childhood friends bring me to a doorway, which leads to a balcony. The balcony reveals that the hotel is perched on the edge of a steep, sharp cliff. My friends urge me to look down, but I am terrified, and begin feeling dizzy and even sick to my stomach. Before looking fully into the depths below, I back away from the door and walk around the corner until the balcony is out of sight. I brace myself against the wall trying to calm down and regain my balance.
My dream reminds me of a trip I took to Zion National Park in Utah, with my husband, brother, and sister-in-law in October. Our first big hike was up to Angels Landing, an uphill five-mile trail that culminates at a dramatic plateau. The final half-mile to the plateau is a strenuous, steep climb up a narrow ridge with sharp drop-offs on either side. Although the silver chains anchored into the rock provide support, it is easy to become dizzy, or paralyzed with fear by the heights. The warning sign at the beginning of this section of the trail depicting a cartoon figure plummeting to his death did not give me any further comfort. After only a few meters into this final part of the ascent, I became overwhelmed with fear, and simply could not take another step forward. I turned around and waited for the others at the lookout point.
It was only later, when we were safely on the bus back to our hotel, as I looked through my husband’s photos and videos of the miraculous climb to the top that I felt I had truly missed an amazing experience. I realized I wanted a second chance to go back to that spot – not to prove anything, but to experience the kind of freedom that can happen when we allow ourselves to release our grip on the things we think will protect us, make us feel safe, and make us feel in control.
My dream was guiding me to yet another level, another stage of my journey, another opportunity to release that control. But still, I couldn’t face it. My inability to look into the abyss in my dream was like coming back to that crucial point at Angels Landing, leaving me with that same sadness that I woke up to earlier this morning, now understood a little better.
Of course, we cannot force things to happen. Facing my deepest fears and releasing control will be an ongoing process for me – this I know. Unlike in waking life where progress can be measured by the tangible things we do, make, or accomplish, the dream world reminds us that things are never that simple, logical or linear. These lessons are cyclical, to be learned again and again.
In sharing my dream with a friend today, she gave me a piece of advice that I hold tenderly on my heart: “all we can do is keep bringing our attention to it and breathe it in.” Yes.
As I allow the dream to settle around me and within me, oxygenating me, nourishing me, I make a wish that I might once again meet that mystical cliff. Maybe one day, I will surrender to it, and let it take me in.