A couple of days ago I had a dream.
I have dreamed it three or four times in the last few years. Each time, the details change,but essentially, I dream I am in graduate school at my alma mater, Southern Methodist University. I am apparently in my late 20s or 30s, and I have left journalism to study for a master's. In the dream, my mother is alive and well in the family home in New Mexico, and she is paying for my living expenses and classes. I am single. In the dream,I am fully aware of my mother's warmth and love for me (a fortunate truth all our lives).
At the beginning of each dream, I am happy and having a fine time. I am going to class. Afterwards, I try to think where I should go next. It slowly dawns on me I have a full load of classes, and I am only attending this one and maybe one other. I can't even remember what the other courses are and we are more than halfway through the semester. Too late to drop the unattended classes and get my mother's money back. I consider going to the dean of students' office or provost, but feel overwhelmed. And guilty. So, so guilty. I decide I must begin to rectify this, and that also involves telling my mother. I dread it, but I square my shoulders.
And then I wake up, the guilt and sense of disorientation so emotionally vivid,I have remembered each dream.
After the first, I said, "Huh."
After the second, I took notice, and sat down to puzzle a bit and contemplate my navel. I decided I was ignoring important tasks or actions I should be making in my life, and I was off-balance. It didn't take much to uncover what two or three of those were, and to attend to them. And I felt better, and didn't have the dream again for a year. Then I took inventory again and corrected a few more things.
Now it has been at least 15 months, and here it is again, with some major alterations. Those I will mull awhile, but the bottom line is, my inner person is telling me I am not doing enough. I am not taking care of all my business, or using my talents to their fullest. And in the meantime, I am having a fine time. And that all is true.
But I am doing so much more than I was. Why does my sleeping self tap me on the shoulder and say, "You aren't doing enough"?
It isn't neurosis, I am convinced of that. I really believe it is the growing strength and power I am scared I don't have, but in my sleep, I know I do. My dreams nudge. Neurosis would be ignoring the push and sulking. Health means looking at the goals on my mental list and start tending to them.
One of those is truly frivolous but important to me--to ride in a helicopter. I have wanted to fly since I was 4 years old. I have taken lessons. I have been a passenger in a stunt plane. I have taken a taste of skydiving, and ridden in the Goodyear blimp. The hot air balloon and helicopter ride remain to be fulfilled. Good to look forward to, to anticipate.
There are many ways to fly. Each time I step out on what feels like thin air, trusting I will not fall, I am flying. Such tiny steps in midair. A dinner for my family. Touching and hugging just about everyone more, when I've never been touchy-feely. Opening up a little more. My honesty goes to bedrock, but I am not so open. I feel the effort to force those shutters or doors open just a little more every time I pry.
The dream is an unexpected gift, as so many things in my life. It is time to rebalance my life again to accomodate a little more, to be patient with myself when I don't progress as fast as I want. To enjoy process, and value each person in my life. That is what the dream tells me. The feel of my mother's steady love?
Oh. That reminds me to go on loving myself and forgive my imperfections. Fairly late in the semester? I'm 65. I think there's still quite a lot left.
All in all, a pretty good night's work spent in dreams.