Unexpected Grace: When a Dream Shifts Everything

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This morning, I awoke from a dream that left me utterly jammed in the head with its images, and the profound energy (you’re going to hear a lot of that word, “energy,” in this post) and vibration that I was to record it, write it all down and learn from it.

I also have a friend, who’s a loyal reader and who has taken the time to get to know me and share with me her own wisdom. We all have our stories, and yet we can share them to help others heal. She shares her knowledge about messages we carry inside ourselves, and the wisdom we are supposed to gain from them, when we learn to step out of our own way.

This friend, T, said something a few times in our recent correspondence, and she has been patient with me, and I am so grateful, to let it sink in as I know it requires slow, gentle rainfalls to soak into a parched earth. Downpours simply run off and cause chaos and floods. When it soaks in, we loosen up and learn who we are.

She said to me, in an exchange in which I was fixated on my childhood and the familiar feelings of helplessness. I wanted to blame my mother for things I missed out on (even though I absolutely have a sense of knowing that everything happens for a reason, sometimes it’s hard to let go of that because it’s easier to blame someone else for our situation). She wrote back “At 47, this is not about your mother. If there’s one thing I can tell you, this has nothing to do with her, and everything to do with you.”

“Screw you” I wanted to say to her. But I didn’t. “You don’t know my pain,” I wanted to add on. But I didn’t. While I knew in my head that she was right, I didn’t necessarily agree in my heart.

They take some time to soak in, these messages, and the people who are in our lives who are blunt enough to stand there and hold up a mirror to us deserve some major love. Their shoulders are burning from lactic acid build-up, their forearms are tired, it’s cold out there holding up that mirror. They can’t see your expressions because the mirror is blocking it and they also can’t see anything else around them because they have to hold that heavy beveled mirror stable, in its massive gilded frame in the light of day, in the cold, in the heat, in the windy eerie dark… they wait there, holding up that mirror, saying those few little words, “Not at 47 is this about your mother…”

And your gut churns and your throat thickens and your jaw sets; you gulp. Your brows furrow and your eyes shift left and right, but your head won’t turn because that mirror won’t escape you. It follows your face until Truth sinks in. Until you see you, staring back at you, reminding you that at whatever stage you’re fighting in your life, when your long-lost mother (who was essentially lost to you long before she died), that your life is about you; it always has been about you; it was never about her, or your dad, or your siblings, or your best friend, or your cousins, or the dog.

It’s about you and the fact that you have created the life you live today with your thoughts, fears, intentions, biases, dreams, lies, and hopes… All the things in it: from the obvious, such as your hairstyle, your car, the box of tea you bought for company when you over-performed, the books in your house, the computer at your desk, the can of expired soup in your cupboard, the cat on your couch … that ALL of it, is the stuff of your mind and your intentions. The more subtle stuff, the stuff we want to blame on our history, or boss, or enemies or our environment, things like addiction, neuroses, obsessions and fears: that’s all you too. With Just A Thought, conscious or otherwise, you brought it in because what we think about most becomes our reality. So if you think about fear: your world will be fearful. If you think about peace, you will see with peaceful intention.

For good or for bad, in the warm sun and the eerie dark: all of it, your state of relationships; all the friends and enemies in your life; all your easy slopes and stumbling blocks; all your confusion and your state of function, are all yours. They start with you and then end with you.

This is hard. This is hugely humbling as well as terrifyingly egoic.

The flow of my dream was totally random, as dreams can be. The point is, I woke convinced that it was about my mother. However, that’s bullshit. She was me, but I was me and the other people too… It’s how this stuff goes. It’s always about the dreamer. This is what I’m starting to understand, that what T said to me is starting to integrate into my consciousness, because rather than having it wait three weeks before I “got” it, I arrived at the realization an hour after waking; after thinking about it, making my coffee, taking my son to school. I got it.

The scene is that I was amongst a mob of people (all me), like we were in a train station or leaving a concert — lots of people, streams of them, absent any panic or doom. We were just people on a crowded space heading in our various directions — much like how life actually is. I looked to my left, and I saw an older woman, with chin-length silver hair, much like Mom’s, and she turned her face to me. She had age spots where Mom did, but her face was not Mom’s; it was more rounded, like Betty White’s and then it sort of morphed into my mother, but not until I asked, “Mom? Is that you?” — all in real-time, knowing in my dream that she had died. The woman’s face brightened, morphing in and out between my mother and another elderly woman, perhaps all the women I knew as a child.

This woman sort of nodded, and gently smiled, not in a “you’re nuts” way, but in a kind, nervous way — the energy was that she knew I was seeking something… so she was going to stand by until I found it. My energy shifted as well, I sensed this wasn’t a match, but it was more of a surrogate, and the clothes that this woman was wearing was a full indicator of that: she was wearing pastels, and an eyelet blouse with a rounded collar and a pink cashmere scarf and an off-white soft cardigan, wearing a string of pearls like Mom’s — these colors lit up her face in a super-healthy way, rosy cheeks and bright eyes. The clothes accented her sylvan hair in a way completely opposite than my mother’s complexion would ever allow.

I turned back to my right side and discovered some friends from my yoga retreat. I felt uncomfortable with this older woman in the pastels. My yoga retreat roommate was there, energetically supporting me and pushing me to continue this “experience” with this mother / not-mother woman. I started to sob in the dream, nodding reluctantly to my roommate, whom I know loves me very much, to return to the woman. I had a strong sense that this interaction, this “moment” was not going to last long, nor would it return any time soon. The Moment was “Now” as they say.

I turned back toward the Mom energy being, and this time she was in a car, but it was British, because there was no steering wheel, but she was on the left side of the car. In fact, in my notes, I say this version of my mother is like an “English” version of herself. I said “Mom … I love you. I always did. And I’m so sorry I was unkind to you in our relationship; especially as we both aged. I was so hurt and you were so patient with me even though I never lightened up, that I was constantly on vigil for you and unyielding. I do love you. I did love you… But this was our path…”

I reached in to touch her face, which was still energetically my mother, but physically not at all her, and when I pulled out my hand, it was filled with water. I turned back toward my yoga retreat friends and one of them was now drastically weakened, lying on the floor, and she needed the water, so I gave it to her to sip. I had enough water for all my retreat friends, who were now all present, guiding me forward. The energy of the crowd was shifting, it felt more dire.

I turned back to that mother energy and all the colors were gone. Everything now was black and white, and gray tones. The folds in her sweater were now like stripes and she appeared to be weakening, aging right before my eyes; her smile straightened a little. Her eyes and cheekbones started to fall, hollow. Her  chin became sharper and I began to realize she was dying right in front of me — all of it: from her vibrant, rosy cheeks to her aging to her wasting to her last breaths … in one dream, in one experience (which of course is true: this life is one continuous, connected experience isn’t it?).

She was fading away before my eyes. She became soft and nodded slowly and kindly and patiently to me. Silent, saying not a peep, not even “Piffle” (which was one of my favoritest things Mom said). The sense that this was a surrogate being was so strong at this point, that while my mother’s energy visited my psyche, that her energetic visage in complete attendance to my experience, was unavailable. And of course it left me wanting more of her. But the message was strong to me: that I was meant to have this realization that just as my mind was confused about who she was in the dream, such was it in life in our relationship: I have always felt confused, spongy, mostly antagonistic, distrustful, and ultimately misaligned with her, that our conversations were more parallel than intersecting; and even then, even though they were parallel, they were ideologically disparate.

I went to bed last night thinking in a high level (for me anyhow) way about her, that I need to really stop trying to figure her out; and I’ve become good about that: I’ve stopped trying to figure her out. Even if she was a puzzle wrapped in an enigma inside a riddle, that’s all I need to know. Anything else is a distraction from the life I have created and the life which is slipping through my own fingers. So having this dream, now in retrospect, was extremely healing.

I wrote this morning after returning from dropping my son at school, “I am now feeling authentically and not rationalizing that the tone of neutrality and statements of fact in my “apology” to the mother energy in my dream is (finally) just that: neutral: no sense of ownership for me or for her or a “role” that I had to play. The simple reality is that I am regretful that things weren’t better, more stable, sincere, softer, authentic and real between us — BUT THEY WERE! THEY WERE AS REAL AS THEY WERE GOING TO GET BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT HAPPENED!

The thing is, if Mom were still here today, and if I’d had the presence to say anything like that (which I know I have) the relationship wouldn’t change, because it didn’t before.

That same sense of confusion I felt in my dream regarding my mother’s “identity” (which I finally just stop insisting that it “check in” and decide to BE something) was/is so closely aligned with my ever-constant state of trying to “figure out” who she was (“was she in there?”) ALL MY LIFE. She was who she was. Why couldn’t I see this until now? Because I wanted to blame her for everything. ‘Not at 47…’

The point to all of this is the co-creation: this life IS what it is. We can think we see something else, we can try to twist it, chew it, shape it, rationalize it, describe it, experience it, let it torque and turn us. We can lie to ourselves and say it’s something else; we can enable it and abuse it, but the point is: it’s all futile to do much other than just Be with it (this is so deep even I’m getting lost now).

Typical of me: I take something that is so incredibly simple and complicate the piss out of it. I think that’s the point though isn’t it? To see things properly, to break all the shards away after we’ve twisted and smashed up the glass trying to see things the way we THINK we’re supposed to.

Trying to see life with our -isms and our people with their -isms with filtered lenses is an exhausting waste of energy and time. I interpret my fixation with “Mom’s” visage in the dream as a trap now: something to trip me up, like a technicality in a football game, because what she looked like –in this dream state– didn’t matter, the energy aligned with her and so that “familiarity” was with Mom. So as we are in real carbon-based life not in a dream: we are the energies rather than the forms… it’s the energy we respond do, never the form — think about it: you don’t respond to a person’s form, you respond to their subtle intention, the expression they make, the snicker or the smile… not the “body” or the face. The face and the body are identifiers, they are not the energy / essence of the person…

So that mirror I wrote about earlier? It’s to remind you of your intention and your energy. That phrase of Carl Jung’s could never be truer, something along the lines of what we find to be irritating or considerable in other people says more about ourselves. If you think someone is smug, it’s because you are too. If you think someone is wonderful, it’s because you are too. “When you point at someone else, three fingers are pointing back at you…” all that shit. It’s time to get real.

So I thought about my friend T and I realized again after realizing the above, that this dream, and all my life that my mother’s “energy” was who she was. I wasn’t put here to crack her “code” or fight for justice or shame or out her and her issues. That was all a ruse, a distraction, construct of ego, to keep me (and anyone else in that schema) from attending to me and performing to my highest potential (even though if you ask me, I have performed pretty freakin’ spectacularly), and it’s been a rut in a greater part of my adult life. One I am quite ready to break out of.

And what of that apology or statement of regret? I’m very close to seeing it as a release: that in forgiving her for her path in life, and realizing that I’m here to be me, that I can forgive me for being so “hard” (just being me) on her for so many years. Which is really, what I want more than anything: to forgive myself for being such a bull dog. I can’t necessarily blame it on the circumstance of my very young years: I eventually “grew up.” That’s what T means: it’s about me, not Mom. I can choose to be softer, more patient with Mom me now (and it’s so much easier…)

My mother and I were given to each other for teaching and learning. Just as you have been given your people and circumstances to teach and learn. These are the pockets of Grace; they are everywhere waiting for us to pick them, when we learn to let go of our shame and unfold into ourSelves.

Thank you.

One response »

  1. I can’t resist commenting. I haven’t been around for a while, because of some college courses I’m taking and because after a while and no offense to myself, I become tedious to myself. Anywho, I don’t know what I’m loving the most about this piece, the fact that as I get to know more of myself I come to the realization that I have been starving for validation all of my life and the fact that something I said to you stayed with you, gives me a sense of validation, of being heard, of some of me matters. Or do I love the fact that the article is wreaking with awareness and your truths as you see them or that it made me think (I couldn’t help it) it just popped in my head that the older woman in your dream, the one that did not look so much like your mom, is your future you, coming to tell you the messages you need to hear now. I have been listening to some awareness guru CD and I’ll leave you with some hard truths that I still have stuck in my throat, he says: “Consciousness always becomes form, you don’t get in life what you want, you get in life what you are” and my least favorite, but one I have decided to pay attention and buy into as a way of growing me up, “your lousy boss is YOU!” I gotta tell you Molly, I must really want some evolution to even consider for a moment that my lousy boss is me…but if it is true what he says that consciousness always becomes form, she is in my life by virtue of my creation. He also says that” we are creative geniuses, so creative in fact that we even know how to limit ourselves.” It kind of stopped me from quitting my current job, being that the main thing I want to get away from is my boss, but he goes on to saying “when you want change in your life, you do nothing about other people, you work on you, because if you don’t, that same boss we’ll be waiting for me in the next job with a different face and name and same needy, glory hogging, self centered attitude, all of which I have been able to recognize in me…GULP!

    XOXOXO

    T

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