Visions, Dreams and Reflections: A Visitor

I am and have always been a Dreamer.  Are you?  Since dreams, visions and reflections have inspired some of the pivotal turning points of my life, I would include them within one of my own MyStory Life Theme chapters.   I do hope that as you read any of the stories I am sharing in this blog from my own MyStory experiences, that these stories might help you to reflect on YOUR OWN MyStory stories and themes. I have always understood it is best to write about what I know best, which is why I share from my own life experiences, but the point of sharing about them here and in my books (Your Life Path, 2018; Better Endings, 2022) is TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO REFLECT ON and to write and/or creatively express yourself about your own Shaping Events, to inspire your own Better Endings.  So, I invite you again to keep a dedicated MyStory Journal, wherein you can record memoirs that are most meaningful to you and could be helpful for you to collect and share as a legacy of insights with others in your life. 

So, I add here one of my own MyStory short stories from the theme of Visions, Dreams and Reflections.  I have been blessed to occasionally recall a very clear “visionary” sort of dream.  These inner experiences usually occur in that zone of consciousness between sleeping and waking, when lucid dreaming commonly occurs. I hesitate to share many of these openly, because they are of such rare and deep significance.  But since I definitely include this one in my own MyStory collection, I choose to share it here in case it may carry some insight for others.

A Visitor

Between sleeping and waking, around a decade ago:  a beautiful Being appeared in my awareness as a Visitor. It is difficult to describe this Being, whom I think of as a Silent One.  Male or female? Olive toned or other? Old or young? Just this beautiful Presence.

S/he/It asks me a simple question, and the following brief dialogue ensues:

Beautiful Being (BB):  “So, how are things going out there?”

LW (somehow aware of the slant of the question): “Well, there are many people, with many different religious beliefs, but most people are still afraid of death.”

BB (after a prolonged, pregnant pause): “Next time, we won’t do Religion.”

Then I awoke.  I felt humbled and grateful to have received such a Visitation, and I have never forgotten our clear, brief exchange.  It has led me to ponder the cosmological and/or spiritual basis of this Being’s words. 

Just two days ago, I was reading Michio Kaku’s interesting book, The Future of Humanity.  As a footnote of sorts to my visionary Visit, while reviewing several theories about how the known universe might end, Kaku relates an interesting perspective based on Olaf Stapledon’s idea of a Star Maker:

“This takes us back to Olaf Stapledon, who imagined that there is a Star Maker, a cosmic being that creates and discards entire universes. He is like a celestial painter, constantly conjuring up new universes, tinkering with their properties, and then moving on to the next one. Each universe has different laws of nature and different life-forms.” (Michio Kaku, The Future of Humanity, pg. 303)

images are from pixabay.com

I am also reminded of a section of a book I read many years ago by Paul Twitchell, I think Dialogues With The Masters or maybe The Far Country. Twitchell similarly describes a sort of highly evolved being—I believe referred to therein as Silent Ones—who experiment with creating and designing universes.

So, what might be the relevance for my own understanding?  To me this insight from the Visitor in my waking dream has helped me to accept the wide diversity of religious or spiritual viewpoints, knowing that no matter how much I might—and do—explore spiritual awareness, likely I will never achieve higher clarity than my puny mental capacity may contain until after my own translation (death) from this bodily state.

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And you?  I invite you to write in your MyStory journal about some significant vison, dream or reflection(s) that you would wish to remember and share.

Detangling the Web of Core Relationships

As we proceed with building a corpus of MyStory tales, our most memorable and thematic life stories, I am reminded of Carl Jung’s significant record of his own ‘depth’ MyStory explorations in The Red Book.  Jung used active imagination (contemplation) techniques to sink deeply into his personal unconscious realm, to explore and interact with his internal archetypal personae.  After engaging with each archetype long enough to glean its message for Jung’s emerging, more fully integrated Self, he artistically created a colorful Mandala image and wrote in his Red Book (journal) about what he had learned. Jung recommended that anyone likewise interested in actively promoting their own individuation and integration of Self would do well to create their own ‘red book’: their own journal about their archetypal parts of Self, their own exploration of the Life Themes and character shards of their ever-emerging Self.

So that is what your MyStory is intended to be: your compilation of meaningful life stories that reveals the deep character of your dynamic Self.

For my part I find myself moving forward with my MyStory reflections to the Life Theme of personal relationships, which is a key theme for me, as it is for many.  My most significant Relationship theme stories are rather too personal to write much about in a public blog, but some of the most transformative of these are fodder for deep excavation and I can share at least some shards here which I will explore more deeply in my private MyStory journal.  In the process of exploring Life Theme lessons and insights, it is vital to detangle the curious web of relationships that have emerged and developed over a lifetime (at least!), to date.

Donna/ Don

To know me at all deeply is to know something of my relationship with Donna (pseudonym here).  This relationship has evolved since I was 17 and continues even after this dear friend’s passing around six months ago.  I will share some of what I can here, embellishing further in my private MyStory logs, seeking to unravel through layers of import to better glean kernel messages from this relationship for my Soul journey going forward.

I met Donna when I was 17.   A good high-school friend, Larry, himself a budding poet and close comrade in our drama club (the actor who played the soldier dying under a tree in Viet Nam as recalled in the previous post), approached me in the hall one day at school, and with his signature panache said:

“Say Yes!”

“Yes,” I responded faithfully. “What did I just agree to?”
“Fencing!”

Thus began a journey that has woven through my life ever since, both in terms of wonderful adventures with fencing throughout my college years and into my life overall, and through my relationship with a dynamic, uniquely gifted lifelong friend, Donna.  She was the instructor for a ten-week class in fencing at an arts center in my home-town (where I have returned to live recently, in part for the sake of reflecting on this deep relation).

So, Donna, and fencing (the latter a theme I will explore separately down the road).  Donna is one of the most dynamic persons I have ever known. I feel most fortunate that after the ten weeks of our fencing class, she invited the students to order some equipment and I ventured to her apartment one Thursday after school to pick up a mask, glove and foil that would launch my later fencing career (on a college fencing squad), and that would initiate one of my most influential friendships. We began a conversation that afternoon that developed and evolved such that even in my current active contemplations and dreams, I still visit with this dear Soul friend.

Donna became a mentor and friend over several years throughout my last two years of high-school and through my college years in Buffalo, continuing by phone and letters after that.   She took interest in helping me explore and develop my own creative and spiritual awareness.  I shared my journals with her and she gave me lists of books to read and discuss, as we met weekly for the next two years, every Thursday after school.  As Avatar portrays for a close connection, Donna “saw me,” and in turn, I now realize, I saw her, as Soul, too.

Some shards of memory from those initial several years of my connection with Donna

  • Books and poetry, including:  Camus’ notebooks and The Stranger; Schopenhauer’s Either/ Or; Yeats’ Selected Poetry of W. B. Yeats (much of which I memorized) and The Vision; Nightwood by Djuna Barnes (whom Donna knew in NYC while an actress there); The Moveable Feast by Hemingway; Anais Nin’s diaries and Seduction of the Minotaur; The Chalk Garden play (the first work we discussed); and The Alexandria Quartet by Lawrence Durrell (the second). (These and others set me up very well for my English major studies to come in college.)
  • “Who is the real LW?”
  • Fencing: Donna’s visit to my fencing club, where my early coach was also one of her friends; Our team’s (and my own) placing 9th (by 2 pts from 7th) of 125 or so university fencing teams in intercollegiate nationals, 1975
  • Visits to Donna over college breaks and over summers
  • Visiting Donna at a hospital’s mental health ward when she was in for ‘nervous breakdown’ and MPD was diagnosed (see below)
  • My own poetry about our friendship through the years; her mentorship continuing through my undergraduate and Masters study college years

Flash forward: to my early doctoral study times in Arizona, some ten years or so into our friendship.  One night I felt a clear inner call to communicate with Donna.  We had long shared an unusually ‘psychic’ connection. The next morning I dialed her number (she by then living in Florida) from a pay phone at the Anthropology building at ASU:

LW: “Hello. Is Donna there?” (her housemate/ partner had answered)

K: “Who is this? Yes, Just a minute…”

D: “Hello?” (a deep voice at the other end of the line;

 was this a friend who was to tell me

of Donna’s recent passing?)

LW: “This is Linda…”

D: “Yes, hello!” (It was Donna; as I listened more closely

I recognized my Friend)

D: “I have changed my name, Linda.”

LW: “Okay.” (I took out pen and paper, ready to write down

Donna’s new married name.)

D: “It is Donald. You have called on the very day

before I am going for my final operation.”

I had not communicated with Donna for nearly a year, so this conversation brought quite a surprising revelation about my dear mentor and friend.  Lots had developed that I have mostly not recorded above that led Donna to this transformational choice.  She had experienced several years of eventually successful therapy after a diagnosis of Multiple Personality Syndrome.  A highly talented actress and theater director, Donna had developed a panoply of at least eleven distinct personalities since around the time of my sophomore year in college.  She had first been diagnosed with ‘nervous breakdown’ episodes, then her MPD condition fully emerged. She underwent a successful hypnotherapy program, but it revealed that Donna’s core personality was actually, at least after the integrational therapy, Donald.  So, after the requisite year of transgender living and hormone therapy–during which it was discovered Donna had had a blue bracelet applied after birth, with a surgical “correction” such as more babies than most of us realize still receive—doctors unanimously approved Gender Congruence Surgery, and Donna transitioned ‘in place’ in Florida, to Donald. This baby then, raised as Donna, had never been fully comfortable in that persona. Donald was central to this Soul’s outlook and personal consciousness.

Okay, so the first time I met Donald in person was the summer after that revelatory phone call.  When I saw him (as him) for the first time, at the airport when He came to greet me, inwardly I felt myself stating over and over: “That’s it!”  There had always been a sense of something mysterious and unusual about Donna’s persona—like there was always something hidden, something so unique that other than her amazing intelligence and creative virtuosity, I could never pinpoint. But seeing Donna as Donald ‘made sense’ of some of that mysterious quality.

My connection with Donald continued though not at the level of closeness I had shared with Donna.  Yet I found through the many years to follow something unexpected in my own internal, spiritual life: dreams of visiting Donna, as Donna, developed into a frequent feature of my very active dream life. (I have long felt there should be a clinical interest in such dreams of the friends and allies of ‘sex-change’ cases.)

The first dream: I go to a house and knock on the door. A man opens the door, and I ask if I can visit with Donna. He says no, but I can see her if I go to the patio. I am then on a patio that reminds me of a classical Greek villa (a courtyard surrounded on at least three sides by its house).  Looking up to the top of a small knoll just beyond the house, I see Donna standing there, and she sees me. She sends like a girl scout down to give me a message. (Later I realized the other residents of the house included Donald—who had answered the door—and Donna’s other MPD personae. She had been sort of expelled from the assemblage.)

Another significant early dream: I see Donna at an intersection, a crossroads. I could tell she was in some pain; that something had been ripped out from her right shoulder. Around the same time a dream of seeing Donna at another crossroads, where two pathways were to diverge. Her path was binary, one person (Donald) moving off to the right, and Donna herself to the left. She held up a placard (like in a a Brecht play I had recently read, Mother Courage), with one word: Eternellement. (I felt she showed me this as a sign of our enduring spiritual connection.)

images aare from pixabay.com

Then over decades, similar dreams of Visiting Donna:  I would visit her at an apartment overlooking a pond with a walkway around it.  We would talk as we had in our earlier year visits. We would sometimes play Scrabble or some sort of game while overlooking the pond. (I felt that this apartment setting was like a “purgatory” sort of existence that Donna had to endure so long as Donald continued in his occupation of their erst shared body; that Donna would not be able to “move on” until Donald’s passing.

NOW: I maintained a connection with Donald through nearly forty years, visiting with him twice and more regularly (though not so deeply) after he invited me to play Words with Friends with him, where we sometimes would Chat, for around 15 years.

Donald had an excellent life experience, as a behavioral health liaison and eventually a director there, still active as an actor and director in local theater productions, and with a long-term partner for over twenty years.  He experienced a lot of physical health hardships, as do many on long-term hormonal treatment. He dealt with joint problems then also cancer over a long duration until finally he transpired, some six months or so ago.

Yet my dreams of visiting with Donna continue. Only once so far, shortly after his passing, Donald communicated. He said there was something he had wanted to tell me. (I hope that would have been that he had always remembered the depth of our friendship.)  I went to visit Donna recently at another apartment setting, but she was in a car in a garage with several people attending to her (it felt like she was in distress because she was still not being allowed yet to move on.) And last week, a sweet though brief visitation with Donna in the dream state, to suggest we will continue to be in touch…eternellement.

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And you? What have been some of the deepest, most transformative relatioonships in your life? I invite you to write in your MyStory journal, to explore and plumb the depths of your core relations.

MyStory Pet Tales, II

What about your own MyStory pet tales? What gifts and lessons have your beloved animal Soul companions brought to your life? Are there some stories about your pet Friends that have been meaningful episodes or chapters from your Life Story? I invite you to journal, write about, or share with a loved one—human or otherwise—about your special, MyStory pet tales.

Indeed, I invite you to start a new journal, which you can call MyStory, for you to explore and collect some of the most meaningful tales of your life’s journey in relation to your major life themes.

Since Pets has been such a prominent theme in my life, it will take this and maybe a few more posts about my pet memoires to explore the underlying mystery of MyStory in relation to at least some of my other-than-human loved ones.

Here’s a story that definitely belongs in my corpus of MyStory Pet Tales”

“Yellow Eyes”

Some thirty years ago while I was completing doctoral work in Arizona, I was preparing to teach an anthropology module about hominid evolution when I had a very significant past-life ‘story dream’: a dream with a fully developed narrative.

In this dream, I am an archaic homo sapiens boy walking along in an open veld. I only have a rudimentary language, with some basic nouns and verbs but little or no syntax. I look up and think “sky” then “storm,” seeing that the sky is a greenish hue. (BTW It was only long AFTER this dream that I ever learned a green sky could precede tornadic weather.) To my right then in the dream I see “cave” up on a cliff side, and I scramble up the cliff to take shelter from the storm in the cave. Clouds darken and the storm rages outside the cave. I sense a presence and look around me in the cave, seeing a pair of eyes: “yellow eyes”, “tiger”; also taking shelter from the storm. We are each wary of one another but we seem to make an agreement not to harm one another while waiting for the storm to pass. As soon as it has abated, I step backward to allow the Tiger to leave the cave, eyeing me again on her way out.

As I am waking from this dream memory, another, seemingly later life incident flashes also in my awareness. I am a young African man walking along on a jungle trail. A lion leaps to attack me from my left, but at the same time a tiger leaps out to repel the lion!  As I am waking, I am thinking gratefully again: Yellow Eyes!

Emily

These story dreams truly felt like they were “past life” memories.  Then, flash way forward as I have shared loving and deeply meaningful relationships with a series of feline companions in this life who each, so it has happened, have had yellow/ gold eyes: Chela (13 yrs.), Ariel (20 yrs.), and currently Emily (now 14).

I had these dreams while beautiful Ariel was in my life: a female tortoise-shell calico.  The story about how she and I found each other is as significant as my archaic Yellow Eyes dreams. It also started from a dream story:

I am (in this dream) leaving a castle grounds where I have been visiting my former philosophy professor mentor who had recently passed away. It was this professor, Dr. Antoinette Paterson from Buffalo, who had introduced me to my beloved cat Chela over 13 years prior.  As I go to close the large, wrought iron gate of the castle grounds on my way out, I look down and see this beautiful female cat walking toward me. She is black with orange splotches and white on her paws and on a blaze under her chin. We recognize each other very familiarly and I kneel down to greet her as she comes over and jumps into my arms.

After waking from this castle dream, I went to campus where I was then in graduate school.  The first person I saw on campus that day was my then Anthropology professor-mentor PhD advisor, Betsy.  The first words out of my advisor’s mouth to me that morning:

Betsy: “Linda, can you take a kitten?”

My answer: “Only if she is black and white with orange splotches!”

Betsy: “One of them is!”

I went over to my advisor’s home and of all the litter of kittens she had acquired, one was timidly hiding out in a dresser bureau drawer. When we looked at each other I knew right away, this was Ariel.  The orange tiger striping on her forelegs and crown had similar patterns to my earlier Chela who had passed away about six months before. And her eyes: yes, they were golden.

images (except my Emily) are from pixabay.com

During cold weather (or relatively cold, in Arizona) or when I would need to leave Ariel on her own for several hours, I would prop up a firm pillow on my bed under a blanket so Ariel could cuddle up either by my side or on her own in this Cave for warmth and shelter.  After my archaic homo sapiens dream, I would sometimes address Ariel while she was in this Cave as Yellow Eyes.

So what MyStory messages do I take away from these dreams and experiences with my beloved cat Friends? I believe in reincarnation and that animals are Soul, too.  Pet reincarnation, for me, is quite real. I feel deeply blessed and ever grateful.

The Wizard of Oz: A Classic Tale of Better Endings

Like so many, I have loved the movie The Wizard of OZ since childhood.  I guess I like it even more than most, as I have written about Dorothy’s archetypal individuation process—which is what her adventure in Oz is about from an archetypal psychology perspective—in my book Your Life Path (2018, Skyhorse Publishers).   The Scarecrow (unfulfilled or wounded Teacher), Tin Man (unfulfilled Lover) and Cowardly Lion (unfulfilled Warrior), along with Dorothy’s dear animus Toto, are immature facets of Dorothy’s inner persona that she needs to strengthen and integrate in order to develop her own more mature, unified, individuated Self.

I watched it again this week.  Now I can see how the entire story, from the point that Dorothy and Toto are swept Over the Rainbow by the tornadic winds of her internal growing pains, is a ‘better endings’ narrative.  Dorothy’s adventure into the ‘forbidden zone’ of deep unconscious imagery is a chance for her to re-vision her life situation in Kansas (i.e., in the ‘conscious’ state—over the rainbow being her ‘unconscious’ dreamworld–, viz. Jean Houston’s reading) so that, ultimately, she will be able to stand up to the nasty neighbor with wisdom, compassion, and courage, and save her beloved companion Toto.

Me with my own Sophia
(I can identify with Dorothy!)

Significant dreams, as adventures in the realms of the deep ‘Unconscious’, provide an excellent canvas for re-visioning our life situations so we can achieve better endings in our ‘outer’ life. As a species that–at our best–constantly strives for self-transcendence in the form of personal growth and awareness, we are always aiming to forge better endings, every step of the way.

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?
– Robert Browning

The Mirror of Erised: What If?

A fun and effective way to reveal your own better endings desires of the heart is to simply fill in the blank for the following probe:  What If ______?  This is like looking into the Mirror of Erised at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter stories.  You may discover there that which you most deeply desire.

For example, allow me to try this on to sample the approach:

WHAT IF?

What If …  I were to find just the right ‘next move’, at just the right time, and I could easily afford it? {This leads me to contemplate: What am I looking for, next?}

What If …   Better Endings (my new book, launching soon!) will help many readers discover next steps in their own life adventures?

What If?I would practice greater patience with a team-building opportunity?

What If? … I could go forward with my science fiction trilogy project by launching Book 1 on Kindle? {What am I waiting for, and why?}

What If? … Peace in the heart helps bring peace in the world?  {I need to remember to be a vehicle of Light and Love, instead of feeding my own or others’ fear or mere condemnation.}

What If? … I could create a backyard labyrinth at my next home, or find a good one nearby? {This is a call for deeper, more regular contemplation, centering, balance.}

What If?I related to all others as the spirit Lights they are, so they could see that for themselves in my mirror of love?

What If? … I could see through the Illusion of separation; in time, space/geography, and spirit?

What If? … I could harness the insights communicated in my dreams, more and more?

What If? … silence is golden?

I like using at least ten prompts as modeled above, because the repetition compels me to look sometimes at the surface and also to deeper levels within.

images are from pixabay.com

I invite you to try this for yourself!  Make a list of ten or more What Ifs? that come to you as you actively imagine and/or journal in response to this prompt.  I urge you to search for and express positive, better ending sorts of responses.  Does this help reveal to you some of the desires of your heart?  Well, then,
of course:

FOLLOW YOUR HEART!

Live Your Dream

“I dreamed it, man!”
Aaron Donald
LA Rams defensive tackle
(2/13/22, after VLII Superbowl game
)

What a wonderful contemplation seed!

The legendary NFL player, Aaron Donald, was not speaking figuratively after his team’s recent Superbowl win; he really did dream of his game-ending play.  Donald sacked the opposing team’s quarterback in the 4th quarter on 4th down with 1 yard to reach a first down, and with only seconds left to play.  Had the Bengals gained that first down they would have likely at least tied the score and sent this year’s Superbowl game into overtime.  But the lineman who sacked the QB to win the Big Game for his team had “dreamed it!” and so it came to be.

What does it take to synch your inner dream world of goals and ‘can do’ possibilities with your outer world of physical action, resulting in the realization of your deeply cherished ideals?  Here is a better endings question well worth pursuing.

If you can visualize achieving your goal, as successful athletes and stage performers learn well, then you can manifest that vision. You forge a thought mold, and then you fill it. There is nothing mysterious or magical or difficult or forbidden about this process of manifestation. But it takes dedication to a worthy goal, study and practice to achieve the skill necessary to enact the pattern (fill the mold), and strong belief in your own ability or talent.

images are from pixabay.com

Better Endings Story Seed:
Live Your Dream

Have you ever worked so hard at pursuing a goal that you literally dreamed of your success and then found yourself living out that dream in ‘real life’? How can you apply your faculty of creative visualization to realize or bring yourself nearer to fulfilling some worthy goal? Journal in your Better Endings Journal (any loose-leaf paper or blank page book) about a ‘dream’ or goal that you would like to bring into reality. Imagine yourself achieving your goal. What do you see? How DID you do it?

Let Your True North Find You!

North Star, Stars, Night, Night Sky, Sky

Usually we are told or conditioned to take active, even bold when needed, steps to realize our dreams or to claim our happiness. We value our sense of agency although sometimes this may lead to our feeling like it is me (or, you) against the world, like somehow we need to wrest happiness from a harsh and forbidding world. But this week I have had an experience that shows me the value of letting my next step in growth and development, I’ll call it my True North, find me! 

Over a year ago I took action based on a sudden impulse; I wrote a letter addressing an agency in the hometown I was preparing to move back to.  Without exposing details here on a dear opportunity still only in its infancy, this agency had helped me with some writing projects in the past, and I thanked them and let them know I was returning to town so that if there was anything I might be able to do that they might need (like PT work for them), I would welcome that. In truth an underlying reason for reaching out to this agency in my beloved home town was because I was looking for a way to give something back to the community (and this agency) that had given me so much and helped to launch my life career on many levels.

Greeting Card, Letter, Paper, Stationery

I heard back maybe a month or so later from staff at the agency. The director I had addressed was not in town due to COVID19 and no, they did not need any help. Okay, I thought, at least it had been worth the effort to reach out based on following my inner nudge.

I relocated and have now been back in my hometown for nearly a year. I love it here. It is the same quaint village yet more developed now around a performing arts center (that I ushered for during its first two seasons while I was finishing college as an undergraduate). The wider location is expansive and dynamic; there is no end of opportunities for adventures to explore.  I continue to teach online, which I also love and am grateful for being able to do ‘remotely,’ now from my beloved hometown.

People, Parade, Fun, Friends, Lifestyle

Then three days ago I get this call from a local phone number. It is the director of the agency I had written to over a year ago!  He had returned from living in Canada through the worst of the pandemic and he found my letter while looking through some papers that had accumulated at his office. He is perfectly delightful; we talked quite awhile, realizing we share many points of intersection in our interests and experiences.  In fact next week we are set to meet for coffee to continue the conversation and there are possibly some opportunities for me to be of service and also for some of my current writing projects to be reviewed in new ways.

All of this has been so unexpected, at least consciously. If you’ll remember I had a dream last week about moving into a more expansive or roomy (and more Rumi, I associated) state of consciousness. Then just two days later or so, this phone call from ‘out of the blue’ opens new possibilities for realizing some of my deepest life ambitions for service and for writing. These are two ways through which I aim to serve life, to embrace and give gratitude to all life with love, perhaps in the sort of vein of gold Rumi bespeaks in his remarkable poem I included last time (“Word Fog”).

So we shall see wherever this might lead, but I am grateful for the opening to greater possible connections!

Characters, Statues, Sculptures, Trust
images are from pixabay.com

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Better Endings Story Seed

Let Your True North Find You!

How about you? Have there been moments in your life, or are you seeking such, whereby you relaxed and found that your next step reached out to YOU?  I invite you to contemplate, dream, or journal about that as a Better Endings exercise.

A More Rumi State of Mind: “Word Fog”

Dhammakaya Pagoda, Budha, Gold, Buddhism
image is from pixabay.com

Funny. I knew last week that I wanted to post the Rumi poem below, “Word Fog”, with this week’s blog, even if I did nothing but share this poem itself because I find Rumi’s words to be sublime, with such amazing depth of insight (as translated by Coleman Barks in Rumi—The Big Red Book).  Then a few nights ago I had a dream about moving into a new apartment. The apartment was very spacious, room after room unfolding as I walked through it, so when I awoke I knew the dream was about moving into a more expansive state of consciousness. Then it hit me how this was a more “roomy” = Rumi consciousness! May it be so!

Transformative Transitions: The Spirit of Optimism

Sunrise, Light, Sun, Web, Natural Reserve

I shall cast this week’s blog in the form of a collage of images encountered over the last week or so as I have been transitioning from one creative cycle into another. I find it most useful to bring optimism to envisioning and planning for a new season of growth and opportunity.  This week that has truly led to new potentials opening before me. With gratitude “for all good things received,” allow me to share from a series of waking dream images that have helped me navigate my transition.

Spirit leads the Way:

[I was riding on a carousel at the Buffalo Zoo. Notice the name of the horse in my lead.]

Then the next day:

“May you have clear skies and a following sea”

[On a sign posted aboard a Buffalo Harbor Cruise boat I was on, touring the Buffalo Canalside with my Goddaughter.]

Plus I had a literal wake-up call, from a vision upon waking. In the dream, just an image and a title inscribed within and around it:

And then the next day, from my book club reading for the month, The Book of Two Ways, by Jodi Picoult, a phrase from an Egyptian tomb that fortuitously echoes my dream image:

Time is a Circle,

Time is a Line.

I am grateful for the daily blessings of waking dreams that help me recognize the Path that opens before me, supporting my positive goals and deep intentions. Bottom line for this week is now I am in the forward moving process of editing the circulation proposal for my book ms., supported by my agent.  Optimism carries me forward with renewed energy and focus. The dream visions and images along with inspiring ‘waking dreams’ indicate the path I am to follow.

Centering

Lemur, Wildlife, Madagascar

My question of the month is about maintaining balance as a byway for sustaining happiness. Centering is a golden mean for establishing balance. This is widely recognized in athletics as well as in health and in the arts. “Holding your center” allows you to respond appropriately, even artfully, to any condition or situation. Meditation or active-imagination contemplation along with a regular practice of honing mastery skills can create a core condition of centeredness from which to act with deep awareness and with well-grounded intention.

My fencing friends—hi Ro and Michael!—know well where I am headed with this. As in most sports yet very explicitly for fencing, you must be centered in a balanced form to have the fluidity to advance or retreat, to defend as well as to establish and launch an attack, at will. As well, pulling an opponent “off center” is a paramount tactic for defeating their ‘game’ so you will control the pacing of the action yourself.

Agility, Ballet, Dancing, Athlete

Here is a contemplation seed that I have been reflecting on this month while considering the value of balance:

“Is it kind?

Is it necessary?

Is it true?”

(from Harold Klemp)

For those on the (and my) spiritual path of Eckankar, this is a standard practice, to consider these questions before expressing any thought, words, or action. If the answer to any of these questions is negative, it may be helpful to reconsider. I have succeeded and failed often enough depending on whether I have utilized these brakes, or not, in the moment. I find it brings patience and a higher viewpoint or greater wisdom, when I can pause enough to consider my actions with care.

I will add this week a record of a dream I had yesterday morning, as I see a balance theme hidden in it. I was being chased by a negative force, one main negative agent pursuing me and a friend along with several of the negative agent’s minions. This dream went through several scenarios, and I and my friend successfully evaded all attacks (including an attempted break-in, a violation of my personal space), until finally it had us cornered at a high cliff’s edge. As I looked back I could see several pairs of the negative force’s agents guarding any possible escape and closing in, with the central villain approaching to capture us once and for all!  I looked over the edge at the high drop, seeing that a leap into the void would likely mean instant death. But in the dreamscape this was preferable to me than being captured and killed by this vile force, so I leapt over the edge! The villain did not want me to escape his control that easily, so he lept after me with a ley-line to anchor him to the ground so he could pull us both back from the descent. As he came toward me and tried to hold onto me assuming I would want to be saved, I pushed him off from the ley-line and watched him cascade to hit the bottom, killing him. Somehow then I was poised against the cliff top, grasping a small knob perilously. I did not think I could climb back to the surface so I contemplated just letting go, thinking I might be able to aim to the wall of the cliff and roll down, possibly still dying but trying anyway to save myself. At this point instead of dropping, I realized I had another choice, which was to wake up. That’s what I did, grateful to realize this had been a dream yet also wondering if I might have died physically in my sleep from the night terror of falling.

So where does balance enter into the dream equation here? First, I was in a situation of needing to protect my boundaries from negative forces aiming to invade my consciousness and draw me off center. Second, at the cliff-hanger edge (literally!), I had choices to make while perched perilously at the edge. I chose to act, to be a cause rather than an effect of the negative agent, which allowed me to retain my own agency rather than relinquishing that to the negative force. When I released the hold on the villain allowing him to fall to his death, I felt no emotion—neither for nor against—as I watched him fall. I knew it was his own actions which had caused his demise so that I had no responsibility for his death. And I had a further choice either to take the descent myself and possibly perish of my own accord or to, ultimately, find an alternate path and “wake up,” which of course I am glad I chose! (Where that awareness of the choice to wake up came from I would have to attribute to my protective inner guidance, so I am grateful for that, always!)

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images are from pixabay.com

Being centered in the moment allows choice. It slows the action from a higher level of awareness, so your action or expression can flow from your Center rather than your being merely reactive to or the passive effect of external situations or forces.

Eagle with Snake

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While driving in my car via a new route for me, from Ithaca to finally settle in at my new lakeside community retirement house, I watched as a Golden Eagle carried its living prey: a snake, dangling from its beak. The eagle with snake flew in front of my car in my same direction for a long while, weaving back and forth like blazing my trail forward; then it veered off to the northwest, precisely in the direction of my new home.

I certainly accepted this unusual experience as a waking dream, and one that relates greatly to my June question: ‘Why Am I Here?’

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My initial personal associations with this sign include that the Eagle could be understood as an Animus (a masculine energy form) in Jungian terms, with keen vision, sharp talons to provide for its young; also as positive purpose and clear directionality.

Online some of the information I discovered about this image revealed:

  •  Eagles and hawks have the keenest vision of all birds; therefore they are symbols of visionaries and messengers;
  • eagle with snake, in mythology, represents the conflict of opposites (a dialectical, dynamic fusion);
  • the Mexican flag contains the image of a golden eagle on top of a cactus, grasping a snake: “the very image the people had been promised would direct them to the place they would make their new home.”
  • Golden eagles do eat snakes but only as 2.9% of their usual prey; this has not even been reported to occur in New York state.

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images are from pixabay.com

I am grateful for this sign which feels like a blessing for my purpose in my new home. May I serve Life here in whatever capacity I am able.

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments!

Stephen Hawking from the Other Side (or, What’s Love Got to Do With It?)

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This year we are exploring and pursuing our dreams here at Better Endings. Each month I invite you to put forth a deep personal question that relates to your high spiritual quest, let’s say, for it pertains to your greatest sense of mission or life purpose, in this life or beyond.

After posing your question (week 1) I encourage you to pay attention to and record your nightly dreams (week 2), then to contemplate your waking dreams and emerging insights about your question (week 3), so by the end of the month (week 4) you can compose/ write a Better Endings story or scenario about how best to incorporate what you have learned into your future Life Path.

I am excited this week from a dream I had yesterday morning (4/9) and to reflect on how it pertains to my own monthly personal question (but, please use your own): What’s Love Got to Do With It? (or, Does/ How Can Love Matter?)

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In my dream I am at a campus of—truly—Higher Learning (n.b., always use present tense in recalling your dream). First I am visiting a sports field where teams dressed in white and azure blue are playing a game akin to soccer except they use thought impulses to propel or to counter the ‘ball’ along the field a to goal area. A middle-aged appearing man approaches the field to observe the game with us from the right. I think to myself, ‘Is that Stephen Hawking?’—from his shock of hair though it is reddish here, and from his lithe step…until I realize this man is not in a wheelchair, which throws me at first.

Then I wheel/ drive a wheeled chair vehicle to carry a friend (woman, semitic appearing) to a special meal event. (This part was so important in my dreaming that it had an instant replay so I would be sure to recall it on waking.) The guest of honor at this honorary meal was indeed Stephen Hawking! This time he appeared more like I would envision him though he was seated upright and without any wheelchair or speech problems.

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The people who had organized and were hosting this special event are two of the greatest spiritual leaders I have been fortunate to know: Luisa and Gordon (last names not used here for their privacy), who are superb leaders with a spiritual group I have been associated with in Colorado. Several other guests at the table include a couple of other folks from that group and some special, once famous bright thinkers who have ‘passed on.’

Hawking shares a new insight he has gained since translating his form into the higher planes with the death of his physical form. Luisa observes that the principle he is describing could help ‘the Poor’ (though she qualifies that she is not yet sure if she would support such use for the sake of wanting people to strengthen rather than being dependent on quick solutions). Hawking agrees. He says that ‘students’ can, ‘even now’ (i.e. in the Physical, I surmise) use this principle to create abundance to meet their immediate needs, by manifesting through some sort of feedback loop effect, “reflecting (thought? spirit?) back on itself.” This statement is so astounding and exciting to me in the ‘dream’ that I wake up immediately on hearing this (btw, a good way to remember an important lucid dream message is to train yourself to wake up right then).

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So, “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” Everything. My bigger question about Love this month is ‘(How) Can Love Matter?’ which itself more deeply asks: Is there (after all) a meaning and purpose or positive results from living this (i.e. a particular) lifetime? As Love Is All, the basic fabric of the Universe and all things and Spirit Itself that fills such universe (my view), What/How Can Love Matter (“in the End”)?

In this dream of Stephen Hawking continuing to grow and share his uniquely gifted insight from Beyond in an after this lifetime context, well then, Wow!

Love/ Life/ It CAN and often DOES Matter, Very Much!

A lifetime of experience is not wasted and provides spacetime for developing or honing awareness and, hopefully, wisdom. We are unfolding this individualized awareness and character not just in a single lifetime (my belief includes the assumption of reincarnation to the point of eventually transcending even that); and not only in our current bodies that carry us along for a life cycle, but beyond that as well.

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images are from pixabay.com

It comes down to what we can do with the love we have expressed and the awareness gained in a lifetime of focused experience. The old adage, “you can’t take it with you” does not abide here. True enough, we do not take or physical body nor our material acquisitions with us as we translate from this lifetime into the next/ other dimensions. But we do retain our individualized consciousness as a facet of our higher Soul awareness, a spark of divine wisdom, a molecule in the creative fountainhead, from the Ocean of love/life force Itself (my limited view, of course).

So, goodbye to Despair! This has been my deeper concern over the past few monthly themes. (This) lifetime can/ does/ shall matter, for Love is All, the source and basis of all transcendent awareness. This reminds me of a useful insight:

“Soul is a happy entity.

IT cannot be any other way.”

(Paul Twitchell)

I welcome YOUR Story and Comments

Better Endings Stories/ Month One

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The process I am encouraging you to engage with this year is a Better Endings approach. Week One for each month you may pose a personal question involving a deep personal life goal or pursuit. Week Two: record and reflect on your nightly dreams for insights about your question. Week Three: look for Waking Dreams that could further help you to understand and resolve your question. Then Week Four (this week for January), I invite you to compose or creatively envision a Better Endings Story about how you CAN manifest a positive future scenario with regard to your personal quest.

Creative visualization via active imagination or contemplation is a fun, helpful Tool that lets us exercise our Higher Self imagination.

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So, let’s have at! It can help to give a title to your Better Endings future scenario. Use the insights you have been gathering about your question throughout the month. My own BE Story for January, by way of example, is:

Writing Forth

The path is being cleared even now for me to go forth, to finally settle into my writing future at my new home. It is amazing how swiftly the universe of Spirit has opened this new space which is exactly what I need for moving ahead.

Now is a time for doing what I can to prepare the ground and nourish the roots for future growth. Interesting how my sister gave me a spruce/ evergreen tree which is sprouting new growth wildly now and that my strongest dream was of a woman in white clearing the path ahead with a spruce branch. 

I will design my new home, which I am closing on this Friday, as a constant writing retreat. There is a writers group that meets Fridays 10-12 at the nearby library from there. And it is closer to a wider community interested in body-mind-spirit topics with which my writing projects connect.  I can finally settle down to publish the first of my science fiction/ fantasy books while also offering life mapping services re. Your Life Path (see right panel to order) and completing the second manuscript on the Life Paths series.

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images are from pixabay.com

So, I invite you to reflect on a question you have been pondering this month (or you can establish one now). What insights have you gained this month as you contemplate your question? It is part of your greater Life Quest. Once you have assembled some of your insights around your question, write a Better Endings Story!

I welcome Your Story or Comments.

Dreamin’

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Last week I invited you to state a personal question for the month to explore by reflecting on your dreams, your inner guidance, and outer ‘signs’ or synchronicity (waking dreams). Please review your question again or develop one now. This week, I invite you to reflect on your question by posing your question inwardly to invoke nighttime dreams about your topic, and/or to review and reflect upon your recent dreams that are relevant to your question.

For my part, second week posts will include some dream tips as well as modeling from my own process and experiences.

Dream Tip:  A.C.T. on your dreams! To me this means: 1) ASK for (and then ACCESS or record) dreams that are relevant to your personal question. Then 2) CONSIDER or CONTEMPLATE the messages from the relevant dreams you receive. And 3) TAKE ACTION based on the dream’s message as you understand it, to manifest positive personal growth and development.

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Dreams are our personal inner laboratory for exploring any question, principle, or choice we may have as well as being a fertile, unlimited field for exploring the inner landscape of the Cosmos!

Example: My own question for this month is about how I can revitalize my writing activity and move forward with that creative and service oriented process despite being overburdened with responsibilities and necessary new home mortgage procedures (I will be moving again, gradually from Feb 1 til July, and meanwhile moving back and forth between two residences as of Feb 1.) This week I am asking for dreams and reviewing my dream journal (Tip 2: Always keep a dream journal and review it often.)

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I have kept a dream journal (within a larger journal usually) since I was twenty.  I know that when I do have a pressing personal question, reviewing my dream journal will always throw light upon that question because I know we mull over our deep questions inwardly sometimes even before we are consciously aware of the importance of a challenge or issue we are pondering.

Some dream journal entries relevant to my question:

8/12/18 [just after relocation]: Dreamed of worry over future employment and service potentials after graduating from grad school [as though I just had left college]. I know this represents my lifelong concern over making a difference: ‘What difference does it make?’ or settling into a life with a lack of creative productivity.

8/18/18: An adventure dream –in story form– Russell Crowe as the older and me as the younger Self. We stop by a room with xmas decorations we have set up, en route to some upcoming activity. I see someone else, a friend from from my past, will be involved with that upcoming activity.

8/27/18: Dream of presenting a partially completed manuscript to  an advisor–thinking it was in good form but open it and it is like a seafood gumbo: a miasma! So, it is back to work.

1/6/2019: See a lady in white going before me and to left along a trail going upwards, carrying a large pine branch. I follow humbly and am grateful.

This morning (1/9/19): Mulling over a question about how to proceed forward and am shown this  “hole” on a white field, that sucks in like a whirlpool drain in a sink…maybe a wormhole! But as I contemplate whether to dive into it (as being proposed inwardly for me to do), I have a fear because I am told the “It goes on forever!” My fear is that everything I have ever been, known, or done will be dissolved, and if it goes on forever, how will I ever emerge to have any solid reality ever again? (on waking, think the message is that this positive, needed leap of faith is to be very deeply TRANSFORMATIVE!)

REFLECTION/ INTERPRETATIONS : 

Two of the dreams show a higher (or elder) and a younger (or outer) Self, or a Guide I am learning from or following. That Higher Self/ Guide is blazing a trail or helping me with my creative and spiritual ambitions. The pine branch means clearing a pathway forward (and now I see the lady in white possibly as my current realtor who has found my next location, a great space for writing!) The future is about transformation and will require dropping the past…plunging into the void of new experience!

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images are from pixabay.com

So, dear Better Endings reader, go forth! Review or start a new dream journal for this year’s process and ask/ write out your question inwardly, then review your Dreams.

I welcome YOUR Story, Questions, and Comments!

Time Out of Time

Travel…ah, a breath of fresh air! Time to breathe again, so we might say. But it is “time out of Time,” an equinox we create for ourselves between cycles. Or perhaps more simply, Time Out!

A great ‘better endings’ account of the role and opportunities of Travel in our lives is found in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. An ordinary fellow in a mundane seeming life of hard work and routine on the surface, yet the real Walter lived an imaginative life of fun and daring adventure. Eventually, the ‘secret’ life and his conscious wakeaday world combined to bring greater upliftment and fulfillment.

Who are YOU when you travel? What transformations do you undertake in leaving the familiar zone and embarking on adventure?

A few years back a good friend and I planned (for two years!) and then went on a two week trip to Ireland. The newness of the verdant environment, fresh air, dialects, and cultural richness expanded my horizons, forever. I had some meaningful dreams while there that illuminated what I take as past (or parallel) life experiences—bringing much needed insights on the life I am leading now.

In the most significant dream while in Ireland, I was walking with my Inner Guide in the lower level of some space, like a castle or boat (wood plank flooring). I realize I have been here before, and then that people died here; then that I HAD BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR DEATHS!

I look around and a priest or pastor and a group of working class, salt of the earth Irish folks step down into the space. The priest sets up a table and puts a candle and bowl of water there, for some sort of ritual. A woman and her brother approach me, and I them.

I am so sorry for your loss! I say to the woman.

We are so sorry for what you have had to endure because of this! is her reply.

I say to my Guide, “I am a murderer!” Then I repeat three times, twice in the dream and then once aloud as I awaken:

I can’t believe my life has been about this!

When I awoke fully I called a good friend in New Mexico (3 am her time) and repeated this awareness one more time: “I am a murderer; no, really! I was responsible for people dying here.”

One significant aspect to this story of Travel and Dream is that a different dream had led me to take that Irish vacation, one in which I had been persecuted against as a young woman. So I had thought I was going to Ireland to find where that had occurred and give forgiveness, but instead I discovered I was also in need of being forgiven. What a wake up call!

So, Time Out of Time. Take that adventure; it may bring more than fresh air. It might just expose you to yourself in a way that lets you transform your awareness of the meaning and value of Life as a whole, for the better!

Into the Woods—A ‘Better Endings’ Revision

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For those new to this blog, or as a refresher since I haven’t looked at this topic directly for awhile here, I am interested in the principle of BETTER ENDINGS.  In fact I have a book in progress about this principle, as it applies not only to literature or mythic constructions but also, and more importantly, to our own lives.

There’s a concept I have learned from Eckankar about working with dreams. If you are dreaming and you do not like what is happening in your dreamscape,  you can change the dream while you are in it as a lucid dream activity; or, immediately upon waking you can rewind the dream and change its ending in your imagination.  This may help you to release the stress associated with the situation encoded by the dream. (I recommend Harold Klemp’s THE ART OF SPIRITUAL DREAMING for many helpful dreamwork techniques.)

But here’s a plus factor: If you can become skilled at changing your nightly dreams, so too you increase your capacity to make changes in your day-to-day life, effecting BETTER ENDINGS! What IF…you had taken that job, stayed with or left that relationship, gone on that vacation? You can re-vision your past choices and attitudes to bring about better coping skills and to realign your Life Path with your most ardent goals.

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Our topic this month of The Sacred Marriage has lots of fertile grounds for ‘better-endering.’  Let me try my hand at a Better Endings rendering for the Sondheim play “Into the Woods”:

I love the play (and movie) Into the Woods’, but I do not like the bitter ending. Why does the baker’s wife have to fall off a cliff to her doom?  The guilty party in confusing her was the philandering Prince, whose charming charisma and political power allows him to believe he can take advantage of any woman in the realm, even forsaking the beautiful princess Cinderella whom he has gone to such great lengths to woo. No, I do not like this bitter pill of an ending, at all!

In my Better Ending for this fairy tale, the Baker’s wife lives on to raise her new baby with her faithful husband.  Cinderella comes upon her charmer of a husband trying unsuccessfully to woo his rival Prince Valiant’s Rapunzel, and Cinderella lets Prince Valiant know what she has seen. The two Princes have a swordfight.     In a final, mutual flourish stab, they pierce each other at the lip of that fatefull cliff the Baker’s wife had been slated for, and they both go toppling over to their deaths.  Cinderella, now freed from this sordid affair, is Queen! She invites Rapunzel to be a story teller for the realm, and together they effect feminist reforms for their Peoples.

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images are from pixabay.com

So, there you have it, a Better Endings retelling for Into the Woods that aims to address the true meaning of The Sacred Marriage.  We marry our values, our integrity. This serves the Whole.

Is there a story about marriage or partnership—either fictional or in your own life—that you believe could benefit from a Better Ending?  Envision it! Write it down! Make the relevant changes!

I welcome your Comments and Stories.!

Inner Guidance

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Let me make no mistake about it, we are living in difficult times. Whatever our beliefs and values may be, they are under siege by opposing values or by the tenuousness of “truth” itself as a standard upon which we can collectively agree.

Some call it a return to tribalism: a refraction of identity into sub-cultural group affiliations. Clan-like factions abound; whom can you talk to or trust? Any stranger might explode at any moment in a public space, opening fire upon the innocent.

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What matters then, in such times of potential turmoil? What goals may still hold value? Where can you turn for reliable guidance? 

On a more positive note, you can always Go Within to find truth by attending to your own ‘inner counsel’. I assure you this is not merely a solipsistic response to collective uncertainty; it is an age-old, universal capacity that has steered the course of history. I believe that when we seek our highest Self and the companionship of Spirit or Divinity Itself in our deepest repose through active contemplation, prayer or meditation practices, we can connect with that which is greater than ourselves alone.

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“The One with the All One” is a spiritual image that comes to mind.  Or, “One for All and All for One!” In other words, when we seek our own answers that ‘ring true’ within our highest (NOT our lowest or our conditionally biased!) states of positive, life affirming consciousness, we assume our relation to the Whole of Life Itself. To me, this brings us to a position of unconditional love. If we act from this love, all will be in accord with that which serves the highest Good.  That’s my hopeful belief, anyway.

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This month I am inviting you to reflect on the role of Helpers in your own—in all of our— life journey. Inner Helpers come to meet us where we seek them out—be it in a contemplative state or in our dreams.  If you keep a journal that includes a dream diary to record your insights that arise from your inner guidance, then reviewing your journal entries once a week or once a month can help you to recognize the help you are receiving in the form of your own Inner Guidance.  Maybe you will uncover a Theme recurring in your dreams or even in your daydreams.  Keeping track of your dreams and daily insights holds open a channel of communication with your ‘inner counsel’ that can help to always to steer you in YOUR right directions.

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images are from pixabay.com

There are many excellent books on the subject of dream techniques and inner guidance. Two I have learned from are THE ART OF SPIRITUAL DREAMING, by Harold Klemp, and INNER GUIDANCE by Anne Archer Butcher.

I welcome always your insights and stories!

 

 

 

Contemplative Hopping (Internal Threshold Crossing)

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Story 1:  Yogic Flying

Sometime in the late 1970’s, a group of Transcendental Meditation practitioners first stunned the world with their release of video (before the Web even!) demonstrating “yogic flying” or “hopping” while in a deep meditation state of consciousness. They would levitate and shift position on their mats apparently as an exercise of Mind over Body.

Yogic Fliers reveal that we are capable of controlling the body directly through thought or Mind. What else can we take away from their example?

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Story 2:  Conscious vs. “Unconscious” States of Consciousness

For a graduate school assignment in linguistic semantics one week, our professor asked us to compose better semantic accounts than standard dictionary references for a related set of terms.  I chose CONSCIOUS and UNCONSCIOUS and compiled a wide range of definitions in order to sort these out and arrive at a holistic semantic analysis. What I discovered was that any state of consciousness that is not “conscious” or a “waking state” perception or experience people tend to lump together under the very large umbrella of “unconscious” in American English parlance.

Included under the far-reaching semantic domain of “unconscious”: unconscious, subconscious, dream state, daydreams, ‘other side’, Mind, (unconscious) thought, brain synapses, Self, soul, precognition, memory, lack of awareness. What I noticed about this wide range of concepts is that, simply put, Americans comprehend on the whole very little about anything they cannot directly See, Hear, Taste, Smell or Touch. All the rest, which in my view is the whole-enchilada iceberg under that tiny tip of “conscious” sense awareness, is lumped together as “unconscious.”

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As one who has engaged in daily, active contemplation and dreamwork for at least 44 years, I have discovered that the “Inner” is much more vast and is much more open to exploration and freedom of experience than the “Outer” realm of matter and conscious awareness.  There are many (perhaps infinite) levels of consciousness beyond the outer physical senses and body, and you are free to explore this diverse multiplicity of states and levels of consciousness through various modes of meditation, contemplation, active imagination, dreamwork, prayer, paranormal investigation and/or mindfulness techniques.

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That which is BEYOND the physical body states is neither defined by the mind nor contained or controlled by the Brain.

Implications for Contemplative Hopping—Internal Threshold Crossing

Using Jung’s approach of active imagination, a mode of contemplative envisioning and inner action, I encourage you to try your beyond-the-physical wings!  You do have them, at least figuratively speaking.  Dreams of flying (with or without wings as they are usually not needed!) are a very common early mode of inner travel or shifting of attention inwardly.  Explore an inner landscape, for instance, of an outer place you will soon be visiting “out here.”  Or actively contemplate the results or consequences of some anticipated move or action by yourself or others.

When I  was to make a big move from Buffalo (East) to Arizona (‘Out West”)  some 38 years ago, every night I asked to be shown something about the life I was about to embark upon plus I asked questions to trouble shoot this grand adventure. I was shown four people I would later meet (independently of one another) along with some glimpse of their role in my upcoming life.  I was also shown that  the experience would not be without its hardships but they would be necessary (karmic, let’s say), and when I later experienced what was foretold in these dreams very directly, I had been forewarned so was better prepared to meet the challenges.

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images are from pixabay.com

Let’s call your active inner explorations (past, present or future) to be forms of inner Threshold Crossing. I like to say, you don’t have to die or nearly die in order to explore the Heavens as well as really anything/ any state your Heart desires. Sages like the poet Rumi, actually, encourage us to “die daily.” This means you have the spiritual freedom to explore and investigate beyond the limited reaches of brain-mind or body.

See? I welcome your comments and stories!

DESCENDER Dreams, Part Two: Messages from the Deep

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With the last post, I invited you to recall and reflect upon dreams in which your DESCENDER part of Self (persona archetype) reveals itself to You. Often such figures show up in lower or deep spaces and they can represent feelings that you have “submerged” or aspects of You that simply feel more comfortable in the shadows or quiet recesses of your Self.  When such images show up in memorable dreams, take notice! They may illuminate for you how that “part of You” is feeling with regard to some current situation in your life. They have Deep Messages for You; your DESCENDER can be your Ally in bringing ‘buried’ perspectives and feelings to your attention.

This week, as I have been reflecting on some of my own DESCENDER dreams, one of them—a very dramatic dream experience—makes sense to me now in a different way than I understood before.

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The Dream: “I Can’t Believe My Life Has Been about This!”

(Dreamwork Tips:  Give a title to a significant dream in your dream journal or when telling it to bring forth its Message to you more clearly.  Also, write your dream in first person, present tense so you can be more present in the experience; this can help you better feel its import.)

Background:  I experienced this dream while I was traveling in Ireland.  I traveled there in part because I had had another significant dream a couple years earlier which had felt like a “past life” dream.  In that earlier dream I saw I had endured abuse, but the dream encounter I had while in Ireland, while also appearing to relate to a past life, turned that earlier experience on its head!

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I am in a lower level area of some structure; the flooring either is made of or has alot of dirt on it and there is dark wood all around. I am being shown this place by a familiar, masculine Spiritual Guide who is with me. As we walk through the space it feels very familiar to me. I say to my Dream Guide:

“I know this place; I have been here before.”

My Guide says nothing, waiting for me to remember more.

“People died here,” I say slowly. Then it hits me hard: “I had something to do with that; I was responsible for their deaths!”

My Guide remains silent but I feel his support. I know there is a reason I must be here.

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Then a group of people come down from a stairway into this semi-darkened, lower level place. It is a group of rural Irish peasant folk. “Salt of the Earth,” I think to myself as they come into the area accompanied by a Priest. The Priest sets up a table and puts a candle on it, so I know he will conduct some sort of ritual. (I sense it is to be a cleansing.)  Two of the peasants are a brother and sister; suddenly I know these are people who had lost loved ones because of my action that had resulted in their loved ones’ deaths.

The peasant sister (in her early 30’s or so) and I approach one another intently.

I say to her:

“I am so sorry for your loss.”

She says to me:

“I am so sorry for what you have had to endure because of this.”

Then I wake up, but in the process of awakening I say three times out loud, each time with more force of awareness:

“I can’t believe my life has been about this!”

I called a friend in the U.S. as soon as I was awoke (early AM her time):

“Jan, I’m a murderer! I mean it really, I am a murderer, many times over!”

My friend helped me to realize this had been “a dream.” I knew intuitively though that it was a very real encounter, relating to a deeply buried memory.

Message:  This dream event occurred around five or six years ago, yet I remember it as if it were this morning.  In processing the meaning of the dream, I have felt it had something to do with the experience of personal loss or separation in this life from relationship partners of various sorts: friends, romantic partners, family, and pet companions. My strongest desire in all my relations has been for permanence and “continuity,” yet some of the closest relations I have shared, I have had to let go of for the sake of that Soul moving on in their lives or journey.

But this week, while reflecting on this poignant DESCENDER Dream, I am understanding the message in a more holistic way. My whole life HAS “been about this.” The personal growth book I have written, a manual for life mapping that will be published in a matter of months now after nearly fifteen years of development (Your Life Path), aims to help readers to COMPLETE their Life Path with a conscious focus of intention to fully Realize their Life Dream!  Perhaps after my action in the past life ordeal had prevented some people from fulfilling their  dreams, this time I must give back this opportunity.

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I don’t know exactly what the memory could have been about. Perhaps I was an officer on a ship taking people to emigrate after the potato famine and for some reason I did not allow lower berth peoples to surface for food or shelter (maybe rations were low and some could not survive, so I chose to only let the more privileged passengers have the rations). Or maybe I was an officer who shut off access to an upper level in a castle against servant class folks while we were being attacked. Either way, “I was responsible for their deaths.”

Whatever the “real life” validity, dreams DO matter; they have a substance and vital meaning all their own. Writing your dream recall in a Dream Journal is very helpful. Especially the most significant dreams will then linger with you, revealing several layers of meaning over time.

Have you had a significant DESCENDER Dream? Have you fathomed its message? Feel free to share, here or with a loved one. Honor your DESCENDER by listening, attending, and ACTING on the Message received.

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I welcome  and invite YOUR Comments and Stories!

P.S. to All: HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

 

 

DESCENDER Dreams, Part One

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Have you had significant, memorable dreams where either you are in a dark or “lower” space such as in a basement or valley or the lower level of some house or structure, or where someone else who is a main character in your dream is in such a “lower” or “deep” space? This may be your DESCENDER Persona archetype (part-of-Self). Pay attention and you may learn something important from this often ‘submerged’ facet or energy within your Psyche.

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My DESCENDER dreams often include a young girl, around 10 or 12, who inhabits a lower level of a tri-level house (interestingly my favorite kind of home; I live in one now and sleep in the lower level!).  I have learned to tune in to engage in conversation with my Little Linda part-of-Self, as I call Her.  She embodies my quiet side that would rather stay in the lower, shaded regions rather than have too much concourse with the public or other people in formal sorts of situations. She may be that facet of my Self that most suffers situational anxiety when it comes to ‘professional’ social gatherings.  I embrace this part of myself as a vital and important aspect of my identity. I go to Her in active imagination for  ‘Archetype dialogue’ conversation rather than requiring Her to come to the surface, though sometimes She does reveal Herself in our more conscious experience. She loves to walk along a lake or through a path in the woods, and she is a great companion when I am otherwise alone with my dog Sophie and feline Loki and Emily Friends.

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Please be assured, I am not encouraging nor will recognizing your Archetypal Personas stimulate any sort of dissociative mental or psychological condition such as schizophrenia or Multiple Personality Disorder.  In fact, as William James wrote about at the turn of the 20th Century, we are indeed all of us “multiple” as an archetypal assembly of sub-identities integrated by the superordinate Self, and in fact it is those who have not allowed their diverse archetypal character modes to be well attended to or integrated who may be more susceptible to ‘splits.’ You can easily tell the difference between an archetypal part-of-Self persona and a dissociated “voice”: archetypal elements within your Total Self System ARE YOU and feel naturally to be a point of view that is part of your Self perspective or outlook, though they may represent various sub-selves or distinct outlooks, see?  Jung, Hillman, Myss, Houston, Pearson, Campbell and many other archetypal psychologists have well described the archetypal landscape of the archetypal Unconscious.

So, Dream! Allow your various parts-of-Self Personas including your DESCENDER to manifest in your dreams so you can encounter and engage with them. You will learn more about your Self from understanding their viewpoints and feelings.

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I welcome and invite your comments and stories. Have you had a DESCENDER dream?