Dreams, NoBloPoMo, Reflections

Living “Debt Free”…

I had a dream almost a week ago in which my dream mentor told me, quite plainly, “all your debt is paid…

When the words were first spoken, shock set in, followed rapidly by disbelief, which morphed into thoughts of consequences and caveats…

“But what about the taxes?,” I asked.  “Has any provision been made for that?  I mean, if you write off that kind of debt, there are tax consequences…”

My mentor cocked his head and just looked at me, exasperated.

I didn’t say your debt has been forgiven; I said it has been paid…  You are now able to begin living debt-free.

As these words were spoken, I allowed my doubt to leave, watching as it burst into a tiny flame burning somewhere near my heart.  Slowly that flame grew into excitement, anticipation, and yes, even hope, spreading rapidly throughout my body.  The expanding warmth finally reached my head and toes, and with it came clarity…

Laughing, I said to him, “ohhh…  You’re talking about Karma, aren’t you?”

And then I awoke…

Ok, so maybe my financial debt remains, a holdover from when I believed I owed the world something, simply for taking up space here.  But still…  this “gift” is huge!!

Debt free, karmically speaking, what does that really mean?  How does it feel?  How does it translate into daily activity?  These are the questions driving my experiences today…

The first thing I noticed was a certain “lightness,” a lifting of an ever-present weight upon my shoulders.  I stood straighter, calmer, more confidently in my space.  I realized, with a growing sense of wonder, that I owed nobody anything (can’t figure out how to make that work, grammatically, but you get the idea…).  I understood that everything I do now truly is by choice, a choice freed of guilt and expectation.  What do I want to do, right now?

And the first thing I did was go to work.  Of course.  😉  Not because I felt I had to, but because I wanted to.  I looked forward to spending time with coworkers, to enjoying my work for its own sake, to doing something helpful and productive with my physical being…

Then I went for a walk in the woods, spending time with the trees and the animals who shelter and live there.  Only this time, I wasn’t there seeking messages, lessons, or learning, but simply enjoying the beauty of the moment, the sharing of time with Other beings, similar to, but so unlike my self.  It was quite gratifying…

And today…

Several days have passed, and slowly I revert to the “should’s” and “ought to’s” of life…

***

One of my “grandkitties” had to be euthanized two days ago, and I ached all over, for my daughter, her family, and the animal himself.  I know it was the “right” thing to do.  I struggled with what part I should play in that unfolding drama.  I offered myself to my daughter, whatever she needed.  But I understood that she was the “adult in charge,” and the decisions were hers to make.  I respected those boundaries, even when it became obvious she didn’t “need” me at all…  My baby is all grown up now, and I couldn’t be prouder of her, or the way she handled this unexpected tragedy…

But I had to catch myself, more than once, reminding my self that debt-free goes both ways; I may not owe anyone else, but neither do they owe me.  She didn’t need my “help” this time, and she did brilliantly!  There is absolutely nothing I could have said or done to improve that experience; she, quite literally, got the job done in the most compassionate, loving, and responsible way possible.  With no urging or guidance from me…

And it truly came home to me this morning, after two days of “grieving,” that this, also, is part of what it means to live “debt free”…

And being free just took on a whole new dimension for me…

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Dreams, Reflections, Visions

“If you want to lead…”

Interesting dreams and experiences this week, summed up by my dreams last night.  I don’t remember details so much, but the message was clear…

“If you want to lead… lead.

If you want to teach… teach.

If you want to heal… heal.

If you want to speak… speak.”

***

For months now, the messages I’ve gotten have been consistently about stepping back and allowing Others the space they need to decide their own course of development.  I’ve actually become quite proficient at minding my own business.  Not perfect, by any means, as there are always times and situations that create a compelling urge to react, but much better than I previously did.

And now that energy has shifted.  Now, I’m told, we may begin act-ing again, though perhaps not in the traditional sense.  For example, if we envisioned our selves as leaders in this “new” world we wish to co-create, we will not achieve that end by handing down orders or controlling others, as leaders did in the old world; rather, we shall lead by example only.  Get your hands dirty, or get out of the garden!

Likewise, if we fancied our selves as teachers, then we must live our truths rather than preach them.  Words mean nothing today without action.

If we imagined our selves as healers, then the work must begin within.  It is not enough to use words like “should” and “ought to” to describe the path to wholeness.  We must become whole ourselves, and guide others by those actions…

And if we have something to say, we must take responsibility for both the words and the tone of our messages.  Communication is a two-way street, and while we cannot take responsibility for how another interprets our words, we must endeavor at all times to say what we mean, and mean what we say.  Freedom of speech is not a free-for-all arena anymore, by which anyone can justify and legitimize whatever stray thoughts may leak out; consequences will occur…

That being said, I feel lighter and more energized than I have in months.  Obviously, these have always been goals, but now they are imperatives.  And with that comfort of certainty, that awareness that rightful action can once again lead to just outcomes, I feel relief as well as a tightening of the reins of self-discipline.

We are, as always, who we choose to be, and we are free now to reclaim the power of becoming who we’ve always wanted to be.  Be brave.  Be wise.  Be responsible, my friends.  And be free!

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Dreams, Reflections

“Listen… And Learn.”

(This post is a follow up to one I wrote on another site.  It stands alone.  But if you wanted to know what prompted it, that answer can be found here… maybe):

http://bayart.org/shhh/

***

So, my dreams were very clear this morning, the message precise and to the point: Don’t waste time looking for causes or assigning blame these days; just deal with the consequences and move on

* ceremoniously donning my cloak of hypocrisy *

So I wake up on this glorious Easter morn with this message running through my mind, and the first thing I hear is an adult exclaiming loudly “what a ripoff!”

Three times I hear the message repeat, as it slowly dawns on me that they are referring to a commercially prepared “gift.”

Finally a child speaks up.  “I am so disappointed,” he admits…

“Are you going to complain about it?,” the adult asks.

“Yes,” he responds, hesitantly.  Then with more certainty, “yes I am!”

And suddenly I see myself, sitting with a group of adults, discussing the state of the world.  And we are complaining about how ungrateful and materialistic the youth of today seem to be.  We share stories about how “kids today” do not appreciate the act of giving, focusing solely upon the perceived value of what is given.  We shake our heads sadly as we lament the deplorable state of society today…

* shifting my shoulders under the uncomfortable weight of my hypocritic cloak *

Yeah…  Been there.  Done that.

Sigh…

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it!

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Dreams, Reflections, Visions

The Trouble with Time Travel…

We are standing on the banks of a river, wide and slow in some places, narrow and quick in others.  He says to me, “a good time traveler skips across the river of time like a leaf…”

“A leaf?,” I think to myself, and immediately translate it to mean “stone”.

“So, like a stone, I would touch down only briefly, moving quickly along, and allowing momentum to carry me forth.  That way I could move forward or backward in time, but maintain a linear progression in whichever direction I choose to travel…?”

He looked at me blandly before adding, “or laterally.”

“Laterally?,” I asked, momentarily confused.  

“Ohhh… of course!,” I added.  “I could skip across the river of time, rather than following its flow!…  But that would allow me to be in multiple places at one time, wouldn’t it?”

He just looked at me and said nothing…

“Oh, right,” I responded when I figured it out.  “If I’m skipping across time, then I’m only touching down briefly in each place.  Therefore I can’t actually be in two places at once.”

He turned back to stare at the river…

“But wait!,” I finally began again.  “You originally said ‘leaf.’  But leaves don’t skip across the surface of a river; they float.”

He looked at me, but said nothing…

“So you’re telling me not to get too involved, perhaps?  As in float across the surface, rather than sinking down in, to any particular time?”

His return to staring at the river told me I’d gotten it partially right, at least, so I decided to continue playing with the metaphor…

“The leaf has no anchor holding it in place, so it’s entirely dependent upon the currents…”

As we watched, a leaf manifested on the surface of the river, gliding slowly with the current, spinning gently…

“Allowing me to view each moment from a variety of angles as I spin slowly on the surface of time…”

The current picked up, drawing the leaf into a vortex where it whirled in a circular current while still spinning itself…  Faster and faster it spun, while circling around the whirlpool…

“Well… that could be disorienting,” I pointed out, already feeling just a tad bit nauseous watching it.

A long, silent look told me he was not amused…

“Ok, then,” I continued, admitting to myself I was just a tad bit annoyed at his lack of humor today…  “So… being a leaf on the surface of time allows me to revisit a moment over and over again, while also viewing it from multiple angles…”

“(Assuming I can actually view anything through the haze of nausea drowning me…  Or keep track of anything I have viewed, while it’s all spinning out of control!”), I muttered to myself…

Suddenly a gust of wind blew by, as if irritated with me, picking up the leaf and dumping it unceremoniously somewhere else on the river.  That was followed by a cross wind, which snagged a corner of the leaf and lifted it away, leaving it to flutter randomly back to the surface…

I turned to stare at him, standing calmly beside me, unmoved by the wind or the dancing display of the leaf…

“A leaf skipping across the river of time, indeed!  Powered by the winds of change, I presume?”  I must admit I was unable to erase the sarcasm entirely from my tone…

He simply smiled, smug and snug in his version of the truth.

“But how the hell would I keep track of where or when I am?!,” I demanded.  “The movement is completely random and nonsensical!”

He turned to look at me fully, a truly amused smile on his face, and finally spoke once more to me.  “Be light.  Be flexible.  Be free.”

Then clasping his hands lightly behind his back, he sauntered off, walking along the bank of the river whistling a happy tune.  And leaving me behind to experiment, extrapolate and learn…

***

Which I have been attempting to do these past… ???  days.  And it has proven every bit as nauseating and disorienting as I feared it might be.  Until today…  When it became somewhat disturbing as well.

It began with a dream in which I was travelling with my oldest friend (whom I haven’t actually seen in a while).  We wound up in a situation very similar to those we used to get into as kids (or I did anyway).  And like it often happened in our youth, she went into another room while I stayed to see what trouble I could cause for myself…

My instincts told me to leave; that I had no business being there, that I would be disappointed with myself again (!) if I stayed.  The third party in the room with me was a stranger.  Until he wasn’t anymore, morphing disturbingly into another friend who has shown a propensity of late to repeat destructive patterns of behavior.  I said, “oh hell, no!  I am not doing this again!”

I got up and walked away, heading over to the next room to collect my other friend before leaving…  And simultaneously waking myself up.

I was relieved upon awakening that I had chosen not to fall back into that trap, but still disturbed by how easily I walked into it.  Like nothing had ever changed.  Like I had never changed.  I knew at once that there was something from my past still haunting me, though I could not name it now.  Having completely forgotten it once, I thought it was over…  But the dream warns me it is not…

I put it away, and went to work.  When I came home, I checked in with Facebook to find not one, but three separate messages (from three unconnected individuals) waiting for me, all telling me exactly the same thing: there is something from my past reaching for me, and I need to let go of it immediately; it is “dragging” or “weighing” me down, depending upon the source of the message…

In addition to those was a message from my long time friend in the dream, making and confirming plans to meet tomorrow…  Or today?…  No coincidence there, I think.

So…  the problem with time travel as I see it today, right now, from right here, is that it’s impossible to keep track of where, and when you are.  And it is far too easy to stumble into something you’d thought you left behind, and would prefer not to encounter again.  And being light and flexible and free has only allowed me to touch the surface of this thing; without depth, how do I exorcise it completely?

***

Tapping my foot impatiently, I wait for him to return to explain these things to me.  Knowing full well, already, that he may not be inclined to do so.  And there is nothing… absolutely nothing… I can do about that today.  I may be strong and stubborn, but I cannot push a river where it does not choose to go.

“The trouble with time travel…” I shout out defiantly…

Then I turn and run for the woods.  I think I may actually be sick this time…

 

 

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Dreams, Reflections

A Dream: “Deciphering Code”

I had a dream this morning…

In it I was in the final stages of my education there, part of an ongoing series of dreams.  It’s been like attending Dream University, pursuing a degree of some unknown nature, with classes, and projects, and tests; successes and failures and learning that later translates somehow into my daily life.  And now, at Dream U, I am completing that process, undergoing some final testing to “prove” readiness for graduation…

Last night’s dream involved such a test; a final exam for a class.  I was working with two other people to decipher and translate codes, and we had several massive bodies of work to transcribe.  But first we had to decipher the languages they were written in, and figure out how to translate that into the language our teacher wanted it in. It was a tedious labor, and though I recognized its importance in the overall picture, I dreaded the actual work of it, being boring, restricted, and massively time consuming.  I felt certain we would succeed eventually, completing our task within the expected time frame of the test, but it would require an enormous amount of self-discipline.

While half-heartedly complaining about the nature of the work, and how I usually enjoy cryptography tests, but this one being too huge to enjoy, my two partners (being techies unlike me) glanced at each other excitedly, and one spoke the thought they both seemed to share:

“That’s it!  Of course!  It’s code!…”

Not understanding their revelation, I asked them to explain…

“It’s code,” the other said, turning toward a bank of computers containing the works we were to translate.  Typing rapidly, he continued to speak.  “If we can decipher this and turn it into a binary code, all 1’s and 0’s, then the computers can do the bulk of the translating for us!  It would get done quicker that way.”

Realizing this was not technically cheating the test, though certainly not in the spirit of it, I looked at the third person doubtfully…

“There’s nothing illegal about it.  In essence, we would be creating a rubber stamp of sorts which would do the bulk of the tedious transcribing for us, freeing up our time to do whatever else we want…”

“But would it be accurate?,” I asked skeptically.

“Depends on how accurate the deciphering is.  You get us the right code, we can transcribe the works!”

Tempted by the possibility we might not be stuck in this place for the entirety of the test, I continued to question…

“So…  If we did this, how long would the transcribing part take?  Roughly…”

My two partners looked at each other.  One shrugged unenthusiastically, while the other answered…  “Maybe 40 days or so…?”  Both glanced down at the floor to avoid my gaze.

“Saving us a whole 2-4 days, maybe,” I responded, feeling the disappointment deeply.  “During which time my other self remains not free…”

They nodded, acknowledging my assessment, while I pondered the situation…  A heavy price to pay, indeed, to shave a couple of days off the task at hand.  Was it worth it?  And would it violate the spirit of the test enough to nullify its purpose and results?

Suddenly, I realized what I had actually said!

“… during which time my other self would remain not free…”!

A new excitement rushed into my mind as I realized my whole perspective (on something!) had just shifted a degree or so, but knowing it changed everything!!

I woke suddenly, repeating that last line over and over again…

“… during which time my other self would remain not free…”

 

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Dreams

Putting the Pieces Together…

So…  I woke this morning from an interesting dream, and I thought I would share it with you…

In the dream, I was attempting to solve puzzles, as I frequently do.  (Not too difficult to interpret that, if you take it literally.  Lol!)  Only this time, something had changed.  I knew I was still searching for missing pieces to a puzzle I’d been working on forever.  It was one of those scenarios where frustration and patience vie for the dominant place in my psyche, and it serves as a backdrop to all the other puzzle solving I do.

Anyway, I was only casually looking this time, as I truly didn’t expect to find anything of interest; the “powers that be” have been particularly stingy about releasing or revealing the missing info on this particular puzzle.  So it took me a while to realize that the “missing pieces” were being revealed, en masse, and not just to me.  There was a whole crowd there waiting, and several “beings” laying out pieces to several puzzles (not just my particular nemesis), like putting out lunch on a buffet table.  I could feel the excitement growing in the room, but I did not feel it myself…

The pieces I was looking for were black, ugly, gross, like chips of gooey tar, without any discernable shape or content on them.  As a “being” (who looked a lot like my cat, though human sized and walking upright – lol!) placed those pieces near me on the table, he made a point of looking up at me, making eye contact with me specifically.  Another walked up behind him, and added to my pile, without even glancing at me, while my cat-human never broke eye contact. A couple others followed suit, as pieces appeared from multiple “sources.”  My cat-human maintained direct eye contact throughout.

Meanwhile, a woman next to me started doing a little happy dance, bopping and clapping her hands excitedly.  She tried to fire me up, but of all the emotions passing through me, excitement was definitely not part of the mix.  I felt more baffled, bewildered, even disappointed, as though this was an anticlimactic end to a story that had long compelled me.  I just couldn’t grasp that it might be over, and that it might be ending this way…

“Oh, come on!,” the lady beside me exclaimed.  “Aren’t you even a little bit excited?!  I mean, look!  All the pieces you’ve been searching for are right there!  A gift!”

“But…,” I began to respond, then hesitated, not sure how to voice my thoughts.  “…But…  doesn’t this seem a little too easy?,”  I countered.  “I mean, isn’t the searching part of the process?…  If they just give us the answers, then what will we learn?  And what, then, is the point of the search at all?”

At this point my cat-human broke eye contact with me, glancing down at the table briefly, before turning away and leaving.  I admit I felt a flicker of relief, knowing the fruitless and frustrating searching was over, but I couldn’t quite bring myself to go pick those pieces up.

The lady beside me placed a hand on my shoulder, adding a final comment before moving on to find her own missing pieces on the table…  “Don’t be ridiculous,” she advised.  “You still have to figure out how to put them together!”

I woke with that last line running through my thoughts repeatedly.  And it was my cat, unusually restless and insistent, who pulled me from that dream…

Hmm…

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Dreams, Essay, Reflections

“The Value of Sacrifice…?”

All this talk about death lately led me to a fascinating dream last night that I just have to share!  Lol…

***

In the dream, I was being prepared to be “sacrificed,” exchanging my life for the lives of others.  It was a planned thing, a ritual of sorts, and having been prepared, I was being led on a tour to meet the people my life would spare…

One of the places we toured was a school of some sort where I met many wonderful people, mostly young, and some with truly bright futures.  I felt good about my decision to volunteer for this sacrifice!  A few of those young people were social “misfits,” in the sense that their “work” made them unpopular with their peers.  But they smiled through it, and stuck together, and I admired them for what they were doing.  I was actually grateful that my sacrifice would ennable them to continue, and, for their part, they seemed to understand the significance of the exchange – my life for theirs…

I realized then, that my sacrifice was not specific; as in, I had no control over which lives I would save by dying.  So some of those who were oblivious would also be saved.  I felt less good about that, but still…  Overall, the sacrifice seemed worth it.

As I was led through the school, I also became vaguely aware that some of the “good” kids were going to die, saving one or two others in the process.  It actually made me sad to think such promising lives would end to save so few, and I felt a tad bit guilty that my sacrifice would save more; my life, wasted as it has been, seemed far less valuable to me in that moment than the lives of these promising youth, yet my life would “buy” more others in the martyrdom market.  It hardly seemed fair.

These thoughts pursued me as we left the school to travel to the next site I was to tour.  As we drove, I noticed my window was open and granules of sand and tiny ants were coming in.  I quickly closed the window, being reminded of the gruesome way I was to die, for it involved something about being buried alive in this car, and the ants were a part of it.  I shuddered, wishing the manner of death chosen would have been more compassionate…  Still, I reminded myself, I volunteered for this, with full knowledge of both the manner and price of my death.

It was then that it occurred to me that being dead meant I could not ensure the other side of the contract would be fulfilled.  As I began to question that, the first doubts started to surface.  What guarantee did I have that my life would spare as many others as they promised?  I thought again of those promising young people who would die to save only one or two others.  Would it be worth it?  How does one establish the “value” of a life when compared to others?

As these thoughts gained momentum, I saw a tally sheet in my mind, like a spiral-bound day calendar, with each page representing another life.  The pages started flipping “backward” of their own accord, reducing the worth of my sacrifice by one life, then three, then ten…  Soon the pages were flipping continuously, and I realized if I didn’t die soon, I wouldn’t save anyone at all!  My commitment to this sacrifice faltered; was it worth it to die if I had no say in who, or how many, would be saved?!

It was then that my dream mentor stepped in behind me, saying softly, “this is what you were born to do…”

“But…,” I began…  He cut me off.

“You were born for this.  You trained for this.  You planned this…”

“I was born for this,” I repeated, as I finally woke up.

***

Like many of you, perhaps, I was raised to believe that “sacrifice” is a noble act.  Whether it comes in the form of a parent refusing food so that a child may eat, or a firefighter dying while rescuing someone, or a soldier becoming maimed while serving his/her country, or a prophet dying for a cause, the idea of sacrifice somehow makes us more worthy as humans, and should be respected and admired by those unharmed.

We build memorials to honor such acts, both “big” (saves many) and “small” (saves fewer or gives less, such as maiming rather than dying).  We tell stories, pass them down through generations, to keep the idea and the memory alive.  We name such martyrs as inspiration, and wish we had the strength of character necessary to make such a choice when faced with it.  But who are we truly serving by committing such acts of sacrifice?

Are we merely buying redemption points for ourselves, or balancing karma, perhaps?  Or are we truly serving a greater good by making such choices?

There is an ongoing joke at work where everyone wants me on their team in the event of a true zombie apocalypse.  Why?  Because I can’t run, and therefore will be good fodder buying them time to escape.  It’s all said in jest, of course, but there is an underlying truth to it.  Admit it, to yourself if not to me: wouldn’t you rather surround yourself with people willing to make such a sacrifice for you, than with people who’d expect you to sacrifice for them?  And what’s truly wrong with that?

In every war ever fought, we have sent our front lines out to be sacrificed that others might advance their causes.  And who determines which lives or causes are more valuable than others?  Should the survivors then feel guilty about being saved?  We tell them, maybe, that they were saved for a reason, that they should make the sacrifice worthwhile by using their borrowed time wisely, and for good purposes.  Who controls the scales that determine such balance?

My life may not amount to much in the bigger picture, but it is valuable to me.  And some of the martyrs I know about seem, to me anyway, to be far more “valuable” than many they served by dying.

Even Jesus, if you believe his story, suffered a horrible death to “save” so many who would follow, but have those followers lived up to his sacrifice?  For are they not some of the first to point fingers and determine whose lives are worth saving, and whose shall be forfeit for not believing as they do?  (This is not meant to single out the Christian faith, but it is a history ripe with such distinctions, from the Crusades, to the Inquisition, to the Pro-Lifer movement today.)

I don’t know the answers today, nor do I expect them from you, though you are certainly welcome to express your opinions, if done in a respectful manner.  I’m just asking the questions for now.  And wondering…

Perhaps we’ve got it wrong?  Perhaps sacrifice is not nearly as noble as we’ve surmised, and perpetuated through time and culture?  Perhaps no one else is worth suffering and/or dying for.  Perhaps we need to redefine our concept of selfishness to better incorporate the idea that all life is meaningful and valuable, and that no other can take our place?  And then, perhaps, we can finally focus on taking care of our selves…

Just a thought, I guess…

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