Saturday, June 13, 2015

Finally Friday Week 19: Symbols in Dreams and Waking Life

"Dreams are more real than reality itself, they're closer to the self."— Gao Xingjian

I was on a train. I was with Yoon, my husband. The train was suspended above the city, like a train from the future. It was a crowded, bustling city on the coast and it appeared to be in Korea. We thought we were headed towards Seoul, but found out that the train was going the opposite direction. Somehow the train stopped and I could not find Yoon to know if we should get off. Everyone was filing out the doors. I stood up and looked in front of me and behind, but Yoon was nowhere to be seen. I followed everyone off the train and to a bus. I thought the bus was headed to Seoul and that I'd find Yoon eventually. The bus drove on a road that hugged the coastline. There was a blanket of snow on the beach and white caps out on the ocean that seemed to be getting bigger by the minute. The water swirled up in a giant tsunami wave over our bus and then receded with the same forcefulness with which it rose. I was a little frightened. We seemed to be headed further and further out to the countryside and I had a sinking feeling I was once again going the wrong direction. I stood up and asked the bus driver in broken Korean if we were headed to Seoul. He stopped the bus and pointed to a tiny bus station where I could get a refund for my bus ticket and a bus to Seoul. Eventually, after many hours, I arrived in Seoul to my house there. I waited and waited for Yoon. A co-worker from my current job walked in. I said, "What are you doing here?" She let me know that she lived there. "Do you know where Yoon is?" And right as I said it, he walked in wearing yoga clothes and plopped down on the sofa as if it were no big deal that we had lost each other on the train.

And then last night, I had a similar dream. I lost my suitcase on a tour we were on. They were loading suitcases onto the roof of a bus and I had a sinking feeling that mine did not get loaded on. Sure enough, it hadn't. And then I had also misplaced my glasses and a favorite shirt from India in the hotel where we were staying with our group. I lamented about this to Yoon who believed the suitcase would show up and the glasses/shirt could be replaced. He ran off to chat with someone in our group who, coincidentally, had an Indian shirt just like the one I had bought years ago in India. She gave it to him to give to me. He said, "I found your shirt!" I was elated, but after I put it on, I knew it wasn't mine. I said, "This is not my shirt, where did you get it?" He let me know that he got it from someone in our group who had one just like mine. She did not seem to mind parting with it. I didn't feel right about it and gave it back. I felt a bit deflated about the loss of these material things because some of them had meaning to me, even though they were just things.

So I had two dreams about losing something two nights in a row: losing my husband in a crowd and losing my possessions. It could be a coincidence, but I like to look at these things. Sometimes these images and signs can show up in waking life too. I have many memories of losing my keys or losing my sunglasses. For this reason, I purposely buy cheap sunglasses. I also have memories of losing Yoon in a crowd. I once lost him on a ferry boat. We were disembarking and he was nowhere to be found and he couldn't remember where the car was parked, so he stood near the ramp where the cars were disembarking, waiting until he could identify my car and quickly jumped in.

Life is full of loss, but no one likes to lose anything. Eventually we will all have to let go at some point. I think these are signs that I've been afraid to let go of....what? I'm not really sure.

 Yoon and I have carved out quite a comfortable life and community here in Seattle and we really enjoy ourselves here. We travel, we lead retreats, I teach at a local college, he teaches yoga all around Seattle. We enjoy the beaches and walks all over this amazing city. So what's the problem? Why all the dreams about losing something? Do these dreams mean anything? Should I pay attention to them? Do they have to make any sense or can I just leave them for what they are?

Today, while walking on one of those amazing beach-forest walks, I felt the joy of eating my first thimble berry of the season and could almost feel the chill myself as I watched my husband strip down to his underwear and plunge into Puget Sound and then run over to the log where I was seated so that he could dry off. We sunk are bodies down into the warm sand, letting it sift between our toes and  fingers. We closed our eyes and held hands and eventually Yoon fell asleep and I could hear a faint snore. It was a blissful afternoon and we've been having lots of those lately. 

But, on the way back, I could feel my body wanting to stride ahead through the forest. Yoon got stuck behind some slow hikers and I was in the clear. It felt good to hear my heart beat, be silent, smell the sweet fragrance of the pine needles under my sneakers and look up to the canopy of maples, cedar and pine above me, creating the perfect shade to a gorgeous day in Seattle. As I walked on the path alone, I felt the future fold in on me. I saw a friend on my path, in my mind's eye. I saw myself in another terrain doing very different things. I saw that I was part of a community. That I lived in nature with other like-minded people. It felt like it was Hawaii. I felt like I had come home. I stopped on the path and hugged a pine tree—touched my forehead to its thick bark skin. Yoon caught up with me and we happily continued on our way to the car.

I looked online about what the word "lose" or "lost" means in dreams. It's pretty predictable to guess the meaning. I believe I've gotten quite comfortable with my life. I'm not being challenged or feeling challenged. I've become a bit lethargic and I procrastinate quite a bit. I don't feel a clear direction and I know I'm not using all of my gifts. I know I have much more to do here on the planet and I have much more to offer. I've sunken into the habitual and the tried and true, but it's time to step out into that great, scary, undefined abyss again. The one that takes you places you never dreamed you'd go. I've taken this leap so many times before, but oddly it seems scarier this time. Before, I took the leap because I was not comfortable where I was. Now I am completely comfortable, but feeling called to step out again.

Do you pay attention to symbols and signs in your dreams and waking life?

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