When Dreams and Life Converge

When Dreams and Life Converge


The steps to the Unity Village Rose Garden have been sealed with yellow crime scene tape to protect the wedding parties from intrusion by hordes of teens in formals celebrating homecoming and seeking the perfect photo shoot backdrop.

I ask the security guard how I’m supposed to get to my classroom in the Unity Institute building, whose main entrance is in said Rose Garden. He directs me to the basement access route right off the cafeteria (which, by the way, is giving me flashbacks to my parochial school days with its dun plastic trays, industrial plates and silverware, and rolling conveyer belt that carries the dirty dishes into the steaming underbelly of the kitchen to be washed).

I enter a hallway demarked by painted yellow lines on a concrete floor. Overhead, exposed pipes and ductwork shoot off in every direction. I would never have guessed this to be open to public access, much less to lead to my classroom. The security guard rattles off  quick directions (some combination of straight-aheads and turns that immediately flow through one ear and out the other without fully engaging my inner GPS) then disappears.

I take a tentative step into this surreal landscape. To my right, a forest of artificial Christmas trees bristle in the shadows, their naked limbs awaiting the season when they will be brought out to bloom with lights, tinsel and colored ornaments. I am suddenly aware that I have walked into a familiar kind of dream scene, although I am quite awake.

How many times have I wandered through underground concrete mazes like this in my dreams? Sometimes in search of something – my car, a bathroom. Other times trying to elude nefarious, shadowy pursuers or carry out some clandestine spy-versus-spy mission. Usually in these dreams I wander lost as panic rises and each twist and turn takes me deeper into unknown territory.

In Active Dreaming, one prescription for a nightmare is to re-enter the dream and move it forward, through the fear into a transformation and conclusion of your choosing. I have the sense that this is just such an opportunity. The veil between waking and dreaming has disappeared and I have a chance, in full consciousness, to transform this recurring dream theme.

I realize, it isn’t a maze. It’s a labyrinth, like the one I walked under the full moon the night before. I am never lost, it only seems so. The path twists and turns, but is clearly marked as I move toward my center and back out again.

Today I know that this underground concrete labyrinth will take me closer to my center. Straight ahead is a sign. Education Building to the right. The elevator takes me up to the familiar 2nd floor where my circle of sisters welcome me in to our moon tent room, a space to connect and create, and to reclaim my soul. It is another kind of dream space and I step into it with deep gratitude.


With gratitude to Aliza Bloom Robinson and Pamela Hawkins who so beautifully facilitated The Yin Experience Retreat, and to my new circle of sisters: Patti, Susan, Megan, Sharron, Gail, Michelle, Noemi, Tamra, Leailia,Carmen, Mary and Monica. ♥ ♥ ♥

New Life Pushes Up

New Life Pushes Up

ExpressiveArtsBreakthroughPolitical upheaval, economic uncertainty, bigotry, angry rhetoric. And it’s hotter than hell outside.

It all weighs heavily on me as I drive to my weekly “Mindfulness in Art” class.

“Today we’ll go a little deeper,” the teacher says, “letting whatever wants to rise up spill out onto the paper. Not from up here,” she continues, tapping her forehead with her index finger. “Don’t think. Feel.”

The brush moves in my hand, collecting color and laying it down. Jagged black lines rend the empty white field of paper.

My stomach hurts. My head resists. I don’t want to be here this morning. I should be home writing. I wish I hadn’t signed up for this class. This is a waste of time.

The brush keeps moving. Bruises rise in black and blue, like mountains too tired to stand any longer. Parched, cracked earth mutates into broken bones. The ravaged multitudes cry enough! no more! as flames of collapse and destruction blaze hotter and higher.

None of this comes from “up here” in my head. The brush moves first, the story comes after.

Fifty dead in an attack on a gay nightclub. Two more black men die at the hands of police. Terrorists attack an airport in Istanbul. California burns while West Virginia floods. Deadly tornado in China and a super typhoon bearing down on Taiwan. The presidential election resembles a circus act as we once more contemplate our civil duty to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Somewhere above this battered broken plain of pain and dysfunction a light shines. It beckons. New green life pushes up through the torn earth, growing from the wounded place, watered with our tears.