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. ♥ ♥ ♥

Fairy Tale Illustrations Inspired by Dreams and Grief

Fairy Tale Illustrations Inspired by Dreams and Grief
Illustrations for Fallen
Illustrations for Fallen, 11 x 14 watercolor and colored pencil on bristol.

My latest art project is a series of illustrations for a spiritual fairy tale I’ve written. The story itself was inspired by a dream from many years ago and a phrase that has rattled around in my brain ever since, begging me to unravel its mysteries, to understand its meaning.

In my long ago dream, I have lost my four-month-old baby and I am beside myself with grief. At the memorial service for the child it comes to me that I will create the “Deep Water Leaf Society” and that will alleviate my grief and create healing for many others as well. When I woke, still disturbed by the deep feeling of grief the dream expressed, I was puzzled. My children were all growing up; I had no more “babies”. And I wondered what in the world a “deep water leaf” might be, much less a society of them.

Fast forward several years – seven, to be exact – and I did lose a child, my eldest son who was 26. During my deep grief, I spent a lot of time revisiting my old journals and filling many new ones with my journey to healing. Along the way, I found the record of this deep water leaf dream and it resonated deeply.

My son, Cameron, was born in April. Suddenly “four-month-old” became a metaphor for this child of mine, born in the fourth month, who I now grieved so deeply for. The dream seemed to hold a prescription for healing. In time, I wrote my first book partly as a chronicle of my own healing journey and partly as a self-help roadmap for others who were grieving. I titled it The Deep Water Leaf Society in honor of the dream.

But I still wondered, what IS a deep water leaf? Inklings of the answer had come through in the book I’d written, but there was more mystery yet to be unraveled. The question continued to rattle around in the back of my mind.

Over the years since Cameron’s death and the publication of the first book, my dreams and meditations have slowly been answering that question. In my new book, Fallen, I explore the answer in the form of a fairy tale or fable about the first Deep Water Leaf.

In it, my protagonist Alora falls from the Dreaming Tree into the strange new land of Lake Sojourn where she struggles to remember who she is. Will she continue to drift on the surface, always at the mercy of the elements? Or will she find the courage to face her fears, dive deep and reclaim her true power?

No spoilers here. You’ll have to read it to find out. 😉

Fallen, the Adventures of a Deep Water Leaf is scheduled for publication January 2017. Join my mailing list (sign up form below) and follow me on Facebook for release details and opportunities for free downloads and prizes as the launch date draws nearer.

Several of the original illustrations – 11 x 14 watercolor and colored pencil on bristol – will be on display in the Southwest Visual Art League’s INSPIRED! Art Show this November in downtown Mesa, Arizona.

Work in Progress "Into the Unknown"
Work in Progress “Into the Unknown” 11 x 14 watercolor and colored pencil on bristol.
WIP Closeup - Into the Unknown
Work in Progress (closeup) “Into the Unknown” 11 x14 watercolor and colored pencil on bristol.