Last week’s visit from Elaine Mansfield was fun and productive. We talked, walked, ate, laughed, and wrote a proposal for a workshop on loss and grief. And an especially wonderful thing happened. I, the Lone Ranger of writing who has always written and revised every word of every manuscript with no help from anyone until entrusting it to an editor, experienced a significant breakthrough.
Knowing Elaine had recently sought advice from friends for her Tedx talk, I asked her to listen and comment on my first rehearsal of my upcoming keynote presentation for the IASD convention. This morning’s dream had something to say about my “bold” new approach.
I’m in the lobby of a large library. Before I can find and study an article I need for my work I have to be interviewed by a person in charge. When it’s my turn she grants me a permit, but by then it’s so late I have to leave. As I gather my belongings I realize I have too much baggage to carry alone. Just then, Fred arrives to help me.
I find myself alone on the side of a very steep stone mountain outside the library. The path is extremely precarious and as narrow as one of my feet. The trail ahead disappears into the cliff wall. My only support is a very slight bulge in the wall to my right. When I grasp it it flakes off like disintegrating slices of cardboard.
The ground is very far away. A jump or fall will kill me. I feel no fear and trust that whoever created this path provided a way out. I look over my left shoulder and see a wider, more gradual slope about 30 yards behind me. It has no stairs, but a metal railing offers man-made support down the middle of this rock road. I must have been on that path before branching off onto this one. I wonder why I left it.
My only option is to return to that place of relative safety. I inch slowly backwards, trusting in my balance and supporting myself with a gentle touch on the crumbling ledge with my right hand. After a few steps I look down and am surprised to see the ground a foot away. I’m safe.
As usual, I had no idea at first what this dream could mean, but when I started reflecting on my associations to the symbols I soon realized it was about my speech.
Looking for an article in a library: My mental work of acquiring knowledge and writing.
Baggage: Too much knowledge and too many memories to sift through. Which mental “stuff” shall I use for my talk? Which stories, ideas and pictures are the most relevant to my topic?
Fred arrives to help: My sweet helpful husband and an image of my Animus, both of whom are always there for me without my having to ask.
Finding myself alone on a narrow, dangerous and disappearing path on a steep mountain: My independent way of traveling through life is becoming increasingly challenging and outmoded. Something needs to change.
Trusting and feeling no fear: Many dreams in recent years have placed my dream ego in situations that would once have terrified me but no longer do. This speaks to my growing trust in the benevolence and internal guidance of the Self.
Walking backwards: Relinquishing my need to control my way of living and working; returning to a place (attitude and way of living) of more receptivity to help and comfort from outside myself. Even the Lone Ranger had a mother once! And what about Silver and Tonto, for heaven’s sake? “Lone” may not have realized it, but he was never really alone.
Gently touching the rock with my right hand: Staying in touch with my instincts and the physical world which are always there to support me.
This morning I sent a summary of this dream in an email to Elaine, who, by the way, has arrived home safely despite the hazardous travel conditions. Here’s part of her comment: “You descended from the mental realms and hit the earth. It’s a promise to work through the huge amount of material available to you and pull all the ideas down to earth. And you’re already so close. Love, love, love that gentle right hand inching down the precarious rocks and going down backwards.”
I’m so grateful that 26 years of dreamwork have taught me to trust my inner resources, especially the Self, to help me through life. And I’m so grateful for a husband and friends who want to help. Despite my unduly proud and independent spirit, I never really was alone, was I?