Your Choice


It’s the eve of the election. This dream arrived the night before last.

#4984: The Little Boy Doesn’t Want to Learn

I’m in a new place – it feels like a room in a children’s school — with a few other very likable men and women. We are making packets of information for the children. I’m supposed to prepare the covers of the packets. The teacher let them write their names on the covers in magic marker. They must be four- or possibly five-year olds, judging by their writing. I have a packet with the name Mary Ma….. (something…can’t remember her last name). I see Raffa written after her name and it looks like my writing. It doesn’t belong there so I‘m trying to erase it. But I can’t, because it’s in magic marker. Also, the packet has a nubby fabric texture, almost like fleece, which makes it especially difficult to erase. I ask for a new, clean packet for this child to start over with but the teacher tells me there aren’t any more. There’s only one for each child.

A little boy is here now and needs his packet. I tell the others where it’s hanging, over to the left on that wall. Each packet is hung on a peg which also holds a set of keys. Someone goes over, finds his, and brings it to the boy. But he ignores it. It’s got everything he needs in it, even the keys, and all the information and directions for his task, but he won’t even look at it. He doesn’t want to use it. He wants to play without having to apply himself. I feel sorry for him. It could be so easy if he’d just look at the materials right in front of him and learn from them. He’s making it so hard on himself by resisting. It’s such a shame.

This is how I feel about this new book. I’m preparing this “packet” of information. It contains guidelines for the work of self-discovery — a set of keys that can open doors to the unknown world within. But it’s been very difficult…it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever written. I’m having to face some harsh realities about myself and sometimes my inner little boy just doesn’t want to do the hard work. And I know there are a lot of people who won’t read my book for the same reason. And that’s hard too.

But this dream also shows me how I feel about the problems we face in America on the eve of this election. It’s about all those who want a patriarchal God to come down here and fix everything. And if not God, then maybe a big, powerful, important man who makes our fears go away when he says, “It’s bad out there. But don’t worry. I’ll fix it.”

The time has come to take the heroine’s journey. We each have our own packet, our own keys, our own task. We each need to look into the book of our own life, descend to the underworld, and suffer like Inanna, the Queen of Heaven and Earth when all her worldly belongings were stripped from her and she was hung on a meathook.To suffer like Mary, the Queen of Heaven, who watched the political power in her country crucify her son. To suffer like Psyche, beloved of Eros, who had to do all the impossible tasks that Aphrodite, goddess of love, assigned to her to force her to grow up. She knew she couldn’t do them and admitted it. And only when she crumbled in humility and despair did the solutions come. The healing power of nature, of the soul, took over and gave her the assistance she needed.

It’s time to peel away the patriarchal layers of busyness and competition. Of materialism. Of ladder-climbing back-stabbing to acquire the outer trappings of success. Time to stop projecting our fear and hatred onto scapegoats. Time to stop living lives devoid of all soul, all spirit, all meaning. Time to stop pushing away other people, other ideas, new solutions. Time to see what’s right in front of us and learn from it. Time to stop looking to Big Daddy to save us. Time to empower our fuller selves, to accept our individual responsibility to be part of a global solution.

Our assignment at this point in history is to follow the maidens, mothers, queens, and crones down deep into the underground of our true selves. To find out who we really are and what our souls really need. To admit we can’t escape reality by denying it. Time to find our own vulnerable places and let our carefully constructed walls crumble around us. To tap into the sadness and grief, fear and dread. To let it all out and learn from it in the privacy of our own meditations. To trust in the core of love at our center, and to make the choices our soul wants us to make.

Big Daddy’s not going to save us. My book is not going to save us. Everybody has to write and read their own book, find meaning in their own life, and save themselves. You can save yourself. You can choose. Choose the Third Way. Choose love.

P.S. I’ve met another wise woman. Thank you, Janice, for your inspiration today for this post.

Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at KoboBarnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc.

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19 Responses

  1. Jean, your words are very wise. We definitely NEED to change our world by bringing back kindness and respect. The push for grandeur and money is destroying us. We need to bring back caring, support, and the feel of community. But, as you say, it all starts with us. We have to make the first step together. Thank you for your wise visions. I’m praying that change will start taking place.

    1. Thank you Gwynn, for your words of affirmation. It feels like the momentum toward this way of thinking is building, and it feels like women are leading it. Thank you, sisters. Blessings, Jeanie

  2. Hi Jean,
    As I get older, I realize how much I wanted and expected “big daddy” to look out for me. It’s only recently that I have come to the visceral understanding that I am responsible for my life and my well-being, and by extension, responsible for the world around me.
    Thank you for your timely posts. I’m looking forward to reading your new book!

    1. Thank you very much, Pamela. I hope you’ll let me know what you think of my book after you’ve read it. It’ll be a while, but I’ll let everyone know when it comes out.
      I know. This kind of self-awareness tends to settle in around and after middle-age. Our habitual assumptions and expectations are so subtle, and we’re usually too busy before that to notice and reflect on what needs to be changed. And that’s okay. Once we notice, we just need to keep taking the next step that needs to be taken.
      Blessings, Jeanie

  3. Jeanie ~ As you’re thinking, here’s another link to something about the French philosopher, mystic and radical thinker/political activist, Simone Weil, who the author wisely recognizes as being “the patron saint of anomalous persons.” Aside from the normal anxiety related to the release of your new book (trying to erase your name from the cover), I hope you’ll also make the connections to some of the deeper themes your soulful dream may have touched upon:

  4. Hi LB,
    I appreciate your associations with this dream. They definitely enriched the levels of meaning in it for me. For example, I was seeing the little boy as a metaphor for the youthful masculine in the outer world, but, of course, he can also be seen as my own budding animus who dares to be different. In the dream this didn’t put him in any conflict with other members of his class. He was totally comfortable being himself and although I was aware of a few other children roaming around in the classroom, none of them were actually sitting down and dutifully complying. They were just on the fringes of the dream. He was the only child who stepped up to do his task. He was standing just to the right of me. (A political metaphor?) This resonates with my spiritual journey as one who stepped away from teaching collective wisdom to college adults and from being an active member of the Episcopal church in order to follow my own path of individuating and writing about it.
    So yes, this little boy is not just a metaphor for an outer reality, but he’s also my youthful animus who doesn’t give a hoot about what my ego wants him to do, for whatever reasons. He’s making his own choices. I love that. Of course, thinking for oneself can always put one in conflict with collective values, but it is so self-affirming and self-validating to put the Self first that the fear of being different gradually dissolves.
    And yes, my ego wanted him to learn how to do his task in a way that we had prepared for him, (in the dream, I didn’t actually write the materials; the teachers had already done that. I was just in charge of the covers…actually, of just fixing the cover of the packet which I was holding in my hand, which of course, suggests my persona). It was my waking ego that associated the packets with the book I’m writing and assembling. My waking ego is definitely concerned about the quality of materials that will be used by others that have my name on them. So that’s a persona issue I have about my book. I don’t want to claim ownership of something I’m not responsible for (someone else’s individuation journey). I don’t want the book to be about my journey. I want it to be about the reader’s journey. I think this is why my dream ego doesn’t want my name/persona to be on the cover of another child’s packet of information.
    You mentioned an alternative perspective on the boy’s behavior: the resistance to alternative perspectives being offered me for consideration. That could be a possibility if we’re talking about the political polarization going on. But I’m not quite sure how…. As a former republican, I would have voted for Nixon if I’d been old enough, but my perspectives changed as I grew older. That doesn’t mean I demonize one side and worship the other. And I don’t think everyone in the party is just like the leader, because I don’t like stereotypes, whether about a group or an individual or a binary gender or age group or cultural group or social class, or anything else. So if resistance to the unfamiliar or unknown is my little boy’s issue….I’ll have to think on what that might be…
    Since I’ve been releasing my identification with my childhood religious, cultural, and political conditioning since I was 37, and expressing it in my books since I was 47, I don’t think that is the reason I couldn’t fully erase my name from the fleece. By the way, I hadn’t gotten the pun until you brought it to my attention! Thanks. But your association of feeling “fleeced” not just by one party but by two encourages me to pursue this line of thinking further, although it kind of seems self-evident. My working-class, nurse mother always said politics was a dirty business, and she never pointed to one party or the other as the culprit. Anyway, I’ll check out the links you provided.
    My view of God’s role in this is that God, whatever God is, doesn’t have political preference, which is why we can’t expect the Father God to step in and fix everything. I think the Sacred Mystery “sees” us all as worthy of respect and love regardless of which side we’re on or how fervently we push our one-sided preferences, which are ruled by our fears. My wish is that I could learn to love like that, and to choose love in everything I do. I don’t believe one party has a patent on love. Again, I don’t like stereotypes. We always have the conflict between our fear of the unknown, which drives us to preserve and protect the old ways, and the pressing agenda of the Self and its archetypal forces which are forcing us to leave the old behind and keep progressing forward on our spiritual journeys. So when it comes to politics and life, even though I still get afraid sometimes, my choices are unique to each situation. I choose the side that wants to keep progressing away from fear and toward love.
    I recorded my dream on Sunday morning, the 4th, so you must have had yours on the 5th. What an amazing synchronicity that is! Especially the nursery school and Mary M! I wonder why your unconscious would reference my dream. Do I know you? Have we met? Usually there’s some sort of outer-world connection between two individuals for something like that to happen….unless it’s a dream for the collective. Well, anyway, since the naive teacher and shallow drawers with the over-sized blue craft paper showed up in your dream and not mine, I assume this is about your unconscious, not mine! 🙂
    Thanks for eliciting the fun and fascinating dialogue.

  5. Thanks Jeanie for your post. Rich dreams indeed! I lthink and feel that there is an ‘awakening’ world wide where we begin to realise that the work starts within. Books such as yours and your upcoming one will be a valuable addition to the body of literature available to those with eyes to see, ears to hear, hearts to bloom –
    It’s ancient wisdom and high time there is a return to it – the old wiil be re-birthed.

    1. Thanks Susan. I sense the same awakening…..perhaps because you and I and many of the people we know are experiencing it. I hope our intuition applies to our species as a whole! We’ve been so dismissive of our inner lives for so long and are in desperate need of self-knowledge. And as you say, this has been known since ancient times: Know Thyself was over Apollo’s temple at Delphi! Etc. etc. etc. We have an in-built compulsion to grow and mature psychologically. We just need to heed it. Perhaps it takes really terrible times like these, with all the wars and mass killings and oppressions and migrations to motivate us to take it seriously! With love and gratitude for your role in the shift….Jeanie

  6. Jeanie ~ In my own dream, that search for the perfect shade of blue didn’t exist, though my naive friend, Mary M. (a feminist and pagan who rejected her former religious/patriarchal upbringing and instead embraced aspects of the ancient goddess religions) seems also to believe in the legitimacy of Democrats (the *Blue* party) to achieve peace and social justice. The drawers that held the various shades of blue paper in my dream were compartmentalized and *shallow*, without depth.
    As I was typing this I remembered something else: as part of my friend’s feminism, and though she loved her father, later in life she legally ‘erased’ the last name she inherited from him through her parent’s marriage.
    It’s not that unusual for me to dream of people I’ve never met, am soon to meet, or only know online ~ usually because of some common theme in our lives. We’re all connected ~ through both our inner and outer worlds. Some of us are just more sensitive to these connections and their deeper significance. It’s one of the reasons I no longer choose to vote in support of our system of violence, red or blue.
    Thanks for taking the time to respond in such detail. I hope you read and get something out of the links.

  7. Fantastic interpretation and true to today’s reality of life. We all must know and share ourselves together to make life better.

    1. Thank you, Mark. Yes, it is an unusually tough time for humanity everywhere. It’s time we realized that lasting change in the outer world will only come with changes in our inner worlds. It starts with us.

  8. “I’m late. I’m late. For a very important date.” I gave a workshop a few hours drive from home last week and everything else was tossed out of my schedule, except my blog. We survived the elections, more or less. I think Trump’s gloss is wearing off for many more than before as he behaves more like a spoiled brat on the world and national stage. Never has there been a man unable to play the part of President.
    I wonder about the boy in your dream who resists the exercise, the keys, the offered path. Could this last touch on the book be the job of that young feminine with the divine first name and your last name? I don’t know enough about your book or the dream to make this assumption, but the idea/intuition came to mind and won’t leave me alone. The heroine’s creative and courageous journey? Toss this idea if it doesn’t ring a bell. I’m so glad you’re getting your book together. I’m hoping this is my winter to pull things together, but it’s not up to my ego in the end. Little is.

    1. Hi Elaine, I hope your workshop went well. I’m sure it did. I get it about tossing everything else out of your schedule when you are driven to follow your passion. I’m neglecting almost everything and everyone else to get this book done. And I beat myself up about it every day.
      Your interpretation of my dream is very intriguing. I’ve been revising a chapter in which I address the way Mary, the mother of Jesus, and all mothers, have been defined and limited by patriarchal perspectives. Tough to see. Tough to write about. I imagine I’ll get some flack about it. And, of course, the “MeToo” movement has brought the injustices inflicted on women — and the sacred feminine — to everyone’s attention. Yes, the heroine’s courageous journey is definitely on my mind these days. Thank you for sharing this perspective. I’ll reflect on it and see what meaning I can get out of it.
      In this approaching time of hibernation I wish you lots of pulling together of ideas and inspirations in preparation for a creative new birth. Your well is deep and rich, and your writing, like mine, is your ego’s way of connecting with the gold that lies within. You’re doing your work. Now, as you say, it’s up to your unconscious to meet your ego half way!
      Have a warm, blessed Thanksgiving and winter.

      1. I loved the workshop in Rochester including a grief ritual and they already invited me to one of their other centers for next fall. I guess they liked it, too. We’re expecting over 10 inches of snow. Hibernation time is here.

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