Last year at this time, everything was different. Yet some things were the same.
Pre-COVID, I was trying to launch a new series of workshops and I was feeling defeated. Kind of how I felt yesterday.
Last December, pre-COVID, I was experiencing the loss of light - dwindling away before 5 pm— and the incoming cold, forcing me inside when I wanted to be outside, as a personal affront. I felt then, just as I am feeling today. Annoyed. Angsty. Stuck inside.
Last year, there was the usual end of year pressure to lose the weight, finish the book, plan the world tour, just when everything in the natural world was turning into its roots for the big winter sleep. Last year, I wanted to turn into my roots, too. Just as I do today.
I’m thinking about all of this as I come here, today, to tell you about a dream. It’s a dream about those roots, a dream which Facebook brought back around for me today, reminding me that I’d dreamed it, exactly a year ago. I share it because it is so alive in me - even now. I share it here because I want you to see how I think about a dream - and how it moves into my lived experience and self-realization process.
Okay, enough preamble. Here’s the dream, following by a ‘post-amble’ (is that a word?) about the waking dream that took over when I woke up:
I was feeling overwhelmed and sad. “I cannot seem to make my work happen,” I told my husband. “Ive never worked so hard on something that will not be born!"
He said all the wonderful husband things that he says and I went to bed and had a big dream.
I was in the yoga teacher training again, in the middle of posture class, when, out of the blue, I blurted out, "I don't need the workbook!"
My yoga teacher, shot me a well-deserved stink eye - twice. The third time I blurted, she called me into the hallway.
“What’s going on?” she asked. We talked it out and we went back inside but a moment later, I blurted again. "I don't need the workbook!"
I slunk out of the class, feeling guilty and ashamed. What WAS going on? It was as if 'someone else' was speaking through my body. I was scared.
I found myself walking down a looong dream corridor which connected the yoga studio to... that's weird... the hospital.
I was still barefoot, and still in my yoga clothes when a young doctor came running through the waiting room. “Come with me,” he said and I followed, trying to keep up as he called to me over his shoulder, his white coat flapping open behind him. "You're perfectly fine," he said, "but I want this other doctor to do the check up on your feet. You’ll need your shoes.”
Uh oh. I’d left my shoes in the yoga studo. A pair of kid glove ivory leather heels. Shoes that I do not own and would never wear. Also, what's with the high heels - in all of these dreams? I wondered. (I’ll explain this in a just a minute.)
“Go find your shoes and come back to me,” the doctor ordered.
I ran to comply but my shoes were gone. Finally, needing SOME sort of shoes for the examination, I took someone else’s - a pair of high-heeled sandals in fake snakeskin that were too big and, “These don't feel like me!" I kept saying.
“It’s not a problem,” the other doctor said, "I can cut down the shoes so they are perfect and then you won’t have that problem with your legs anymore."
I looked down. What problem with my legs?
The first doctor was full of praise for the shoe doctor. "This guy can fix anyone. He's a miracle!" and the Shoe Doctor nodded agreement. "I am,” he said. “I can make it so your shoes change everything. Just by talking to you and watching you for a while."
The thing is though, he wasn't watching me. He never once looked at me. I was standing behind him in my yoga clothes, wearing these awful sandals and he was facing away from me, staring into his computer screen. Could he see me in there? I wondered.
The scene changed and the doctors were gone. I was in another room with a group of friends.
I had been extremely sick and I was finally allowed to go out but I couldn't sit down. If I sat down, I’d fall asleep, sliding down in my chair, eyes closing.
"Talk to me so I don’t fall asleep again," I called to my friends.
"What’s wrong?" they asked, propping me back up.
"I don’t know. I can’t stay awake."
This is where the dream ended. I woke up.
I got out of bed.
I walked to the kitchen to make tea, my mind still full of dream images. As I waited for the water to boil, I began to ponder: What kind of shoes WOULD feel like my shoes? What kind of shoes DO I need? What kind of shoes am I looking for?
What was the sickness from which I was recovering? Had the doctors fixed my shoes? My legs? Were my friends visiting me in hospital? Why couldn’t I yet sit down? Was I still recovering from the ‘sickness’?
Also, I wondered, What's up with all these shoe dreams?
I came to my desk and started making notes. I remembered my last big shoe dream. The one where I lost one shoe (high heeled) and Oprah opened her magic closet and gave me a brand new pair of purple shoes (high heeled). I thought about how I had put them on and how they’d fit perfectly.
Sipping my tea, I realized I’d had the Oprah dream on the eve of the launch of a new program.
Ah, I see. New program. New shoes.
I remembered an earlier shoe dream, where I’d lost one shoe (high heeled) as I leapt from the shore onto the ferry that was carrying my son and his friends away from the pier. This dream also came on the eve of a big launch - my son was leaving for college.
Oooh, I see. New life. New shoes.
I thought of Cinderella's glass slippers. I thought of the Red Shoes and the dancing that wouldn't stop. I thought about what shoes mean symbolically - you can read about that here- and what they seem to mean to me, personally. I remembered my first pair of Joan and David pumps. They were brown leather with very pointy toes and kitten heels. And they were expensive. When I wore them I felt sexy and smart and expensive. It’s the first time, I think, that I had the embodied experience of feeling like a million dollars. (These are the same shoes which, after I had my first baby, no longer fit me. Significant? I think so. Shoes as identification with a part of life that’s over now. The loss of ‘shoes’ that no longer fit. The gain of finding new shoes that DO fit. Or being given them by Oprah! )
I noticed that in all of my other shoe dreams (and there have been MANY others) I often lost one shoe and wound up hobbling along - step up, step down, step up, step down. It was as if one foot was higher but bound inside of an uncomfortable structure. While the unshod foot was free - it was 'wild' and ready to touch the ground.
I noted that in this new shoe dream, for the first time, I’d lost BOTH shoes. I had two bare feet - and I wasn't about to be forced to have my shoes 'cut down' and my legs 'fixed' by a man who wasn't even looking at me.
I was standing on two wild feet.
I also noted that right after my protest, I found myself ‘recovering’ from a sickness that kept trying to pull me back to sleep - and that it was my friends who were helping me ‘stay awake’.
Thinking the dream through a year later, excited and moves me. Dreams are so clever if we are willing to play with them. They keep offering us gifts of wisdom, glimmers of guidance and embodied truths.
After making my notes, I sensed there was still more wisdom here. So I came into my sun room and took the dream inside.
I closed my eyes and let my body settle. After a few moments, I felt my shoulders relax and my breathing slow. I fell into a vivid waking dream, a vision in which I met with the One. the masculine aspect of my own work. I know Him as a professor, a male angel. Once I met him on a street corner in NYC. To me, the simplest name for him is God.
He opened his hands toward me and poured energy into my belly. My body filled with light and my hands and feet began to vibrate. I felt myself growing brighter lighter. taller. He directed my attention to the point in my belly where his light was pouring in and said, "The work is in you already. It's time for the birth."
But how? I asked. I had struggled so much to complete these projects. It was then that I felt Her beside me., The generous and gentle friend who walks beside me. I know her as Sophia, as Her, as Goddess.
As He streamed light into my belly, I felt her gentle hand at the back of my heart. I heard her voice, clear and calm. "I am here with you," she said. "We will do this (birthing) together."
Then, the vision began to fade. As it faded away, I heard the voice of The One. Speaking clear as a bell, he told me, Speak every note out loud. Give it all form. Discard all the paper. After that, you will be ready to go.
I did this all day, reading note after note into the dictation app on my phone, filling and discarding two grocery bags of paper. I am almost done. After two years, one small pile remains. I am dictating g this post from the kitchen. I am barefoot I don't need the workbook. I AM the workbook.