The official site of the sleep-deprived

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Symbolic or Real?

Most dreams are symbolic. They use symbols to convey information about situations in our waking lives. But sometimes the literal nature of dreams amazes me. 

Two nights before the Chilean earthquake occurred and set off a tsunami in the Pacific, I dreamt a man dropped my cell phone in a glass of water, rendering it inoperable. However, I didn't seem too upset about it. 

The dream accurately depicted a waking-life scenario––one I couldn't have known about in advance. The man I live with was visiting friends in Hawaii at the time. Because of the tsunami, he was evacuated to a remote place inland where his cell phone didn't work. I couldn't help laughing at how my dream described the situation, and let me know there was nothing to worry about. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Do you believe in magic?

It's no coincidence that precisely the moment I needed to hear it most, my writing partner, Skye, told me she was editing a book about synchronicity.

Some significant something has been missing from my life lately, but trying to put my finger on it has proven maddeningly mercurial. Then, as she began to talk about the book project it hit me: I'd stopped believing in magic.

I suddenly remembered that synchronicities used to be a routine but welcome part of my life. The incidents were not always mind-blowing in scope, but each one served as an important reminder that although I may be caught up in the ordinariness of the moment, energetic magic was always sizzling around me. I also loved the way synchronicities gave me an electrifying jolt, guaranteed to anchor me in the moment.

But somewhere along the line, it seems I allowed myself to get caught up in that ordinariness and I had stopped paying attention. It seemed so incongruous. How could the mundane have taken precedence over magic?

Call them what you like: synchronicities, omens, affirmations, agreements -- in my mind they are magical reminders that life is so much more; that we are so much more. And they happen because we are inextricably connected to one another.

Within a day of our conversation, I received an email from someone I'd been thinking about for weeks but hadn't communicated with in years. My husband and I talked about a song from the 60s that was meaningful to us - one we hadn't heard since college. That same afternoon the song was on the car radio oldies station. Awhile later I mentioned the title of the blog post I was thinking of writing and within the hour heard the song "Do You Believe in Magic?" by the Lovin' Spoonful. Coincidence?

Yesterday, after a week of flopping around about the unfairness of it all, that nothing is manifesting the way I thought it should, that life was not cooperating, that the universe wasn't listening .... a man who used to work for our company walked into my office. He had come to pick up his W-2 and was waiting to see the business manager. It was a cold day and although he had on a heavy jacket, he was wearing rolled up jeans and pink flip-flops. While he waited he brought me up-to-date on his life.

A series of unfortunate events had left him homeless, with a bicycle as his sole possession. His clothes, including the flip-flops, were items on loan from the Salvation Army thrift store. He was matter of fact about it all, and did not want my sympathy. He seemed to have a good grasp of cause and effect and was taking responsibility for where he was in life.

As I listened to him I silently thanked the universe for this wake-up call. The pettiness and irritation of moments earlier drained out of me. Here was a man who had nothing, but who continued to express gratitude for the only thing he did have - the ability to turn his life around.

Yes, synchronicities are personal - only you can interpret what they mean. But I know in my heart that this was no coincidence. This man had shown up when he did because there was a message I needed to hear.

So, there you go. Just when I'd convinced myself I no longer believed, synchronicities started showing up all over the place.

Just like, you know, magic.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Fear: The Greatest Obstacle to Happiness

For most of us, fear is a constant presence. It attaches itself to us like a tick and sucks the life from our bodies and souls. We’re taught to fear from the moment we enter this world, and from then on, as my blog-partner Lyndsey Powers wrote in an earlier post, “it’s fear-speak everywhere you turn.”

We fear failure. We fear poverty. We fear exposure. We fear losing the people we care about. We fear sickness and death. Some of us spend so much time and energy trying to protect ourselves from our fears that we can’t experience joy. Often, however, the things we fear lie far off in the future or may never happen.

My favorite poet, the 14th-century Persian Sufi master Hafiz, put it this way: “Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you living in better conditions.”

Fear is the voice of the ego. The ego’s goal is control, and it achieves its objective by keeping us in a perpetual state of near-panic. The ego (backed up by 24/7 bad-news media) tells us the world is a frightful place, filled with suffering and evil, and there’s nothing we can do about it. But what if that’s not true? What if the ego is lying to save its own skin?

Lately, I’ve been experiencing a lot of fear. I know I’m not alone. A shaky economy, war, natural disasters, and a host of other perils have sent lots of ordinarily strong, stable, sensible people into a tailspin.

So a few nights ago, I appreciated the encouragement and affirmation a dream offered me. In it, I was driving along a winding road after a major windstorm. Branches and debris were strewn all over the road. I dodged most of them, but finally came upon a large, fallen tree that blocked my path. I tried to go around it and over it, to no avail. The only answer was to get out of the car and attempt to drag the tree out of the way. Now, I’m a small woman and this was a BIG tree, and I had no hope of budging it. But as I took hold and started to pull, surprisingly it came away pretty easily. The obstacle wasn’t as great as it appeared. Hmmmm.

I like to think Brendan Francis was right when he said, "Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.”

How do your fears show up in your dreams? Do closet monsters disturb your sleep? How do you deal with them?