Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Dream Guides

Very interesting!
For many years I have had two recurring dreams. The most frequent one is being in a parking lot or on the street and not being able to find my car. Even if I recall where I parked it, it's not there when I to that spot. I know that a car symbolizes power and control but I never researched the true meaning behind that dream. I don't put much stock in dream interpretation, I believe most dreams come from "day residue" things you did or thought about during the day that show up in your dreams. It made sense for many dreams but not this recurring dream. I did an online search and found this explanation from Dr. Oz's website:

Stress Dream: Losing Your Car or Your Car Gets Stolen
This stress dream is connected to uncertainty or loss of motivation. Your car represents your “drive” and motivation to continue to move forward in some area. If this is your stress dream, you need to ask yourself what in your life you no longer have the desire to continue with. Is it your job? A relationship? A project? If that doesn’t fit, ask yourself what is causing you to feel uncertain and directionless. Maybe you can’t find a job and no longer know what to do. Or perhaps your kids are unruly and you don’t know which path to take in order to deal with them.

The Lesson: Whether it’s lack of motivation or uncertainty, your dreaming mind wants you to find a new path, and get your drive or mojo back, which is why it keeps taking your car away from you in your dream.  Time to try something different because the direction you are headed in now isn’t going to get you anywhere.  

That made sense! I've often felt that my job was not the right place for me. I should have been writing or making art. I certainly shouldn't have been spending up to 15 hours a week commuting. Maybe my dream was a subconcious wish that I would lose my car so I couldn't go to work.

I also frequently lost my motivation for writing the novel I've been penning for the past 6 years and am finally abandoning. So retirement will be a great gift. I can stay home and write and feel more motivation for getting up each day. And maybe I'll stop dreaming about losing my car.

The other dream I've had several times, though a bit less frequently is that I'm walking down the street and a tidal wave of water comes rushing toward me. It may have begun with all the news about tsunamis a few years ago, but then again perhaps this explains it better:

Stress Dream: Tidal Wave
If this is your stress dream then you have something in common with CNN’s Piers Morgan because he has it too! The stress this dream is connected to is being overwhelmed by too many responsibilities. Just as the tidal wave surges over your head and threatens to sweep you away, you are getting in over your head in waking life responsibilities that threaten to pull you away from any down time. Less often, this dream can be connected to an emotional situation that is overwhelming you. If you suffer from depression or anxiety, these dreams can be a heads up that another bout is on the way – so prepare!
The Lesson: Like the wave, your dream is showing you that your responsibilities or your anxiety are getting bigger than you are. It’s time to take something off your plate, ask for help, or delegate some of your responsibilities to someone else. If it’s anxiety or depression, make plans to go see a comedy or spend some time outside with friends who make you laugh. Like the wave, if you don’t lighten your load or lighten your mood, you are headed for a crash!

I often felt overwhelmed by all the things I try to do and the little bit of time and energy I had to do them. I've felt like I was drowning and had no way out. I had to keep working, I had to keep writing and I had to keep making art. Weekends also made me feel overwhelmed by the things I had to do, the things I wanted to do, and the need to just rest and relax.

Retirement will take care of that too. Perhaps in the next dream I'll just turn toward the tidal wave and dive right in to this next phase of my life and all my creative projects that I will finally have time for.

I've arrange with my Directors to work 2 days a week, 5 hours each day, to help out while we transition a new person into my job. I can deal with that. Keeps me connected to the staff I love and still leaves me creative time.

Couldn't be better.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Sitting on a wooden bench, surrounded by blooming flowers and the scents of blue bells, moist earth, and some sort of exotic mint, I spotted this doorway. Two rows of trees whose branches arched together to frame the entry to a garden bracketed by a red brick walkway and leading to a fountain that sprayed cool crystal water into the warm sunlit air. I sat mesmerized and understood at once that this was the doorway to my new world. 

On the brink of retirement, only 5 weeks away, I have been struggling to make some creative decisions about what my new life will be like. Where will my creative focus be? Will it even be focused, or will I continue to bounce from one art form to another? I feel as though I must make this decision before my first day of retirement on July 1 so I can jump right into whatever it is I am meant to do. Will it be novel writing? Making mixed media art and scrapbooks? Writing poetry? Writing short stories? Do I abandon the novel or just dive into it anew on my first day of freedom?

These last few weeks of work have given me more stress than the past ten years as an Assistant Principal. How can I demand of myself that I make a reliable decision under this pressure? Yet I seriously wish to have made my choice by July 1.

Then, as if by sublime spiritual intervention, it fell into place.

Dividing my writing passions with my interest in art is simple enough--writing is the work while art is the hobby that I can turn to for a break in the writing. Poetry is a clear choice. It's what I've always written and read, it's what I love, and I will never give it up.

It's the decision between novels and short stories that seems to provide the biggest dilemma. But as I said, like that spray of clear water from the fountain, it seems to be delightfully raining down on me like a soft and soothing shower.

Last night I began to read Michelle Richmond's book "No One You Know." I knew it would be good as I've read her other novels and thoroughly enjoyed the stories and her writing which delves deep into the lives and thoughts of her characters. And it came to me. When I am writing my novel I've been trying to mold it into the style of commercial fiction. But that is not my voice. As a poet, my prose--personal essays and short stories--have always leaned toward a literary, poetic voice. That is the voice of Richmond's books and it snapped some loose pieces together in my brain. All along I have been fighting my voice.

This morning I got up and the opening of my story came to me in my literary voice and after writing it down I realized what I was doing wrong all this time. I am sure I will write in my own authentic literary voice from now on. I believe this novel can take on the form of a short story if I refine and hone it, cut and trim its essence, and write a short story from the heart and guts of it.

With a clear understanding of who I am as a writer--a poet and short story writer--I can confidently step through this branched doorway and enter the sunlight of a writing career path that fits me. 

It will be difficult to wade through the next five weeks until I am free to finally follow my path. But I will make it and step bravely into my new life, my new world, where the scents of spring, summer, and pen on paper will guide me and comfort me.