What do you do when you feel the weight of the world may be too much? In the words paraphrased by my friend Robert Moss, you "chop wood, carry water", and carry on with your basic practices of Active Dreaming. You remember the power you have to bring positive change into the world, in whatever way you dream up. Here's a story of stepping up when you feel depleted.
It’s been nearly two months since I've written my newsletter. A week after returning from Bali I came down with pneumonia and still managed to attend to my appraisal business. I was tired, but recovered enough to spend 11 great days hosting Robert Moss and assisting him for a week at the Esalen Institute, and then during our weekend workshop in Berkeley.
We were at Esalen the week of the elections, and the results hit me hard. I woke Tuesday night from a tragic dream that turned out to be true, leaving me with a deep sadness that lingers and still requires care. I was grateful that we came together that week to dream big dreams.
By Wednesday evening I felt pretty depleted. On my way to the baths, I found myself drawn to an evening talk about paranormal experiences. One of the speakers was a woman who had been struck by lightning 28 years ago, survived her near-death experience and, since then dreams of tragic accidents in real time, or sometimes an hour before the event. She wants it to stop and has no idea of how to gain power over this. When the microphone was passed around for comments, I said a little about surprising things that can happen and how we can learn to have power as dreamers. Yeah, right, I could sense the speaker thinking, and realized my attempt to share my thoughts was far from ideal and wasn't particularly helpful to her. I felt a little embarrassed about what felt like failure and as I turned to leave, a woman approached me.
"You know something about dreams. Can you help me?"
She told me her story and my first tired response was to give her my card and suggest we schedule a session. But then I realized the moment of healing was now!
Eight years ago this lovely woman had seen a terrible dream vision of her father shortly after he hadcommitted suicide. She was afraid this vision meant that he was in Hell, and was going to suffer for eternity because of the suicide. She has carried this fear with her since, and I could clearly see her worry.
I asked if she would be willing to dream our way to him together, right now. We'll check on him and find a way to send him love. She agreed. After a few moments of breathing together with eyes closed we began. "Find yourself in a beautiful garden. Do you feel it? There's a helper for you here...Can you turn around in this garden and as you're turning look to see if you can find your helper." "I see a hummingbird." "Ah! Perfect! The hummingbird has the strongest heart, to help her beat her wings so fast and to fly with such precision. She is of the heart and she heals. Now, send a beam of pink light out from your heart. Your hummingbird will find your father and your beam of light will follow her to him."... "I see him, just his outline." "Where is he?" "He's in a garden. It's beautiful." "How is he?" "He's fine. I can't see him up close but he's fine."..."Now you have a way to talk to him, anytime you want, with your hummingbird, traveling on the light from your heart. Is there anything you want to say to him?" "I love you. I forgive you.” "What does he say to you?" And with beautiful emotion..."He loves me. He forgives me."
The presence of love infused us. On the periphery of a brightly-lit bustling room, in ten minutes, without complicated preparation but with the intention of love and healing, magic happened. Long carried pain was eased. No-one should ever have to feel this kind of fear for eight long years. I’m grateful, too, for my fellow dreamer pulled me out of my malaise. We can help each other as travelers in the dreaming. Thank you for the honor of sharing your story, dear dreamer.
It turned out my unsuccessful effort to help one person opened the door for someone else to find what she needed. And my willingness to give a few minutes of love even when I didn't think I had it in me healed something in her, and in me, just like that. It doesn't have to be complicated. Chop wood, carry water, be present for another, and we all heal a little and maybe a lot.
The weekend after this Robert taught his Berkeley workshop. The topic was Living a Life With Heart and the theme: hummingbird medicine.
Your Helper Waits