Shifting Perspecitives

In my recent dream, I am in His embrace and I feel an intense desire. This desire is for something more. I want something more because, in this moment, I know there is something more. The niggling, aching feeling that has tagged me throughout my life: there is something more, something more than all of this crazy life that I have lived. I see and, more importantly, I feel how there is nothing outside of me that can fill the God-sized hole in my being. In this moment, there is nothing to prove, no thing to be attained, no person to find, that will make it all better. But, there is something more. I do not know what it is, but I know in this moment that I want it. Desire can hurt. It can turn into pain. The pain of loss and the pain of love remembered.

My world is tilting, my perspective is changing, the ground is shifting and heaving under my feet. I feel uprooted, unstable, off balance, disoriented. It is terrifying. I am having a hard time speaking. I feel easily confused. But even still, my desire to know more pulls me forward, down.

I am sitting in a dimly lit theater. There is a man up on the stage in a black robe. There are several children on stage too. The man throws something off the stage with a sweeping motion of his hand. I feel a jolt of fear. I don’t see the children any more. Then I realize there is another level to the stage that I didn’t see before and that there is a set of stairs that is hidden behind a bamboo fence that curves down from the top level to the lower level. The children are creeping down the stairs towards the lower level.
My perspective changes. I see another whole world. The shift is terrifying. It is like a sudden drop in altitude on the peaceful flight at thirty thousand feet where I have been sitting lulled by the drone of the engines of my life. I am one of the children creeping down the stairs. I can’t see around the curve of the bamboo fence, but I see a faint orange glow, the glow of mystery. My mates and I jostle and creep, not scared but curious. We are in it together, we are not afraid because something in us knows these depths. It is a relational feeling, the comfort of comrades, the exuberance of youthful adventure, the knowing of the child. My work is to feel the desire of wanting more and to bring it to this place with the children descending the stairs.

In my outer world, all hell breaks loose.


"Crossroads" ~ Laura Smith
In my recent dream, I am on the train platform. It is a remote way station. We have left most everyone else behind. These tracks lead to wilderness. This is a place of choice, a crossroads, liminality, a place between worlds. To go forward is to leave all that was before, behind; to be a "rogue", to go into the wild.

I walk to an archway opening on the other side of the platform. We have time before the train comes. There is a wild pond, the water's edge laps the platform. I squat down and put my hand in the water. It is warm. For this moment I am the girl with my face turned to the sun feeling the simple joy of wanting to go swimming. But it is fleeting because I am scared. The water is dark and wild, the train tracks disappear into thicket and dark forests. I turn. The Father is there. I am not alone, yet still I am afraid.

The other choice from the dream is to go back. In this choice, I am no longer the girl, but instead the woman who wants to go back. Back to the "safety" of her old ways of being. I want a nice hotel, a pristine pool, a nice lounge chair so I can just lie in the sun. I can get a nice tan, look good, pretend I don't have a care in the world. Maybe read a book, sip a cold drink, be waited on by some cute waiter or waitress who would just love to get me something from the bar. I've got a story or two I could tell to entertain my pool mates. Maybe get a massage later, after all, I deserve one. Disappear in the forgetfulness of life. Dis-remember. Forget about traumas and feelings and tracks that disappear into dark woods or stairs that descend into pitch black.

One slight hitch, the other dream in this sequence: the one with the Animus, enormous, black, powerful, standing before me naked on the boat. But, if I can make him into a bad guy, a rapist or a torturer, I am outta here. I can go nuclear, blow shit up. Who cares if my flesh sizzles when I can't feel a thing? But the hitch is that I feel my desire, the desire for conjunctio. Direct and personal connection to divine love is, for me, a terrifying prospect. Why this is so, I do not know, or perhaps I can just as easily say, why shouldn't it be?

I realize I can no longer distinguish between my fear and my desire. In my body, now, it feels the same. These feelings, felt in the body, are so unfamiliar that they are difficult to stay with. But I am noticing that they come more easily and can stay longer. And, I am realizing I am feeling the weight of 48, the knowledge that I have never truly felt my own passion, nor explored the true depths of me. This knowledge hurts.

My homework is to find the place of my fear on the train platform with the Father and to bring that fear to the place of attraction to the powerful, huge Animus on the boat. This I will do, for the truth is I don't want to go back. The dreams will bring my own truth, my own essence forward. The choice is simply to feel or not to feel and, meanwhile, there is the moment on the platform, the liminal place in between.


Attack. When pathology attacks, it can be subtle or it can be head on. I am under attack. The attack comes, violent, relentless. It is not subtle. It takes me out through my mind. Something is wrong. I can feel myself in reaction. I know it is the dreams that keep coming and also the homework I am in. The descent that started in Bermuda now has me standing on the stairs looking down into pitch black. The Anima is there, the girl is there, but they are not enough. In the dream, I don’t feel the terror; instead I simply turn away in a patronizingly prideful fashion and go back up. Only “up” is where my real demons await. “Up” is of the mind, the outer world, the oh-so-familiar. “Down” is the unknown, the terrifying unknown. I have explored the glittering halls of my mechanical mind. I know its grinding corridors, the hitching, stutter of obsessive thinking. The trauma drama stories reeling out in stop-action clarity. The oppression of nihilism lurks here. This is the place where shame wants to cover all parts of me until I can no longer feel anything. The shivering desire is gone and I am numb. I hold on to the only feeling left: dis-ease; the crawling discomfort of my own skin. Something has gone terribly wrong. I am no good. I see how I have been twisted and scarred, broken and corrupted and I see no way out, only pitch black and terror. The coil of anger draws me, the thorn of self pity woos me, nihilism presses on me. I want to take the battle up and out to the world. But I see that the real battle is happening inside me and I am fighting now only because I can’t go back. And yet, I see no light ahead. No hope for me. It cannot be redeemed, all is lost. Things have gone too far. I have given so much of myself away that I have nothing to surrender even. How can I find love in this hopeless place?

In the writing now, perhaps I feel a glimmer of hope. It comes in the form of the feeling of deep pain. I hurt somewhere deep inside. This is the simple truth. I hurt in the root of me, the core, a place so far away that I can hardly fathom it. But I can feel it welling up in the writhing dis-ease of my body. I am like the freshly hooked worm descending to its watery, toothy fate and the belly of the beast.

Deeper into the Trauma

The sudden descent. Terrifying. In Bermuda, at the Archetypal Dreamwork retreat, the dreams take me deeper into the horror of my trauma. It is shocking, unexpected. I want to back out. I can’t be strung with these dreams! I will have to reveal. It is too much vulnerability for me. Yet I watch others in their work. Marc and Christa are masterful. The dreams unfold in each person, all the stages of work represented. I see the amazing way in which the string work reveals the mystery of the dream for each dreamer. I witness newcomers, never exposed to archetypal dreamwork before, step into the strings. I see how brave they are. I see my own place here and I know the only way is through.

How can I explain what it is like to see my soul so tortured? How can I explain my hurt boy who carries the wound for my savaged girl?

From the dream:
I see some picker bush stems on [the boy’s] shoulder. I start to pick it off and he says ‘No!” and I think it is because he is scared it will hurt. He gets up and moves away from me. But I have already pulled a couple off. I show him and say “see, I pulled off a couple already.” He is not convinced. He turns away from me and I see he has them all over his back. It is a huge cluster of green thorny stems stuck to him. I tell him that he has a few more. He goes to a mirror and I follow him. He bends forward to see. Then he grabs his tee shirt and slowly rips it over his head. Most of the stems are on the shirt, but now I see that he has them embedded under his skin.


I am sitting in the airport in Newark, NJ on my way to the NOE retreat in Bermuda. I have a four hour layover and so have a moment to write.

From my recent dream:
…I cry out. I know the man will hear me and come because He is my caretaker. Even though He is very far away, I hear Him say my name softly… I realize that He is right beside me.

He is right beside me, head pressed to mine, his presence like a hot ocean around my body.My world tilts. And so, I find the place of desire. It comes to me in a rush of sensuality in my body, a shivering that catches my breath. It is unexpected, shocking, a feeling I did not notice in the dream, but experience in the place of my homework, working with my dreams. I am driving in my car on Monday to a Vermont business who is awaiting my presence for an audit. The incongruence is jarring, but I do not jump away. God is anywhere I seek Him, in any moment. For about an hour, I am in this ecstatic state of knowing my desire for the Divine. How do we feel desire in the context of a spiritual experience? It is hard to describe, but it is not base. In our human bodies, we can experience it as sensuality, nerve endings tingling, skin shivering, heart beating slightly faster, exhilaration. There is everything here to desire in this moment including my own inner love, my own connection to spirit, my own breath, my own desire, my own innocent girl soul, the shared world soul.

The feeling stays with me as I greet the business owners in their home. They have the appearance of old Vermont hippies. The office manager has her 3 or 4 year old daughter with her. The business owner reads to her. Slowly the ecstatic feeling dissipates as I review financial documents, tax filings, ledgers, insurance policies; the mundane financial trappings of a small business that teaches children around the country the craft of writing. I listen first in fascination, then horror as the owner moves into her outrage at “No Child Left Behind” (which she says should be called “No Corporation Left Behind”) and what it is doing to our children’s education. I climb up into the mechanical mind. The gears grind, gnashing out the future possibilities in a world where text book corporations dictate what is taught to our children. The revisionists, busily re-writing our history and getting our children “work place ready”. I do not have children and yet I still feel the gut wrenching anxiety and anger at the Borg-like assimilation our young people. Resistance, seemingly, is futile.

Later in the afternoon, I am in full-fledged reaction, projecting fear and anger onto my partner, caught in the numbing, twitching stagger of the zombie that lurches forward knowing only the need to seek out and devour the flesh of the innocent. The desire is terrifying and any “cause” will do to take me right out, up and into the mechanical mind. The world of outrage at injustice. The place where I want to Occupy Wall Street, take action, protest, be angry.

What is so terrifying about the desire? Why do I jump away? Perhaps I am afraid I will become lost in it. A terror similar to what I have experienced going into grief, pain or facing into my traumas. What will become of ME? What am I, if I am nothing without Him?