…Then I see a muscular handsome foreign man who goes up behind one of the NOE women and dances with her, and then he does it to another woman. Then he comes up behind me and presses against me and wraps his arms around me and starts dancing me around. He has his head next to mine with one arm around my waist and the other around my shoulder. I feel uncomfortable at first, but then feel myself relax into him and I close my eyes. He puts his hand over mine and our fingers intertwine and I can feel myself following him and it feels really good. I can feel my desire rising as we dance through several rooms. I know there are other people around but I don’t care. Then I think he will feel my desire and I feel scared. Then he is gone and I realize I have on overalls and probably smell like a farm girl and I am not like those wealthy beautiful girls (that I saw earlier in the dream). But then I think this probably doesn’t matter to him.This is a completely new feeling for me. To be held. How can I describe it? It is a feeling of utter safety and comfort. There is love and tenderness in being held. The moment is sensual and so the feeling of sensuality rises in me. My desire. What is this desire? It feels sexual, but I have learned that all of my feelings, when felt in the body, lead me back to this feeling of sensuality in my body. The desire that rises is the desire to know more deeply the truth of who I am. It is a desire to know more intimately my God. It is terrifying, because to open up to true need invites in a new level of vulnerability. And you, dear reader, know what I am talking about when I say that being vulnerable is the antithesis of what my ego wants. It will fight with my soul tooth and nail, horn and hoof to keep me from it.
I recently read the writing of one of my sister warriors on this journey. She wrote about seeing her own dead body in the dream and the terror and shame she felt at seeing herself so vulnerable. When I read this, I was touched so deeply in my place of grief over how shame has committed its violence on me. I think shame is the most damaging of all types of pathological attacks. It has a strength and power beyond measure and accounts for the “apparent absence of God”. When bad things happen, somehow we think we deserve it, that we invited it in. Most, if not all, religions teach this horrible concept of shame. It starts in the Christian version of the story of the Garden of Eden. The very knowledge and awareness of our humanness, our bodies, our difficulties in our humanness becomes the source of shame. The idea of “karma” can be twisted into this brutality of thinking. Shame carries the visceral response similar to anger: heat in the face, elevated heart rate, fogginess in the mind, shifting in the body. It also moves us right out of relationship…can’t make eye contact, don’t want to be seen, need to run, need to hide.
When I act out of shame, I cause great harm to myself. The dream above shows how the Divine becomes absent in the moment that I allow shame. He is not gone, for He is always there, but I can no longer feel him. My mind pulls my body out of the feeling by going into a story of shame. On some level, in the dream, I am aware that my shame is not necessary. On some level, I know that He does not care what I look like in my humanness. I am His and He is mine and together we can dance.
The intimacy I feel in the moment is so wonderful, yet I jump away from it. It makes no sense. It is so painful to receive this love. I want to feel held like this at every moment of my life. What would it be like to be held like this in every moment? This is what the dream is offering me, the knowledge that this is true for me. That no matter what the old trauma stories tell me, I am being held in every moment. This feeling in the dream is in such stark contrast to the way I have lived my life. I believed the Lie which is that it’s a dog eat dog world, that no one will take care of me but me, that when the chips are down, no one will be there. I am alone. The Big Lie leaves me utterly desolate, isolated, and alone. In such a state, I am lost.
To know all of this helps me, but it is not enough. I cannot seek the promise of this work. I cannot seek God, nor can I “find” myself. God can only come to me when I do my work. The seeking I must do is to uncover the Big Lie. I must seek out all the ways in which I am blocked from Him. I must seek who I am not, uncover that which is not me. It is only through the stripping away of who I am not, that who I am may emerge. This girl who paints, the girl who dances, the girl who sings, the girl who knows to bring the wounded baby to Him to be healed, the girl who could tell Him “I have loved you every since I first knew you..”, the girl who needs and can be held in her need.