Dreams are more than just imaginary wanderings, they are lights in the darkness. Keep your dreams in mind at all times. With intent throw out a line to your future and make your way toward it. Even as you must live your current life, supporting and upholding the needs and duties of your current self, keep in mind that dreams are not just meant to be dreams. They are future potentials, inklings of what can be, and as such they are more than possibilities. They can become realities if you don’t lose sight of them. Dream your way forward to a new you, a different situation, a longed for something, to a focused intent that will not leave you until you live it. If you can dream it, you can live it.
Let love fuel your dreams and keep them alive. Let not anger, fear, or hatred rule you. Make the energy of love the fuel that guides you, supports you, and keeps you focused on your intent. Love yourself as you take your journey. Love your innocence and your ability to dream a beautiful dream. Keep dreaming and keep love in your heart as you watch it all unfold. You never know where love will take you or what will happen when love rules. Love on!
My father was a chronic worrier. He worried about everything! It drove me and my siblings crazy! He could not let anything go. He’d nag and natter about a thing he’d decided to worry about, usually something minor that he just could not let go of, until he’d spun it into a massive worry storm, leaving us all exasperated and exhausted.
Once, when I was in college, he called me at 3 in the morning, waking me and my roommates from a sound sleep to ask me if I had eaten. I had made an off-the-cuff remark about not having any food in the house as I headed home after a holiday visit, saying that I would have to shop once back in the city. He only heard the part about having no food in the house and his worrisome mind spun that tiny remark into a whole devastating story. By the time 3 AM came around he had decided that I was starving to death!
I was so angry at him that I didn’t speak to him for weeks, but during those weeks I could feel his worry hanging over me like a dark cloud, dragging me down. When I finally spoke to him about it we joked, but I talked honestly about how frustrated and drained I was by his constant attention on me. I told him to lighten up, that I could take care of myself, that I wanted to live my own life and to please leave me alone. His worry energy actually dampened my spirit and added a burden I didn’t need when I had so much else going on in my life.
I now understand this dynamic between parent and child as the archetypes of the parent/child relationship, the structures and dynamics that every parent and child must contend with as they go through life, as the child seeks to individuate and become independent, and as the parent seeks to let them go.
As a parent myself I have had to learn the lessons I tried to teach my father so many years ago. My own experiences with him have helped me to back off and let life take my children onward without me, but sometimes it can be very hard. When we see our children struggling our first reaction is to jump in and help, but that may not be the best course of action to take. The same can be said for any relationship.
To underscore the dilemma, I had a dream the other night. I was carrying large chunks of construction debris, huge lumps of concrete. I stood on the edge of a vast landfill, looking down into a vast pit filled with similar debris. A man stood on the opposite side of the landfill, a foreman. He yelled at me to throw the debris into the pit. I worried that it was wrong, that it would hurt the earth.
“Nah,” he said, “it’s how it’s done. Just throw it away!”
And then I wondered just what the heck I was doing. The concrete was clearly useless and clearly burdensome. It wasn’t toxic material either, it was just heavy, cumbersome old building material.
“Let it go!” I yelled, and then I threw it into the pit and walked away unburdened, lighter and freer than ever.
“What am I carrying around inside me?” I wondered when I woke up. “What concrete thing, idea, or issue am I attached to?
As the day went on the dream stayed with me. I thought about it, seeking to analyze its message and purpose. I determined it was not about memories. Those have all been recapitulated, so it was not anything from my past. I finally realized it was worry, the worries of everyday life, the worries about others, the kind of stuff that keeps you awake at night but is just empty chatter in your head, stuff you can’t do anything about and if you tried you’d have no luck at all.
As I thought about it I discovered that those worries had no real meaning or necessity in my life. They were not building blocks to something new but old construction materials that were no longer useful. I was right to chuck them into the landfill where they would soon be covered over, bulldozed into the earth to disintegrate and become part of the landscape.
Just as I had asked my father to let go of the burdensome archetypes of parent and child, so too did I have to let go of such archetypes within myself, along with the concrete ideas that I have to do and be the end-all for someone else. In letting go of the archetypes we are allowed to each grow and mature in our own ways, taking responsibility for ourselves and the decisions we make, for our present and future issues, and for our own joys and freedoms in life too.
Just because I might want to give advice, I realized, it isn’t always helpful or wanted. I have to take my own advice that I gave my father so many years ago and step back and let life resolve life. In the end, we have to let things go so things can proceed as they will and as they must.
I learned from my father that if you put your attention on another person they will sense you in some way, and you may actually be harming them, even if you think your worry is justified and you only want the best for them. The best for them is to send them positive, self-motivating, and loving energy that sends them off on their own journey through life under their own steam, rather than burdening them with your guilt, worry, regret, resentment, or good intentions. As I learned from my father, it’s just not fun having those kinds of energies hanging over you, having to bear another person’s unresolved issues while you are trying to figure out your own life on your own terms.
My father never did fully remove his worry energy from me. It followed me right into adulthood and he remained a solid worrier right up to the end of his life. But he taught me how not to do what he did, and as my dream points out it’s a lesson that never grows old.
I have had to remind myself to remove my worries about my own kids’ lives countless times, so as not to burden them with a cloud of my worries hanging over their heads! After being the lifelong subject of someone else’s worries, whether justified or not, I know that it’s just not a nice thing to do to someone! Even if I may want to give valuable but unasked for advice, I also know that the best advice I can give myself is to remember my young adult self telling my father to just step back and let me live my own life.
Life itself is the best guide. We all have to go out into the world and learn how it really works. It’s how we learn and how we grow. The happiest people in the world seem to be those who have had to work hard for what they have, and there is no greater satisfaction than having done it on their own. And no worries either!
A blog by J. E. Ketchel, Author of The Recapitulation Diaries
This morning I wrote a Soulbyte* in the early morning hours, just coming out of sleep and dreams, about forgiveness and love, about how they are the same thing, unconditional energies that guide us to acceptance of who we are. The Soulbyte was triggered by a dream I was having just before waking.
In the dream I was staring at a picture of myself at about age 10. I was dressed in my school uniform. I was focused on the face, saying to myself, “Yes, that’s me.” Chuck was next to me and I showed him the photograph. “See, that’s me,” I said, and then I took in the rest of the picture, looked at the full figure of my child self, sprawled out, looking groggy and stunned, perhaps drugged.
“It happened,” I said, as I saw that my clothing was messed up, my dressed pulled up and my legs spread wide, an obvious sexual assault having taken place. Here was a picture of the truth of my childhood. I could not deny that it was me and that I had been sexually abused.
“Yup, it happened,” I said without attachment, judgment, or emotional reaction. I took in the full picture as it was, an obvious fact, and accepted it.
A sexually abused person knows firsthand how hard it is to accept what happened, to forgive the self and to love the self. And so it is not unusual that both women and men who have been abused are reluctant to speak about what happened to them. They fear being judged and blamed, but the real challenge is to not judge and blame themselves. How can we speak of these things that happened to us publicly if we can barely speak of them to ourselves?
It can take years before a person is ready to even venture into memories, memories that may be so buried as to be completely blocked. It can take years before a person is ready to stop being so hard on the self, to stop torturing the self, and to begin a healing process of acceptance of life’s unfolding. It took me until I was almost 50 to begin looking at my life at a deeper level and to dare to remember. It felt like a brave thing to do, and to this day I know it was. It is the bravest thing I have ever done.
Sometimes things just happen to us. If we are curious we might ask ourselves why they happened. What did they mean in the greater context of our lives? What did we learn? How have we grown because of them, or in spite of them? What and who have we become because of what happened to us?
Often we regret what we lost, what we did not have the opportunity to become because of what happened to us. We feel cheated out of some aspect of life that could have and should have been. But at the same time we must accept that it is how our lives went, and what happened cannot be changed. Facts are facts, as I accepted in my dream as I looked at the picture of my abused child self.
In deep inner healing work, as we explore our sexual abuse in the context of our whole life, we are able to accept our pasts and move on into new life without attachment, self-pity, or regret. We can accept ourselves as strong beings, caring beings, compassionate and nonjudgmental beings, because we know something that many others do not know. We have been there, we have experienced the unimaginable.
As we grow and heal, through going more deeply into the darkness of our past, we are able to accept what happened to us without feeling like either a victim or a survivor because we know and experience ourselves are so much more than that. We are fully alive, energetic, spiritual, ever-evolving beings, not in spite of but because we have experienced both the light and the dark sides of life. We are more complete because of what happened to us.
Whether we’ve been abused or not, life challenges us every day to live a nonjudgmental, loving, and compassionate life, to learn to accept who we are so that we can fulfill the destiny of this lifetime. Perhaps it is to become just that nonjudgmental, loving, and compassionate being we have become. Perhaps it is to teach others how to become nonjudgmental, loving, and compassionate. Perhaps it is to prepare ourselves to finally live each day to the fullest, to be open to new experiences and new adventures like never before, to learn to trust that life loves us best when we dare to embrace it and fully accept its abundant offerings.
I dreamed my dream last night because I am working on the next book in The Recapitulation Diaries. As I have worked through each book over the past several years I have faced once again the things that happened to me, the things I recapitulated during the years 2001 to 2004, and I get to experience just how healing that process was. My dream shows my complete acceptance. This is what I wish and pray for everyone who has been abused, that they too begin the brave work of real healing.
No life is meaningless. No experience is meaningless. There is something of importance in everything that happens to us.
*Here is the Soulbyte referenced above:
Soulbyte for Thursday October 19, 2017
What is forgiveness but the ability to give unconditionally without attachment, without need for anything in return. What is forgiveness really? It is love. And what is love but unconditional forgiveness, for true love is ready and willing to be given unconditionally, for it attaches to nothing and needs nothing in return. Can you forgive yourself, love yourself unconditionally? That is the greatest challenge that love and forgiveness pose. Forgiveness=Love. Love=Forgiveness. They are one and the same.
-From the Soul Sisters, Jan & Jeanne
-A Blog by J. E. Ketchel, Author of The Recapitulation Diaries