Dream Date

I had a dream last night that I met a guy who wasn’t at all my physical type, but was really funny and clever and kind. He was in charge of planning campaign events for a low-level political character, like a county sheriff or judge. The candidate wasn’t getting reelected, and so this event weekend was the last in the guy’s current career. But he was plucky, and very sure that he’d find his next campaign in a week or two, so now was the time to let his hair down and enjoy the party. The party in question was at a hotel, but I don’t think I had anything to do with the event or the property – I was just there by accident, and stayed because I felt drawn to the events of the evening. He was tall, with dark, curly hair. He was overweight, and was a little too hairy and sweaty for me. He had a bulbous nose, and dark brown eyes that crinkled at the corners. He was in his mid-40’s, I thought. Maybe he was younger, but looked older because of the extra weight. He was also magnanimous, bubbly, genuine, and concerned with my comfort. Right in that moment, he wanted to take me out on the town, and I decided to just roll with it and see what happened. I felt like I’d become his right hand person, and it would change our worlds. Who knows why I dream what I do?

 

Dreaming in Danish

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I had an interesting dream last night. I dreamt of a word in Danish, a language that I do not speak and of which I have no real knowledge. What’s more interesting is that the word made absolute sense in the context of the dream (though I didn’t know it at the time).

First, a small background of waking life: I work as an event planner at a hotel, and we often provide catering for events. We have a head chef at the hotel, and though we’re not exactly friends, I do respect him as a colleague. He’s quiet and focused, which comes across as stern and commanding in the professional environment. He’s got a good sense of humor hidden just under the surface, though, and like most kitchen professionals, he loves to feed people. You can’t go wrong with that combination.

All this being said, I don’t really think about Chef when I’m not standing in his kitchen or working on a menu for a client. That’s the first weird thing about the dream – that he was actually in it.

***********

I’m eating dinner at a fancy restaurant. There are eight seats, but only seven guests. The host, my old boss, disinvited one of the intended attendees at the last minute. It’s very like her, so I’m not at all surprised.

Champagne is served. The label is beautiful – yellow and pink, with gold foil accents, illustrated in an Art Nouveau style. The name on the label is HAVARI, in all capital letters, in black, with the second “A” in gold foil. The wine is crisp, and tastes of pears. I’ve never had anything like it, and I love it.

The meal ends. Chef appears, in his whites, wearing a fancy chef’s hat (he never wears a hat like that in waking life). He pours more champagne for everyone, taking time to discuss the unique pear flavor a little more with me. I am concerned I won’t remember the name of the wine, so he turns the bottle towards me to let me read it again: HAVARI. I need to remember HAVARI, I remind myself.

The scene changes. We’ve been told there’s a terrible storm on the way, and Chef is concerned about his family. The dinner party has dispersed, and I’ve gone home with Chef so that he can collect his wife and children. (I think in waking life, he only has the one child, but in the dream there were more.)

Chef’s house is on the edge of a body of water, with a solid wall of windows that look out onto a pier that juts out into the waves. I am in the house, watching the pier. Chef and his family have already left for safety, and I am relieved for them. I didn’t see them go, but there’s a feeling that he has gathered them to him like a mother hen, protecting her brood. I know that because of his instinct to stay calm and remain together, all are safe from harm.

I watch the storm outside grow wild, standing witness as the waves batter the pier. The sky and the water are the same color; it’s hard to tell where one begins and the other ends, especially with the waves so intense, and spray filling the air. The pier stands strong at first, then starts to shimmy, and finally is washed away as the pilings give way and collapse from the relentless power of the water.

At no point am I afraid. I am safe in the house, and the storm doesn’t seem to belong to me. I am just here to witness it.

*******

I woke up with two distinct thoughts:

  1. HAVARI
  2. Chef will have his foundation washed out from under him, but as long as he gathers his family to him when crisis comes, all will be OK in the end.

I got dressed and left for work. On the way, I wondered if I should tell Chef about my dream, or if he’d think I was crazy. Besides, how did I know that this was really a dream about him, and not just another vivid dream? But at some point in the morning, it struck me that I should Google the word “havari” to see what it was. I didn’t expect anything; in fact, I thought that it would help prove that this was all just jumbled bullshit from my subconscious, and let me move on with my day.

Now here’s the weird part – lately I’ve been contemplating Norse magick, specifically the practice of seidr, or weaving the lines of fate. I’ve been feeling a soul stirring for some time. The hows and whys are a whole other blog post, and I don’t have the energy for that right now. Let it be enough for now to say that when I found out that “havari” means “accident” or “emergency” in Danish, I realized I was being given a message to pass on.

Just because I knew the basic message doesn’t mean I knew the meaning, though. Maybe the lesson is for Chef in the distant future, when he has more than one child. Maybe it’s more of a metaphor than it already appeared to be. Maybe it was actually meant for me, and I misinterpreted it (though I strongly doubt this, for some reason).

I asked Chef for a minute of his time, told him the dream, and explained that I felt that I was supposed to tell him not to lose faith when things go awry. I told him to hold his family close. Even if the dream means nothing, I hope the thought of love still gives him strength if and when a dark time comes.

Being Chef, he was customarily quiet and thoughtful when I gave him all of this information – but when I finished, he assured me that he’d never leave me behind in a storm – and that he did have a wall of windows in his house. I was too weirded out to ask if he lived on a lake.

 

Goodbye 2018

Here’s a thing I bet you thought I’d never say – 2018 was a pretty good year for me. (If you’re having trouble breathing right now, I totally get you. It’s taken me a while to come to grips with this weird piece of information, so please, take your time and soak it in however you can.)

I mean, if there were a heat map of the most uttered thoughts of my year, I’m pretty sure it would be a toss-up between “WTF, dude?” and “I don’t have time for this shit.”

I cried A LOT. I spent an unreasonable amount of time feeling hopeless about the future, and scared to make a move (any move), and also worried that all I’d ever feel is sorry and scared. Those moments aren’t completely over. I’m pretty anxious, and coming to terms with the fact that my current “treatment” plan of avoidance isn’t really going to cut it. That’s OK. I can work on that. I don’t have to be the best – I just have to keep working towards it in my own way.

But I also found pockets of bravery, when and where I least expected them. I was resourceful and kind, and I allowed myself to trust others to treat me as well as I try to treat them. Last year, I spent my birthday crying alone in my apartment. This year I had a birthday party with actual friends who love me in attendance. Last year, I spent NYE (you guessed it) crying alone in my apartment. Last night, I just went out with the resolve to trust myself and follow my own beat. Guess who had an amazing night doing EXACTLY what she wanted to do? I wore a cute outfit, got glittered up, had sushi, hung out with friends, visited my favorite bar, BOTH of my favorite poboy shops, and signed up for karaoke (even if I had to leave before it was my turn to sing). I even got a New Year’s kiss. It was a lovely way to ring in a big, bold new year.

Somehow (maybe multiple somehows), I was kick-started back to life this year. Here are some of the weirdest things that stand out to me as highlights of the year:

  • Finally figured out how to tell people they’re hurting me and kick them out of my life if needs be. (I’m looking at this as finally figuring out how to use my life preserver.)
  • 360-degree view of Fourth of July fireworks from the rooftop of a shed on top of a building.
  • Scoring a ticket to Burning Man (but not getting to go, sadly).
  • Going on a 14-hour long first date.
  • Being a nude art model.
  • A summer of breakfasts in bed.
  • 8-hour long conversation about Fela Kuti album covers.
  • Becoming friends with a tree (Yes, this is ongoing. No, I am not on drugs.)
  • Spending a whole day and a half with some of my best friends and not a single working cell phone between us. So much laughter. So much love.
  • Flying to Austin to attend a psychedelic rock festival. Getting asked by some dude in the crowd if the hand symbol flashed by Golden Dawn Arkestra was meant to represent the Illuminati or a vagina. Pretending to be confused that they weren’t the same thing.
  • Finding my own neighborhood haunts, places where everyone knows me and my preferences, and are usually happy to see me walk in. Knowing that I have a standing date at Tiki’s, and the catfish benedict at Who Dat will always make me swoon with happiness on a solo brunch date.
  • Reconnecting with friends. Rediscovering that I have people who REALLY love me, whom I can trust with my thoughts.
  • Starting to wear color and costumes again.
  • After 5+ years of gaining weight, suddenly dropping 25 lbs. with no activity, effort, or plan. I think it’s because I’m happy.
  • Collecting crystals.
  • Collecting cicadas from the neutral ground.
  • Selling my television, once and for all.
  • Making not one, but two, perfect green bean casseroles – one vegan and entirely homemade from scratch, the second with cobbled together ingredients purchased at Walgreens at noon on Christmas Day (Funyuns, y’all).
  • Really listening to my own needs and wants, and doing my best to attend to those desires first, even when it makes me anxious not to anticipate and preemptively carry out everyone else’s wants and needs around me.
  • Learning how to keep my own flame stoked. Realizing that no one else will.
  • Expanding my comfort zone with solo adventuring. Finding ways to be brave and make new friends along the way.

There’s so much more to learn. I’m not even close to thinking that I’ve got this shit figured out. But I made strides this year, and I intend to keep it going.

Oh yeah – that reminds me. If you don’t already, please follow me over on my other blog to find out what I’m doing in 2019 – I’m going to be posting on The Bold Life more frequently as a tool to help me transition into whatever magical psychedelic snow leopard creature I’m becoming.

 

Archaeology of the Self

The following was written a year ago, in December 2017, and has been sitting in my drafts folder ever since. In the celebration of my spiritual and emotional progression in 2018, I think it’s important to post this. I have no lingering memory of the Reiki session recounted in my post, save for having done it and feeling better in the days to follow. It’s interesting how simple measures of the past can continue to reverberate in our present lives.

*******************

“I don’t have the energy to write anything of elegance; please accept my apologies. My head feels empty. It’s a relief, and I plan to take full advantage of this mental silence by falling into a deep sleep five minutes from now. It occurs to me that this is how Dumbledore must feel, just after extracting memories and dropping them into the pensieve.

Tonight I visited a Reiki healer for a complimentary session, just to get to know her and find out more about the process. I’m going to work with her to balance my chakras. If you know me, you’ll know that half of my brain just went “Yay for hippie dippy woo woo!” and the other half went “Why not just set your money on fire, for all the good it’s going to do?” I’m putting the negativity to bed for the evening, though. I’m feeling far too calm and happy to let the fear take over tonight.

After meeting with the healer for a chat about my life and thoughts, I laid down on her table, closed my eyes, and started to concentrate on my breath. She observed my energy. Once, I started to laugh – I felt like I was being tickled, but not physically. It felt like it was inside, dancing across my liver. I was compelled to chuckle. Later, I started to sob uncontrollably. I remembered a friend, and couldn’t stop remembering him. I was surprised that this particular friend would be the only person I could think of, and grieve for.

After that part of the session was over, we talked, and she told me what she’d found. The laughter happened when she was taking a look at my Sacral chakra – tied to my inner child. The deep grief happened when she was examining my Heart chakra – tied, of course, to love. Every time I’ve lied and told people that I didn’t fall in love with him has only served to hurt me. It does no one good to hear my feelings, but I shouldn’t keep lying to myself, at least. It occurs to me now that there aren’t enough words in English for love, loving, falling in love, being in love. What is the word for falling in deeply in love with someone’s manner, expression, spirit? Not with the man, himself, but rather something older that lives within him, maybe? Is there a word for adoring someone like your long-lost brother, and knowing that coming to terms with that is only accepting that he has been ripped from you time and time again?

There are no words, and the only ones I can find sound insane and obsessive, when there’s really nothing further from the truth. If I were to write a fictional history, we were brothers in the trenches during WWI, and he died in No Man’s Land while I watched, helpless. He was my baby daughter, run down by a carriage in the streets of Rome. He was my older brother, murdered in the Cultural Revolution for knowing how to play Western music on his violin. I was his grandmother, cold and stiff in her bed one morning, eyes still glazed over with the shock of passing.”

*********

This was written in the wake of a particularly painful breakup, during a period when I was feeling so heartbroken that I had trouble getting out of bed every day. My entire life was off-balance, and in the midst of the turmoil, the emotional toll of other old relationships started getting dredged up to the surface. Two years before, I’d met a friend while taking a spiritual pilgrimage through Spain. Nothing about our meeting seemed to be of chance, and we connected immediately. It felt like I had grown a brother overnight, and it broke my heart to be separated at the end of the journey. The Reiki session brought those realizations up to the surface and evidently helped me deal with them, as I still keep in touch with my friend, but am no longer feeling bereaved regarding the physical distance between us.

 

Kill Your Darlings

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Faulkner said that in writing, it is paramount to kill your “darlings,” those special, yet extraneous, details that ego often asks us to keep in the manuscript. Creating feels so good, and it’s easy to fall prey to your own fripperies. If you don’t watch it, fear of whittling down your paragraphs can lead to a clunky, over-embellished final product.

My life is feeling over-embellished and lopsided right now. Too much detail in all the wrong places. Too many time wasters. Too little quality content. It strikes me tonight that my true connections are few, and I could be spending my time much more wisely than I currently do. Most of the actions I make in the social media sphere are an effort to woo or impress, but whom? The only people who follow my memes and photos, and longwinded musings are either good friends or decent acquaintances. We “like” and “share” each other’s funny little quips, but if that’s all a relationship is, what point of continuing? I’m only doing it to give myself mini doses of serotonin. I’m not going to magically find new people who love me in that echo chamber. I am addicted to feeling like someone gives a shit – and let’s be honest, very few do.

The kicker is that the ones who actually matter in my life aren’t even on social media. None of my best friends participate. I get my serotonin in our relationships by actually conversing with them IRL, at great length, either in writing or over the phone. Jess and Trin text. Katy connects via Signal. Natalie, Trin, and Katie use Whatsapp. Pete and Martius are on Messenger. I see Anne and Caroline and Amy and Theo in person.

I need to spend some time contemplating what self-made cancers to cut out of my life. I’ve already decided to end codependency once and for all in 2019. No more smiling and nodding and giving my soul away because it makes other people less inclined to be shitty to me. No more supporting the endless cycle of damaged, yet soulful, artist partners. Infinitely more saying YES to me. A corresponding number of NO to all of the people, places, and things that I don’t want to do but agree to because I’m afraid of what they’ll think, of letting them down, of failing as a woman or a professional or a friend. I’m tired.

Pretty sure that the first step to freedom is killing some of those darlings.

 

The Surest Way

It seems that the surest way to feel alone is to share my feelings with other people. I keep making the mistake of believing that other people are on my page, just because they say things in a way that I can understand and get behind. Typically, I’m the quiet one who lets everyone else do the talking, so it’s easy to feel like we’re vibing when I’m supporting their mental breakdowns and accepting their searching statements. But then it comes time for me to talk, and it turns out they’re not listening. Way to go, me. Always the bridesmaid, or something like that.

Anyway, I do have a couple of people in my life who are doing their best to listen when I talk (and vice versa), but it’s always disappointing to weed out the others. But what can you do besides remind yourself that the goal is to be your own mentally healthy sounding board one day?

Still, I can’t help but be disappointed. I just wanted someone to celebrate with, and it got turned around quicker than I could write a second sentence. Way to kill the buzz.

On My Mind

Life lessons from Francis and Rumi…

Break down your walls:
Sow love, instead of hatred;
Seek to heal, instead of hurt;
Instill faith, rather than doubt;
Foster hope in times of despair;
Call on the light when the darkness threatens;
Channel joy in times of sadness.

Look for ways to comfort others,
Understand that we’re all different, and in great need of love. We’re dying to be accepted as we are, and to be loved without judgement. Open yourself to that grace.
Giving (and forgiving) is how we receive.
Be the love.
Be the love.
Be the love.
What you seek is seeking you.