Often, when I am feeling lost, confused or in need of direction, Spirit takes me back to school. I call it night school. In that often blatant, but still cryptic manner that Spirit has, I return to the scene of my high school, college or graduate schools while I sleep, yet the characters and events are exaggerated, twisted, and labyrinthian in nature, like an M.C. Escher painting. Usually, it’s not a very pleasant experience. Who doesn’t feel, at least at times, lost and over-whelmed when they’re at school, especially in the school of dreams?
Spirit though, has a way of hammering a point home until you get it. Two nights ago, I found myself back at Brown University, only it was vastly different from the Brown I knew for only a year. The campus had changed into a congested city of buildings hugged by the sea, and I found myself following my husband (who had not attended Brown with me). I was losing track of him as he wandered through the city on his way to class, and suddenly I was alone, by the wild ocean, with only his black cell phone. Naturally, the phone did not work, and I found myself panicking as I punched in numbers to no avail. I was lost and bewildered, unable to find my own way to where, I was not sure.
Instead of exploring all of the symbolism in this particular dream, let me take you to last night, where I again returned to school. This time I was at Bowdoin, where my husband and I completed our undergraduate education together. Bowdoin, when I attended the school many years ago, was a place of mixed blessings for me. My husband took full advantage of his time at Bowdoin, and found the rigors of the education and social environment fulfilling. I, on the other hand, found it hard to adjust to an environment I found to be, in many ways, a repeat of high school, only here everyone was an over-achiever. I couldn’t find my place in the sea of cliques.
It was no surprise that the Bowdoin of my dream last night was an exaggerated scene of what I had experienced years ago, there were even characters from high school. Here I was in a crowded cafeteria of sorts, filled with tables and people figuring out their schedules and where they needed to go. In my personal confusion, I was trying to follow their examples. A confident and sure friend was going one way, my husband another. I tried to follow him to an early biology class, but I was late, twice.
The dream changed, and I was in a metaphysical store. A woman was making miso soup. I told her I loved miso soup. I could smell it. I could taste it in my mouth. The colors in this scene were vivid and more real than life. I was wearing a natural face devoid of make-up, and a peach-colored shirt. The walls were hung with hand-bags, just out of reach, and in the center of each was the rounded form of a globe. At the counter 3 or 4 women poured over a map. I approached them, looked over their shoulders, and watched their scenes unfold. The map came to life, characters interacted in scenes, which the women understood clearly, yet I struggled to make sense of.
Suddenly, in this room, my senses were becoming dull and tired. My face swollen, and my eyes heavy, as though I was taking on energy that was not mine, and in the process, draining my own. When I woke, this lyric from Fleetwood Mac started playing on repeat inside my head, You can go your own way. Go your own way. You can go your own way…or was it find your own way?
Both versions, it seems, I needed. I thought of The Fool card in the Rider Tarot deck, blithely skipping along his own path, unhampered by the potential of danger ahead. I thought of the 2 of Wands, depicting a traveler holding the world in his palm, and I thought of the dreams I had just left.
That map on the counter was not mine, nor were those paths I was trying to follow at the revisited school(s). The world held inside that wall of handbags, which had seemed just out of reach, was waiting for me to reach up and grab it. To find my own way. I thought of Goddard College, the literal school in this life in which I found home. When I dream of Goddard, I dream of paths in nature, I dream of mysteries waiting to be found. At Goddard, I found my own way, through the gentle, nudging guidance of its faculty, my peers, and its wonderful connection to Spirit. I found home among a place where everyone was going his or her own way. There was no path of convention to follow. Instead, success was measured by the mostly personal barometer of finding and embarking on the creative journey of the soul.
I graduated from Goddard nearly 3 years ago. My environment, and the characters within it have changed, and I have been challenged by their individual lessons. There have been paths I have been tempted to follow, like the path of martial arts, which led me to the painful (yes, it is often painful when we uncover our truths and shed the weight we no longer want to carry) truth that it was not the path intended for my spirit. I have had to let go of judgement too, realizing that a path (martial arts was one) may be right for my husband and others at this stage of their journeys, even though it is not right for me.
There has been that struggle to find connection to others, along with the courage to travel my own path. Even though I am on my soul’s journey with my writing and healing work, I have sometimes struggled to stay true to my own voice and trust that my individual path will unfold it its own unique way. It seems to be the quest of humanity, to find that balance between connection and individual truth. How many of us have tried to follow a path of “conformity,” while forsaking our soul’s truth? We can too easily forget that we are all here to do something unique, perhaps radically, or only slightly different, from someone else, yet none-the-less, a purpose that is only ours. This is why we are here, to blend our own voice of truth to that universal breath we all share. This is how we balance the world, this is how we balance ourselves.
I am a writer and and a spiritual/energy healer, I have a path that is not, by nature conventional. I often find myself in places where I feel more alone than connected, yet when I fall to the temptation of conformity, I am quickly reminded that I am on the wrong path. I doubt I am alone in this feeling. How many of these people around me are trying to follow a path of conformity that doesn’t make them feel blissfully happy and free? I think, sadly, too many.
It is indisputable that the world, and its inhabitants, struggles in a battle for balance. We are striving for destinations that are not our own, we are walking paths of conformity that cause crowding and strife, and we are, in this sea of masses, often left with a feeling of loss.
When I opened the curtain of my bedroom window this morning, I saw the blue feathers of truth worn by a jay, flying into the evergreens. When I opened the door to my house to step outside, 3 crows flew in front of me, calling out to me in that loud, unmistakable voice of magic. Later, as I walked the dogs, those 3 crows became 4, and I was reminded that to follow the magic of individual creation does not mean we must leave those we love behind. That, in fact, each path will merge and mingle in the mysterious song of harmony when sung in the vibration of truth.