I was dreaming. Springtime is a big time for dreams in my world. It is the time of the year that I have the most apocalyptically related visions. It is the time of year that I witness end-of-the-world images that fill me with terror. It is the time of year that dreams seep into my being and leave a mark, never fading away and remaining in my waking consciousness to remind me of what I witnessed and to make choices to shift the future possibility.
So… that’s what happens at this time of the year most frequently: the future shows up and blatantly reminds me that I have a choice in every moment and that is my power. But… what of the past? What happens when the past shows up?
I was dreaming early this morning as I slept peacefully; morning is when I do my most powerful dreaming. In my dreaming state, I could feel something coming toward me that was going to rock my world and I wanted to run away, but I was held solidly in the space, waiting for the scene to unfold around me and for the message to arrive. My conscious self was anxious; I could feel me nudging myself, wake up, Angie! Wake! Up! But I held fast; waiting, breathing, wondering.
My dreaming self was curious. She could sense the bigness coming my way and she wanted to see what it was. But the rest of me was ready to bolt.
In a blink, the scene manifested around me and I discovered I was in a classroom. It was a space unlike any earthly space, but I knew I was in a classroom. And I was immediately on edge. That voice kept calling, wake up, Angie! Wake! Up! but my dreaming self remained glued to the spot, seemingly unable to move, although I was not imprisoned, and unable to wake, even though the sun had risen over the waking world.
The classroom was a vast space; long rows of tables that were eventually long enough to accommodate 30 students with plenty of room to spread out; many of them, row upon row upon row in a square-shaped U of graduating dimensions that got longer the farther away from front and center one walked. As I watched the classroom form, I realized it was a sort of auditorium, designed to hold around 3,000 students and it was full; not one empty seat in the room.
There was only one door into the room, a gigantic double door that was still open wide and when I looked toward it, the sunlight bouncing off the gleaming marble floors in the hallway blinded me, leaving dark spots dancing before my eyes for moments afterward. When I turned away from that sight and focused on the professor in the front of the room, I could sense heat on the right side of my face as though that reflection of light was alive and warm.
I was sitting in the second row at a table for twenty students in the center section of the U at the farthest end from the entrance, facing the wall of white that ran from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. I sensed it was a surface for writing, but it was blank and nearly as blindingly white as the light reflecting off the floor in the hallway. In front of my row, on the same level as where the professor was standing, was another long table, but it was the shortest of all the rows in room with only ten bodies sitting tall and straight, fully alert and ready to learn.
Although I was as alert and sitting as tall and straight as those in the front row, I had a keen sense that I had chosen the seat I was in because I was not quite as open to learning today as I was judging those in the front row to be. They had a very different energy about them than the rest of us. I felt curious about that, but what drew my attention the strongest was the person in the tenth seat farthest from the door.
I knew this person; I loved (love) this person; I recognized this person without seeing their face. I knew who it was because of the familiar tug on my heart and the pull of my energy. I knew who it was because tears immediately began burning in my eyes and the sense of Home rose so fully that I didn’t need to even question who it was.
Rick, The Dick. (For those of you who have read my book, Above the Clouds, this reference makes sense.)
My heart was pounding. I haven’t interacted with him in life – or even accidentally crossed paths with him – since before January of 2009. I haven’t dreamt of him for years, so all aspects of myself felt curious as to why he was so vividly there, in front of me, and fully present in my path. The sense of being in the room with him was so tangible that I almost couldn’t breathe. I was torn between the desire to hide and the longing to reach out and confirm that he was real.. really real and there in front of me.
The professor was teaching something that I knew, but had to be reminded of. I remember being enthralled with her lesson while trying to remain ignorant of the fact that the man I loved (love) was sitting just feet away from me.
The professor, whom we called Prof and happened to be a woman I adore in real life, was speaking about the color yellow and she said, “People often wear it to be reminded of their light.”
I made some remark that was completely like me in any of my learning situations… a smart aleck, clown-like response that was meant to diffuse the energy around me because I was feeling intense inside. Often times, the words escaped my mouth before I could stop them because I was so deeply in freak out mode and that disengaged my filters of proper behavior. I would blurt the words and the class would erupt in laughter. It worked again; the people around me tittered quietly; one of them tapped me on the back and said, “Good one, Angie!”
I laughed silently, lowering my head, realizing I had blurted what my brain was thinking and knowing that it indicated I was extremely uncomfortable, even though I didn’t yet know why. A part of my brain said, “Your discomfort right now has nothing to do with the fact that he is right there, just ten feet away. Pay attention.”
Then Prof pointed out, “Angie, you are wearing yellow.”
I had forgotten I had worn yellow that day and glanced down. Sure enough, my shirt beneath my flowery overalls was brilliantly yellow, nearly as blindingly bright as the light bouncing off the floor outside.
Oh shit! She’s calling me out! Even though I had forgotten I was wearing yellow, I had mouthed off because I sensed the uncomfortable foreshadowing that I was going to be called out in a room of 3,000 people and I would suddenly be visible to Rick. However, as was often true of my mouthing off, I would have remained anonymous and unnoticed if my mouth had not run away from me in a moment of panic. Damn it! I did this to myself! I wanted to shrink.
I nodded slowly, eyes downcast and unwilling to look up at Prof. She waited until I did. I could feel tears burning in my eyes. I didn’t want to be seen in that vulnerability. I definitely did not want to be seen by Rick. The old fears that I wasn’t enough or unlovable or too fat rose to the surface. I cringed. Damn it! I thought I had worked through all of this!
I could sense that Rick was forcibly not turning around. Our energies had locked onto one another and he was holding himself stoic, refusing to acknowledge my presence, even though we were just feet away from one another. I had a strong visceral sense that this is probably what would happen if we were to cross paths in the waking world. The last times we had interacted out in the world, I had been an overbearing, somewhat psychotic loose cannon so I could completely understand why he wanted to stay walled off to me. I would want to stay walled off and detached from someone who had acted like I had back then.
Shame rose hot and sharp on my dream face as it filled every cell of my human body. The shame was sickening and intense, my belly roiling with the sensations of self-loathing and the overpowering need to shrink into the floor and disappear.
I can’t let him see me like this. I can’t! No! Prof! Make it stop!
Prof wasn’t listening. She asked a question that forced an answer from me, but I held that answer in, clamping my lips shut and swallowing the acidic rush of bile that came with the words. I looked at her, shaking my head resolutely and begging her with my eyes to stop the process. I didn’t want to go here. I didn’t want to do it.
I glanced at Rick and Prof followed my eyes. Her face lit up and she declared, “Ahhhh!” and raised her left hand above her, pointing to the ceiling as though to indicate the light had just clicked on.
Oh damn! She figured it out.
“You two,” Prof said as she stepped toward Rick, gesturing for him to get out of his seat and move with her toward me. I could not slump down in my seat far enough, but she pulled me up out of my chair, straightening me up to stand before him. “You two will clear this up. Now!”
And there he was, standing in front of me, on the step below me, much as he had done decades before the very first time he had really kissed me. That day, he had been full of sparkling joy and welcoming energy that my young self had fallen into willingly, welcoming him into my heart fully to stay there. It was a love so intense, I had no way to comprehend it back then and still, sometimes, feel bewildered by the depths of my love for him. He was there, standing in front of me, my heart was racing, the memory of our love and the laughter echoed through my cells and even though I had so passionately wanted to hide just seconds ago, standing there before him, all I could do was weep and wonder.
What if he had chosen me…
Oh. My heart squeezed as that old wondering surged into my brain and I winced with the pain of it, staring at the shoes of this man I had loved more than I understood and for forever, it seemed. I stood there, wanting him to love me back. After all these years, standing there in front of him, I wanted him to love me back. Still.
I was looking at the floor, ignoring Prof and her coaching to look him in the eye. I was resistant. I didn’t want to see him; I didn’t want to be seen. I felt vulnerable, raw, naked. He was dressed in a suit of the most luxurious fabric that appeared to have been made just for him. I felt frumpy and inadequate in contrast to his grand presence, his obvious wealth. And, as my eyes traveled up from his gleaming shoes, the length of his brown and grey trousers, over his crisp white shirt and dark tie that peeked out from the lapels of his suit jacket, finally coming to rest on his eyes, I felt the need to evaporate grow stronger and stronger. When our eyes locked, I felt a resonance reverberate through my cells and out into the atmosphere. I didn’t want to be standing there in front of him, letting him see me.
And it was the only place I ever longed to be.
Prof turned to Rick and he turned his face to her to listen, breaking our eye contact. She asked a question that shocked me then, but I don’t remember now.
In response to it, he turned directly to me, squared his shoulders, planted his feet and stared at me so bluntly that I couldn’t move. I was held captive by his strength and a curious thing happened within me. His strength, his hardness, his stillness called out mine and I squared off with him, lifting my chin higher, and becoming viscerally aware that he did not have the power to make me shrink. Only I did.
He nodded once and said with a voice that sounded like butter; a voice that always meant love and comfort to me and now, still did, even though he was not speaking words of love or invitation, “I am done with this, Angie, and as soon as my complaint makes it to the State, I will take. everything. you. have.”
He spoke the words with solid emphasis and something snapped inside me. I balled my hands into fists at my side and felt a fire erupt within me.
I will NEVER again feel small in front of this man!
I could feel the fire rising to my eyes, snapping with intensity, as I laughed and declared, “I have nothing for you to take!”
Instantly, my consciousness snapped me out of the dream. I blinked against the bright sunlight coming in through my curtains and slid down beneath the blankets. The young girl part of me that still longed to be held in his arms began to weep, begging to go back to the dream where she could be near to him. The me now, however, began to ruminate about the entire scene, wondering.
For several minutes, I could hear Prof’s voice calling me back to the room, and I could feel the young me tugging the now me to return and I could feel my present me holding onto the words, urging my consciousness to uncover the message I needed to see. I danced in that space between not all here and not all there, aware that I wasn’t quite on earth and not yet ready to be.
I have nothing for you to take…
Suddenly, it became clear. I have been holding myself back for so long for fear that someone would take it from me. I have had a lot ripped out of my life; starting with my loving heart when Rick walked away, choosing another and shattering my young girl dreams of happily ever after. It was a pain so intense, so deep, and eventually so mean as he fought to win his independence from the girl – me – who was clinging with sheer terror and desperation. I hung onto him for far too long and he eventually pulled out his violent words and acidic fortress walls to push me far enough away that he could breathe. In his attempt to break from from my clutches, he smeared our love with destructive words of, “I don’t love you; I never did,” and left me reeling in the ashes of too many years of my life that I spent believing he had loved me just as much as I had loved him.
I have held myself small, unwilling to receive love because, in my world, love has equated pain all. the. time. I have walled myself off – this being of Love trapped within an unloving prison, the walls created by her own will – all while longing to be loved in the way that I love… wholly… unreservedly… without limitation.
And, in the process of holding myself small, tight, walled off, hidden, I have batted away at abundance, belonging, acceptance, allowance, magic. I have cast away from myself the knowing of who I am and why I am here. I have lived out loud for the world; silent for me. I have danced in the spotlight because I am willing to be seen there and I have led with Love because I am willing to do that for others. But for me? I have withered inside and have not allowed life to burgeon around me, for fear that it would be taken from me. Again.
Thank you, Rick, for showing up in time to show me what I am creating. You have no idea that you stood before me in the dreamscape and woke me up to the truth, but I will be forever grateful. You have taught me, one more time, that I can rise and I can stand and I am ready to welcome all that is waiting for me because…
I have EVERYTHING to give.
*image courtesy of cdd20 at pixabay.com