Pay it Forward

I had a dream last night that I was living in a small shack. (I actually did live in an old sharecropper’s house in my 20s with an outhouse and a woodstove for heat, but that’s another story.) Somehow, my little house was sitting in the middle of a waterway, and a strong current of water was rushing under the house. I was worried it would come loose from its foundations, so I decided to get concrete blocks and place them in all four corners of the house to keep it weighed down so it wouldn’t float away. Then I woke up.

I have crazy dreams like this a lot. It seems like they don’t make much sense, but if you try, you can always find hidden meanings. I took a couple dream classes with a local dream shaman a few years ago, and they were very enlightening. Our teacher said dreams contain answers to life’s questions, and everyone’s dreams are unique representations of our individual lives and trajectories.

Standardized meanings for symbols that appear in dreams, like you might find on a website, aren’t useful, she explained. What we dream about directly relates to our own life’s journey, and as we ponder what the things in the dream might mean (water, a house with poor foundations, concrete blocks), we have to place them in the context of our unique circumstances. In other words, I’m the only one that can really understand what my dream means.

Interestingly, even the people we dream about are clues to solutions we might be looking for, she said. They are actually versions of ourselves, representing different aspects of who we are. In my dream, a friend of mine was outside with a child. I talked to her, but never saw her. I’m not sure if she was in a boat or on a patch of dry land. I do remember I could hear and feel the water running under the house. It was scary.

In my dream class, we would take turns sharing our dreams verbally with the others. Then we would make a drawing of the dream and talk about what the dream might be trying to say. Thinking about my dream last night, I find a few wisps of wisdom waiting to be explored, but since it’s personal, I won’t elaborate here.

I hope to take more dream classes one day. I love to learn. I also love the idea that we are all on a journey and that we have our own personal power/ability to shape the course of our trajectories. Some of us embrace the possibilities while others may choose to do less, content with where they are on life’s path. That’s OK. Judging and/or making comparisons isn’t useful since what matters is where each of us is and where we are going.

My yoga teacher always ends our practice with a reminder that we are all exactly where we are meant to be on our journeys. I love how just that simple phrase takes the pressure off. I think we can be too hard on ourselves a lot of the time. We need to practice loving ourselves more and being thankful for what we have. When we finish patting ourselves on the back, a next step could be to see how we can help those around us who could use a helping hand, a friendly smile, or a bouquet of flowers to brighten their day.

When we spread the love, we are lifting up humanity as a whole—and ourselves in the process. Let’s all pay it forward this month and watch goodness unfurl. 

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Peggy Sijswerda

Tidewater Women Magazine, Editor & Co-Publisher.

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