Thursday, September 11, 2014
Reflecting Absence was the name given to the 9-11 memorial fountains at ground zero
Sometime it is in the looking back and in the reflecting that we can find a thread of connection between moments and experiences in our lives…
September 11, 2001
Something huge shifts inside of all of us. The terror breaks open our way of being in the world. My initial response to the horrific events is odd. Numbness. I watch the repetitious TV videos of the planes crashing and exploding into the towers in a detached way. I witness people jumping out of the towers to their death. But strangely, I do not feel. I know something is not right inside of me. Despite the lack of feeling, something deep within me begins to stir on that day. In the months and years that follow, the stirring grows into a sense of urgency. I have a hard time putting a name to this urgency. I wrestle with existential questions about the meaning of life. My desperate search is answered in my dreams where I am able to feel in a way that I am unable to feel in waking life.
December 1, 2010
Some 9 years later, my dreamwork leads me to a dream where I am finally able to feel sadness about the events of 9-11…
I’m outside on a tour in New York City. The tour guide is talking about remembering the firefighters. I am sitting next to a girl and we both burst into tears. We turn our heads toward each other, touching them. We cry and cry at the memory of 9-11 and the firefighters who lost their lives. The crying comes unexpectedly but it feels good. I can feel the wet tears coming from my eyes and I realize I am crying real tears. We hold our heads together and weep.
The dream shows me that there is a place inside of me that does feel the deep sadness. Although I am not yet able to feel this depth in waking life, this dream helps me touch into it. The dream is a gift in that it helps me to connect to a place that has been missing in me for a very long time.
May 18, 2014 AM
I travel to a New York City synagogue to attend a workshop on dreams held by my dream teacher Rodger Kamenetz. He talks about the way in which upon awakening, a dream can quickly vanish “as if it never had existed at all. There remains only this fleeting sense -- this trace --- a reshimu …. the presence of an absence.” I understand what Rodger is talking about when he speaks of the “presence of an absence.” On September 11, 2001, I was awakened from the “deep sleep” that was my life at that time. And upon that awakening, I could sense the trace of the presence of an absence within me.
Later that afternoon at the 9-11 Memorial Fountains:
The sound of water rushing into the deep footprints of the fallen towers drowns out the noise of the busy city streets nearby. There is a solemn feeling that fills the air as I run my fingertips over the inscribed names of those that were killed. The flow of water into each memorial fountain leads to another deeper, darker hole in the center. I find myself staring into the black emptiness of it. I am touching into a sadness that is deeper than the hole. The word I learned earlier in the day floats into my consciousness. reshimu. The presence of an absence. I do not want to leave the fountains. I am drawn to stay with the stirring of deep feelings that I am experiencing here. Like the way in which I want to stay with the wisp of an unremembered dream when I awaken. There is this “fleeting sense – this trace --- a reshimu.” In December, 2010 I was given the dream where I was able to feel the sadness of the events of 9-11. Today I am beginning to feel it in my waking life. I feel it deep, deep within my heart. It is painful. But like in the dream, it feels “good,” maybe because I am connecting to a feeling place in me that has been asleep for a very long time.
June 15, 2014
I am back in NYC and I feel pulled once again to visit the 9-11 memorial fountains. As I stand and run my hands across the names, I realize that I did not personally know anyone who died here. There are people all around me, possibly family member and friends of the victims, also touching the names. Some push stems of flowers into the space that was cut to create the name of their loved one. So many names. So much pain. I pick out a random name to reflect upon. Ramon Suarez. I wonder about his life and his death. I wonder about his family and those who loved him. The sound and sight of rushing water alter me into a dreamy state where I find myself falling into a feeling place. Again the word reshimu comes back. A trace of some kind of knowing or remembering. I touch into that depth of remembering.
July 18, 2014
I am jogging in the little town of Napa, California and I happen upon what looks like a collection of some jagged, rusted steel beams placed upright in the ground. When I take a closer look, I see that this is a 9-11 memorial site. I read the sign posted there. After the 9-11 disaster, the town of Napa had these steel beams sent to them in order to create this memorial. Along side the beams are huge glassed-in structures holding the list of names of those killed. I stand and gaze at the mountains of names. The list goes on and on and on. Thousands. I stand and reflect as the list of names towers over me.
September 11, 2014
I turn on the TV and listen to the 9-11 ceremony at ground zero. Names are read out loud of each fallen person. Thirteen years ago at this very minute (10:29am ET), tower two was collapsing. As I sit here in my kitchen and feel into that image, I stop and stay with what is coming up for me. I can sense the edge of deep terror connected to this image. This is a much different experience than the one of numbness that I had right here in this same kitchen thirteen years ago. Perhaps, at that time I was not yet ready to feel. But what I did experience on that day was reshimu – a faint remembering of something forgotten. That seed took hold in me, and it continues to grow. With every feeling I experience, there is a remembering. Some feelings like the ones attached to 9-11 are difficult to feel, but they can open us up to all of our feelings. Perhaps, in all of this there is an answer to the urgent “meaning of life” questions I wrestled with in the years following 9-11. The way I see it now is that to have a meaningful life is to experience all of life – in its full range of feelings.
Monday, June 9, 2014
“There is a divinely inspired potentiality for creative expression within each one of us that the world needs and is awaiting.” - Eric Butterwortth
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.” -Vincent Van Gogh
If we listen to them and allow them to, dreams have a way of opening us up to new ways of being. There are so many facets of our lives that can change with inner work such as dreamwork. For many, one of those facets is the desire to express creatively. There is a societal meme that only certain gifted people are creative. I used to buy into that. But now, I believe that everyone has the potential to be creative. Creativity is not as much something you do as it is an expression of your soul that wants to come through you. That being said, there is something that can feel extremely vulnerable about creating. Perhaps that is why many of us shy away from it. It can be helpful to find a friend or mentor, to help you get started. Luckily for me, the opportunity to find a creative mentor kind of fell into my lap! Here is the story of how it happened….
Christine, a new friend from my writing group is discovering ways to help people tap into their creativity. I excitedly volunteer to help with her endeavor. For years there’s been a longing inside me to paint. A fantasy has played out in my mind… the array of colors, the textures, the brushes, the white canvas waiting. And now I’ve got an opportunity to live it!
The creative meditation happens over the phone. My heart beats excitedly with anticipation. Christine begins, “Take a deep breath…. allow your body to sink down as if it is connected to the earth… feel that connection….” Resting into this space I feel my body soften. As I continue to melt into this place she asks, “Does an image come to you?” Searching in my minds eye there is nothing. Panic sets in and a voice inside says, What if nothing comes? Maybe this isn’t going to work. I disregard the voice. More blankness. Nothingness. My patience is tested as I wait in this void. Finally, an image comes. It’s like remembering a dream. It just appears there. It’s a sphere and there are sharp edges covering it. The edges scare me. There is a hardness to this prickly sphere. Christine asks me about the image and the feelings that are coming up. Anger comes. Now there is a black square framing the sphere. The anger is there still but now it is energetic and painful in a way. Christine asks if I want to let go of this anger and if so, what do I need to do to let go of it. A red swirl appears in the box, over top of the sphere. It’s moving in a counter clockwise direction. When Christine asks about it, the word “swoosh” keeps coming to me. I say it a few times. The word goes with the image. Swoosh. Swoosh. There is a lot of energy in it. She asks if there are other colors. I see some yellow. The swoosh breaks through the right side of the square, breaking it open. Tendrils of energy are released into the space there. There are all kinds of colors that sparkle out there with this energy. Blues, greens, pinks, yellows. A magical place.
Our next meeting is at her art studio a week later. The white blank canvas is there. The brushes sit there waiting. There are tubs of paint with tons of colors to pick from. The art fantasy I’d been imagining for so long is now is materializing. I’m diving in!!
Christine takes me through a short meditation as I hold the blank canvas close to my chest as if I am blessing it with my heart and soul. There is something that wants to be expressed here today. Let it find its way to the canvas.
Its time to create the image from my thumbnail sketch. Christine is casual, relaxed. I follow that lead. This is fun! I start with the black square. This is really happening. I can do this. Now comes the swoosh! It’s like I’ve been waiting for this. There is energy that sweeps around and finds its way outside the box. Swoosh. Swoosh. But soon I hear a voice. You aren’t doing this right. You don’t know how to do this. This isn’t turning out right. Maybe Christine senses this. “Don’t hold back.” she encourages. The dark voice lifts and I start to have fun with it. No holding back. No thinking. Just grabbing color on the brush. Eventually the swoosh with its escaping swirling energy is finished. Now it’s time to add color outside the box. Vibrant colors catch my eye and I use them to paint some circles. I add a little texture and I glob on the paint. As I finish up the circles, it seems that the painting is finished. I realize that I’ve been here for 3 timeless hours. Christine has been like a steady, encouraging presence for the entire time. It feels like she’s been the midwife for the birth of this new baby of mine. I name the baby, “Explosion of Expression.”
Immediately after arriving home, I hang my new creation on the wall. Excitement quickly shifts as something else stirs inside me. What is this? Disgust? Shame? Disappointment? Rejection? Something is not right about this painting. It does not make me feel good. (Had I thought it would?) The swirl inside the box is ugly. Every time I walk past it, I cringe a bit. This painting needs to be fixed. I shift it 90 degrees. That’s a little better. Now it looks like long flowing hair. I know! Maybe I can paint over it in some way to make it look prettier. I’ll call Christine and see if she can help me salvage it.
A few days later I turn the painting back to its original position. It hangs at the bottom of the steps so I pass it often. There is a moment when I stop resisting and I find a way to accept the painting as it is. I don’t exactly know how that shift occurs but somehow it becomes clear to me that this painting is my soul’s expression. Some of what it wants to express is not pretty. The swoosh that escapes the box seems to be full of rage mixed with passion. There’s been a huge wall of resistance holding in the swirling energy. But there is an explosion, breaking down that wall. It breaks through to a world filled with color and wonder. The painting is not only a snapshot of me in present time, it holds a memory of my past and knows my future.
Christine works one on one with clients and groups helping them go within in to find and birth their creative dreams. See http://www.christinesartworld.com for more information.
Monday, January 20, 2014
"The more you are aware of the forces of Light the more Light you create. Therefore concentrate on the Light. Think Light, see Light, be Light."
-Eileen Caddy, Findhorn Foundation
"Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change."
"Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me."
-Sy Miller and Jill Jackson
Are you aware of these “forces of Light” that Eileen Caddy refers to? Recently I had a dream where I got to look through special glasses as I traveled inside of a spacecraft. They made everything in the world look sharper, brighter, glowing. The stars were so clear and so close, it seemed like I could reach out and touch them. As my dream therapist Rodger and I discussed this dream, I could feel a kind of glowing throughout all the cells in my body. It’s a feeling I’ve had on and off since starting dreamwork. Have you ever felt something like this? It feels like being plugged in, like electric love.
Having a feeling is great – but where do we go from there? What if we took this glowing feeling into the world? Into our relationships and our connections?
What would it be to put on these glow glasses so that we can do as Eileen Caddy suggests: think Light, see Light, be Light? Unlike rose colored glasses, these glow glasses reveal the world as it really is, cutting through the haze of what we sometimes mistakenly think is true.
In the dream, the Animus (divine archetype) hands me the glasses after asking me if I’d like to take a look. This is an amazing moment where he wants me to see the world the way he sees it. I believe that he wants all of us to be able to see the world in this way. If we can learn to live from the place that these glasses reveal, life as we know it can shift. Not only for us but for those around us.
Wayne Dyer says, “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” The glasses offer a chance to do just that.
In a dream, my husband Mark is telling some teen boys that he will loan them money to go to college. “Hey wait a minute!,” I say, “You didn’t check with me first!” I feel firmly justified in calling him out on this. In the dreamwork session, Rodger has me imagine being one of the boys receiving this offer. From this perspective I am excited and grateful. It opens up a world of possibilities for me as the teen boy. Now I step back and look at this whole scene through the glow glasses. It looks and feels totally different. Mark and the boys are “glowing” in a new way. I see and feel Mark’s generosity. I see and feel the boys’ gratefulness. As I step back and see the world through the glasses, the world changes. The issue of money and lack and “hey this isn’t fair,” fades as the glowing, loving place within me and within them grows. The glasses cut through my limiting beliefs allowing me to see and feel what is true.
Yesterday, I was confronted with a waking life situation where someone unfairly (in my opinion) questioned my integrity. Immediately I reacted with anger and justified my position. Embroiled in this reactive place I complained to anyone that would listen. As I complained, I could feel something else bubbling up along side the complaints – like a sense or an inclination to step back and look at this from another angle. Although I didn’t think of it at the time, this would have been a perfect time to slip on those glow glasses. Today, I had another person help me see this “unfair” situation in a new way by simply stating, “I’m sure there is more to the story than we know.” That one statement helped me put on the glow glasses and see things in new way. Immediately I switched out of my defensive mode of “this is so unfair” as I realized that she was right. There is definitely more to this story and it probably has nothing to do with me. If I can keep the glasses on, I may even begin to feel compassion for the person that questioned my integrity.
In every so called difficult situation that we are met with in life, there is always another way to see it. So often, we react, becoming righteous or justified in our position. We dig our heels in because we “know” we are right. What if we could stop and question our position for just a moment? What if we could put on these glow glasses and see and feel the “forces of light” in each other and in ourselves?
When I was a girl, we sang a song at summer camp; “Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me.” It’s a sweet song and as a girl, it filled me with love and hope. I believe there is truth in it. “Letting it begin with me” could start with making a habit of slipping on a pair of glow glasses throughout the day. If we all got in that habit, you never know…this way of being may just start catching on.
Friday, December 20, 2013
“Live your best life, NOW!” That is what woke me up from a nap the other day. It wasn’t exactly a dream. It wasn’t exactly audible. It felt like an urgent message pounding into my head. I sat straight up and laughed. Really? This simple message? Often dreams give me messages - but rarely are they this simplistic and succinct. I mean, if this is some kind of divine message – wouldn’t it be a little more, well… poetic or something? So I spent the day kind of shaking my head and laughing about it. But since then, it keeps coming back to me. Whoever sent me this message – my own higher self, an angel, some spirit guide or perhaps God himself or herself, the message was clear and simple. And maybe that is what I need right now… clear and simple.
So how do I live my best life, NOW? (there was an emphasis on the NOW part in the message). I think of my best life as being in the future. Do you do this? I don’t think I’m the only one. There is some future time when you will finally do the things that you’ve really wanted to do. Well, what are we waiting for?
I woke up early this morning. “Live your best life, NOW!” kept playing over and over again, urging me to do just that. So I said to whomever delivered this message, “OK, OK, I am listening.” I got up out of bed and wrote for this blog that hasn’t been written in for over a year. What else can I do NOW that I’ve been putting off for some future moment? This message is obviously universal – not just for me. What can you do NOW to live your best life?