I’ve taken the most marvelous trips lately back to places that I’ve known and loved. My childhood home in Roselle, New Jersey, my college town of Yellow Springs, Ohio, a school in the North Carolina mountains, the Zen Center atop Mt. Baldy outside L.A. and a village in Bali, for starters. In each place, I’ve felt the effortless glow of being precisely where I need to be, held and cradled by the very landscape, graced with a renewed sense of wonder and intimately connected with the houses, streets, trees.
I imagine we all have sacred sites like this in our lives where we passed through an important initiation or fell in love with a person, a passion, a place or experienced a fleeting passage through a door that would define our life to come. When we re-visit them, we recall the beauty of that time, the excitement, the transcendent emotions. And so each night this past week, I’ve had the good fortune to return to one of these places without having to book accommodations or endure long plane rides. Simply go there in my dreams— and awaken refreshed.
Amazing what goes on beneath the surface of the conscious mind. Some benevolent dreamkeeper is taking me back to these lands of deep belonging and giving me the chance to renew my membership in my present home and community. Last night included sharing a workshop with my elementary school gym teacher, Mr. Salcito. I was thrilled to know that he was 92 (in my dream) and still going strong. I remembered he owed me a prize that he had never delivered for winning the pie-eating contest when I was 9-years old and was about to ask him to pay up and take me out for dessert when I so rudely woke up. Guess I’ll have to let that one go.
In this life where we struggle to control and direct everything, there is so much that is out of our hands. The weather, our health, our partner’s life habits, for example. But particularly our dreams. Back to the “who’s in charge?” question. Our conscious mind has no coin in the land in dreams, except to suggest all the things it’s leaving out so some other director can compensate. It is extraordinary to me how quickly things from the world above appear in the world below— like writing a blog in a dream, for example— but always on their own terms in their own strange dream language.
Imagine if we could program our own dreams! That would be a power that I’m certain we would quickly abuse and turn into disaster. So even as we have become gods in the upper world in ways that would astonish our ancestors, we are frail and vulnerable children always in the land of dreams. Lately, I’ve been led by the hand to the many homes I have known and it is a blessing. Where shall I go tonight?