I’m an introvert.
As an introvert I prefer not to talk
unless I have something to say.
We introverts have a lot going on in our heads
that stays there if we can’t find a way
to express or give form to it,
to our truth I mean. For me,
working with dreams
taps into that reservoir of introversion.
In a way, it’s all poetry.
(Bad poetry is better than no poetry.)
There is a lot being shared and reported these days:
great information, good advice and sketchy, shocking,
heart-wrenching stories from all
corners. Some of it is helpful, some is upsetting
and some is just venting . . . I’m sure you know what I mean.
We are wading through,
trying to get our bearings, keeping up with the latest.
Trying to stay well
-informed is more than a full-time job these days.
(Being human is a full-time job.)
Maybe there is some new breakthrough
that will protect our friends and families,
some new restriction or caution.
have coffee, proceed at your own risk.)
But today, right now, this morning,
Friday, March 27th,
I don’t feel like there is anything new to say.
On the other hand,
nobody has said what it feels like to be me today!
In fact it’s safe to say that nobody
out of the 8 billion people in the world
is telling my story.
(Nobody is telling yours either.)
(And yet, here we are
journeying together through this dark, crazy, uncertain time.
More than ever, my days have become like a dream.
What do I mean by that?
Well, in dreams anything can happen.
They are totally unpredictable. They only make sense
when you’re in them
and on some mysterious level
that we can only unpuzzle
if we are willing to look hard into the magic mirror
of our deepest depths. Likewise, I would argue,
everything that is happening in the world will eventually make sense
some day! Just not today! Yes,
life on March 27, 2020 is like a dream,
and I should know.
Dreams are my thing.
If you ask me which came first, the chicken or the egg,
I would say, the dream came first, before the chicken or the egg.
The dream of the chicken, the dream of the egg.
(I think the Australian Aborigines would agree with me there.)
(Second mug of coffee.)
I am a dream worker, Jungian trained,
40 years of experience.
In Boston or New York I would be able to make a living
doing what I love,
helping folks individuate by learning how to decode
the language of their dreams.
(There are 28,000 people to every square mile in the Big Apple. In Vermont, 67.)
I am working with one client presently.
We meet in the sanctuary of a small rural church.
We sit six feet apart in folding chairs
in front of the pews with an electric radiator
positioned halfway between us.
Even with the heater turned up high,
it can still get cold in there. The church has been closed
for a couple of weeks,
except for the person who is keeping an eye on it.
(When I say rural, I mean the water for the plumbing comes
from an uphill Spring,
and the sinks have to be allowed to drip or the pipes will freeze.)
We meet there to avoid the crowded town.
The only downside is,
neither one of us enjoys great circulation
in our extremities.
The dreams of my client are full
of intriguing shadows,
a cast of fascinating characters, animals and situations
that seem to thrive on our attention.
Dream work is endlessly fascinating . . .
(Or is it fascinatingly endless?)
As a culture, I have found that we tend to neglect
our dream-life, which is too bad, because,
as Jung pointed out, if we don’t remember our dreams,
our dreams become our fate . . .
When we wake, we project all that psychic energy
(that keeps us so busy in the dream-world)
into our lives.
Some people imagine that if they ignore
what is happening in their dreams,
it will simply go away,
leaving them at peace for 12 or so hours.
But the unconscious never sleeps
and is always looking for opportunities
to recreate our dreams
out of the stuff of our waking life.
When we remember our dreams
we are paying attention to how our lives look from inside out.
As I say, life does feel a lot like a dream these days.
I’m 69 years old.
Did I ever think I would live
to see something like this Covid-19 pandemic?
as a matter of fact, I did.
It is the lesser of several other disasters
that I have also contemplated as real possibilities.
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (author of Women Who Run With the Wolves),
in an open letter, recently posted,
powerfully reminds us that, if we think about it,
we are ready for this,
maybe not this exactly,
but this or worse . . . anyway, we are ready!
How are we ready for this?
Don’t we always find out, when push comes to shove,
that we are stronger and braver than we think?
More ethical, more moral
When I contemplated writing this Epistle
I prepared myself to write about something
that stands out as a thought or experience
that I never would have had in a million years
if this pandemic hadn’t happened.
But I ran into a problem:
Namely, the overwhelming feeling that either none of this
has happened before
or all of it has.
(In our dreams.)
Or, I guess I mean,
if we’re going to own up to what is happening
and learn from it,
we’re going to have to own all of it.
(The craziness, the tragedy,
The loneliness, the apathy,
The look in that nurse’s eyes
Over her mask,
The hollowness of insomnia
In that doctor’s haunted expression,
The imperviousness of nature,
The silence of the great avenues,
The trickle-down prayers of the faithful,
The exhaustion of the man
At the hospital loading dock,
The abandoned landscapes
The maps and graphs
With the adjustable outcomes . . .)
I feel like we’ve fallen down the rabbit hole.
The thing is, toward the end of Alice’s Adventures Underground
she was getting used to it.
I hope we don’t get used to this.