This morning I woke from an insightful dream. I had driven my SUV onto the sand of a local beach, walked to the shoreline, and prepared to step into the icy water. It was a sunny, windless day and I was anxious to feel the exhilaration of a quick swim. As I stood looking out over the calm sea, I realized that because this dip was unplanned, I didn’t have a way to warm up afterward. There were no towels or sweaters or slippers waiting in the car.
My dream ended with me standing on the shoreline, trying to figure out how to plunge and keep myself safe at the same time.
As I captured the scene in my journal, I marveled at the wisdom of dreams. I could see that one part of me had an instinct for safety, security, and self-preservation, and the other, a need for aliveness, stimulation, and the enjoyment of life.
Reaching a stalemate at the end of the dream, I stood looking at the horizon unsure of how to proceed.
Who hasn’t felt a similar sense of “stuckness” and uncertainty lately, as if caught in a Catch-22 between careful and carefree? As the pandemic numbers come down and the world opens up, I suspect we’ll all be faced with the “tension of the opposites” as we slowly navigate our way back into life.
While I’m careful by nature and intend to be patient and thoughtful as we emerge from the trauma of the past two years, I’m also ready to live. The pandemic has been both tragic and telling. There has been plenty of loss, on so many levels, and yet, it has also offered us a chance to rethink things. Some people will never suffer through a long commute ever again. Others have chosen to finish the rat race and retire early. Some have moved and downsized so they can dedicate more time to their families, their hobbies, or their artistic pursuits.
Lockdown invited many to see their lives from a more objective perspective. And once our eyes have been opened it’s hard to go back to sleep.
I’m excited about the new things I see on my horizon. We had a great turnout for our Zoom gathering last week as we continue to learn ways to cultivate a calm inner state. I wasn’t sure how interested people would be in learning to meditate and it turns out to be a pretty popular topic!
And although I had reservations about adding a dip to our next “Self Care by the Sea” retreat, the folks who have registered are excited. While some have said they may dip to their ankles or knees (or remain at the shore cheering others on), everyone seems eager to gather together for some much-needed fun and adventure.
Yes, the “tension of the opposites” is real and it requires patience and care as we learn to enter this new phase of life. Be gentle with yourself as you unfold your wings and remember how to fly. Let it take as long as it takes.