Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Giving Birth to Our Dreams
By Kellie Meisl
In a new book called "Dream Stories, Recovering the Inner Mystic," writers Kellie Meisl and Connie Caldes, both of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, explore the ways in which dreams give meaning to life events. The book is available through http://www.booklocker.com. What follows is an excerpt from Chapter 25.
"You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star." -- Friedrich Nietzsche
"The Birthing Dream"
I observe a large, dark gray, plump-looking airplane with a
long red chute that curves upward on the sides. The chute
extends from the plane’s door to the ground. I am about to enter this
plane with a group of women, one, my friend Connie. I am
afraid to climb the chute. There is a ladder beside it, but it is
rickety. A young, athletic woman climbs the chute and makes
it up before me. On the ground a man assists women as they climb.
He offers to help me ascend. I climb, then turn to observe the chute from above. A
section in the middle has become detached. I watch in fear as two
young women hang from the detached part of the chute by their knees, upside down.
The women are struggling to fix the chute. However, they are carefree and relaxed.
I am now in the very spacious plane; many women are
with me. I realize we were all supposed to bring our babies
aboard, but no one did. I see a stack of empty cradles. My eyes
become fixed upon an older woman who is walking around
continuously. Her hair is fluffy, grayish white, and she wears
pajamas, a robe and slippers. I realize we were all supposed to
be wearing our pajamas but only the older woman is doing so.
Yet I get the sense that not wearing pajamas is right, what
has been agreed upon.
On the same night, my friend Connie dreams she is one of many
women on a maternity ward, wearing a robe and slippers. She
is shuffling around the maternity ward; she has just given birth
to her son. I am there with her.
There are many aspects of this dream that still elude me,
though I dreamed it a decade ago and have pondered it ever
since. I am not certain why the women in my dream agree
not to wear pajamas or why this is the “right” choice. And
where are the babies? Why is there a bunch of empty cradles? I
do know two things. One, the dream was a shared dream.
Connie and I both shared a dreamscape that night, a maternity
ward full of women, some wearing robes and slippers. And two,
my dream was a reflection on giving birth. The blimp-like plane
with the long red chute is a symbol of the birthing process. I
believe the fact that the chute became detached and that the
women hang upon it, suspended, reflects my placental
abruption and subsequent Caesarean section. Perhaps the empty
cradles are symbols of the babies being whisked away from their
mothers after surgery, as mine was.
Recently, I have come to understand that dreams of giving
birth are life metaphors. They signal us, reminding us to give birth
to our dreams, to create and bring forth the labors of our creation.
The dreams will continue to recur until we take notice. And
what if we do not heed the message of our birth dreams? Then
the message is presented in the circumstances we face in the
waking world where again we have the opportunity to take
notice and create the dream we have been incubating.
Because I had given birth to my son not long before my
birthing dream, I understood the dream first on a more literal
level. Of course that was one layer of meaning to my dream.
Then I had another more potent dream that caused me to take
notice and look at things from a different angle.
I am lying in a hospital bed hooked up to many tubes, as I
was after my Caesarean section. I feel weak, like I am fading
away. My doctor comes into the room. He is kind and gentle.
He shares with me that I have something growing in my
abdomen. I fear it is uterine cancer. I know it is serious and
that it will require great effort to recover, but I have hope that
I can heal.
I awoke from this dream quite shaken and concerned. I
knew it was important, and I knew on some level the growth in
my abdomen signified something that was growing inside
me and needed to come out. At the time of the dream, I was just
beginning to dabble in creating art. I understood that the
uterus is located in the second chakra, the area of one’s
creativity. I saw the dream as a reminder to create and I
continued with my art. I have created pieces for annual art
shows held locally every year since; I have also created pieces for family,
friends and for myself. I knew too the book I had wanted to write
needed to manifest, and I began writing stories. Now that book, a labor of love,
has been published! I also brought to fruition
a book for children that I wrote and illustrated for my son. This
is a project I dreamed of doing as an elementary teacher when I
read and observed meaningfully written and beautifully
illustrated works by others. And, I continue to work with
dreams both formally in the classes I teach and privately as I
work with my own dreams. I have never forgotten my Hospital
Bed dream, and I realize how important it is for me to create on
a regular basis.
Not long ago, I heard a story of a woman I knew as an
acquaintance who died from cancer. Her cancer had originally
grown in her abdomen but had healed. Then it returned in her
uterus. The story I heard was astonishing. It led me to wonder
if perhaps she did not have the chance to live the dream she
held for herself. The story came from her employer, a
friend of mine. We were having tea, talking about dreams
and she told me this story:
Prior to her death, Angela had been appointed to a new
position within the company where she was working. This was
one of several new assignments she had received in a period of
a few short years. She liked this latest job and was ready
to stay with it for a while. She was finally feeling
comfortable. Not too long after Angela settled into her job, a
woman with whom she worked closely, who was slated to move to
another position within the company, had a miscarriage. The
woman, Susan, had not been keen on changing her position in
the first place. One day, Angela sat in the office of her boss in
tears, a meeting she had called to say, “I cannot allow Susan
to be involuntarily moved to this new position after the
devastation she has suffered. Though I do not want to, I will
take the new job.” Very soon after, Angela became ill with
uterine cancer. She wound up leaving her job shortly after
taking it and never returned before her death.
This story stands as a powerful reminder to me that we
cannot sell ourselves out; we must take care to create and
follow the paths that feel right to us, even if we feel pressure
from others around us. Perhaps the older woman with white
hair in my birthing dream stood out because she was
enlightened; she chose to wear her pajamas and slippers
though the younger women agreed it was right to conform.
As I peruse my dream journal, I note many metaphors of birth,
some more direct than others. I notice that I often dream of
eggs, Easter eggs, cartons of eggs and jeweled eggs.
I feel fortunate that I have these dreams documented. I
remind myself it is important to reread them now and then.
When I read the dreams, I can see that as I was having them,
they were little seeds growing into the life I now have. Many
aspects of the dreams have played out. I realize now that the
dreaming mind is a vessel where the offspring of our soul’s
aspirations may nest. All we need to do is allow ourselves to
slumber, then remember and honor our dreams; that alone will
help us fulfill a more conscious role in how our lives unfold. So
I will do my personal best to bring my dreams into existence.
And, if I can do anything to honor Angela’s dream, it will be to
remember to exercise extreme caution, looking out for myself when making
important decisions about my life’s path. I will take on the roles
I love and create what is meaningful to me, even if I feel
pressured to do otherwise.