“Resistance has no strength of its own. Every ounce of juice it possesses comes from us. We feed it with power by our fear of it. Master that fear and we conquer Resistance.”
I’ve alway had very vivid and somewhat elaborate dreams, and should you have the good fortune to appear in one, I will often share the story with you and hope that you aren’t too put off by it. I used to write them all down when I was younger and keep them in one place . Then friends would visit, and sometimes want to look through my binder of dreams to see what I’d been up to in my sleep lately.
I no longer keep a book full of dreams, but I do pay attention to them at times when they seem particularly colorful, emotionally charged, and symbolic of what’s happening in my waking life. Yesterday, I was feeling extremely overwhelmed by pressure to do my absolute best, the anxiousness I feel to achieve success, the criticism I and others give me, anger with the way some people treat me, and paralyzing fear of not getting where I want to be in the future, of not achieving my goals, of doing everything “right” and still having everything count for nothing. I know myself to be a very capable, hardworking, and ambitious individual. However, what I know and what I feel can often be two VERY different things. I can become very doubtful of myself at times even when I am making progress and moving in the direction I want. I have very high standards and am not good at living in the moment and being appreciative of what I’ve already accomplished and done. Yesterday, all of these feelings piled up on top of each other and left me in a big, anxious, teary-eyed heap.
Then, last night, I had a dream which inspired tonight’s piece. I thought this would be a short poem, but as I wrote, the details came back, and it grew and grew into a lengthy, narrative piece as you’ll see. I think this dream served as a kind of symbolic exorcism for me, a fantasy that physicalized many of these experiences and emotions I’m grappling with, and allowed me to react to them in a hands-on, cathartic way in my sleep. I think you’ll see what I mean below. Thank you for continuing to read along, please do comment, critique, and share!
Last night I dreamt of
Chalky, brown plains
That swept up, dusty,
Under footsteps, under a
Gray and amber overcast,
And laid down, prostrate,
Flat, beneath flaking, shaking
Shacks of homes that
Sagged, empty, all quiet
Except for a single,
Black tree, trunk thick and
Bark smooth, that thrust up
And spread out, leafless, and
Seemed to heave and pulse
Aloud, as if it knew I was there.
I advanced slowly, flushing,
As though a heat smoldered in its
Core and I brushed my
Fingertips against its dry husk.
At once, I saw machines of war,
Wooden, metal apparatuses, stretching,
Clasping the limbs of men, condemned,
Who grimaced and shrieked, as their spines
Lurched and their skin was lanced,
Orifices invaded, until they were tossed
Out, finished with, and rehabilitated.
I saw the disfigured faces of my family
Gnarled with rage, baring their teeth,
Tongues whipping, skin pulled down
From their eyes, drawn too tightly across
Their mouths as they choked and spit,
Dug fingers into necks and shoulders,
Tore into clothing, howled and wailed
Inside of kitchens, on staircases, frenzied,
Rabid, and full of sound.
I saw groups of dirty children with
Cropped hair, dressed shapelessly
In gray, stained, and clustered together,
Brows raised and lips pinched, backs
Stiff and slowly turning, as though aware
Of some observation, as they stood
Under a clouded, charcoal sky, and
Waited, gazing wordlessly, still.
I felt the flat, black rind of the tree
Smile beneath my touch, vibrating,
Its insides engorged, pleased and proud
To let me taste its brimming center.
I pulled my hand back, and could nearly
Hear the branches titter above me
Before I stepped forward again, placed my
Palms against its trunk, and began to push.
The bark hissed and groaned in defense
As its shell began to splinter and split,
Fibers snapping and cracking as it lost
Its roots, began to sway, tremble, and
Crashed thunderously in a mist of soot and dust.
It whined as I covered it in cardboard and paper,
As I waited for the wind to concede, before I
Struck the lighter, manifested in my hand,
Gold and shining, and ignited the pyre,
Watching the blaze climb hungrily, lick away the
Exoskeleton, and consume all but the ash to be
Picked up, swept out, past hollow houses,
Over even ground, away and away, until it’s all
Gone, until I breathe in deeply, open my eyes
And wake up.