The Back To School Nightmare

The season is here again.
Time to head back to school.
But wait!
I graduated from high school 50 years ago.

And so why am I still having nightmares about school?

The Back To School Dream

I’m in school, taking multiple classes. It’s college, not high school and it feels like that first semester when I didn’t understand how to schedule the right number of credits and I feel as though I have taken too many. This reminds me of what really happened to me. I didn’t understand that I could drop a class so instead I work on getting the assignments done for all the other classes and I simply stop going to the last one. I understand I will fail this class.

But Now It’s Exam Time

There are required papers/projects to be completed. One project just simply doesn’t have me worried, so I put it off. Another project is a paper. I’ve been working on it here and there for awhile but now it’s crunch time and I can’t find the work anywhere. Somehow, I’ve misplaced it. Now, I panic. Spinning in circles trying to decide whether I should work on the “no brainer” and get it done or keep looking for the lost one. I start to talk to myself: “Don’t worry. You did it once. It will be easy to pull it back together again. Just start it over.” But, I keep searching. Where is it? Where could I have left it? Time is running out! And then I’m talking again, this time berating myself: “This is so embarrassing, I know I failed once class straight up and now this! I feel so stupid!

And Then I Wake Up!

I’m initially still beating myself up but then the fog lifts and I realize that I had just been dreaming. I am no longer in school, taking any kind of class. I have no assignments. There is nothing to fail fail anymore.

So Why Do I Have This Dream Over And Over Again?

What does it mean? Is there supposed to be some kind of message for me?

Here’s What I Think

This is a metaphor for my life. Each class represents an oportunity that I’ve been given some time in my life; lessons maybe that I was supposed to learn. And now, it’s time to be tested. How did I do with the opportunities given to me? Did I take advantage of each, did I learn from them, or did I disregard some thinking that I had plenty of time to revisit it?

How many opportunities did I see as so simple that I could give it just a little focus later, no problem – only to run out of time to do it at all?

How many opportunities do I put some effort in to but get distracted, lose focus, and then struggle to figure out where I left off losing time trying to put past work back together again?

If This Is Not Life, I Don’t Know What Is

So there you have it. Your life is a not-stop school experience. We are presented with many opportunities to learn and we make choices. We choose throughout our life to focus on some and disregard some. We choose to hurry through some and let some wait thinking there will always be time.

And Then The Day Comes

The assignments are due! Your opportunities have come to an end. It’s time to present your work to a higher power.

What did you accomplish? Oh gosh,, where did the time go? Did I give it everything I had or did I squander my time? Am I proud of my efforts or embarrassed?

Life – Education Education – Life

Don’t wait until the day that all assignments are due to suddenly realize that you missed out.

Opportunities – Choices Choice – Opportunities

So no matter how old you are, WELCOME BACK TO SCHOOL. You’re not done until all assignments have been called in.

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Finding My Way Home

I Need Someone To Set This To Music

Finding My Way Home

Every day, it’s something.

Life just pushes you along.

Moments pass so quickly,

like the words of your favorite song.

All along I wonder:

Is this where I’m supposed to be?

Every day brought me closer

to this person I call “me”.

(Chorus)                                                                                                                                                All our life’s a journey;

paths you choose alone.

Step by step move forward

until you find your home.

 

Each path is so different.

You’re hoping it’s the one.

Yet each time there’s something

that says “No, you’re still not done.

Keep moving forward.

I know it’s hard on you

But hold on, you’ll get there.

Then, you’ll know just what to do.”

(Chorus)                                                                                                                                                All our life’s a journey;

paths you choose alone.

Step by step keep moving

until you find your home.

 

Well all at once it happens.

There’s a vision I can see.

Everything I cherish

is right in front of me.

I can see flowers blooming.

Birds are singing their sweet song.

Someone out there listened

and put me right where I belong.

And when this moment happens,

all the doors seem to open wide.

“This is your home,” it’s calling.

Go ahead. Step inside.”

“Oh the journey’s not quite over.

There’s still lots for you to do

But trust me, this is the moment

that’s been waiting here for you.

(Chorus)                                                                                                                                                  All our life’s a journey;

you’ve never been alone.

Every step you’ve taken

put you right where you belong.

All our life’s a journey;

you’ve never been alone.

Every step you’ve taken

put you right where you belong.

Those Dreams That Haunt You

Many times I dream, but more often than not I forget them the minute I wake up.  Once in awhile there is a dream that lingers in my brain and simply cries out to be brought into the light of day.  I just had one of those dreams.

It Takes Place In a Storage Facility

I was walking by these storage units. Each was open and people seemed to be selling their wares.  I was a visitor walking past so many vendors.  I ran into an old friend.  She and I had been great friends years ago.  She was displaying her baskets.  I remember how much she loved making her baskets.  We hugged and she simply said, “I decided it was time to share these.”  We didn’t talk about the years that had passed without even a word between us.  We just simply enjoyed the moment.  Then we saw another man wonder by; another visitor like me.  He looked depressed, walking slowly and reflectively, and he looked especially old at that moment.  He smiled when he saw both of us. It turns out that we knew him. We shared the moment and then separated.  I continued walking past vendor after vendor, lingering on thoughts of these past friends.

And Then I Realize That No One Is Selling Their Wares

I happen onto a heated discussion between a vendor and a passerby. The passerby wanted to try a piece of the vendor’s prized carrot cake.  It seemed to make the vendor angry. Why wasn’t he pleased? It was then, I think, that I actually realized that no one was selling anything.  These were displays!  People were displaying the things they loved the most!

They Were Sharing Their Dreams

Then it dawned on me:  that’s why my friend was sad.  He seemed to have nothing of significance to share. I remember him as a very smart man, full of passion for his job, working long past normal work hours and long past his formal retirement date. But, when he finally stopped going to work, his dream ended.  This job that had consumed his life left him with a huge hole. Now, here he was walking past person after person who seemed to have realized other dreams; dreams that didn’t earn money, that weren’t  “jobs”.  They were passions outside of work.

The Storage Unit

This location; this storage facility, today, was bursting with excitement.  Dreams had been brought out of storage.  Dreams were being celebrated by their owners.  Those dreams weren’t big deals to anyone, maybe, other than the dreamers. “I make baskets.”  “I make  really good carrot cake.” Dreams, so many dreams, brought out of storage to celebrate and share on this day.  So many dreams are left in storage while we work on the things that we think will make us important.  For my friend, his job was his dreams.  Now it left him sad and empty. My other friend seemed content.  She’d had a good job too but she had moved on. She was content with her projects.  They were her projects, after all.  Like them or don’t like them:  she didn’t care.  Yet, she was thrilled to share them on this day.

So Why Am I In This Dream?

While I was dreaming, my thought was that this might be a great place to try to sell my nature photos; the objects of my current pastime.  But when I realized that no one was really selling,  I woke up.

I was puzzled and needed to continue to ponder this dream.   I felt bad for my sad friend.  It was his sadness that had me thinking…My work had been my passion too.  When I left, I felt that same hole.  Did he represent me?  Or did the other friend represent me?  Was I walking past the vendors because I have yet to accomplish my dream? Will I someday regret letting life pass me by and not finding my life dream? The thing was, I didn’t feel sad. Other people’s sites left me inspired. What is it that I’m doing that fills me with joy; that thing that I do for no pay and it would be something I would never sell?  I wanted to figure this out.

And Then I Did!

I have the opportunity to spend beautiful time with four little people.  I gladly do it for no pay. My grandchildren make my heart sing.  Fighting fires with my four year old grandson or racing Hot Wheel cars up and around his Super Ultimate Garage, listening to my two year old granddaughter burst into full out sentences, singing songs to the one year old granddaughter and watching her make connections with pictures in books, and now snuggling with my one week old granddaughter.  This is the gift that has been given to me.  This is the passion that I have found since retiring that fills me with joy.  And, I share this joy as often as their parents allow. And there is something that comes from sharing joy.  Joy spreads!

What a wonderful dream.  What a wonderful time pondering its meaning.

And, wouldn’t it be fun if everyone pondered what their passion is?  But it has to be something that you don’t do for money.  It has to be something that simply brings you joy.

Life Is A Game

imageLife’s A Game
You have to be in it to win it.

I had a dream. It woke me up: it was so upsetting.

I had won. He gave me one one-hundred dollar bill and rolls of quarters to equal four hundred more. I don’t question the logic in a dream! I put them all into a bag, along with a bottle of wine, and went off to a ball game. Again, don’t question. I tucked my winnings under my seat and started watching the game. After a while, I became complacent and wandered off to a back room where I turned my attention to scrapbooking some of my favorite photos.(Shh) I returned to the game, once, to make sure that my bag was still safely under my seat but then retreated to the back room again. My bag was safe, and the game was still going on as usual. It didn’t need my attention.

I was working away, with focus and joy on my project, when, all of a sudden, I realized that I no longer heard the crowd noise. Everything had become silent. When did that happen? I jumped up and ran towards the stadium seating only to discover that it had grown dark and I could no longer see where my seat was! My money, my bag of money! I needed to get that bag of money.

And then I woke up. Immediately, I reached for a notebook to write this down. This one was too intriguing to let go. I don’t remember or bother to write down the boring dreams.

While I am no dream analysis expert, I do enjoy trying to figure out the deep dark musings of my sleep mind. I mean, really, who has a dream where they win a bag of quarters? And then, carry it into a game with a bottle of wine?

Well, as I ponder the potential meaning of this ridiculous dream, I try to equate it with my current life circumstances. It’s got to be about something that I carried into bed with me the night before, right? And, no, I didn’t go to bed with a bag of money and a bottle of wine!
What I did go to bed with were thoughts of how quickly life changes from feeling as though things are happily humming along to, maybe, not.so.happily.humming.along. So, perhaps, there is a lesson tucked away in this dream. Let’s ponder that thought!

As luck would have it, today is Opening Day for baseball, here, and, it is also the day of the college basketball championship. The baseball game is the first of many. The fans will show up just to tailgate and celebrate this unofficial first day of spring. Now the basketball game, on the other hand, has even me staying up late to watch. This one is big. ON WISCONSIN!

Now, back to analyzing the dream.

I have never been a true sports fan. I go to baseball games to watch people and to my college football games to watch the half time show and participate in the fifth quarter. Even during national football games, you are just as likely to find me walking in the woods as watching the game. So that part of the dream is logical for me: go to the game, settle into a seat, then wonder off (mentally or physically, either one, to something else). It’s the part about winning a bag of money and just leaving it sitting under a seat that has me scratching my head. I mean, What is that about? Why a hundred dollar bill and rolls of quarters? When I think of quarters, I think of slot machines. Does this mean that I’m the kind of person who gambles with her money? Does it mean that I don’t care about money? And then, there’s the issue of the bottle of wine. First, how was I able to carry it into the game? Second, why? Third, and maybe most important, if I went to the trouble of carrying it in, why did I leave it under the seat instead of taking it back with me while I lingered over my photo life? And, fourth, how was it that, when I went running back to find my seat, I was only concerned about the bag of money and not the wine? Really? Maybe this means that having that glass of wine isn’t as important as I thought.

Ok, now seriously, let’s try to analyze this thing. Here’s what I come up with.

Life is a game, It’s a series of different events; each with their own beginning, middle, and end. I go into the game with a level of excitement, intrigue, anticipation, and lots of hopeful enthusiasm. Then, there’s a point where I wander off; seemingly not interested in the game going on in front of me and more interested in lingering over past memories (of previous games?). The bag of money, under the seat, seems like even if I win a game, I don’t necessarily covet the prize as much as I do the memories. The bottle of wine is a celebration tucked away for later. Then, when the current game comes to an end, as I know it will, I am surprised. Why? How many times will it take to understand that the rules never change. Everything comes to an end! Why do I always feel as though I am left in the dark, frantically running around trying to find my…self, again?

So, here I am now, thinking about how I have spent my life’s time; My Big Game. Am I winning or losing? Am I playing the game or have I wandered off spending too much time trying to turn my past into a scrapbooked work of art while today slips away?

That bag of money…my past winnings…am I celebrating my successes, am I proud of my achievements, or am I hiding them under a seat, thinking they are not as important as memories of my failures? And that silly bottle of wine. It’s taking up space in my bag. It seems to be nothing more than a burden to carry from place to place.

Here are my final, profound thoughts:
Dreams worth writing down are worth thinking about.
Life is a game.
You can’t win, at life, if you don’t put yourself in the game.
Remember, every game has a beginning, a middle, and an end.
I have an amazing collection of memories: funny and sad, good and bad, my very own scrapbooked work of art.
Now I just need to make sure that all of the memories show proof that it was a game well played.
Don’t linger too long over past wins and losses. Today is the only game that counts.

Now, GO BADGERS!

Is Your Life A Dream Catcher Or A Spider Web?

Spiderweb1

Do you have dreams? Do you keep them packed away in a safe place, waiting for the day, when the time is just right to finally take them out of storage and display them, proudly, for everyone to see? This storage unit is your Dream-Catcher. In it, you do not allow anything bad to take up space. It’s your make-believe life.

Your real life is not a Dream-Catcher at all, though. It’s more like a spider’s web. Endlessly, you work. You feel as though your life has the potential to be great but, so often, your work is destroyed by something, outside of your control, of course. You try to fix what you have to make it work but frustration grows and grows. Is there a chance that you will ever have your dream life? You’ve grown tired of building and rebuilding but you are too afraid to leave. What if you leave and find yourself somewhere that’s even worse? It could happen, you know. At least that’s what you tell yourself.

What you really want is arms to wrap you up in a cloak of confidence. You want to breathe courage directly into your veins and some kind of super power to take hold of your legs. Instead, you feel trapped, in this web; shivering, scared, and alone.

This is how I felt, as I was contemplating leaving yet another marriage. I used the analogy of the Dream-Catcher one year, with my staff.  It had been an exceptionally difficult time.  I asked them to try to see only the beauty of what had happened that year and let the bad drop on through. I have attempted to do this with my own life but the reality is that, at one time, I was more like a fly, caught in my own spiderweb, instead. I had become the food for someone else’s life. And I did feel trapped. I had, for some time, contemplated an escape but always came back to that fear of “What if someplace else is worse?” I had actually begun to feel that this was my due, karma perhaps, for failing at, yet, another marriage. So, perhaps I needed to just “suck it up” and accept my circumstances as God’s punishment.

Then, I found myself on a mountain in Sedona, in the midst of a vortex: referred to as “spiraling, spiritual energy” with an overwhelming feeling that I was supposed to be there, right then, at that exact moment. And during those three days, the lessons just poured into me, all based on Indian lore. Tears flowed and fear nearly consumed me, but one person said this one thing that I held on to for dear life: “Let go. Let God.” And a stillness took over the air around me. The group, that I was with, starting singing “Amazing Grace” and I felt wrapped in protective arms. I felt courage pour into my veins and found a little strength power through my legs and I felt love…for me! I came home from that trip and pulled myself out of that spider’s web. I put it all in God’s hands and God delivered me to the edge of a nature preserve full of beautiful living creatures and then God surrounded me with flowers that bloomed every single day through the hardest months. And my life became a real Dream-Catcher, but I wasn’t dreaming.

Fear is the devil. Fear robs you of your life. It consumes you with doubt and hesitation. It buries you in guilt. Fear is an enemy that needs to be fought instead of accepted. I mean, really, if you knew that the devil was knocking at your door, would you open it? Yet, how many times have you, willingly, let that energy sit at the same table with you; drive along side you in the car; walk along side you into interviews; stand with you as you face an audience? The devil is fear and fear drives you to drink, makes you crumble, and leaves you huddled in the corner on the floor.

Sometimes, we’re mistaken about the voices we hear and the messages that are trying to come through. As I tried to make my way up that mountain, in Sedona, I thought the devil was the person behind me who was yelling at me to “Keep going, Jane! Push yourself! Trust the power in your legs!” I had told him, over and over again, that my legs were weak. I had just had knee surgery. My balance was shot. He responded “Your life is off balance. Keep moving.” When I finally got off that mountain, he offered me his hand and I yelled at him saying, “You wouldn’t help me when I needed you on that mountain. Why would I take your hand, now, down here on the ground?” (This is a true story!)

I had felt like a failure. I had let fear consume me and I stopped half way up that mountain. I sat for three hours with nothing but my own thoughts to keep me company and the real devil played with me the entire time. “Just go home, Jane. Be happy with what you have. It’s the safe place to be.” Then, the person, who I thought to be the devil, came back to me and asked me, “How many people passed you while you sat on the side of the mountain today?” I replied with anger, “No one!” And he calmly said, “Don’t you see, Jane that most people never even try to climb the mountain. They stay on the paths that are flat and safe. You made it higher than any one of them. Do you see that, Jane?” And then, he walked away.

Let go. Let God. God did not help me up that mountain. God stood behind me yelling “You can do this!” God said “Be proud. You made it pretty far today, farther than most. Tomorrow will be even better. And I will be right there to yell at you again and push you again, if I have to!”

So Dream-Catchers shouldn’t be for pretend dreams; catching things that you fear are out of your reach. Dream-Catchers should catch your real dreams; power, confidence, strength, courage. Then, as the legend of the Dream-Catcher goes, the bad falls through; fear, guilt, intimidation, doubt.

If you catch the voice of God, the devil falls through. Listen!