Up earlier than usual. I need all the hours I can get to brace myself for this afternoon's (dayjob) meeting. The delicate breakthrough that my creative journey has accomplished in the past few weeks hangs in the balance.
Last night I had a long vivid dream of being back in college. An old teacher was there, constantly present, speaking in her gentle encouraging voice.
For the first time I was given the curriculum and subject topics ahead, and I had time to prepare, and it turned out the topics were close to my heart (such as, how to create happiness in your daily life, and something about creativity and philosophy) . Usually I have the kind of dream where everyone else knows what's happening and I didn't know anything - sudden exams, sudden field trips, late homeworks, sudden graded recitations. But this time I was the one who knows, and I was in a roomful of young students who were over-confident and believed in their own entitlement. I was in my young self, but I had my grown-up mind.
For the first time I was able to speak up in my dream, though I could no longer remember the exact words I said. But instead of the usual silent seething of indignation I was able to literally stand up and speak my mind, and somewhere along the way I heard my voice rising, and I was nearly shouting all the truths and hard lesson I have learned in the past six years and I was trying to make those young people realise that the world is much bigger and much deeper than what they see. Of course they scoffed at me, called me weird and odd and other excluding names. I was not one of them. But I did not mind.
My old teacher's voice was in my head and I could hear her even though at some point she had left the room. I felt good about being able to speak up, finally, of being able to be honest about what I believe and how I see the world and how I want to live my life. I am not sure if in the end it made a difference in that classroom, but it surely made a difference to me. I did not feel helpless, which was what I often felt in such dreams. I did not feel powerless. I was alright. I knew I could finish my studies without the usual burdens of a young student -- without the worries about popularity and acceptance, without the pressure to be part of a group or to do things with others, without the shame of being too different. I felt a certain kind of peace in that dream, and I could not wait to get into my studies.
I woke up sometime after, and when I did that was when I realised -- the old teacher who had patiently guided and encouraged me was long gone. She had died years ago, but not before she had sent me a letter in response to my query when I was in my late-twenties -- she had encouraged me to write, and told me I had what it takes to be a writer. I kept that letter, and had used it as a talisman of sort as I deepened my pursuit of a creative life, not just writing but also making art with painting.
In the dream she was so alive, so present. Her smiles radiated warmth. She was there.
Whatever were the gifts and messages of that dream, I carry them with me later, as I walk to the crossroads and decide the path of my future for the remainder of the year, at the very least. Yes, the creative journey hangs in the balance. I risk many deep and soulful things should I decide to take one way over the other. But if I do end up taking that hazardous path, then I must learn to keep the war of art raging, every day a battle that is a matter of life and death. Because a life IS at stake.
I keep in mind this bit that I shared with the tribe last night.