A few weeks ago during my break, I took a walk in the woods behind the school I teach at. I was feeling a bit disconnected and despondent. Questions filled my heart and mind: What is my purpose? What are my real hopes and dreams? Will I ever receive my heart’s desire? What really is my heart’s desire? Heavy stuff to contemplate on a cold, dreary Thursday afternoon.
I bent down near the stream to listen to the trickling water. Tears welled up in my eyes. Out of nowhere, I heard what sounded like thunder and rain moving my way. I looked up to the sky and above I saw a gaggle of geese flying low. It was their wings and the wind making that noise. As they flew towards and over me, I could hear the wind shift and their wings adjust. The geese were silent, but the rushing air and the flapping wings filled up the sky and jarred me out of self-pity. My heart swelled and wildness rushed through me and took my breath away. Before I could name what happened to me, a passing cloud, in the shape of a heart rolled over my head.
A few days later, as I sat in meditation in the early morning before the sun was awake, I heard a voice deep inside of me echo: “Let your dreams die.” My hips and low back had been aching for about a week and I was suppressing all those questions that had been gnawing at me that day in the woods. I told the voice to get silent so I could meditate and find peace and comfort. But still I kept hearing it tell me to “Let your dreams die.”
I then visualized my vision board that I kept in my closet. Written in precise words and on small, colorful notecards were all the things I have been wanting to manifest in my life such as career and writing options and nice things for my house. I had even gone so far with my vision board to write down, in detail, the type of man I wanted for my romantic partner. To add to this dream of the “perfect mate,” I had taken friends’ advice and cleaned out my closet and arranged my house and garage so he could one day “move in” because I had prepared room for him. As I have spent the past few years watching friends either date, get married, and have children, I kept telling myself that one day, if I worked hard enough at manifesting and creating specific ideals on my vision board, this all too would happen for me. True Love would come to me if I just paved the way for it.
Returning back to my meditation, my hips ached more and my jaw clenched as I kept hearing the phrase “Let your dreams die.” Finally, I got brave and asked my body, “What is it you are trying to tell me? I will listen. I am tired of this sadness, grief, and pain. What do you really want me to do?” Again, the voice repeated, “Let your dreams die.” I opened up to the words and felt a melting in my hips and a release in my back. I knew that was the truth. I peeked into the cave of my heart and saw that these dreams were constricting me. I may never have a life that looks like what my friends and family and other women around me have. I may never fit in and conform to what I think is a woman’s role: to get married and be a mother. Not that there is anything wrong with that. There’s not. It’s a very beautiful way to live. I totally admire it so much to the point that I long for it. But, it hasn’t happened for me, and in that moment of my meditation I realized that it may never happen for me. I had to let my dreams die to find out what else is inside of me and being attracted to me. Grief poured over me. Some way, some how, I would have to admit that maybe, just maybe, I will never have the love and support of a strong man or the tenderness and beauty of a small child to hold in my arms.
I folded over in supplication. I begged God to help me understand this grief. I also felt a sense of relief wash over me. A sense of wildness and freedom burst through my heart similar to that moment the geese flew over me a few days before. Love welled up inside of me and then it passed. I came out of meditation bewildered and in awe.
Later that afternoon, I met a good friend, Robyn, for coffee. I shared with her my story and she smiled. She has been telling me for awhile now how creative, romantic, and spiritual I really am and she said that she senses I’ve only shown about 20% of that to others. I agreed whole-heartedly with her on that. I’ve been holding a lot of what is inside of me back in fear that I would look like a hippie, fruitcake to others and be rejected. Going against the grain is something I have always been called towards, but for whatever reasons (too many to list here), I alone have held myself back. I’ve made society’s dreams for me my dreams and have had comparative financial and social success in my life because of that. I think part of my grief is that I’m realizing the life I’ve built is beautiful and comfortable, but it’s not enough. It’s containing and restraining me.
Robyn put a different spin on my “Let your dreams die” experience. She told me to release my beautiful weirdness into the world. To turn on the light in my heart bright enough for everyone to see. She said, “Burn that damn list. Burn it. Take back your closet. Your garage. Your house. Fill up your life with you. You’re enough.” She suggested that maybe the dreams I’ve written for myself are too small as well. She counseled that once I let my “freak flag fly” and become vulnerable, love, in all its many forms, will find me. Not the other way around.
The next morning, after meditation, my intuition told me to “Let it burn.” Without questioning my actions, I built a fire in my fireplace, and placed a few leaves of sage in there as well. I placed my vision board in front of the fire screen. I played Dave Stringer’s kirtan song of “Shiva Namah Om.” As the rhythmic, tribal chant began, I started to dance like lord Shiva (the destroyer) himself. I moved sensually, rhythmically, and twirled and shook. I let out my grief, anger, and confusion and transformed into a Gypsy woman filled with sensuality and passion. I danced to the fire’s embers. My hips undulated with the drums. My arms snaked with the percussive shakers and flutes. My feet began to stamp out all of the things in my life that weren’t serving me. Without thinking I got down to my knees and began to metaphorically pull on the fire’s power of destruction and purification. My body told the fire: Burn me like the phoenix. Burn my dreams and take my pain away. Burn everything that is not serving me. Let it all burn.
As the song faded away, I began to weep. Calm and exhausted, I felt a great sense of openness in my heart and release in my body. I moved the fire screen away, and slowly began to take off each notecard on the vision board and toss it into the fire, watching my dreams burn. When I got to my detailed list of my true love, I cried. This was the moment. The crossing of the threshold. Once I let it burn, I would be admitting to the Universe that I realized no longer did I have imaginary control over who or what is to come my way.
The paper curled and changed to an ash gray in the fire. It was over. I was free.
The rest of the day I cleaned out my closet, took up my space, took back my house. I found a treasure I had bought a long time ago when I lived in Mexico for a summer. It is a hand-crafted terra cotta clay sun painted with bright colors. At the top of the sun’s forehead, is the sun and moon in an embrace. I smiled, knowing that my sun, my radiant heart, my desires, and my emotions all were in balance.
This story is my beautiful weirdness. My heart light is on. I am open. I am shining as brightly as I know how. I am enough.