From the farthest reaches of a dark passageway, at the end of which I could see the reflection of heat and flame, came a giant turning lathe. It was not menacing. In fact it was benevolent. (I don’t even know for sure what a lathe is, but I knew it to be one). The lathe was a bit larger than me and as it approached, I heard a booming voice ask, “What do you want?”
So many pictures ran through my mind: musician, photographer, writer. I want to live in the country, have a solid coaching career, be an artist. I want romance, love, adventure, health, to be inspired, to make a difference. I had to make a choice and I could not do it.
The lathe paused, though it kept turning in preparation, and the voice inquired again, “What do you want?”
I grew anxious. I was unable to move. I knew that whatever I picked, the lathe would create for me or even of me. Though there was a sense of urgency in making the choice, I was not in need of Superman’s intervention or rescue. The voice and the lathe were not threatening. They were patient and generous. They wanted very much to give me what I want.
I awoke in the midst of my indecision. I experienced this dream in a half-awake, half-asleep 6 am state. I laughed as my now-awake mind quipped “Is there a combo platter?” I often go to humor to release my anxiety.
Now that I am in this bigger house with plenty of room for my various activities, I am still facing the fact that there is not enough time to do everything I want to do; at least, not to the degree to which I want to do them. As I wrote in the prior post, I am in the midst of reviewing my interests and activities (and the stuff that supports those activities that have come out of the boxes).
I’m a Gemini. I have no lack of ideas (three boxes full of little notes with ideas on them) and no lack of interests. Sometimes, I am content with simply being present to now, enjoying what I enjoy and at other times I want to really dive deep and achieve mastery at something, some one thing. I’m probably what Barbara Sher calls a “scanner.”
But the lathe and voice were not interested in combo-platters or scanning.
“Wood turning lathes never make mistakes, only kindling!”
I found that quote when I looked up “lathe” on the web. No wonder I was anxious in the dream. Picking one thing makes kindling of the rest. Aaack!
My dream-interpreting friends will advise me to become the lathe, become the voice and get their perspective. The voice loves me. The voice wants me to have what I want. The lathe loves me. It is ready to create for me whatever I ask. They are the parts of me that feel a deep desire for something. The me that faces them is the confused one. She who is feeling lost.
What I am coming to realize is that, while form matters to some degree, the deep desire, the longing in my heart is more about function. The forms of composing/playing music, photography, writing are all forms of creative expression; intimacy with words, sounds, nature, connecting with self and other. What I notice when I review my personalized combo-platter, is that the underlying function or essence of every option is intimacy.
I sat in meditation with this and discovered how lost I’d gotten along the way. As far back as I can remember (and I have memories from when I was 3), I have looked to others to know what I “should” do in life. I have followed the bread crumbs of acknowledgment, rewards and high marks. Gifted children have many talents. Not all of them speak to their heart’s desire, while too many of them speak to well-meaning parents, teachers and counselors. I had many ways I could make others happy and get their love and approval.
My own way went into hiding, deep in the recesses of my heart. For whatever reason, I felt a need to protect my desires (and me) from shame and humiliation. As a result, I’ve been a lot of things to a lot of people and mostly lost to me. People don’t know me as well as they think because so much of what I love to do, I do in solitude and in the hours that are not taken by the activities deemed as productive, useful and helpful. And, as this dream shows, even I don’t know me as well as I think I do.
The intimacy I crave has been (until now) doomed by the very behavior that was meant to preserve it.
Awakening to being lost isn’t such a bad thing. As these words unfold before me, I recognize it to be a story shared by many.
Being lost is uncomfortable. It is edgy and vulnerable. At my age, it is fodder for the “wasted-your-life” vortex. It’s also an opportunity. I intend to stay lost for as long as it takes. The voice and the lathe will wait. I know it’s about intimacy, yes, and I know it’s about Love (with a capital L).
I have been declaring my willingness to be changed by Love. I am standing still and listening. I am sitting with an open heart. I am playing with the sounds that come out of my throat. I am seeing the world up close and personal through the camera lens. I let words unfold in speech and on the paper and let myself be surprised by them. I am not able to identify myself as this or that.
I am co-creating with Love and I am not declaring the outcome. Is feeling lost uncomfortable? You bet it’s uncomfortable, agonizingly, joyfully, mysteriously, intimately uncomfortable.
Postscript: As I reviewed this prior to posting, I was struck by this: What I love about these activities and about intimacy is actually that same feeling of being lost – the taste of the infinite and timeless. Perhaps lost is where soul is found.
copyright (c) September 2010, Kathy J Loh, All Rights Reserved