“There are no great acts, only small acts performed with great love.” Mother Teresa
The following blog offers a glimpse of powerful experiences from two recent Active Dreaming workshops I attended at Mosswood Hollow. The titles of the workshops were “Soul Recovery Training,” and “Dreaming with Jung.”
I step away from the noisy carnival and approach the brightly lit carousel. I am greeted by the gate keeper, a tiny dwarf with a long white beard. He’s an image straight out of Snow White’s fairy tale. I hand him my ticket.
He asks, “What is it that turns you toward Love?”
I answer without thinking, “Compassion.”
Then he says, “It is a pivotal time in your ride of life. Dream wisely and keep your eye on the brass ring. There may be a few surprises.”
I climb onto the great white horse imagining myself a princess. I survey the animal mounts I did not choose. There’s a lion, elephant, tiger, giraffe, deer, and bear. I notice “people” on the carousel, a Plains Indian, Minoan goddess, highland Scot, medieval monk, queen’s servant, WWII European woman, Celtic warrior, and a luminous being of unknown origin. I gaze out at the surrounding carnival grounds. In place of the Ferris wheel and other amusement rides, food stalls and games of chance that moments before dotted the lively landscape, now turn endless carousels in every direction as far as my eyes can see. Some are stacked on top of one another, some at odd angles and others upside down. Their circles of light become a galaxy of sparkling stars, and combined music a symphony of harmony and balance.
“My dear, did you see the woman sitting on the bench?” the gate keeper asks me. His eyes glow with intensity. “What do you suppose she wants you to really experience?”
I look behind the lion and see my grandmother sitting ever so properly on that bench. The music starts with the words of a familiar song, “Put a little love in your heart….and the world will be a better place.” The carousel begins to move, and my great white horse slides up and down easily on its silver pole.
Suddenly I am thrown back into a time of my earliest childhood. I join my younger self in her crib. Hawk enters my “house” so that I can see beyond the limits of my own perception.
I hear my father say, “I think she has an ear ache.”
My child self wants to be picked up, to be soothed and helped.
As my mother and father stand over my crib, I say to my younger self, “Your father is afraid of doing the wrong thing. He doesn’t know how to be a father. But he loves you very much.”
I explain to my younger self that her father would never abandon her or betray her or her mother. And that he will provide a loving legacy for her future and for her own descendants. Through his persistence and loyalty he will stay with his family and will become her provider and most ardent supporter.
My child self is gifted another vision. My parents pick her up and stand together as they wrap their arms around both of us. And later inside the crib my child self finds a Sock Monkey before drifting to sleep. Her ear ache is much better.
After my dream journey I remembered that I spent much of my life as a young girl admiring “fairy tale” heroes…Superman, Zorro, the Lone Ranger, and a prince on a white horse. Now I realized that the real hero in my life was my father. And my hero didn’t need a cape, a whip, a gun, a schooner, a spaceship or great white horse. And he didn’t have to battle bad guys or whip up a frenzy for adventure. Simply said, he was a hero because he made love a choice in his life.
I knew from family stories that my father’s quest was about more than good intentions. It was about recovering a father’s soul and healing the wounds of his own childhood. My father’s mother was abandoned during the Great Depression when my father about 14 years old. My father worked to support his mother and two younger siblings during these tough times. He served our family with the same loyalty, sacrifice and determination as the world recovered from World War II. He persisted throughout his life with continued persistence and foresight to ensure his family’s well-being, even in the last words of advice I heard from him. “Be sure to take care of your son.” Through his actions, he changed the course of his ancestral patterns.
As I ponder the endless carousels in my dream, I am reminded again, that though we can access and borrow from the lessons of other lifetimes, this life is the one that counts while we are living it, and it deserves our focused attention. Especially if we are to create a better dream that might be shared on any other of life’s carousels.
This story doesn’t end yet. After the five day Soul Recovery Training ended, the remaining participants were joined by new ones and we embarked upon “Dreaming with Jung.” Powerful work by Robert Moss touched us all. Yet my own thoughts turned dark, thinking about the current world situation, political events within our country, and some personal concerns. So early on the last morning, I woke up from a disturbing nightmare with great anxiety, my heart beating out of my chest. I knew I had little time to transmute the effects of the fearful dream. Before reentering it in order to try changing it, I turned on my phone hunting for a journey meditation that would help soothe my feelings and return me to a place of grace. What I discovered stunned me.
A secret FB group page for a small community of shamanic practitioners where I live had been reactivated. And on that page was a dream I had posted in 2014 about a gift from my father. Here is that dream:
Title: “Unexpected Spiritual Guide”
Dream: I am getting ready for the first session of a workshop I am attending. I know I am going to be late because I can’t find the right shoes to wear. Suddenly, my father shows up, looking decades younger than he did when I last saw him before he died. He hands me a green pair of teen-style sneakers decorated with flowers and peace symbols. “Here,” He says. “These are perfect. They are YOU.” I gaze into his eyes and see myself reflected in his love.
My week had already been flooded with magic, too many synchronous occurrences to record, but this discovery felt like more than a simple coincidence. It was as if the proverbial parting of the veil between the world of the living and that of the deceased had allowed the message to be delivered into my space and time. Those shoes represented my father’s understanding of who I am as a person, my soulful nature. It was an immediate miracle of healing for the dark fears that showed up in a nightmare which caused this princess to doubt the truth of herself.
As I dressed for breakfast and the morning sharing of dreams I picked up one of the pink heart shaped stones I had brought with me. Glancing at the engraving, I noticed the word “Courage.” I thought about what courage really means for everyday heroes who go through life unrecognized. They are the quiet ones who, day in and day out, serve their soul’s calling in seemingly small ways. In the end, they create a more empowered life for their loved ones and for their communities. Dreaming courageously is the everyday work of these heroes. For it is through their intentions and mindful actions that the deep work of family healing is accomplished in an ordinary world.
As I return to the Gate Keeper’s original question, “What is it that turns you toward love?” and my answer “Compassion,” I understand my father made a hero’s journey because he already heard the question and understood the answer. My bumper sticker for the week, “Seeing through the eyes of love changes everything…and it begins with the compassion of the father.”
PS — Upon returning home, the first message I saw from my son, “Having dinner with my beloved family.”
Special Note— In gratitude to Robert Moss for his tireless teaching and gentle support of the participants from around the globe who attended these life changing workshops.