This past October, six months after the passing of my mother, I had a dream that I was trying to get to my grandmother’s house in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Many of the members of my once-monthly dream circle have read Robert Moss’s Dreaming the Soul Back Home. During recent months, it has been a resource for our gatherings. Perhaps it was the sharing of their experiences of soul recovery that prompted this dream from which I created a journey for my own soul recovery.
I am packing and repacking three different bags because I am about to travel by plane to my grandmother’s house. In my dream she is still alive. I am very anxious to get there and am worried about catching my flight on time.
Later in the dream, I open the trunk of the car and discover my luggage is not there. I backtrack and discover where I had left it, in a vacation condo in Key West. When I reach for my baggage, I see another version of myself sweeping up a fluffy cloud of dust from a bare floor. I realize at this point that I have just enough time to still make my flight at the gate, if I leave all but one bag behind. “I’m going to the airport now!” I exclaim to my other self.
I woke up feeling the tug of my heart calling me to a major action plan.*
I decided to make a trip to my grandmother’s house where she had lived since 1916, my birthplace at the end of World War II. Throughout my childhood and into my adult years I had made yearly visits to her house, lapping up her aura of unconditional love like a grateful kitten. I even drove my son from Indianapolis to Wisconsin yearly until he was aged 11, loading our dog and cat into my orange VW Bus.
While making arrangements for the visit, I discovered a bed and breakfast inn named “Dreams of Yesteryear,” located two blocks from my grandmother’s house. Once I booked a room, I had to decide if I was going to drive or fly. Since in my dream I was trying to get to the airport on time, I booked a flight. Wanting to stay true to the dream, I carried only one bag onboard. So my journey began. My goal, to recover the fuel that fires the woman’s soul and to “free a voice magnificently lost.” (John O’Donohue)
I had not been back to Stevens Point since 1983, the year of my grandmother’s transition. So the days I spent there were filled with synchronicities and magical encounters, including the sign over the old theater on Main Street that announced, “The Fox is Dreaming. Hopeful New Life Opens Doors. A Dream Worth Living.” What better sign for my soul quest?
During my visit I discovered there was no chart for navigating the fluid space between the world of a woman and the world of her childhood. I experienced an “active dream” journey one evening while eating in a Mediterranean restaurant that used to be a favorite drugstore in my childhood.
In one moment the nine- year-old-girl in the woman glimpses the drug store where she balanced atop a stool sipping a chocolate soda, counting her money, hoping for just enough to purchase a stuffed animal. Then, in a blink of an eye, she rests within the woman who sits firmly on a chair drinking wine and eating a Greek salad. The past lies on the edge of the woman’s vision, both worlds equally real.
In this moment of dreaming in the drugstore turned restaurant, the woman reclaimed the girl.
For decades I’ve remembered playing in my grandmother’s magical house, and in my great-grandmother’s spacious attic turned sleeping loft. These experiences became the basis of a fanciful story I’ve been writing for the past several years, a tale created from dreams and memories of loving relationships I shared with my grandmothers. Dreams of Yesteryear Bed and Breakfast provided the setting I needed to revision the attic where I played as a child. I learned that the house is an authentically restored Queen Anne Victorian home that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed by architect J. H. Jeffers, who also designed the Wisconsin Exhibit for the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis. Bonnie Mayer, owner and renovator of the Inn, became a resource for visualizing the “mythic” history of the era in which my grandmother lived and a possible editor for my work. I returned home with renewed energy, a treasure box of photos, creative inspiration for finishing my tale, and soul-fired with the presence of the girl who had played too long in her grandmother’s house. AND I have just enough time to fly.
* What is an action plan? Here’s an excerpt from Robert Moss’ website (scroll down to step 4) that explains it. “Dreams require action! If we do not do something with our dreams in waking life, we miss out on the magic. The real art of magic consists of bringing something through from a deeper reality into our physical lives, which is why Active Dreaming is a way of natural magic – but only if we take the necessary action to bring the magic through. (click to return to body of text)