Leaning, Dancing, Stumbling
Leaning, dancing, stumbling… these images have brought healing and help I could not imagine on my own. The fresh unexpectedness of dream images, and a dream practice that brings these to life, are experiences I cherish.
When I began dreamwork, in dream after dream I sat apart observing, while others moved and spoke with vulnerability and passion. A critical voice was full of judgment, often towards myself. As dream images opened my heart to feelings, my dreams began to shift.
I dreamt of running outside with a loved one towards a circle of boys dancing a strange dance, leaning side-to-side, awkward and exuberant. Something new happens:
I run into the circle, feel loose and alive. Now we are dancing side to side and many more boys of all ages show up dancing all around us. I start to hum a song that goes with the dance, dooo dooo doo in a melody. I feel the boys responding and we are all dancing together.
Here was capacity I’d forgotten – a moment away from old stories that kept me imprisoned and apart. Even as I turned to other dreams, this experience stayed with me. My body and heart remembered it.
Later I dreamt of being with a man who has given me a coat, and it feels good on my skin. He is here, and a woman with me:
I take the coat off and show her my clothes underneath. I say, “the colors don’t go together.” The colors are jarring and I feel excited it’s ok. His coat is what helped me. Now I walk outside and my shoes are very thin so I feel the ground. I start to walk but I’m unsteady, leaning to one side and the other, like a dance. I feel so happy.
I can still feel how new this was, feeling unsteady, nearly falling, the sensory flow into an awkward wild leaning. I could feel the two dreams speaking to one another.
Vulnerability, not knowing, giving up control — this was the place I’d worked hard to avoid, and now I felt it as dancing. In the dream I feel how this free way of being connects to the presence of the man, my inner teacher, to feeling his coat on my skin and taking it off.
This next dream moment I hold to my heart, and it helps me often. I’m a student in a writing class outdoors, feeling a longing to learn:
My teacher is here, a young man, and I love hearing him talk. He looks open, relaxed, happy. I’m feeling nervous with no writing but I’ll just say the truth, and it will be ok. I get up, then try to find my seat, turn and feel unsteady, stumbling, nearly falling. The teacher stands close smiling and chuckling, gazing. I feel happy, sit down.
Here I feel the stumbling not as a dance, but as pure rawness, real and painful. My sacred encounter with this teacher and his gaze of compassion are the heart of the dream, the well of feeling, where everything was moving all along. As I lose my balance I feel his gaze, an actual space I can move in.
In Natural Dreamwork we stay open to the “arc” of your dreams, the way your images and feelings connect and deepen over space and time. This arc of images moves me closer to raw vulnerability, not knowing, supports me to stay longer. This was unexpected. My reaction when feeling scared or uncomfortable was to leave, hide, hear the voice of right and wrong, and get stuck here. This had become a way of life.
Dream images came to disrupt this pattern. I still return to my old habits, but now I have a practice I can feel in my body. Just to affirm “I’m leaning,” and feel this, can take me back to the man’s gaze.
What an alive feeling this is, instead of brooding on “what did I do wrong,” to feel… I leaned way over just now… feel his gaze of delight… I’m scared and raw and uncertain… feel his gaze of love as I stumble and recover. Leaning low, stumbling bring me closer to the ground. This is the path of soul, not perfection or self-improvement. It includes our brokenness, and helps us open our hearts to the vulnerability in others.
While writing this I dreamt of a baby girl moving headlong down wooden steps, tumbling, landing, crawling, tumbling again. I feel scared, but feel her desire and need to keep trying, her happiness as she bumps down. The baby, our soul, knows she’s loved. We forget, but dream after dream comes to remind us.
If you’d like to explore your own unique dream images and learn more about Natural Dreamwork, a free introductory session will allow you to experience our simple and gentle approach for yourself. Please email me at email@example.com, and visit dreamwellspring.com to learn more about my work with dreams as well as how to submit a dream.
In the New Orleans area, please join me for a free Introduction to Natural Dreamwork on February 5, 2019, 7-8 p.m. at the Jefferson Parish Library, East Bank Regional (Napoleon Room), 4747 West Napoleon Avenue, Metairie, LA 70001. This will include a presentation, with time for questions. I’d love to see you there.
Marian Enochs Gay is a Natural Dreamwork practitioner offering a contemplative approach to dreams for healing, growth, and wholeness. She offers individual sessions in person in the New Orleans area, and anywhere through phone or Skype.
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Love your dance images and gentle openness. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
Thank you so much Betty… I feel touched to hear from you