Some days feel pointless. I wake up and I wonder what I am doing. I get this hopeless sense that life is meaningless. When I am in this place, I feel like it is going to stay that way. I feel stuck. It feels like there is nobody or no thing that will ever be able to pull me out of it.
Dream: I am sitting alone in a broken down old car. There is a hole in the floor of the car where my bare feet are sticking through to the sand underneath.
The dream reflects the truth of that part of me that sometimes feels hopeless and stuck. But there is hope because I also know what it feels like to be in a place that is the opposite of stuck. A place where I can feel a sense of movement or fluidity.
A week after my father died, I was swimming in the ocean. The water was warm and felt like silk on my skin. I stayed in the water for a long, long time. My feelings moved through me as the water flowed around me. I felt sadness melt into wonder as pelicans swooped down low and then delightful surprise as a dolphin swam within an arms length of me.
It is curious to me that a person can live in such different states of being. Being stuck vs. being in a state of fluidity. Dreams like this one can help us see when we are stuck. Dreams can also help us move towards a more fluid way of being.
I experienced this sense of fluidity during my string (dream re-enactment) at a recent retreat. Strings between my dreams connected feelings of fear, pain and joy. With the connection, I was able to move between these feelings seamlessly. There was a feeling of fluidity similar to what I felt in the ocean that day. When I feel that, it feels easy, normal – like that is exactly how it is supposed to feel. The energy flows easily and it feels limitless.
But still, I often feel stuck. The word stagnant comes to mind.
- Not moving or flowing; motionless 2. Foul or stale from standing 3. Showing little or no sign of activity or advancement; not developing or progressing; inactive 4. Lacking vitality or briskness; sluggish or dull
Yes, that’s it! Stagnant. That is what I often feel and have felt off and on for years. All of the above. Stagnant is a familiar place for me. I remember times as a young girl, sitting on my bed staring out the window. I felt a tug inside me because I knew I wanted to do more; be more. But so often I’d sit paralyzed, not knowing what else to do – just as I did in the dream with the broken down old car.
Somewhere along the line I lost the divine connection to my soul self. Dreamwork has opened me up to a taste of what it feels like to have this free flowing energy and fluidity. I believe that this fluidity is my true default, not stagnation. Stagnation has been a persistent pathology of mine. I’ve had it for many years and apparently it is not going to give up easily. But there is a deep longing within my soul that won’t give up either. It’s that same tug I had inside of me as a young girl. The force of that tug won’t let up. It comes from a flowing place full of energy where stagnation cannot exist. Stagnant water cannot exist when flowing water moves through it just as darkness can no longer exist when a light is turned on.
Metaphor can bring us to a deeper place of understanding through the imagination. The metaphor of stagnant and flowing water helps me to imagine what might be true about myself. When I am in a stuck place, I am in the stagnant water on the surface. It’s a stale place, lacking vitality. But I can sense that just underneath the surface, the water is flowing with amazing energy. One way for me to start to access the moving water underneath is to drop into my feelings. Dreams are an invitation to feel. Dream homework is our chance to bring the feelings into waking life. When I imagine the dream scene from my homework, I drop into the feeling in my heart to sense it. This is like dipping down below the stagnant water and feeling what is there. It may be a feeling that I am resisting – like pain or sadness. But with the feeling, there is movement. This is fluidity.