Dream: I’m outside on a tour in New York City. The tour guide is talking about remembering the firefighters. I am sitting next to a girl (we are in our 20s or so) and we both burst into tears. We turn our heads toward each other, touching them and cry and cry at the memory of 9-11 and the firefighters who lost their lives. The crying comes unexpectedly but it feels good. I can feel the wet tears coming from my eyes and I realize I am crying real tears. I feel a strong connection to the girl sitting next to me as we hold our heads together and weep.
Do you remember what you were doing when you learned about the horror of 9-11? I do. I was making phone calls, trying to find neighbors to help with our annual block party. I’d heard about the planes crashing into the World Trade Center and had turned on the TV to view those early images as the story unfolded. It is hard to admit this …. but I was more concerned with the block party task than I was about the horrific events that were transpiring. I called my neighbor Jackie to see if she would be in charge of the kids’ games. I’ll never forget that conversation. Clearly shaken by the events in New York City, she was barely able to speak. I am sure that she must have been confused by my phone call. Was I really in the midst of planning the block party at that moment? As I hung up the phone I knew there was something odd about my reaction, or rather my non-reaction to the events that morning. That day I realized that there was something missing in me. Where was my ability to feel?
9-11 changed us as a country. It also changed me personally. It was subtle at first – like knowing there was something “off” about my reaction that morning. As the television coverage continued to sear those terrible images into all of our brains, something began stirring in me. I became extremely restless inside. As the reality of the horror of the events of 9-11 started sinking in, the reality that I was missing a connection to something deeper also sunk in. In my restlessness, over the next few years, I turned to books, spirituality groups, lectures – anything that might lead me to some kind of connection or understanding. I wrote furiously in my personal journal, asking questions, wanting answers. Years went by as I lived with this background of restless unease. One night, a devastating dream woke me out of a deep sleep. The feeling was so incredibly strong that I could not shake it. I can feel it again now as I write. Although the feeling was deep devastation, it felt good in a way. It felt good to feel. It dawned on me at that time that my dreams were desperately trying to get through to me. Finally I was ready to listen and so I began the dreamwork. Here I am, two years later and the dreams are still finding ways to get me to feel. As the young woman in this dream, I can finally feel the devastation of the events of 9-11. I can feel it more in the dream than I did when it happened. I “practice” feeling in this dream noticing that I am crying “real” tears. The dream shows me the capacity I have for a deeper level of feeling that I can experience in my waking life.
At the top level, this dream is showing me a new, more feeling way to experience the events of 9-11 but the dream has an “underneath” layer as well. Ultimately, this dream is about the deep sadness of my feeling of loss from Him, the Animus, who often comes in dreams as a firefighter. I need to feel the loss and the longing of Him before I can feel His love. God’s love. As I discussed in Completing the Circuit, my longing for God is something I know but often shy away from mentioning. What is my hesitation? Part of me is judgmental of others that seem to be “too” religious. Those that talk about God “too much” can rub me the wrong way. And so perhaps that is why I hold back, fearing that I might be judged that way as well. It’s like I have an argument inside myself. One side says – go ahead and mention God, it is the truth of what you are feeling. The other side says – don’t talk about God. Bringing God into the dreamwork discussion seems like too much. What will people think? Really? God coming to us in our dreams?
But to be honest, I am tired of worrying about what others will think. I am tired of avoiding mentioning my feelings about God in my dreamwork experiences. It takes more energy to find ways to not include it than to just write the truth of w