(luminarias from a New Mexico magazine, unknown source)
Until a week ago, I was seeing myself take off in a dream. Going back to school full-time to prepare for a career where my heart feels called. I saw myself collaborating in ecology lab groups, learning basic science I missed in my youth, Friday field trips, camping with a group to collect environmental samples.
I was going to smash the cycle of my work’s social isolation and physical deep freeze.
I had a complex 4-hour daily commute figured out to cost $250/month instead of $400 for an alternate route. I was prepared to return to reliance on my community food bank to get through a month. To accommodate bills above and beyond maximum financial aid, I was prepared to work up to 20 hours every single weekend for the next 2 years toward my dream.
And then I woke from the dream and came face to face with where my energies are needed in this moment and what moments I would miss if I took this path at this time. My teen has some incredible opportunities heading her way that involve travel, both local and world, friendships, music, learning about herself.
Suddenly I realized that, yes, I could find others to help her get to and from activities, she would find her way with less day-to-day support from me, and yes, I could move forward in this way toward my new career. But what would I miss? I’d miss being able to help my kid’s jazz band fund raise over the next few years. I’d miss being present at her concerts, her sports events (if they could be afforded at all), and being available to help with homework. My car would be sitting in a park & ride while she would be taking driver’s ed, making driving practice scarce. Most important, I would miss being present for her to hear about her day in a focused way because I’d be so focused on my own homework and all the busyness on my plate.
It became clear where I am is where I need to be right now, and the opportunity to be present for any young person is as high a calling as any.
A transcription client reminded me there are other ways to serve in environmental conservation, and I am doing some journalism transcription in this field. I can also use my one day off work to volunteer in a new high school program for agriculture and ecosystems. Infinite ways to serve the dream.
DARKEST TIME BEFORE THE LIGHT – TIME TO LET GO
These days of dark December before the light returns with the Solstice are a perfect opportunity to let go of dreams and see what new ones arise. To that end, I held a funeral for another dream, the dream of a loving partnership that was to happen in a certain way. Dreams are wonderful things to have, but if we attach to specific outcomes and visions, we can suffer greatly.
The imagined partner that visited me years ago during my “dark night of the soul,” served a purpose in that moment to keep me around. For all I know, this person visited me from “beyond” or represented a piece of myself instead of a person outside me that I needed to know and provide unconditional love. Whatever the case, it became clear that holding onto a vision even remotely resembling the fairy tales of my childhood as a litmus test for what represents “healthy partnership,” was causing me great suffering.
I asked to release this imagined partner back to where it came from so that I could be at peace in my heart. I wrote an obituary. I had a funeral. I prepared myself for grief and treated myself with the kindness I would following the passing of a real person. Ate more protein, got more sleep, walked regularly, allowed for more time between activities.
There are many other things I need to let go, and this experiment is already bringing me greater ease. I intend to continue.
May you use the darkness to your advantage and face what needs to be let go before the light returns.