Letting Go: A Dream

Much like any dream, I didn’t remember it until something clicked the next day. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what it was that clicked, but I do remember where I was when I woke up.

It was my first morning in the Oakland hills, and I was staying in the guest room until the homeowners departed for their trip. The day before I had arrived from Arvin, CA, and I suppose even the drive and my arrival are worth noting.

I woke up on a Sunday morning in Arvin; a small farm labor community right outside of Bakersfield. I had a peaceful night sleep, but the morning was a bit frantic. After a cold shower (long story), and spending most of the morning looking for a decent cup of coffee, I hit the road.

As I drove I began wondering what my time in Oakland would be like. I’d be spending 2 days with the homeowners before they departed, and I couldn’t help but wonder about them too. We’d exchanged some great emails up to this point, so I imagined them as fun, kind, and just good.

My mind also wondered about little things. I thought about the book club I’m a part of, and reminded myself I’d need to buy the next book because I was number 295 on the waitlist for it at the library. Then a curious thought entered my mind, “I bet you they’ll have it at the cottage.” I chuckled then released the thought.

After 4 hours I made it to the beautiful Oakland Hills. I was rewarded with an amazing neighborhood I was sure I had dreamt about many times over the years, as well as a cozy looking cottage to stay in. Here I have some pictures for you:

Steps to a cottage
Backyard steps leading up to the cottage.
Wooden bench
A bench at the back of the cottage.
Back yard
A view from the cottage to the back yard.
SF Bay
A neighboring house with the Bay in the distance.
Dog sleeping on her back
Fay takes a nap in the Sun.

I walked into the house and met one of the homeowners. After saying our hellos I looked on the desk and sure enough, there was the book for the book club! I gasped, then explained my excitement.

The homeowner explained that the book was a gift given only a few days ago. She didn’t think they were taking it on the trip with them, so I was free to read it while they were away.

Thank you, Universe!

When the other homeowner arrived we quickly picked up from our email exchanges. I learned she was a poet who taught writing at the local university for many years. I marveled at both of their stories and at their life together. I felt so completely at home; meant to be there. I also felt really grateful.

Going to sleep that first night I didn’t expect such an impactful dream. Though to be truthful my dreams have been much more vivid and telling over the past months.

In the dream a dear friend from my youth and I were talking like the old days. Though, I had the sense that I was the age I am currently. At one point, he picked me up and started throwing my up in the air in a playful way. I was terrified. My heart races remembering it now.

“Put me down. I’m scared!!” I shrieked.

My friend continued to laugh as I wrapped my arms around his neck trying to regain control. “Of what??” he shouted through kind laughter.

“To let go!!” I blurted out.

He laughed again, taking all the seriousness out my distress. “Don’t be afraid of THAT!”

I closed my eyes.

I woke up and promptly forgot the dream until later that day when something triggered its memory. I let reprieve fill me.

My past was giving me permission to let it go. No, I was giving myself the permission.

Now the only question is, will I?

A Spell in NYC

About a week into the New Year I made my way to New York for a spell. I’m lucky enough to have dear friends, no, to have dear family members, who live in nearby New Jersey, and whom are generous enough to provide me with a place to live. When I arrived here I didn’t have a return ticket, though I knew I wouldn’t stay for too long. I love New York, sometimes more than I give it credit for, but it is no longer home.

That said, when I arrived at LaGuardia airport I felt at home. I even feel at home, sometimes, as I walk the streets and spend time with friends. It’s quite the sensation to be visiting such a big, confusing place and yet feel I know exactly where I’m going at all times. Talk about a metaphor… but I digress.

What was I saying again? Oh that’s right. I feel at home here, and yet I know I’m not. The person I was when I lived here still exists, but being that person doesn’t make me feel at home. I’ve noticed that person at times, and I’ve accepted and sat with her. But what I’ve also noticed is a different person. She is the woman who walks through the melee with immense calm and observation. She is the person who is far more selective about the way she spends her time and with whom that time is spent.

One of my few trips into Manhattan involved a lecture I had read about online. I went alone and I met no one there. I simply sat, listened, enjoyed, then gave myself permission to leave when the Q & A went a direction I was no longer interested in.

Another trip into the city was to go to a play I’d heard about on the news. Another dear family member came into town from Connecticut, and we set out from New Jersey to take in the culture:

Theater
The Booth Theater… waiting for American Son to start.
Man and woman in theater
Clewi and I take in some NYC culture!

Instead of packing my calendar with events as I used to do when in New York, I’ve been setting more healthy boundaries. I’ve been cooking for myself and my friends, a lot, and enjoying it immensely.

Thai Noodles with Beef
My version of Beef Pad See Ew. Delicious!

I’ve also been reading and thinking a lot in an attempt to maintain balance:

Cover of the Tao Ching
More reading material.

Finally I’ve been exploring, although in smaller ways than driving cross country. For example, yesterday I wandered into a shop to view this beauty:

notebook
This notebook caught my eye.

My intentions, and the actions that are based off of them, are much more clear, at times. Still, there are times when the other woman appears and I have to sit with her again; give her the stage for awhile and see what part she plays and why.

All this to say a lot of internal work has been happening with the external here in good ole NYC. It’s been good, yet challenging. To tell friends I can’t meet up with them is a hard one for me, but then to realize our friendships have changed is even harder.

It’s kind of like my relationship with my old home which is no longer my home, but which I still love dearly. Maybe when relationships like these change all is not lost, just shifted? Maybe I can love, then leave but still love a place or a person? Maybe one can leave a home, and still see it as a home despite no longer living there?

Maybe the home, person, place will always be a part of us, or maybe, they never were in the first place? Hmmmm.