I dreamed I was curled up asleep on the ocean floor. When I woke, it was to a dark murky gray green world of sea water. It was utterly silent and uninhabited. I felt an imperative to move — to start swimming upward. I did that for a very long time. It was hard work and bitterly cold. I was running out of oxygen. But, as I doggedly kicked my feet and moved my arms, it grew very slightly warmer and easier to move.
I could see a faint light above me and I strained to reach it, but the swimming seemed to go on forever and I was exhausted and wanted to give up.
However, this time I broke the surface of the water to the light, breaching and splashing like a dolphin. The atmosphere was thin, light and balmy; the sun warm on my skin. I gulped in the oxygen.
I’ve dreamed this dream, and others like it, many times before, but without reaching the light or finishing the foot race or finding what I am looking for (usually my car.)
When I woke up this morning from my swimming effort, the words that first came to mind were, “Oh world, please just let me be myself.”
So simple. Certainly this is in my control?
Yet, I exist between a constrained fearful past and a new vulnerable present – one more full of feeling, heart and authenticity. There is a new person rising up within me I do not know yet, but who is making herself felt and heard — confident that it is safe for her to come into existence now.
It dawns on me that at any age we are at a beginning of something that can be big or small. That we can always be reaching for something in the distance that we can let in, or that we can renounce and give up. Giving up may seem the easier choice as we age. It is hard to keep doing the challenging working — to keep putting ourselves on the line.
What we have as we age, however, is the experience to know we can survive many things and can survive again.
That even the experience of dying can be met bravely as a beginning.
A Facebook friend sent me this inspiring song: “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield (lyrics and music video below.)
I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined
I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned
Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find
Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten