I have delayed posting this as I tracked down the “perfect” image to illustrate it. I’m not finding it, which may be a clue that I need to create it, or that finding that image is not the point.
Last week, I had a dream. Actually, I usually dream, but every once in a while the dream image is very clear, clear enough to remember, clear enough to stick with me. This is one such dream.
I am walking through a marketplace that looks much like a medieval fair, but dirtier. People all around me are sick and dying. I am slowly walking and watching them. My heart goes out to them as they shuffle in the shadows of alleys and doorways. Occasionally, one will cross my path and make me stop in my tracks. There is a moment of awkwardness before the other shuffles off, and I continue.
At the center of the marketplace, I find my teacher elder, a wizened old woman with a round face and eyes. She is tiny, wrapped in cloth to stay warm by a small fire. She may be old, but she is not one of the sick. She is timeless. I sit across from her, and we talk.
A man about my age comes and sits around the fire between us. He is wearing a roughly woven, brown robe, much like a monk’s. He has dark brown, curling hair and a kind, yet compelling eyes. I feel a flash of connection when our eyes meet. We don’t speak much to each other, but both listen to the elder. A spark from the fire flies out and lands on his sleeve. A small fire spreads over his arm and hand, but doesn’t seem to burn him. He reaches over and taps out or covers the fire with his other hand. He gives me an embarrassed look, as if I have seen something that he usually tries to hide. He is surprised that I have seen it.
Unhurriedly, he rises to leave and walks away. I follow him. I know in that moment that I will always follow him, no matter at what cost–to my life or my reputation. And I know that it will be OK.
Early in December I made the intent to begin a conscious relationship with my animus. I believe this dream is saying that I am on the right track, but that I will have to take risks. My life is pretty “safe” right now, but sometimes I feel that I am on a knife’s edge, that I want to play with fire.
Yet, I am afraid. Afraid of losing control of my mind. Afraid of losing the respect of others, of losing my good name. Afraid that my work (especially my artwork) will make people seriously question my sanity or good spirit. So, I am usually “good” or “pleasing” and sometimes “inspiring,” or so I’ve been told.
But I think that may be changing, which I’ll talk about in my next post.