Thursday, 10 September 2009

Letting Go

Recently I had a dream which let me know where I’ve been, thus revealing where I am, and what I need to do to move forward. I don’t know how you feel about dreams and their meanings, but I do know that science (I do love science) has proven that everyone dreams. The problem is most of us don’t remember our dreams, or we don’t remember even having a dream experience during the night, which may be due to several reasons. But those reasons do not comprise the topic of this message.

I’ve been doing this a long time, dreaming that is LOL!!! Yes, I’m still here. Anyhoooo, dreaming on the closed-eye and opened-eye sides, and interpreting dreams. Some are easier than others, while some I’m still waiting for the understanding. Several dreams I’ve had again and again for over 30 years and I’m just now getting the complete understanding of them, which have resulted in life-changes galore. Wow!!! For within the dreams lay answers to many questions I am not always able to answer in real-time day time.

In my most recent dream I was with some high school class mates who were glad to see me after 20+ years, and “as usual” we went to our lockers (for what I don’t know, for we’re adults now) and when I arrived at mine I had been occupying two lockers. (I didn’t know this was even possible, even in the dream world. LOL!) The locks had been “broken” and removed from one and left hanging on the other, and a note left on one instructing me to empty one of its contents, for each student could have only one locker. Inside my locker were all kinds of vegetables that I love, artichokes, broccoli, and other green veggies, and they were still good. None of them, even though they were not in a refrigerator, had spoiled. Yet because I had nowhere to store them I had to throw them away. There were only one or two types of uncooked meat and even they had not spoiled, but I had to throw them away too.

Yet within the large gymnasium-like room was an atmosphere of celebration and I seemed to be the center of it all, so it was difficult for me to be angry that my locker had been opened and exposed to possible theft (which did cross my mind). Many of my friendly classmates surrounded me and helped me discard these things from my locker. (Yes, that is to imply that not all of my classmates were friendly.) Other things happened in the dream which are significant to me, but this part concerns this message of “letting go”.

When I interpret dreams I first write down all the elements in the dream: people, colors, environment – how it feels, looks, what kind of space and lighting, the people, dialogs, clothing if they for some reason become a focus. Emotions and thoughts also are important for they reveal a lot. Daytime or nighttime, clock time if there’s a clock. The races of people, genders, old and young, etc. Then I consult different dreams “experts” through books, and even friends who understand dreams, to put everything together.

The veggies in this dream had to be discarded even though they were still good, as well as the meat (which I did not know what kind it was, btw.) and I recall wondering "why"?, and “couldn’t we put them in a refrigerator somewhere”?. But that was not possible in that setting. So I consulted one of my dreams books and it says that vegetables represent memories. Wow!! Yes. Hmmm, veggies are nutritious too, but sometimes we need to be eating something else? According to the wisest man who ever lived “there’s a time for everything under the sun . . . a time to do this and a time to refrain from doing that” (whatever “this” and “that” may be). (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) But I took something else from this, more important to me than physical nutrition in a dream.

Sometimes memories, whether good or bad, must be released, for they can hinder forward progress. It’s easy to see the reason for letting go of painful and negative memories, but positive ones – good veggies in the garbage pail? C’est pas vraie!!! Oui mais, yes. Needless to say, I had to stop for a while and think about this one. Then I opened the greatest Book of all books to the 11th chapter of the Old Testament account of Numbers. The Israelites were in the wilderness by now and they were hungry. Oh, and they started complaining that God’s cuisine wasn’t French enough for them, for they wanted the veggies of Egypt (I just melanged two countries didn’t I, or maybe three.) (verses 1-10). Verses 4-6 read, “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!”

Ooooh talk about biting the Hand that feeds you. And yes, like any normal parent, they rubbed God the wrong way and He dealt with them strongly. They complained in the transition of moving from slavery to a land of the free and the home of the brave!!! Okay, you can read the rest for yourself, but you get the picture right? They seemed to have a short memory of the slavery they had endured for 200 years!!!! My how a hungry stomach can move one to make ignoramus decisions. (Remember brother Esau in Genesis? Must have been some good soup.) Good grief. (But I’m not judging them for in them I see myself too.) Also they just forgot about the great rescue coming through the Red Sea on dry land and watching those same Egyptians who enslaved them and their parents and grandparents, drown in waters none of them were supposed to cross. Yet they did. Short memories? Bad memories? Remembering the wrong things? Selective memories? Alzheimers, dementia, bi-polar? Yes, maybe all of the above.

Many times we wonder why we cannot seem to go forward towards our dreams and purpose for living, and it’s largely due to our past. The significance we attach to certain people and events, positive or negative, but in these examples it is the positive that’s causing the problems, not the negative. I have a great friend who was struggling to stand and walk like the Nubian princess she is in a pair of old well-worn gold shoes. She looked good from head to ankle and received so many compliments from strangers passing by the five hours we spent together. Needless to say I wanted to bless her with a new pair of shoes because of the transition of the seasons, and because those shoes had lost whatever they had when she and they first met.

When she finally put on the new shoes I took the old ones to throw away, but she would not let me. After much tug of war between us she confessed that they held special memories for her and I said “aah, so memories are strong enough to keep you limping and walking on the sides of your knees” (I am exaggerating, but not too much). So she said she would keep them to walk around the house. I told her to say her goodbyes and give them a funeral, but I knew she had to do it her own way and in her own time, for she would have to discard more than just the shoes.

We all have “things” from our past that we thought would last, and we wish had never ended, so we hold onto photos, videos, letters, leaves and flower petals, books, music, clothing and shoes we can no longer wear, etc. because they allow us to relive the past. But how can we move forward; driving while looking through the rearview mirror? Ce n’est pas possible.

My next step was to accept the freedom from the One who broke the locks on my lockers to help me realize I no longer needed the contents within. Even though they were still edible. Hmmmm, that’s part of the difficult part. As long as there is life in those memories and things, we don’t see the need in letting them go. But think of it this way, when you give away clothing and shoes, do you give away items that have outlived their usefulness for everyone, or items that you’ve “outgrown” (no pun intended, but if you want to take it that way, comme tu veut. ;-))? No one wants things you DON’T want, for where is the value in that? You don’t want things others don’t want either. The beauty in gift-giving, whether new items with the price tag still on them, or used ones still full of life, is the value they are to the giver. The recipient is more likely to appreciate your gift when your desire for it is still attached to it. Test this theory: when you’re wearing your favorite necklace or bracelet and a friend, or new stranger-friend meets you and sees it and just seems to want it, and you know inside you never planned to give it away, for it is your favorite. All of a sudden you see the value it has for you, again. See what I mean. People want what you want.

How does this relate to me letting go of the veggies in the dream? No one would have wanted spoiled veggies, and I certainly am not one for wasting good food, yet I had outgrown these veggies (memories) and no longer needed to share them with others. Some things are not meant to be passed on. Just let go. Even when/if they still have “life”. Who wouldn’t want to remain in a good place like a great rocking chair or lazy boy recliner? It’s comfortable with a great view, but it goes nowhere. Good memories are like great chairs. You can move in them, but you will never go anywhere. (Unless you’re Chevy Chase’s aunt in the movie “Vacation.”) ;-)

What do you need to let go of at this point in time? I know it’s not always easy, but when moving to the next phase becomes more important to you than feasting on the “food” of your past, you will either thrust "them" out of your “space”, or run away from them as fast as you can. Peace.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

My Space

Sounds familiar right? Well it has been here all along. It wasn’t just created by someone who is technical and internet savvy. All my life (sounds like Sophia from the movie “The Color Purple”), and I’m sure you may have too, I’ve been dealing with the issue of my space. Being an American my comrades and I believe in giving each other sufficient space to breathe, to move, to sneeze, cough, and all kinds of other human things we do. ;-) Sometimes we hug and kiss and walk arm in arm and hand in hand, but when it’s over it’s time to back off and let each other breathe. Now if this is normal with family, friends and for some of you, pets (comme tu veut), how much more should it be a normal reality between strangers? Hmmm. Three m’s that time.

I know different cultures have different mores, but we all share the same oxygen and the need for it so I think we need to talk. My space is my space, and your space is your space, and as strangers the twain shall never meet unless, and until we mutually agree to invite each other in. To me this is just respectful and safe. We’re living in the time of pigs flying in space (better known as The Swine who flew. Who knew?) so no one is safe as long as we’re ignoring and disrespecting personal space. Even if we all wore masks I would still look at you funny if I could feel you breathing down my neck in the checkout line at Monoprix. Please back off. Thank you.

Also, I’ve found myself more here of late, having to share dressing room space with more than one person, male and female. The first time this happened I was literally appalled and could not bring myself to undress. What is this world coming to? :-0 Anyhoooo, as time continued to come and go and the incidents increased I learned how to deal with it and some tricks of my own. However it was in one of these settings that I realized that many people know nothing about respecting the property of others in their space, much less their space. (Don’t get lost, stay with me.) I had a chance to see my reactions and responses from outside of my body for these for me were out-of-body experiences, and to the others I appeared to be a different person. Someone they never met and someone they never expected to meet with my face on. LOL!!!

For many years I have shared my space with others sometimes voluntarily, but mostly because I had to. Children growing up in my era did not have “rights”. We just did what we were told. Period. And because of this I learned to make myself small to get by, to get along and to get along with others, and to keep people happy. (For some reason this did not work when trying to avoid gaining weight. Food for thought for another blog.) But maybe you’re familiar with the old cliché, “give an inch they’ll take a mile with a smile.” (I added the smile part.) Well, most of the time it is true. When we don’t make our boundaries known people will treat us like we’re not even there. I have experienced this just walking the streets of Paris. Everyone walking towards you is not blind with a dog, and if they were with a dog the dog would keep them from walking into you. No, I’m talking about people who are different from you who feel they own the sidewalk or the space you’re walking or standing in and they proceed to walk over you, if you let them. No thank you, this is my space. Thank you.

Back to the dressing room. When you must share space with several others in a limited amount of space, each person must find a way to respectfully coexist with the others in that space. (I just love talking like this. :-)) I found a corner for me and my purse and bag and I made sure I used my possessions to create a perimeter around myself. Therefore I, and everyone else knew where I in my space began and ended, and where they could begin in conjunction to me. Well, one person in my short absence chose to ignore my possessions as though they were not there, and when I returned and saw the utter lack of respect I took action. I removed this person’s belongings from among my things, for we are not sisters, cousins or close friends, neither we did not make a pact or agreement to mélange our belongings. So to do so in my absence . . . , well I was appalled to say the least (I seem to like that word at this point in time. It will be another one next season. LOL!!). My reaction, small and silently executed did not meet with a smile, but the message was simply delivered and clearly understood. Please, respect my space.

Our space is all we have. Who you are, who I am – this is our space. It is given to us by God. Some of us require more space than others because of our size, our lifestyle, our possessions (whatever we’re defining “my space” to be), etc. yet it is ours. First your body and your mind – your personal physical, mental and emotional space. Then your home – your living space. And wherever we go our personal physical space is our own, and we must treat ourselves like we expect and deserve to be treated by others. How we carry ourselves and what we allow others to do to – for or against us, informs them how they can act in our space. My actions demonstrated to that person what I will and will not tolerate in the small space I have, and what I will not do to others as well. What was done to me, of which I did not approve, I expect of myself not to commit against others, for I reap what I sow and in larger measure.

My space. When you have had to share your space for so long, when you finally get your own space, you feel like you can breathe and yes, you may even become, or appear to be selfish to others. But that’s only to those who did not know you before. The historical (not hysterical) people in your life will nod in agreement and say “it’s about time you had your own space.”

I was sharing some “my space” stories with some special friends of mine (you will know who you are when you read this) which made us laugh, but I shall not share the details here. Nevertheless stories beget stories and we discussed how the French like to greet you with a kiss, but they don’t like for you to hug them. Now for me, a kiss to a stranger is really getting into each other’s space, even for a short second. I would rather shake hands (maybe. My hand, metro hand. That’s another story and joke. I guess you just have to hang out with us, but I’m sure you have a bazillion stories of your own to share too. That’s why when you create your blog, you will have YOUR space. LOL!!!), which is what we Americans do. Another way Americans greet each other, more familiars i.e. friends and family is by hugging, which is what the French don’t like to do. Well, I tend to hug anyway so I think either we will compromise, or I will break you down. To me a hug is more warm and intimate. The French kiss (not tongue in cheek. LOL!) is so superficial because for many people they don’t kiss you at all. All they do is make the kissing noise in your ear, which shows me what? You’re a fake. Now I have some special friends who make sure I know I’m being bisoused (kissed) and I know they mean friendly business. And they also hug and receive my hug in return for they know it is real. Now I don’t mind this happening in my space. Real people with real, good and genuine intentions . . . positive energy happening up in here. If this is you, welcome to my space!

A long time ago, space as we now know it was not like we know it. :-) But the Almighty Creator decided to speak His thoughts into space and voila, things began to change, in this space. Mind you, it was all always His space to begin with, but He decided He wanted to share His space with others. Hmmm, the moon and stars, the sunshine, and to separate the waters into different size bodies called lakes, rivers, streams, oceans and seas. Then He wanted to express His sense of humor in His space and created animals and some things I still don’t understand the purpose for, bugs. LOL!! Now I do understand worms – to aerate the soil, but snakes, in this space, I still don’t understand. Anyhoooo, like I said, it was and is His space. Just like this blog is one of my little spaces in the www, the earth, part of the universe is God’s space.

Oh, then as He was rocking in His swivel rocking chair (I like those the best because they rock and go around in circles and recline!! I believe God’s throne does this so He can have a panoramic view of His creation and have fun, and not get bored.) He brought forth His vision of the two legged kind and He made man. And then WO-man. I love to be a part of the ones called WO or Whoaaa!! Yes!! Go ladies, go ladies!! Baby got back. Okay that’s enough of that. We’re all in His space. Hmmmm, and the Bible says in Genesis that we’re made in His image, so part of that means He created us to have our space in this place too. He even respects us in His space. As mighty and omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, and sovereign that He is, He chooses to respect us, thus laying the foundation for how we are to operate in His space – respect of Him, ourselves, and one another. Yes! And this is part of the reason mean and evil people still exist in the world – God respects their choices. This is not easy for those they hurt and kill, but they demonstrate that the blueprint of God’s nature is not on their souls, for they lack self-respect, and therefore cannot respect others.

No, it’s not selfish to demand that others respect you in your space. As a matter of fact it is criminal not to do so, because when we don’t respect ourselves, others will not respect us and we won’t respect others (for we cannot give what we do not have, and we cannot perform what we have not practiced, we cannot teach what we don’t know, and we cannot lead where we’ve not gone or where we won’t go), and when others don’t respect us we become a society of disrespectful beings, which makes us lower than the animals.

My space. Watch how I act in my space. Therein lays the clue as to how I will treat you in your space, and when you are in my space. Also therein lays the clue as to how I expect you to treat me in your space and my space. And if you don’t know, just ask. Peace.