Last night I dreamt I was trekking along an unfamiliar path, through the rain, alone, in the dark, wearing flip-flops. At first I was walking on a trail, the sun had been out. Then I came to walk along a road, one with very little shoulder. I was unsure of where I was, I just knew I was out hiking. I was vaguely aware that I was going to have to turn around and follow the same path back, but I wasn’t sure which trail I’d turned off of, and now it was dark. In the dream I thought to myself, Gee I wish I had worn my hiking boots…next time I’ll wear my hiking boots, this is exactly what they’re for. It wouldn’t even matter that I’m trudging along in the rain if I were wearing my hiking boots, and huh, maybe next time I will not wait till dark and walk along a curving road where I can’t be seen, maybe next time I won’t go alone. Huh. How odd that I didn’t think of these things. How odd that I didn’t wear my hiking boots and map out where I was going and bring someone with me. How strange.
I was uneasy in the dream, I felt unnerved and uncomfortable, but I was okay. Despite the rain, the dark, the lost-ness, the alone-ness, the flip flops (the gosh darn flip flops! I mean, who hikes in flip flops?) and the danger, I was okay. One by one, thing by thing, I kept cataloguing oddness in my dream. One thing after another came to my attention that was off, that was simply not right, was I wearing flip flops all along? Did I mean to turn off the trail and onto an actual road? I didn’t have answers to these questions, in fact I wasn’t even asking them in the dream, I was simply noticing them. Observing them.
In yoga teacher training tonight my teacher said, “Observation is different from judgment.” Profound, right?
I wasn’t judging myself in the dream. I wasn’t saying, you’re hiking in flip flops, you fool! I wasn’t harping on the fact that I was alone, I wasn’t angry that I was drenched. I was uncomfortable and a bit afraid, but I never once said to myself in a negative tone, what were you thinking?! Despite the icky, crazy circumstances, I knew I was okay. I scribbled that dream on a post-it in the dark, in the middle of the night when I’d woken up to pee. I don’t know why but immediately, even in my half-awake state, it felt profound.
Today I found out I must move by April 1st. I must vacate the house I’ve lived in for three years and find a new place in a month’s time. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been aching
to move simply for the “turn a new leaf” aspect of moving. I love my space, and I was procrastinating the move. I’ve been delaying it for quite some time, actually. The landlord is a complete ars, the house needs work, and it is attached to a lot of memories from which I’m ready to disengage. But the price has been right, the space I occupy is very special and well-suited for me, and the location is convenient. Voila, the perfect ingredients for a procrastination party.
So, the truth is, I was relieved when I read the email stating that our tenancy would be ending as of April 1st so that the entire house could be renovated and made over. My relief was instantly followed with the hammering realization that, I’m not supposed to disrupt my life during teacher training!!!!!!!!!!
It literally says that in the teacher training literature. Granted, the assumed subtext is “if you can help it,” and I can’t help this. This is completely beyond my control. It’s happening for a reason, and I feel like the timing is so off, but when is the timing ever truly “right” anyway? The Universe is giving me a nudge. I’m up against the ledge, toes dangling over…it’s time to choose: either fall aimlessly off the edge, or dive off, with purpose, with trust…and soar.
I went for a walk shortly after getting this news. I was a bit of a wreck. No matter that I’d ridden my bike to and from a yoga practice that left my knees feeling less than stellar, and was planning on a bath and a nap before work (two practices I relish in the thought of but rarely treat myself to), but I couldn’t even sit still much less relax or sleep. So I strapped on my nikes, shoved a hat on my head, put some good music on my iPhone and strode out the front door. I didn’t know which direction I was headed, much like my dream, and I was of agitated energy, also much like my dream. I walked a little ways towards town before abruptly turning around and heading back in the other direction. I wanted to walk beneath the tall redwoods that lined some of the nearby apartment complexes. Every time I walk through them I think how nice it would be to live in one of those complexes. So protected and personal, so not my huge, old house with a bat shit crazy landlord.
As I headed in that direction I crossed the road. I saw a young guy on a bike stop and turn around to read a sign outside one of the apartment complexes. I quickened my pace. The sign boasted one and two bedroom apartments, “Ready Now!” He pulled out his phone and called the number on the sign. I stopped a short distance away and dialed the number into my own phone and then waited, watched him, listened. He asked to see a one bedroom and inquired about the prices. Shortly thereafter he hung up. He looked to me sheepishly and shrugged.
“How much for a one bedroom?” I asked him.
“$1250, too steep for me,” he replied, swinging one leg back over his bike.
“Ah…how about two bedrooms, did they say?”
“No…and good roommates are hard to find…” we locked eyes and I wanted to be like, YOU’RE LOOKIN’ AT ONE!!!
“Yeah, they are,” I said instead.
“Well, good luck,” he said, straightening his backpack and settling onto the bike seat.
“You too…” I murmured.
I watched him pedal away and wondered if I should have suggested something further, if I should have asked him if he’s a good roommate, what his situation is. I watched him grown smaller and then looked up at the sky. Was I supposed to do something with that, Universe? Or was it just to show me that there are other people, good people, in this same situation?
I didn’t hear an answer, so I called the number on the sign. The woman on the other end was sweet, and told she had no available two bedrooms, but that a complex nearby had some, and they were really affordable. I plugged some numbers into my phone and thanked her, genuinely, before putting the music back on and continuing on my aimless walk.
I felt dazed in the warm February sun. I walked without any idea where I was going. I zigzagged from one side of the street to the other. A couple of times my face crumpled as if to cry but only a measly tear or two squirted out and I felt emotionally drained and just so lost. Emotionally and mentally. I started to run a little, at different points on my walk, which happened to feel truly awful on my ankles and my knees. I just felt like I needed to go faster. I walked at a comfortably furious pace, totally unsure of where I was heading and turning corners haphazardly. I walked around some neighborhoods, realizing as I passed complexes that I recognized a few. I passed the apartments of two different coworkers, as well as the complex the woman on the phone had told me about. I smiled at them all crookedly, as though they were people, as though they were all acknowledging me too. I walked beneath those redwoods and felt calmed. I tried to decide which way I’d turn when I emerged from the complex I was cutting through and I couldn’t decide, so I just walked faster. When I came out I went left, and then went to cross the street.
There was a jeep sitting at the stop sign and I locked eyes with the driver. He gestured to let me go ahead and cross and I smiled and waved my thanks. It was the cute guy I’d chatted with in yoga before, and a frequent customer at my work. Random. Or was it? I felt bombarded by signs and omens. I glanced back as he drove away, he had a “Keep Tahoe Blue” bumper sticker on his back window.
I headed up a steep street, one I knew connected with my neighborhood. I’d discovered that on an aimless, furiously paced walk sometime last year. It had been a profound discovery, laden with all sorts of meanings at the time. The whole idea of taking a steep, winding, unknown road with very little shoulder is such a metaphor for life. So today I took that road again, this time climbing upwards. I teetered on the edge of the road, it literally had no shoulder, and was reminded of my dream. Some cars zoomed past me as I trekked up the road, but I wasn’t afraid. I noticed things about the road I hadn’t noticed walking it before, and before long I emerged. I crossed up into my neighborhood and climbed my hill at an impressive pace. When I got to my house I stood in the sunshine. I spun in slow circles in my driveway, bathed in solar warmth, completely unsure what to do next. Do I just…go inside now? Am I calmer? What do I do now? This isn’t going to be my house anymore. I stopped spinning and climbed the stairs up onto my back deck. I looked out at the view, leaned on the railing. I let the music keep playing in my ears. I walked over to the top of the stairs and looked out at the tall buildings, at the faraway freeway, the great distance I could see from my little deck.
That was always one of my favorite parts about this house, how far I could see. It made me feel like I really had made it out into the world, look how far I can see from here, I live here, I would think with pride. I come from a stunning, small town and, as a kid, climbing up onto the roof with my dad to hang the Christmas lights every year was one of my greatest pleasures. It was also one of my greatest fears, as the height spooked me and the idea of my dad hanging over the edge of the roof terrified me. I’d hang onto the ends of his shirt so tight my knuckles would turn white and I’d hold my breath the whole time he hung the lights on the chimney, the part of the hanging process I’d deemed most dangerous. But I loved nestling into the shingles and seeing the whole neighborhood. I could see every house and even the park, from my little spot. Perhaps the feeling I had on my top deck when I first moved here is the grown up version of that. I can see a freeway from my deck, I’m a big girl now…
I spun a few circles on my deck, taking in the panoramic view. With one hand on my belly and one on my heart I thanked the view, the house, the space. I thanked it for the experience, for the good feelings, and I asked that I leave behind nothing but beneficial energy and take nothing but beneficial energy with me. Then I said goodbye.
I felt good about it. It felt peaceful, it felt like it was time. What a blessing, to feel like it’s time for a parting. Most often we are not so fortunate as to part ways with something, or someone, and feel like it’s really time.
I still didn’t know what to do next, but at least I felt more at peace. So I went back into my house. I drew that bath. Then I took that nap.
I was disoriented when I awoke, as I always am after naps, hence my rarely taking them. I had agitated energy, but I’d taken the steps towards soothing myself. I’d resisted the urge to while away the afternoon pacing, anxiously getting nothing done. I’d actually had my definition of a pretty perfect day. Yoga, bike ride, long talk with mom, sunny walk, bath, nap…apart from the grumpy knees, the needing to move news and an allergy hangover I’d say it was a fairly stellar day. I read a quote shortly after having this realization that said,
“It doesn’t matter if the glass is half empty or half full…be grateful that you have a glass, and there is something in it.”
Pretty spot on, right?
I’m really big on trusting the process. “The Universe knows what it’s doing,” my good friend told me today after hearing my news. “It does,” my mom agreed, “and to who.” So the Universe is making some decisions for me; that is something I choose to be grateful for. It doesn’t make it any easier, and I still have to turn the gears, but the life-altering stuff is being nudged for me.
Much like my dream last night, today’s circumstances left me walking aimlessly along the road of life, unsure of where I’m headed, and even how to get back to where I began. I felt uneasy, uncomfortable, and afraid…but okay. I am metaphorically hiking into unfamiliar territory in the dark, the rain, wearing flip flops, and all by myself. But I’m okay.
I have a glass, there’s something in it, and I’m okay.