Dear Soul Beings,
I have to tell you about this dream I had. Not recently, but I thought about it again when I read the opening of Mary Oliver’s Long Life. She starts out, “We live, M. and I, about ten feet from the water.” Immediately, I sighed. Oh, to live by the water. To wake up to the pound of the surf, to meditate on the color of deep green glass, to smell the salt and watch the waves whip against the rocky shore. There is a beach on the Devon Coast of England, a private beach belonging to my husband’s family. Wild and secluded at the same time, it is a particularly sacred place to me, a place to sit and watch the gulls, a place to collect rocks: smooth grey stones patterned in bands of white quartz. There is an inlet of water to watch the tide go in and out and if one can brave the frigid temperatures, the water is completely invigorating.
There, the cousins have a ritual: a skinny dipping dive into the sea. I would watch from the sidelines until one morning, the last day of our visit, I woke early and ran down the path, through the fields, past the rickety gate and down to the sea. The sun was glinting off the waves. “This will only be healing,” I thought and stripped out of my clothes. I raised my arms and ran in, submerging my body, then breached up with a scream! So exhilarating.
That was the year before I had cancer, before I had this dream, which I will tell you about in a minute. It was part of my love affair with Devon, feeling the healing nature of the sea. This image of the Devon cove rose up in front of me with Mary Oliver’s opening line. The sea is in my cells.
When I finished the chemo part of my cancer treatment and recovered from the two surgeries, I knew a reprieve was in order. I begged my husband to take us to Maui for rest and rejuvenation. I remember the morning walks, the palm fonds swaying in the breeze, but mostly I remember laying on the beach, soaking up the sun, listening for the call of the whales. Gavin and Marika would be out snorkeling and swimming. I would timidly tip my toes in the tepid water and slowly wander out up to my chest. Finally I got up the nerve to don a mask and fins and snorkel around the rocks. Even ten feet from the shore there were dozens of brightly colored fish. It was amazing!
Back to my dream. It was a couple years ago, several years past the cancer which had taken me down a dark night of the soul. It affected my health and well-being, my marriage, our finances and my values. My world was shaken. I knew what I valued most was feeding my soul. She could not be denied creativity, love or fulfillment. The dream confirmed that.
In the dream, I am swimming in the depths of the sea, belly to belly with a black panther. We are one, dancing and spinning in the water. I am ecstatic. I feel free, empowered, protected and at home. I wake up and have to shake myself. I long to return to my soul-scape of water where I am one with my true self. Where there is no fear, this Dionysian pure feeling of wholeness! I have an ally now, the black panther who reminds me of my cat self, who can navigate deep waters like she owns them. I can swim with Eros and we are fused together. I thought my nature was Taurean, grounded in Earth, lacking in the Piscean watery fluidity. Now I know my nature is much richer than that.
The dream has sustained me. It gives me permission to dive deeply into art and my writing, to follow the lead of my cat-nature, sensuality, empowerment, innovation, creativity and self-love. This is life force! Dreams can infuse the life-force. I still dream of Devon and who knows? I may end up there or perhaps on a Californian or Hawaiian beach! For now, I am grateful for the window into my soul-scape, grateful for my allies, grateful for this precious life.
PS – Both Marika and I have articles published in Tumbleweeds, the New Mexico quarterly on Opening Up About Adoption. Unfortunately, the article is only in a physical copy for now, (You can find it at most grocery stores in Santa Fe and Espanola) but once it is made available online, I will send to you.