friday 29 january 02010 4:14pm
thank you note for a kindess done in dreaming
last night in my dreaming, we were in a livingroom. there were rooms upstairs. i think you lived there, and maybe me. you remembered suddenly that you had something for me. you were a little sheepish about the fact that you'd had it for a long time -- one summer between semesters of college (which for me is twenty years ago) my then-best-friend had given you a letter for me.
you still had it, and you gave it to me last night. i held it in my hands. i saw india's handwriting on the outside and i could see her handwriting through the envelope. letters have always been precious between us; we met as young poets. new words from her, a physical manifestation of her/our love, five years after her death. i was sobbing and shaking, overcome with joy.
i woke before opening the envelope, but with no disappointment. my waking face was also wet with tears of joy. i don't understand what the universe is but i feel so surely that she tried to reach me, that she did reach me, and i am so happy for that.
i don't know why you were the messenger for this in my dream; while i hold you in the highest regard and think fondly of you, we certainly don't know one another well. but you did me a tremendous good last night on the dream plane
so here are my thanks
and my love.
monday 23 june 02008 7:53am
dreaming at the end of the world
first waking, early, groggy. i had to go back. never felt this before but "i can't just leave them like that," i thought, and i lay back to sleep and indeed did go there again. "them" isn't quite right, either; i was them there, both of them and everyone, but i only knew that at the groggy first waking, and remember now knowing it then. i can't feel it now.
it wasn't a lucid dream per se. it wasn't that i knew what i was there to do. but when i headed toward waking the second time they were safe there past the end of the world, she with her belly big, trying to make the future. they had a plan now, and something to eat. transitioning back to waking i wondered "but how will i get all of my shoes back to the waking plane?"
they seem to be here just fine.
thursday 29 may 02008 8:12am
first act of will in dreaming
my friend's young son went over the cliff first. the inexorable drag of the tipping took me and i was over the edge, too. the rocks below, and ocean. seeing in a moment us dashed against the rocks, dread in the pit of the belly wondering how that could possibly feel, and the ones who loved us broken helpless watching from the wide green lawn. everything moving glacial in the body and lightspeed in the mind. i simply resolved: NO. one hand forward and i was steady holding green grass that spilled down over the cliff's edge. the other hand out behind me insisting that the child was there, and he was, and i pulled, and we came up over the edge, grinning, into the arms of his parents my husband the world of the living.
all my life i've had falling dreams. last night i didn't know i was dreaming; it wasn't a lucid dream. but i recognized the place; the height, the bottom, the people watching me fall. when i was a little girl i fell down a thousand manholes. i remember seeing my father look helplessly down over the edge, the light so high up. i couldn't walk over manholes or grating in the streets with ease until well into my third decade. i didn't know all this in the dream, but i knew: no, not this, not here, not this again. i knew i wasn't going to die; i never land. but i simply refused the dread, the whole show. and i climbed out. i climbed out!
i've been reading tibetan dream yoga. one of the foundational practices is to tell yourself in the everyday waking that it's all a dream. whew. and yet after finding myself grow stony and put the book down after reading that, a few days later i was walking down the street in the sun, past the fruit in baskets outside the corner store and i thought with bliss, oh, yes, this *is* a dream.
but the dream turn, oh, oh! what a wonder!
monday 18 february 02008 9:28am
flight dream number three
the trees were tall, lanky, not yet fully green. a late-winter early-spring kind of forest, like now here. the river was strung through the trees, the earth was muddy. we were in the air above the river, in the open space. i was holding you in my arms and at first we were leaping tree to tree and then i realized we hadn't landed in some time, that we were just flying. you in my arms were in front of my heart and the rest of me streamed out behind like tailfeathers. you are amazed, we were both amazed, but we kept being up and careening along through the air, marveling at the land unfurling below us and our flight.
when we landed, we had no idea where we were; we hadn't kept track, had only an idea that we'd taken a fork in the river. we weren't sure how to fly again, and we were looking for a ride back.
tuesday 1 january 02008 12:17pm
i was given kittens
tiny fluffy kittens
a white one, a grey and white one, a grey one
and set them to ride on my shoulders
later, a whole bunch of grey ones
i was about to clean up from the revelry
so i put them inside my shirt
thursday 27 december 02007 7:47am
there was a song that we had to learn. when sung just right it lifted us
and we soared and flew in our own skins.
monday 17 december 02007 3:27pm
i sat down in a dark, wood-paneled room. i knew i was in a cafe, but it felt like a wild west bar. later the coffee bar itself in the heart of the cafe was being pulled up out of the water it floated on because one of the barrels keeping it afloat was failing.
but anyway, i was sitting down. i saw you across the room. it's just shy of twenty years since i saw you last, but my mind had an idea of what you'd look like now. our eyes met across the room and you said "kristie?"
i nodded and you came over. turned out you've been living in san francisco, but didn't want to tell me in our recent correspondence because it was all very tenuous, your being here, for some reason.
i was so happy to see you.
friday 30 november 02007 10:30am
i was lost. the place i was lost in wasn't safe; a bad/dangerous and unfamiliar place. there was wandering someplace wild and city streets, both.
before this i had been in a place which was a city and was also burning man. sometimes there i was having fun with someone who was jra, also in her a bit of james. i went to get something and ended up lost.
i felt fear. i wanted to go back to the happy, fun party where i had been. i thought i could call jen and she could tell me how to get back. i got out my cell phone and was looking for the number, then noticed that the phone was not mine. pink like mine, but about one and half inches tall and triangular, with the point facing down. put it into my pocket, thinking i must have picked up someone else's at the party and would bring it back. found mine and begn to try again, wanting now to bring up an online map, wondering if my phone could do that. then noticed that what i was holding was the size of my phone, but the design of an phone. next i was holding one that was a clear vinyl sheet with black edges, like a diner menu. how many phones are in these pockets?!
then india was on the sidewalk in front of me. dark gray-black sleeveless shirt, jeans, her wry gring and lifted eyebrow. i thought: "shit! if she's here i am definitely still dreaming, still lost, and haven't found my way back to the waking plane yet." and then just joy. it wasn't a vague image or concept of her, it was oh exactly the quality of her physicality, the tone and tiny variations of her skin, the texture of her hair, utterly her.
nothing was said aloud. she was standing on the higher part of the hilly street we were on, so she was even taller than me than usual. i threw my arms around her and pressed my cheek against her shoulder/chest. exactly the shape of her in my arms, the soft skin and long bones so close to the surface, her rib basket; exactly india in my arms. i held her. three years after her death i held india in my arms.
soon came waking. exhilarated, so high, so flying on her presence, holding her knowing she was there to guide me out, to keep me safe.
friday 12 october 02007 8:52am
in my bed
we spent the evening in the kitchen. the conversation of late has been vast and intense: what system of government do we believe in, the difference between the theories of them and their manifestation, how could we get to what we believe in from where we are, should we leave the planet (both as a species and as a couple), the ethical status of terraforming other planets, is the human creature the highlight of the universe or a parasite, what should we put the winter holiday gifts in, how much to spend on that, the nature of economic systems, what sort of work do we want to do, what sort of future do we want to have, how will life change when all of our friends have children, do we stay here all our lives and dig deep or do we off and wander the globe, why is science fiction considered of lesser literary merit when it makes us think so deeply, how much of our lives should we bare to the world, what is the art of our existence, what is the book we are making, what happens to the photographs, why are we here? what is this for? what are we doing?
while we talked, i cooked. there were roasted vegetables for dinner: sweet potatoes, onions, and garlic with rosemary. while that was cooking i crushed herbs for kara’s love cordial, pouring angelica root, anise seed, cardamon, clove, and more into brandy and, by her instructions, shaking it while singing love songs. then there was a batch of roasted green salsa, which involved charring tomatillos, jalapenos, and garlic. lastly, i boiled eggs. lastly, i lifted the cool eggs from the green bowl of cool water, stacked them carefully in a clear bowl in the fridge, and then i went to bed.
in the dream place, i was squatting. there were a lot of other women doing it, too. we were laying eggs. i laid a lot of eggs, several dozen. i could feel them sliding down from me, the walls of me thick and soft, egg after egg slipping easily out into my hands. then the eggs began to come in clumps; two eggs stuck together, four, then lumpybumpy masses of eggs stuck together. as they grew larger and more deformed, i was encouraged by the wandering women who were guiding the pushing women that this was good. that this meant i was getting closer. there wasn’t any pain. it was intense, what was happening, and i was curious and excited, and amazed by the pile growing near me, but it didn’t hurt.
finally i felt a large roundness against my hands and there he was. my son. he wasn’t a newborn and i wondered that other people weren’t more surprised by this. i mean, he was freshly born, but he was big, coherent, he made sense and he was ok. i adored him. i marveled that this was happening to me, who had decided not to mother in this way, but here he was and i loved him and i loved being his mother. oh, how i loved him. i held him to my breast and he nursed. he had lightish colored hair and it stood out all over. i thought he had jim’s hair.
the next morning he was with his papa. i was doing something. there was walking, being lost, finding the place, many rambly adventures. my belly was achy but i was pretty ok. after a time i began to pine for him. where was the boy? where was james? my baby surely must need to nurse, he could not be away from his mama so long.
we met on the stairs. there were many people on the stairs. we were riding our bicycles up the stairs, my boy included, my son. he did not need me, i could see that. he was grown on his second day, he was riding a bicycle up the stairs with the rest of us. he was doing wheelies and saying “aw, ma” and i was aching, aching for the baby i wasn’t going to hold against my breast again. i could see that was complex, would be hard to raise, and i was searching inside myself for the best way to be, the wisest way to be, how to be toward a challenging child, how to love in wisest fashion to help him grow best.
and then i was talking to a curly-haired woman in the crowd, and then we were all being herded off to lunch, and the dream wandered on. i did not see my boy again.
sunday 6 may 02007 7:54am
i don't remember this dream
this morning i saw an article about an artist who is working on emotional maps of cities. an experimental cartography. immediately the thought came that if steve were alive i would share this with him. he would love this. gently reminded myself that he is alive, that he is everywhere, that i can share it with him. this is what i choose to believe. this is the best i can do with what i know of what is, though i understand the small mechanism of me is capable of only a glimmer toward comprehension of the vastness of whatever "is" is.
a snippet comes. mostly i see his knee and his elbow. he is wearing jeans. smiling. for a moment his face, laughing. he's part of a circle. my dead friends.
in the moment i can see i have just finished saying something to him about my perception that he has grown more peaceful with his death. in the moment i can see he has just finished laughing at this and i can see his knee, in jeans, his elbow. i feel others but cannot see them in this sense-moment, though i know we were all speaking together a moment before. this one moment is the only one i can find.
in the now-sense-moment the sky is periwinkle. the redwood is dancing softly in the quiet breeze. the birds are singing up a glorious ruckus. not yet 9am and all the windows are open. i am at my desk in gingham panties and sleep-rumpled hair, holding a moment of dream, smiling softly and telling this to you.
i tried to find the article that began this train of thought so i could share it with you, but it is not where i was and searching did not turn it up. that moment is that moment and this moment is now.
monday 6 march 02006 9:18am
sunday night dream
last night, i woke up on the couch. i wandered sleepily to the end of the house to tell jennifer and dan that i was heading to bed. apparently i am weightless in my dreams, because dan scooped me up effortlessly, one arm under my shoulders, the other under my knees, my white nightgown trailing over his arm. he and jennifer walked side by side down the hall with me cradled half-asleep in dan's arms. this is all i remember of the dream, the three of us moving down the hall together. i felt absolutely loved and safe as they took me where i needed to be, to rest.
thursday 22 december 02005 6:50pm
the long dark night of winter
for a long time my best attempt at defining love was something about two beings becoming attuned to one another, resonating at the same frequency.
when steve said the story of how he recognized sara, he said that they went out dancing one night, and were like two magnets turned in the right direction.
right now i could say love is when you see someone in the full glory of their being. you see that this is god.
with james, it is different. i see in him the divine glory, and also, i recognize him as myself. and so many people i have loved, he seems to contain them. once, i started to say something to him about when we went to the prom, which was ten years before we met.
sometimes, i cannot remember which memories from my childhood happened to me, and which happened to my sister.
james says that he lays his hand where my shoulders need because he can feel it.
sometimes, my mind slips for a moment and i see through a crack into a world i recognize from dreaming. i can see that this world is alive, and someone who seems to be me is living there.
memory is stored in the present tense. when we see the memory through the eyes of now, we recall it through the filter of me-now. but sometimes, we get inside the memory. it's all right there.
every moment is eternal. everyone is god. nothing and everything is real.
how can anything be wrong? why do we forget?
sunday 26 september 02004 8:36am
being and knowing and love
some mornings i wake writing. now and then i come into self-awareness to find that my mind is lining up words to tell a story. today was one of those days.
recently i had a thought which felt to me like a revelation. about dreaming. simple, yet astonishing to me. i do not remember everything i dream. i do not have conscious access to all of the experiences i have in the dream place. and yet, it's all in there, part of who i am and what i have lived, and it must inform who i am. so i cannot possibly know myself. and because the dream place has such a different scale of time from the waking world, the experiences i have had that i cannot know are possibly (certainly) even larger than the experiences i have been present for. this person who i think of as me, who i think i have been every day of my life -- i do not know a tremendous portion of the experiences which make her who she is. it set me to wondering who i am, and how i could ever know. and i decided, as i usually do, to simply do my best to enjoy it.
in the waking world, we have choices. in the dream place... we simply are who we are. nothing can be hidden or tucked away. it all comes out, our whole life experience and inner emotional world unfurls and elaborates, and i think i have begun to believe that it can interact with others in some ways... but there i am not yet certain. but i do believe i know that in the dream world, we are present in all our everything, and we build worlds from that, and then they build us, in becoming part of the tapestry of our experience.
i had a similar revelation the first time i sat vipassana. i went to the california vipassana center, which teaches in the tradition of mr. goenka; the first sit for a new practitioner must be a 10-day sit. 10 hours a day for 10 days, in silence, no touch no eye contact. i have never really written about my experience there. i can't imagine how to.
there is a story in the yogic tradition. a seeker goes to a holy man and asks what maya is. the holy man tells the seeker to jump into the pond they are standing beside. the seeker does. he climbs out a woman, and lives a long life. marries, bears children who live and die... one day, doing her washing, she falls into the pond. and comes out the seeker, moments after he dove in, the holy man standing before him, smiling. that, says the holy man, is maya.
sitting vipassana was a bit like diving into that pond: a life i lived within this life. and it was a bit like entering consciously into the dream world; i had trouble while i was there, as i have at other times when my meditation runs deep, telling the difference while waking between experiences i had had while dreaming and those had while waking. and it wasn't like either of those things at all.
i will not try to explain how, as if i do thi shall go on forever, and it appears to be getting quite long already, and i have not yet begun to approach the story i woke writing you. so i will leave out the process. but one of the things i discovered there was that all of the love i had ever felt for anyone existed in me, as deeply as it had at the time i held that person most dear. each moment of my experience in some way was still right there, being that moment, untouched by any other. while the relationships may have faded, or great hurts passed between (and those experiences, too, were inside) -- also, all of the love, it was all there. (i think perhaps that this is why some people are unable to be friends with people they have been romantically involved with. and why others are friends with nearly all of them.)
i also learned during that sit what all of my unfinished business was. the mind wants so very much not to be held still in the long silence and meditation; it pulls out everything it can to get you to think rather than focus. so anything unfinished, anywhere it could get me going, all of that was presented by the mind at some point. many of those things were laid to rest right there in the meditation hall; part of the process of the sit was passing through them and working them out, finishing things. tying the loose strings. other things i finished when i got home, or did my best to.
the second time that i sat was different. it was a 3-day sit. less like another life, more like a vacation -- in time/experience, not in ease. on the last night of the sit, i had a dream. someone who i once loved who has now been lost in time, i saw her. she was part of the unfinished business i found during my first sit. we were lovers years ago. and we never really set things aside; suddenly both of our lives just swirled and things shifted. we always intended to come back to one another, there was always talk of it... and then she was too far away, across an ocean, and i couldn't find her anymore. i still know two people from the world in which i knew her, and i tried after the first sit to find her through them. it seemed very important to tell her how much i loved her, how deeply she had affected my life, how grateful i was for her. but my efforts were unsucessful.
i was dating her and her boyfriend when james and i fell in love; my relationship with her was first and deepest, her boyfriend more of a playfriend. the fact that i was having this relationship led james and i from the start to talk about how we wanted to structure our own relationship, and in that way set seeds for much of the way my/our life is today.
james and i found another, and my entire existence was changed. during the time where he and i were acclimating to our new shared life, she got a new job and got enthralled in a new world, and then she moved to marin, and then she took a trip to hawaii that turned into living on maui... and i lost her. i can't find her now. she is a brilliantly changeable being; during the time i knew her she had four different names. i have been told by the people that i still know who knew her that she has been living since she went to maui in a spiritual community with quite strict rules; she's become a hare krishna. quite the shift from the gloriously debauched witch who seduced me. it sounded like her life had taken her places, perhaps, where the thank-you i wanted to give her would no longer mean to her what it did to me. and really, in the end, i think i had to admit to myself that i wanted to thank her because i wanted to see her. because i miss her. because i love her. we never decided to let go; there was just this swirl of life, and she was gone. she is the only person i have loved who feels lost to me. i long for her. and i know that she is almost certainly not know who she was then, and that the person i long for is not now, and is not quite who i knew then, either; that i what i long for is something i have created in my mind. (those is the gifts she gave me, i think; keys to some doors it took me a while to learn to use, and this dream/memory of her).
so, the last night of the second sit, i saw her. in my dreaming, she was there. it was the dream world, shifting and changing as i moved in it, and she was a wild caricature of the woman i had loved, and yet she was every bit herself. i woke understanding at last why people say that they are so comforted by visitation in dreams of loved ones who have left their bodies, who have died. i woke feeling i had been with her, and in the dream while i did not say it, i felt i had conveyed to her what i wanted to say, what she meant to me, the pivotal place she held in my life, and how i adored and admired her wild freedom. how sorry i was that i had been so afraid and pained by the newness, vastness, and complexity of her world when she pulled me into it.
last night, i saw her again. i have been sick for a couple of days, sleeping only a couple hours at a time, waking to steam my head so i can go back to sleep. late last night i finally fell into a deep sleep, and slept for hours.
james and i were living in the apartment i lived in when i first moved to san francisco. with some of the same people, and some different. i walked into our room -- and there she was. she looked very different, very simple, none of the crazy drama of the time i knew her. and i asked if it was her, and she said yes, and i stepped toward her and put my hands on her shoulders, and turned her around and saw the tattoo on her arm, and knew it was her, and kissed it. and continued kissing her.
the friend who was with her when i walked into the room simply melted away, and james, who had been entertaining them before i arrived, slipped off to hang out with the folks in the kitchen. (later he came back with a delicious meal he had cooked for us while we rolled in one another's arms. the meal consisted in part of chocolate-covered bumblebees and honey to dip them in. even in my dreams, he brings me magic.)
there was some aspect of integration taking place. people from my life during the first/"real" time i lived in that place (which was before i knew her) were there, and people from my life now, and of course james (who knew her but never as well as either of them wished; we were always running into one another and saying "we must ---"); it was an open-structured place and people would pass through the room or i would be out in another room for a while, and then again i would be in her arms.
there was a time where the dream had ended and i was not yet fully awake. where i knew i had had this dream, and felt as always the warmth of james naked beside me in the new day, and noticed that i could breathe now. i felt enormous joy, and sunk again into unknowingness. when i rose again into my conscious mind, it was writing this story, so i sat at my desk and let my hands finish. it's about love, and time, and who we are. or at least i think it is. i think at the core it's about how little we can know, or how little i begun to realize i can. and how utterly amazing it is to be alive, trying to figure out what that is, catching glimpses of things between the mountains and in the water and inside myself and others.
sunday 23 september 02001 12:09pm
thoughts on the dream place
just now i was clipping my toenails. the mind was wandering about. suddenly there was this thing in my head, a story a place an adventure i had. i life i led. after a moment i realized it was a bit of a dream that i was remembering. i think one i had within the last few days. and i had the most intense longing. that i wasn't done with it, that i wanted to go back. i almost lay down and went to sleep right there to try to get to it. to some place. even though the dream places are always different.
at least i think they are.
i once had a roommate who was very, very sad. he had been madly in love with someone, a beautiful french girl, he said. he married her. they lived together in LA. they did a lot of drugs. one day while some folks were over partying, she hung herself in the closet. by the time i met him it was a few years later, but he was still devastated. he wandered the apartment in corduroys, plastic mardi gras beads and a vinyl jacket, drunk every night. he lived on tv dinners and booze. he was so sad.
once he told me that his dreams were beautiful. that his dream life was so beautiful that he wished he could always be sleeping.
the oddest thing about the snippet of dream that came to me, is that as soon as i remembered it, it was gone. i don't know what it was.
but i felt like i saw it out of the corner of my left eye.
a few nights ago i watched buffy the vampire slayer. then i lay down to sleep. jim was petting me as i dozed. i heard myself say something, and realized i was talking in my sleep. but i didn't think that i was asleep yet. i had only dipped under for a moment. and yet in that what felt like split-second there had been this whole world. i was standing in the middle of a gymnasium. i was the vampire-slayer. there were frightened kids in bad formal wear around the edges of the room. i was very, very, tall, and i was a thousand years old, but i was a teenager, like them. i was holding a dead bird in my hand. i was holding my hand up high. there was an enormous cake, like a wedding kind of cake, but it was made of birds. all the swoops in the frosting, the whole thing, it was a giant construction of birds. they were grey. they were dead. jim was there. he was the boy who loved me. he was wearing a white shirt and black pants. he was bright-eyed and innocent, and he loved me even though i was a thousand years old and a vampire slayer, and was holding a dead bird raised in one hand.
monday 3 january 02000 8:40am
last night in the place where dreaming is there was a room full of people, mostly people i know, mostly people i see in the everyday place of waking which we generally call "life". some of the people were standing and lots of the people were seated in folding chairs, not in rows as folding chairs often are, these were pointed every which way. i looked at someone i knew and then behind them, i caught a glimpse of you. what a delight! i was astonished.
i reached out my hand.