Sometimes I have special vivid dreams that I can clearly connect with a theme that is going on in my life at present. This was the case a few nights ago, when I dreamed about people and places of my past as well as someone I have never met.
A very central person in the dream was a successful author whose work I love. This person came to visit and owned a café in a town where I used to live. The café was supposed to be popular because of the association with the writer’s name, but somehow it was very quiet. I knew that I would meet the writer later and was excited about it. Before I relate the encounter with the famous man, there is another part of the dream I want to share first.
A person who used to be close to me was in the dream, and we were together in a group meditation. The person is still in my life, but very much on the periphery. In real life, the change in my relationship with this person was quite painful as I had to let go of the good times but knew we were outgrowing each other. In the dream this person denied having any association with me. In addition, I felt excluded due to the actions of the group leader, who I felt could sense that my heart was not in it. Even though I learned that my friend was going through a difficult time, I left the gathering, feeling rejected.
|A river in Scotland, not quite as dangerous as the Zambezi.|
Famous author to me: “So you are also a writer. What is the name of your book?”
Me: “In Search of the Golden City.”
Famous author: “Ah. You’re deep.”
Me: “How do you know that?”
Famous author: “I can tell by the title of your book.”
I am somewhat flabbergasted, but I think to myself that of course he knows something about the symbolism of gold. He talks about his café, and says that actually it is not as successful as expected. He adds that there is tension in his business due to politics. I think to myself that it cannot possibly dim his prosperity, but it is a valuable reminder that nobody’s life is perfect, and nor should I expect mine to be.
Reflecting on the dream in the morning, I felt that it was telling me something about the changes I made in the last few years, with the result that some doors closed. The old friend in the dream represents the structures of my past and my relationship to it. There is a reason why some people and situations that used to be stable fell away. Some of it had to do with my own attitude, but the point is that I cannot retrieve what has gone lost.
I thought about the meaning of the Zambezi River and the rapids. As a child I was fortunate enough to go into remote places in Africa. Some of these trips were rather difficult, but until today I remember the animism I felt in nature. I didn’t understand it at the time, but those experiences stayed with me and became very meaningful.
Being in a boat in white water with a person whose work I admire and who engages with me refers to the uncertainty of following my dreams. I am in a risk zone with only the forces of nature to guide me. Yet I feel connection regardless of where I might end up. Considering the famous writer’s struggles, I felt that the dream told me that I have to let go of archaic ideas of success. According to the world’s definition, I will always fall short and it is risky anyway, even for those who make it work. The things I value have found me and will continue to do so. Whatever price I have to pay for not “fitting in” will be worth the satisfaction of following my heart.
A day or two after the dream I saw a real quote on social media by the author I dreamed of about closing doors on the past. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.