I am in the between space of sleep and awakened, dreaming.
I am walking through a jungle. Struggling actually.
I am chopping down vines, watching out for snakes and muttering about the people following me. “Can’t they find their own path? Why do they need to follow in my footsteps?”
I am also scared. I can feel the fear clinging to my skin like the sweat that rolls down my back in the heat and humidity of the jungle.
I keep whacking at the vines. Possibly a tad too violently, but hey! They’re thick and unruly and blocking my way.
I pause to catch my breath and someone from behind bumps into me. I turn to tell them to be careful and stop.
It is me. Just a younger me. Maybe a teenager, almost adult me.
I look behind this me and see more me’s.
“Oh,” I think. “It’s me following me. No wonder they don’t go somewhere else. They can’t get away from me.”
I laugh (okay more smirk but I’d like to think I find myself funny in this predicament) and turn back to begin whacking at the vines blocking my path forward.
That’s when the inner wise woman whispers to my heart. “What would happen if you just stopped whacking your way through everything and invited the other you’s to join you in the silence and beauty of this moment where you’re at right now.
I want to tell the inner wise woman what a stupid idea that is, but I don’t. I’ve learned through the years and all my experiences that when I listen deeply to her wisdom, I find myself in peace and love.
I sigh. (I may not talk back but I am not willing to give in graciously. Yet.)
Quickly, I clear a space in the jungle where I can sit in a circle with all the other me’s.
Wow. There’s a lot of them. All varying sizes, shapes and ages. But they’re all me.
In the light that is able to filter through the clearing, I see their faces.
“Why do you keep following me?” I ask them. A tad huffily but not quite as ungracious as my ‘Fine’ response to the inner wise woman.
“We have nowhere else to go but be with you,” one of the me’s, she’s about 30, says to me.
“Aren’t you tired of following me?” I ask.
They all laugh in unison. “YES!” they cry out as one.
“Then stop,” I reply. Ha! Take that inner wise woman.
The smart-alec me, she’s about 13, smiles at me knowingly. “Hmmm. You just don’t learn do you?”
“Of course I do,” I reply huffily. I do not say, well if you’d learned your lessons way back when maybe I wouldn’t have said what I said now!
I think I’m pretty smart.
I sit and smile smugly at all of the me’s gathered in the circle.
No one says anything. They just sit silently watching me, their eyes loving and kind.
Finally, I break the silence. “What am I supposed to do with all of you?” I wail. “I gotta get through this jungle and you’re slowing me down.”
Just then, the inner wise woman whispers into my heart, “Invite them in.”
“Yes,” say all the me’s gathered in the circle. “Invite us in. Welcome us. Love us. We are all part of you.”
I am a bit taken aback by their response. They can hear her too?
And, seriously, there’s a lot of them…
But I know truth when I hear it.
And I’m tired of fighting myself.
So I invite them in. Embrace them. Integrate them within my entire being.
And as I do, the jungle disappears and I am standing on a hillside, bathed in sunlight. Birds sing. Flowers blossom. Rabbits play in the grass.
I am no longer afraid. No longer sweating. I am home.
So… this dream really did come to me this morning as I lay in bed, not quite awake, not quite asleep.
It is profound.
In times of crisis, inner knowing and beauty can rise to the top if we are willing to stop fighting what we wish was true. In loving acceptance of ourselves (all our selves) we flow into acceptance of what is. In that place, regardless of the times around us, love and grace flow freely. We are free.