Sunday, August 15, 2004

Breathing and Dreaming

Been having a lot of vivid, crazy dreams lately, almost every night. And while at first it worried me that my dreams left me feeling less rested when I woke up in the morning than when I went to bed, I've realized that they have been trying to tell me some important things that I needed to be reminded of.

I dreamt last night that I was living in an artists' community--a multi-purpose, live-work-play space that included a black-box theater, communal kitchen, and big, drafty bathrooms. I was getting ready for my first-ever one-woman show, and it was opening night. But I didn't even have any lines written, didn't have any movement prepared, didn't have any music picked out. But I had my costumes. I had a stage crew. I had my sweetie helping me out with props and tech stuff.

I was freaking out because I realized that I had announced that I was doing my first-ever one-woman show, and people were coming to see it that very night, and I was totally unprepared. I ran around like a chicken with its head cut off for a while, worrying and stressing and wondering what the hell I was going to do.

And then I just stopped freaking out and started breathing and working. I turned on some music ("Like Cockatoos" by the Cure, a song I danced too way back in high school once) and started moving to it, letting the reverbed, echoing guitar riffs and rhythmic percussion guide me. I danced around the theater and went down into full splits (I can always do stuff in dreams that I can't really do in real life), and suddenly realized, "Hey, this is going to be okay."

I've been experiencing a low-grade identity crisis--caught somewhere between writer, dancer, activist, non-profit fundraiser, partner and daughter, with none of those things providing me with the heavy anchor of discipline that my organizational work used to provide on a day-to-day basis. I've wondered if I'm doing the right thing, if this whole writing thing is really where my destiny lies, or whether I'm just daydreaming and squandering my precious time on selfish and foolish pursuits while the real world's tumults and traumas taunt and haunt me, speak to that nagging voice inside me that says I should just get serious and do some real work.

Dreams provide me with a lot of insight. Even when they are violent, scary or anxiety-ridden, I learn something about myself from them that helps me in my waking life, in my relationships, in my work. This dream has reminded me that I am doing just fine, I just need to breathe, play some music, dance and keep on keepin' on.

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