I have a recurring dream: I am crouching on the cliff edge of a very high mountain, paralyzed by the proximity of the deep abyss that I cannot see but feel, scared out of my depth of losing my grip and falling. Curiously, one night I somehow knew in my dream that I was dreaming and even though I could not wake myself from it I could think about it while I was in it. So I thought to myself: Hang on, if I’m dreaming then nothing can really happen to the real-life me, right? So what if I just let go and see what happens? And so I did….
… and no, I didn’t just take off and fly (gotcha). But it turns out I wasn’t crashing down in free fall either. It was more like a very soft descent. Like I was sitting on a cloud and was slowly being let down at a very agreeable speed. And when I landed it wasn’t in scary no-man’s-land but in a lightfilled room with lots of people I didn’t know but who looked kind and friendly.
Shortly afterwards the dream ended and I woke, still flabbergasted by how this deeply fearful moment had transformed itself into a mesmerizing experience of curiosity and pleasant surprise.
I told a friend about it. A few days later she gave me a postcard she had coincidentally come across just after I had told her my dream. It read:
Well, as I said, I didn’t actually fly. But maybe this was just my way of testing things out. With safety measures in place. Just in case.
This is really what this is about, isn’t it? Our safety measures. Most of the time they won’t even let us contemplate letting go of the most dire circumstances. We cling onto what we know, even though it might be dreadful and unpleasant, but at least we know what we know. No bad surprises.
But also no good ones.
I kept thinking about that dream and revising it in my waking life. And comparing it to the other dream versions I have had. Once the cliff edge was covered in snow. It was cold and freezing. I was not even sure if there actually was rock beneath my feet or just the frozen extension of its snow-covered edge. Needless to say I was terrified of the snow bit breaking off. And me falling. You get the gist.
In this latter dream a person was standing higher up, observing my predicament but could not or would not help me because it was too dangerous to even come closer. I was left to my own devices and had no choice but to very slowly and cautiously inch my way back up into safety on my own.
Unfortunately, in this dream it didn’t occur to me to just let go. But the more I contemplate it the more I feel this might just be what I should really do. Just let go. Of old safety measures. Of what I hold onto because it’s what I know. Of all that is not doing me any good anymore. Of all that prevents me from moving somewhere different.
I’m not good at this. At letting go. And moving on. Especially not when the only way forward seems to be one into an abyss. Then again, what if we’re just dreaming even while we are awake? Every single day of our life? What if we can always decide to just let go – and nothing bad can really happen? But a positive surprise.
Maybe it’s just my despair speaking here. But maybe, just maybe, there is reason to this inextinguishable hope I carry within me that things will get better eventually, even if I cannot quite see how, yet. That we are protected on our life’s journey. That we only find ourselves in situations that are meant to push us further.
Into finding our superpowers.
The ones we would never discover if we weren’t challenged by those situations in the first place. Because if we weren’t challenged we might just be too comfortable where we are, with no reason to venture out and look for them.
Yesterday I heard a song, a beautiful cover version. I’ve heard it before, I think. But yesterday it somehow suddenly registered with me on a different level. The voice and melody got to me first. And then the lyrics hit me:
Listening to the lyrics over and over again I realized this wasn’t about waiting for supergirl to rescue us. It was about finding the supergirl within us. The one that is sad and miserable and sometimes really does feel like nothing but crying – but is also fiercely committed to finding her own happiness again. And doing something courageous for it.
Even jumping off a cliff, trusting that wings will grow.
Not saying that I’m there yet. I think I might keep practicing this in my dream for just a bit longer. But maybe, just maybe, one day I will feel ready to do it in real life, too.
Spread my wings.
7 thoughts on “Crying or flying”
Oh, my dear…..I do so hope that you will let go and fly. Whatever happens, you will have had the experience of flying, and of let go of the things that are holding you back.
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Thank you, yes, I certainly do hope so, too….. 🙂
So cool! I used to have very similar recurring dreams myself when I was trying to leave my old career in search of a new one! I would climb a mountain or a tower quite easily, and then when I got to the top, I couldn’t get down. I was standing on the edge, paralyzed with fear, yet I got myself there in the first place, so it didn’t make any sense. I researched the key images on a dream analysis site and it was spot on to how I was feeling in my life. Once I started recognizing it and working it out in my waking life, the dreams evolved. Eventually I started being able to slowly and cautiously climb down. It was amazing. I bet you felt that way when you recognized you were in a dream. I believe these lucid dreams can really be powerful to help us move forward.
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This is fascinating! Seems to be the universal dream language of career change. How weird. And how exciting! I’ll make sure to observe how they are evolving. And hopefully, someday soon I will be able to climb down again soon, or better still, just take off and fly… 😀
PS: and good job you mentioned this: I got myself there in the first place. I’ve never thought about it this way yet. Quite right…
Lolabees, I HAVE to tell you about this dream I had last night. I was in a tower (!), descending on a winding staircase from the very high top to the bottom. At some point the stairs started to be broken until I could hardly use them. Suddenly I put three big (and burning) candles into the pockets of my trousers as decoration (!), I wasn’t scared at all that they could hurt me, and started swinging down above the stairs like a monkey, only instead of swinging from tree to tree I swung from notch to notch in the wall of the staircase, even having to turn in mid air so that I could grab onto the next one. At some point I became so confident and playful that I didn’t even worry if I was going to find a notch when and where I needed one, I just closed my eyes (!) and trusted that I would. And I always did! It was beautiful, so light and lighthearted.
When I arrived at the bottom I kept my eyes closed to savor the moment a bit longer. When I eventually opened them a guard was standing right next to me, looking at me with a serious expression. He hold me that normally he would have to do something about my unruly behavior, but it had looked so graceful and magical that he would let me go. He just wanted the candle…
I looked down and saw that two of the three candles had been used up by the wiff produced by my flight- but one was still burning.
Later I remembered that I had stored my jacket in one of the lockers, but they were all already locked up for the night. So I just left without it.
Isn’t that a cool tower dream?!!! More of those, please!
Another really nice dream post! It’s fortunate for your that you do have dreams where you don’t plummet when you let go. It almost sounds like you’ve trained yourself not to go there.
I find it interesting the way you find meaning in your dreams. I wonder if you are, or will make an effort to “let go”, of the things that are familiar, but not necessarily what you need right now?.
No matter if the dreams actually have meaning or not, I can see that you are inspired by them. Taking something from your dreams and applying it to your waking life is an amazing (and kind of surreal) step to take. Des.
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