We are supposed to be in Oregon tonight, on our way to an annual dreamwork retreat at the gorgeous Breitenbush Retreat Center. Two weeks ago, we were supposed to be in Chicago for my nephew’s wedding, which got postponed and, as of tonight, postponed again. Last month, we were to be with an amazing gathering of dreamers in Smithers, BC. Like most of us, we have cancelled, changed plans, stayed in place. Instead, we are exploring the quiet places in Maine where we have landed.
Our dreamwork retreats are all about community, about gathering with our work with dreams as the center that holds the gathering together. At retreats, we open questions posed by the dreams, we deep dive into lines of inquiry, we let the healing/blossoming/grief/possibility of all that dreaming offers work in us. And all together. It is a unique way to build community, from the inside out. We eat meals together, take walks. We have solo time and group time. We go to retreats to carve out time for ourselves away from the day-to-day.
The day-to-day has changed, probably forever.
I wish I could carve out time for people who are working the medical front lines, who have been facing the most terrible aspects of this pandemic. Not just applauding them, but carving out time for them to rest. And to have time to process all they have witnessed, all they have had to do, all the decisions.
I wish I could carve out time for people who have lost people who are beloved to them – time for grieving in their traditions, time for gathering with other beloveds telling stories, crying together, beginning the process of being with loss.
I wish I could carve out time and space for all of us to be with our beloveds, not just with big space between, but with. Around tables of good food, around firepits, around celebrations of love and celebrations of life. Around simply celebrating friendship and family.
I am carving out time in other ways. Walks with my daughter, baking with my daugher’s friend who is staying with us (who is becoming my friend too), movies and drives with my beloved, zoom calls, writing time. Letting all of these sweetnesses be part of.
We will return to Oregon, Smithers. My dear nephew and his beloved will marry and we will be able to celebrate them. I miss all of these things.
And I feel the thread of love that moves through it all – that connects me to the sweet dreamers who would be heading to Oregon, too, as they have for many years; that connects me to the sweet dreamers in Smithers; that connects me to my friends and dreamers; that connects me to my family. I feel the thread, in all of this, of love.
The kind of love that won’t go away. A thread I first learned to deeply trust through dreams and dreaming and that I am continuing to learn out here, in the waking world. Even in all of the hard, the pandemic, the disparity, the fear. Even as the pandemic reveals the deep places of true separation, of disparity, of all the “isms” that divide us from one another, of all the places where we have learned to hate.
The kind of love that won’t go away. That has never gone away. I witness it in the devotion of the front line workers, especially at medical places; I witness it in the strangers who respectfully step off-path so that we can have safe distance; I witness it in my friends hearts when we talk; I witness it here in my home every day; I witness it in our dreams (yes, even the scary ones); I have witnessed it in my nephew’s eyes for his beloved.
It never goes away. This is what I have learned, the core of it, from 20 years of working with dreams. Even as the pandemic is revealing even more clearly how deeply things are wrong in many of our structures, even as we grieve, even as we are scared – it never goes away. This kind of love.
This kind of love that includes our sorrow, that includes our anger, that includes our fight, that includes our exhaustion. That includes sweetness, joy, hilarity. The kind of love that does not ignore all the feelings that come with all that happens, is happening, but that holds it, gives it a place to be.
May we all remember/discover that there is a place to be with all of this. In this kind of love.