Can You Explain My Holiday Dream To Me?
Chrismukah. Festivus. Hanukah. Christmas. Superman Thursday. Whatever you call yesterday, I slept well on the eve of it. After staying up until midnight (Decided to take a chance and see if I could see Santa Clause or Hanukah Harry come down my chimney and out of my fireplace.) Then I got sleepy eyes and fell into a deep sleep. And in that sleep I had a dream that stayed with me til’ morning.I dreamt that people all around me were turning into goats and sheep, wolves and bears, foxes and cows, transforming right before my eyes. Human one moment, then they changed for no apparent reason. Amazingly, they still talked, and when they talked they sounded like people, but their language skills were limited and hardly used. Mostly they stood around in one of three conditions. They stood content. Or quickly got into conflict. Or avoided each other entirely. Their reactions to each other happened without any apparent thought, so they went from one condition to the next as quickly as clouds change in the sky. I realized that if I stayed where I was, I would become an animal just like them. So I looked for a way to get away from this place where people became animals. It didn’t take me long to find an exit that none of them seemed to be aware of. I walked out and walked away, then kept walking, and soon found my way to a mountaintop looking out over a field the size of a large city.
The field was filled with growing things, and I could tell by the way it was laid out that it was clearly the result of cultivation and human effort. I could hear in the distance that the animals were fighting with each other about how best to peel away and destroy all that grew in the field, and return it to its wild condition. I could see, as I looked at the field, what it might look like if this were to happen, and I could imagine that the loss of all that grew there would negatively effect many. I just knew, somehow, that it was very important for that field to remain, that what grew there was necessary for people to live, and that there was much work to do in order for that field to be all that it might one day be. And I knew that I could not handle a task of that size alone.
I wandered around the edge of the field and found other people who might work with me to salvage the field. They loved the field, but had lost confidence in their ability to sustain and develop them. One of the old ones said “We did our part. We’re tired now. It’s someone else’s task.” The young ones said, “We are surrounded by animals who want to destroy it. It’s been good to us, but why should we risk anything to preserve it?” As they looked at me, their faces seemed to be asking me to tell them why they should save something that was dear to them. I knew that the reason I had stumbled into all this was to rally them to save the field. But what could I say?
I began by telling them that they were faced with a simple choice: They could let the field be undone by the animals, or they could take it on themselves to keep it going. But to keep it going, because of those animals who would undo it all if given the chance, the work they did would have to be smart and self sustaining. I told them that the whole of the future boiled down this choice.
“We either work together that we might harvest the benefits of the field for ourselves and our children, or we fight the animals, or avoid them and each other. “Then we will be just like the animals, and the field will become undone and disappear.” I said, “For me, the choice is clear. If you want to work this field today for a better tomorrow, join me. Let’s do this thing, because this field is all that keeps us from turning into animals.” There were head nods and smiles all around. Everyone seemed to know exactly what to do. It seemed important for me to devote my work to keeping this message in front of the people.
And when I awoke, I lay with my eyes closed, thinking about this message, and how I might write about it on my blog. How I might write about it every time I post on my blog. I swear, it all made such sense. And as the dream faded and the light of day grew brighter, I decided I should write all this down quickly, lest it disappear for ever, as dreams sometimes do.
The holiday itself was about as peaceful and relaxing as could be. We had nowhere to go, the snow on the road made that a certainty. My wife made chocolate covered peanut butter balls, sweetened with xylitol so we could (and did) eat lots of them. We napped and cuddled. We played with and cuddled our cat. We watched the snow fall, melt, and then fall again. We talked about our families and friends. We talked with our families and friends. We talked with each other. We laughed a lot, cried a little, sang a song or two. I played the piano. I played my electric guitar. (Haven’t done either in a long while.) My wife read a book. We counted our blessings. We lit candles. We had a fire going in the fireplace. The world inside was all pretty lights and familiar comforting things. The world outside seemed quiet under a white blanket, and we relished the peace of it all.
I’d love to hear what you think of my dream, and what you did with your holiday time. Your comments are warmly welcomed, as are your suggestions. And I expect I’ll be back next week, in the build up to New Years 2009, with some info on communication, persuasion, or maybe conflict resolution for you.