Subconscious Mind, Meet Conscious Mind

I’m partial to the school of thought which purports that the subconscious mind is where it’s at. Buried deep beneath the layers of rationality lies the truth. This truth often reveals itself in our dreams. Pretty basic Psych 101 stuff. However, my subconscious mind could learn a thing or two from my conscious mind, things about leaving people in the past and moving on.

Last night, more like in the wee hours of this morning, I had a dream so intense, so real, it made me wonder if I had spent an hour or two traveling through a parallel universe. The central characters were a person I knew well and me, myself, and I. My intense, middle-of-the-night dreams tend to be surrealistic masterpieces. Dali would be proud. Last night’s dream, however, wasn’t whimsical and bizarre. It was straight out of what could have happened.

Doesn’t seem all that bad so far. Well, the entire situation with this person is one from which I am moving on in my conscious life. Our relationship is irreparable, at least in his eyes. I’ll likely never see or speak to him again. Twenty years of everything you can imagine, someone I thought would be there ’til the end. You get the picture. Ah, but I have overcome my struggle and made significant progress in terms of moving forward. I’m at the point that, while I will always wonder about him, I can accept not having him in my life. He is the past. My conscious mind has done a find job of convincing me it’s time to let go.

And then my subconscious mind took over. All-powerful, not-so-fast-with-the-moving-on. I’m almost afraid to go to sleep. I don’t want to continue watching the series, as touching as the first episode was. Not to go into every last detail of the dream, but it was sweet. The backdrop was rainy, steel gray, almost Blade Runner-like. Sweet, really. We were in a familiar place, near the Burnside Bridge, on the east side. At some point, we ended up in my apartment. That part wasn’t real, since I’ve lived in a house for almost 15 years. My dream apartment had the same dark gray urban grittiness.

The moment in this nighttime excursion into the depths of my being which has stuck with me, all day, is the moment he hugged me and told me everything was going to be alright. It felt so real. I can’t shake the feeling. I want to shake the feeling. The feeling is interfering with my conscious life. I want to take my subconscious mind aside and introduce it to my conscious mind.

There are other details about the dream, much too personal to share. Just know they added to the realism of the whole shebang. No frolicking with unicorns through green hills in this dream. Just raw emotion.

A part of me is grateful for the dream. Maybe I can hold onto it, remember the good moments we shared. Yet, I don’t know if I want to. Seems like that would only keep me clinging to the past.

It’s a little past midnight. Time to turn off the screen light. Time to wander into dreamland, again. I hope my subconscious mind explores magical, fanciful, unreal things tonight. I don’t want another visit from him in my dreams. I don’t want to return to that parallel universe. Perhaps on some level I do, but I can’t. I need to be fully present in this universe, this reality, moving forward. Without him.

 

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The Last Of The Sugar Holidays

Easter, or the last of the sugar holidays, as I like to call it. Well, for the next six months at least. The cycle begins again in October with my beloved Halloween. The summer holidays don’t really involve candy. Memorial Day Reese’s? I don’t think so. The summer holidays are more about pies (yes, which include sugar) and mayo-based salads.

I know some people would be aghast at my description of Easter as a sugar holiday. What can I say? I’m a secularist. However, I do appreciate having a faith so strong that you have no interest in chomping the ears off a chocolate bunny. Sometimes I envy that kind of faith. It must provide boatloads of comfort in this crazy world. I’m caught somewhere between the secular and the spiritual. I dabble, incorporating aspects from many of the world’s great religions. Buddhism suits me the best, a loose version of it. I’m also fascinated by Paganism and the importance of being connected to the Earth. And Christianity has some wonderful aspects. To be a formal member of one specific church, however, so not me.

Using religion as a tool of oppression or to justify bad deeds, that’s where I have a problem, which is stating the obvious. Seems too easy to go down that road. I don’t know… Just be a good person and realize no one is perfect. Pretty simple. Do you need ritual and books to teach you that?

Now that you are fully informed on my feelings about organized religion, back to the sugar holiday. Nostalgia took over and I made myself an Easter basket. Whoppers, Cadbury Chocolate Eggs, Jelly Beans, big Almond Joy Eggs, the aforementioned Chocolate Bunny. The only thing I’m missing is the $5 bill I used to find in my basket as a wee one. Wouldn’t be the same if I gave myself a $5 bill. Oh, and Peeps. I ate one first thing this morning. I know why I prefer to use them for decorative purposes. One will induce a serious sugar coma.

Mini-danishes for breakfast, along with a hard-boiled egg sans decorated shell. I was thinking of going the natural dye route this year, using beet juice and such. Seemed like too much work. As for the mini-danishes, they’re not so mini when you eat five. Egg salad is on the menu for lunch, followed by a bottle of rose, and that pretty much wraps up this holiday. No family dinner this year. We had a delicious St. Patrick’s Day family dinner. We’re not Irish.

Watching parts of the Pope’s Easter mass is what prompted my thoughts on organized religion. Almost three hours is a bit much for me. A couple of years ago, I started watching Christmas Eve and Easter masses. I’m fascinated by the pomp and circumstance, and I like Pope Francis. He’s genuine. I respect that, even if I don’t agree with all of the Catholic Church’s teachings. His emphasis on helping the poor and suffering is pretty much what I think organized religion should be all about. As a student of art history, I’m also intrigued by the architecture in St. Peter’s Square. All that ornate design. Such a contrast to the Lutheran church I used to occasionally attend on Christmas Eve with my grandparents. And the flowers… So colorful and welcoming. It’s raining in Rome, so everyone is holding up bright yellow and white umbrellas.

Man this is long. I might have to see if I can find “Easter Parade” on YouTube. I tried to find “It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown” earlier this morning. I could only find the scene of Snoopy skipping along against a peachy-pink sky, delivering Easter eggs, to a happy tune. An adorable scene, but I wanted more than two minutes of the Peanuts, for free of course. Told ya I was a secularist.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Easter Monday was a holiday in the States? We’re so stingy with the holiday weekends in this country. So, Easter afternoon becomes just another Sunday. Loads of laundry and prepping for the work week ahead.

I was going to plant something today, thinking the sky would be filled with the glorious sunshine they predicted. Ah, but that was yesterday. I went coatless for the first time in months. We are having a breezy morning in these parts. My new wind chimes are chiming up a storm. The branches of the flowering trees are swaying to the beat. Aside from the sugar, I love the springtime beauty of Easter. Everything is alive again. Hm. Sounds like another story.

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Magical Fuss

What was all the fuss about? Reaching this stage is magical. OK… Maybe not magical. (It’s National Unicorn Day. I have magical on the brain.) Let’s go with satisfying. Being able to look back at a way-too-dramatic event and ask, “What was all the fuss about?” Well, it’s very satisfying.

As much as I’m a proponent of packing up your knapsack and moving on, I know the process isn’t that easy. I’ve dealt with the moving on process a time or two, or seven, in my life. Recognizing the stages, however, is important. That’s how you know you are making true progress. Give yourself time, but be proactive.

I’ve been working through a certain situation for a couple of years now. After many stops and starts, I’m pretty sure I’ve reached the what was all the fuss about stage. Was that person, and the situation, worth so much of my time? No. The situation brought me some joy; it also brought me a lot of grief and heartache. The person brought me some joy; he also brought me a lot of grief and heartache. I have some fond memories and nostalgia to curl up with on a rainy night. However, I’m also getting bored with my walks down Memory Lane, at least in this circumstance.

I’m ready for something new, or nothing at all. I’m also a believer in karma. Some days I think I should have been letting Ms. Karma just do her work all along. I’ve experienced karma on my end, and so will he. At least I hope so. I’m never 100 percent confident when it comes to matters of faith. I’ve had to come to terms with the ramifications of my behavior. Like it not, he will have to do the same. By doing so, we can both move beyond the fuss. I can at least, and that’s all that matters to me.

The fuss doesn’t even have to make sense. The most important thing is that it no longer matters. This isn’t to say I’m completely over the pain. No way. However, the pain is now becoming more distant, harder to recall. That is a pretty satisfying feeling.

Drifting Away On A Tune

Sitting here in just the right spot on the couch, on a pile of disheveled, yet very soft, blankets. Just enough pillows to prop me up. Windows and screen doors open, a gentle, early spring breeze cleaning out the winter dust. Listening to my “Starry Summer Nights and Lazy Summer Days” playlist. I like to get creative with playlist titles. Not quite summer morning temperatures… I’m still wearing a swacket (sweater jacket). I don’t know if it’s too early to plant those lavender seeds. My coffee is getting a little muddy. I made it three hours ago. Nonetheless, I am definitely enjoying this moment of reprieve. Decompression, only to be compressed again on Monday. Such is the weekly cycle.

Back to that playlist. “Desafinado” is song four. The magical Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto version from 1963. Timeless. I’m drifting back in time, twenty years or so, to a warm, more likely hot, July night. I was enchanted by the Getz/Gilberto bossa nova album. I remember what I was wearing… Some silly 90s wannabe riot grrrl outfit, involving shortalls and Dr. Martens. Ah, but everything was perfect, at least while listening to the swaying sounds of bossa nova.

Fast forward twenty years, and I’m wearing a Doors t-shirt, which I might have bought at Target, and it’s awesome. Omnipresent yoga pants. How did we gals exist before yoga pants as fashion? And that swacket I mentioned. “Desafinado” is now on repeat. Each time the song plays, the clouds part a little, the sun shines a bit brighter. I see beautiful blue sky between the breaks in the clouds. I can’t be mad while listening to this song. Maybe I should be upset? No, I don’t want to be. I feel like the hurt is passing, as it always does with time. Passed by pretty quickly this time around. All I want to do these days is drift away on my favorite tunes, in yoga pants of course.

Tiny Memories

Yesterday, someone mentioned Colorado and it sparked a memory trail in my brain. We lived there when I was a wee one, from about age two to five. Funny how I can remember details from so long ago, when my brain was pure and ready to be filled with knowledge.

The memories are clouded in that dreamlike veneer, but they are there. Making snow angels. Holding my grandma’s hand as we walked to meet my older sister at school. My mom showing us the outline of the Rocky Mountains in the distance. Long weekend trips to visit my grandparents who were living in Wyoming at the time. All that flat, Wild West land alongside the highway. The neighbor’s German Shepherd, named Chief, who used to stand up on the other side of the fence, barking at the little, bratty ones who were boldly curious about this creature. Watching The Wizard of Oz for the first time. Chicken pox. The excitement I felt when my parents told us we were moving to this strange place called Oregon, way out there in the woods, yet close to the ocean.

I was born in California, but remember nothing about my childhood there. I know I was there, however, because my birth certificate is from Cali. The Pacific Northwest is now my home, so many memories that I can’t travel down the smallest, unpaved road without sharing a story. There is just something about those early memories. I didn’t really know what unhappiness was back then… Hadn’t experienced heartbreak and disappointment. I was content to be surrounded by my family, gaggle of neighborhood pals, and Chief the dog, in all his gruffness.

These days, I tend to have a selective memory. Storing the really good ones for future use and filing away the ones I’m not all that interested in revisiting. Curating my memories takes much more work these days. And ask me to recall what happened five minutes ago… Good luck with that. However, I take comfort in knowing those memories of childhood wonder and discovery will always be there, in dreamy golden-green hues.

On Repeat

What song do you have on repeat? You know the one that comes together in sonic perfection. The lyrics speak to you. The arrangement sinks into your being. You sing along, know every last chord. As an unabashed music fan, my song can change daily. (Last night, it was the Eddie Murphy/Rick James 1985 masterpiece, “Party All The Time.”) However, I have a list that I always return to. The list I’m going to carry in my pocket until my time is up.

As I was shopping for egg noodles this evening (tuna casserole was on the menu), I heard “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” I know I’ve heard it before on the grocery store muzak system. Still, it makes me laugh whenever I do. Tonight, it sounded really good on the soundsystem. Loud. I started singing along as I strolled down the aisle to grab a couple of cans of tuna. It was an early Sunday evening. I was the only person in that aisle.

That song is definitely on my list. Ah, but it’s not the tune on repeat tonight. “Alone Again Or” by Love is tonight’s selection. If you’ve never heard it, do yourself a favor and give it a listen. 1960s music magic. Candles, a glass of wine, a cozy blanket, the whirl and warmth of the space heater, and that song on repeat. I don’t want to be anywhere else right now.

 

Wishing Well

One of the greatest challenges during any post-relationship, friendship, situation, etc., is wishing the other person well. And meaning it. Deep in my psyche and soul, I know wishing the best for another person is the right thing to do, both for me and the other human. However, it sure isn’t easy. It’s not like I don’t want the person to be happy and healthy. I want everyone to be happy and healthy. However, I want that other person to realize the error of his ways. To feel a few regrets. He doesn’t even have to express them to me; I just want him to feel that tinge of if only things had ended differently.

Throughout all my reading on the nature of forgiveness and moving on, through my contemplation and self-reflection, I still can’t get over that little bump in the road. That little bump he created by moving on without worrying about my forgiveness. I admire that on some level. He seems to be the one who has truly transcended what happened between us. Then again, he always has. I’m the one who wanted a truce, some kind of understanding between us. I’m pretty sure he just doesn’t care. Male and female differences, perhaps? That would be a nice and easy explanation.

I suppose it would be sufficient to wish someone well without being happy for him. I’ve always thought the whole, “I’m happy for you” thing was a repressive denial. Of course you’re not happy for the person… Yet that doesn’t mean you can’t wish him or her well. Knowing that you’ve achieved a certain level of acceptance and are doing this for you, that’s really all that matters. We all have to fight our own battles, wrestle with our own demons, move on in our own way. Let the other person do the same.

I dabble in Buddhism, only because it is the one religion that makes the most sense to me. The concept of acceptance is powerful. You don’t have to agree with the outcome. Rather, you accept reality for your own sanity and well-being. I see this as being rational, not deluding yourself. Oh, but the work you must put in to get to the point of true acceptance. I’m getting there, day-by-day.

This leads me to another point. Every person has his or her own timeline. We don’t all come to the point of acceptance at the same speed. You’ll know when you’ve reached that point. Even when you have reached the next stage, you have to work to maintain acceptance. Easy to fall off the wagon and return to a state of bitterness.

I wish you well.