I’ve always been a dreamer. Let me clarify – I’ve always had intense, vivid, technicolor, complex dreams. (I’m a bit of a dreamer in the Piscean sense too, but that’s for another time.)
A childhood full of trauma and fear has often produced terror-filled, nuanced dreams in my adulthood. But never have they felt prophetic. My dreams have been always been tools used to deal with my past and sometimes visual manifestations of my anxieties. But they haven’t ever felt like illuminating guideposts and certainly never prescient. Until last year. Until the divorce.
Grief is evocative. It brings clarity and connection to something that, at best, I can describe as the Divine. For me, it brought incredibly significant dreams, some of which led me to make decisions, others that I knew were telling me where I would be – a foretelling of beauty meant to nurture a peace about the future in the midst of the chaos.
I’m a researcher. Data are where I sit comfortably; measurement and facts feel safe. Dreams that predict the future or help you to make decisions feel as though I’m telling you I took advice from a woman wearing broomstick skirts and scarves, with be-jeweled fingers wrapped around a crystal ball. Frankly, it feels flaky and weird.
With each dream, however, I awakened *knowing* that the dream was significant and incredibly powerful. Knowing it was not me – that the dream was from something/somewhere else. Knowing exactly what it was telling me. Knowing that I needed to trust the message.
Keep in mind every other dream in my life for the last 40 years has not felt this way. They have felt terrifying (I always dream about tornadoes when I’m anxious) or ugly (when I have dreamed about the abuse from my father). They have never felt like I was handed a script that said “this is what will be happening a few scenes down the road …look and understand where you’re going so that you can process where you are now.”
There have been three sets of dreams. The first set was one recurring dream early on in the first few weeks after I was served. It happened probably five or six times. The last time I had the dream I awakened from it in a panic and then realized “oh, it’s telling me to do this” … and then when I did as it instructed, and the dreams stopped.
The third, and most recent, set of dreams was about my former husband. In one of the dreams I awakened in a panic, heart pounding. I couldn’t shake the dream all day. I called my sister and my best friend, texted other friends. I felt anxious and scared about him. I dreamed he had fallen down the stairs and died in front of me. I had never had that dream before. I’ve actually had never had a terrible dream about him that I can recall. Most of my dreams about him when we were married were soft and sweet – he was the safe and comfortable part of my life; the part that didn’t cause anxiety or pain. I finally attributed the dream to my divorce and the death of my marriage until a friend told me that just a few days after the dream he fell down the stairs and was knocked unconscious, concussed, no memory of the fall, and having to go to the ER.
It was after that dream that I realized that I was supposed to understand that there is still a connection there that …well I don’t really comprehend it. But evidently it’s there; a quantum entanglement that I’m not equipped to explain at this point.
The second set of dreams, and the one that is most relevant to my current trajectory, were really only two dreams – both a foretelling of beauty to come. One of them is far too long to write here, but it basically was a step-by-step guide of what was going to happen with my job. And it has happened exactly as the dream unfolded.
The other one was simple. I was walking along a beach under a painted sky – riotous color flung around me in every shade between crimson and indigo. And I knew I was meant to be exactly there. That my life would take me to beaches and I would be completely at peace.
When I was offered this job that would take me to the Caribbean for the foreseeable future, I knew with certainty this was my job. I had turned down two other significant opportunities knowing that they weren’t where I was meant to be. Maybe the dream was a coincidence – I will own all possibilities.
When I hiked the West Highland Way through Scotland (as with most trekking journeys) there were these small trail markers reminding you, nudging you, along the way. Whispers that you were on the right path. That’s how my beach dream felt. Keep going, you’re on the right path – this is a glimpse of what’s ahead. This is how you know.
I don’t know if the dreams were just a gift to get through the divorce and the destruction of 2015 or if this is a new normal. I haven’t had a prescient dream since “the one with the stairs” in November and honestly that’s ok. I don’t know that I always want to know what’s ahead. I like the mystery. But I’m grateful for the small signs of reassurance. And for this incredible job where I get to walk on beaches…