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Just because a relationship ends, that doesn’t mean it stops affecting us. People who were once part of our lives remain in our hearts and memories, as well as in the stuff they leave behind. Sometimes it’s as if they are ghosts inhabiting the objects that remind us of them. These objects are clutter when they make us feel melancholy, regretful, fearful, or lethargic. When they remind us of our loss and pain, they can split us off from the things that matter to us now and can keep us from creating new, fulfilling relationships.
I did not intend to be a father. It was a midlife surprise. My wife and I refer to it as an “appliance failure.”
It was the most wonderful failure of my entire life. And I would never wish it to have been any other way.
When I stood at the bedside of my wife, weary and joyful from the end of her labor, and held that child of our making in my arms for the first time, I understood the meaning of “miracle.” That little being looking back at me was at once a part of me and totally distinct from me. He was “self” and “other” formed into one.
Dreams are not on our case; they are on our side. This is one of my personal mantras about dreams and (yes) it applies even to nightmares.
In my personal lexicon, a nightmare is not only a “bad” or scary dream; it is an interrupted or aborted dream. We are so frightened, we run away. We wake ourselves up and try to slam the door on the dream experience, hoping that it is “only” a dream and can’t get out and come after us. This is a very foolish strategy. The challenges we face in dreams are challenges that life itself is presenting to us. If we learn to confront the underlying issues inside the dream space, we may be able to prevent those issues from blowing up in our regular lives. This may require us to take action in waking life, based on what we have learned in our dreams; but we will lack the essential data required for appropriate action if we have left the dream broken and abandoned, behind that door we are trying to keep shut.