Updated: Jun 3, 2020
Last night I dreamt I was pregnant, and while I'm 52 and in no mood to actually be pregnant, I believe this to be an entirely auspicious omen.
For years, I dreamt about being pregnant
a couple of times a month. Except for the anxiety dream of driving the car backwards and not being able to stop, it's really the only recurrent dream I've ever had. Nearly every time I have this dream I am in labor and awash with questions and uncertainty, but never anxious or afraid. Usually there is a question as to whether I am actually in labor and/or really pregnant at all; and almost always I'm wondering who the father might be. These dreams persisted throughout my 40's and abruptly stopped a couple of years ago.
At first, I thought maybe menopause had squelched
the dreams. But as time went on and I became more and more unhappy with myself, my life and several important relationships, I suspected that my very psyche, like my heart, had somehow ceased to be fertile. Those dreams had always meant, to me, that I was creating life - my life. When the pregnancy dreams stopped, I knew on some level that I'd lost my capacity to sense even the slightest pull towards my future, and had started simply bearing it as something chilly and unpalatable.
About 9 months ago, I woke up crying and couldn't stop.
I knew my marriage was over and I'd hit rock bottom in my (estranged) relationship with my only son. Fueled only by desperation, I ramped up my meditation, started going to yoga regularly, started therapy, went on a 10 and then a 7 day long silent retreat, enrolled in meditation teacher training - AND - from somewhere deep inside me, I heard a voice that said "GO", "LEAVE", "NOW". In my semi-zombie-like state, I started googling things like "escape" and "sabbatical from life". I thought about the Peace Corps and the possibility of house sitting llamas in Australia or couch surfing in Italy. Nothing felt quite right. Until I Googled "Volunteer Buddhist Monastery" and found Chandrikirti Mediation Center in Nelson, New Zealand.
That my life actually allows me to put it down for 3 months
seems further testimony to the fact that it had become but a shadow of it's former self; that I can leave it behind to travel half way around the world for a full quarter of a year is as much an astonishing blessing as it is a measure of how small it has become. No matter how you look at it, my life fits in a suitcase and tethers me not in any insurmountable way - and so without much thought, before divorce was agreed on and a full six months before my departure date of January 1, 2020, I put this out in front of me: for three months, I will work 4 hours a day, six days a week in exchange for a bed and three meals a day.
It has lived out there in my future, sustained by little more than my telling everyone who will listen "I'm going to New Zealand for three months... to a Buddhist Meditation Center" as kind of a shoreline that I just have to keep peeking my head above water to see. It's there, its been there, out in my future all this time but I can't say I've really been looking forward to it.
Two weeks from departure and, bam, a pregnancy dream;
pretty much like they've always been. This time, the questions are "how am I going to go to New Zealand now?", and "Wait, I am waaaaay to old for this!", and "can I still get divorced?". The fog that descended mercilessly 9 months ago has been lifting slowly, too slowly to really account for in any real sense. But this - this dream - leaves me utterly clear that my capacity to look forward to something may be coming back; that I'm no longer looking forward as in staring straight ahead and simply knowing there is something there.