As the dream came back to me in snippets, I remembered I had been walking out in the woods with the afternoon sun peeking through the early fall foliage like a snooping neighbor trying to see through my backyard fence. It was a garish light that threatened to make me sweat. The leaves, like a protective barrier, filtered it all and just left the lovely golden tones to accentuate my walk.
The dog was with me, loping alongside at an easy gait. He wasn't on a leash. It was one way I knew I was dreaming. That, and he was not wandering into the undergrowth as we walked. His gentle presence was a silent comfort.
I walked through leaves without making a sound, somehow. Such is the wonderful editing a dream provides. My feet felt light and I probably could have walked on forever. But just over the rise, water cut across the path and raged in a muddy torrent. How I did not hear it echoing through the trees, I wasn't sure. But it was a definite impasse. I was stuck.
The dog laid down as if the rushing waters bored him. I watched pieces of random household items rush past, as if a house had fallen into the flood. Sweaters, a box of checkers, newspapers and even some mismatched boots. The sheer power and force brought me to my knees. I had never been so close to disaster, yet so safe.
It was all I could remember.
What did it mean?
Were the items in the water parts of my own house? And where did that dog come from? I'm a cat person!
It bothered me the rest of the day, the calmness of the forest, the rage of the river, full of chaos and destruction. I'd been safe from all of it as I'd stood on the bank, yet could walk no further.
By evening, it occurred to me that I could have turned and walked in another direction. Just because I could no longer go forward hadn't meant I had been trapped. It had only meant that my current path had ended and I needed to re-evaluate all the new paths I could take instead.
I could have gone back the way I'd come. I could have walked alongside the water. I could have gone in any direction. Heck, I could have jumped into the water had I really thought about it!
Such is life.
We get so far and things are smooth and calm like a fall jaunt through a peaceful wood. Then we come to a raging river in life where everything is askew and crazy. We stop and watch, we get distracted and confused...and then hesitate. Our intention cannot be fulfilled. Our goal has been hampered or destroyed all together.
We have dreams that, at some point, get smashed while still in our hands and we have the choice of either standing there, holding the broken pieces, or letting go and starting over.
If you are at the riverbank with a broken book in your hands, consider that...even though the direction you wanted to go might be washed out with muddy water right now, there ARE other directions you can go. You don't have to stay stuck. And going back and retracing steps to find a better path is not failure.
Go back to the ultimate dream.
You can still have that.
Just get walking.
A mental reset of your dream can help you work smarter, not harder this time. Naysayers aside, this is about you and your personal journey. They don't have to live your life and, at the end of the day, you have to lay your head on the pillow in the dark of your own room and feel that you did all you could to be the best you that you could be.
It would have been nice if the initial walk had calmly ended the way we wanted.
But just because it didn't end that way doesn't mean it can't end a better way.