This dream is over 30 years old and still as fresh as ever in my mind. I recorded it at the time, knowing the implications were life-changing; indeed, it changed my outlook on life at a profound level and I can honestly say that it was from this point that my own inner journey changed gear.
Diary – 19th October 1981
I was in a strange town and I was searching for someone. I don’t know who. Someone I cared for very much. But I wasn’t alone. The town was deserted, but I wasn’t alone. There were two figures, men perhaps, serene and beautiful, but their faces were immobile, without expression. Their hair was long and their robes were colourless rather than white. There was something very ‘wrong’ about them, neither their hair nor their clothing seemed to move and they felt menacing, powerful, though not evil.
They were herding me out of town, along a cliff top. I had no choice but to go where they willed, though no word was spoken and they never came close enough to touch. The path led down towards a bay. The sea, sand and cliffs were all of the same colourless hue. The beach was full of people, pale clad and aimless, alive, but vague, their eyes unfocussed and their faces devoid of life. There was nowhere to go, no escape from the beach, bounded by the white cliffs and pale sea, but they seemed not to care or even notice.
The Figures stopped halfway down the cliff path. There was a white tree beside a pool of clear water. The branches were bare and the wood polished of all texture, like driftwood. No-one spoke and yet I was told, somehow, that this was the Fountain of Forgetfulness and I should bathe in it to wash away all the pain of my loss, all the old heartaches and suffering in my life. I had only to bathe and all the hurt would be forgotten. At the same time I was shown, like a slow motion picture that I could feel, with all the remembered emotion, all the things in my life I would love to forget. Wounds were laid bare in my soul and I was given the chance to wipe the slate clean. And I wanted to forget the pain, to have no memory of tears.
I did not bathe.
I realised that to forget the hurt would be to deny the happiness and forget the lessons learned through the pain. To forget would have made me one of the colourless people, like those on the beach, denying my own humanity. No, I chose to remain myself; whole, imperfect and human.
I have never regretted that choice, though I have questioned it deeply. I have found great joy in life and known much loss and grief yet always in the depths of my heart, I have believed since that night, that there is a reason for everything and life is a series of opportunities to learn and grow.
Now, after the horror and joys of the last three years, this dream is as valid and important to me as ever. It would be too easy to founder in despair and lose hope, too easy to wallow in negative emotions. I have had my moments. Were I not so far from perfect I would not need the lessons, now would I? There have been days when the situation seemed overwhelmingly impossible, moments when I feared things would never improve. Yet fear is the most negative emotion of all and is its own self-fulfilment. Those nadir moments then become the impetus for a renewal of hope and determination.
We cannot change what HAS happened, nor can we, with certainty, predict what WILL. But we can choose how we live NOW, what path we choose to take from the crossroads every second presents us with. We write our own story.