Dreams From My Father

My dad came to me several times in the days following his death. Two of those visitations were in dreams.

In the first dream two hummingbirds flew into the enclosed porch where I was sitting with him, the room he spent most of his last 11 months in, recovering from chemo and radiation treatments, and when I put up my hand for them to land on, they instead hovered above it, boring their long, narrow beaks into the space between my first and second knuckles. I writhed with pain, inside, but didn’t flinch, holding still while they…sucked out nectar? Pollinated me?

As they flew off, I turned and thrust my wounded hand in his direction, imploring my dad to “help me, fix me, I’m hurt,” like I often did in real life. As a doctor, a veterinarian, he was who I turned to when sick or hurt, knowing his gift for healing. Especially of those who couldn’t explain what was the matter.

I looked at the sizeable hole the hummingbirds made – a small marble could have fit, yet there was no bleeding, and it was deep black, the darkest color I ever saw. The closer I peered, the more I realized I was looking into the abyss. Endless, boundless universe.

In the second dream, I was alone at my sister’s house and opened the door to let her cat out. Shortly afterwards, I saw a fox leaping gracefully across the yard, playful, yet intent. Entranced for a moment, I then suddenly remembered the cat was outside, nearby, and I rushed out the door, but couldn’t reach her fast enough. I helplessly watched as the fox grabbed her, sank its claws, and rendered her defenseless. She immediately relaxed, her body slumped and stopped struggling. It happened so fast. Alive one moment, surrendered the next.

That was 3 months ago. I haven’t dreamt since.

Until last night.

In this dream, my friends Tammy and Geof were showing me their grandfather’s house and the rural hamlet he lived in. I was looking to move and wanted to be someone’s roommate, and they thought we’d be a perfect match.

On our way there, I walked ahead of them into town, searching for something. Everything was intensely magnified. The green was greener than where I live now, the surrounding mountains were higher and more thickly forested. The few houses were old, and made of stone, just like the ones I coveted as a child and still hope to someday live in. No one was one the street at all, the townspeople all tucked inside. The scene was clean, orderly, pristine, natural, beautiful.

I walked into one of only two establishments and it was filled with kids – an ice cream shop. The brightness of overhead lights was strong and the hubbub overstimulating, so I left. I didn’t go into the other place – a serious, upscale restaurant, but I knew I would eventually – the twinkling lights on the windows highlighted the warm festivities inside. When I get settled in…

Then, feeling guilty I had rushed ahead without my friends, I walked briskly back down to the park, and found them relaxing with their grandfather and their son. We reunited.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After the first 2 dreams, I looked up Hummingbird and Fox in Ted Andrews’ book of animal totems, “Animal Speak, The Spiritual & Magical Powers of Creatures Great & Small.”

Hummingbirds represent tireless joy and the nectar of life. The most skilled flyer, they can change direction on a dime, fly thousands of miles – a seemingly impossible journey for a bird who needs to eat constantly, and are fiercely independent and revel in their freedom.

Foxes are a symbol of shapeshifting and camouflage, a sign of a new world growing and opening up, a beneficial creation in the works. They’re charming, and will distract you with jumping and leaping antics, until they pounce and capture their prize.

Now, a little back story about the small town and my friends’ role in it. Three years ago while visiting Tammy and Geof, who live in a small New England town, I listen while Geof shares some crazy thought he has that I might be happier moving out of NYC and to someplace like Vermont or Maine. I mostly ignore this idea at the time.

Months later, I’m invited to Maine, and suddenly remember Geof’s words. I rediscover Camden, where I once wanted to move, two decades earlier. It feels right this time. I pack up my life in the city, and here I am today, loving it.

Sooo…are T & G arbiters of my geography, and if so – is this about my inner landscape or the outer one? Is everything about to become more orderly and amped up?

How is my life shapeshifting? Am I about to capture my prize? Surrender to something?

Was one of my dad’s last gifts to empower me to live joyfully, on purpose, and suck from the nectar of life?

I figure my subconscious has been at work these months integrating the wisdom of my father and of the animals he tended, with my own beliefs, gut feelings from friends, and divine guidance. The unfolding ways of how I’ll live the rest of my life.

May I Have This Naked Dance?

“I want to dance naked in public.” ~ Jerry Saltz, NY Magazine art critic, speaking at the Rockport Opera House Sunday night, on why we create art.

Yes. It’s why I write. Why I speak. Why I live. I want to be seen and heard and feel ALIVE. And I want you to experience aliveness, to push and pulse with what calls you forth. I resonated with Jerry as he shared his perspective on creating and viewing art. “Art is about experience. It isn’t something you understand. It’s like pleasure – one of the most important forms of knowledge.”

Ah, pleasure…imagine a world in which we allowed the pleasurable to teach and lead us…what a full-of-wonder way to know we are alive.

I watched as he paced the stage, speaking of zones of safety we keep ourselves in, not daring to explore what’s just beyond the light already cast. He called out a few well-known artists, even some who were in the audience, issuing an invitation to exult, to expand, to excavate. Stop repeating what’s worked up until now. But why do we care what a former truck driver has to say?

Meaningful was when Jerry invited his wife, make-or-break you NYTimes art critic Roberta Smith, on stage. During the Q&A, she addressed this very question on why we do care about any one person’s opinion, and riffed on the crucial role culture must provide in our modern world. That without it- without discourse and education on art – we are barren and lost. I need give no examples of this; they are everywhere.

Yet, there is fertility.

As he shared his story of his entry into the art world, which didn’t begin until his forties, we saw validation of the late-bloomer, the demons of insecurity that plague all of us, and a quirky and endearing humor of a humble man who’s been nominated three times for a Pulitzer. How he first mimicked the stance and opinions of others and eventually unfolded himself, and let his voice soar. We saw an authentic presenter, not some stiff lecturer telling us Truth, but simply what he believes, what his eyes see. He urged us onward, away from declaring I Believe in Truth, I Believe in Beauty: “Don’t take refuge there. Find the blood, the sex, the self…the pleasure!”

He was real. Unpredictable. I loved him.

Be born again through art, he seemed to say.

My life changed when I finally ‘got’ all those Madonna and Childs in Italy, and stopped seeing them as authoritative, and merely reflective of that era’s cultural environment. When the work of Alexander Calder and Brancusi inspired me – literally, breathed life into my body – revealing mysteries un-ponderable in paintings, it was like learning another language. When I started scribbling on scraps of paper, then crafted them into essays for others to read, I found context for my joy…and now I’m learning to stand with an audience and speak deep truths out loud. Naked, indeed.

Creating form thrills. Hearing your connecting-of-the-dots excites. Sharing impressions draws us closer.  We are enriched through creation – as producers, as consumers, and yes, even as critics. I care about what you have to say, in the vehicle only you have the key to.

I want to witness you in your moment of creation, to see you translate what’s in your mind and heart and offer it up to us all. I want to dance naked, with you, in public, and have the whole world join us.

I Need Your Help! (corrected link)

There’s exciting changes going on in my world, dear readers!

I’ve been diligent and curious and have immersed myself in deep business education, community engagement, and rigorous self-examination …and heck if I’m not gaining momentum! Very soon I’ll be launching a new website and business – an evolution of who I’ve become through my commitment to a daily writing practice, which was hugely facilitated by a 14 month-long Maine sabbatical.

Note to anyone on the verge: while I recognize each of us has our own path to walk, I cannot recommend Maine highly enough as a place to connect with your own rhythm, the natural world, and a fiercely supportive community. My time there has been essential to the blossoming you are witnessing. The world is too much with us, and we must find our place back within her larger cradle in order to take root authentically. I look forward to giving back to Maine as a creative collaborator, entrepreneur, and advocate…for all she’s given me.

What you’re privy to now is the unfolding of a venture I’m bootstrapping, girded by an unassailable desire to be in service to the world, the gathering of tools with which I’ll operate, and the security of knowing…

…We have everything we need.

Rumi is leading the way. ~ “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”

I’m gaining mastery in obstacle removal, having discovered his golden key to transformation and action.

Exchange anything you truly want in place of the word ‘love,’ and you’ll see my inspiration: wealth, happiness, a beautiful home, fulfilling work, healing… the answers to your deep longings are waiting to be discovered, uncovered, recovered, because they’ve been there, covered, the whole time. Like when you’re looking for your glasses, and then look in the mirror and see them perched atop your head. Yeah, just like that.

One thing I’ve long sought is freedom, and along my path I’ve learned that – oh wonder of wonders, silly girl – I already am free. A revelation! Obvious, yet not really to so many of us. Another thing I’ve sought is a feeling of power – not over others, but within myself, and that, too, I’m unlocking. The more I honor the ME that I really, truly am and drop the masks, the fears of being rejected or misunderstood, the more I emerge as an authentic, powerful woman. Who knew that what the world craved was me? (and you, too, by the way).

Yet, I haven’t done it alone. It feels like a massive conspiracy – or convergence of all I’ve ever been and everyone I’ve ever known ~including every one of you, because you’ve given me your valuable attention, and I thank you for that. It hasn’t happened overnight, either, although once I launch my new site and blog and business, I know it’ll feel like a birthday – that one big world debut! (Better go shoe shopping now…gotta step out in style!)

For those who’ve gone before me, you know all the incremental steps that result in one big leap. And for those who are still gathering courage and clarity, know it’s ALL part of the unfolding. I spent a lot of time swirling around in eddies, and it does teach you something… (mostly how the view from the hamster wheel could use a new scenery designer.)

For now, I’ll leave you with a glimpse of the future unveiling…

I’m developing a consulting business as a hiring specialist. I will help businesses who struggle with finding great staff attract, interview, and hire trusted, hospitality-driven employees who drive sales, ensure customer loyalty, and build brand trust. I’m writing a book about my methods and techniques, and am developing a curriculum as well. I’m propelled by the desire for people to have meaningful work lives, living the life they’ve imagined (thank you, Thoreau), alongside others who are also meaningfully employed. Win/win for everyone!

To do this I need your help.

If you are in a position of hiring, such as a business owner, recruiter, or hiring manager, I would so appreciate you helping me by completing this survey.

If you are not in a hiring capacity, but know someone who is, please pass this along – to three people if possible. The more information I have, the more customized and effective will be my offerings.

I’m thrilled to share this news of what’s unfolding for me, and look forward to having you along…

With much love and gratitude,

Kellie

%d bloggers like this: