The following dream visited me a few weeks back…
An elderly white woman, well~coiffed and impeccably dressed, is forced by some unknown event to forsake her usual mode of transportation and take the subway. She sits across from a middle-aged Latino man, rather disheveled in well-worn and unwashed workingman’s clothing. His face, neck and hands are covered with open sores.
Assuming these lesions stem from illicit behavior, disapproval pinches her features as her eyes bore into him. Finally, unable to remain silent any longer, she asks, “How CAN you go out in public looking like that?!!”
The man answers in ragged phrases that clearly cost energy he does not have, sharing that he has advanced cancer and that his sores come from the treatment he is undergoing. He further explains that he works two hourly jobs, neither of which offers sick leave. He takes off without pay for the worst of the side effects, but must ‘go out in public’ as soon as possible in order to support his family.
The woman is shaken by his story. The man, who has been hunched and looking down, suddenly transforms. A new presence fills him. His back straightens, his head raises, and he turns to look directly into the woman’s eyes. His voice rings out clear and strong now as he exclaims, “May your heart break open!”
And I awoke. What a richly textured dream! Here are some of its layers…
A woman is drawn, by forces outside her control, to go deep beneath the comfortable surface of the world she usually inhabits. In that aboveground world, she is wealthy. Here, she confronts the impoverishment of her spirit.
She is shown another’s wounds, and learns that they come, not from misbehavior on his part or even from illness, but from the antidote for what ails him. She is then instructed to allow another’s oozing sores to crack open a heart grown rigid. Thus she is led to a vital truth: our reactions to our companions on this Earth-walk offer opportunities to discover~~and to heal~~wounds of our own.
While this dream heralds a time of breaking open in my own life, I share it here because its message is universal. This magnificent, chaotic and painful world of ours, in which we repeatedly bump up against one another in all our unperfected beauty, is the treatment for the wounds we carry. Or it can be, if we let it.
We are each being called to look at what has grown rigid in our psyches, that which causes us to be less kind than we might or creates a harshness of spirit that make it hard to be gracious with the wounds of others…or with our own.
So let us heed that call. May our hearts break open. And may they do so again…and again…and always yet again.
Blessings on your own breaking~open times,
And here's a link to some activities that might appeal to the women out there...