I dreamed I was guiding an outdoor meditation in a city park, with a group of familiar students. As I walked though the grass in order to be heard, the group got larger. Passersby stopped to join us: business suits, dog walkers, even a large collection of students dressed in marching band outfits. I navigated the grassy hill, cautiously stepping around them as I tried to stay focused on projecting my voice over the growing sounds of the city; working to verbally prompt them to mindfully attend sensations in a coherent way while gingerly tip-toeing around distracting bodies and sounds. Even in the dream, this irony was not lost on me.
I had a dream that I was held hostage in an old city department store. I’d been there with the two younger of my three children, but we got separated in the crowd. I felt sure they remained together and hoped they were safe. A woman’s baby was crying and she didn’t seem able to quiet him. We were all nervous the sounds of this child would expose us to our attackers. As I approached, she handed him off to me and I was able to calm and comfort him. I felt relieved to be useful.
At the end of this dream, many of us made our escape out a loading dock. My older child was there in the crowd and we were both so relieved and thankful to see each other alive. He had a ride with a friend and we said goodbye just as my youngest child pulled up in a car (not yet old enough to drive). Surprised and pleased, I got into the back seat. I was shoeless and trying to dress as my child quickly navigated the streets. Once we were on the twisting highway, the road was less crowded. I noticed he’d slipped down into the driver’s seat a bit and was dozing. Shocked, I ordered him to pull over so I could drive. I got into the driver’s seat and began to drive. I was handling the roads well but aware I’d failed to close the doors or buckle myself. I thought about how I’d chastised him for driving poorly and here I was also making stupid mistakes. But I also was aware his mistakes could prove fatal for many, where my mistakes could prove dangerous for only me.
Brook Shaden, photographer