My Lesson

I had a lesson last night, in the form of a dream.

But wait, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. First, let me describe what happened this morning, as I got up. 

I got dressed, made my tea for the day, headed to the gym and as I normally do started talking to myself. Only this time I was having some great insights AND NO TAPE RECORDER to catalog my thoughts. These thoughts and insights were like beautiful butterflies hovering about, floating closer for me to gaze at their majestic beauty and then flying away only to be followed by another butterfly, just as beautiful, just as illusive.

Where was the tape recorder? Let’s see there is one in the office, and three at home. None on me, AGAIN! I usually remember to keep one in the car, business bag, at home, and the office. There wasn’t even one in the car when I needed it!  During the dry spells I seem to gather the recorders, put them on the desk at home, stash them in the car or put all of them in the travel bag. For some reason, during each dry spell, I think either: “That’s it. No more insights. This is a great time to listen to what I have collected on these machines, store what I need, and delete what I don’t want. This way I can free up some space.” Or I think, because I find value in these insights “Let’s see if anything on these recorders sparks the flame.” I was unprepared this morning!  Three tape recorders were quietly sitting on my desk AT HOME. After all, I’m in a quiet period, a dry spell.

Does this happen to you: you are interrupted from an insight, an aha, or a breakthrough? Off you go into that other direction and when you return to the place where you were immersed, the insights are gone, like the illusive butterflies gone in the changing breeze. Even with four tape recorders, I wasn’t ready. You can see I’ve been here before. I think it’s funny too!  I know what you’re thinking…when will I be buying the fifth tape recorder? No, I refuse. I”m going to keep one in the bag.

Okay, now to the dream.   

I was in a tall and bright office building which like in many dreams, morphed into a big and rather sterile, windowless warehouse with big cloth fabrics covering a few, what must have been really big containers.  An older woman, leaning on her crooked cane for stability, looking up to compensate for the affects her hunched back were creating, walked into the aisle between two large containers in the middle of the warehouse and stood up as best she could, becoming bigger and taller as she rose. She looked at me and without saying anything or pointing anywhere motioned for me to go to the left. I did. It’s a dream so of course I knew what she wanted me to do. It was natural for me to follow her direction.  To the left was a big, draped container. There didn’t appear to be anything unique about it. Suddenly a tall, elderly man with a big straight nose, and silvery white hair loosely hugging his shoulders appeared in front of the container and motioned for the drape to fall away, revealing the structure of the container.

The container was all glass, filmy like it needed some cleaning but easy to see into the container. The inside was filled with a mixture of sand, dirt and a miniature forest like in the movie Pan’s Labyrinth. I was startled and unsure of its relevance to my being there. I did not want to show my bewilderment. After all who were these people, why was I there and why was I looking at and into this cloudy glass container? I stood there both motionless and expressionless. The man gestured with his crooked cane beautifully stained to bring out the weaving grains of multi colored wood  for me to come closer.  I walked towards the container. He muttered a few words to me which I couldn’t hear but understood to be the directions I must take. Dreams, you gotta love ’em.

I looked through the filmy glass into a twisted branch and fossilized rooted forest. I saw a beetle, a black beetle crawling from the root of a banyan like tree towards me. As it crawled closer it released a thin, clear fluid which blackened the sand and dirt. The fluid dried immediately. The beetle then walked over the deposit it had just made in front of itself, and dug its way back into the dirt never to be seen again. I thought that was it and wondered why the gentleman, whose demeanor seemed commanding yet docile, had instructed me to witness this event. Yes it was unusual, even striking but I didn’t grasp any meaning to it. 

As I was about to turn away, another beetle appeared from under a different root of the tree only this beetle had a green emerald back. It too released a fluid, only this time the fluid was thicker and this time the deposit was in front of and under the beetle’s body. The beetle kept moving towards me then went head first back into the sand and dirt. Behind, crawled a third beetle releasing a heavy black oil like substance behind it. This beetle also crawled towards me, moved to the left  and dug its way back into the sand and dirt.

The silvery haired man turned to me and asked me what I had seen. I realized that what I saw was purpose. I said each of these beetles did nothing more than fulfill their purpose. They were doing as they had always done, nothing more and nothing else. It didn’t even matter that the second beetle looked different, it didn’t matter that the deposits were a little different. None of that mattered or changed the pattern of any of the other beetles. They were not distracted by me, the extra light that had come into their world, nothing. They knew their purpose and were completing theirs without question, without doubt.  The man, who was now standing very close to me said “And this purpose when done correctly greatly, affects others’ lives…” paused and stared into my eyes before continuing “… for the better.”  I thought to myself: So, this is how you stay on your path. Don’t stray from your purpose, from who I am. 

Now I was startled, no I was shocked. I was shocked because I knew that the gentleman knew, not what I was after, but what I needed to communicate. He silently commanded the fabric to drape the container again. He vanished, the bent woman was gone, and I was in a big warehouse surrounded by big, droopy fabrics covering containers three times my height and 5 times my length. It was just another warehouse. I woke up.

Before I close let me take you through what I did next for you see, I knew this dream was for me, a teaching, although at first a part of me wanted to blow it away, like the wind to a cloud.

What was this dream about? It was about a woman looking at beetles in a big filmy glassed container in a huge warehouse.

But let’s look closer, what was this really about? It was about Purpose, staying on the path of one’s purpose.

Like the beetle, we have purposes to fulfill. No matter what they are, they are simple, like a routine. When we fulfill our purpose we more intentionally impact others and benefit them in ways we may or may not be aware.   There is nothing magical, nothing big or little about fulfilling a purpose; it is merely a responsibility, a destiny, an obligation.

That was my lesson

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