This time on earth is filled with a sense of crisis—it truly feels like an apex of pain and violence and suffering. In this sense, it doesn’t feel like a stretch to say that it can feel like we are living in a collective nightmare. Sometimes it feels like society has reached such a point of despair that it is easier to imagine that it is not actually real, just a long drawn out illusion that at some point we will awaken from and then have the ability to console ourselves—well, it was only a dream.
Sometimes when I tell people I work with dreams, people tangibly recoil from me. I have realized that this is because I am sending them back to a dream that is still searing in their mind’s eye—and it is not a pleasant one. For most, when they awaken from a nightmare, the instinct is to turn away, shake it off—forget it as quickly as we can.
But I have found that in this forgetting, in this turning away, the thing we wish to distance ourselves from only grows. I have learned in my work with people’s shadows, with the parts of people that they would rather believe don’t exist at all, that the more strongly you push these parts away the more powerful they become.
This is why I have come to believe that nightmares are in fact precious gifts, precise and strong medicine for the heart that has hardened and the eyes that have glazed over. In the nightmare, we deeply experience the part of ourselves that we have lost, sometimes in an exact recreation of the moment we lost it. The nightmare dives us head first into our wound, it is the act of ripping off the bandages, it is the force that wants us to see ourselves, all of ourselves, so that we can be whole. I have come to believe that this is what a rich and honest love is all about, this is what the sweet and encompassing honey of healing feels like. When we allow ourselves to be immersed in all that is in ourselves without judgment or even desire for it to be anything other than what it is. To just simply be with what is there, and know that we are loved and supported in that place no matter what.
Because that is the silver lining that I have found again and again in nightmares—even in the deepest, darkest ones. If we look hard enough, if we really look at what is present in the dream, not just what we thought was going on…but look to the actual things we saw inside of that dream state—we can often find support. Maybe it is just a sweatshirt from home—or maybe it is the presence of someone who feels supportive and loving just being there, standing there, while all the horror is going on. And noticing this little flicker, seeing that even in the darkest most horrible place there was still a hand at our back, that in truth we are never alone and we are always held—this is often the first step on that long path of healing.
After all, it’s not to say that you have the nightmare and you face it and then you are healed. Truly, the nightmare is just the revelation of the wound, with the additional knowing that you are supported in love. In some sense, you could even consider the nightmare itself a confirmation that this support exists, because if you can agree that facing our wounds is vital to our healing, than the force that provides us with nightmares can be understood to be supporting us, supporting our healing, our growth, our journey on the path to wholeness.
These are the things that are giving me solace in this great time of upheaval, as the nightmare of our day to day lives in America is bubbling up from the collective unconscious into the conscious, as we are being bombarded with the images of the violence and hatred and injustice that runs so deeply in our societal veins. I can only clutch my belief that this nightmare has come to heal us, that we are being given the opportunity to face our wounds, and that this is a blessing not a curse. I am praying that if we keep our eyes open, if we pay close attention to what is, rather than the stories our minds want to tell us, we can see those flickers of support all around us. We can feel the parts of our community that are holding us, encouraging us, giving us the courage to face our wounds and who we really are, and take those first steps to healing.
The nightmare is the beginning of the journey, not the end. But if we turn away now, we will only be given a deeper, more horrifying nightmare to remind us of the wounds that have been avoided for so long they are now oozing with pus, infecting all that surrounds. But I pray that I have the courage to keep witnessing, keep feeling the pain and the confusion and the fear, keep knowing that we are supported and loved no matter what, and that in this witnessing inside of ourselves and out, that we can become more whole, that we can heal, and in that healing, transform.
…Keep Dreaming Sweet Ones!
Love, Kezia Vida
P.S. If you have a nightmare or difficult dream you’d like to heal from, I’m now offering Nightmare Healings. Check out this page for more information.