With deeply held experiences while painting France, I surrender to my dreams captured from nocturnal, lucid and, the place between sleep and awake that Robert Louis Stevenson writes about in his book “Travels with a Donkey in the Cervennes”.
While on a drive to visit a dear friend in near Le Puy by The Central Massif I view a tapestry of lush hills spotted with grazing cows and sheep. Rugged land wrinkles to a huddle of stone habitation. Deep slate stone roofs sag to another and then another, dip down then up, and like a pirouette a conical colombier, the dovecoat, the final flourish is capped with iron weather vane a flying rabbit or cockerel . Typical homes, huge by our standards with a wide staircase to thick wood front door. The lower area door is arched double wide to accommodate animals. Most houses have turrets, some square, that rise high above the three levels. Fairytale is easily imagined, made all he more fanciful with May flowers abundantly trellised, softening crumbled stone. Roses, huge scarlet, yellow and floating floribundas pink. Road side is abundant with QueenAnne’s lace, kilometers of white froth skirt the single lanes often higher than my waist.
A Dream Workshop at
My dream time with intended vision blends with contentment. I close my eyes to open into dream worlds as real as the everyday. The ” Alice in Wonderland “character, White Rabbit becomes Keeper of my “Soul Story”. We hurry down a long passageway in “The House of Time” where a world of possibilities infinite as my imagination unfold with colour, sound, taste and feel. My inquiry is easy as I lean into a view of my future. I marvel that my probing question gives answer with a story, a teaching and opens a door to yet another rich experience.
“Dreamgates” workshop I attend at Hameau L’Etoile is deep in the remote hills north of Montpellier. It is of itself a place where dreaming is as natural as the landscape of ancient Olive trees to scrub oak that embraces entwined. A sense of the sanglier not far, some scat seen on a walk reminds me to be alert for the wild boar a bristled tusked beast. It could fling forth with a mighty lunge defending unseen territory. The wildness envelopes sounds of the cuckoo and distant bells, a herd of goats grazing far from town are making rich the cheese with all the flavours of The Central Massif. The workshop given by Robert Moss is a residential experience attended by Europeans. I, the sole North American am glad english is the common language. A sensitive interpreter with a flare for the dramatics embellishes the teachings and gives ease of translation that heightens my understanding of French. For three days I immerse into the dream state supported by 8 weeks of painting retreat in France.
Driving back to our little cottage half a day away, I reflect on how much of my life is as I “see”. That “seeing” in dreams or through imagination is just as real and tangible as this time. The difference being that of courage. A courage that carries me to realms where I am the hero. ‘The Hero With a Thousand Faces” Joseph Campbell writes about in his mythology research. In this dreaming state awareness of illusion is apparent, yet I understand that even without an intended dream our everyday is also an illusion, the difference is we are caught in the web of egoic fear, anger or passion. In the workshop Robert speaks of the only time as “now”. That future, past and parallel lives can change and be made real with a dream.
I just received the May newsletter from Sandra Ingerman, a great dreamer. She writes of shifting conscientiousness to what we want to “see” in our lives. But warns of how easy it is to be absorbed with the tragedies and problems of what is wrong in our world. We are often caught up in the intensity of living, the “to dos” of work and social commitments. It can be easy to be in tune with “the now” and feel “gratitude” when one takes the time. But what about the thoughts that arise while we are in the thick of life, deadlines, commitments. Am I anxious, angry, depressed, fearful. How do I take this dream time and live in “the now” and “see” a positive outcome all or most the time?
Sandra’s advice is to live surrounded by objects or nature that enhance well being. Perhaps a stone to rub with the energy of love. Or flowers fragrant all about, things of beauty that resonate positive self empowerment.
I know it is the quantity and quality of my intended thoughts that effect my world.
These past 8 weeks in rural France I am nourished with quiet appreciation for earths natural beauty. I dream many times a day, some I write in my journal. This reflective time has become a habit while here. I notice my conversation theme is on the virtue of beauty of things I see or experience. This treasure, the remembering of my dreams becomes the most important gift I receive on this retreat.
Robert Moss reminded that, when all is lost, when ones world is so dark with worry, fear or sadness, look for a door, as there is one! however small. Then enter in. The world of possibility is there, and from that, more possibility, as much as you can imagine.
There is a story a Native Grandfather told his grandson. “Sometimes in my heart two wolves are fighting. …………….
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life….
….”A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Some books I have read that enhance my travels while in France;
“At Home in France” by Ann Barry
“The Olive Farm” by Carol Drinkwater
“The Generous Earth” by Philip Oyler
“Labyrinth” , “Sepulchre” and “Citadel” by Kate Mosse
“Travels with a Donkey in The Cervennes” by Robert Louis Stevenson
“Dreamgates” by Robert Moss
“How To Heal Toxic Thoughts” and ” Medicine For The Earth” by Sandra Ingerman
and, my dream journals as they enliven my dreams and make real a possible world.