Friday, August 29, 2008

Doomsday?


Paul and I are at a weird juxtaposition of life events: at a time when our business fortunes seem to be suddenly on the rise--more sessions, more Mama Love business, a wedding photography gig we wished we didn’t have to turn down--we've been beset with a situation in which we're needing to change everything and do it right away. The sun is shining. It's a beautiful day but the cats are anxious. Cats always know when an earthquake is coming, and we feel like we have no choice but to quickly pack all our bags in order to get out of the way before it hits.

We’ve been checking the obvious solutions for months without success. And we finally decided we need a doomsday scenario. Thankfully, before going to bed earlier this week we realized that we do have one -- joining Paul's mom in the desert-- and if we get a small RV we’ll be able to expand our business area by using it to make trips.

So I fell asleep feeling more at ease, and a couple of hours later I was jolted awake by the impact of a dream. We have prophetic and sometimes what seems like instructional dreams at times in our lives. That's apparently a side effect of the mystical path.

I can't remember the details anymore but the upshot of it was this: it's one thing to plan for a worst case scenario future. Go ahead and build that bomb shelter in the middle of the yard if you have to. But in the dream the shelter wasn't enough. I kept walking around the building trying to figure out what to do with it and it wasn't ready yet. My immediate thought on waking was (and it hit me like a ton of bricks): It's one thing to create a disaster plan in case things don't work out. It's quite another to get rid of all your possessions, thinking it's the only option, and to pile yourself and whatever provisions you can fit into a tiny RV, close the door after you and try to live in it despite currently being in a period of relative prosperity.

This was a story heard time and again in the 50's. People built their bomb shelters purposely to avoid a horrible future should the cold war never end and their worst nightmare of it escalating into all-out war begin. Then, instead of sleeping better at night, many people created their worst nightmare by acting as if the apocalypse they feared was about to happen now. They called themselves "survivalists." And they lived in their deserts and their back country hide-outs or their well-stocked holes in the ground, armed with provisions, guns and ammo as if that's what they needed to do to survive. They were scary to listen to because they had so much conviction and, like role model boy scouts, so very prepared.

But they were scary for another reason, too. Having a plan of action for what to do if you were in danger of losing everything -- nuclear warfare, earthquakes, global warming, Y2K -- is probably a great idea. Living as if the worst case has already happened when you don't really have to...when the game isn't completely over, when there's a lot more left to be played...is like burning down your house because you were always afraid it might happen.

So I’ve been trying to interpret this dream for a few days now: the bomb shelter isn’t ready yet. It isn’t a good enough place to be. It isn’t necessary yet.

So what should we do instead? Paul and I think we need to expand our options and have been working diligently every day on this. One thing is certain: we have to be in control of our situation again so we’re developing a plan of action to get what we’ve needed and haven’t had enough of in the local area.

One thing we’ve always needed is a local venue connected to spiritual growth where we could meet with clients -- a gathering place of some sort, either a retreat center, spiritually-oriented bookstore, or an alternative health and healing center. People ALWAYS feel more at ease after they’ve met us in person. We’d also enjoy having a closer sense of community and new places to sell my perfume. And certainly having a homebase in a city where we know we could afford to live by working in the manner we see fit could take us where we need to be right quick.

Last night Paul and I watched a PBS program about the impressionist painters. They were all rejected by their peers exhibiting at the Salon in Paris and struggled to earn enough to eat for long periods of time. Some died without ever succeeding. But they struggled on, committed to their vision and using each other for moral support. At a certain point the tide changed in art enough that Monet was able to make a small and insecure pittance of a living by moving his family out of Paris and to the countryside where it was much less expensive to live. He lived in Giverny which is where the extraordinary garden he created, complete with the pond and lily pads that feature in so much of his later work, exists. With the paintings he did there he finally achieved the recognition he needed and the financial support he deserved. And he did it by living in a place he and his family loved in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Santa Cruz is currently the second least affordable place in the country to live (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/07/realestate/07california.html). The very least affordable place is just down the road a bit. This has put undue pressure on my life since the day my ex-husband and I moved here (our rent tripled overnight and that was 20 years ago). It puts pressure on our practice, and makes the downtown area THE worst skidrow we’ve ever seen outside of Vancouver, Seattle or San Francisco. For a town that’s barely large enough to be considered a city that’s a true disgrace.

We love the weather. We love the pretty beaches and sparkly local scene. But as people have always said about this part of the world-- all that glitters isn’t necessarily gold. If the intense desire for these external pleasures necessitates giving away the dreams of your heart, and keeps you away from family, friends, and community because you’re too busy going to work in order to pay exorbitant rents...it’s time to move on anyway.

We just wish it wasn’t to the desert. We think that may be what the dream is about. The plan isn’t ready yet, it isn’t adequate, it isn’t even necessary. We don’t know what this last piece means just yet but we’re working on it.

2 comments:

Linda in the Northeast Kingdom said...

The other day - maybe it was yesterday - a man reminded me that today is the only day we have.

My reflective thoughts on this:

We can use/spend it or part of it to make plans.

Plans on what to do tomorrow.
Plans on how to "escape" from our fears.
Plans to find more _"fill in the blank"___

OR

We can practice expressing JOY.

We can prepare ourselves to be ready to ADAPT as the need arises
[ie: floods, hurricanes, winds, earthquakes, riots, excessive gov't, fears, no money, war, no food, etc., etc, etc....]

My current motto is:
ADAPT OR DIE

As each wave of concern-fear-wariness-desperation has washed over us in the 50's 60's 70's 80's 90's 2000's,
I have listened and watched as people explored options.

BACK-TO -THE LAND HIPPIES
of the 60's and 70's
with variations in each succeeding decade.

We are still here.

Perhaps wiser than the last time
and open to new possibilities.

Running to the desert
in an RV
seems like trying to find
safety
outside of yourselves.

Our only real safety is within our selves.

Envisioning ourselves as Big Strong Wise Joyful Helpful Flexible
[add your own adjectives here]
Spirit Beings with access to support both in the physical as well as spiritual world inhabiting a physical form feels like safety.

Knowing that we can deal with whatever comes our way and that we will be in the place that we are most needed at each moment feels like safety.

What if there is no doomsday?
That sometimes big changes happen fast - maybe that's just the way it is.

Linda

PattyMara Gourley said...

You, the Dreamer, are bringing medicine to the world. I honor all the messages you have written. I too feel the pull to simplify, and find shelter elsewhere. Staying clear and trusting when there is no clear direction is indeed challenging. Calling all angels, guides and benevolent beings!

warmly,
PattyMara