― Hermann Hesse
I woke up in the middle of the night last night with a serious panic attack. I was thinking I can’t make it and everything I’ve worked so hard for over the last year and a half is going to crumble. It’s tough co-parenting with an ex, and scheduling school and work is an exercise in trying every permutation possible with a limited number of hours and days available to me. Will my money hold out? Am I making good decisions? And I sure hope I still like nursing at the end of all of this.
Of course, my panic attack might have been precipitated by having a little too much Fireball when I was already tired and stressed. Anyway…
After my hyperventilation and near-crying episode, I fell back into a dream where I was ballroom dancing on a stage with a man I’d never met. We were performing before an audience that I couldn’t see because of the bright stage lights, and while dancing I was thinking to myself…what the hell am I doing here? I don’t know how to dance! But somehow I trusted his lead, and we danced and twirled and dipped. The dancing in my dream wasn’t imagined. I vividly recall a full five minutes of being part of an actual dance. I was charmed and laughing and allowed myself to be spun around the floor with little concern for what the audience thought. My partner was laughing as well, and whispering throughout the dance about how great we were doing. I don’t remember getting tired or feeling uncertain. It was kind of magical, as dreams can often be. The guy in my dream also resembled Rob Thomas wearing trendy glasses, so that imagery didn’t hurt either.
I woke up this morning thinking about that dream, and wondering if it was a metaphor about life. Maybe my subconscious was reaching out to me with encouragement? Maybe it was the Fireball? Either way, I thought about the possible meaning of this sleep experience all day. If I had fought against the partner in my dream, insisting that I didn’t know what I was doing and was going to make a fool of myself, the dance would have been ruined. But instead, I moved into his arms and let him guide me where we needed to go, and the result was effortless and pure joy.
Life is hard as shit sometimes, there’s no doubt about it and it doesn’t always feel like elegant, graceful choreography. There are so many things I wish I didn’t have to go through, and so many times when I fight and scream and absolutely make a fool of myself trying to avoid pain and hard things. But if I’m honest with myself, life has been good to me. I have changed so dramatically over the last ten years in ways that I once thought were impossible. I’m braver, more authentic, and have a greater capacity for love, even if I’m still learning what that really means. So, I will keep trusting and trying to lean into this partner of mine that is life, who is patiently teaching me the steps to an enchanted dance.