I’m on a motorcycle, really it is a sport bike, it is black, I am wearing a fabulous leather jacket and my hair is flowing out of the bottom of my helmet. My head is down and I am safely weaving in and out of traffic. The sun is setting in the background and up ahead I can see that cars are continuing to pile up. I can feel the wind on my back pushing me forward, it is flowing with me, almost as if we are dancing together in such beautiful rhythm that we are one. I feel free. Not free like how you feel in a moment when you catch a second of freedom, but like actually free. Not oh I forgot to respond to that email I will do it later free, but like, I don’t have any emails to respond to again ever, free.
I start to slow down to adhere to the pace of the cars around me, in front of me is a giant ferry boat. The cars, one by one, are driving onto the ferry boat, but I am not sure what people with motorcycles do, so I wait. I feel no anxiety about the ferry, I feel no impatience with the process I feel only curiosity for what is next. A woman offers to assist me and then a man approaches as well. They are both kindly helping me navigate what to do with my bike and how to get onto the ferry. The man tells me he will make sure my things are safe and guarded, for some reason I trust him and I feel like having him take it is the right thing to do, even though I also feel like the bike is my freedom and I do not want to lose my freedom. I trust anyway.
I walk onto the ferry and I start passing people I know, people I haven’t seen for ten or twenty years. They are laughing and having fun and they are waving at me with big smiles on their faces. I continue walking to the other side of the ferry where suddenly I see all of my female relatives sitting around laughing and sharing. My great Aunt is there, she is as beautiful as ever and she is full of light. I ask them what they are doing and they tell me they are taking the ferry to the other side, “We always take this ferry” one of my aunt’s adds. I wonder to myself how I never knew that this was the way yet grateful that I stumbled upon them. My phone dings and I receive a message, “I can’t come. I’m really sorry”, it reads. I smile, knowing that somewhere in my soul I knew this person was going to cancel on me, to not show up. I look up from my phone and take in my surroundings, the people from my past playing games and laughing, the strong female warriors of my family resting and chatting around a fire and the sky, bright bright orange and red carrying the sun to sleep and making room for the moon. I feel light, I feel strong, I feel ready.
I wake up.
Sometimes messages come to me in the form of dreams. They are vivid, they are detailed and they feel very very real. I have been shedding so many layers of myself lately that I am starting to wonder if soon there will by any part of me left. I feel as though I am on the edge of the mountain overlooking beautiful blue water thousands of feet below me but I am afraid to jump. Part of me knows there is a parachute or perhaps a pair of wings ready to float me down and around the mountain, but part of me is terrified of the fall. I can feel my old self pulling me backward, asking me to step away from the ledge. She craves safety, familiarity, comfort and belonging. She seeks that belonging in others, turning to people who continue to not show up, just like in the dream. My new self is not angry at these people, it’s as if she knows something that my old self doesn’t. It’s as if she knows we do not need to seek belonging in anyone else, for we belong everywhere and with everything we desire, just as we are. The old me doesn’t like this. She wants validation, she wants to be told of her power and her greatness, she seeks permission for everything.
This is the constant battle between growth and stagnation. The pull of the old and the desire for the new. Our old ways are so familiar, they warm us like our favorite blanket and they convince us that this is the way things have to be. But once you taste freedom, once you see that something else is possible, you cannot unsee that. The change happens when our desire for the next level of growth is stronger than our addiction to comfort.
I recently stopped measuring my impact in tasks. For many years I was busy. I was busy all of the time. If i wasn’t busy and someone asked me to do something and I was too tired, I would say I was busy as to avoid another obligation or responsibility. I constantly communicated my suffering of having too many tasks. “Oh I worked 14 hours yesterday”, I would say with a smile of pride on my face. Isn’t that how success happens? Through suffering? At least that’s what they tell us.
One day I woke up and said out loud, “I do not want to suffer anymore”. I don’t think I really knew what i was saying at the time, but it was the beginning of the end of my task and suffering addiction. I do not believe that suffering equals success. I do not believe that hard work and suffering are interchangeable. How do I know this? I see people, with true and authentic lifestyles who work hard on the things that they love without suffering. Suffering as a means to success is a lie. It is a falsehood born out of a capitalist society where we, at a time, needed people to work harder and longer for less money so that we could make more money. But it is not the way anymore. We are seeing the effects of this system on our society and it is crumbling before our eyes.
I am in constant battle with this mentality. Halfway through my day I wonder if I have done anything at all. It is difficult to make the switch from task manager to visionary. It is difficult to find a way to measure ourselves when the system we are working within is restrictive. When you know that what you see as the solution or the impact is not what the system wants from you. “Working 9-5 just to stay alive”.
Stay alive. Is that what we are doing here? Staying alive? If that is the destination I would much rather abandon ship. We have bought into a system that was designed for a different time and society. We have evolved, nature has evolved, technology has evolved yet our system is the same. Our education system, our corporate system, our governmental system, our community system, our relationship system. All of the things that we lean on for structure and vision are of another time and place. We have outgrown our systems.
So what do we do when we no longer want to work 9-5 just to stay alive? What do we do when we decide that the system does not work for us? What do we do when we can see how free we can really be on our motorcycle, independently exploring the world around us, confident, free and calm? How do we go backward when the wind is carrying us forward?
We don’t. We design a new system. We break down all of the old parts and we put them in a pile and we rearrange them. Some of those parts will stay, some of them will be discarded. We stop letting the breakdown of the system get in the way of our inevitable growth. The things that used to cause the suffering seem frivolous and shallow. We want more. We demand more. And sometimes, even with the greatest of intentions to build a new system with the old parts, we simply cannot. So we grab a match, light the flame and set fire to the entire place. We jump on our motorcycle, thank the wind for her companionship and we drive off of the mountain and let our wings carry us forward.
In a time of great suffering in our society perhaps the solutions do not currently exist at all. Perhaps the solutions we seek will only become available to us when we demolish the old system and together decide to build a new one.
I asked the universe and the God I pray to for a sign. I asked them to tell me how to move forward, how to release myself of the suffering from the past and start new. They sent me the answer in the form of a dream. At first I was afraid, but then I knew I had no choice. I happened to be brave enough to listen. Are you listening?