I keep having this … recurring thing.
I do not know how to describe it.
It’s a visual thing.
A repetitive vision?
A visual thought?
All I can say is that it began as a dream I had a little over a week ago.
I woke up last Sunday (the Sunday that came before the day before yesterday, mind you) from what seemed like an extremely vivid portion of a dream….but I wasn’t quite awake and I wasn’t all the way asleep.
I know this because the volume of a program on the television in my bedroom had gotten really loud – loud enough to awaken me enough to wonder in a split moment or two if the sound was loud in my dream or if it was reality – but I had not opened my eyes yet.
But then the sound went entirely away and I heard a loud ‘click’ – and I assumed that the sleep timer on the television had just gone off.
So I rolled over and started to fall back asleep, feeling thankful that my husband had thought to set the sleep timer (rather than letting the television blare all night as he sometimes does, unfortunately.)
I was aware of the possibility that it might have been early in the morning because I recall laying there in bed, with eyes shut, but sensing the light in the room.
And that’s when it happened.
Though I had lain there in silence – newly aware that the silence existed because the tv had shut off and feeling tired on the edge of returning to sleep again – I was acutely aware of the fact I was dozing off, and I felt pleased about it.
And the visuals that bloomed before my eyelids were the typical blobs of color that I’ll usually see as I am dozing off and I watched as they slowly formed into different abstract shapes, as that slow process is how eventually, I allow myself to fall asleep.
But then as clear as day – suddenly I saw a sharply defined image of an older woman – as clear as a photograph – in my mind’s eye. I could not place her – she did not look like anyone I knew. And I was a little shocked – because if it was the beginning of a dream, it came on pretty quickly and I felt a little concerned.
You see, the woman was crying loudly.
She wanted some soup. She was asking me for soup.
Please make me some soup, she wailed, please give me some soup! Please Pleeeeeeaaaasssseee….Why won’t you? Why won’t you?
And it was very strange! I was awake and aware enough to have a rapid string of thoughts, such as that I was in bed, and I would have to get up and most importantly, did I have any soup to give her?
I didn’t think so.
I recall actually rolling over and saying aloud, I’m sorry! I don’t think I have any soup and I recall that my mouth worked fine, my voice was clear and I was fully awake then…so much so that I opened my eyes and looked around the room.
You see, the sound of my own voice answering this dream-visual woman had woken me up.
And on that Sunday, I was certain that I had just had a rather vivid dream.
And so, I forgot about it.
And then this past Tuesday, I was sitting in front of my altar just as I was beginning to meditate, and I saw the same visual…of that same older woman again.
And the memory of that vivid vision of her and her wailing request for soup came rushing back.
To my surprise, I even felt a wave of nausea and guilt, as if I had broken a promise.
(But at the same time I also felt a bit foolish for feeling guilty. I mean, that whole thing had just been a dream, right?)
But as much as I tried to meditate, I couldn’t focus.
Wednesday into Thursday, another short interlude of that woman interrupted another dream I was having.
In the dream, I was walking down the street, in the midst of a conversation with someone else. I don’t even recall what that person and I were talking about, I just know that suddenly I felt a hand pulling on my clothes, and I looked behind me and there she was.
That same old woman standing in the middle of the sidewalk, trying to get my attention
And she was still crying, wailing those same words, that same request
Please make me some soup.
Please give me some soup!
I didn’t know what to say to her, but her sudden appearance in my dream was enough to shake me awake.
On Thursday afternoon, lunch-time, I found myself looking in my pantry-closet.
And though I was there to look for something else, it occurred to me that I should see if I had any soup.
Turns out I have a two cans of chicken noodle, and one can of beef stew.
I wonder what kind she wanted – broth or stew?
I was watching T.V. on Saturday, involved in watching a film I’d seen before, a comedy I enjoyed. I was laughing, focused on the dialogue.
And then, I was suddenly overcome with a thought of the old woman!
The vision of her just floated through my mind.
I can guarantee you that I wasn’t thinking of her even a moment before, but then I was.
I don’t know why the thought of her – complete with that same vivid image in my mind’s eye of her tear-stained face, and me watching helplessly as her wrinkled mouth opened and closed, as she choked over each word, her voice clogged by emotion that dragged over the long insistent vowels of please and why.
It occurred to me that when the vision of her comes, I cannot seem to shake it away.
And though her tears, her insistence affect me deeply, I feel helpless to speak to her.
I feel this wave of guilt and nausea when I see her, and though I feel those feelings, I don’t know where they come from when they come.
That probably doesn’t make much sense.
I feel a bit haunted, to be honest.
I don’t know what it means or who to ask about this strangely repetitive thing.
Sometimes, the words will come to me; the words that I need to read, to hear, are found.
These words are not meant for me, but when I stumble upon them, they resonate with me anyway.
Oh yes, that is me – ‘so preposterously serious (these) days’ – and so….
See? I tell you…these words are subtle reminders; good advice for folks like me who allow themselves to drown in their emotions far too often.
Hail Loki ❤
I want to believe this is the sort of kindness I could practice, as I have been wrangling with words all day concerning a particularly thorny issue involving the limits of my compassion towards others.
Ah, fuck it…the limits of my compassion towards a particular individual.
So here’s yet another chain of days wherein I am left contemplating the line between being compassionate and being naive.
Here is a post from two years ago today:
2 November 2015
I had planned – upon coming back from New Orleans – to write a lot about Bourbon Street.
Bourbon Street is a decadent place that is both cheerful and incredibly sad.
Anything that one can imagine that would be sinful in excess is there: strip clubs, massage parlors, 24-hour sidewalk bars, hookah/smoke shops, all you can eat buffets, and shop after shop of souvenirs that celebrate various forms of said over-indulgence and excess.
As well, the trappings of religion are everywhere: Christian preachers preaching hellfire and damnation, of judgment and shame in the midst of the red light district, while two blocks away, Voodoo priestesses hold court in the middle of the cobblestone alley-way, the low, husky chanting of their congregants echoing off of the walls, attracting the interest of tourists whom have strayed from various hawkers who’ve bombarded them with offers of free walking-tours, cheap drinks or discount meals.
(At least for the itinerant Christian preachers, if they can’t sell you on a drink, they will try to sell you on their God….)
But, on the upside, there’s art and there’s music – and musicians – on nearly every street corner, with artists hawking their wares from the sidewalks, alongside tarot card readers, psychics, and buskers willing to juggle or sing or dance or play with you for only a few bucks, won’t you show some appreciation for all that Bourbon Street has to entertain and amaze you?
And yet, Bourbon Street is a place of extremes: if it isn’t promising you a 24 hour access to an all you can stand to experience in the celebration of excess, then it is hidden, barricaded or locked up.
There’s gorgeous iron grill-work everywhere, serving as a deterrent to the casual on-looker from seeing, from accessing the inner worlds of Bourbon Street’s inhabitants.
Even the garbage cans have padlocks on them.
And then there are homeless people begging for change, hustling tourists for money by passing out cheap plastic beads in exchange for $5, or a cigarette or two.
V stopped lighting up as we walked because he became tired of being hassled every few feet for cigarettes and spare change.
We stopped taking pictures of the sights because it marked us as easy prey for the relentless street hustlers.
But V loved Bourbon Street, I suppose.
He constantly talked of going there, likely drawn in by the strange and rather tawdry aura of excitement that seems to surround Bourbon Street.
I found this aura to be oddly fragile upon further examination.
Bourbon Street had all the hallmarks of a carnival midway, and its promises struck me as similarly ephemeral.
As an empath, I found myself feeling intrigued, aroused…but also unbearably sad.
I couldn’t help but sense something yearning there; as if something had curled up and wept there, behind the iron scrollwork.
It became difficult for me to remain positive as I felt bombarded by the undercurrents of powerful emotions and sensations.
Yes, Bourbon Street is haunted… by a despair thinly disguised, hidden beneath the glittering layers of carefree fun and frolic.
Bourbon Street is reminiscent of forced laughter, a wan smile deftly masking pain and fear; you might sense its dark and sorrowful beauty as it lay upon everything there.
Bourbon Street is a lovely yet terrifyingly complex dream – the shadow of desires and shattered yearnings – stitched together.