It happened last night. I had that dream again. You know, the one that signals that there's something going on in my life I need to address. It's the dream that keeps reoccurring again and again. Maybe the characters and settings are different from the last time, but the basic premise is the same.
I'm unsure of my age, but I'm definitely back in high school. I sense the familiar smell of thousands of adolescents crammed into a building. I visually see the same old hallways and the stairs that take me down to the first floor. Even my best high school friend, Sally, is there with me. We're standing at her locker and chatting with a group of girls. Sally offers to put my books in her locker so we can leave for a class program in the auditorium.
Somehow, I become separated from Sally and I have no idea how to get to the program in the auditorium. I walk quickly through the halls, frantically searching for the room. I run up and down the stairs looking for my friends and for the place I am supposed to be. I'm required to attend the program and I certainly don't want to be separated from everyone else! Ready to give up, I decide I should just retrieve my books and go home. However, I can't get my books because they are locked in Sally's locker. I stare at her locker feeling stressed and out of control. What I need is right before my eyes, but I just can't get to it.
Even when you don't think things are on your mind, your brain is always busy. At night while you sleep, your subconscious is attempting to work out all the issues and minutiae from the day's activities. It's trying to make sense of the emotional stress and unresolved feelings. Don't underestimate what you can learn from your dreams. Take them at face value and look for themes and patterns.
No, it doesn't mean I want to be in high school. What it does mean is that high school was a stressful time for me. I still remember those feelings I had during those years. The reoccurring theme in the dream is not being able to find the room on time. I've lived this dream many times over with only the setting changing: occasionally high school, sometimes college, and often an early job. As for the piece of the story where I'm so close to my books but can't retrieve them? That's where I see my present hopes and dreams becoming clearer, but I still can't touch them.
You know the part of your life journey where you finally make the decision to move on a new change, job, or project? The beginning is so exciting and inspirational because you have finally decided to move forward. You no longer have inertia and you are energized to be moving toward a goal. The middle of your journey is a different story. That's the time where you feel the anxiety and stress. That is when those thoughts start to creep into your consciousness and you begin to doubt yourself. Just maybe you are not capable of everything you THINK you are capable of in life. One bad thing happens and you wonder if you should take it as evidence that the whole thing is just not going to work. You were wrong and maybe a little crazy too.
My dream is a reflection of all the negative thoughts that I try to keep at bay during this journey. It's all the things I try to stuff down, yet they're simmering right beneath the surface. That dream is my vulnerability showing.
We all have our doubts and our questions as to whether we can accomplish what we have set out to accomplish. That middle part of the journey is definitely the hardest part. It's OK to acknowledge your doubts during this time, but keep moving forward. Just put one foot in front of each other and keep focusing on the goal.
Shari is a Women's Life Coach, Mental Health Therapist, Keynote Speaker and Author of 31 Days to Finding Your Inner Sass. She can be reached at Shari@sharigoldsmith.com To learn more about Shari, go to www.sharigoldsmith.com