Running With (and From) Ourselves

I love dreams, and I think they’re fascinating. At this point, I’m primarily referring to the subconscious sensations and experiences that we are immersed in and not the projections of a waking mind upon a life we have and hope to have. But like our waking dreams, our dreams of sleep have much to tell us. I don’t always know how to listen, but as someone who has many dreams (and is having so many dreams of late), it seems like a good time to listen, observe, ask questions, and make acknowledgments of what is seen and heard. So a couple nights ago…

I dreamt I was running through a winding forest road alone as it was growing late in the day. I knew I was in Germany, but I couldn’t tell you why. All of a sudden, off to my left I see and hear a dog growling and running towards me. It’s an adult Golden Retriever, but it had a temperament unlike any I’d experienced before. Aggressive, angry, and running straight towards me, I stopped in my tracks. I turn to the dog and stand my ground, stooping down to its level and barking and growling right in its face. We continued this for what seemed like minutes, then we both stopped. Neither of us knowing quite what to do next. In the space of silence, we must have made some kind of a decision, because we both started running. At first, I felt utterly outrun and outclassed by this animal, but I soon found my paces and kept up just fine. In fact, it wasn’t long before we were running through the woods and I was lost in the joy of running, with a newfound furry friend. And as it is with dreams, that’s the last thing I remember, it just, sort of...stops, and moves into the next dream, the next scene, the next story.

Upon some conversation and self-reflection, I see my own frustration coming out in my dream. I’m like a golden retriever, but feel oddly uncomfortable and out of my default state. I’ve seen conceded that there are some deep-seated things I have been carrying and feel invited to run with them, instead of running from them.

In my dream and in my life, running has been an escape, a sacred space of transformation via ambulation; space where mind slows as body goes, where spirit knows as brain un-knows and things sort of fall into place. In our lives, we are constantly presented with reflections of ourselves. They appear in dreams, they appear in our circumstances, and they often present themselves in the people around us. That golden retriever is still in here, it’s just grumpy at the moment. Rather than projecting my pain on others, I can see that the growling is within me and it relates to me. It’s in here, not out there. I see it. I hear it. I observe it. Thanks, dog-dreams. Today, I’m reminded of the invitation to be with myself and to do my best, to love what is and to love who I am, even if that isn’t the image or ideal of what I see for myself.

We may not know what is next. We may not even know where we are or all of how we got here. We can do our best to acknowledge what we are seeing and feeling, be present to it, and choose to run again. The interruption may have been unexpected, but it too has something to teach me.

Sometimes, when we just want to run from ourselves, that is the perfect time to be the partner we need and to run with ourselves. To be reminded of Presence and take it one step at a time.