I dreamed I was taking an acting class that met in the dark back room of a coffee shop. There were two rows of chairs, and I was perpetually late. Fortunately, the instructor was also perpetually late, so by chance, the class never started without me. A very cheerful woman was sitting on the dark stage talking to us in a very cheery manner about being artists. A man behind me, in the second row, said he was just not ready to make a change, to actually own an identity as an artist, or as anything other than a contractor, which was what he had been for the last decade. This stunned everyone into silence because he was universally acknowledged as exceptionally talented. Yet he said the one thing that was taboo, that change is frightening, that being an artist is frightening, that he wasn’t yet prepared to face that fear. I had to acknowledge that I wasn’t yet ready to face it either.

The cheery woman wanted to exchange phone numbers with me. I grudgingly obliged but found her annoying and thought her cheerful attitude was likely the result of delusion or denial about the difficulties in the world. Then I learned that she had a fellowship of some sort, that she actually made a very good living as an artist, and she was truly willing to support the idea of my doing work I loved as well.

I’ve had dreams before where a dream figure hands me a phone number. It seems to be an attempt by various pieces of my psyche to communicate with me, or with one another.

This strikes me as a particularly appropriate dream for the Advent season because Advent is all about the time of gestation and preparation before giving birth. When giving birth is understood as a metaphor that can apply to the act of bringing anything new into the world, it speaks to our lives in a new way.

Apparently, my psyche has a project that is gestating in the dark back room of a coffee shop in my mind. There is even an annoyingly cheerful fellowship recipient who knows how to do work she loves and make it pay. I’m not ready for any big changes just now, but I do have her phone number.

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