theorangeinkblot

Looking at life through orange colored glasses…

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

Dream a Little Dream, then Wonder What it Means…

A couple of nights ago I dreamed of chocolate.  Chocolate brownies, chocolate syrup, chocolate truffles, everything chocolate.  When I woke up and went into the kitchen the dream made sense.  On the counter were the nine boxes of Girl Scout cookies we had ordered, and two boxes of chocolate cake mix and containers of frosting for my daughter’s birthday cake.  Couple that with my decision to give up chocolate and the dream is not so strange.

Other dreams that I have had are not so easy to explain.  I have one recurring dream that seems easy enough to interpret on the surface.  I am back in college and it is the end of the semester.  There is a literature class I have never attended, but I never got around to dropping.  Now, I have 24 hours to read four William Faulkner novels to prepare for the final.  To make matters worse, I have no idea where the final is taking place and I don’t know how to find out.

Classic anxiety dream, right?  But it’s an anxiety dream that I should not be having.  I spent from 1996 to 2006 studying and working in the area of higher education, six of those years I spent as an academic adviser where part of my job was advising students on university policy pertaining to adding and dropping classes.  If there is anyone who knows how to appeal to the Dean of a college for an exception to policy (i.e. drop a class past the due date) it is me.  No matter how many times I have this dream, it never occurs to me to go to my adviser for help.  I find this fascinating.  The other part that makes little sense is this.  In all my years attending and working at schools, I have never seen an undergraduate professor count a final for more than 40% of the final grade.  If I had not attended class or turned in an assignment all semester, even getting an ‘A’ on this dream induced final exam will not let me pass the class.  So why am I even trying to prepare?

There is one dream from my childhood, though, that to this day I cannot explain but I remember it clear as day.  My family is dressed in bathing suits and we are all in a large hot tub inside our house.  We are making small talk when all of a sudden out the window we see King Kong making his way down our street.  King Kong is looking to eat anyone not eating a bathrobe, so we jump out of the hot tub throw on our robes and run up and down the streets warning our neighbors with shouts of “Don your bathrobes!!”  At the same time there is a cable car suspended from our telephone wires making its way down the street.  Those folks cannot get to a bathrobe in time, so King Kong eats them.

This banana is fine but what I'm really craving is a person not wearing a bathrobe.

Back off ape face! I have a hair dryer and I'm not afraid to use it!!

Anyone care to take a crack at that one??  What’s the strangest dream you’ve ever had?

Be Brave

I was a few days into Resident Assistant training before the start of my junior year of college when my Residence Hall Director, Sam,  pulled me aside.  My father had just had a heart attack, was in the hospital and I needed to call my mom to make arrangements to fly home to New York.  As I left Sam’s office that day, visibly shaken, he offered these parting words- Be brave.  I have always remembered those words though I don’t think I fully understood at the time why they were so appropriate and important.

Last night, during Shabbat services at my synagogue, I was struck by a line in the prayer for healing the sick.  The prayer says, “May the Source of strength who blessed the ones before us help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing.”  While I was singing these words I was also remembering Sam’s advice from 1994 and contemplating the role that courage plays in our lives.  Why is it is so important to have courage?

After giving it some thought, here’s what I have come up with:

Courage is important because it allows us to experience the best parts of life.  Courage allows us to give our hearts fully and experience love even if it ends in heartbreak.  It allows us to give 100% to a situation even if we think we might fail.  Courage helps us to share our stories and make ourselves vulnerable even when we fear judgement or embarassment.  It helps us take on new challenges and think about things in a new way even if it makes us feel uncomfortable at first.  Being brave aids us in reaching out to those in need despite our fears of rejection or concerns that we are not saying exactly the right thing.  It gives us the strength to make a change when it’s easier to maintain the status quo.  We need courage to stand up for what we believe and speak out in the face of injustice.  Without courage we could not rise above adversity and make our dreams a reality.

My husband and I have spent a considerable amount of time this past year helping our daughter overcome some fears and anxieties of her own.  Her psychologist, who has been invaluable in this process, offered us this little morsel of wisdom- There will always be situations in our lives that cause us to feel anxious or fearful.  However, these feelings do not have to dictate our behavior.

For me, this is key.  It is not about living a life that is devoid of fear- such a life does not exist in my opinion.  But if we let those feelings dictate our behaviors, actions, and decisions we will never know what we are actually capapble of both in terms of our own personal achievements and what we can do to affect change in our communities.

Acting with courage is hard.  (If it came easy we probably would not think to pray for it.)  When I look at the choice between living a fear based life that will hold me back from achieving my goals, or living courageously and taking (small) steps every day towards self actualization, to me the choice is clear.  It’s clear, but it’s not easy.  It’s a conscious choice that has to be made every day.  I’m not always good at it, and sometimes it feels uncomfortable at first, but I very rarely regret making a courageous choice.  I am much more likely to regret having not done something because fear has held me back.  Sometimes, even when I act with courage, I still make mistakes. Mistakes are teachable moments.   The next time that opportunity arises I’ll be better prepared to handle it.

When I live courageously, I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.  I feel connected to my inner self, my family,and my community.  I feel like I am getting what I need to feel fulfilled, and that I am also able to give back- be a better family member, friend, and neighbor.  When I don’t let fear hold me back I truly do feel that my life is a blessing.

There are plenty of things to be afraid of in life.  Fear of failure, heartbreak, embarassment, discomfort,injury, illness, rejection, and change (just to name a few) can hold us back from living the life we were meant to live.  What is fear keeping you from doing?  How do you choose to live a courageous life?

My Friday Night (Sing to the tune of ‘Last Friday Night’ by Katy Perry)

My Friday Night

There are legos in my bed.

Children’s music in my head.

Toys are all over the room,

Dolls that talk, Cars that go vroom.

I just found a fruit snacks pouch

buried deep within the couch.

I stepped on the Barbie shoes

that my children always lose.

Reading status updates to help keep me amused-

a must.

Have to do something or I’m gonna blow a fuse.

That’s right.

My Friday night-

watched a movie from Red Box,

drank some Bailey’s on the rocks,

sorted thirty pairs of socks.

My Friday night-

never got out of my sweats,

we just sat and cooled our jets,

in front of the TV set.

My Friday night-

separated darks from lights,

the excitement reached new heights,

but I guess that’s just our plight.

My Friday night-

There was a time when I could rock

until after ten o’clock

Oh-Oh-Oh-Ohhhh.

Next Friday night-

Do it all again.

There is crayon on the walls,

it goes halfway down the hall.

There are stickers on the floor,

on the ceiling and the door.

One’s got syrup in her hair,

the other’s in her underwear,

they both do more than their share,

of complaining, “it’s not fair.”

Only fifteen years till they’re both away at school.

Oh well.

Have to do something so I do not lose my cool.

That’s right.

My Friday night-

watched a movie from Red Box,

drank some Bailey’s on the rocks,

sorted thirty pairs of socks.

My Friday night-

never got out of my sweats,

we just sat and cooled our jets,

in front of the TV set.

My Friday night-

separated darks from lights,

the excitement reached new heights,

but I guess that’s just our plight.

My Friday night-

There was a time when I could rock

until after ten o’clock

Oh-Oh-Oh-Ohhhh.

Next Friday night- do it all again.

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