The Strange Man with a Mask – seeing through illusions and letting go of the past

Few nights ago, I dreamt of a friend who recently passed away. In the dream, I visited him at the hospital and found him standing to the left of the door, his face covered with a mask but I could still see his mouth – with a wry smile on his face. A shocking appearance, but strangely familiar also. Where have I seen this smile? Was it from him, or was it from some other human I’ve met in this planet?

Anyhow, I walked into the unit, and saw the doctors and nurses next to his hospital bed. And I discovered that, he was there, but missing. What does that mean? I was told that he was there, but he wasn’t really there anymore. “Since he had been gone for 10 days, we would have to destroy his body”. The doctor announced. I was devastated, crushed. “No… “, I exclaimed. But the decision had already been made. And I woke up, my body still vibrating with the visceral feeling in the dream state – the spooky appearance of him standing next me, and the uncanny occurrence of him being there, but missing.

What is this all about? As I reminisced the content, the feeling tone,  and the energies of this dream, I realized that – what is gone, is forever gone. This dream holds an important lesson for me. How many times have I held on to the past, the sweet memories of someone I loved, and dwell in the realm of imagination? The imaginative world is powerful, yet, it will not become our grounded reality until we pour our creative energies into manifesting it.

Too often, we allow the sweet memories of the past in clouding our perception – to discern reality from illusions. For the sweet nectar of the past is seductive, and it can be heartbreaking to see and acknowledge the naked truth. Letting go is not easy. It feel as if we are reaching into our heart, pulling out a piece of the tissue we shared with the beloved. It hurts, and we may even bleed a little. For this is a conscious choosing of an ending, of a clear cut of the emotional cords that once connected us. Yet, we shall live through this , as we endure this heartache. As our cells will regenerate, when we allow ourselves to feel the difficult emotions, while we continue to nurture and nourish our soul with love and kindness. 

And we will continue to evolve, to grow into a more conscious being, as we learn and thrive through new love, and new mistakes we make. And even if we forget, and we let go, the impact of these past, present, and future connections are forever engraved upon our soul. We need not worry for the impending loss, or indulge in obsession –  to hold on tight or dwell in the pool. For what we have lost, will always come around in a different form. Perhaps, we could let the flow of water guide us, and lean backward on the dolphins. Our heart shining with the reflective light, as our hands open to receive – the magic of the rainbow.

With love and blessings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alone in the Underworld – Working with the Inner Child through Dream Interpretation

Alone in the underworld 

I was in a dark, gloomy basement, all by myself. 

I looked up, and saw this little opening space on the ceiling.

A glimpse of the twinkling light.

In the unknown space above.

I wanted to get up there,

And I saw, this old wooden ladder

A wooden ladder I could use to climb up and get out of this dark place.

The ladder was shaky, and the spikes on the wood hurt my hands

I kept climbing, and when I was half away there,

I looked down.

And I saw, a little girl, perhaps around five years old.

Sitting on the floor, under the triangular space contained by the ladder.

All by herself.

Shiny black hair, in a bowl cut.

She was cute.

She didn’t seem to notice me, or anything else in the world.

She was playing with a stuffed animal, quietly.

But all of a sudden, this shaky wooden ladder collapsed.

Huge broken pieces of wood fell right onto her,

Piercing into her little body,

She was broken, covered with shattered wood and blood.

Yet she was still calm, serene,and quiet,

As if it didn’t bother her.

She continued playing.

All alone.

 

This is a dream I had seven years ago, right before I began my journey in pursuing a masters degree in counseling, on becoming a therapist. It was a vivid dream, the imageries sharp, the sensations real, the emotions raw. 

I didn’t know about working with dreams then, I was just beginning my journey of self discovery, of healing ,and uncovering the secrets of who I am. But I knew this dream was significant, it came as a message, as a guide.

I brought this dream up again and again, to my therapist at that time, to friends, with mentors. Somehow it just wouldn’t escape my mind, and I kept trying to uncover its meaning.

But it wasn’t until three years later, when I was sitting in one of the classrooms at IONS – Institute of Noetic Science. When the space, the ceiling, the light twinkling above triggered an intense felt sense of being in that basement again. I was stunned.  I felt as if I was in the dream, again. My consciousness was a bit hazy as I was not so sure what kind of consciousness I was in – was I awake or was I in a dream? Nevertheless, my weirdness somehow caught the attention of the professor, and he made an interpretation.

Suddenly, everything clicked. When the meaning of a dream finally revealed itself  – when everything in your life and space magically lined up – it felt , as if being washed by this tranquil, healing ether that came upon me, passing through my body, cleansing my aura and attuned me to a better understanding – of myself, my past, and my path. 

We all have a child self, living inside our heart.

Over the years, we might have forgotten this little one.

As we’ve been so caught up in the world of grown up.

To be successful, to be attractive, to abide by a certain social standard.

We might have even been told not to play anymore. 

We lost touch of the preciousness of our soul.

In the process of becoming someone, we lost touch of who we are.

The process of reconnecting with our inner child, is precious and beautiful.

As we descended into the space in our psyche, to be with this child.

This child that we once was.

We re-create a connection, and hold space for healing to happen, if he or she was somehow broken.

Our love to ourselves expand as we tend to the broken pieces of our heart, gently, patiently. 

Until we become one, again. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dharma Wheel -poem & reflection

The Dharma Wheel

 

In the heart of longing

In this life of being

What is really important?

In the darkest of hours

I prayed to God

God, grant me your mercy

Please, show me if this is the path

_

And here comes

The Dharma Wheel

Golden, magnificent

Spinning in my dream

_

As if holding by a spirit

The wheel keeps turning

_

Tears flow down my cheek

As I receive this gift

Stepping into uncertainties

It still feels scary

_

Yet I realize

This is but another turn around the wheel

There is nothing to worry about

_

Spinning through the dark forest

Takes me on a wild ride

To the past

Through the future

Allow me to embrace each moment

of pain and ignorance

_

Wheeling to the unknown

To the mystery

A life fulfilled with love and rain.

  • Poem written By Christy Choy, MA. MFT  in 2017

In the winter of 2017, I made a decision to leave my stable, well-paid job at UCSF. It was a risky decision, and a difficult one. For even though the work with the severely mentally ill, psychotic population was very challenging and draining, it was my life’s work for over seven years. It was, and still is, my passion. Ever since I graduated from college with my psychology degree, I’ve always worked in the field of community mental health, serving the severely mentally ill, psychotic population. I loved the early years of crisis work at Progress Foundation. I felt strangely at home among clients who are suffering from mental illness, heartbreaks, terminal illness, who are often using substances to numb their pain. And I often felt a sense of comradery with my colleagues as we managed to pull through days after days of the gruelling 12 hour shift, supporting the healing and recovery of clients who endured deep suffering, and managing the crisis situations which always manage to spike up our adrenaline and connect us deeper in a human, soul level. 

Yet, change is inherent in the process of growth. And though I left and came back to the field of community mental health, I knew that it was time for a change, again. It was scary. Being employed by an agency such as UCSF gives me a sense of safety, a feeling of security. It was as if my being was enveloped by this huge saturnian energy that is indestructible. All I needed to do was to swim in this field of muddy water in my day to day life, and survive. Even though the work was challenging and at times, dangerous; I was also safe, in terms of earthly, financial concerns. But I knew, I wasn’t thriving. 

Over the years, as I grew in my work and studies, and practice in spirituality, my senses had become more and more refined. Or perhaps, I have finally woken up and come to terms with the nature of my sensitivity. The constant bombardment of chaotic energy, without my having any control of, was too much for my soul. Even though my work was relatively well paid, I spent all my resources and time off recovering from the intensity of the work. My body spoke to me in various symptoms, getting sick often, having allergic skin reaction/eczema, stomachache. These are all signs of stress and overwhelm which I could not ignore any more. At that time, I was also deep in the studies of Archetypal Psychology while working full time. And I finally realized, and decided, that I needed a change. What I’ve been doing, for years, was an unconscious pattern stemming from childhood, family conditioning. As a child, I have had to overextend myself to care for others’ need to the point of exhaustion, often putting myself last or even neglecting my own needs. I was constantly swinging from high to low, from full of joy and energy to feeling depleted.  Its time to wake up, its time for a change.

So, I finally decided to leave the job. And I wrote the resignation letter. The night before I resign, before sleep, I prayed to God, ” God, please please let me know if this is the right decision, please let me know if this is the right thing to do.” I was terrified. Change is scary. And I felt I was walking on a suspended bridge, about to step forward mid-air, anticipating a free fall. That night, or, to be more precise, the next morning before dawn, I received a sign. I was in the dream state, just before waking up, when I suddenly saw a golden dharma wheel appeared from the left side right above my head. The magnificent, golden dharma wheel was turning, slowly but powerfully; as if it was held by some unseen being. I woke up in tears, my heart expanded and grateful. I realized that this job that I was so afraid to leave, was but a small part of my life’s work. And the dharma wheel will keep turning, as change is inherent in every moment of our life. It is safe to follow the soul’s calling, it is okay to take care of one self and leave a work environment that is too harsh for my sensitivity.

All is well, and life is sacred. 

 

 

 

 

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