Dream: I’m at train depot where lots of trains and buses are coming and going. If you miss one, never mind, because another’s coming. A man stands nearby as I walk around. I’m free and easy as I walk up and down the steps, not looking my feet, but at the luscious green landscape. An mannish-looking boy approaches me with a bunch of little kids saying, “See the kids?” He introduces me to each one, children from my childhood. Three in particular, a girl and two boys, I remember by name. All are younger than I—all child-like versions of their current adult selves. They surround me and hug me. I’m so happy to see them! The man-boy states that he gives them money each week and asks me if it’s okay that he does this. I tell him yes, it’s good thing, and the money will keep building interest.
My dreams have come full circle. I have written in the past about a recurring dream that catapulted me into dreamwork. Thankfully, when I started my dream journal in the late 1980s, I began the weekly practice of transferring my handwritten dreams to computer. Somewhere along the way I began to have a disturbing recurring dream, and when I searched on my computer, I discovered that I had the same dream, recorded three consecutive years, on the same date, recorded at the same time. The dream was about sexual violation that I experienced as a young girl. This dream addresses that.
When that happened to me, I was extremely vulnerable, incredibly naïve. Today, I still don’t remember all that happened because I blacked out. I lost a part of myself after that, and I never told a soul…not until I sought counseling as a middle-age adult. My smarts, organizational skills, musicianship and teaching capacity got me through life, kept me busy. I lived well, but I always felt “off,” de-centered somehow. I had a lot of creative energy that came out in bursts, but somehow it always got sapped by the inner shame I always carried. I lived “nice and safe” instead of “Letting it rip!” as the saying goes. I don’t think people really understand the full nature of this kind of violation–what it does to the soul of a person, and maybe it affects different people in different ways. But for me, it robbed me of my primal “juice.” I always felt I had a mark on my forehead…that I should always be diligent, responsible and stay in control of things…stay in the background, smile and be polite, and not step out too far in the limelight, lest I be found out for some kind of “crime.” As I said, I had counseling around it as an adult, but it has taken time for all the residue to clear, and now I feel totally free from the inside, not just in a cognitive way. Maybe this is what compels me to write about it now. Interesting, this is “Independence Day.” It’s all about freedom, isn’t it?
In my dream, the “man-boy” was the boy who raped me as a child. In the dream he is a teenager, but with an adult face and demeanor. Maybe I’m seeing him as a more evolved person. I’m not anxious in his presence, nor do I feel a compensatory urge to prove something to him…to prove that I have power (I felt that way in the past). I’m just myself in the presence of all my inner juice and energy represented by the trains and buses coming to and fro. No anxiety about missing my ride (I used to have anxieties about being abandoned, left behind)…not even looking down at my feet as I bound up and down the steps…no shame…nothing to pay attention to except the luscious new and verdant landscape in and around me.
It’s interesting that I had this dream during my recent pilgrimage to Senegal and The Gambia, West Africa, where I was surrounded by so many people, customs, culture that reminded me of my South Carolina childhood home. Also, so very interesting that this dream came the night after visiting Goree Island, a place of great humiliation and suffering where captured Africans were held in dungeons to be “processed” and shipped as cash commodity to the “New World.” On Goree Island, I remembered my Ancestors who passed through the “Door of No Return,” taking their final glimpse of homeland before embarking on slaveships. I stood in the quarters of insatiable colonizers who conducted their business, caroused, and had their way with African women, men and children in living quarters one floor above the sea of human suffering beneath them. I stood outside but refused to step into the church within a stone’s throw that sanctioned it all. Taking it all in, I paid homage, poured libation and claimed, “Ha! But I did return!” Little did I know, that after my somber witness and embodied acknowledgement of things that happened long ago, the Archetypes and my Ancestors would bless me in return, through the affirmation dream I would have that very night.
In my dream, the man-boy who raped me acknowledges his wrongness. He does this by asking me if it’s okay to pay for the damage he caused. In my dream, the children collectively stand in the role of my Inner Child…my unfettered and unfiltered Essence before the trauma and all its fallout and compensations occurred. I’m saying, “Yes,” while acknowledging that the amends, the healing and reconstruction process that takes place over time, i.e., “keeps building interest.” My dream is showing me how I am now different on the inside, how I have evolved. I’m standing in my own power and have no need to prove anything to him or anyone else. I may or may never see the guy again, but the “charge” of his violation no longer exists. I forgive his ignorant and unguided youth. I am free from the residuals of it all. ALL GONE. IT IS FINISHED. This is my homecoming, a big WELCOME HOME to the reclamation of my essential self-ness.
“See the kids?” he asks. YES, I see them!!! I’m so happy as I hug each one and they hug me in return. I feel this burst of energy inside of me as I write. Internally, I’m in a place that I can honestly say I have never felt before. I know I came into the world with this, but I got separated from it, and now I’m fully back. I’ve completely landed, and I feel as if I’m going to burst if I try to hold this energy one moment longer! HALLELUJAH!!!!
Very often, traumatic experiences in our waking lives tie to wounds from our ancestral past. Healing work is so critical…we can survive from the rupture of our wounds or we can heal ourselves and live more authentically and powerfully from the healed and whole self. Healing work is also transgenerational. I believe that as we allow our personal wounds to be cleansed and healed, we open the way for the cleansing of our family lineage and the healing of our ancestral wounds. The work I’m talking about is more than purely cognitive acknowledgment or collective remembrance. It’s about the process of peeling away the layers and looking deeply at our personal sacred story…trusting our inner support systems…our inner “cast of characters” and the Archetypes who show up in our dreams…always beckoning us to pay attention and look at our challenges; confront our personal shortcomings and the unconscious ways we collude with the energy that continually seeks to beset us. The “Now Journey” is about surrendering ourselves to receive the inner love and support that accompanies us through deep and sometimes murky waters until we emerge victoriously on the other side with our minds clear, our hearts intent, our feet set, and our spirits soaring. I have no science for this, only my experience…but I can say that our dreams (sometimes referred to as “God’s Forgotten Language”) have the capacity to move us through our valleys of confusion and chaos, to the alchemical waters of restoration and rebirth, while utilizing an incredibly clear and unique “taste” that is recognizable and trustworthy to the dreamer. The only pre-requisite is the willingness to follow where they lead and partake of the “medicine” they offer along the way.
Thanks for allowing me to share my story with you…it is truly a blessing. Growing is a lifelong process that I’m loving every day, and I “wouldn’t take nothing” for the slightest nuance of my journey, because there is nothing, I mean NOTHING… like Home, Sweet Home.
Celebrating on this liberation day with much love from me to you,
©copyright Grace Cheptu, 2019. All rights reserved.
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