My Second Grade Teacher

Back at my childhood home last week, I found something else. As I wrote in before, my mother saved EVERYTHING! She served as Clerk of our community church for 33 years and saved all the church records and bulletins from special programs and services. She kept the programs for every funeral held at the church and all the funerals she attended elsewhere. Well guess what I found? The memorial service program for my favorite childhood teacher, Mrs. Johnson, my second grade teacher at Parkersville Elementary School! I LOVED Mrs. Johnson!

Mrs. Ernestine Johnson _thumbsize

Second Grade was quite a transitional year for me. I attended three different schools in three different states. I started out at the school on Stewart Air Force Base in Tennessee where my dad was stationed…just a week or two, though, because we were reassigned to Florida, where I attended most of second grade. We (Mom, siblings and I) left Florida after eight months because of our troubles due to my father’s struggle with alcoholism. It was an abrupt departure with many mixed emotions . . . forbidden to be spoken of.

It was the last couple of weeks of school year when I arrived in South Carolina.  Mrs. Johnson was my teacher and she was very kind. The entire school was in a flurry of final preparations for the school-wide end-of-year program where each grade had a song or dance presentation. And how lucky for me that my teacher played the piano! I’d never seen anyone play one up close and my eyes were always glued to Mrs. Johnson’s fingers as they magically frolicked across the keys.

I remember the melody and dance steps to one of the songs where girls wore brightly colored skirts of paper flowers…

Step front, back 1-2-3
Step front, back, and-a 1-2-3!

And although I wasn’t able to participate in the program, I didn’t feel left out or isolated. Mrs. Johnson and the warmth of Parkersville welcomed me. It was like the Balm in Gilead for my hungered soul.

 

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Aunt Lucy’s Coat

Over the weekend my sister and I were at our family home continuing to purge closets and endless boxes of items my late mother had collected over many years. In Mom’s “Inspiration Room” closet, we found two fur coats she had inherited from her dear sister, our Beloved Aunt Lucille. One was an adorable custom design trimmed in fur with matching hat… a fitted bodice with a pleat and a bow… so Coco Chanel… so fashionably Aunt Lucy!

Aunt Lucille was my favorite aunt…generous, kind, open, trusting, sensual and comfortable in her own skin, with an adoring husband who was a reflection of God’s generosity and love. As my sister and I poured over grateful memories of Aunt Lucille, I silently reflected on her many lessons. I, unlike Aunt Lucille was very independent…fixated on it in such a way that I felt that my success solely depended on my effort, and not experiencing success somehow indicated a failure or shortcoming on my part. It was difficult for me to be open to certain unseen opportunities and other good things that were also possible. Of course, I’ve since gained insight concerning some of the factors that reinforced those tendencies, and part of my earthly “metamorphosis” has been about learning to surrender in order to receive… to let go so that more can come in. Truly, no small thing for a “do-it-yourselfer.” In a recent dream the Archetypes remind me about trust:

I have an itch in my back and can’t reach it because my arm is injured. A man builds me a short bristle brush attached to the wall so that I can rub my back against it. There’s a shift and I’m wearing a short cloak like Queen Ramonda’s in “Black Panther.” I’m wondering how I’m going to relieve my itch while wearing it. Then I’m wearing a full-length fur coat…luxurious, gorgeous… but how will I relieve my itch while wearing it?

Duh, it’s not about the itch, Cheptu! I chuckle seeing myself in this dream. Of course, my arm is disabled because it’s all about me learning to be in the adequacy of the One greater than me. My gosh, if my Beloved cares about the little itch on my back, won’t he care for me in the cloak of my empowerment? The cloak and even a full-length fur coat don’t present any problems for my itch…it’s just all in my head.

Sometimes we must surrender the need to figure things out and simply accept the gift. Trust that you are being led, that you are being shaped and formed, and your needs supplied. Untighten some of that grip and allow the Universe to step in. Allow the path that is uniquely yours to unfold. We are in many ways like Wakandans. No two had the identical path or role. You just pick up yours and wear it. Walk in your own skin and trust the Universe to do what it does with generosity, power and provision and even a little comic relief when you need it. Wear the cloak and Journey Home.

Love,
Cheptu

HOMEGOING

Dream: I’m with a large group of African people…hundreds…walking through an underground passageway to a dock where we’ll board a ship. It feels so familiar, as if I have been here before. We’re all walking in the same direction with a sense of purpose. Large metal rust-covered planks on the ground connect us to the massive vessel before us…not a ship, but more like a ferry boat. It’s crowded, with hundreds, maybe thousands, and still more to get on. I feel anxious, hoping there’ll be enough space for me. A lady is near me…tall, large, bold…like a Nigerian market lady in one of my children’s storybooks. She shows me how to call out to someone far away by using her powerful diaphragm muscles. “Yaa-Yaa!” she shouts in a gutsily strident tone. I call one syllable as loudly as I can, but not nearly as strong as hers. I finally get the hang of it and call both syllables heartily with my full voice. Mahershala Ali appears. He’s standing right beside me! I feel comforted by his presence and know he’ll be with me for the rest of the journey. I like being both near him and the lady. I feel full, celebrated and connected to everything and everybody.

This is a celebration dream that means so much as I compare it to a much older dream, the first one I recall having that directly referenced or took place on the African continent. In that dream of seven years ago, I’m a girl child who gets separated from my tribe. I’m assaulted and transported to a Nigerian marketplace where I surreptitiously try to communicate to others that I’ve been abducted and need help. Men are lying around lackadaisically, as if in a daze. They can’t help me. Some women attempt to intervene, but gunfire breaks out and I am killed. About a year later I have a dream about being manacled by my wrist in the bottom of a slave ship. A dream of abject pain and misery that left me with waking life physical symptoms that took 2+ years of qigong and bodywork to clear.

Of course, the two dreams are trauma dreams referencing my ancestral past related to the transatlantic slave trade. I understand today that the people in the marketplace couldn’t help me in the dream because they are also captured and traumatized. I carried the memory of all of it in my cells and bones. I spent years working through the trans-generational shame around my blackness because of the legacy of colonization, chattel enslavement and constant beating of pervasive American racism. I underwent processes of eradicating the shame, deconstructing faulty thinking, and re-educating myself from a healthier African perspective. I studied and traveled near and far in the pursuit of primordial wisdom and experiences to set my mind on a different path and learn how to remain grounded when my trauma gets triggered. It was powerful, dedicated, persevering work.

Those dreams paralleled additional layers of my inner work. I also had to look at my “shadow material,” the ways that I had co-opted with the lies I had learned and the ways I covered my shame and vulnerability with my “go-to” shells of aloofness, false pride, pseudo-independence and over-responsibility. My dreams also showed me my blind spots and shortcomings…after all, it’s about setting the soul free from ALL its shackles and bondage. AND it’s a continual process of becoming, hence, the Now Journey. In my ferry boat dream, not only am I returning to my geographical and spiritual home, but I’m also returning home metaphorically. “Home” in my body, “home” in my psyche…home in my inner support systems that more accessible to me now because I’ve worked through my trauma. There’s no abandonment or captivity here!

I’m enjoying the gift of feeling alive, celebrated and reconnected with throes of support all around me and in me (it’s been there all along, but now I am more conscious of it). Mahershala Ali (an actor who I greatly admire, respect and love) stands in the role of the Divine Male. He is not lackadaisical or traumatized, but very present. And the Divine Feminine (represented by the Nigerian market lady) is not trapped, but free and bold and gutsy. In the beginning of the dream, there’s a part of me that feels separated, although I’m in the presence of the many others. When I feel separated, my anxiety rises and my old fear kicks in that there won’t be enough, or that I might get left behind. Somehow, I intuitively know to go to the Market Lady/Healer because I end up right beside her. It’s when I acknowledge my vulnerability and know my need, that I know to seek help. And isn’t it interesting how in the dream, as soon as I call out with my whole heart, the Mahershala/Divine Male shows up. He was there all along, I just couldn’t see him when I was in an anxious state of mind.

Many persons are born with the immense capacity to hold embedded memories and the energies of their current and past lives and ancestral stories. These stories tell of greatness, but also tell of tragedy. Our dreams reveal, with astonishing clarity, the conglomeration of all the things we’ve had to do to survive trauma. They also reveal the ways we quell the dissonance in our minds when snippets of truth come to us that we feel safer to not see, not feel, and not know.

My cultural/ethnic background and historical experience gives my dreams a particular flavor. Your “flavor” may be different because of your historical or ethnic background, but what’s common among us is that our dreams are always leading us “home,” back to our true nature, before the terror, separation, humiliation and deprivation. Our dreams are sometimes sweet and compassionate, sometimes confrontative. Sometimes somber, sometimes engagingly comedic. Sometimes tender, sometimes with awe-filled force; however always serving our highest good. When we pay attention and open ourselves to their messages, and partake of the “medicine” they bring, we can be led through the tunnel of all the trauma and the “hiccups” back to higher ground to reclaim our primal, authentic juice…back to true and lasting joy.

HOMEGOING . . . that’s what the Now Journey is all about.

With Love,
Cheptu

Super Moon to Spring!

Dear Ones:

I am here. I had a challenge. I got stuck. I made steps to start my FB page and group and share the gifts my Creator placed in me, and for which I have studied and practiced many years. I stepped out into this wider social media and then I froze. I got scared. Have you ever been afraid or felt an energy that holds you back or makes your deepest desire seem insurmountable? Not everyone experiences this, but I sometimes do. It ties back to old, old trauma fear and shame…some of which is unfamiliar to me in this lifetime, yet I somehow carry the residuals of it in my bones. I also know incredible love and support even in the darkest places and am reminded to step towards it, to trudge through the malaise to return to the promise of my “Now Journey.” I am here, and I am writing.

Two nights ago, in the middle of the night, while passing by my bedroom window I noticed the Super Moon in its iridescent glory. I was transfixed by its presence and began to “wash” my face with its energy and asked its holy presence for whatever it would take to help me move, write, and connect the loved ones who honored my invitation to sit together in the places called, “Now Journey” and “The Healing Theatre.” I returned to bed and in the morning, I remembered a dream from long ago. In this dream I get off the bus for my destination which first stops me at a fork in the road. I must decide which way to go. Along the way, I morph into an infant child with other infants. We end up at the entrance to a church or some other sacred edifice. We are all naked. As I recalled the dream day before yesterday during the wee hours of the morning, I was reminded that in order to receive the promise of my “heavenly” calling as and Archetypal Dreamwork Guide, I must be truthful, open, honest and undefended…like a newborn child. I thought about my role…that it’s not about giving advice or hiding behind the role of an unaffected “expert.” But rather, it’s about standing in the nakedness of my soulful truth, with the power of transparency and vulnerability…about being real with people who also want to be real. I went to post…uh-uh…too scary…this vulnerability stuff. I signed off my computer before I could log into my website.

I wrestled through the day and all through the following night (this morning) with the imminence of this thing calling me to get it together and write and post and embrace my wider audience. When I could tolerate the malaise no longer, I get up shortly after 3:00 AM, wondering if the celestial being just outside my bedroom window would still be there…to comfort and challenge me, assist me once again. I peek through my window tops which are uncovered, sifting my eyes through the stoic branches of trees awaiting their springtime dance… There it is! The radiant moon even more glorious and colorful than the night before. Wait a minute…today is March 20…the Spring Equinox is approaching! I surrender my heart and my fingers to simply glide along these keys on my computer keyboard and write. I will not allow the Equinox to pass before I post something, and so here I am, now an hour and minutes before the equinox at 5:58PM EDT.

In my most recent cycle of dreams I’m with a tall, dark man whom I love, who gives me an extraordinarily exquisite bouquet of roses. We are nuzzling in a warm and intimate way and three strong and beautiful women wearing beautiful afros are standing nearby…all wanting to support me in my new endeavor. The Man in my dream is the archetype referred to as the Animus…my inner Lover, my Supporter, my Teacher, my Friend. In my dream he promises to help me do all I am called to do, including all this social media stuff, which in a way, is my “church.” Nearby is a baby Boy (in my dream I call him the “Lotto Boy”) who is now grown and can fulfill all of his potential. The Boy is the archetype who represents need, desire, autonomy and doing. In my dream are also three glorious women sporting round afros that look like halos…they are the triple Anima who support with me in the continuing process of my healing. They all remind me to call on them, my sacred realm of inner characters when I get stuck or the voices of shame and fear attempt to silence my calling.

Upon this cusp of the Spring Equinox 2019, I celebrate renewal, rebirth and joy! I celebrate the coming of the Light that blesses you with courage, hope and wisdom. I celebrate the Light that expels all darkness, confusion and blockages. I offer each of you and the Universe, my prayers of gratitude and thanks. I pray that your lives will be filled with power, joy and beauty, and every other blessing of Spring.

With much love from the one Journeys Home,
Cheptu

Sankofa

Sunday evening I attended a wonderfully uplifting concert of classical music, art songs and spirituals in honor of Black History Month. “Sankofa” was the title of the event—a word in the Twi language of Ghana that means to “go back and get it.” The program note read:

 “Sankofa teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of can be reclaimed, revived, preserved, and perpetuated.”

I thought to myself, “Wow, this is what I do as an Archetypal Dreamworker…this is what my own experience has been!”  It’s been about going back through the annals of the past recorded the unconscious to get clarity and heal that which needs to be healed, and fetch and reclaim one’s Soul force, one’s primal essence…the most powerful manifestation of oneself in this current life. Sankofa describes what the “now journey” is, what Now Journey Home is all about.

Very often, our primal essence—our innate, spontaneous natural “juice”—gets locked up in trauma, often traumatic childhood experiences that reshape the way we view the world and experience ourselves in it and with others. Sometimes those traumatic experiences connect to experiences from the “great past,” i.e., prior lives or through our ancestral lineages. Our dreams, even the universe will come to our aid to awaken us to what’s hidden, not to re-traumatize us, but to help us move through blocked energy and bring opportunities for clarification, healing, clarification, new insights and the retelling of the story in a more conscious context.

I remember one of my earliest dreams that began to pour in following my divorce in 1989…

I’m out west with Dee (a man I was dating at the time) who has a big scar on his thigh. He says his leg was “slashed open” in a skating accident that happened a long time ago and he covered it with a towel. “My wife is a nurse,” he adds. He then puts on a pair of roller skates and zooms past us (I’m with a group of friends) with his head tucked between his legs and his arms wrapped around his lower legs. He zooms through big water puddles and we’re surprised that he doesn’t try to avoid them. His face gets wet and covered with mud. Is he showing off, trying to be comical? No one laughs. He does not stop—he just keeps going and never returns.

I remember my total befuddlement following the dream…my curious alarm and sadness evoked by very visceral feelings that stay in my body for several days. My only relief is to make the dream about my waking life relationship with Dee, to worry that he would break up with me and never return. Of course, I now understand that Dee was standing in the role of the Animus, the Male Divine archetype who often appears in our dreams as a loving, supportive or teaching presence; and other times as the Animus Provocateur or trickster. In my dream, the Animus is showing me my wound. He’s provoking me to pay attention to a wound that was only superficially covered. Both elements of pride and shame are in the dream, both I knew very well…like twin siblings glued in my psyche. Of course, Dee’s “wife” would be a nurse! She would be the Anima, the Feminine Divine who heals us, especially from shame. This is a prologue dream, an invitation dream to several rounds of trauma work that, at least at an intuitive level, I’m ready to face into with the help of my inner Divine Parents.

However, at the time, my intellect doesn’t know what to do with the dream. I’m not working with a counselor, therapist or dreamwork analyst, so projecting all over it about my status with my boyfriend keeps me distracted for a while, but that doesn’t last very long. My interior world a perpetual state of disoriented days and restless nights. Shortly afterwards I have another dream…this one closer to “home,” set in one of my childhood homes:

I’m inside the house and feel trepidation. A man is there. He feels familiar…my father??? Prince, our pet cat is put outside with a bowl of milk, but somehow, it’s wanting to come back in. I can’t let it come back in because, for some reason, I feel suspicious about it; and besides, my sister is allergic to it. Large smooth round stones are stacked at the entry door so no one get in or out. I feel that something bad is going to happen.

I definitely do NOT want to deal with this dream. I don’t know what to do the haunting feelings my dreams are bringing me. I do some independent research about dreams, but nothing is resonating. I bury myself in my work and other outer world activities hoping the feelings will just go away.

Meantime, still in waking life, it rains one night. I slowly awaken to “drip…drip…drip….” Am I dreaming? Flat on my back I lay on my bed in the silent haze of the black night. I’m transported to some place deep within the coffers of my psyche, feeling utter powerlessness, vulnerability and abandonment which adds to the malaise I have been avoiding from my recent dreams. I fully awaken only to discover that it’s not a dream. My beloved sunroof window is leaking onto my bed! In disbelief I ask, “Where are you God?  Why cannot you protect me from the elements from your heavens imposing themselves on me drip by drip? Why are you doing this?” Where, how will I get the money to fix this? I’m already struggling…why? Why? Why? That was a Friday.

Two days later it’s Sunday, September 30, 1990 at Christ Fellowship Church, a non-denominational charismatic church that I recently started to attend. This Sunday, John and Paula Sanford are the guest ministers. Stationed in Northwestern U.S.A., they lead an inner healing ministry through which they help individuals transform painful effects of early life trauma on the present through guided imagery while facilitating the presence of Jesus or some other significant faith figure into the process. Wow, everything they’re saying resonates with me…so thankful I came to church today…I almost stayed at home!

It’s the end of service, before the Benediction. They invite people to come to the altar for intercessory prayer. Oh, no, I don’t do this. Yes, I’m curious about all this Pentecostal, charismatic stuff, but there is a limit to what I will and will not do! I feel awkward. Here, for the first time in my life since I was 12 years old, I am sitting as a congregant in a church, not employed as a church musician. Here, I get to sit in the pews and worship and pray and be ministered to. Yes, Christ Fellowship’s understanding of spiritual gifts and dreams and visions, etc. innately moves me. But, no, I don’t run down to the altar for someone to pray over me…too much exposure. I can do that in my seat on my own!

People proceed to the altar and are prayed for and things begin to slow down. At some point, I believe it was Paula who calls for people to come who are in need of healing from childhood wounds. I say to myself, “That’s me,” but my “hmph-fy” attitude prevails, and I remain in my seat. I become distrustful of what’s happening, wondering if this is some kind of staged hoax. Then John takes charge. He closes his eyes and begins describing a scene…saying that he sees a young lady with a leaky ceiling and the rain is coming down…that he wants to especially pray for this person. By this time my entire radar is at full alarm and I’m sitting fully upright, saying to myself, “That’s me!” But I drift back to my quacking mind, wondering how did they find out about my leaking ceiling? I’m trying to recall who would know about it? I told no one…except the roof repair people…and it’s not even fixed, yet. I haven’t told anyone else because I’m embarrassed to disclose that I don’t have the money to repair something so basic…my house. My mind is spinning. I settle back into the pew, but still hyperalert and curious. John and Paula make a final appeal and with no additional seekers, John begins saying the Benediction. Suddenly, Paula interrupts, stating that their work is not finished. She asks to go back to the childhood trauma scene…to the lady with the leaking ceiling. Her eyes closed, she says, “I see this person, a woman….she’s laying on her bed and she’s being exposed to the elements, all alone and afraid.” She continues: ”There’s something about her childhood home….I see a man, maybe her father…who is drunk with alcohol and causing a major ruckus in the family home.” By this time, I’ve flown to the altar, for this is my exact history.

I felt that my prior dream had been about the chaos inside of my childhood home precipitated by my father’s alcoholism. That was a place where I felt vulnerable, helpless, trapped. I didn’t want to remember those scenes. I was young when it was happening…@age 3-7…and I witnessed unspeakably cruel emotional and behavioral domination and physical violence perpetrated against my mother’s body. Way, too much for my tender heart, which left me unimaginably confused and afraid of him…of all male authority figures. It made me feel dubious about my own body, my girl body. It shattered my understanding of what love is, what it should look and feel like. I had to hold two pieces…the Daddy who I loved and who I knew loved me when he was sober, and the cruel person he became when under the influence of alcohol. I had blocked it out of my memory so I could move on with my life. And years later when my dreams began to raise these things into consciousness, I avoided them because it felt too scary to deal with. So the Universe upped the ante through the synchronicity of my leaking ceiling and John and Paula’s ministry, to help me trust that a Greater power was at work for my healing, for my good.

I don’t remember what proceeded immediately after going to the altar. I recall both John and Paula laying hands on me and me falling to the floor…a now embodied understanding of what it means to be “slain in the spirit.” At some point I came back into my body and John and Paula were still there at my side. The ushers helped me to the front pew as the Benediction was pronounced and John and Paula ministered to me a little while longer in private. This was a major breakthrough past my pride and independence…an opening to a profoundly sacred closet in my soul that had been facilitated by this very powerfully and spiritually surrendered couple. From that point forward I became more focused on my inner life and committed myself to understand more about this mysterious “theatre” going on in my head at night when I was asleep. I sensed that I would be taking a step of faith while at the same time knowing that I had inner help through my dreams, outer help through specially called persons, and the cosmic grace of the Universe. I had nowhere to go but forward in the mystery of it all.

Do you have dreams that stir you deeply…sometimes difficult, fear-inducing dreams you cannot make sense of? If they are coming to you, then your Soul is communicating your readiness to deal with their messages, of course, according to your will. This work is about going back to move through the energies of the past that linger in your bones, your cells and psychic memory. This work is about releasing your Soul Child from the tentacles of the past that keep you twisted, blocked and “safely” smaller than you are meant to be. It’s about getting back your true potent Self so you can move forward with your life in a more authentic and glorious manner. It’s about slaying the demons of the past and emerging valiantly from your own Hero’s Journey!

If you would like to know more about Archetypal Dreamwork as a form of inward journey and personal “healing theatre,” please stay in touch via this blog or my Facebook page “Now Journey Home.” I’m just getting my social media coordinated and up and running, so pardon it’s imperfections, but we’re moving forward. If you need help with a dream, please reach out to me at my dedicated email address nowjourneyhome@gmail.com.

Sankofa, and Much Love,

Cheptu

DREAMWORK SUMMIT: Unveiling, Exploring and Living the Messages from Your Soul

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FREE Online Event
The Dreamwork Summit
November 13-16, 2018

What if you could access all the wisdom you need for living a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life… from your nighttime dreams?

Imagine if your dreamtime could provide you with the necessary insights to integrate your soul’s deep knowledge and create the life you desire.

Well… it actually does.

Paying attention to your dreams and deciphering the messages living in the images, symbols, characters, and landscapes that appear can be a magical experience. And today, anyone can practice dreamwork… and reap its many benefits.

Some dreamers find themselves visiting other realms — even past or parallel lives —  which help to inform and move you through blindspots and places where you get stuck in this present life. Clarity, healing, passion, and ultimate purpose are accessible to you through the messages of your dreams, this is why .I’m excited to invite you to join me for The Dreamwork Summit where a global gathering of leading dreamwork experts, renowned psychology professionals, and inspiring authors — including Robert Moss, Jean Shinoda-Bolen, Sandra Ingerman, Lynne McTaggart, Grandmother Flordemayo, Toko-pa Turner,Andrew Holecek, myself, and others — will be sharing a unique variety of dreamwork approaches and ways to open to your inner guidance.

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I’m honored to be among 20+ leading teachers in this first-ever Dreamwork Summit, sharing insights from my own experience and practice of Archetypal Dreamwork that have helped to heal, transform, enliven and expand my life.

I hope you will join me for this groundbreaking four-day online gathering presented by The Shift Network.

To attend the summit, RSVP here for The Dreamwork Summit — at no charge:

https://shiftnetwork.infusionsoft.com/go/dws18a18706/a18706

Now journey home!

With Love,

Cheptu

Beginnings

It’s my birthday,1989, the eve before the final decree of dissolution of my 9-year, 201-day marriage. I didn’t know it was going to be this hard. We separated a year ago, but as the hour gets closer all my defense mechanisms are breaking. I’ve put my 6-year-old son to bed. He’s asked me one more time, “Are you sure it’s not my fault that Dad left?” No, no, no son. You did nothing wrong. It’s Daddy and Mommy…we had problems with each other that we couldn’t solve. I’m so sorry about how you feel, but it’s not true, don’t believe it. We both love you very much.

In my bed I feel so alone. All night I toss and turn in anguish over the grief, the pain, the humiliation, the loss. I heave into my pillow releasing a torrent of tears. I’m up and down all night. I pray. I read my Bible. I beg for peace. I can’t believe it’s over. Please, God, don’t let me hear the judge’s final decree without knowing that I was truly loved, even if just for a short while. Where are you, God. Do even you love me?” I’m overwhelmed with the feeling of utter rejection and abandonment. My eyes now puffy, red and dry as there are no more tears. My lyrical soprano voice now husky and raw. My utter brokenness ushering me into the chasm of deep sleep. “DIDN’T I SAY I WOULD TAKE CARE OF IT!?” An impetuous basso voice, 15 octaves below the deepest, jolts me out of sleep into sitting position. I’m terrified believing that someone is in my room. PHEW!…I must have been dreaming! I am thankful as my pounding heart calms and I sink into peaceful sleep until the morning comes.

The divorce hearing takes place. I’m fatigued, but surprisingly feel grounded inside. Soon after the divorce, the dreams begin to pour in night after night…I suppose my heart is more open and less defended, so the messaging can through. I don’t know what to do with these dreams except interpret them from my wounded ego. The dreams become more difficult to decipher, so I finally just leave them alone, but I continue writing them…each and every time, as soon as I’m aware that I’m dreaming, I record in my journal and go back to sleep. Somewhere along the way I instinctively begin to index my dreams…it becomes a ritual practice five times a year…on New Year’s Day, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Fall Equinox, and Winter Solstice. I log the dreams from my journal onto my computer: date, time, central themes and figures. One day I have a particularly troublesome dream. It grips me in my gut as I ask, is this a déjà vu? Have I dreamed this before? I open my computer and search my index, only to discover that I’ve had the identical dream, recorded three consecutive years, on the same date, at the same time. I fly into counseling! I’m blessed to find a wonderful father-like figure, a highly regarded psychotherapist and pastoral counselor who is also a shaman…his name was Mwalimu Imara. One day during a session I ask, “Can dreams heal?” He bellows in his booming basso, like the voice in my inaugural dream, “Hell yes!” His answer propels me on my personal journey to discover the healing power of dreams.

Mwalimu helps me tremendously from his Gestalt perspective and I’m always bringing him my dreams. While admitting that dreamwork is not his forte, he urges me to learn as much as I can, to explore the gift I have been given to its very end. I continue to work with him and begin to search for dreamworkers to no avail. Everyone says, “Your dreams are very rich…you have something, a calling…it’s rich, but I’m not the best fit for you.” I’m going from person to person, place to place. I begin to self-study, spending a lot of money on books and workshops. I enroll in seminary and after seven years of wandering through almost every concentration available, I finally settle on psychology of religion and pastoral care. It comes a little close to my interest. I move to New York to further engage in Clinical Pastoral Education at a prestigious hospital and school of medicine. I enroll in and eventually drop out of a unique experientially based doctoral program in San Francisco. I drop out and decide, no more formal education!  I travel abroad to experience various traditional cultures and search for their understanding of dreamwork as a form of healing. I begin researching my family genealogy and work with traditional African spiritualists to get a sense of who I am and who I come from, and what in the world is driving me.

My colleagues, family and friends are asking me why I’m not doing more with my ministry, with “ALL of your qualifications.” It’s a parched, seemingly endless circuitous journey through my dream life. I can’t put my finger on exactly what I’m wanting. I’m learning new and interesting things, but I’m having difficulty landing.

I have more powerful dreams and can feel there’s something sacredly important about them, but I’m afraid to open another dream book or do another internet search. Finally, I vow to surrender my quest and let the answers find me. Then one day after a long spell (1-2 years) of not reading any books or searching on the web for information about dreams, I fortuitously stumble upon a website called North of Eden (NOE) Center for Archetypal Dreamwork. I submit a dream, wondering if someone will really respond as they promise. Holy Cow, someone responds! The response is other-wordly…different than I have ever experienced, and it speaks directly to my life, both inner and outer. It resonates with something deeply inside of me. Maybe that’s just luck. Skeptic, as I am, I create a new name and a different email address and submit a second dream. OMG, the response is equally moving. I know I have found something. I begin working with one of the analysts, Christa, who is the Co-Founder. We work via phone…the process is miraculous as it reveals things that resonate deeply, yet they have been hidden from conscious awareness. Shortly afterwards, I attend my first retreat—in cold-Cold-COLD, lily white-White-WHITE Lowell, Vermont, less than 20 miles from the Canadian border. I’m the only person of color there, retreat after retreat. Look, God, I’m an African American from the South…are you playing some kind of cosmic trick on me? Over and over, I would question what in the world am I doing…what have I gotten myself into? I sometimes quiver at what my pro-African liberationist community would make of it. I never reconcile it in my mind, maybe there is nothing to be reconciled, because I know I’m connecting to a deep and sacred part of myself. Nothing can be said or done to stop me or become a stumbling block in my process of becoming. I know I am in the right place, at the right time, with the right people to help guide me to the next step.

Ashé