“Follow your dreams, but understand them first.” JSM
On May 27th 2011, I had a profound dream. The only reason why I remember the date is because I wrote it down.
I know, I know. (Cue the eye rolling and heavy sighs) Big whoopty doo deal. We all dream. Most will say dreaming is fantastic, liberating, cleansing and necessary to the subconscious to prepare the mind for another day.
I hate dreaming. It’s the only component of the sleeping process I despise. Dreams are confusing, abstract and sometimes overwhelming. They’re random and illogical, jarring, and the ones that don’t seem to have a straight forward obvious meaning, can really mess with your mind if you let it.
Waking from slumber, “feeling” the dream in vivid detail at the moment its happening and once the eyes flutter open and the environment of the real world blinks into view, the dream vanishes from memory. Gone. The only thing remaining is a blurry image of an object or person to give you something to go crazy over.
No recollection of it. It was truly happening though. You remember it fading away into nothing. You fight through the morning and day, to recall anything other than a momentary snippet, and always fall short.
I hate dreaming. The dreams that I remember, make little sense.
In addition to things I have difficulties with, I include major cities on the list. Through the course of my life I have visited two major cities. Boston and D.C. I’ve done some minor traveling here and there: Bermuda, Canada, I hiked three hundred miles of the Appalachian Trail through three states in my late teens. I’ve been as far south as Tennessee and west to Ohio, but I’ve been a “Mainah” since day one.
I won’t knock the city life, it’s just not for me. I don’t appreciate it as much as others. I get uncomfortable and jittery. Anxious. I seek to enjoy the experience, but never seem to find the enjoyment I seek. Probably the same can be said for folks who leave the hustle and bustle of the city and spend time in an area that doesn’t provide much in the way of excitement.
“Being in the country and away from the city, is boring. Nothing to do.”
“Yes. It most certainly is.”
I prefer quiet. I enjoy large groups of people in small doses. To me, there’s nothing greater than stepping onto my porch on a clear night, and gazing at the light speckled blackness all around me; the only sound being the passing of a car on the nearby interstate. Maine is my way of life and I feel comfortable and safe.
So mash together two things I don’t enjoy: dreaming and being in a goliath city.
And wouldn’t you figure my “profound experience” takes place in the dream world surrounded by towering structures and congested buildings, millions of people, bumper to bumper traffic, digital signs, flashing lights and so much noise I can barely hear my own thoughts.
Behind me in this brief dream on a small square patch of green grass is a singular apple tree. A tan flower pot with a black orchid growing from it, sits beside me on a park bench.
I’m placed there, watching life zip by. Herds of humans walking shoulder to shoulder, mashed into one another; almost blending and fusing together. The speed of the crowd escalates and they morph into streaks of moving vibrant light and the thick swirling colors surrounds my little green piece of land.
Now it’s all I can see. Only a wall of multi colored lights on all four sides of my “safe zone” boxing me in. I turn to my right and sitting beside me, on the other side of my orchid, is a cousin I haven’t spoken to since childhood. I’m guessing thirty plus years. Why my mind conjured her up to join me, is still a mystery.
She looks to me and asks, “Why are you here?”
“I don’t have any choice. I’m here against my will.”
“I don’t believe that.”
“You’re not the one going through it.”
“Jere, I don’t think you’re here against your will. This is where you need to be for a moment. It’s temporary.”
“When can I leave?”
“That’s up to you. The thing about emotion is sometimes it’s controlling. You’ll leave when you’re ready.”
“I don’t want my emotions to rule me. I control them… not the other way around.”
“Then it seems you need to find a way to express your emotions differently.”
“Do the opposite of what you’re doing.”
“So… don’t react. Be complacent.”
“No. Not complacent. Look at it from a different angle.”
“… I need to be told what to do.”
“No you don’t. You only need to realize what it is you want, and what you don’t want. Drive away. Go to the place. Start a journal.”
“Express your emotions by writing it down.”
My cousin turned to me and I should have felt a sensation of fear, but all I felt was warmth and peace. She leaned in close and her mouth stretched open but her lips never formed words. Her voice came forth and only four sounds were uttered in the form of a whisper.
“Write it all down.”
That following morning I opened the laptop and created a new folder. I named it, “Jere’s Journal” and it’s only devoted to quotes I’ve conjured up over the years. Pages of little quotations and phrases that seemed applicable to me at specific moments.
In the beginning, I started by writing my “emotions” down.
“Today I felt this, and this morning I felt that, and the whole thing made me feel this,” but soon realized everything I was jotting down, only brought me to other places I didn’t want to be. Therefore, I ended the daily journal and wrote daily quotes to myself instead.
The one at the top of chapter four was the first one I recorded.
I type all that out in the event anyone was wondering where the header quotes come from. Yes, they’re all mine and I felt the need to include them.
But enough about me and my dreams. Back to focusing on Bill and Linda’s dream. Their vision for a new Jeremy and something about helping me change my life for the better, forever.
A barbeque is a barbeque. Typically burgers, hotdogs, chicken, random quickie side dishes, drinks and condiments make up the outdoor table of a standard barbeque setting.
Not at Bill and Linda’s home. No, no, no. The meal was inside. We sat around a large table, eating from a plated dish with “high end” portioned items, cooked on a grill like mechanism in an expansive silver colored kitchen, with two islands and two ceiling fans.
The home had a mammoth interior with bay windows. Everything seemed shiny. Constructed in seemingly out of place locations were short staircases to multi-level floors and a room in the loft devoted to toys, awards, trophies and autographed items.
Bill had a game room with stand up arcade machines; no quarters needed. Vintage posters and comics protected by plastic shields. A juke box, pool table, Foosball, big screen TV, collectables, antiques, art, and (I kid you not) a stream running through the space between the living room and his personal office with fish swimming throughout. As if the home was designed to allow nature to come and go at will. At the base of a set of stairs, a waist high waterfall to keep the stream flowing and moving.
After the five-star elite barbeque (comprised of food stuff I don’t believe I’ve ever had before) we spoke about future opportunity.
I won’t bore you. The conversation grew from casual to business, in a matter of minutes. Bill was almost chomping at the bit to dive in and “talk”. He may have initially proposed a no business chat but it didn’t last long. It was as though our dialogue was being steered into business, casually.
Linda was an observer. She wore hanging hooped ear rings and had dark shoulder length hair. Black shadowed eyes that watched you with every move.
During dessert, an a la crème something with a shaved chocolate garnish, Linda cut right to the chase. “So, what do you think?”
“It’s quite a commitment.” I said. “Honestly, all that’s needed is ‘this’?”
Bill gently tapped his palm flat on the table with each word, “That-is-it.”
I mulled it over and poked at my dessert. I looked to Linda and asked, “The start fees waived? No cost? Just do X and move on to phase two?”
She smiled and replied, “If that’s what needs to be done to get you on board and working with us, then yes. We believe that you should explore this and everything it has to offer. No upfront cost. Do X and we will go from there. Do you know anyone else who may be interested?”
A bit of a loaded question. The entire enterprise isn’t something you randomly bring up with friends and family. The potential participation of others is a complete unknown.
Caught a little off guard at the fast moving speed of it all I said, “Ummm… I don’t know? I’d have to look into it?”
Linda wiped the corners of her lips and said, “Just remember, the more the merrier. You’ll eventually get to a point where including others won’t be necessary anymore. Everyone else will do all the work for you. Its phase one that’s the toughest and requires the most. See who you can talk to, get a couple of people interested and once you do that, contact us.”
“Easy as that?”
Before I left, I was provided with all the information I needed to start this new, slightly intimidating, and short lived journey in life. Approaching the car, Bill stops me in the driveway, “Here, I want you to have this.”
I pulled it from his fingers and it was a tightly folded piece of paper. “What is it?”
Bill’s smile grew across his face and he crossed his arms high on the chest, “Don’t open it yet. Wait. Tuck it away somewhere. Put it in a book or a box, or put it on the top of a shelf somewhere out of sight. Just don’t read it yet. Open it and read it when we reach the top. Together. I want you to be surprised at what’s inside.”
I smiled my response and agreed to his idea. I thanked him for a wonderful afternoon, placed the paper in my back pocket and left the property.
Once I found an interested party to join in the adventure, it was time to reconnect with Bill for phase two.
Phase two altered my entire way of thinking.