Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Dreams meet under lion's blue eyes at Amsterdam airport
Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam en route to Bucharest
I embarked on the long journey from my little home airport in upstate New York to Bucharest on Monday. Thanks to a flight cancellation, I was following a quite different itinerary than the one I had booked long ago. It would give me a layover at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport instead of at Paris Charles de Gaulle. The unexpected Amsterdam connection was tagged by delicious poetic synchronicity, as I noted in my last article in this space.
So now my antennae are all quivering, because when your plans get screwed up, the Trickster comes into play. There is a kind of tilt to the day. Chance encounters may be fascinating, if you are open to them. You are aware that you are traveling paths that were not on your maps, beyond the settled lands of Planning and Calculation.
I enjoy my conversations with the first fellow-travelers I meet. They are both men who love beer and have a seemingly endless supply of factoids about craft brewing, alcohol content, hops and more - and have clearly both looked in a beer mug or two when it was brown. I like beer, so I was happy to chime in with some preferences and stories of my own.
The sharp edge of both conversations emerged through this froth. Both men had well-paid jobs that did more than pay the bills but seemed to leave them gasping for air. I expressed my view that the trick in life is to do what you love and let the universe find a way to support that. Soon we were talking about what this would mean, in practice, for each of these increasingly conscious travelers. I led them through what I call the Juggling Act.
"List the things you most love - it's okay to include beer! - and picture yourself holding these things in your left hand. Now list the skills, resources and connections you have, and see yourself balancing these in your right hand."
We talked about how to shuffle together these two sets, of love objects and skills. No immediate business plans or flashes of divine lightning came through, but the exercise is fun and engaging.
Now my plane is coming down through grey sea-mists over Amsterdam, a city below sea level. I have arrived a few minutes early, but there is still no time to be lost getting across the vast, bustling airport to my new departure gate, D54. I find a crowd of travelers waiting at the gate for the security check. A pretty younger woman glances at my boarding pass. "You are Flying Blue Silver," she telle me. "You don't have to wait with us. You can go to the front."
I tell her I'll stay where I am in the line. There's no rush. She's Romanian, I guess. Correct. She's going back to Cluj to continue her studies as a medical student. She loves to travel the world and she especially likes Amsterdam.
The conversation quickly takes off. When she completes her medical training, she wants to be an oncologist. Soon we are talking about the role of imagery in healing cancer. The importance of imaginal healing is now well-recognized in oncology, the field she has chosen. "If you can help a cancer patient to see and sense and believe in an ally who can help them fight the disease inside their body, they do better." Under questioning, I explain that this is the kind of thing I train people to do.
She wants to know about my trainings, and my books. I mention my book Active
Dreaming. She whips out her smartphone to find the American edition online. She wants to read in in English. She gasps when she sees the cover - a fierce lion door knocker that is really in your face, hinting that if you want to get to the good stuff, you need to brave up.
"Last night, I dreamed of a lion with blue eyes and a white mane, in a swimming pool."
I don't comment that I am have loved lions all my life and that I am a big cat who loves to swim. I do tell her that my working title for this book was The Place of the Lion, and that it contains my story of a big dream in which a lion advised me on how to approach life.
I show her the cover of my spiritual memoir The Boy Who Died and Came Back, which has beautiful endorsements from two exceptional M.D.s who are helping us to remember and grow the spirit-body connection: Raymond Moody and Larry Dossey.
Her eyes widen. "This conversation is a gift to me," she tells me. "I've been thinking a lot about death, and what happens after death." She explains that a good friend died, with his girlfriend, in the Malaysian Airlines plane that was shot down over eastern Ukraine. I ask if she has had a sense of his presence.
"I've been dreaming of him almost every night."
"How is he doing?"
"He's fine. Last time I saw him, he was leading me up a ladder. I was behind him, and his girlfriend was behind me. The ladder was not an ordinary ladder. It was an oak tree. I don't know where we were going, but this felt important, and wonderful."
I told her that the very first time I taught in Eastern Europe, I guided a group of fifty people to journey with the aid of shamanic drumming through the portal of an oak tree. For shamans, I explained, any tree can be a ladder between the worlds, an axis mundi. However, for many of us of European ancestry, the oak has special importance. Druids, for example, were called oak seers.
Truth comes with boosebumps. Synchronicity is the spice of travel, and a way of knowing that you are on the right path even when the daily trivial mind might try to tell you that you are off schedule or off track.