Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Men in suits

They are coming around again, in my dreams, those men in suits.
    Last week, I was fixing dinner in a beautiful cabana on a tropical island. I had purchased an impressive slab of beef and got it broiling on the grill. Then men in suits turned up, three of them, and I had to turn off the grill to go outside and talk to them about business stuff. I did not care for these people, and when I got back to the kitchen I found that my steak was only partly cooked.
   I was annoyed by the interruption, but recognized that I had an opportunity to make a better dinner than I had been preparing. I cut and trimmed the meat. It was now shaped like a perfect filet mignon, ready to be sliced after grilling.
   I came out of this dream still feeling some irritation over the way my cooking had been interrupted. I reflected on how in my dreams the state of food preparation often reflects the state of a creative project, especially writing a book. I noticed how the agendas of the "suits" - people and parts of myself heavily focused on business and commercial calculations - have sometimes interfered with my creative process.
    Yet, in the dream, I was only delayed, not deflected. I did not join the suits. I returned to my cooking and produced something better than what it might have been. I applied this immediately to a current project. I had been pushing myself to complete a certain assignment. I decided to take a little break and let my creative springs start flowing again in their own sweet time. This worked beautifully. A couple of days later, after cutting and trimming, I completed my assignment, feeling really good.
    Then the suits came back, in my dreams this week. I found myself with three men in suits, walking a path above a high cliff. There was a glorious vista of ocean below, the waves breaking over a rocks and sandy beach.
    The suits had an agenda and I had agreed to go with them. But the way they had chosen was not getting us anywhere interesting. In fact, the path we were on was falling away. It seemed that it had crumbled through erosion or rockfall. There was no safe way to go forward, and certainly not to get down to the beach, if that had been the intention.
   To go forward would require trying to swing myself over gaping holes - with a drop of hundreds of feet - by grabbing tree branches and vines that seemed flimsy and poorly rooted when I tested them. I decided the journey was not worth the risk. I went back to a luxury hotel where I had been staying, apparently in a Northern European city. I was recognized and greeted warmly at reception, in a vast modern lobby.
    Yes, I know. I could have jumped from the cliff and started flying and enjoyed time at the beach. That might have been a more interesting way to part company with the suits. I remembered, inside the scene, that in dreams we can fly. Yet I also remembered that the physics of other realities does not always permit jumping off cliffs without consequences. I wrote myself a one-liner: You should not jump off every cliff you come to just because you can.

     I used to live in the world of suits. As a young man in my twenties, I affected super-tailored power suits, calculating that people would be more likely to forget my age and take me seriously if I was "better dressed" than any other man in the room. This calculation generally proved correct, for what that was ever worth.
     Now you will hardly ever catch me wearing anything more formal than jeans or chinos. My divorce from suits - and the suits - began many, many years ago, when I moved to the country. Then I dreamed that I was in a fancy menswear store of the kind I used to frequent, looking at the kind of power suits I used to affect, and found myself drawn to something quite different - a garment made of skins and furs with strange metal fastenings and an inside label that read "shamanic".
    I dream of wearing suits, as well as of encounters with men in suits. Sometimes I recognize that putting on a suit in a dream may be a rehearsal for a situation in waking like, especially a wedding or a funeral. It may be a prompt for me to remember, as teacher and author, that it is necessary to reach people in all environments and that putting on appropriate coloration can help speed that process. Sometimes Dream Robert is in a suit because he is back in an earlier time, within my present life, or off in a parallel world where I made different choices.
    I shall continue to watch out for those men in suits, including the parallel selves who walk with them.

Drawing by RM

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