I’m not one for new years resolutions. The tradition seems like a set up for failure, born out of a willful part of ourselves, virulently opposed by those aspects not yet in accord with this new growth program. Before the power wars have been decided, you are back on the couch with the potato chips in hand, the new stationary bicycle…. stationary.
But dreams, I trust dreams.
I have little doubt that poetry and dreams come from the same place within the rich psychic field. For the sake of this conversation, I will call that place the ‘unconscious’. For the last 17 years of my professional life, I have worked with dreams, their wisdom, their capacity to inform, instruct, correct or balance our lives. Yet, what is the unconscious? I would have to admit to you, as I already have to myself, I honestly do not know.
I once asked someone steeped in the sciences to define ‘energy’. It appears that for the most part, energy is known and described by how it manifests in relation to our known world; light, sound, gravity, matter etc. I too take refuge in the notion that the unconscious can be best understood by the way it shows up, whether it is the famous ‘Freudian Slip’ where the very truth that you have so carefully attempted to hide comes blurting out or that flash of insight that arrives, as if on the wings of blessing, to realign us to our more authentic selves.
For me, writing has a kinship with that process, calming the busy mind to better hear that first word or line that pops up from the quiet or riotous underworld. Conversely, a good poem also has the capacity to bypass conscious mind and speak directly to a latent wisdom hungry for a less scripted conversation.
The other day, I awoke from a dream with a fully formed poem. This was exciting and in equal measure disappointing when I realized how awful a poem it was, but the thread was there, bare bones laid out. Then came at least five iterations of editing; a process which precisely relies on conscious mind to decode the messages so they are relevant and penetrating.
I’m inclined to smile at all of this, since as an (ex) psycho-therapist ‘consciousness’ reigns supreme, but it’s the wisdom that lies beyond the grasp of the conscious, conditioned and edited mind that often surprises, informs, writes a poem, dreams a dream and sometimes dances us down the paths to mystery.
May your 2015 include mystery and revelation.