What do you hear in your thoughts as you are almost asleep each night, once your body has begun to rest into the softness of the bed, aligned with the form of your pillow and blankets? In that moment right before actual sleep comes over you, before the night is lost to your dreams, your subconscious begins to whisper softly. Do you hear it?
What do you hear as you begin to wake in the morning, as your brain recognizes the sound of your alarm clock, or of your partner stirring, or the neighbors upstairs moving around? As your eyes begin to open, and shift from the vivid, piercing, shifting lights of your dreams to the soft glow of the dream-light’s real source in the daylight that fills your bedroom... what do you hear?
We all fall asleep, and we all wake up, no matter where we are living, no matter what type of life we lead. And in those moments in-between, what we might hear is SO important. It is difficult to catch those thoughts, to give them time or space so they might really take a specific shape. But it is a space of truth, and whether or not we listen is up to us.
For almost fifteen years now, what I have heard in those moments is soft, but clear: “write.”
Write what? Write how? Write when? When I have allowed myself to listen, the questions flow more quickly than the answers could ever come in response. It has seemed so brazen, so ridiculous, this command that does not answer, only questions. But it is not always the job of the dream-space to give answers. We have all our waking days to seek and find answers, and perhaps that is the whole purpose of life, when it really comes down to it: to answer the questions that lay at the very bottom of us, like artifacts lost in a shipwreck; the questions that beg to be allowed to rise to our surface. The dream-space nudges us to ask the most important questions, to hear the most important needs within ourselves.
For many, it will not be “write,” but “risk” or “sing” or “jump” or “paint” or “dare” or “love.” Or “trust,” which is another word that comes to me often in that dream-space. Each of us can only hear our own whisper-voice. If we ignore it, it might start to come up at other times, as we are chopping vegetables or vacuuming the carpets or stopped at a traffic light. If we ignore it longer, it might need to take a more desperate form, entering into our battles with depression or our addictions to work or TV or even the presence of others, as we numb ourselves to avoid our truths.
I have responded in almost every possible way. I have avoided the command, I have humored it, I have set it aside for later. I have tried to give it parameters and discipline in my everyday life. I have kept it secret, shared it with those I love, and even, at times, proclaimed it loudly in hopes of gaining confidence. I have sought to ‘channel’ it, to nurture it, to learn more about it through reading and practicing. I have filled seventy-four journals with words.
What I have never done well - what I have always been too afraid to do - is to share my writing with others.
And now I will begin.