Monday, December 12, 2011


Last night I dreamt of reconciliation.

Impossible reconciliation. A chance to be with my mom, for us to understand each other once and for all, not without human error, not perfectly, but to really see each other eye to eye.

She's dead, so at least for the reciprocity part, that's not possible.

"Dwell in Possibility" reads the quote I got in decal form, attributed to Emily Dickinson. This seems a decidedly non-Emily Dickinson kind of quote. Dylan made a face when I brought it home from the dollar store - so that one isn't going up in our bedroom. I got it because even if we didn't use it at home I figured I could put it up in my classroom/office. But still it sits on our dresser, waiting for a home, still stuck to its paper. Why?

I'm a Buddhist. The idea of dwelling in anything other than now is a bit hedgy, not just on principle ("That's what I am supposed to do, be in the now") but in practicality. I know what happens when I stay in dreams, wish something other than what is true were true. And it's tempting to think that Dickinson meant that kind of escape - "Disappear into Possibility" would read this interpretation of the quote.

And yet. And yet, after waking from my long, complicated, sad but so real and relieving dream of the possibility, so far from ever being true, of reconciliation with my mother, the quote was staring me in the face. Aha. Maybe just maybe it means, or can also mean, that if we stay long enough in the idea of what can be, it can happen.

I am not an aspirationalist. I don't use affirmations. And yet. I recognize a baseline understanding that what we do put out into the universe creates effects for what we receive back. And the fact is that even if my mother can't ever know me (and I can't even know that), I can see her more clearly all the time, even after (sometimes I think, especially because of) her death. I can understand and I can forgive. This possibility, my side of it anyway, is far from impossible. The dream was tortuous and clingy, one that was hard to leave and heart-rending. And also healing.

I don't daydream about understanding my mother. I don't think of it - trucking it in my conscious mind I've found to be risky - when awake. And yet, my dreams often go there, and I don't think it's just to mess with me. It's in my dreams that I Dwell in Possibility, safely, like a semi-controlled experiment.

And this once, at least, the dwelling has shifted something. The possibility has adjusted reality. I didn't have to dwell in it long before it became actuality. In this case, the quote became "Discover Possibility."


  1. Dreams are amazing in the way they can aid you to come to terms with stuff long gone, stuff seemingly unalterable, unforgivable, unbelievable, or incomprehensible. I have similar experiences with dreams about my mother. It helps. For real.