Last night was Christmas night. After not nearly as bad a day as it had started out to be, I went to bed feeling not so bad.  I had a dream that wasn’t anything deeply spiritual and wasn’t a visit from Shayna, but it said something about the way I am beginning to understand consciousness.

In my dream, there was Tywana and me. We were in this giant shower, but these were three high school aged guys in the shower with us.  I found this to be really odd, and knowing that I was in a dream, I remember thinking “I know I’m dreaming and I know I didn’t bring them in here, so Tywana must have brought them. I need for them to go.” Being in a shower isn’t unusual in my dream.  We were watching a television show last night and in one of the characters dreams it showed overflowing urinals. “Aha, so it’s not just me.”  My dreams are often centered around showers and toilets. So, many times when I find myself in those situations, I will recognize I’m dreaming.

I tried to make these guys disappear with my mind and I believed they would.  When they didn’t immediately just vanish, I thought that this must be because they were a product of our collective consciousness, not just my own.  I couldn’t make them leave on my own because I hadn’t created them.  Instead, they spoke amongst themselves and decided to leave.  It was as if they could not sense we were even there.

I turned my attention to Tywana, but she was distracted. She said she saw someone running through the hallway, then he laid down in a trap.  I asked her what that even meant and tried to get her to ignore what was going on around us, but she was clearly scared. We left the shower and, through the magic physics of my dream world, were dressed and standing in an office environment.  People were panicked.  There was a criminal on the lam and he was running towards us.  I could sense that from the way the people were scrambling. Then, an announcement came on saying “Beware.  Bank specialist Mike (something or other) is on the scene.”  I saw a guy come running towards us who must have been the one chasing the bad guy.  I thought “This is exciting.”   Here was a chance to explore an environment where nothing could hurt us.  It was like we were in West World.  No one was real except us.

I could tell Tywana was still scared. So, I asked her: “Do you want to stay here and explore or do you want to get out of here.”  She took “…get out of here.” as in to run away. So, I repeated “We’re in a dream. We can stay here and look around or we can get out of here.”  She said: “I want to run.”, still not catching my meaning.  So, I put my arms around her and pulled her close and said: “Wake up.”  As I did that, I found myself back in our bed.  I sensed that she was awake too.  So I asked her if she had just had a dream. She rarely remembers her dreams.  In fact, for a very long time, she thought she did not dream.  She said that she had just had a dream. I was a little bit excited. Was it possible we had shared the dream?  I asked her what she had dreamt. She could not remember. But, it did seem that we woke up at at the same moment.

As I’m dreaming tonight, I have a dream in which Shayna is back. She’s 8 years old this time. I know she is 8 because in the dream, she is playing school with a group of kids. When it’s Shayna’s turn to be the teacher, she goes up to the board and announces “This is an eight year old level math problem.” I tease her and say “You could do a 10 year old math problem.” She looks at me in her Shayna way and says “I know I could do it, but this one is for these eight year olds.”

As I’m watching Shayna, I am filled with pride and love just like I was when she was in the world. She’s beautiful. The same sparkle is in her eye. She has the same quick wit that could cut you like a knife, but the compassion to build people up. She has the same sense of humor. Then, I realize in my dream that Kayla is “gone”. I don’t think this means she is dead, but she’s not living with us. I am grateful to still have Shayna. I hug her close to me, give her a kiss and tell her that I am so glad that at least I still have her around. Then, it hits me that this is only a dream. It’s not real. I am devastated. I have lost both girls. I know that any moment Shayna will disappear and I’ll be without either of them. I wake up crying.

Adjusting to being an empty nester is not easy. We had the girls late in life, so we are relatively old. But, since we had them late, the plan was to have them here until I was pushing 60. Kayla no longer lives here. She calls her apartment in Toledo her home now. She plans to stay there next summer. She has only come home occasionally this year. Her Christmas break is coming up next week. So that’s been on my mind. But, the few weeks she’ll be off will fly by and she’ll be back at school again. I miss both of the girls more than I can express.

In an afterlife group I am in on Facebook, we have been discussing the purpose of incarnation. Some say we come here to experience separation, the separation we cannot experience in spirit. I guess that makes some sense. I can recall being a small child lying in my bed around the age of 4 or 5. It’s one of my earliest memories. It’s when I I become consciously aware that I would not always be with my parents and it terrified me. I have never done well with separation.

They say that when we sleep we astral travel and we meet with our loved ones in spirit and our guides. Maybe that’s why I cherish sleep so much now. One good thing is I fall asleep easily and I sleep well. It’s the mornings that are tough when I have to say goodbye and come back here to the “real” world for another day. I’m so looking forward to the days of no more goodbyes.

**** I’ve held this post back for a couple of months. So, if you’re reading it on the day it was posted, don’t worry.  This was a while ago.***

Today is one of the most frustrating days of my life. Nothing in particular happened. It just seems like nothing is working out.  Things keep breaking, the car and the refrigerator most recently.  Taxes were due this week.  I got the joy of finding out I not only underpaid for 2014 and 2015, but I owe way more estimated tax for 2016 than I’ve been paying.  I’ve had to dip into savings to write three big checks to the IRS.  Gotta get rid of the accountant.  Something is wrong with our internet store.  I cannot figure it out.  It’s an intermittent problem only reported by a handful of customers, but I can tell from overall sales, something else is going on.  My web development company has been of no help.  Yahoo, my hosting company, moved their support offshore to India.  A call to Yahoo will only get me “Bill” in Mumbai, a guy who barely speaks English and who knows even less than I do.  I’ve been trying to migrate from the Yahoo platform for over a year, but my web development company is dragging its feet. I’m interviewing marketing companies to try to get more traffic, but no one has really impressed me yet. Today, it has been a week since our interview on the radio. We gave out the contact information over and over during the interview.  I was expecting just a few emails, maybe a handful. So far, the grand total is zero.  Not one person.  Zoe’s having an issue with her foot that we’ve taken her to the vet for twice and they can’t diagnose. I guess I need to take her back. And, we found out a few days ago that a good friend’s daughter has a form of cancer.  Fortunately, it’s a very highly treatable form, but it’s cancer never-the-less and it looks like a couple of rough years ahead for her and the family.  The principle of entropy seems to be at high tide in my life. Everything is tending toward chaos and all of my efforts to keep it from falling apart are failing.

 

As bedtime finally rolls around I’m looking forward to the escape of reading the book I’m reading right now. It’s the single most detailed account of the afterlife that I have read.  At least it’s the most detailed account that resonates with me and I find believable. As I’m reading it, I just want to go there.  It makes this place sound broken. There, things just work the way they are supposed to.  You work, but you work for love, not money.  No one gets sick.  Maybe I shouldn’t be reading this book right now. The more I read it, the more I want to go and the less satisfied I am here.

I’m hoping my dreams take me to a place like this.  As I’m trying to drift off to sleep, I don’t want simply to sleep, I want to leave.  Sleep is a temporary fix. I’ll just wake up tomorrow and run through another list of things to try to make this better and end right back up here tomorrow night.  Thoughts of climbing up onto the roof and throwing myself off come to me.  But, our house is only two stories, there’s no easy way to get up there, and the fall probably wouldn’t kill me anyway.

After over an hour I finally drift off to sleep.  Normally, I’m asleep within fifteen minutes, often in five.  I dream of being in a gang.  We’re like the Sons of Anarchy gang, but obviously not of the racist variety.  Also, we’re not criminals. It’s just social.  The dream is very long and very detailed. Part of what we do though is making pornography.  I’m making a video today.  My co-star is a beautiful woman, the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.  I know her.  We’ve dated a couple of times, but haven’t really hit it off.  I am, of course, nervous about shooting this video.  As we’re trying to get into it, she is giving me nothing.  Her face, her body, there’s just no feedback.  It’s as if she is just completely bored.  I’m getting frustrated, but I know the cameras are rolling, so I keep going.  Nothing.  Now I’m bored and frustrated and just ready for this to be over.  I keep trying. Finally, I just give up.  The scene is a failure, but it’s not going to get any better.

After it’s over as we’re getting dressed I overhear her talking to one of the women on the set.  According to her, it’s all my fault. I just don’t do the things for her that she needs from a man to get aroused. She hasn’t ever told me this or what she wanted or needs. She just doesn’t respond and then complains and blames me.  I leave the set.  Now you can add anger to the blame and frustration I’m feeling. Also, my family was there (for some reason). Aunts and Uncles and cousins… I’m embarrassed for having made this tape and even more embarrassed for the total failure that it turned out to be.  I wake from the dream.  Wow. What was that?

I keep thinking things have to get better. I just need to weather the storm.  I’ve been listening to a meditation that encourages endurance.  It tells me that this is all for my good. The storm cannot blow always.  The wind and the rain are limited if not in capacity, at least in duration. When it’s over, I will be better for it.  Every day I wake up and hope for a break in the clouds.  It’s all I can do right now. I know I can outlast this. I will outlast this. But, it’s awfully frustrating in the middle of it when I know that my power to change anything is not just limited, it’s non-existent.  None of my moves are working, the world is just as unresponsive as my co-star in that video.

Today is Kayla’s 20th Birthday. It’s two days before Thanksgiving. Some college students are already home for the break. Kayla isn’t coming home until tomorrow. I’m pretty sure it’s because she wants to spend her birthday with her boyfriend, Gabe.

I’m second fiddle in her life now. We haven’t see her as much this year as in the previous two years in school. When she has come home, it’s been to get her hair done. That’s OK. This is the natural order. This is the way you’re supposed to “lose” your children. They grow up. They move away. They get boyfriends. They’d rather be with their friends than with you. They get their own interests and they stop coming home as much. Kayla has a year long lease on her apartment in Toledo. She says she is going to get a job there this summer. I have been avoiding thinking about that. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

As I was coming down the stairs this morning, saying good morning to Shayna, like I do every day I heard her saying back to me “I’ll never leave you, Daddy.” That reminded me of when Kayla became a teenager and started the moodiness that comes with that age. Shayna wrote up a contract promising us she would never become a typical teenager and signed it. It hangs on the whiteboard in the basement. She was right. She didn’t become a typical teenager even though she will be forever 15 to us.

I dreamt of Shayna last night. She and Kayla and I were at the mall. We were just leaving and were on the sidewalk outside of the store. Shayna was about 7 or 8 with the chubby face she had at one time. She was wearing the glasses she wore before she got contacts. She was acting like typical Shayna not paying attention to where she was going. There was a duck or something moving through the parking lot that had fascinated her. As she walked I was scared she was going to step off of the curb into traffic. I could see her getting hit by a car and killed. I just knew that was how she died. Then, I remembered that that wasn’t how she had died and that she was already dead. And, I woke up.

We’ll get to see Kayla a little this Thanksgiving. We’ll head to Kentucky for Thanksgiving Day. Then, we’re off to Columbus on Saturday and she’ll leave from there back to Toledo on Sunday. I’m working on things to be grateful for. I know it won’t be long until she decides to spend Thanksgiving somewhere else. So, I’m grateful for any time with her now.

Today we are going to Columbus for the memorial service for my Uncle Jack who passed a couple of weeks ago at the age of 95.  Last night I dreamt I was out for my walk and spotted an unattended FedEx delivery truck (the 18 wheeler variety).  I decided instead of walking I would take a joy ride in the truck. I finished up my joy ride and left the truck for the authorities to find later. As I was walking back into the neighborhood, the school bus driver I see every morning pulled in behind me driving the FedEx truck.  Problem solved. They’d never know I had taken it.

I walked back up the street and up the hill to my house and went in.  Tywana was in the bathroom getting dressed.  She hadn’t noticed I was gone longer than usual. Good.  All clear on my little caper.  As I was leaving the bathroom, I got a notification on my phone of an incoming email. It was from Uncle Jack. “Strange” I thought.  “Uncle Jack is dead.  How could he be sending an email to me?”  Uncle Jack was technically savvy for a 95 year old guy.  He was on Facebook up until a couple of years ago. So, I thought, he must have figured out a way to schedule an email.  The email had a video attached to it. Uncle Jack was narrating as the video showed him getting into a bathtub.  He said that he was fine right up until the end.  He had not suffered. He said that he even drew a bath and gave himself a bath the day he had “made the trip.”  He knew the memorial service was this evening.  His message was that he had arrived where he was going, that all was well, and that he wanted everyone to have a good time at the memorial because he was having a good time and would see us all soon enough.

When the lights go down in the City
And the sun shines on the bay
I want to be there in my City

So you think you’re lonely
Well my friend I’m lonely too
I want to get back to my City by the bay

It’s sad, oh there’s been mornings out on the road without you,
Without your charms,

Tywana’s in Kentucky again this weekend.  So, I have a day or so on my own. The Buckeyes manage to lose in primetime to Penn State.  But, I was prepared for a stumble from this young team with all of these primetime road games. I’m not too upset. I stay up to watch the SNL cold opening.  I can’t miss Alec Baldwin’s Donald Trump after the third debate.  Then, I head upstairs to bed.  As I turn to climb the stairs I notice the light on the ceiling fan is already on. This has been a common occurrence lately.  I don’t know what time it comes on.  But, many nights when we head up the stairs, we find it’s already on. I climb into bed and quickly fall asleep.

I wake up around 6 o’clock, my usual time.  I’m tired, though. I think I’m going to sleep in today. I roll over and fall back to sleep.  Around 8 o’clock, the light on the ceiling fan comes on again. I open my eyes and look at it. “Where is that remote?”  Before I can even reach for it, the light goes off.   Then, it comes on again.  Then, the lights do this little dance, flickering off and on, dimming and getting brighter.  I say “Good morning, Shayna.”   It goes off and on once or twice more. Then it just stops. The whole thing takes a minute, maybe two.

As I lie there trying to decide on what I’m going to do today, my dreams come back to me and I recall I had a dream about Shayna.  She was little about 4 or 5 years old I guess. I spotted her from across the room. She was so beautiful, just like she was when she was in the body. It was a very large room. She was playing with other kids.  I knew she wasn’t supposed to be here and that if I pushed too hard, the connection would break and she’d be gone. I went up to her and said hi to her. I asked her for a hug and wanted her to sit on my lap, just for a moment. She was so busy playing she didn’t want to do it. I knew I couldn’t try too hard to persuade her because the connection was tenuous. She agreed to sit in my lap.   It was so nice. Then, the scene shifted. We were in a room that had a ceiling that had to be 15 feet high. There was a shelf at about 10 feet with a bunch of candy bars on it of different types. Shayna was asking me to reach them for her and show them to her so she could pick some. My arms magically extended high enough to pick them up and show them to her so that she could choose them.  That’s it. Then, the dream was over.  As I recall, the dream, I recall the feeling of seeing her face, talking to her and holding her and what joy and peace I had in that dream state.

It’s a brisk, sunny morning. I take my walk at a leisurely pace listening to some NPR this morning rather than my usual spiritual stuff. Just as I’m finishing up my walk, I look down at the sidewalk in front of me and a monarch butterfly is sitting right in the middle of the sidewalk.  We rarely see monarchs where I live in Ohio. I don’t know their migration cycle and whether this is normal for it to be here in late October or not.  It’s only about 38º this morning, too. I wonder if maybe it’s dead, but as I get close to it, it takes off and flies out of sight.

I decide to cut the grass.  There will probably only be one or two more cuttings this season and I will have another milestone behind me.  I decide to listen to some Journey.  One of the interesting things about the phase I’m in now is I can see a deeper meaning in things I once took only literally. Lyrics that I might not have paid much attention to before take on more symbolic and larger meaning.  Lights- a song about the band missing San Francisco when they were on the road, becomes a song about homesickness in general and I’m feeling really homesick. I’m reading a book that describes what Home is like.  We communicate without using words.  There’s no longing to be with someone.  You think of them and you’re there.  There’s no time, no distance, no space to separate us.  This place is the the road. Home is where Shayna is where the Lights are shining. The signs are nice.  The trick with the ceiling fan lights is much appreciated.  But, I want to see the City Lights again.

Last night I had a very brief dream, but it seemed like one that should have meaning. It was one of those dreams where I realized it was a dream and willed myself awake.

I was leaving a party and backing down the driveway. The house was on a one-way street- a cul-de-sac that was divided down the middle. The house was near the end of the cul-de-sac that was open to the road that led back home. As I was backing down the driveway I thought “It’d be so much easier to just go back the short way rather than wrapping all the way around to the other end of the street just to get back to where I’m just a few feet from.“  I could see the road I needed to get back to. Why drive all the way around?  I knew it was wrong to go the wrong way, but I was going to do it anyway.  I made the decision to take the shortcut.  It was just a few a few feet. No one would know.

Just as I made the turn and faced the wrong way on the one-way street, a cop made the turn onto the cul-de-sac. There I was face-to-face with the cop knowing he was going to pull me over for going the wrong way on a one-way. I had no excuse to offer.  Just then I realized it was a dream and I heard myself tell dream me to just wake up. So, I did.

Today, on my walk I was listening to a Swedenborg Podcast on the origin of dreams and that dream came back to mind.  What I realized is the one-way street represented the way life flows. While it’s just a short way back to where I want to be in life, life doesn’t go that way.  To get back home, I have to continue down the road, the long way, back Home.

:::::  sigh ::::::