“Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high,
There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby.”
~ E.Y. Harburg
Big winds sweep through northern New Mexico, and when they do, you might be lucky enough to see a bird or two experiencing dramatic fits of turbulence. Feckless fliers can be found flapping wildly on invisible wind-powered roller coaster rides of unpredictability here. The last scene I witnessed left me wondering… did that hawk really have someplace to go or something to do, or did she take flight just to test her wings and inner fortitude? Perhaps there are certain breeds who live for the rush of adrenaline—like surfers they head out at the first sign of high winds in search of the Big One. Most certainly, if the sky were ground, it would be completely pulled out from underneath them, yet somehow, miraculously, I’ve not seen a single bird plummet to the earth yet—they roll with the wind like fish with the current.
This is why birds are my new favorite friends to the extent that I seriously wonder why Frank L. Baum didn’t include a woodpecker, duck or crow on the yellow brick road someplace. Come to think of it, in all those sequels he wrote, maybe he did! Now… before you get clever, allow me to say flying monkeys don’t count—they can’t think for themselves and are decidedly evil. Give me an intelligent, courageous, good-hearted crow as a companion, and I’m ready to soar with my dreams and greet any fear that challenges my equilibrium.
It’s no mistake I’ve paired dreaming and fear together. As someone who is sometimes prone to fits of anxiety in response to my frequent flights of fancy, I know from direct experience the two often present themselves as a package deal. But instead of bailing out at the first sign of anxiety, I’m slowly learning that fear, if noticed and allowed, comes and goes like a reluctant fog—easily burned off in the light of self-compassion and focused awareness. On the other hand, if I fixate my attention on the anxiety and churn it around like an ever-increasing cumulonimbus, self-created thunderbolts of self-sabotage can erupt at the drop of a hat, completely obscuring my wishes for kindness and ease, not to mention a sizable portion of my creativity.
Fear has the power to vanquish the most brilliant of rainbows–the only reason I can say this with confidence is because I’ve watch more than one of my dreams come and suddenly go. I’ve paid close attention the last few years, noticing how the wisest people I know have learned to attend to their fears instead of running away from or succumbing to them. One must dare to dream, and authentic daring requires stepping into the unknown on what the mind convinces us is a razor’s edge. As if the edge of a rainbow could harm anyone. The joyful realization I’ve found is that in taking those first tentative steps, we invite the most interesting companions into our lives—skydiving crows and stunt flying hawks who appear as if out of nowhere to amuse, challenge and generously assist us. More often than not, it’s simply our own true worth shining through to befriend us in the midst of inner turmoil.
Presence is always here to befriend us, and after a few laps around the outside-of-my-comfort-zone track, I’ve begun to develop a sort of faith in its sudden, glorious, rainbow-like appearances. The glass really is half-full when compassion is fueling one’s actions, and the world really does begin conspiring in our favor. It’s a pivotal moment of awareness when we begin to see how we create our own chaos or clarity. What follows are a series of choices to step out of our own way and simply allow the grace which is already present within to flow through us.
Having taken this crazy, inspired and often scary leap into the desert ten weeks ago, I’ve come to a pretty clear conclusion ~ you need a certain lack of logic and an all too rare scarecrow standing at the crossroad of the yellow brick road inside of you—the kind of scarecrow who befriends loop-dee-looping crows and has a special talent for boring the life out of the most tenacious doubts that plague you. It doesn’t matter which direction at the fork in the road he points to… or even if he points at all. As a matter of fact, sometimes you can tell a real scarecrow from an imposter if he points in all directions at once. There are no wrong paths, just the one you happen to be on. Your inner scarecrow’s job is to inspire your heart to leap toward the thing that it loves. The funny thing that may not seem so funny when you’re in the midst of being blown about by high winds and wondering if you’re going to go up in flames is this: the quest for your dream is pointless if you think it’s a place you’ll ever get to. You’re already there and you’re here already. Dreams are the ground beneath your feet and the wisdom inside you—but we can’t see the ground beneath our feet or make sense of a gust challenging the wings of our belief systems, so we make the mistake of running around in search of ourselves when the power within us has found us already. The journey is simply to wake up to the dream and come home to the place which has always inspired you.
Do dreams really come true? I suppose the question to ask is, are you willing to be awakened by the dream… that is dreaming you?
Image shot from my friend, John’s driveway a week ago.