Dreamed 1990s? by "Michelle", as told to Marc Ian Barasch
Michelle seemed an unlikely candidate for an extraordinary dream of romantic destiny. Born in a mountain farming community in Colorado, she'd opted to attend college an hour away, then worked as a nurse in the hospital she was born in. She'd married and divorced, never moving far from home. Her self-enclosed, almost circular life path was nonetheless fulfilling. She was passionate about holistic medicine, particularly Chinese acupuncture, and adored her specialty in elder care. In other ways, her life was ahnost metronomically predictable--until the strange dreams began. She'd had this special kind of dream a few times before in her life--"teachtype" dreams, she called them, "strong" dreams. But nothing like these: night after night, the same scene would vividly unfold:
I am on a cruise ship. There's a group of people and I'm instructing them in something. On the periphery of my dream is a man, though he's not on the ship. He has a brother, and I am going to marry one of them.
She was baffled. She'd never lived near the ocean, let alone been on a ship. When she'd visited the San Diego pier once as a child, the big boats had frightened her. But the dreams continued unabated, at least one a week for the next six months. Sometimes she would be on shore watching the great ship depart. Other times, she'd be running across the dock to catch it, or strolling the upperdeck promenade, or wandering below where the big motors thrummed and churned. The dreams were indecipherable. "I'd just wake up in the morning, and say to myself, 'Well, I was on that cruise again!' and leave it at that." She told no one.
One of Michelle's favorite patients was a feisty nonagenarian named Irene, an inveterate traveler and a font of stories from her globehopping days. From the moment they met, they hit it off famously. Their friendship had bloomed, then faded as Michelle's nursing duties grew ever more time-consuming. Their visits tapered off to once a month, then every two months.
One day, when Michelle arranged to stop in, Irene greeted her with an array of cruise ship brochures spread out on her end table.
"Irene, you're going on a cruise!" Michelle had exclaimed.
"I've been waiting for you all summer!" Irene shot back. "I've been around the world seven times. This is my last trip. I need a nurse. You're going with me!"
Michelle was nonplussed. She'd never told Irene her dreams. Now, as they spilled out, Irene became as immovable as a monolith. She insisted she wouldn't even go unless the cruise line allowed Michelle to hold shipboard classes in Chinese medicine. Dubious, but with another of her dream's puzzle parts sliding into place, Michelle decided that if Irene managed the impossible, that would be the clincher.
"Somehow she worked it out," Michelle recalls, laughing. "She got the Princess Line to actually hire me for their annual Arthritis Cruise. They decided it would be good to have an acupuncture instructor. So now I had no choice."
She had to tell her other patients she would be away for a while, particularly one woman with cancer whom she had been helping with her injections. Michelle mentioned that they were going to St. Croix. "I have a son who lives there!" the woman exclaimed, and insisted on prearranging for him to show them the sights. When the cruise ship docked at dawn a few weeks later, the young man met them at the gangplank. "The minute I saw John, I was overcome," recalls Michelle. "The first words that popped out my mouth when we met were, 'I'm going to have a child.' I blushed and got completely flustered." It was a supremely awkward moment. She had no idea why she'd utter such an absurdity on meeting a total stranger. It was as if she'd fallen abruptly into a trance. But somehow John had been hit by the same lightning bolt--what the French call a coup de foudre. "He's since told me that he would have normally turned tail and run, but the minute he saw me, though he'd vowed eternal bachelorhood and no kids, he knew he'd marry me."
As they had talked in the compressed span of her visit, she was amazed at the correspondences. "I had told my friends that I would never marry again. And if I did, just to make it impossibly exacting, he had to have a blond ponytail, and my type A negative blood, so the baby wouldn't suffer from incompatibility. And he had to remember his dreams." John was custom designed. His dog tags from his Navy days said he was A-negative; he had just prior to her arrival decided to grow his long blond hair into a ponytail; and he was an avid dreamer. Two weeks after she left, he packed up and moved to Colorado to court her. A few months later, they were married.
Michelle is adamant that she would never have agreed to go on the cruise had she not already rehearsed the voyage so many times in her dreams. Even the theme of the dream-man's brother would later play out in real life--within a few weeks of their wedding, John's younger brother got married. The enactment of a Healing Dream often affects, almost magically, other aspects of life--Michelle, the archetypal landlubber, has found a new calling, a side business giving health classes on cruise ships.
John and Michelle might well be said to be a dream couple. "We talk about our dreams first thing in the morning, before we're fully awake, so they can't slip back into their hidey-holes." Their dreams lead them to all our little secrets and passions, our dark sides, our sexual history: it's like marriage therapy in bed." John often dreams about his new life, what it means to have left the islands to settle in the Rocky Mountains:
Three eagles pluck this huge oak tree out of the ground, roots and all, and they set it down at a beautiful crater lake.He recently had a strange dream that
his head turned to wood, cracked open, and out ran a beautiful American Indian woman.John, taciturn and introverted, woke up in tears. A stoic ex-military man, whose ancestors were Union army men who settled Fort Pitt and "went out hunting Indians," he is now studying tai chi with a female martial artist. The dream, he and Christine agree, represents a new, tenuous revelation of his feminine side, another step in their dream journey together.
SOURCE: Marc Ian Barasch's Healing Dreams (2000; p. 130). One of the best of the recent crop of dream books; he argues the same dream can carry messages on half a dozen different levels at once, from literal to psychological to transpersonal to psychic--and I agree. A vivid example of his methods: Starfish.
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