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Dreaming of Atlantis

September 25, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

For whatever reason, I have an irrational fear of drowning. I can swim just fine – in fact, I’m a pretty good swimmer and I’m strong. There is no logical reason for me to fear drowning, but when I see dark water I’m the last one to go in.

I have a recurring dream where I am under water, panicking, and finally when I can take it no more and my lungs are bursting, I give up and take a breath. The water crashes into my lungs, pushing out the remaining air. I figure I’m done for, but strangely, I’m not. I exhale the water back out and breathe in another gush. My lungs have become gills, and the feeling of the water moving in and out makes me realize that the air I have been breathing all my life has been constricting the natural flow of energy in me.

And that’s what really scares me. I am afraid that I will reach the end of my life never having found that source of energy, that calling that makes each breath I take fill me with the urge to take another and another …

The current average life expectancy for an American woman is 80.1 years. That means that I am technically past the mid-point and slipping away with increasing speed like water draining out of a bathtub. Worse yet, if my parents longevity is any better indication, then my actual lifespan is more like 54 years, which means I have less than 10 years to figure out this “calling” thing.

I am not necessarily a believer in past lives, though the idea does intrigue me. There have been plenty of people in this lifetime that I’ve felt so much connection to that it couldn’t have been a result of this particular one. Ironically, even with my concerns about drowning, what fascinates me most about reincarnation is the idea of Atlantis.

Though in this lifetime I feel no attraction to scuba diving (see above: fear of drowning), in my Atlantean dream I am swimming among the beautiful sea life, swishing like a fish through the plants on the ocean floor, but I am in human form. Minus the fear, it’s a wonderful dream being able to experience the depths freely.

The literal interpretation of dreams is like trying to give too much specific meaning to the Bible – dangerous, to say the least. But if I think of this dream metaphorically, it tells me a lot, especially about my inability to “find” my calling.

Sometimes I think I’ve spent my entire life in the shallow end of the pool. I’m that little kid who, as her mother is encouraging her to take the big plunge into the deep end, keeps finding fascinating reasons not to, like examining the tile border at the pool’s edge, or pretending to see something shiny in the water. I have quite simply avoided the deep end by distracting myself with more shallow ways of not having to commit to something that will require endurance, perseverance, and outright courage. I’ve played a “wading” game.

But more than that, I am afraid that once I dive in, there will be no return. That seems silly, because what is it that I would return to? The feeling of the air in my life sapping my energy? The frustration of indecision that keeps me from moving forward? What is it that I think I would have to give up in order to become who I was meant to be?

I think that’s the problem right there. My ego has convinced me that whatever it is that I am meant to do is so deep that I will drown in it. That is not a statement of conceit; it is a statement of pathology. A certain part of me feels willing to examine the deep end but only with the help of mental water wings, or a little Styrofoam kickboard.

So maybe the dream is a warning or maybe it’s the promise of an amazing second half of my life. Atlantis, as I’ve heard, was a beautiful paradise, but look what is said to have happened to it. In the days we are living in right now here on terra firma, is our fate really any different? Will the memories of our 80.1 years of life in America before it sank become a vaguely remembered dream for someone else centuries from now?

Splish-splash, life is simple for my inner 4-year-old. I don’t HAVE to dive into the deep end. I can dilly-dally in the wading pool until those in my life are blue in the lips waiting for me to get over myself and take the plunge. Pretty soon I’ll have no choice – the air out here is getting pretty nasty….

Categories: Art, Life
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