Last night I had two dreams. Both were with Don, my husband. In the first we are in what seemed to be the eastern part of Colorado, a few hundred miles away from our home. He had bought a car. But this isn't just any car. It is shaped something like a car, with the aerodynamic lines of a race car, and a small passenger compartment. It also has absolutely no leg room, and no wheels. Even stranger, Don is expecting me to drive this contraption back to our house.
I envision myself being poured into this vehicle, like gunpowder in a bullet, my legs sheathed in its nose. How am I supposed to operate this thing? Where are the pedals and the ignition?
I protest, "I'm going to have to stop every five miles to stretch my legs! This is going to take forever!"
|A cenote in the Yucatan|
The second dream takes places on Hugh Jackman's ranch in Australia. Don and I are doing a self-guided tour of a pumpkin patch that Hugh (yeah, because it's my dream, and I'm on a first-name basis with the hunky Mr. Jackman) and his sons planted. Like the car in my previous dream, this is no regular pumpkin patch. It's planted in the bed of a cenote, an underground river found in the Yucatan, and pictured above. As if cenotes aren't spectacular enough, this one has sandstone ceilings swirled with gaudy desert reds and oranges that loom at varying heights. The pumpkin plants are growing lushly in the bed of the river, in water of varying depths, the vines, stems, leaves and fruit undulating together to resemble elephant heads. Don is riding alone in a vehicle without wheels (similar, but different, from the contraption in the previous dream), and I am on foot, making my way from one patch of high and relatively dry ground to the next.
It is all so weird and beautiful, I think to myself.
This sums up this year pretty well. First, the weird and the disorienting. In February, Don got a diagnosis of intermediate grade prostate cancer that he ultimately elected to treat with Cyberknife, high-intensity, external beam radiation, and Androgen Deprivation Therapy, which is exactly what it sounds like: lights out on the male hormones, to starve any remaining cancer cells of fuel. Every cancer treatment exacts its tolls, many of which are visible to others, like hair and weight loss. Don has had neither. The tolls of his treatment are largely invisible to others. They are of such a personal nature, it has been difficult to speak of them with family, friends and acquaintances. During the most stressful period of our lives, we have had to lean on each other more than ever before.
Even with the numerous side effects, Don has been a trouper. One of the worst moments of this process was watching him walk for the first time into the room where the radiation would be administered. In his baggy surgical pants, he looked so small and vulnerable. But this is just one moment of so many. I am learning so much from watching this man navigate the toughest experience of his life with so much courage and grace.
As my first dream intimates, I have struggled to keep up with the pace of this challenge. How am I supposed to operate this new vehicle? Where are the controls? I'm being squeezed and molded, like a newborn making its way through the birth canal. Whatever trip I'm required to take in this vehicle is probably going to take too long and be very uncomfortable, with numerous starts and stops.
|Don in his new Ganesha meditation shawl|
During walks, Don and I often reflect on this journey we're on. Like so many things in my life, contemplating the future makes it seem more difficult than it turns out to be once underway. So now for the beautiful. After years of watching me meditate, he asked me to teach him. He's taken to it like a duck to water. Last summer he took a four-week meditation course at Eldorado Mountain Yoga Ashram, and the group jelled so well it's continuing. He's making friends there, and he often accompanies me to Monday night services led by my beloved Babaji Shambhavananda.
As for me, the vehicle is operating just fine, without me needing to know where the controls are, or even where it's going. At the moment, the trip is taking as long as it takes, and I have plenty of leg room. Along the way, Don and I are growing, separately and together, just as it has always been with us. Plus, there are beautiful sights along the way--an underground, underwater pumpkin patch/elephant herd. It's all so good I'm looking forward to what the Dream Maker has in store for me. Who knows? Maybe Hugh will make an appearance.
|Yeah, baby. Because it's my dream, that's why.|