The treasure trove within

I’ve spent much of my life trying to chase a particular kind of experience, such as a relationship, owning a car, having a child, studying for a degree, carving out a career, going on holiday.

I believed that each of those would bring me joy and satisfaction. And while each of those things have value and brought me good times, they never satisfied the inner longing.

It has taken me almost to my mid forties before I could truly take in that I am what I seek.

I’ve heard it so many times. Most of us have by now. For some, it’s almost irritating, triggering a defensive response. It did for me on occasions. I felt like it was saying I shouldn’t WANT or NEED anything because it all exists within me. Not a hugely helpful thing to say to someone in distress.

Now I realise it isn’t saying that. Instead it is saying the following: By all means go out in the world and have fun. Enjoy the experiences that come your way. Seek refuge and healing in those beautiful people who want to help. Find a purpose, if you like, whether that’s self betterment or self service. Do what feels important to you.

Just don’t lose yourself in any of it. Realise that life is a gift, not an obligation. And at those times when it all falls apart, know that your joy or healing was never dependent on that one person or situation. The treasure trove has always been within you. You’ve been chasing a feeling, but a feeling can never exist externally, it can only be realised within. That can’t be taken away, even in the face of loss, even when it gets covered up, temporarily, by the shadows of fear or grief.

Yes, what I’ve been chasing all these years is my own joy, my own peace, my own self. I didn’t find them anywhere else because I was never supposed to; they were never there! I lost myself in the mirror. I thought I was in the world; the world is in me.

To anyone struggling with deep emotional pain right now, please take heart. You might not be able to see or experience it but one day the clouds will lift and you’ll realise that there is joy to be found even right in the thick of despair. It exists because it’s from Spirit and Spirit lies within you, it IS you.

A dream of Egret: Pure, beautiful and free

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Anyone who follows this blog for any length of time will quickly notice that I love writing about and understanding my nightly dreams. I nearly always remember them, albeit I don’t dream as vividly as I once did. I believe that dreams carry messages for us, some important, others less so, but they always have a story to tell, if we can learn to understand their language.

As often happens with me, my interest in a dream from one night caused my subconscious to expand on it the following night. On Tuesday night I dreamed I was taking part in a project. I can’t remember the details, but I was photographed standing in front of a beautiful nature scene; a golden beach, glistening waves, white birds (I believed were gulls) swooping down behind my head, plus, strangely, a bear popping up in the corner. Whenever an animal pops up in a dream I look at their symbolic meaning or totem and, in the case of Bear, groundedness and protection are the main messages, which are certainly very apt at the moment.

My photograph being in front of the entire scene has great symbolism; first, the fact I am facing the camera and not the beauty emerging behind me (what/who am I really looking at?) and second, I absolutely hate my photograph being taken in life. I do not like the way I look. I have no problem with my weight, body shape, or anything like that; I struggle with my facial appearance and have done all my life. I am starting to work on this but it is still a painful issue for me and even understanding the reality that we are not our bodies has not taken away the challenge due to how deep rooted it is. Anyhow, the dream puts me in a photograph, juxtaposed onto this beautiful beach scene, showing me that I am part of it all – the calm, the beauty, the magic, the love.

Then last night I dreamed I was on a train travelling to a station called ‘Egret.’ I didn’t know where it was but I didn’t feel threatened. I saw different houses out of the window. I had never seen houses quite like them; their windows were so high. The train stopped and I didn’t know where we were, whether it was ‘Egret,’ where I knew I needed to go. It wasn’t; I had to get on a bus. I found myself among several bus passengers travelling down a road with bus stops every few metres. I had never seen so many. We carried on until the driver announced our arrival. I’m not sure what happened after this.

I looked up Egret and found the stunning bird represents beauty, calm, patience, tranquility, purity and eternal life. My subconscious took the beach scene from the night before with the gulls flying behind my head and showed me that I am heading in the right direction, which is, of course, greater peace of mind and love for oneself and others. Clearly the train and bus represent my journey through life, the bus being more social, showing that being connected to others is important and that I am guided, always. The bus stops may be a symbol for always being in control and having a choice no matter what.

Like the Egret, my soul is beautiful, my soul is love, my soul is free.