Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Problems with protecting physical energy
As someone with a few chronic illnesses, I learned to be protective of my time and energy, choosing carefully where to expend my energy because once my meager supply was used up, there was nothing left for anything else. This was and is a practical strategy but the problem is that now that I'm slowly getting better, I still have years' worth of "don't expend too much effort!" conditioning to overcome.
I am climbing a tapestry wall with a dream friend, just as though we are rock-climbing on a mountain. We’re chatting as we go when I noticed that I’m coming up on a bare area of the tapestry. There will be no fingerholds. I ask my friend what happens if I can’t go further. I mean, it’s a long way down, how do I get down? I don’t want to take the chance of continuing to try climbing up and falling. She rolls her eyes and laughs, as though that’s a silly question. “You’ll be fine,” she says. I remain unconvinced and with sudden dream power, I levitate/scoot myself to a newer, brightly-colored tapestry next to us. It’s a “beginner’s” I understand, meant to be easier and non-threatening, but see no reason to crawl along on that other one that’s threadbare, dangerous, and not as interesting. The weave is big and easy to hold on to, and I quickly reach a plateau where the threads become a shelf you can sit on and watch the world below go by. I feel content and look around from my perch. I don’t know if the tapestry continued–I woke up.
Should I have stayed on the difficult, worn tapestry that was more advanced? If I had persevered, would I have seen great wonders like a climber on Mount Everest? Or was I smart in hopping to the easier, prettier tapestry, deciding there was no reason to trudge up some boring old thing simply because many people before me had done so. I feel this way about life sometimes--people often do things the hard way just because "that's how it's done" when there's a far easier, pleasanter way of going about things. Then again, sometimes you have to do shit you don't want to do and waste tons of time practicing boring things if you want to get to the good stuff. Ask any musician about practicing scales.
Here's another one that clearly pointed out the value of "showing up" to work on a goal. It was a variation on the old “didn’t study for my finals” anxiety dream.
I was showing up to the last class of what might have been an art history class, knowing that I’d been to about three classes this semester. I thought I'd still have a chance at passing, but I was embarrassed about the four other classes I'd ditched. Really, there was no way I’d pass. I didn’t even bother to take the finals and try my luck.
But strangely, this art history professor allowed us to see her written assessment of us, something that would go in our class file and contribute to her final grade. I think I did pass, barely, but that was almost unimportant when I saw what she wrote. She said that I was fun and had “a quaint sense of humor” but her hands were tied because I wouldn’t show up for class. There was nothing she could really do or say, regardless of her personal opinion of me, if I did not attend. Furthermore, she seemed irritated at this. Her words emanated a feeling of “Why is this person throwing away this opportunity?” I felt extremely embarrassed.
I couldn't say what this is about exactly; there are so many things I start and stop given my "must protect my energy" thing. So I have to think. I asked for clarification in further dreams, but didn't have any luck.