I read once that when we fly in our dreams, our soul has briefly left our sleeping bodies.
When I was a child, I used to dream that I was flying all the time. I generally have a hard time remembering my dreams, but I recall the first dream in which I was flying as though it were yesterday, even though it was almost fifty years ago. I was flying through my old neighbourhood – soaring, actually – sometimes high enough to see the houses and the trees from the perspective of a bird, but mostly only five feet off the ground, just revelling in the sensation of being completely free. I flew really fast; wherever I wanted to go. It was an unforgettable feeling.
I was joyful, free, unafraid…
As I got older, I would still dream that I could fly but only in dreams where I was frightened of someone. When the ‘bad guy’ was pursuing me in a dream, I would surge off into the air to escape; but I never had enough momentum to get very far or very high. And of course, whatever was pursuing me could always fly, too. I would feel them, at my heels, reaching and grabbing and trying to pull me back to earth. Often, I would wake with a start just as I felt their hands wrapping around my ankles. It was a singularly terrifying feeling. I could never get away.
I have always understood, even in my dreams, that it is vital that no one from the ‘real’ world down below ever see me fly. Even in my dreams, I – always the consummate people pleaser – have understood that being able to fly is something I should hide from the world. Even in my dreams, I have tried to blend in, or at the very least, not be seen.
The past few years have been challenging ones for me. I suffered an adrenal exhaustion three years ago and had to retire much earlier than I ever intended to. My husband and I left our adult children behind to fend (admirably) for themselves and moved back to our home province after being away for three and a half decades. We came into a very conservative community where I had to learn to be my true authentic self or just kill off my soul and sink into a deep depression (see: Is There Such a Thing as ‘Figuratively’ Coming Out of the Closet?). Ever since we arrived here, I have been facing my fears, one by one, and in the process finding a peace I never could have imagined possible.
Thankfully, as a result of my fears gradually falling by the wayside, the dreams where I have needed to fly away in order to escape have been happening with far less frequency than before. But I haven’t dreamt of flying just to fly, either… how I have longed to feel the fearless freedom I felt in those long-ago childish dreams…
Until last night, that is.
I only ever recall the most elusive snippets from my dreams, but this I recalled with absolute clarity. In my dream, I was in a hurry to go somewhere and to get back as quickly as I could. The fastest, most efficient way to get there was to fly. I surged strongly through the air, letting my feet float behind me; using my arms to pull myself through the air in a strong, sure breaststroke. Although I was purposefully heading in a particular direction, I nonetheless noticed the movement below me: traffic; people walking to and fro; all going about their daily business.
I was joyful free, unafraid…
At one point, someone from below looked up and remarked with some wonder at how powerfully I was flying. Another person I knew called out, and asked if I could show her that efficient arm stroke. I called back that of course I would, but right at the moment, I was in a bit of a hurry. I told her I would catch up with her later.
I woke up late this morning and a bit confused. My dog was curled up at my feet and I sleepily snuggled with him for a few minutes until we were playfully wrestling and I was ready to get up. I went downstairs, poured myself a big mug of coffee, made my breakfast and sat down to eat and check my messages. I had been up for a few hours before it hit me. Hard.
I had been flying. In front of everyone. I hadn’t been afraid of what people would think.
And they all wanted to come flying too…
Patti Moore Wilson/ © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com