“Specific guidance for living your life well lies in your dreams. Like a blank canvas, they provide a medium where both intuition and your unconscious can freely experss themselves. You have only to listen.” – Judith Orloff, M.D.
A year before I moved to New York, the crowd dreams started. Night after night I found myself surrounded by throngs moving en masse on a city sidewalk. Nothing in the dreams indicated where I was or what I was doing in this place, but considering that I was living on a farm in Maine at the time and had no plans to relocate, they seemed bizarre. Yet I didn’t question them. I was too busy growing and preserving vegetables, baking bread, cooking meals, running a food co-op, writing a cookbook and nipping into Bangor for the occasional modeling job. Then one day I woke up and realized that almost everything I was doing revolved around food. It was time for a change.
After I landed in New York, I remembered the dreams. Clearly they had come to prepare me for the transition from my isolated country existence to the gritty, mind-numbing, high-octane reality of my new life.
Many years, another cross-country move, and several career changes later, I began having food dreams. Dandelion roots. Carrot and celery sticks. Watercress. Potato seeds. Sliced radishes and hard peppermint candies. Loaves of bread and bags of rolls stashed away for so long that they disintegrated when picked up. What could all this mean? Despite the distance I’d put between myself and the farm, I seemed to be preoccupied with food again. What was I being prepared for this time?
The answer came with the cupcake dream:
I’m in a large room filled with people. An announcement is made that lunch will be served shortly and waiters bring out big platters with salads and place them on long tables as people begin lining up for a buffet. I’m not hungry, so I wait until the line has dwindled before going up to see what’s left. I take a small piece of rare, thinly-sliced beef, I look up and see them––CUPCAKES! They’re inside a cabinet with glass doors behind the buffet table and Sandra Bullock is sitting on a stool in front of the cabinet. I approach Ms. Bullock and politely ask if I may please have a cupcake, specifically the one with silver frosting and a purple charm in the center. She turns around, unlocks and opens the cabinet, reaches in and hands me a wholewheat muffin encased in brioche paper. Even though it’s not a cupcake, I nibble a bit from the top and then ask Ms. B if I might please have a cupcake with frosting. As before, she turns around, retrieves another muffin just like the one I have already and hands it to me.
Western psychologists interpret dreams in a number of ways, but all seem to agree that the world of dreams is a mysterious place. Indigenous peoples see this realm as a powerful one that can be manipulated to change our daytime lives. In their book, Awakening to the Spirit World, Sandra Ingerman and Hank Wesselman tell us that dreams connect our everyday selves with our souls: “Dreaming carries the experiences of the body to your soul and conveys your soul’s guidance to the body personality.”
Without much thought, I came to the conclusion that my very wise Higher Self was telling me to stop eating sugar. I already knew that sugar was not my friend and I had cut back on my consumption of sugary treats, so I was a bit perplexed by this message. But recently I learned that my total cholesterol level is too high. And sugar raises triglycerides.
Okay, I think I’ve got it. No more cupcakes! And maybe I should eat more greens and a few more carrot and celery sticks. Oh, and fresh is good. And maybe I need to clean out my closets.