listening to our dreams

I’ve learned a couple of things as I walk through this journey of endings and new beginnings. Those of us, who have been through divorces, or any difficult big-life transitions/challenges, soon realize that others are often quick to share their stories with us. This isn’t particularly surprising, but what has been very helpful to my own journey, is the knowledge that while I need and want to walk through this consciously, I also want/need to continue to let go of the past…really let it go, not gloss it over, refuse to deal with it, or sink so deep into it, that “my divorce story” with all of its pain and drama, becomes who I am. 

I’ve listened to countless stories of divorce and deception that happened years and even decades ago, and yet as these stories are recalled, they feel as fresh to me (and I’m sure to the person telling me the story) as if they had just happened. All of that old pain is just sitting there, patiently waiting for an opportunity to be resurrected. 

Years ago, I read something by the spiritual teacher/healer, Carolyn Myss where she addressed this tendency in human beings to hold onto painful pasts and then find others to commiserate with. She called it finding our “wound-mates”. 

I will be the first to admit that there is a comfort (at first) in finding others who have been through similar traumatic experiences. We can really express our pain and hurt with them, and this can be healing, but the next step and important question needs to be there also: How can we grow, heal, and move on to new life?

I don’t want to be talking about this divorce, or what happened in my marriage, in a year, or ten years from now, and have years of pain come up. I want to deal with it now…and I am. 

A question that I have asked myself all along is how did I contribute to this? Anything that “happens to me” has a root inside. In my case, when I felt deceived, I asked myself where I hadn’t been honest. There is a freedom in this that feels, when we are going through the process of honest self-examination, like a knife to the heart. It’s like, “Shit! I’m already in a ton of pain. Do I have to also see what I did wrong or where I was responsible for my life situation?” The ego throws such a fit, but it is the very thing that I don’t want to face that is the doorway into freedom. 

Life is a mystery and an adventure into the unknown…or at least it can be. I want to live fully in the now, and to do that I must be willing to see clearly how I have contributed to my life situation. 

I’ve also been asking myself the question, What do I need to do now to move on?**and I’ve gotten a few very important dreams that gave me the guidance I needed. Dreams are such a rich resource of very personal information and help if we ask for them, and take the time to decipher them. This is also an important part of the work that I do in my professional life…help others to navigate the highly symbolic images and language of their dreams to find solutions. Another mysterious facet of dreams is that they often are not personal. If someone really wants to tell you a dream, listen closely…it most probably has a message for you.  

Life is happening for me, and for you, when I dare to take the step into my new life, I have begun to see that no matter what happened, it all worked for my good. 

“When I let go of who I am, I become what I might be” Lau Tzu

** I listed my home for sale yesterday…if you want to take a look, it is on Keller Williams Capital District’s website, 148 Dunbar Rd. Cambridge, NY 12816 or feel free to email me at if you can’t find the link

10 thoughts on “listening to our dreams”

  1. Mary, I loved this. One of my first 12 step sponsors told me that the 12 step process shows us how to bury things DEAD, not alive, and shows us how to continue to live where we don’t make more drama and pain for ourselves and others. And when we do make mistakes, we have a way to deal with it now, and be done. The past is only useful if it can help someone else. This is a pure way to live – without dragging the baggage of the past everywhere. (reminds me of the Robert DeNiro movie, “The Mission” – great example of dragging the past and how it holds us back from joy) Thank you for this post!

    1. I love this, Karla…thank you! I was just thinking about that very movie the other day. Yes, to living free from fear or thoughts of the past. Recently I was talking to someone about sobriety and I was telling her that during my first year, although I didn’t want to drink, I was afraid of being around alcohol (and rightly so). But soon, as I became truly sober, I could go anywhere (If I had a legitimate reason to be there) and it didn’t bother me at all if people were drinking…and it has been almost 33 years since I had a drink, and I am still free. This is my goal here too. Much love to you, Mary

      1. That is wonderful to hear, that you have 33 years of being FREE. Not just in “relief” but truly FREE. This is how I must live today, and am so very grateful to AA for helping me find my Higher Power, so that I may help others find theirs. I am no evangelist by any means, as we are taught attraction rather than promotion. However, I am SO passionate about sobriety and AA! Your blog carries the message, Mary. I dearly love to read it!

  2. As always, loved your post and also enjoyed Karla’s response (I have that movie on reserve from the library now). Karla’s comment also reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from Dr. Abraham Low (founder of Recovery International), “Mine is a voice crying in the wilderness, except in Recovery. And it’s unfortunate that it is so, because outside in the wilderness of cities and towns, I call this ‘an oasis’ and the other a ‘wilderness.’ In this wilderness of modern life, they try to teach you that everything is fate, not will. They try to teach you that once you have been frustrated in your childhood, you are doomed, unless some expert steps in and treats you for three or four or five years at a certain fee, which is, of course, considerably extended as the period of treatment is extended likewise. Why people should constantly be dragging their youth behind them, I have not been able to realize after I drifted away from this modern teaching.”

    Also, loved all the photos of your home (caught them on Facebook yesterday). Showed such warmth and interesting details. Eager to see where you will land for your new beginnings.

    1. Thank you, Mary…you know when I was writing this, I also thought about recovery and one of the lines in the AA literature that says, “we will not regret the past or wish to shut the door on it…” what freedom! Sometimes I just sit and think about the freedom that is here (some of the time) and more that will be coming as I consciously move through this “experience”. Sending you warm thoughts as we, here in upstate NY, prepare for ice cold temps and a ton of snow!

  3. Oh, Mary, I love the term “wound-mates,” and it can certainly be helpful and affirming to hear other people’s stories, but it can be hard to protect ourselves from negativity. Two experiences come to mind about dealing with people handling difficult life-events. The first was when a dear friend who was going through a tough time caring for two elderly parents apologized to me and said she didn’t realize until then what I’d been dealing with years before, and she wished she had been a better friend and support to me then. That filled my heart with so much love that I found I could be a good listener and let her unload some of her emotions without feeling like I was being dragged back down into my tough time. The second one is more generic and I wouldn’t be surprised if I learned it from you. When someone is telling me about a negative past experience — whether we’re wound-mates or not — I (eventually) asked them how they have managed to move forward from that time. It seems to have a calming effect on them — and on me!! — and redirects their emotional energy. Anyway, thanks as always for sharing your experiences and growth with your flock. It means so much.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this Charlotte…I love what your friend was able to recognize and then tell you. So lovely. Sending you warm and loving thoughts today, Mary

  4. Hoping I am not coming to comment as a “wound-mate” but as someone ready to step forward in my life after a similar ending. I wish my relationship had ended sooner, because I wasn’t being honest no, and I was also clinging on in fear like a drowning woman onto a life raft. I have been so raw and vulnerable in the last five months and I am starting to heal and move forward now. It seems very well timed for me to have come across your post today. Some days it is still so very sad and raw, and somedays I don’t do so well but it is getting better and I am moving on with love and a smile.

    1. Dear Jan, I am so happy that you wrote…It is really important and vital to growth that we first do exactly what you are doing. Being able to talk about what happened and share all of the raw pain and hurt is so necessary, and for each one of us the timing will be different. I have a friend who is also going through a divorce because of long-term infidelity and dishonesty by her husband and she went through a year and a half of despair and disbelief first. In my case, although I found out about what I thought was only one instance, I had a “gradual” eye opening and oddly I feel this made it easier. As more and more of his relationships were “discovered” by me, although very painful, it also helped me to see so much more clearly what I had sensed but could never put my finger on so it was also somewhat of a relief. A lot of us end up feeling like we are crazy when we live with someone who is not honest with us. Sending you healing thoughts and love as you take steps into your new life. Mary

      1. “A lot of us end up feeling like we are crazy when we live with someone who is not honest with us.” — This part of your response really resonated with me. My ex-husband was dishonest in a different way (financial) and I kept thinking it was my imagination, my fault, etc. etc. It also happened again with a man I dated where somehow everything got turned where I was wrong and/or what I “saw” “heard” “thought” was to be doubted. Actually, it happened throughout my whole life now that I think about it……There is A NEW DAY COMING!!!!!! Sending love…..

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