Monday, January 5, 2009

The New Year's Baby and the Dalai Lama

Canyon Spirits, acrylic on canvas, 30" x 40"
private collection, Shorewood, Wisconsin

I'm walking up a flight of stairs to the front door of a house. It looks a bit like a brownstone in Manhattan. It's my understanding that I am there to retrieve a baby. When I walk in the door, I see that a man is in the room. My first thought is, 'Why is a guy here?' Then I see that the man is the Dalai Lama and I think, 'Well, at least it's the Dalai Lama.' The Dalai Lama is busily engaged in making a bed. He lifts the edge of a sheet, snaps it into the air and lets it drift downwards, back to the bed; its own momentum makes it lie smooth, wrinkle-free. The edge of the Lama's red robe flies as he strides from one side of the bed to the other, tucking in edges, his full attention given to the perfection of his task.

I walk though an open door at the back of that room, turn left and see another staircase. I walk down one step and there's the newborn baby, looking comfortable, not crying, despite her precarious position on the second highest step of what appears to be a set of dark stairs leading to a basement. She's snug in a blanket wrapped tight around her tiny body. I think to myself how dangerous it was for someone to have left the baby there. I pick up the baby.

Then, maddeningly, I wake up.

The last week of 2008 blessed me with a series of dreams. This one was the most memorable and I have pondered it much. During that week I was setting my goals for the new year. In my head only. Busy-ness kept me from writing the goals down or praying about them or reflecting on them with any depth, or even thinking through a plan to bring them into reality. My goals, my hopes for 2009 were like a newborn baby--they were alive, their blood was flowing, they were still breathing, but like the baby in my dream, they were in a precarious position, almost forgotten, incapable of climbing up those dark stairs and walking to the kitchen for a glass of milk.

Intentions are the beginning of any accomplishment, but if they're abandoned on a dark stairway, some unsuspecting person, even the Dalai Lama himself, unknowingly, may trample on them. Hopes must be rescued and brought into the light. No matter how warmly we wrap them in the depths of our heart, protection isn't enough for them to survive. They need to be fed.

Here's where the hard part comes in. We have to do the work. Observe the Dalai Lama making a bed. Things have to be lifted up and set in motion with a little effort. Momentum will carry them for a time. Then they must be completed. Attention to detail is involved. And yes, grace. Grace is as nearby as the next room, but you may have to climb some stairs to get there. And don't be afraid to ask for help.

104 comments:

lime said...

that was timely, for me at least. i've been in protection mode a long time because there are crowds rushing up and down the stairs.

and i LOVE that painting. that one really speaks to me....probably more than any other one you've ever posted.

Lee said...

This is a good vision, San. Those stairs have been dark and scary for some time now. I need to light a candle to get down them safely and find out what's at the bottom. These past few months I've started making progress on seeing where those stairs lead. Since, when making my new years resolution, I decided to continue an action I'd started before the new year began, I think I'll hold onto your vision and do the same with it.

Love! & Hope!
Lee

Sandi McBride said...

I loved this post...as I love the posted painting...I love dreams that give me a sense of peace when I awaken, and it seems that as time goes on, I have more of those. I'm looking at this painting and I'm feeling spirit and energy...thanks for sharing.
hugs
Sandi

San said...

Michelle, I really like your metaphor of the crowds rushing up and the stairs. There's a lot of that going around I think.

And thank you much for your kind words about my painting. I'm really pleased that this one speaks to you, since it's something of a new direction for me. The people who purchased it also took another in the new series, which features abstracted figures.

San said...

Lee, the dream felt rather peaceful, despite the at-risk baby. And I had no urge to go down the stairs. Even though I woke up, I felt very strongly that my next action would have been to walk back up and into the light. I believe we can spend too much time worrying about what might be in our basement, even though we don't spend our lives there.

San said...

Thanks, Sandi! I too seem to be having more of those peace-inducing dreams and I feel as though they are precious gifts.

And I'm glad you have such a positive take on the painting too. That's exactly the way it felt to me.

Celebration of Life said...

San, that was an awesome dream. I can see how I need to proceed cautiously not knowing was lies ahead in the place where I may tread. I need a light so I can see where and when to step. Thank you for being that light for me, in my current darkness.
Jo

Akelamalu said...

A dream containing the Dalai Lama and a new baby can only mean good things.

I Love the painting San.

Carol said...

What is it about looking at the Dalai Lama that lightens my heart and gut so?

Thanks for sharing your dream, San. I love the beauty in your description - the sensuousness of the sheets hanging in the air before lying "smooth, wrinkle-free". You have mined much wisdom from the dream and I know that it has had an effect on your life. Through your sharing of it, I also benefit!

Wishing you much peace, love and joy in 2009.

sukipoet said...

You have amazing dreams. This one feels so good to me. What emotions did you feel on waking up. I'd love to have a Dali Lama dream. Baby dreams seem auspicious. Your reflections on the dream are so insightful. May 2009 bring you much laughter, love and creativity.

San said...

Jo, I hardly see you as a person in the darkness. I see you as light-filled. I am nonetheless quite touched by your comment.

San said...

Akelamalu, I hope you are right!

And thank you for complimenting my painting.

San said...

Carol, yes, the dream has had an effect on my life. In your own words, it has "lightened my heart and gut." And after all of these holiday feast days, my gut could use the lightening. Literally. :-D

San said...

Suki, I felt good when I woke up. I felt maddened when I later reflected and wanted to return to the dream.

Thank you for your enormous well-wishing for 2009. May all of those wishes return to you tenfold, dear Suki!

Maggie May said...

What a strange dream........... I think the baby definitely means a new year. The Dalai Lama is in exile...... is that significant!
Brilliant picture.
May your new year be what you want it to be!

San said...

Maggie May, thank you for your thoughtful observations. And your compliment to my painting--that means a lot to me!

May 2009 be one of blessings for you and your family...

Celebration of Life said...

San,
Sometimes I am blinded by my own fears or misconceptions. I attempt to walk in the light but am not always successful. :o)

Have a very prosperous week!
Jo

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I really like those types of dreams, San.

murat11 said...

San: Something's striking me about the baby and its position, which in no way contradicts your take on its need for food and the need for work, though it does keep spinning on to something else as well. I think it's this: yes, those babies need food, they need to be "worked," but they also do "get around," even when we're not "there." I know there's much more to look at here, and more to come. Thanks for the words, sister.

Sparkling Red said...

"Well, at least it's the Dalai Lama."

That is a priceless line-to-remember!

I wish you all the best with your baby goals. May you nurture them so that they grow into healthy young intentions, and then mature accomplishments. :-)

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

You are so on spot with that dream...and the Dali Lama to make sure you know it's importance! Wow, I know that feeling of wanting to get back into the dream. Now the new year begins, sure work, sure details but the GIFT is here, the new year...blessings to you and yours.
Love the painting!

CoyoteFe said...

Just wonderful. There's so much between conception and action, yes?

'Well, at least it's the Dalai Lama.' Ha!

Also, interesting that the baby was calm. Speaks to grace as well, I think. We must choose, and choose to act, but also we must choose the mindset we will bring to our efforts. Thanks.

SandyCarlson said...

So beautifully said. Thanks for sharing your dream and bringing us into your thought process. That was amazing.

~Babs said...

As always, I bumped it up so I could get the feel of the spirits in the canyon. (and of course they feel as good as they look)

I rarely dream anymore,,,,not in years.
None that I'm aware of anyway.
I used to dream vividly,,,and 'they' say we always do, we just don't always remember them. But I want to,,,,maybe I need a refresher course,,,,you think?

A.Bananna said...

When I was reading about your dream I was thinking about the new year and the goals that we set. We must be on the same track. LOL.

Neat dream san! I love reading about you dreams! Have a great new year!

Anna

jsd said...

may your road be paved in your good intentions. our lives are like mosiacs - shattered, but beautifully put together.

Sabi said...

San, beautiful post really enjoyed reading and love the painting and i can see reflection of people in your painting. Happy New year and wish you all the best for future.

God Bless You

david mcmahon said...

All visions are good visions, San.

And may I just say thank you for your wonderful comment on my Y IS For Yellow post today.

I have been AWOL because of a family wedding on the west coast. Just got back to Melbourne and life is returning to normal schedules.

To you and Bennie and the kids, all the very best for 2009.

smith kaich jones said...

What a lovely post. Thank you, ma'am. Beautiful painting - I am always a bit jealous of your ability to be so free in your paintings :) - and beautiful story. I just love stories (especially true stories about dreams! LOL!) full of pictures. The red robe whipping about, the dark stairs. Even sound. I could just hear the flick/snap of the sheet as it flew upwards.

:) Debi

San said...

Jo, we all have our blind spots, especially when it comes to fears and misconceptions.

Wishing you much happiness this week...

San said...

Nick, something tells me you've had quite a few visionary dreams.

San said...

Paschal, that's a telling observation--yes, those babies do get around, don't they? God only knows what they're up to when we're not looking.

San said...

Thank you for your well-wishing, Spark.

And yes, that was a funny thought I had in the dream: 'At least it's the Dalai Lama.' I must have some high expectations in my dreaming life. You? :-D

San said...

Mary Ann, you're so right. The New Year is a precious GIFT.

Thank you for reminding me.

San said...

Fe, yes, I felt it was rather significant that the baby was perfectly calm.

Thank you for reminding me of the necessity of the right mindset.

Blessings to you in 2009.

San said...

Sandy, thank you for your words. They are always kind and graceful.

San said...

Babs, thank you for bumping it up and reporting on your findings. I'm smiling.

You? A refresher course? I don't see why unless you have a particular urge to remember those dreams. If so, you could try the old trick of reminding yourself to remember--before you fall asleep. And you could write them down when you do remember them.

San said...

Anna, I believe we ARE on the same track!

Much love and happiness to you and your family in 2009...

San said...

JS, your mosaic metaphor is lovely. And wise. Thank you.

San said...

Sabi, I'm glad you see the people in the painting. Thank you for complimenting it.

May 2009 be light-filled for you...

San said...

Welcome back, David.

And thank you for the New Year wishes. Blessings to you and your family.

San said...

Debi, thank you!

Those vivid dreams are gifts from Who knows Who. I'm glad you even HEARD this one. You must be really receptive.

:-)

katie jane said...

Wow! What an analogy! You are a great writer. Maybe you should do stories as well as paintings. And you have vividly fabulous dreams. I never remember mine. This is a lovely story for begining the new year. Thanks.

Meg Wolff said...

San,
It sounds like you know what to do from listening to your dreams. Thanks for the reminder. I started following up on a dream I had today, but was too busy for in the past weeks. And you are so right about the grace part. I certainly could use a good dose of that right about now.Can't we all? :-)

RiverPoet said...

Every time I read one of your posts, I remember how much I miss reading your posts!

I hope your interpretation of your dream is spot on and that it isn't the foretelling of the XV Dalai Lama's coming soon. I have kind of gotten used to this one :-D

Peace - D

The Moody Minstrel said...

It's an ancient Japanese belief that, if you have a powerful dream during the first few days of the new year (usually on the night of the 2nd), it will indicate what the year is going to be like, good or bad.

The Dalai Lama actively and precisely making a bed? A strong symbol of wisdom and the spiritual world putting things in order just behind the front door? You climb the steps to the door, and he's the first thing you see? And he's putting everything he has into the task? And a bed...a place of resting and a place where dreams begin?

You were told to go there to retrieve a baby (i.e. something new, something growing), and you found it left, as if abandoned, on the second step down on a stairway leading into darkness (i.e. the chute to hell)?

Something new, saved by you from falling into darkness and oblivion, taken into your care, brought back into the front room (i.e. the main chamber) which a wise spiritual master is setting into order.

My friend, I'd say you got a powerful message for the new year!

(As for me, the only powerful dream I had was one of finding giant carpenter ants in one of the upstairs rooms, discovering that the infestation was far more serious than I'd thought, and debating how to try to get rid of it after deciding my little can of bug spray wasn't going to do it.)

Carol said...

What a beautiful post...and dream. Sometimes I think they are meant to be glimpses of the soul. We need to recognize that. New Years Blessings to you!

Velvet Ginger said...

I love that Desert Spirit painting for sure...right up my alley!
Dreams have a way of helping us work things out in reality don't they?

Dianne said...

this gave me a peaceful yet purposeful feeling at my core

you have a knack for doing that

My efforts have felt so feeble lately and the staircase so dark and steep - and endlessly shifting

I think I need to take a different look :)

Hilary said...

This was a brilliant piece of writing, interpretation and insight. A truly inspiring post. Thank you for that.

Kim said...

These are beautiful reminders for us to understand, San. I agree, our intentions are always good, but we also have to act to make them fruitful.

I adore this painting so much...the colors and the imagery are especially appealing.

Thank you so much!

Lynette said...

What a great post San! It seems like you knew exactly how to intrepret your dream and it was speaking words of wisdom to you. Sometimes I have a hard time trying to find the meaning of my dreams and even harder sometimes to remember them the next day.
'Canyon Spirits' is very stunning and I love the sunkissed colors in it!

Casdok said...

Wow what a dream. Much to think about. I love the painting.
Happy new year!

Shrinky said...

That's wonderful San, both the dream and your insight into it - we don't listen to our subconscious mind nearly as often as we should. And yes, your interpretation makes perfect sense when you set it in to context.

So, tell me - those as of yet, unwritten down resolutions of yours..?

Vargas said...

Thoughtful post about a very interesting and revealing dream. And a beautiful painting. Gifts! Thank you. I have long loved a certain quote from a Rilke poem called The Birth of the Virgin Mary. I think it is fits here...

"Climb the stairs, feel the steps."
- Rainer Maria Rilke

Vargas said...

Rather, I think it fits here! Thanks again for your painting and your dream sharing.

JafaBrit's Art said...

I wish I had dreams like that. I had two nightmares before the end of the new year and I kept trying to go back to sleep and try and redo the dream. Last night I dreamed of decorating a box (jafagirls are doing a box for the storybox project) over and over and over. ugh!

anyway it was so interesting to read about your dream and your interpretation along with the painting. My understanding of dreams is that the characters in them are all you, so you are the nurturer and the one to be nurtured. Does that make sense?

Raven said...

Beautifully written. What a great dream and such a wise interpretation. I had to chuckle when you said, "well, at least it's the Dalai Lama." It's such a positive and hope-filled dream. The bed-making made me think of Thik Nhat Hahn (did I spell that right?) talking about doing everything we do mindfully. You always have something interesting and thought-provoking to say. Thanks.

Tammie Lee said...

Lovely wisdom you share with us, along with an amazing piece of art!

The Dahli Lama was in my dream a few nights ago. He walked behind me and tapped my shoulder, I turned to see who was there and he looked into my eyes and smiled. You brought this memory back for me. Thanks.
Wishing you a wonderful 2009 San ~

Tammie

Angel... said...

I love this post San.. thanks for sharing with us. and also love that painting as usual..i love to have a dreams like that..

San,now i feel better but always think why did this happened with me..well thanks for everything love always,Angel

San said...

Katie Jane, thank you!

It was a nice dream for beginning the year. Wishing you lots of happy visions in 2009...

San said...

Meg, yes, I believe we're all in need of some grace now!

May 2009 be grace-filled for you and your family...

San said...

You know, Doris, your speculation had crossed a corner of my mind too--just the hint of a shadow passing over. And I know what you mean. I too am used to this one!

San said...

Moody, thank you for such a careful reading of my dream--I feel blessed by this! I hadn't thought of the bed being prepared for "dreams." Now I'm really feeling inspired.

I hope your dreams in 2009 are devoid of red ants and other infestations. Much hope and joy to you...

San said...

New Year's Blessings to you too, Carol! And I completely agree with what you have to say about dreams being glimpses of the soul.

whimsical brainpan said...

Great post! May all of your intentions become accomplishments.

I love the painting!

San said...

Rubye Jean, yes--dreams do help us with our waking life. Clearly, you've experienced that too. Dreams are gifts I believe.

So glad you like the painting--you there in the desert.

San said...

Diane, I love that "peaceful and purposeful at the core." That's a great feeling. Wish we all felt like that more often.

Happy New Year!

San said...

DIANNE, I realize I misspelled your name. My apologies.

San said...

Hilary, you know how to make a dreamer feel good. Really good.

Thank you!

San said...

Kim, I am especially pleased that you enjoy the painting. Thank you.

Something tells me 2009 is going to be a very creative one for all of us.

San said...

Lynette--"sunkissed colors"--I love that! I am now basking in your words. Thank you.

When it comes to dreaming and remembering dreams, I seem to have cycles of both, followed by dreamless times, or times when I don't remember any.

San said...

Thanks much, Casdok.

And blessings to you in 2009...

San said...

Shrinky, as to those unwritten resolutions, I am in the process of clarifying them, and yes, writing them down.

Wish me luck!

San said...

"Climb the stairs. Feel the steps."

That is a brilliant quote, Vargas. I don't believe I've read that particular Rilke poem, or else I've forgotten it, like a dream lost in the night.

Thank you for visiting, and for your kind words, and for that quote.

Please return.

San said...

Well, Vargas, I see you returned immediately. I like that.

For the longest, I couldn't see what you were correcting. Your little typo appeared normal until about the fourth reading.

San said...

Jafa, what you say about me as the characters in the dream, the nurturer as well as the one in need of being nurtured, does make sense. A lot of sense. Thank you.

And I believe you may be able to re-enter those dreams with a little practice. I've never done that, but I have a lot of faith in you.

San said...

Raven, don't ask me if you spelled his name right. Note: I'm not typing his name myself, but I do know whom you're talking about, and yes, the mindfulness factor does seem to figure big here. And the hope factor.

Here's hoping it all adds (or multiplies even) up to a blessed 2009 for all of us!

San said...

Wow, Tammie Lee, you had a Dalai Lama dream too! That's really powerful--his looking into your eyes.

May that kind look be a precursor of many such exchanged visions in 2009...

San said...

Angel, I'm glad you're feeling better, but it's only natural that you are still feeling tremendous loss, and a sense of unfairness.

May 2009 bring you unexpected joy...

San said...

Whim, I know you have a really big intention this year and I am wishing you success in bringing it into fruition.

Thank you for wishing me the same.

DILLY said...

Hewo San! Happy noo yeer!

¬"

Todd said...

I absolutely love this painting, San. When I opened the page I connected to it immediately. Gorgeous!
Peace & light to you!!
T.

CrazyCath said...

You have such a wonderful, beautiful interpretation on life. What a great way to remind us to nurture our hopes, our dreams and build them into something and bring them into the light where they can grow.

Love the painting too at the start of the post. very appropriate.
Thanks for visiting me.

Ed Maskevich said...

There are no small tasks only small people. The Dalai Lama understands the prayerfulness of bed making. Also, love the photos of your Aussie. We had one but he died a few years ago.

Peter said...

Hi! That was so well written that I could picture the whole thing in my head. What you have written here is so true. Abandoning our good intentions will only lead to despair and disappointment not only for us but for the ones centered around them.

So! How long has the Dalai Lama been making your bed?

Have a glorious 2009 and may your intentions all come to fruition!

Take Care,
Peter

San said...

Happy noo yeer to you too, dear Dilly.

San said...

Wow, Todd, thank you! That pleases me much.

Light and joy to you in 2009. And many vessels of peace...

San said...

Cath, your comments always make me glow. Thank you for being such an encourager of my words and paint.

xo

San said...

Well put, Ed. Thank you for visiting.

The Aussie is our Trudy. She's part heeler too. Also part healer.

San said...

Thank you for your generous well-wishing, Peter.

As far as I can recall, that's the only time he's done that particular task for me. But the way he did it makes it last a long time. He has a real knack for that.

:-D

Peter J. Crowley said...

Dreams and reality do merge there must be time made for doing the good work, for smelling the roses, for pondering meanings. Less time for racing up and down stairs to the next task on the multi list. I remember only sections of my dreams. You are blessed to recall such detail. Happy New Year. enjoy pjc

Philip said...

Dreams can be a real inlfuence on art - I am sure they are for me. I have very weird, wonderful and sometimes disturbing dreams of places and situations I have never seen in my life! Makes me think I have lived before!
Love the painting!

lmerie said...

Great about grace!

Thanks for coming by and commenting, looking forward to seeing you again!

B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

Hullo!

I kwite like the Dalai Llama. I think he's cool. I bet he has a Bear or 2 in that robe ov his too. An yu cud hide a few hunny sandwiches in there...

:@}

david mcmahon said...

We wait, in peace, for your next post. This is such a tranquil spot.

I'll just sit here and wait in meditative silence .....

Anna said...

San wow what a dream, and amazing interpretation. You are so right about babies versus dreams or goals, anything in life to survive need to be fed and maintain.
I have dreams myself, it is almost like living a second life. The scary one are that I am still in school, and I still write exams. I say scary, I don't want to come back to school, lol, its been 14 years, and I hate writing tests, lol.

San all I can say you are amazing, and just by reading your post I got so much energy to do things right now lol...but the priority will always be Matthew for many many years to come.

Anna :)

Daryl said...

Somehow I missed this and wishing you a happy new year ... seems to me that baby is the new year beginning ... And another mouthwatering painting ...

Recently I 'met' Jeane of ART IT and she posted some paintings she did and they made me think of you ... if you get a minute .. http://jeane-artit.blogspot.com/

aims said...

Gosh San - Here I am the 99th commenter!

What interested me was the perfection he put into making the bed and the flowing movements of his robe. Then there was the swaddling of the baby - it's perfection as well.

Funny how different things attract different people's attention.

Bram Antareja said...

Happy to see the Dalai Lama photo. I once covered the arrival in the Borobudur Central Java Indonesia. Despite only 10 minutes to listen to statements from the Dalai Lama for peace, but I personally very impressed him. Highlight the eyes full of peace. So my eye is not able to contemplate for a long time. Regards from Yogyakarta City, Indonesia.

DILLY said...

Dilly like payntin.
Dilly like llamas too.

San!
Dilly giv San award
Come get!

¬"

Angel... said...

I just stopped by to say hello to you San. I hope you are doing good.

Sandi McBride said...

Just checking in to see if we have a new lovely painting to view and interesting article to read! DRAT!

Sandi

Meg Wolff said...

Hi San,
I miss you & I'm thinking about you. I hope you are painting up a storm. XO