I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Rain, personality types and a dream

Wet daffodil
While walking to a yoga class in a light rain last week, I saw this beautiful daffodil covered with raindrops. I was covered, too, but by now I'm accustomed to walking around in the rain. It's rarely cold even when it's wet here during the winter months, just a light patter of drops on my rain hat. I see plenty of people out on their bikes while it's raining, too. Nobody really seems to mind it much up here in the Pacific Northwest.

We have just endured one of the wettest October-through-February periods on record. Although we don't get as much rain as Seattle, I found this post from Cliff Mass: The Wettest Winter in Seattle History. Since our TV stations come from Seattle, I see those forecasts when I turn on the TV in the morning to check on the day's probable weather before heading out. I watch with interest the differences between what is likely to happen here in Bellingham and the Seattle forecast: we often miss the heaviest storms, which tend to hit south of us between Seattle and Tacoma. But nevertheless, we have gotten more than our usual rainfall even up here near the Canadian border.

I went out to the garden yesterday to begin to prepare the ground for planting my vegetables this spring. There are parts of our garden that are under water: when I headed over to the area where we usually put our garden debris, I sank in the mud almost to my ankles! Puddles dot the saturated soil. My area is at the other end of the garden, making my area one of the easier ones to plant if I get busy soon, and I don't have any puddles in my area, either. A couple of the western-most plots are inaccessible at the moment. We don't need any more rain! Must make the slugs happy, though.

I didn't get far out in the garden yesterday, though, since our neighbors brought out a wood chipper and promptly began making so much noise with it I had to retreat into the house. I did manage to get started, though, and that has made me look forward to the day when I get a chance to plant. Just getting my hands in the dirt is therapeutic. Not to mention the sun was shining most of the day yesterday, and my mood began to lift. I've been struggling with a feeling of melancholy this past week, which might be partly due to last week's news of our rent increase. I did sit down and figure out how much we can afford to pay for rent, and we are still within a safe zone. In fact, it made me reconsider where we might be able to move. I spent part of the day looking at possibilities, although we did sign the lease already and sent it back. Next year at this time, we may be looking to move and I don't think we'll be alone. Several tenants are considering not signing and looking at their options.

I would miss the community garden the most, but there are other rentals that give the option to have a small garden. It's the community aspect I would miss the most. I've made some good friends through our garden in the past five years. Thanks to my blog, I can remember how it was back then. Having a place to write down and preserve my feelings of times past is valuable. It is a web log, after all. Sometimes I forget where the word "blog" comes from.

One of my blogging friends who lives in Portland wrote a post last week that has got me thinking. She was talking about Carl Jung's Seven Tasks of Aging. Years ago, I read much of his work, but I didn't remember that part. Of course, I wasn't old then, either. He was one of the early adopters of psychoanalysis in the early part of the last century and wrote prodigiously about many things. As a contemporary of Freud, they were collaborators and friends for six years, until they had a falling out. Jung identified sixteen different personality types, which helped him understand why the two of them could never reconcile. If you've ever taken the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator test, you know something about it all (I'm an ENFP, for what it's worth). That link tells you all about the MBTI and even tells you how to find out your own type.

But I digress. Those Seven Tasks of Aging that Jung spoke of: what are they? I found a link on the internet that lists them.

I think the work I am doing with WAHA (Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement) is helping me with the first task. Helping others to think about what their end-of-life wishes are, and having done so for myself, certainly helps me to face this reality. The second task, "Life Review," is something I think I do with this blog. At the beginning of this Eye on the Edge journey, I went over each segment of my life and recounted it here. That sure did bring up a lot of stuff: there were parts of my past that I could barely write about, since it was so painful to revisit those times. Once I finished with them, I pondered what I wanted to do with each Sunday morning. Sometimes it's easy, when something specific is on my mind and I get a chance to think through my fingers and see what comes out. Other times, I have no idea when I sit down to write what will emerge. Knowing that I have an audience sometimes makes me self-conscious about what I write, but I usually get over it. Being an ENFP helps.

Yesterday I thought about the second task, and when I went to sleep last night, I had some very interesting dreams. In fact, I had a dream within a dream. I was with my mother and sister Norma Jean, and we were looking through old picture albums and scrapbooks. Of course, none of these things exist in reality, but they were very real in my dream. I saw the pages vividly as I perused the old pictures and exclaimed over this one or that one. Each album was in a white binder, and the faded pictures and scraps were as real within the dream as this laptop appears to me now. I awake (within the dream) and realize that I had not shared my favorite picture with Mama, and I had to find her, so I go back to "sleep" and run up the stairs to where she sits, holding another album in her hands. She looks up at me as I approach, and as I show her the picture, we both smile in recollection of the moment: a picture of Norma Jean with her bangs all askew from one of Mama's trims. We laugh and revel in the hilarity of the situation.

And then I woke up for real, and Mama and the albums gradually faded from the present moment, but last night we had a real visit and did our own dream version of a life review. I love both of them so much, and the fact that Mama now only exists in my memory makes her nocturnal visits with me even more precious. The Norma Jean who perused the albums with me is still only a phone call away, thank heavens, even if she doesn't remember having been there. She was, though.

I am grateful for my dreams. Throughout the ages we humans have been here, dreams have figured in many tales of old. Although I know some people don't remember their dreams at all, I am sure they have them. Dreaming is essential to one's mental health. I can attest to that, since last night's dream cleared away some lingering sadness and gave me a chance to express my love in a vivid way. It still surrounds me as I write this.

And with that, dear readers, it's time to consider making my way out of this bed and into the rest of the day. The rain has returned and is likely to stick around for most of the day. But yesterday was glorious and more sunshine will return soon. Until we meet again next week, be well. I wish you all good things until then.


Linda Myers said...

What a fabulous post! I feel like I'm right there with you.

Anonymous said...

My husband remembers his dreams quite vividly. I don't know why I can't remember mine.

Marie Smith said...

So much to think about. I rarely remember dreams. I have occasionally awakened during a dream and remember bits of it. Your vivid dreams help you sort out issues which I think is wonderful. I would love to have that ability.

The rain doesn't stop people there from engaging in life. Bravo. If that was the case here, there are times we wouldn't do too much. Many people don't let the weather deter them.

Blogging is my stage 2 as well. Recording the issues, events and writing about the people help me let go, not only of others but of my own life too. It's a celebration of a journey that had its hardships, joys but much learning and self discovery. And the story is still unfolding and will right up to the last day, though someone else may have to write that piece.

Lots of reflection today. Thank you!

Keicha Christiansen said...

I'm glad you were able to spend some time with your hands in the dirt. It is therapeutic, isn't it? I hoped to plant some pansies today, but it's raining so it will have to wait for another day.

It's true that dreams are essential for mental health. I'm always amazed at the way things that are weighing on my mind get worked out in my dreams. And the dreams when loved ones who are gone visit are a gift, aren't they?

Enjoy your Sunday!

Tabor said...

My dreams are usually filled with confusion and attempts at righting something or finding something or organizing something. I rare remember the details, but my children do appear in them at times. I was not close to my mother, so no dreams of her, sadly.

Arkansas Patti said...

I really like how you could "correct" your dream with your Mom. I've been known to direct mine also. It is always special when we get to visit with our loved ones who are gone. I dream several times a night and they are all vivid so it is like living a second life at night.

Elephant's Child said...

I dream in conversations rather than images.
Love this post - and your attitude to life.
Envy your rain.
I am definitely on the introspective side of the spectrum. It is lovely to get a quiet peek into the other side. Thank you. Have a wonderful week.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I guess I am a ENTJ an organizer! It can drive you nuts just ask me.
I sometimes can awaken and go right back to sleep and into the same dream...I dream in color and about some of the strangest stuff. My mind is busy most nights...I had Night Terrors all my life until menopause...they have slowed way down thank goodness although I still sleepwalk. My Fitbit does not lie.
If my Mother is in a dream it is probably a nightmare! She is not ageing well:(

Linda Reeder said...

Lucky you to have such pleasant dreams. When I woke this morning I was dreaming I was the struggling teacher in an unruly classroom and I didn't know what to do next. Been there, done that, don't like reliving that! I woke with a headache that still hasn't completely gone away.
Another band of rain has just moved through. We're hoping to avoid a downpour as we come and go from our 4:00 Sounders game today.

Red said...

There must be some reason that many of the storms miss you. Now seven tASKS OF AGING? I don't knoW what to think about that. I DO SOME OF THEM BUT OTHERS i WOULD AVOID.

The Furry Gnome said...

Always thoughtful and interesting!

Rita said...

I am also an ENFP!! I took the long test years ago and then retested again a couple years ago. I thought maybe my years of hermit-hood might have changed me into an introvert, but no. Same results about 25 years later. ;)

Now that I am turning 65 (in just 3 weeks) and my dad is gone and my mom is not the same since the accident...I have been thinking a little about life and leaving one day. I have no problem with leaving. It's the how that I wonder about. Not wanting to be any more of a burden than I already am, you know? After all, my body started old age stuff in my early 50s. But whatever is meant to be will be, I guess. Still just plain thrilled to be here. ;)

Can hardly wait to see how your garden grows--LOL! We've suddenly had temps in the 60s and 50s over here!! A very, very early spring is actually possible. :)

Friko said...

Dear DJan, as always, this post was sheer delight. Your pensive moods definitely suit you, or at least the you I know from these pages.

May everything turn out well, may your garden grow, your memories stay with you, in dreams and waking hours and may you long be able to point me in directions (Jungian tasks, which I didn’t know before) new to me and of great benefit to me also.

I am glad to know you.