If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace. — Gaston Bachelard
I’ve had a recurring dream, that I remembered clearly this morning. The dream started awhile ago, I think it’s been going on for months. In the original dream, there was a house that I liked, that we used to hang out at in the evenings. It was like a large café, but with lots of enclaves, private seating areas, and it extended for blocks. People just hung out and enjoyed themselves, under the evening sky.
In the first dream or second dream, I heard that the owner was selling it. Everyone was sad that they may not have this cool, casual hangout anymore.
I had just sold my book, so I bought the house with my book contract, even though it was a considerable expense.
I was concerned that folks might not show up with the new ownership, but no one seemed to care. Some acquaintances warned me that some of the folks who frequented these casual get togethers may not be safe. “Are you sure you want to entertain everyone? We’ve heard of problems with drugs and violence,” was the forewarning. It seemed more a class bias than a reality — I’d never had personal problems with anyone.
Last night, I dreamed that I had traveled to Europe for a long visit, and I returned home. I wondered if anyone would be showing up for the evening soirée. The party had grown, and not only were the old regulars showing up, but all these folks whom I had never met were hanging out. The gathering was enormous.
There were also old family members — great aunts happily greeted me — old family friends, some of my dear friends now were there, and there was an odd lot of folks who sitting and standing around who really just needed a place to hang out so they didn’t feel alone. On the pavement, on the balconies, just hanging out.
I understood that because they were here, they weren’t feeling alone.
Kind of like “Au Bon Pain” in Harvard Square, or The Last Exit On Brooklyn café in Seattle, during its heyday, only much, much larger. City blocks large, with podiums and chairs and little terraced areas for people to sit and visit.
I was the hostess, even though they didn’t know or care that this was my home.
I played the part, going around saying “hello,” making sure that people felt welcome to those who weren’t otherwise engaged. I looked with a quiet satisfaction that such an assorted lot of folks could hang out, the bikers and street people with the more urbane, equal under the night sky, in the space I created for them.
As I started to wake-up, I asked myself “what does this mean,” and in a rare moment of instant insight, I understood immediately that the house was my imagination, and that these were the folks who peopled my life, clients, friends, everyone that I’d allowed into my life experience. They may not know me, but they had come into the safety of my imagination, and had found a safe place to hang out under a clear night sky. It didn’t matter that they didn’t know me — and I rather enjoyed freely and anonymously giving them a space to be themselves.
Of course, this is a metaphor for my work, but life and work and life were all mixed up. The house was clearly an umbrella metaphor for the imagination, and I as the dreamer was a conscious, rule free hostess for those choosing to show up, allowing them to be themselves.
It was an act of generosity, a conscious decision made by me, for this lifetime, and I saw with clarity that this is what I really wanted during this life, allowing people to freely do want they wanted to do, providing a space in which to be themselves, and not feel alone.
And that’s really all that life is, a series of experiences in imagination’s house, during this lifetime, consciousness being a construct that we carry with us, an imaginative space in which we entertain those who we meet, in whatever way we do. Or something like that.
One takeaway is that the house of my imagination is a sprawling open air café, with a near limitless cast of wanderers who sit and laugh and visit under a night sky. And karmically, I am the creator of this space, a conscious crafter of nonjudgemental connection.
For some reason, I am thinking this specific metaphor needs to make it into the book, though I don’t know how or why.
As an addendum, there was a girl there who seemed vaguely familiar. She seemed sad and by herself, an outsider. I introduced myself to her, as the house owner. She said she was meeting someone. I didn’t believe her.
I plan on making sure she knows that she is safe and loved, something that I am guessing she is ready to hear, next time we meet.