My eyes had just shot wide open in the middle of the night. I was in an all-girls dormitory room in Chiang Mai and was sleeping on the bottom bed of one of four bunk beds. It felt like there was a strange spirit hovering around the room; or was I having some kind of nightmare? Because I felt eerily awoken by something, and it was also keeping me wide awake. I felt as if I was being watched. But I wasn’t scared. And somehow I felt sure there was no ghostly spirit around. It was something, not someone. It felt as if something was waiting, asking for my full attention.
It wasn’t until the next day, when I was having some sweets al fresco at a café propped right on a corner of one of the city’s wide intersections, when a call with my mom clearly brought back upon me what had shot me awake the night before. She said she had this horrible and vivid dream where she was sitting on her toilet and her feet and legs were completely covered in shit. This would qualify as a real nightmare to my mom who is very easily disgusted. In her nightmare, she saw me on top of a waterfall getting ready to jump, and she felt she had to save me and stop me from jumping, so she was calling out to me but couldn’t move because she was stuck in all that shit.
I suddenly remembered that my dream from the night before was about shit all over. It covered my hands and arms. The progress of the dream wasn’t very clear, but I knew it was disturbing enough to have woken me up with an unnerved feeling that I couldn’t describe.
In my dream, I was covered in shit. In my mother’s dream, she was covered in shit and I was ready to jump in water. This wasn’t the first time that my mom and I were this much in sync. But more than that maternal connection, looking back from there, shit got more interesting.
The night that my mom and I both had these dreams of defecation that involved me was the same night I decided I was going to turn myself in for a week of vipassana meditation. I had more than a week to spare on this vacation and day-to-day living in Thailand was so cheap. Before I went to sleep the night before, I had been looking up things I could do for a week when I saw that many temples offered this meditation retreat. My birthday was coming up in a few days, and I was actually calling my mom to tell her I was going to do it for my birthday and disappear for a length of time.
It could be either coincidence or fate, but it was only a little more than a month earlier when I took a younger cousin out for a hike on her birthday and she told me all about vipassana, this special kind of insight meditation that she had been looking into. I was so intrigued. The not-talking-for-ten-days and finding the answers to all your universal questions by listening to your inner guidance all appealed to me. I was definitely intrigued and appealed to enough that the offerings of this practice stood out right away for me despite being a mere tourist looking for entertainment on the trip advisors of the wide web.
Something was calling out to me, I knew it. Funny, I hadn’t even started with my “insight” meditation practice but, deep down, I knew for sure that something was calling. And that I needed to take heed.
I had just broken up with my boyfriend a month earlier. Right before our big fight on a stupid video call (we were in a long distance relationship), as I backread on our messenger thread, I saw that I had just been telling him about a dream I had, right before the fight: the two of us were in some kind of open veranda that looked like a backpackers’ hostel or gathering, and all these strangers around us were doing all sorts of acro-yoga. The veranda was right by the ocean. The water was a deep and brilliant blue with crystalline waves, and sea lions were sunning themselves on rocks in the distance. When I woke up and remembered the dream, what was incredible to me was that I was not in the water. How could I have not been in the water, how could I have not jumped in? The ocean was so beautiful, and the place we were in was grimy and stuffy from all the people and activity.
In the weeks that followed, after my breakup and before leaving for Thailand, I had a couple more dreams of the same brilliant blue ocean. In every dream, I would only be by the water, looking at it, admiring it, contemplating it. Even though they were only dreams, it was questionable to me that I wouldn’t be in the water. It was a curious feeling why I wasn’t in the water whenever I woke up.
When I looked up dreams about the ocean, it was certainly interesting how there were specific differing interpretations between being in the water and not being in the water. Dreaming about looking at ocean waves supposedly suggests overcoming obstacles you are facing. Dreaming about walking along the ocean shore suggests new experiences, doing something you’ve never done before, or discovering new passions.
My birthday is on the 6th of July. I am a water sign and have just discovered a few weeks ago that Cancer is all over my natal chart, as well. I am thoroughly water, the moon, my emotions, my intuition. And I have always loved the ocean. I have always been at home in any body of water.
Because of world lockdown, I haven’t been to the ocean for eight months now. Homesick is the word. But remembering this uncanny string of dreams and incidents that has significantly led me to the dreams and the experiences I now weave with intention today gives me much hope. Stillness in restlessness is not only important, it is also possible. It is possible to listen. Especially now. Do not undermine opportunities to dream and pay attention. Our lives are always woven into a process that is unfolding and taking us somewhere. Oceans may be calling. Oceans are always calling.
I promise to finally post my journal entries from my vipassana retreat tomorrow. 💙