Thursday, September 6, 2012

Buena Moments by Guest Bartenders: OPEN DOORS

Off the Menu: Buena Moments by Guest Bartenders is a series of guest submissions serving up their own good life moments through their own personal story, in hopes of showing how much beauty each of Our Buena Vidas holds. I know that I am not the only one living this buena vida. I know this because I talk to and see people everyday that are constantly in awe of how lucky they are to be living such a good life, even if they only catch a moment of it everyday. Once as we were sitting around the table on the shoreline of a local beach, our friend, Julia, paused from our freshly caught fish meal, looked around and said, "I love you guys." I didn't have to ask. I knew what she was thinking. I had been thinking it too. It was a simple moment but a buena moment.

 If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s post is by Guest Bartender, Miki

For years, I'd been having the same dream over and over.  It wasn't a nightmare per se; if I described it to you (which I will do), it probably wouldn't seem scary.  But, I was always afraid during my dream, and even after I'd wake, that feeling lingered.  When I was young, I was constantly worried about the doors being locked in our home.  Without fail, my dad checked to make sure they were locked before going to bed at night, and he would always make sure I knew he had checked them.  I don't know what caused this worry of mine, but I never really outgrew it.  So, this dream I kept having, I always thought it was just leftover remnants of that worry seeping into my dreams at night. 

The dream: I would be asleep in my current apartment, condo, house, etc. but would wake up suddenly, walk out of the bedroom, and notice the front door to my home standing wide open.  I would rush to shut and lock it, and then look around for intruders.  There never were any, but the random open door, in the middle of the night really freaked me out.  Sometimes, there would be other doors in the house that were also standing wide open.  No other scary elements existed, except these open doors.  I always awoke feeling frightened, vulnerable, and wondering why I kept having this same dream.  Of course, upon waking I also had to get up and make sure the actual doors weren't really open, and that it really was just a dream. 

One morning, in the fall of 2010, after having another of these dreams, I found myself driving to work contemplating the dream.

(Background: The previous spring, I had finished my administrative internship and had begun the principal job search.  Throughout the summer, I had interviewed for several jobs, and nothing had panned out.  I had made a promise to myself and to a few friends that if I didn't get a principal job by the start of the school year, I would go overseas.  Teaching abroad had been something I had wanted to do my entire teaching career, but I always had reasons why it wasn't the right time.  Now, I felt I was at a crossroads, and the principal path had not yet worked out.  The school year had begun, and I was working in a job I loved, in a district I had devoted 15 years of my life to, and I was considering giving it all up to go teach in another country.  I had made this promise to myself, but man, actually doing it was still a big, scary decision.  I wasn't sure I had the guts to go through with it, so this was my frame of mind as I drove to work that morning.)

I had only a five minute drive to work (ok, 10 minutes if you counted my daily stop at Starbucks), but during that short drive, I happened to hear a clip from my favorite morning radio talk show- the Gayle King Show on the Oprah Satellite Radio station.  I repeat, I only had 5 minutes or so actually in the car, and I happened to hear this:  Gayle had a guest on the show who was an expert on dreams, and the question I happened to catch was, "Why do people have recurring dreams?"  Really?  How serendipitous! 

The expert’s response was that a person usually has a recurring dream because they are not "getting" what they are supposed to learn from the dream.  Well, that theory could be debatable, I’m sure, but it was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment.  What was I supposed to be learning from all these scary open doors? 

It's funny how clear things were to me in that moment (how suddenly obvious it all became!), but I had been having that dream for so many years, and had never thought about it in the way I needed to before.  I realized then that the dream was meant to teach me that there was nothing to be afraid of.  There was never anything scary about those open doors in my dreams.  They were just open; I was making them seem scary.  It was then that I became sure about going overseas.  It was an open door, an opportunity, but it needn't be scary (well, ok, it could be a little scary, but not as scary as I was making it).   Guess what?  Since that ah-ha moment, I haven't had that open door dream once.  I must've finally "gotten" it.  Love it when that happens.

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