How to Dream (Ahwatukee to San Francisco)

“Put out the welcome mat …” ~Jon Kabat-Zinn

This morning I took a long walk in our old ‘hood in Ahwatukee. On this paved path in the desert, I’m flooded with sweet memories from four years ago.

This path was filled with dreaming.

Dreams about living in an urban environment someday, working in more fulfilling and sane ways, living/serving more purposefully, learning a spiritual practice, being part of a new community, and growing as individuals.

My husband and I walked this path, talking and dreaming; inspired by ideas, earnest curiosity, and words that would ultimately create our future.

There were many other causes and conditions over the years that lead us to these moments of curiosity and dreaming on that desert path … though, it was the intentionality and supportive words during those magical months that would pave a whole new life.

Fast forward four years later — where we are living in a Zen Center community, in a delightful neighborhood in San Francisco, working for organizations that are supporting meaning/purpose in the world, and experiencing tons of growth as individuals — it’s pretty amazing.

And at the same time, for the past four years, I’ve been so steeped in this dream that I’ve forgotten how to continue to dream.

In this new life now, with practice as the foreground, there is much more introspection, contemplation, and tuning into the present.

There has been less future.

There is a deep dive into what it means to live authentically, honestly exploring truth and feelings; and untying old karmic knots and meeting parts of myself that I have ignored, stuffed, or asked to “please go away” because they were unpleasant …

There has been, as Jon Kabat-Zinn, says “Putting out the welcome mat … for whatever is arising.”

Well, there is a lot that has been arising these past four years.

Mostly, because I have spent nearly 30 years placing Not Welcome Mats over many parts of myself that were uncomfortable.

And so now — left and right, day and night — I seem to be a welcome mat factory, spreading them out all around me. In a wholehearted attempt to allow all that muddled stuff to come forth.

(As I write, note to self, it seems to make sense to downsize that production factory to a smaller, compassionate mom and pop size store for a bit.)

Until this morning, on that Ahwatukee path, I’d forgotten what it was like to place the welcome mat out for dreaming.

In many spiritual traditions, there is an emphasis on the present moment — and so the question that emerges is then how to also plan for the future?

Skillfully, I think.

To dream about the future, while staying grounded and flexible. And like Jason Crandall said this morning on YogaGlo, “To not be so caught up in the future body that I can’t appreciate the present body.”

On the path this morning back to the car, I picked up two stones, as a reminder to also allow father earth to support the dreaming.

And in the moment, I felt held by and with something bigger than me … as I did four years ago.

I placed the welcome mat out for that … and basked. ❤