Touching My Soul

My life was in turmoil. I had been laid off nearly four months earlier and was having no luck in finding another job; my brother was embroiled in the midst of a major lawsuit and needed the family’s support; my friend kept threatening suicide; and I felt on the verge of emotional collapse.

To counter all of this, I walked. Movement, especially repetitive movement is how I release my pent up emotions. So, I was out walking, probably the second or third time that day. For miles, I walked. I walked up the hills and down, noticing very little, while my mind skittered from one topic to another.

As my thoughts tumbled over each other, the shadows grew deeper around me, and the day, which had been so bright just moments before, was suddenly cast into dusk. I looked up amazed to realize that the sun was nearly gone.

I had heard that there was supposed to be a full eclipse of the sun that day, but with my mind on so many other things, it didn’t really seep into my consciousness until I was confronted with dusk at midday.

It only took a few more moments for the sun to be totally hidden behind the moon. Only the slimmest of the sun’s edges remained, and even that was dimming rapidly. Soon it was dark—as dark as late evening, yet it was only a little past noon. I reached skyward as if to pluck the dark cover from the sun, and I felt, for a moment, as if my feet had literally left the ground.

Startled, I dropped my hand and looked back at myself. I stood on the darkened street, with nothing but shadows gathered around me. I stared at my feet as if to reassure myself that they were still firmly planted on the roughened surface of the street.

Looking skyward again, I once more felt a compulsion to release my hold on the Earth and fly. I ran forward three steps and jumped, sure that I would find myself soaring through the heavens like some caped superhero. And in some ways, I did. Although, my feet never actually left the ground, I felt as if they had.

I was, somehow soaring miles above the Earth, racing with the clouds and looking down at the Earth from the heavens above. It was surreal, yet it felt as real to me as the body I wore. I hovered in a tree top and watched the world go by, then soared up into the clouds once again, to frolic with a flock of passing birds.

Just as the corona began to peek out from behind the cloaking moon, I saw a brilliant light before me. I reached out to touch it and it evaded my reach. I extended my arm as far as I could, and just when I thought I would never be able to reach far enough, I touched it.

My whole being burst with joyousness beyond words, and at the same moment the sun escaped its dark mask and the world, for me, was lit with a brilliance from both inside and out.

The next thing I remember was picking myself up off the ground where I lay at the base of a large old oak tree. I felt giddy and light-headed. I could barely maintain my balance, and my face was split by the biggest smile I could possibly wear.

I wanted to sing, to fly, to dance, to run, to twirl. I was blissful and ecstatic, and the feeling lasted for the rest of the day.

When people asked why I was smiling, I had no way to explain it. But it was infectious, because although I couldn’t explain why I was smiling, everyone I encountered ended up smiling, too. It was impossible for me or anyone near me not to smile.

All bad feelings went on hiatus that day. I had touched my soul and soared with essence, and I was sharing those good feelings with everyone I came near.

Now whenever I feel the stress of the world begin to weigh me down, I remember how I felt when I touched my soul, and once again I find the freedom to soar, to rise above it all, and let the brilliance of my soul encompass me.


Planing Again

I’ve been planing again lately, and that makes my dreams very stressful. So stressful in fact, that I wake up almost more tired than when I went to bed. Usually my dreams are prompts to help me solve some problem or answer some question from my day-to-day life. (I’m sure most of us can think of at least one dream that has helped us resolve some issue or some question.)

I’m speaking of the types of problems or questions that prey on the mind, that keep you tossing and turning until suddenly you wake up one morning just knowing exactly what you need and want to do. You may not remember the dream details that prompted your decision (and some people will claim that never dream at all), but sometime during the night you gained the insight you needed to make the best choice for you at this particular time and place in your life.

But the “dreams” I’ve been having lately are planing dreams. (Planing is what I call the traveling I do between planes—the physical plane and the astral planes; primarily the transitional plane, the astral plane closest to the physical.) Planing dreams aren’t really dreams, though they do occur at night while my body is sleeping. But planing dreams are actually memories – little snippets of memory from places you’ve been and things you’ve done or said while your body slept.

Planing is actually a type of out of body experience. The energy that is you, sometimes called essence, sometimes called a soul, travels at night. But even though it leaves the physical form and goes off on its own ‘adventures’, it still remains connected to the physical body. Because of this connection, the physical mind receives input as to what the soul is doing, seeing, saying. However, not everyone is willing to accept this input. Some will block it completely (the same way they block all dreams). Some filter it so that it becomes very dreamlike and unreal (the information their mind receives is so far outside their frame of reference, that they eliminate those parts that they can’t accept).

For many people, planing is too frightening and so they adjust the information to something acceptable. This is fine; it’s the way everyone adapts and grows. As each person grows, life after life, they will filter this information less and less, until, like me, they barely filter it all.

What does that mean? It means that most of what I do when planing comes through to me and is often remembered once I awaken. It also means that any problems I encounter, any stresses that I put on myself when out of body are felt by my body even though it is sleeping. So, while I’m home asleep, I’m also off gallivanting around, and many times I’ll wake up totally unrested.

Most of the time when I’m planing, I’m helping other people cross between planes. Some of these people are dying, so I escort them from the physical plane and their dead or dying bodies to the astral planes where they can decide what it is they want to do next. Sometimes, I escort a soul from the astral planes to the physical where their new body is waiting for them. Other times, I plane myself or others to the astral planes where we work on emotional lessons that we can’t do while in the physical world.

Maybe someone chose to resolve an issue through violence, but already they realize how foolish that was. So, with my help they plane to the astral levels and we recreate the situation and they try to find other resolutions. This can take one night, or many, but each time I bring them across, I create the situation, I supply the participants, and we play out the scene until they feel they understand the full consequences and ramifications of every choice and every possible resolution.

All of these come through to me while my body is resting, and all of these activities drain me so that when I awaken in the mornings I feel as if I’ve had no sleep. But despite the stress, despite the tiredness that comes from all these midnight wanderings, I relish the opportunities to help all of these people. I relish the opportunity to plane ‘home’ and visit with my astral family, and I look forward to the day when I can plane across and stay there.

Chasing Lawn Gnomes

For 10 years I envied people who had the luxury of sleeping past 5:15 a.m.; people who could lie abed, still swept up in sleep’s sweet oblivion. That’s because at 5:15 in our house, it was time to get up and take Gypsy out for her morning wander. (I call it a wander because sometimes she walked, sometimes she ran, but mostly she just wandered and sniffed.)

It didn’t matter if I was exhausted or sick or just wanted to be lazy. Every morning at 5:15, there’d be the tip-tap of claws on the tile, followed by the swishing whisper of the bedroom door being pushed open, and then the pressure of a cold, wet nose pressed against my arm or face as Gypsy urged me out of bed. And if I ignored her, if I dared to roll over and try to go back to sleep, 50 pounds of brown and white beagle-mix would descend upon me and the bed. There was a routine to be followed, and she wasn’t about to let you ignore it.

So, I would crawl out of bed and into my clothes. Meanwhile, Gypsy would playfully bow to me, then rush at me and race to the door until I finally followed her, leash in hand. Hooked up and raring to go, we would enter the quiet world of our pre-dawn neighborhood. This was a world filled with purple shadows, wandering night creatures, and an abundance of intriguing sights, sounds, and scents to be explored.

And explore we would. We would wander for hours investigating anything and everything that caught her attention—garbage placed at the curb for pick up, a basketball left overnight on a lawn, a pile of leaves or dirt on or near the sidewalk, or a bike left in the driveway. But she didn’t just explore. Oh no, she was also my protector and bodyguard. After all, there were a lot of strange and wily creatures running around our neighborhood, such as armadillos, raccoons, possums, and (of course) the dreaded lawn gnomes that she needed to protect me from.

I discovered more about my neighborhood in those early morning wanderings with Gypsy than I ever would have on my own. I found out that the newspapers are delivered around 5:35 every morning, and that the same person who delivers the Tribune also delivers the Times. I found out who had to get up early to go to work, and who got to sleep in by watching the lights go on in the various homes. I also found a shortcut to the local mall (by cutting through the empty field and crossing the small creek). I discovered where the Sandhill cranes spent the night, and I learned which vendors delivered to the local food store at 5:30 and 6:00 a.m.

But mostly, I discovered that I enjoyed those early morning wanderings with my friend Gypsy, and now that I have the opportunity to sleep in, now that she’s no longer with us, I find I no longer want to sleep in. No longer am I envious of those folks who can sleep late in the morning; instead, I find I miss the tip-tapping of Gypsy’s nails on the tile, and the gentle pushing of her cold, wet nose against my arm.

So, as I lie here in bed at 5:15 in the morning, I visualize a healthy, happy Gypsy chasing away the wily lawn gnomes, and I throw off the covers and climb out of bed. I quickly don my clothes and shoes, and then head for the front door, because even though the sun isn’t even a blush on the horizon, Gypsy and I are going wandering, even if only in my memory.

What do your dreams mean?

Dreams have always had special meaning to me. Ever since I can remember, dreams have brought messages—messages of hope and warning, introductions to lessons coming up in my life, and opportunities. They’ve also brought “conversations” from loved ones no longer “living” (in the physical world) and from those I call guides and guardians.

Many of the messages come from myself—many of the warnings, opportunities, lessons and encouragements. But many others come from those no longer physical. Answers to questions can sometimes come from self, but other times are most definitely from someone else. Warnings and lessons also come others as well as myself.

Last night the dream remembered, at first, seemed bizarre and with little point. It seemed more like a moving rendition of a Dali painting than as anything meaningful and full of insight. Yet because I’ve had many lives spent understanding and interpreting dreams (both for myself and others) I could see the relationship of the symbols to my life almost immediately.

Do I always understand my dreams quickly, seeing the connection between the symbols and actions to my current life? No, but I’d say that 80 to 85% of the time I do. Last night the dream was of me and my father. We were standing next to a wooden framework that he had built. He wanted help moving it to another location, but every time I touched a piece of it or tried to pick it up, it came apart. I was being extremely careful because I respected my father’s work, but even so, the framework simply fell apart. It was as if the parts were weakened and could no longer take any amount of stress or pressure.

My brother (the oldest one) suddenly appeared yelling and angry, telling me that I didn’t care enough. Meanwhile, my father just seemed sadly resigned, standing and watching without interceding at all. Finally, I just laid the broken pieces down and walked away. I wasn’t exactly angry; it seemed as if I was more unwilling to argue with my brother, and couldn’t think of a way to do as my father wanted without causing more harm, so I simply walked away.

What the heck could that possibly mean, you puzzle? Well, to me it’s simple…

My father’s true self is requesting help moving from one reality (plane of existence) to another. His body (the framework) is falling apart, and he no longer desire to remain here (in the physical world). My brother, however, doesn’t want to lose Dad, so he won’t let go. He clings to my father “protecting” him. Yet my father doesn’t want “protection”, he wants release. But this is not my “fight”. This is something that my dad needs to work out with my brother. So, although my dad has “asked” me to help, there’s nothing I can do until he and my brother work through their opposing goals—my father’s to move on, my brother’s refusal to let him go.

This isn’t the first such dream I’ve had where someone has contact me on an astral level because they can’t “say” what they want or need to in the physical world. When I was 14 I was rather close to one of my uncles (he taught me photography and gave me my first camera—a black, box camera). For 2 nights in a row I had the same dream:

My uncle was leaving the house, saying goodbye to my aunt. I knew he was on his way to work—not because anyone said anything, but just because I knew. He had on his uniform (he worked for one of the airlines) and was walking across their front yard toward the driveway. The dream faded and now he was walking across the tarmac at the airport. He was headed towards a large jumbo jet that was sitting on the tarmac. Suddenly, the plane exploded, bursting into flames, it obliterated my uncle.

The third night the dream came again, but the ending changed. Instead of waking up as the plane exploded and my uncle was killed, my uncle walked out of the flames smiling and telling me that everything was fine. As he kept telling me that everything was all right, I noticed the brilliant glow that surrounded him. At first I thought it was the light from the flames, but I soon realized that the burning plane was no longer in sight. It was just my uncle standing in a gray mist, smiling and surrounded by a brightening glow. The glow grew brighter until I couldn’t see my uncle at all, just the light. But I heard his voice quite clearly. He said, “I’m all right now. Tell Toni that I love her, and remember that I love you, too.” (Toni was my aunt.)

I didn’t fully understand everything I saw and heard back then, but I did understand that he had died. So it was no surprise when my mom woke me in the morning to tell me that my uncle had died of a massive coronary that morning. (His heart burst, hence the exploding plane.)

Last year I got another “message”, only this time it was someone who needed help (advice). The message came for 3 consecutive nights, but because this time I was an adult with more understanding of what was happening, the message didn’t come through as some warped, Dali-like dream image. This time the message came through almost direct. In the morning I went to a particular website, one I had never been to, though I had heard of it, and posted a message. I got about a dozen replies, but only one was from the person I was “waiting” for. The energy in the message was exactly the same as that which had come through the astral encounter.

I gave this person what help I could, but the important point is that I recognized the call for “help” and knew how to respond. You see, I learned early on to listen to my dreams. Sometimes they’re just me talking to me at a time/point when ego is vulnerable and so more apt to listen. But sometimes it’s someone just wanting to say goodbye or seeking advice.

As for my father, well, as much as I respect his desires, there’s little I can do. I know he’s tired, and the body is frail and “breaking down”. But he and my brother need to work through their opposing needs. Until then, I’ll just keep monitoring my dreams…

(For more about dreams and dream symbols, see the free book Michael’s Dream Symbols.)

Saying Goodbye

I had to have my sweetheart of a dog put down yesterday. She’d been part of our family for 10 years; a foundling, she had wandered the world for 2 years on her own before she adopted us.

I’ve had cats, gerbils, rabbits, fish, birds (parrots), and one other dog in life. But this was the first dog that my husband and I had gotten together. She wasn’t at all what we had set out to get. We had discussed it – me pleading for a dog and him eventually giving in, as long as it was a beagle. So, we went to a beagle rescue after having seen a posting for a small male dog that they had. But we had our hearts stolen by a shy, rather quiet, lady, who after being introduced to us, refused to leave. Even when they pulled her away and placed her in a pen, she howled until I went over and petted her. Then when I tried to step away, she’d begin to howl again.

We did eventually meet Toby, the beagle we originally came for, but it was Gypsy who stole our hearts and who adopted us; and it was Gypsy that we took home that day. For 10 years she molded us into the perfect parents – showing us how to take her on walks, what treats she preferred, where she wanted her bed, and what furniture we were allowed to share with her.

Gypsy was all dog, and a hound at that. She loved to hike in the woods, at least when she was young, and she adored chasing deer and armadillos. Of course she never caught any – thank goodness, I have no idea what she would have done if she had actually cornered a deer – but for her, it was all about the chase. Of course, when she chased something, then that meant we did, too, because she couldn’t be trusted off leash – she might come back, she might not. She didn’t have a great sense of direction (I think she got that from me – I can’t find my way out of the driveway), so we would race through the woods struggling to keep up with her as she chased after the deer or the armadillos, until puffing for breath, we finally hauled in on the leash and made her quit.

She’d come trotting back to us, her head and tail high, oh so very proud of herself, and of course, we had to tell her how wonderfully she had done. How could you not, just looking at the grin she had, you had to grin right back.

She wasn’t perfect, what dog is…but when she did something we disapproved of she tried to remember it. She learned quickly that she was no longer going to have to search and scrounge for food, and that digging through the garbage was no longer necessary. She also learned that she didn’t have to hide food in or around her cubby, that if she truly felt she needed food, we would make sure that she had it.

It took time, to overcome these traits, but we had that. So, while walking her through the neighborhood on trash day was at first a bit of challenge, it soon became a fun adventure. We let her sniff at the neighbor’s garbage, but we no longer had to constantly worry about her trying to steal from it. Instead, she became the neighborhood garbage guardian, keeping it safe from the possums, cats, and vultures that liked to tear open the bags and scattered garbage everywhere.

She was definitely into adventure. We loved to go to Lake Rogers, a park near where we lived, and while we would start out on the path that wound around the lake, we always ended up in the overgrown and weedy fields that surrounded the lake instead. The weeds were taller than me, but together we would forge paths through them, and she would sniff out voles, raccoons, and other vermin. And baying loud and proud, she would forge a path through the weeds searching for their den. Again, we never found them, but she loved that search.

Unfortunately, during one of those searches she encountered an ill-tempered snake, and we had to make an emergency run to the vet to save her life. Luckily, the vet had some anti-venom and, although it was a long and scary weekend, she made it. But after that, there was no more off-roading for her. We stayed on the paths, and away from the tall weeds that she had so loved to roam.

But she was getting older, and the days of roaming through tall weeds, or even making it the 3 miles around the lake were getting harder and harder for her. And as she neared her 12th year, her trips to the park became more about the car ride than about the walks; but that was okay. The car ride, the trip to the park, they were for her, anyway. So, whatever part of them made her happy, well, we were just glad.

Then came the Saturday night when she became restless. Unable to sleep she roamed the house, whining and whimpering. I shushed at her a couple of times, took her outside thinking that she needed to make an emergency potty stop, but none of those seemed to be what she wanted.

All day Sunday was similar with the whining and restlessness, except there seemed to be, at least in my eyes, a bit of ritual to it. It was if she were saying goodbye to all of her favorite places – the cushion on the deck where she loved to lie in the sunshine, the runner in the hallway where she could lie and watch us when we were sitting in the family room watching TV, the rug in the office where she could catch the winter sunbeams and watch my husband while he worked, and the spot on the couch that she grudgingly shared with my husband and me.

Come Sunday night the small, little, whimpers turned into wails of discomfort. She began to scream as if in extreme agony, and when nothing I or my husband did seemed to help, we finally took her to the emergency vet. They ran a couple of tests and did some x-rays, and that’s when the story revealed itself. Cancer. She had cancer of the spine, the neck to be exact. There was nothing to be done. She would just suffer more and more pain, until the cancer finally beat her down.

So, through our tears and despite our wish to keep her with us for another 12 years, we said good bye. We gathered on the floor in the little room at the vet’s and held each other. She curled her head and neck around me as if to hold on to me, gaining reassurance, and giving it in return. It almost seemed to me that she knew, had known all day in fact, that it was time. And yet none of us really wanted to let go.

We cried; we hugged; we remembered how it was; and I wished for a miracle to come through the door and tell me it was all a huge mistake. But no miracles happened, and we eventually had to let go.

It’s hard to let someone so beautiful, generous, and sweet go. But it’s worse to make them stay when going is obviously what they want and need to do. I knew that I couldn’t hold her with me, not if it meant she had to endure the agony I had heard in her cries.

I think she was braver than any of us; I think she knew in her heart of hearts what needed to be done, and she was the one that let go first. When she uncurled her neck from around me, and I looked into those beautiful brown eyes, I knew I would miss her forever.

I love you Gypsy, and I always will.

Was it a dream?

Everyone dreams (even those who claim they don’t, do—they simply don’t remember their dreams). But not everyone can say that their dreams come true, at least not with any regularity.

I, like the character in the television show ‘Medium’, however, do have dreams of events that later occur in my life. However, unlike Allison Dubois in ‘Medium’, the events I dream have never included murder, and the only deaths I have dreamed of are usually those of family members. Usually, though, my precognitive dreams are of much more mundane matters, those typical day-to-day events that make up normal living.

When I was a child, my dreams were filled with the banal—I would dream of a conversation taking place between one of my teachers, and one or more of the students, and the next day that exact conversation would occur. The conversation wasn’t anything Earth-shattering, or even anything all that interesting. It might be that one of the students would ask a question regarding the Battle of 1812 and the teacher would then launch into an answer—as I said, not all that interesting. Yet, my nights were filled with these types of ‘revelations’.

It became so commonplace for me to dream of the next day’s events, that sometimes I wondered what the point was of getting up and going to school just so I could go through it all again. After all, if you’ve heard the conversation once, why hear it again?

When I went on to Junior High School, one of the classes I had to take was typing. The first day of typing was horrible. I couldn’t figure it out. The finger placement seemed totally alien, and the whole rhythm of the typing itself was like some foreign music that I simply didn’t understand. That night I dreamt of nothing but my fingers flying across the keyboard and the words magically appearing on the paper. The rhythm was no longer foreign, but seemed a part of my soul.

The next day when I stepped into typing class, my heart was racing, and I was sure everyone would be laughing at me again, as my fingers stumbled over the keystrokes. Instead, when the teacher told us to start typing the exercise, I was the first one done, and with absolutely no mistakes. I couldn’t believe it. Then I remembered the nightlong dream filled with typing, and realized that this time, my prophetic dream was actually an astral visit where I taught myself how to type—literally overnight. That’s when I began to see some use to these dreams I kept having. If I could teach myself to type while dreaming, maybe I could ‘memorize’ the answers to the tests in a dream and save myself from having to study.

As much as I would have liked to have ‘learned through dreams’, that wasn’t to be. Instead, my dreams took another giant leap forward in a different direction. Now, I started dreaming of what was to happen to my friends, and family. But these dreams weren’t just for the next day. In fact, they were usually weeks, maybe months, into the future.

I remember seeing my father decked out in his uniform and being handed some official-looking piece of paper by an officer while surrounded by others from his department, and they, too, were all dressed in their formal uniforms. It was all filled with a lot of pomp and circumstance and I kept seeing the letters SGT.

Well, about a month later, my dad announced that his captain had selected him to take the sergeant’s exam. I told my dad that he would do great, and he simply gave me an indulgent smile. He knew that I had no idea how difficult the exam was, but then my dad didn’t know what I did, either—that I had already seen him being awarded the promotion.

As I said at the start, the dreams of death aren’t often, and they usually pertain to someone close to me—uncle, aunt, grandparent, etc. The most memorable dream I had in this capacity involved my grandfather. He was one of my favorites. He taught me all about nature and gardening, and he let me spend hours sitting in his workshop while he turned ordinary pieces of wood into beautiful guitars.

One night when I was 14, I saw my grandfather walk out of his front door and down the walkway toward his car, which was in the driveway. It was early morning in the dream, and he turned and gave a little wave to his wife. Then, as he turned back toward the car, he blew up. There was a flash of flame, the sound of an explosion, and then nothing. I sat straight up in bed, panting, and overwrought.

It took me several hours to calm down before I could finally get back to sleep. And when I awoke in the morning I fully expected to hear that my grandfather was dead. But there was nothing that morning, and, in fact, there was no news each morning for the next two weeks.

Finally, I convinced myself that it had simply been a dream, and everything was fine, and I stopped hovering near the phone at the crack of dawn. Two months later, I came home from school to a saddened household. My mother told me that my grandfather had died that morning of a massive coronary—his heart had literally exploded—killing him instantly.

I was horrified. I hadn’t said anything to anyone about my dream, because it seemed so silly. Yet, at the same time, I had believed in it enough to wait for that horrid phone call every morning for 2 weeks. Now, I kept wondering if I should have said something—after all, maybe I could have prevented his death. Maybe if I had said something, he could have seen a doctor, gotten a magic pill, or one of those operations that people had when their hearts were bad. Instead, I had done nothing.

For the longest time, I refused to allow myself to dream. I didn’t want to know what was going to happen—good or bad. I mean, what good was it, when I couldn’t stop good people from dying? As for the good news, well, most of the time is wasn’t all that good, it was simply mundania from every day life.

After about 3 years, though, I realized how cut off I felt. It was as if part of me had been imprisoned. There was vital information out there that I wasn’t getting because I wouldn’t allow myself to, and I realized that I didn’t like the feeling. I needed, and I wanted that information—no matter how mundane it may seem. Somehow, those dreams kept me in contact with the whole world, with the universe at large. Without those dreams, I was deaf, dumb, and blind in a world full of sharp edges and unexpected pitfalls.

By allowing the dreams back into my waking life, I’ve allowed myself to link up with and interact with many more people than I would have ever had the chance to meet here in the physical world. Because by allowing my waking self to remember my dreams again, I also allow myself to remember all the astral visits I make.

I’ve also allowed myself to remember those prophetic dreams again, and even though they may not allow me to stop things from happening, they do give me ample ‘warning’ so that the choices I make in response to the events aren’t made strictly through emotions. There’s a bit of thought and contemplation behind those choices, which helps me stay on the best path for me.

I’ve warned myself when I’m entering a new lesson, or when someone else has made a choice that I wasn’t expecting and which is going to affect me, and they have continued to alert me to those around me who are going to die. But that’s alright, because you see, I’ve come to understand that death is just another aspect of life, and everyone has to experience both sides of that coin—life and death. Knowing about someone’s choices ahead of time simply lets me be a bit more prepared, that’s all.

Money or Friends

I drive into the parking lot, my mind already thinking ahead to my lunch break, when I can take off and go for a walk in the sunshine. Sunshine…I look at the sky seeing only stars. Along the horizon is the merest hint of the day that is coming, but the sunrise is still an hour or more away, and I have to go inside or I’ll be late.

Sighing, I grumble at my lot—always having to work in order to make a living; trapped inside a dingy cube all day, every day, staring at a computer screen, tapping out messages that no one ever reads—when all I really want is to be outside in the sunshine, reading all the books I never seem to have time for, or walking and thinking and pondering the ways of the universe. Instead, I only see the sun (if I’m lucky) when I manage to grab a quick 30 minute lunch break, or as I’m leaving for home after working all day…or when I get a chance to sneak downstairs, escaping the confines of my cube, where I gaze through the lobby windows at that glorious orb of heat of light.

For me each day is just another round of meetings, and forced interactions with the other writers in my department. (I say forced, because given my druthers, I would hunker into my cube and do my work, never venturing forth except for bathroom breaks and to take my lunchtime walk in the nearby park. However, the department heads insist on everyone getting up and mingling every so often throughout the day; making us chat and “build a camaraderie”.)

I’ve never understood this “need” to force people to “bond”. What’s wrong with coming in, doing your work, and going home? But no, every place I’ve worked, the bosses have insisted on everyone being “friends”. The problem is, the older I’ve gotten the more difficult it is for me to care, and therefore ‘bond’ with the other people in my department (wherever I’m working at the time).

After all, I have little (if anything) to contribute to any conversation, I rarely go anywhere or do anything that anyone else considers ‘interesting’. So, I am ‘forced’ to listen to people brag about their new babies (been there, done that, don’t really care), or whine about their bad relationships (so, why don’t they change it?), or how much money they spent on some new ‘toy’ (a blackberry, an MP3 player, etc.), and it’s all I can do to keep from making faces or nodding off.

The complaints and whining especially get on my nerves, and they all seem to do it incessantly. I just want to rap my knuckles on their heads and say, “Then do something about it besides complaining at me!” So, inside I scream at them, while trying to look sympathetic and acting as if I care.

Does this sound self-absorbed? Well, picture it from my side of the fence—they tell me their complaints and I can see (both from their words and their energies) who did or said what, and exactly which monad or lessons are being learned and why, and whether or not there’s any awareness and understanding of what’s happening. And you know what? Usually, there’s none. They absolutely do not understand why every guy they choose to move in with turns out to be a cad and a philanderer, or why every encounter with their parents turns into an argument, etc. Can I tell them why? No, because until there’s some inkling of awareness, some glimmer of recognition that something bigger than themselves is going on, they won’t listen to me anymore than they’ll listen to themselves. So, for me, it’s frustrating, aggravating, and irksome to have to listen to them go on and on about woe-is-me, when the answer (to me) is so simple and right there in front of their faces.

Is it a test of my patience? Oh, you know it is. Does it make it any easier? No…but I keep trying to get past my apathy and care. And you know what…I think I did it.

Last week, I was working from home (or telecommuting as they prefer to call it here). Anyway, I needed to attend another of those myriads of meetings that seem to occur all the time, so I had the meeting coordinator call me and I teleconferenced (though without the video portion).

By teleconferencing, I was in a very unique position. Although, they all knew that I was listening in on the phone, without a presence there in the room, I quickly realized that people can “forget” that you’re around.

Now, many of the participants of this particular meeting were from my department, and as the meeting was gearing up and people getting organized, I listened to the conversations going on around the room.

They joked and kidded around, and I “eavesdropped” in on the different discussions that popped up here and there—one gal spoke about her daughter and some cute little trick she had pulled, another was commenting about the problems she was having with her car, and someone else made a risqué comment that had us all laughing. Then as the laughter started to subside and the meeting coordinator started to pull the meeting together and get started, I realized something—I liked these people. I liked these people a lot! That even if I weren’t working with them, I would like to have them as friends.

Now, while that may seem silly and somewhat trite, coming from a scholar it’s a great awakening. Scholars rarely let anyone inside (emotionally). We’re extremely stand-offish—the term “lone wolf” was probably coined to describe scholars. We do not like to be involved in life (our own or other peoples) and here I was ready to embrace each of those people in the meeting and invite them inside my life. That’s how profound the impact was—I truly welcomed each of them inside my heart at that moment.

Maybe we still don’t have a lot of things in common, and I’m not impressed with technology or fancy toys—cars, boats, mp3 players, etc., but I realize now that it doesn’t matter.

Somewhere along the path of my life, I had lost the purpose for working. I had started out taking jobs because of the people I met during the interview process, and somewhere, somehow, that got replaced by the job itself. I had begun concentrating on the work itself (the tasks and responsibilities) instead of the people. And once my husband stopped working, I became even more focused on the work and the payoff.

Suddenly, this brief moment on the phone made me recognize just how far off course I had gone. It also showed me that I had the chance to change my path. I could choose tasks and money, or I could choose people.

Well, I’m racing down that path that at one time made me so happy; the path of people. I’m not interested in the job and the money; I’m interested in the people. And as hard as it is for a scholar to become involved, it’s what I intend to do. These are nice people, fun people, and I want (and need) to be part of a group that cares about one another they way these folks do.