The Hidden Invitation


I was chastened by a dream I had several years ago. In the dream I was told: There is ecological devastation, but worse is to think that we are not one.

I was going through a difficult time, and first felt ashamed that I had allowed myself to feel separate from a world that I knew previously that I was a part of. But as I thought about the dream, over days, over months, I began to understand how pain or grief can isolate us.

This dream, I then realized, was not an admonition but an invitation. And I began again to open to the land that I walked on each day.  Perhaps, this time, with more awareness and humility. 

In the early morning, I would say a silent prayer to the trees. During that time of separation, there was no prayer. There was no one. Just a sense of loneliness from the world. But the dream was resolute in its message – that thinking we are not one, causes unimaginable damage to the earth.

After I moved from our rural home to the city, five years ago, I felt a deep loss for the land that I knew so intimately. One day I knew that I needed to relate to the barren backyard of our new home. So I went to a nursery and bought a salvia, a sage that has tiny, deep purple flowers. It releases a mint-like pungent smell when you brush against it, or water it with a hose. As I planted it into the soil, the terrible longing for the land where I used to live, lifted.  

So grateful for this salvia, I touched its leaves, or rather caressed it with my fingers, like I might do with a cat. Silently, in my heart, I gave thanks.

That night as I was falling asleep, before my mind could think or analyze, I saw the salvia. It made a sound – a single exhalation – a chord of frequencies I have never heard before. And this sound – this response – filled me with joy.

Maybe it is in the suffering when our heart so readily opens, that we can feel the earth as we once did long ago. 

One day, at the shelter program where we sit in circle each week with newly homeless women, a staff member had come to sit with us. She said that she was once homeless, before she trained to be a counselor.

On this day, she was part of the circle. Many of the women had experienced tremendous loss of loved ones, and she too had lost four family members in the last few years. Grief weighed on her most of the time.

She didn’t speak much. She seemed to want to be quiet, inside herself. Women shared after the silent meditation, about how they felt more connected, and more at peace. Still she didn’t say a word.

But a few minutes before the end of the meeting, she said she had an image during meditation and wanted to share it. I saw a change in her eyes – tears that were softening her. I saw, she said, a sheaf of gold wheat. It was pure gold.

How can I explain the feeling in the room after she spoke? It was as if all the women had been given this pure sustenance from the earth, bridging the loneliness of separation. In the silence that followed, it felt as if we were in a temple, or a redwood forest. 

We were in fact sitting in a small livingroom, next to the kitchen where the dishwasher was running. But here was this profound sense of belonging, like a prayer.

I think that when a woman understands this, then her life becomes an offering. 

The Hidden Invitation
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10 years ago

Thank you for these reflections and comments, so moving, each a kernel that helps us to listen more deeply to life and the earth.

10 years ago

This is such a beautiful dream. Thank you so much for sharing it.

10 years ago

I too was deeply moved by your words, Anne. Heart-shaped rocks started coming to me after the death of my mother in 1986. They line the windows of the gazebo at the cabin, and carry a healing energy that is palpable. Some of my children and grandchildren choose to sleep on the floor of the gazebo when they visit, surrounded by the healing energy.

Jeanne Z
10 years ago

I am posting two comments this month. The first, already written, was about a gift from the sea, from a living Nature. This one will be about a dream I first told in Anne’s Wednesday dream group a few years ago. When talking about Oneness, I believe that not only is Oneness with the Earth important, vital, but is also essential to Higher Beings. In this dream, I was in the country in the Midwest and saw a row of tall, noble, angels with big beautiful wings queuing up to walk slowly to a shed where they were being imprisoned. Their heads were bowed and their shoulders slumped and their brilliant white gowns and wings were greyed with fallout from the damaged environment. I was told that they needed our help as much as we need theirs and that the need was desperate. We are all One. Our attention and awareness is indispensable to all things.

10 years ago

This blog reminded me of two experiences, one real time, one dream time. In last month’s comments, someone wrote of finding a stone which called to her at the seaside, and was the shape of a perfect heart. Years ago when I lived in Laguna Beach, CA, I often went to talk with the ocean. One day, full of longing, I went to the ocean on a grey day, many challenges weighing on my shoulders, I looked at and communed with the ocean. Suddenly, a wave came rushing up to where I stood, not near the edge of the water, and well above where the waves had been breaking before. The water stopped right at my feet. I looked down as the sea receded and there was a large rock, something that looked like shells compacted, in the shape of a living heart, less like the perfect heart shapes in pictures. It was a gift from the sea. I have it still, waiting for me when I return to the States.

Tracey Harrington
10 years ago

this really touched me. It reminds me of a dream recently, where I was singing to a river and the river was singing back and as we sang a feeling of love increased that is indescribable, so much love. And as we sang like this, the river was being purified. I awoke and felt such peace.

10 years ago

Last night I read that the sheaf of wheat is an ancient symbol of the sustenance of the earth, our belonging to her, and our connection to her.

Susan Audrey
10 years ago

Such a beautiful depiction of how when we’re aware of our thoughts of separateness, we can find our way back to oneness by reconnecting with our inner life in the silence. I love the image of the sheaf of gold wheat, too, as a reminder of “the gold” that is in connecting with the earth. Thank you.