Dream: I am standing on my porch, it is evening, and I am regarding a box of vintage glass beads, running my finger through them to admire their colors and shapes. I fumble the box and it tumbles, spilling beads all over the boards of the porch. I bend down to gather them back into the box when I look up to see the landscape around me.
Directly in front of me is a leopard or tiger, I can’t tell. It is big and fierce, and very close. Behind this animal, the hills that surround my house are on fire. Ashes are raining down. A mudslide/flood is streaming down one of the hillsides, and flaming meteors are falling from the sky. I look back down at the beads and start picking them up.
At first, I thought this dream meant I was focusing on minutia when much bigger problems were demanding attention. But after some thought, I think it means this: we are surrounded by gigantic scary situations we can’t fix, they’re too big. However, we can fix the doable, smaller problems right in front of us. As writer Anne Lamott says so eloquently in one of my favorite books, when faced with a big, daunting task, take it “bird by bird.” By finding achievable solutions to the manageable-sized problems in our paths (like picking up a box of spilled beads) we each incrementally help the bigger problems become smaller too.
What do you think?
Spilled Beads is 18″ x 24″ x 2″ oil on wood, available in my studio.
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