It is said that Thomas Edison hardly slept. Instead he took frequent cat naps during his 16-hour work day. He used these naps to access answers to troubling questions he had about his experiments because he believed the answers would come to him while sleeping. To make sure he'd be able to "capture" these answers he'd go to sleep with a rock in his hand. Once he reached deep sleep the rock would slip from his hand awakening him with the answer fresh in his mind.
Research has shown that people who remember their dreams do so because they awoke at a crucial moment before the dream could disappear into the subconscious. I've had this experience on several occasions during that time between sleep and full awakening and have often gained insight into something troubling me. I had just an occasion this morning in fact.
On yesterday's Morning Musings I posed questions concerning transitioning from my role as full-time mother to my role as mother to grown sons. It has not been easy for me. Then last night we watched a 1992 movie called Orlando. I found it to be visually stunning. It's based on Virginia Woolf's novel of the same name and chronicle's Orlando's 400-year life as a man who becomes a woman in the second half of his life. It's a device meant to show us how differently men and women were treated throughout the ages, but it went even deeper into how we view ourselves based on our roles. It was something Orlando, the woman, said at the end of her long life that spoke to me personally: Speaking about herself she looks at the camera and says, "But she had changed. She's no longer trapped by destiny and ever since she let go of the past she found her life was beginning."
I went to sleep with that thought and the images from the movie and awoke at 4:30 from a dream in which I was feeding a baby. As I lie there in my semi-state of sleep the word "Nurturer" came to me....and I knew immediately what it meant: while I can no longer call myself a mother in the way that I want to be, I am still a nurturer at heart. When Orlando woke up to find that he'd changed into a woman she turns to the camera and says, "Same person. No difference at all. Just a different sex." I am the same person, but in a different role. In that way, I have changed. People and circumstances will come and go, but my need to be a Nurturer will stay the same.
Looking back over my life I'd say the first indication I was a nurturer was when I was 8 and witnessed to one of my friends about Jesus. When I was 15 I was confidant to a friend who needed a listening ear when he spoke of his relationship with his girlfriend. When I was 28 I became a mother and when my sons started to exert their separateness from me I turned to gardening to express my nurturing nature because I needed a hands-on type of project to nurture. Later I would take up writing stories for children where I nurtured my characters into being. Now it is my hope that my readers of this Blog find my words nurturing.
Alan Cohen says, "You have easy access to your inner genius. Simply remove your focus from your mental chatter, and your inner knowing will emerge." This is what Thomas Edison did and countless other creative people do. Research has shown there are four states of mind: beta, alpha, theta, and delta. Theta is the state of mind when ideas are flowing. Children under 6 spend the majority of their time in the Theta state of mind.
Jesus tells us to come to Him as a child. He was telling His listeners they need to be as open as a young child is in order to follow Him. Just look at a child and how open he is to learning--how eager children are to give you love. When I awoke and became consciously aware, I was open to the meaning of my dream. Sometimes dreams are just a collection of random images and thoughts from the day before. But God used dreams throughout the Bible to speak to people, so I'm always careful to ask if there is something I'm supposed to get from my dreams--especially when I'm awakened by them. Between my writing about my dilemma, viewing the movie, and then the dream, I feel God is helping me understand that I'm the same person. No difference at all. Just a different name to go by: Nurturer.
Father, thank you for showing me--through the movies, through my dreams, through my own writing--what I need to hear so that I can go on in life as You made me to be....as a Nurturer. And in doing so, I am nurtured by the experience of being in Your Will. May I be open and available to be as such wherever it pleases You.
Link to scripture: Luke 18:16