Yesterday was emotional. I had an intense and somewhat disturbing dream to begin with. In the dream I was in my late teens and I was on some kind of field trip. During the field trip, I was persuaded by an attractive young man to get naked and shower with him. I felt terribly shy but excited, and later in the dream I was devastated to find that he didn’t consider the event significant at all. He was just being opportunistic and had no intention of pursuing a relationship after the field trip ended. So far it’s quite an ordinary kind of dream, perhaps only moderately upsetting. It was when I changed perspective in the dream that I got really upset. In the dream I became aware of a man, someone who was in charge of the operation surrounding me. I realise that it is all a grand manipulation. This man’s job is to make sure that the younger me doesn’t wake up, doesn’t realise that her reality is being manipulated. I am incensed, and I try to understand the purpose of this story, but I can’t.
My dream ‘guru’, Robert Moss, suggests that the first clue to a dream’s meaning is in the feelings it evokes. I felt angry, deceived, betrayed, hurt. This is what started the crying. I took myself out for a walk soon after breakfast, in the hope that nature would be soothing. It worked. While admiring the colours of tree bark, I had the a-ha moment of recognition about the dream, head and body together. ‘Well der’, I said to the trees, ‘of course I know what it’s like to live a false life. I’m adopted.’
It’s extremely hard to explain to people who aren’t adopted how much being adopted affects you. You spend all your life with the knowledge that there was an alternative reality. An alternative life that could very easily have been your life. Instead, you’re in the life you are in, which society has told you and continues to tell you is fine and tries to prevent you from questioning your reality. So when I say ‘false life’, what I really mean is the collusion of silence that accompanied adoption practices in the era that I was born in. Adopted children weren’t encouraged to talk about their feelings, or to ask questions, or explore what adoption meant.
I finished my walk, got a coffee and sat in the children’s playground that is at the end of my street, enjoying the soft fall of rain. They echoed my tears. I am gradually getting better at letting these feelings rise and fall in me. I’ve spent my life being trained not to feel my feelings; my anger, my confusion, my pain. Also, I’ve realised that that training also means I don’t feel positive feelings very much either. I feel like renter’s beige most of the time.
A child is a love letter from the universe, or it should be. I’ve never felt like the universe is a kind and welcoming place, and that’s probably because my first experiences of it weren’t particularly kind and welcoming. It was that thought that sent me off on my afternoon’s activities. The (paraphrased) saying that other people’s karma is what they do to you, but yours is how you react has been attributed to Wayne Dyer. If I were to be a good historian I’d go and check the source, but that would detract from the story. The point is that I spent the afternoon trying to live it. I may not feel like I’ve received enough love in my life, but that doesn’t prevent me from giving it. Here’s what I did. I went home, kissed the Iron Paw, and had a cleansing shower. I pulled out my box of collected stationary and with my loveliest pen, I wrote a letter to a perfect stranger.
It began ‘Hello stranger, This is a love letter from the universe’. It went on to remind the reader that he or she was perfect whole and complete as they were, that they didn’t need anything to fix them because they weren’t broken to begin with, and reminding them to breathe, to relax, to be kind to themselves. It ended with a whole hearted wish for their peace and I signed it with a big heart from the universe. I sealed the letter and took myself off to my nearest major shopping centre. Feeling surreptitious, I pretended to browse its bookshops, whereupon I slipped the letter inside the cover of some appropriate book. Then I went and had a coffee and went home back to bed. Job done.
So often I have spent my days stumbling around wishing the universe would send me a sign. Some completely incontrovertible sign of being meant to be here, or of reassurance, hope, or guidance. I’ve written a little bit about this before, the day I met Aristotle on the front lawn. I can’t believe I’m the only one stumbling around in some kind of deep fog wondering why the heck I’m here and desperately needing an extremely large neon sign. So my quiet, in-the-rain moment of revelation was this. Start a trend. I imagined love letters from the universe lurking in all sorts of places, taped to the door of public toilets, randomly dropped in mailboxes, or tucked under the windscreen wiper or random cars. A better find than a parking ticket wouldn’t you say? I imagined people who were scared, or lonely, or lost receiving a message of love and support just when they needed it.
So, what do you think of my attempt to live out that quote? Hopefully, the person who finds my letter will pass it on. Or write their own. And hopefully, one day one will find its way back to me. Perhaps you will start the trend in your own city. If you do, the only thing to keep in mind is that it has to be applicable to anyone, regardless of age, gender, creed and faith. Keep it short, keep it simple. And please, let me know if you do.