When I wrote the first draft of this newsletter last week, I named a few things that were out of my control, including the Nashville tornado and closed Metro schools. But now the whole world is out of everyone’s control. By the time I hit “send” on this newsletter, there will be half a dozen new updates on the coronavirus as well as the economy, cancellations, closings, and continually lengthening “pauses” as we all gaze at “the curve” and know that this is not going to be over in weeks. It’ll be months. And lots of us will probably get sick.
However, this is not the End Times. It’s between times.
Recently I've had several dream images of being in between two entities – maybe two spaces, or two times, or energies, or two people or two choices. Maybe you can relate.
The last of these dreams was vague but powerful – a dream in which I know only that I am in a a place of not-knowing. And I’m there wholeheartedly, completely and strongly at peace.
It felt wonderful.
In liminal consciousness, I groggily reached for the notebook under my pillow and began writing: “I’m in a state of knot-knowing….”
Then I woke up sharply, suddenly seeing exactly that - a complex, orderly, impossible knot floating in my imagination– whole and perfect.
I hadn’t seen it til I misspelled the word correctly.
I’d like to consider that image of the knot, as a a picture of wisdom for this time of relinquishing our fictions of certainty. A time of not-knowing.
What does a knot do? It can tie together, it can unite and secure. A knot creates a crafted, connecting bond, and it’s often beautiful. Complicated and balanced.
It is like a labyrinth. A piece of art. You can get lost in there.
In my dream, the experience of wholehearted knot-knowing was an invitation to be squarely centered in this time of in betweenness, in a time of that can feel like tangle and scrum, a time of untethering and disintegration. The dream says Wait. Not-knowing has its gifts.
What are the gifts of not-knowing for you? Especially in these times? Perhaps the gifts of “nots” could include:
Not to fix or correct
Not to over-plan
Not to control
Not to let anxiety be the choice-maker in my decisions
Not to feel I must be heroic
Not to insist on perfection, tidiness, order, and niceness
Instead? Perhaps the gifts in the “knots” of not-knowing are:
Allowing myself to be still and balanced.
Allowing the cycles of crisis to happen and just be in them
Allowing impulses of compassion, creativity, and courage to take the lead
Allowing myself to accept the unknown, to give up my personal agenda
Allowing myself to play, to find joy and connection with people even as I distance myself from them physically.
The image of the knot also invites the willingness to be situated inside the tangle, to be ready to engage with what is, and to relate to others from there. To let the interplay of attachment and detachment instruct me.
I invite you to play with not-knowing this month. I have tied a knotted string around my wrist, right here next to my watch. The time of knot-knowing is a pause in the flow of time as we know it. As potter and poet M.C. Richards writes, “Trust and not know, simultuaneously."
One of the most important things we can do in this strange season is to tend our dreams. They connect our reactionary ego-selves with our deep wisdom – for ourselves, for others we know, and for the human species.
You can start by watching my series of videos about dreamwork. See below for link and details. Share liberally!
Also - I would value any dreams you share about living in these times. Please send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, a note about your situation if you wish, and permission to share anonymously if you are willing.
Thank you and deep dreams blessings,
All in-person Fire by Night events are paused indefinitely – the groups, the Sunday gatherings,
even 1:1 meetings for now.
Same thing with the Nashville Jung Circle and the Nashville Public Library. Nothing is on our meeting calendars at this time.
This is a powerful time for dreamwork.
Here are three invitations
Watch my online videos here;
https://www.facebook.com/laurahuffhileman/videos/10216514069383778/ If you are new to dreamwork or need a refresher, I’m teaching my little book “A Field Guide to Dreaming.” Download the book for free on my homepage at www.firebynight.net. I’m leading you through the basics of dreamwork practice, including demos for ways to work, play, and pray with your dreams. FInd it at https://www.facebook.com/laurahuffhileman/videos/10216514069383778/
Pass it on!
Make a Quipu:
Maybe you have LOTS of time. In that case, you might want to make a Quipu. What’s a quipu? Briefly, it’s an ancient Inca system of creating knots to record stories – anything from number-centered stories about trade and population to stories about the lives of people and the history of the culture. Take a look below, then use string, yarn, or threads to create your own quipu-like storyline about dreamlife and waking life. (I wish I’d taken a picture of the one I made: it was a total mess but remember, the doing of art is the point.)