drawingI recently had an odd dream. In the dream I enter a woman’s public rest room. There I find a woman bent over her baby at a changing table. With calm determination she is trying to clean up piles and smears of pudding-like poop. The baby seems contented, and there is poop everywhere. Without a second thought I pitch in to help since she obviously could use more hands to get this done. With a nod and a brief smile, we work seamlessly together. When our mission is accomplished I go on my way, pleased to be of help and happy to be deflected from my previous plans (whatever they were).

Can you believe I dreamt this twice within three nights? (Different mother and baby in each dream but the dream was the same.)

Because it was a recurring dream I spent some time with it in meditation, pondering and writing. The colors of the dream were brown and green, like things growing in the earth. I was struck with the image of women’s capable hands, calmly working together in the dirt/poop.

While I decided the dream had personal things to tell me, I also sensed a broader meaning. The dream seemed to be suggesting:

  • Women know that life, death and transformation are interwoven and cyclical;
  • The world is a mess right now, needs lots of “cleaning up” to better support Life, and women know what needs to be done and how to work together on it with joy and ease;
  • Messes are normal in life—essential in this material world—so we needn’t react or resist them, merely get busy to do what needs to be done; and
  • Since women’s hands and hearts know what supports life–and what does not–we can act on these impulses to clean up the messes before us that we care most about before our minds talk us out of it.

(“Women” here means not just females, but the feminine within us all.)

I discovered this poem by Ellie Schoenfeld today, which is what brought this dream back to mind. It seems to me the poem, Patriotism, brings to this weekend’s holiday the same much-needed voice in defense of Life (and its messes) urged by the dream.

My country is this dirt
that gathers under my fingernails
when I am in the garden.
The quiet bacteria and fungi,
all the little insects and bugs
are my compatriots. They are
idealistic, always working together
for the common good.
I kneel on the earth
and pledge my allegiance
to all the dirt of the world,
to all of that soil which grows
flowers and food
for the just and unjust alike.
The soil does not care
what we think about or who we love.
It knows our true substance,
of what we are really made.
I stand my ground on this ground,
this ground which will
recruit us all
to its side. 

On this beautiful July 4th weekend, shall we salute dirt, in service to life and the common good?

(And if you’ve ever had a poop dream I’d love to hear about it, and what it meant to you.)