A couple of months ago I had a dream / nightmare that made quite an impact on me. First of all, out of all the horror genres out there, the zombie movies are my least favorite. I can not stomach them. Secondly, I rarely ever remember my dreams vividly, if at all. My dream had me in the woods on some type of retreat or getaway with people I was familiar with in the dream (not in actuality). All of a sudden, some of us were infected with a zombie virus, and what ensued was an all out battle for survival. The zombies were out to eat the humans, and the humans were out to kill the zombies.
As this mayhem was going on around me, I realized that I had become infected and was slowly becoming a zombie. My skin was slowly turning gray and putrid; and I ran to hide in a small bathroom. I crouched in the tub, and started to pray for help, for a miracle, crying and lamenting that I would not get to say goodbye to my kids and my family. The thought of never seeing them again broke my heart. And as I sobbed and watched myself transform, I suddenly understood the beauty of being human – the point of it all…..The unique ability to feel such a wide range of emotions, the capacity to love and hate, to mourn and feel joy, to feel sympathy and disgust, to cry and laugh, to be disappointed and elated – it all flooded through me as I cried and lost my humanity. I felt enlightened in those brief moments of clarity as I began to howl in despair at my change.
My screams woke my husband and I up. My tears were real and streaming down my face. I came to and he hugged me and said “it’s okay baby” “you had a bad dream”, holding me close he soothed me until I was calm enough to tell him about the dream. My love held me until I fell back asleep, but that dream haunts me – in a good way. Not because of the zombie part – but because of the feeling I was left with, that our hearts, our emotions, our souls are at their truest and strongest essence when we allow ourselves to feel freely. No hiding no secrets. The sense I had at the end of the dream – was that all that mattered was this ability to feel and to LOVE.
On any given day, I run through a full range of emotions. I will usually wake up happy (but tired), feel blessed to have a new day; I may feel frustrated or annoyed by midday for failure to advance faster through my to do list, I will often read something in the news that makes me feel empathy, anger, sadness or excitement. I will feel so much gratitude by the time my family and I are united for dinner, and then exhausted and depleted by the time its bedtime.
I wear my heart on my sleeve, and this has often caused me to feel embarrassed for not having tougher walls up. My lack of an emotional filter has complicated my work as an attorney, handling of tough (sometimes vicious) divorce matters, criminal cases where my client’s life and freedom is at stake, and a variety of other legal cases where the gamut of human drama is played out.
But since my zombie epiphany, I no longer feel like a soft weak mush because I feel so much and can’t really hide it. I feel stronger, wiser and filled with love and acceptance in knowing that I FEEL everything so intensely. What a gift!! It is my strength – not my weakness.