In 2010, my wife and I enjoyed a two-week honeymoon adventure in New Zealand, and we have many fantastic memories from this trip. But, I also remember a stressful scene upon our arrival at the Auckland airport. The very first thing that I did after exiting the plane was to fire up my laptop as we walked toward baggage claim. There were several anticipated emails related to my real estate business that required, as I perceived my priorities at the time, my immediate attention. The Wi-Fi signal at the airport was terrible and I found myself in a prolonged state of distracted stress until I eventually found a stable internet connection several hours later. At the time, I perceived my behavior as normal. When I allowed myself to travel, which was rare, this was how I rolled.
Just over four years later, in the summer of 2014, I was able to relax and enjoy a weeklong Alaska cruise while being disconnected from emails for virtually the entire duration of the trip. What changed during the intervening years? I credit my dreams with helping me to rebalance my portfolio of beliefs, habits and priorities.
When I started to study my dreams, one of the first recurring dream symbols that emerged for me was luggage. In March of 2012, over a span of less than 3 weeks, I experienced a trilogy of stressful luggage dreams:
These dreams are amazing to me in terms of their consistent symbolism and emotional feel. They all revolve around luggage and they all involve the emotional state of worry, at times bordering on panic. The recurring luggage symbol served as a hint that the dreams might relate to travel. These dreams all had a vibe, albeit exaggerated, that was similar to the stress I felt about my work whenever took time off to travel.
In the wake of these dreams, I decided that I needed to change my beliefs about my business life and to ground these belief changes with new patterns of behavior. There was a lot involved with this shift, but the chart below will suffice as a quick summary:
As I began to implement these belief and behavior changes, I continued to dream periodically about luggage, but the dream scenarios and their vibration shifted noticeably. For one thing, the luggage in my new dreams became much lighter, manifesting in such forms as a shopping bag, a briefcase, a backpack, or a small carry-on bag.
A single lucid dream from the fall of 2013 served as the most important marker of my inner shift. It involved a clever and synchronistic weaving of my dream and waking reality luggage experiences. In waking reality, I had recently donated a large silver suitcase to Goodwill. In my dream, I find myself in a room with this very same silver suitcase. Aware that I have previously donated it, I realize that I must be dreaming!
I’m lucid and I want to fly. But my hands are like Patrick Swayze’s in Ghost and I can’t use them to manipulate the door knob! I manage to twist and slide my dream body through the door and I start flying. The scene below me is like a surreal college campus - everything is crisp, clear and bright. I decide to land near a statue. I then realize that I’ve been flying around with a backpack over one of my shoulders. I think to myself: What is the point of hauling a backpack around in this dream? This dream will be over in 5 minutes. What use will this backpack be then? I drop the backpack by the statue and resume my lucid exploration of the dreamscape.