Dreamwork: Fighting the Smoke Dragon

Tree adorned with shoes, somewhere along HWY 50, the "loneliest highway in America"

In November 2010, I decided to drive across the country to start a new life out in California. True to form, things weren’t going so well with the relationship I was in for the last three years and I just felt like it was time for a change – a big change. My plan was to volunteer at the Sivananda Yoga Farm in Grass Valley and start looking for an apartment and a place to work, with the ashram as my temporary home base.

Back then, I didn’t really have a smart phone or GPS, so I was using my trusty U.S. map and my boyfriend’s recommendations during our telephone calls about the best routes to travel. He had been across the country a couple of times, so he knew where I wouldn’t get stuck in the middle of the night with nowhere to get gas if I needed it. I’m sure those of you who live out West totally understand what I mean!

This trip came with a lot of doubts. Was I was doing the right thing? Should I leave my family behind on the East Coast? Was I even going to make it to California alive by myself? Could I make it work once I got there? Life is never black and white; it’s always full of unknowns. So every day I pushed through my worries, my self-doubt, and my fears. And just drove. Some days twelve hour stretches at a time.

The mind has a funny way of playing tricks on you when you’re alone. And it really requires a lot of fortitude of character to continue when your own mind isn’t cooperating. I learned a lot about the inner workings of my own head during that trip, that’s for sure.

One night at a Motel 6 in Oklahoma, I had a really bizarre dream that deeply rattled me. I almost turned around and drove straight back to Pennsylvania. Thankfully, my boyfriend (who probably wanted out of the relationship just as much as I did!) convinced me that I should keep going – I just had a couple more days of driving to go. So I continued on, despite what I encountered in my sleep.

I remember during this dream a great dragon made of dark gray smoke trying to devour me. It was very determined to keep me from going towards a new and better life. It wanted me to stop, right then and there, or it would destroy me.

I was terrified. I had no way to defend myself as I stood at the edge of a cliff, just waiting for this thing to engulf me or scare me over the edge.

And then Swami Brahmananda showed up, like some kind of knight in shining armor. My Sivananda TTC teacher had come to save me, sword in hand. He defended me, fought off the dragon, and then I woke up – totally freaked out and ready to high tail it home!

To this day, I still don’t *really* know what was behind this dream. I know things didn’t work out in California that time around and I had to come back to PA to help my family less than a month later. Was it a warning? Was it symbolic of my own fears eating me up? Was it nothing? What do you think??