I woke up not knowing who I was and where I was. For the first fifteen minutes it was a frightening experience. The mirror in the bathroom bounced back to me the image of a stranger and a face I did not recognize. I surveyed the reflection: middle-aged, thinning hair, four-day whiskers more white than dark, about twenty pounds over weight, but seemingly in good physical condition otherwise. Who the hell is that?
Feeling thirsty I went to the kitchen, but stood there not knowing what to do. What did I like? Coffee, tea, juice… I had no idea if I preferred one over the other. Cigarettes were on the table. Did I smoke? Beer was in the fridge and vodka was in the freezer. Did I like to drink? I wasn’t able or willing to make any decisions so I got a glass of water and left the room confused.
Maybe I could find out something about myself by going outside. Quickly I went to the bedroom where in an open closet shirts, shorts and pants were hung. None looked familiar and it was difficult to make a choice. So I just reached out and choose what ever my hand touched first: blue shorts and a tan t-shirt.
Walking through the front door onto the porch “where the hell am I” echoed back and forth in my head. What was before me was beautiful, but unnerving. Standing stunned looking toward the sunrise the ocean glistened and glinted with splintered reflections of light. Far left and right I could see other modest cottages like the one I woke within, but none closer than a quarter-mile.
The morning was pleasant with a cool, comfortable breeze. The back and forth of the waves coming and going created a rhythm that joined with the beauty all around to began to calm me. I didn’t know who or where I was… but I liked the spot I found myself in.
Barefooted I walked to where sea and sand met and began plodding slowly down the beach. No one was in sight.There were no other signs of life in the first twenty minutes of daylight I found myself within, unencumbered by memories of the past or thoughts of the future.
There were no worries. I had no regrets. My hopes were nonspecific and dreams were such vague notions having any at all went unnoticed. I felt love and loved, yet knew not who or by whom. I felt alone, so very alone but at ease with it. As I walked down the beach with the morning sunlight from the horizon hitting me was beginning to feel good, even natural.
I walked and walked until I could not see myself any more. Wait a minute. I am the one watching me walk and the one doing the walking? I must be going crazy or something… What’s happening? Where am I? Who am I? What am I doing here? The storm of thoughts that I had awakened with began to swirl again as I raised up in bed to find I had been dreaming.
Dreaming?!? It felt so real. After the initial fear and confusion seeing myself walk down the beach/walking down the beach was one of the most peaceful feelings I have ever had. It was in that sleepy moment the realization came strong and profound: losing myself completely can sometimes be the most freeing experience I can have. Only then can I see back, forward, down and up without my thoughts being clouded by past, present, who I am, have been and desire to be.
How light I felt: Whole. Complete. Filled with hope and wonder. Connected to all my eyes saw and to what I could sense but not see. No regrets. I was complete just as I was.
In the losing of myself, for just a little while as I moved from subconscious awareness to reality, I felt fully whole. The dream and the accompanying epiphany carved a substantial amount of consciousness upon me that I will use as a reference point in the future. I am grateful to have learned respect for feeling lost, left out and completely alone. There it is possible to come to know some of the most clear perceptions about being alive.
The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?
Alice Kingsley: I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.
Alice Kingsley: Sometimes I believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
The Mad Hatter: That is an excellent practice.
From “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” Lewis Carroll.