Good Advice – Distilling the Voices

Dreams are strange. I woke up this morning with a great feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction. Although my sleep had been hijacked by a complex and strange dream, I opened my eyes with a sense of peace for my day. I had received good advice through the night.

As I dressed for my morning walk with Togo, I kept going back to that sensation of calm. But then, my rational voice grew stronger and I began to ask myself, “Who were these people you talked with? What do you know about them? If you don’t know them, who do they represent? What exactly did these dream people tell you?”

Those are all good questions. The same ones I would have asked my clients when I was practicing law. “You need to consider the source,” I would say.

I remember the dream vividly. I was at an encampment. I had obviously been there a week or more and I was preparing to leave. As I gathered my belongings, I was delayed by the realization that I didn’t know how I was getting home. Dreams are chock-full of such odd occurrences. So I joined a group of campers on the long porch of the dining hall and listened in on their conversations.

In a few minutes, the circle of talk pulled me in and there were questions about my work and what sort of life I was returning to. I shared a little, not wanting to dominate . . . still feeling like a bit of an intruder.

Then it came. Advice on how I should proceed to fulfill my destiny. Little details and long brush strokes flooded my mind. Some of it profound and some of it mundane. Some of it opening doors to opportunity. Some of it describing obvious paths I had tried before.

My response in my dream was surprising to me. I just sat and listened. No response. No pushback. I just sat and listened. I felt no challenge from their recommendations and took no offense at their observations. I allowed myself to commune in thought without worry. I knew that regardless of their advice, ultimately the decision to act would be mine.

And I woke up with serenity.

On my morning walk with Togo, we talked a bit about the dream. I talked. He sniffed and explored the treasures of sight, taste, and smell he found along the way. His calm manner of hearing my voice and determining which bits of almost incomprehensible human language to pay attention to brought my thoughts to focus.

Ironically, from the moment I woke, I could not recall the specific advice I had received. I could remember only the voices of those who spoke. I could feel their eyes on me and I could sense that, in those few moments, they cared for me. So, even though I don’t remember their words, I think of them warmly.

Much of life is like that. I’ve had thousands and thousands of conversations. I can remember the particular words that were used in some. But for most, I remember the tone of the visit and I’ve distilled the voices into a memory that will prompt my return to these people for guidance. Some of those voices are long gone from this earth. Yet others are nearby.

I doubt I will never know who the people were in my dream nor the good advice they provided. But I will know their voices. I have a feeling that I will find peace in their incomprehensible language. And, like Togo, I will know when their voices call me to action. For today, I’ll settle for the peace, I’ll listen for more voices, and I’ll be calmed by the knowledge that one of the voices, God’s voice, is always speaking — whether in my dreams or through the tones of strangers and friends who share my journey.

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