Dreaming the Dream

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.

~James Openheim

Hodler, visipix.com

I don’t care if you walk into the “same” office or scenario you’ve been in a thousand times before. You are dreaming this dream. How do you want to play it? Look for the angels & observe the coyote tricksters. Pay attention to how everyone serves you. After all, they’re in your movie at your re…quest. Can you smell the popcorn?

~Tama J. Kieves

If I chose to look at my life as a dream, what would it be telling me about my imagination?

In particular, what is it telling me with regard to how I imagine work?

Here’s what I conclude:

Work is hard.

Work is overwhelming.

Work drains my vital energies.

Work keeps me from what I love.

Work makes me choose between success and family.

Watts, visipix.com

Are these my dreams? Or did I borrow them?

Certainly some of these stale dreams comes from my culture, from the origins of my country, and from the struggles of my gender over time; but others are clearly personal.

“Why do you always have hard jobs, Kel?” my old highschool buddy remarks when she asks about the new position.

And I wonder, why? 

Is it the jobs or is it how I orient myself toward them?

Certainly, I took on leadership roles at a younger age than the majority of my peers, but now many of them have much more demanding roles than I.  Why do I continue to struggle with work when I claim to love it so.

Not too long ago I realized that “work” was MY place for growth. Other people are more challenged by relationships or by health or by finances.

“Think of the one area of life that brings you the most discomfort,

and that’s where you’re ripe for growth.


Klimt, visipix.com

I’ve had plenty of discomfort around work, but I have to give myself credit. When it comes to imagining my work in the world, not only have I cleaned up my act (and my father’s act), I’ve dreamed up some pretty amazing stuff all on my own.

Here’s my ever-expanding creation list:

flexible, part-time roles which allow me to shape my work around my family life and interests

engaging colleagues

a mission aligned with my values

the ability to meet my personal needs as they arise

a variety of tasks to which to apply myself

layers of responsibility so that I stay flexible

new and invigorating opportunities to learn

a beautiful airy, work place with character and natural light

the ability to get outside during my work day

the opportunity to connect with people around the world

the chance to travel again

When I really stop to think about it, I am amazed that I created work in my little part of the world–one which allows me to work part-time–and travel abroad. I didn’t even know that I could imagine such a job, particularly one with a mission so aligned with my own life’s purpose.

But there are still many rough edges, inside and out; so it’s time to go back to the dreaming board…

I no longer want to support the dream: that work is hard, that it is overwhelming, that it makes me chose between success and family, or between money and passion.

I don’t want to dream an entirely new dream either. I’m tired of that “drama.” I want to be like the wise man who grows what he wants right under his own feet…

Here I go…

detail, Buchser (visipix.com)

Kelly Salasin, May 2011

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

“Cease trying to work everything out with your minds. It will get you nowhere. Live by intuition and inspiration and let your whole life be…Revelation.”

~Eileen Caddy


Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It is also my birthday–which is why the nurses at the Sisters of Mercy begged my mother to name me Mary on the misty morning that I was born in their hospital by the sea.

Did you know that Mary was immaculately conceived?

If you’re not Catholic, this is probably a shock. And the good news about this news is that if you are fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to attend a Catholic school, you get that day off–every year–which is pretty special when it’s your birthday, and probably explains why I continue to take this day off, even though I’m not Catholic.

Well, actually, I’m kind of Catholic, because supposedly my Irish Catholic grandmother, Loretta, baptized me in my carriage. If I remember correctly, baptism is the one Catholic sacrament for which you do not need a priest–which my agnostic father would have never tolerated, especially after The Church refused to marry him and my mother because of his Jewish heritage.  (Not to mention that she was pregnant with me.)

My own husband and I were married in the month of Mary (May) and gave birth to our first son on August 15–the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin.  (Did you know that Mary was “assumed” into heaven? )

Given that my mother was born on Christmas Day, I became intrigued with my family’s growing Mary connection. When I later discovered that my husband’s birthday, September 8th, was celebrated as The Feast Day of Mary–her very own birthday–I was beside myself!

Imagine my delight while deliberating over a piece of land in Southern Vermont only to find that the closest neighbor was a summer camp–owned and operated by Guess Who?  The Sisters of the Immaculate Conception!

At this juncture of my tale, I’m must confess that our second son was born on a Pagan holiday which I was sure had jinxed us… until Mary started moving.

A new statue of Mary, that I received for my birthday last December 8th, was set on the cabinet facing the woodstove; but by summer, I noticed that she had inched her way west toward the pond–and toward the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception–who return there each July.  

I would turn her back, liking things just so, only to find her turned ever so slightly again.

Everyone in the house thought I was crazy, but when I swore that I hadn’t touched her, they became concerned. We all agreed to leave Mary gazing at the pond instead of the fire.

Lately I’ve been walking through lots of FIRES of my own making… I’ve discovered work that resonates deeply with my passions, yet I continue to resist and suffer. The mission of this organization is intercultural understanding which means that I get the privilege of connecting to members all around the world from this little corner of rural Vermont. When one of our offices notified me that they would be closed on December 8th for the national observance of the holiday, I felt the tug of alignment once again.

Arriving home that evening, another email came from an old college friend, saying that she always remembers my birthday because it falls on the Feast of the Conception. I joked that I liked any religion that associated conception with “feasting;” but what I didn’t say was that I was finally beginning to realize a deeper meaning and connection to the Immaculate Conception.

I am too humbled and ashamed to make such a claim, but it is true. For despite my overwhelming fear, and my daily grumblings of hardship, this work was certainly brought toward me by the deep waters of alignment and trust. I didn’t grab after it with my mind, as I have so often done (in the wrong direction); it reached out for me –by the heart–and the loins–conceiving of a new self-expression inhabited by allowing the Divine.

Sadly, there is no happily ever after. I’m still human.  I’m still Kelly.  I’m not going to sail off into the sunset, assumed into Heaven like the Holy Mother. 

There is work to be done–on the INside, and the OUTside–and often, I make that HARD. Yet despite this attachment to hardship, DREAMS do come true–again and again–when I open myself to Heaven’s part.

Kelly Salasin, December 8, 2010

(ps. thank you to my wise friend Carolyn who helped me recognize the Immaculate Conception in my own life.)

Previous post in this series: Go Away Dreams!

Next post in this series: The Immaculate Conception, Part II