April 03, 2009


I had an amazing dream the other night. In it I was remarried to my ex-husband. We were moving into a beautiful old house. It had big rooms, high ceilings, all the things that make me feel good in a residence. I’m not sure where it was, in New York where we lived together, or here, but we were very happy and getting along easily. I remember unpacking some silverware, real silver, with a lovely pattern, somewhat similar to my mother’s silver, but not quite. I was thrilled with it.

In actuality, my marriage and my divorce were anything but happy and easy. So it felt like a very good dream, a turning point in my dream-life.

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March 30, 2008


A couple of nights ago I dreamed I went into a small room, probably a bathroom, put a scarf on my head and some new glasses and then came out of the room to tell the people there (I don’t remember who) that “I am now a different person.” In truth, I picked up new glasses the next day, yesterday. My old ones broke a couple of weeks ago and were just patched up so I could wear them. I loved those glasses, thought they were the best yet, but I think my new ones are even better. At least for now. My broken ones are six years old and the prescription was wrong so all and all it is a good change. Yet before picking them up I was getting minor “Did I make the right choice?” thoughts. Glasses are a major article of clothing, a major presentation of body. It feels like a major body renovation. Granted I don’t wear them all the time, but still, they feel like part of me, an appendage, attached.

I was also supposed to have my paintings photographed Wednesday evening but because of (yet another) snowstorm and icy roads, it was postponed until Monday evening. That was a lucky change. I, of course, reworked most of the paintings I intend to have photographed. Being away for a week gave me a fresh view. I am impressed with the changes. Change in glasses, change in paintings: what else is going to change (the word of the times!)? As they say, the only thing you can count on is change. It's inevitable but it still involves choices.

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September 30, 2007

From a different perspective

I had a dream the other night about Robert, my friend who died a year and a half ago. In the dream he was warm and friendly and recovering from the horrible disease that killed him, Multiple Sclerosis. In the dream, we hugged and talked about living the rest of our lives together in the country, sitting watching the seasons, the loons, the fog, the clouds go by. It all seemed very real and possible and the dream went on and on all night: I’d wake up and then fall right back into the dream.

Philip Roth’s American Pastoral talks a lot about dreams: dreams of what we think is happening, what is happening, what will happen to our dreams, our fantasies, our expectations. How good is not always rewarded by good, how life can throw a curved ball so unexpectedly and hit the dream. But then you might be able to look back and see why, how it happened. What my mother used to call “twenty-twenty hindsight.”

I was talking to a friend about all this today as we walked in the autumn sun through the park. She's reading books on decluttering your life. Not just on the physical level. Letting go of the past; moving on. One book suggested looking in your closet to find things you haven't used in a year. Then asking two questions: one, would it be worth paying money to store and two, does it make you smile to see it. To look at thoughts and feelings that way: wouldn't that be interesting!

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September 03, 2007

School again . . .

I woke this morning on the edge of a dream: it was the first day of school and I was giving my class the usual “what we are going to do this semester and how we are going to do it” blurb. Most of the students were attentive but often one or two would start talking amongst themselves and I would have to say “excuse me” in order to quiet them.

It felt so real. With this being the first week of school and, for the first time in twenty years, I am not going back at all, it does indeed feel strange. Teaching is that much a part of my psyche.

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February 26, 2005

A day of dreams; may all your (good) dreams come true��.

Thursday night I dreamed I received a Canada Council �B� Grant. In the dream I was very surprised as I hadn�t applied for one. But I wasn�t complaining!

Then on Friday, I went to my mailbox (which I do about once a week--I live on a back road so the mailboxes are about five kilometers from my house). Amongst the bills, there was an envelope from the Nova Scotia Arts Council. I looked at it and thought: �I�m not in the mood right now for another rejection,� and waited to open it. I hadn�t remembered when I had put the application in, whether it had been turned down yet or not, so I wasn�t really expecting anything.

When I finally did open the envelope, I noticed the first sentence: �I am pleased to inform you��..� Nice. A much appreciated relief. And confirmation. A Creation Grant to continue painting. My dream had been (in essence) prophetic.

When I told my Pilates instructor that evening, the wonderful dancer Jacinte Armstrong (of Verve Mewundo), said my dream was better than hers: she woke up at 2 am, from constant dreams that she was teaching Pilates. And after days of teaching Pilates, that�s a little over the top!

Then last night (at the opening reception for the Rodin exhibit at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia), when I told my friend Janice Jackson (the great songster) about my dream grant and real grant, she said she had a dream about me just the night before. In her dream I had opened a gallery exhibiting my work. The gallery was on the third floor above a dress shop, The Clothes Horse, on Argyle Street. And the paintings I was exhibiting were very different from what I usually do. These dream paintings were on irregularly shaped canvases in blacks and whites and mostly grays. Is this a message? Something to think about, no doubt. Messages from dreams.

Posted by leya at 04:06 PM

September 17, 2004

As if it was normal to expect chaos.

I think these hurricanes and tornadoes and terrorist attacks are getting to me. Last night I woke every two hours from the same dream: that the terrorists were about to attack the whole eastern coast of North America and we needed to get ready, stock up on water, food and find safe places to hide. It was very frightening, very visual. I kept seeing the events unfolding, the coastline of North America from Florida to Nova Scotia and more. And I awoke this morning exhausted from so much preparation work.

I really don't want any of this to be real, to happen. Please.

Posted by leya at 06:50 PM

June 13, 2004

New dress

A couple of nights ago I had a very disturbing dream. It still haunts me. I dreamed that I came home to discover that my house had been robbed. Everything was gone. I went down into my studio and discovered that they had even taken my paintings. I said to myself, Now who would want them? Then I went upstairs and saw that my sewing machine was still here.

I find it hard sometimes to interpret dreams and so I called my beautiful daughter Tamar for her help. She suggested the dream was about vulnerability. We decided that being robbed is a metaphor for not feeling like I deserve something. Right now, I am very busy getting ready for several big exhibits, one in San Francisco, one in Switzerland. I have so much at stake in my artwork: livelihood, joy, enrichment on every level. It hasnt been an easy road to get to the point where my work can be exhibited and sold and it feels good to be here. And also scary. At least I still have my sewing machine to make a new dress for the exhibits!

Posted by leya at 03:06 PM

May 22, 2004

The merry-go-round

Yesterday I talked (on the phone) to a friend I hadnt seen in a long time. She lives in another province and our paths dont usually cross. She told me her life had recently been turned upside-down. Again. About ten years ago her husband, after they came home from a party, had gone out to buy milk for the morning and he never came back. When he tried to avoid an animal that was crossing the country road, he had swerved and crashed the car (and been killed instantly). Their marriage, passionate and often stormy, had been good before he died. He left her with two young children and a big house.

Soon after, a man came to buy her husbands car. They fell in love, moved to a bigger house away from memories and started a business together. But within the last couple of years this man started playing with a young woman who was working in their business, moved in with her, and it has been a painful story once again. And now my friend can look back on how belittling this man had been to her and her children when they were together. She took refuge in the man and this doesnt work.

This was hard to hear. How easily/quickly a person can overlook/ignore the difficulties/abuse in a relationship in order to have (temporary/imagined) relief from that ever-present human conditionloneliness. The night before I had had a dream where the main character was my ex-husband. After thirty years of being apart, he still has the power to invade my dreams and exert control (in my dream), especially when I am having difficulties, feeling under stress. Here he was trying to prevent me from going to a meditation event and had also dressed me in embarrassing clothes (that I covered up with a white jacket) and a newspaper to read at the event (which I left by the door without his noticing). At least I got out the door.

Which is where I am going now. To a meditation practice at our local St. Margarets Bay Centre. No quick (or external) fixes.

Posted by leya at 04:03 PM

February 08, 2004

Are You My Mother?

As I roused myself to get up this morning, I remembered a snippet of a dream. That I was comparing my slender (thin) legs to my mothers, and deciding hers were thinner (skinnier) even though other people were saying they were the same. Thinking about this strange image, I remembered the phrase not a leg to stand on and remembered how I feel posting thoughts in an on-line journal, not knowing who will read it (or if) or if it is a thought that can stand on its own. And the thought: stand on your own two legs, i.e., not my mothers, that I am doing what I am doing, something new, something old, something borrowed, maybe blue/red/pink/green. And why should I care what other people say about my legs compared to my mothers, or is it just me (forever) comparing myself to what is out there.

Do you remember the childrens book Are You My Mother, in which a little bird falls out of the nest and goes around asking all the animals if they are his mother? Do we fall out of the nest and spend the rest of our lives looking for our mother, looking for reassurance? The little bird finds his mother at the end of the book (of course) and all is well (for him). But eventually he will have to fly off on his own.

Posted by leya at 09:00 AM

December 19, 2003

Dream School

I had a first day of school dream last night. The class was overenrolled, students everywhere, taking over the energy, with me trying to give my first day introductions and explanations: what the class is about, what to expect, supplies, attitudes. The students are sitting in bleachers around the room, talking, interrupting, generally making me feel insignificant to their demands. Then my sister tells me I was sitting in the wrong spot, that I should not have been amongst them but made myself more of the leader. Then at my locker where I keep my supplies, another student from my last class tells me the students are talking about how to frame their homework, wooden frames, very elaborate. I am shocked at their wanting to think so much about product before they have understood the process. I woke with relief to the sound of Dan and Tamar's radio alarm.

My first day of school dreams used to be about me being the student, going to school without shoes or underwear. Now I am the one in charge. The shoes and underwear are nevertheless still very important.

The message is clear. But the holiday is not over yet, please.

Posted by leya at 02:19 PM