Meditative Work: Just More Weird-Ass Zombie Dreams
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree Ebb and Flow.
After the oh-so-sweet full moon ritual last night, I wondered how my next meditation would go. The answer? Strangely. I have to write this out in order to make sense of it.
I was in a building (here we go again with metaphysical houses), but this one reminded me of a banquet hall for one of the black-tie American Cancer Society events or one of those huge meeting places at a golf course or resort where my bosses occasionally sent me for “leadership” training. And there were people everywhere.
Not people I know. Not a soul that I recognized, at least not by their physical appearance. But some were very clear on who they were, and for the most part, I was told who the people were, even though they didn’t look familiar.
Round tables seating 6 to 10 people were arranged in the large room. No one was sitting yet. The tables were decorated in linen cloths with pretty floral arrangements atop each one. Nothing outlandish, except for my table, which had a triple-tier silver candelabra with satin ribbons, candles, crystal prisms, and tufts of flowers. As for the other tables, the colors were pretty but the arrangements themselves were quite conservative. The decorations were to be amended to our liking, then judged.
There must have been hundreds of people in the room. I was told that they were people from my past.
People I went to school with, people I knew in college, people I’ve worked with at different jobs, people I’ve stood in circle with. There was a reunion feel to the atmosphere, even though I didn’t really know any of the people by sight.
They knew me, though. They called my name. They spoke to me. They let me know what their expectations of me were. Men and women of all ages. Maybe some children, too. They all had big ideas of what I should be like and who I should be.
One of the women so often by my side—there were several of them—was overly affectionate physically. She kept trying to snuggle close and kiss me. I kept telling her there was a man I preferred but she tried even harder to get my attention. I was resistant to her but felt her influence heavily and began to slip into the structure she was trying to create for me. We began to talk of the vision I saw for the future—how I would rearrange my table and tell the audience and show them my agenda. She agreed with my plans and seemed supportive and wanted to rear- range hers, too. So did her sisters. We were excited to discuss this. Everyone in the room was trying to plan their future and we were soon to be set to a timer to make it happen, just like in so many of those old think-outside- the-box leadership games at work.
The women—sisters, I think—who were so interested in me and my plans stood close to me at one of the four tables in the front of the room. The people from my most distant past were in the back and the more recent past in the front. I explained how I was going to arrange the table designated as mine. They wanted me to work at their tables, but I had plans of my own that excited me. One kept trying to seduce me. Another kept trying to guilt me. Another just kept giving me advice on how she would set up the tables.
The facilitator told us to get ready and prepared his stopwatch. I looked at the tables and their floral arrangements and I knew exactly what to do and how my future—my table—was to be ordered. Everyone around us waited eagerly to arrange their futures just so. I pulled away from the women who wanted me to decorate their tables. The facilitator yelled to start.
Then something happened. Reality shifted. The room went grayish-dark and a heavy fog rolled in around my feet. Thick, blinding. In a matter of seconds, I could see nothing at all in the fog. I knew other people were there as well—I could hear and sense them—and I assumed the fog was part of the facilitator’s attempt to make this game a harder one, but I realized that it wasn’t coming from him. It seemed to be coming from the corner where the women stood.
I rebelled. I still had work to do and I was determined to do it. I felt my way through the fog, feeling the tables and the linens and the floral arrangements on top. I could hear the facilitator shouting that the clock was ticking and for everyone to set their futures according to how they’d planned and then we’d all be judged. I tried to set up the arrangements in the fog, by feeling my way. I bumped into something. I turned something a different angle. But I pressed on, determined to set my table the way I wanted it. At last, I thought it was done.
At that moment, the lights came on the fog was gone, and reality shifted back to room of people from my past. A room full of angry people.
The woman who’d tried repeatedly to kiss me scowled at me. She was hurt and angry. The one next to her ad- monished me for what I’d done as did another beside her. These women all stood glaring at me, as did everyone else in the room.
That’s when I realized that the lights had stayed on and the fog had not come for anyone else but me. It had been meant to obscure my vision but I’d persisted any- way. And in my push forward toward the future, I’d over- turned a couple of the women’s tables and destroyed the arrangements on one of them. My own table was upright and fine.
To everyone else, laboring in the light and clear air, they’d seen me feeling my way around the tables and bumping into things like a bull in a china shop and thought I’d gone mad. They had no idea of the obstacles I’d just come through. But that didn’t stop them from being vocal.
I was trapped at the end of the banquet hall but spot- ted a side door, an emergency exit. I took it, slipping away from the angry crowd of people in my past who kept asking “What’s happened to you, Lorna?” and saying, “You’re not the person I thought you were” and “How could you upset everyone else’s plans for you?” They were all people from my past but I didn’t know any of them any more than they knew me, but they still wanted to come after me like angry zombies for not being what they wanted and not doing what they expected.
Once out the steel door, I pushed it shut and it clicked, leaving me safely at the structure’s side. I finally had a moment to realize what had happened. Catching my breath, I started down the steps next to the building, and noticed that there were other people milling around the main entrance of the building, though I was mostly hidden from them. I noticed, too, that at the foot of the steps, someone had placed a sword, its blade sticking straight up as a booby trap. Definitely meant to do harm. I reached to bottom of the steps and turned the blade downward so no one would get hurt, and then crept around the side of the building toward the front so that I could leave the people from my past behind.
Along the way, several people who’d been inside the building jeered at me for not doing what was expected of me. Others hadn’t seen but reminded me of how I used to be long ago.
Most of the people stayed inside the building and chattered angrily about me and what I’d done and how I hadn’t performed to their expectations and how I was probably insane because I wasn’t what they thought I should be. I knew I had to get away quickly.
I located a new set of robes or clothes near the property’s edge but still in the clearing around the structure. Beyond the clearing was woods and a highway going else- where. I crouched in a dip in the land and tugged off my blouse, nothing underneath, then fastened on my new attire even as people began to wander toward me, yelling.
One of the sisters arrived at that point, yelling at me, “You’re not the person I wanted you to be.” I wasn’t looking at her when she said it, so she came closer, complaining about all the plans I’ve destroyed and how I was supposed to fit into their plans and how I’ve messed things up by not doing what they thought I was supposed to do. Then she added, “You’re not the person I thought you were. I don’t even know who you are!”
I pushed my hand through the sleeve of my new garments and stood up, turning to her as I spoke.