Last week I awoke from a strange dream.
In it, I was barefoot and walking on rich, coffee-colored soil. I entered the home of my "neighbor," a well-known and respected writer whom I admire a great deal. The house was clean and tidy but in need of some updating. Looking around, I recall feeling surprised at how dated it appeared; the exterior was lovely, but the interior neglected.
I also noticed that my neighbor's wife, a blonde, was pushing around racks of clothes and boxes of shoes, though none of the attire was hers. I remember feeling confused by this.
Suddenly, their son appeared donning full hockey gear. He acknowledged me and walked through the room.
It was time to go, and before I left, my neighbor stopped and gave me a huge smile followed by a hug.
Then I woke up.
I immediately grabbed my bedside journal and jotted down all the details I could remember, vowing to check out an online dream dictionary to decipher its meaning.
What I discovered was eerily accurate.
Let me begin by saying whenever you dream of a house it is symbolic of YOU. Its condition reflects how you're feeling about yourself, good, bad or (gulp) neglected.
Spoiler alert: my subconscious thinks I have to work on some stuff.
If, like me, you're in the service industry (and really, who isn't?), it's easy to get caught up in the needs of others: clients, customers, bosses, teammates, family, friends. It's an innate mindset to ensure that those in your charge are cared for and well. In fact, nothing makes me happier than to know that for sure.
Until I realize that there's one critical person I forgot about: me.
Remember your flight attendant's advice to put on your air mask before assisting your travel mates? The same is true in business and life. You'll be much more effective at helping others once you take care of yourself.
But Amy, you say, I do take care of myself. I workout regularly and eat right. I try to get enough rest and find a balance between work and play.
Yeah, me too. That's not what I mean.
What I'm referring to has more to do with connecting, or for many of us, reconnecting with whatever it is that gives us a spark of joy. Something that motivates us and brings together our values, purpose, and passion.
It could be something you loved as a child but slowly moved away from over time. Or perhaps you started your career doing something meaningful, but your job has morphed into a less satisfying version.
When that something special is lacking (or it's been awhile since you even thought about it), you'll feel off. Not the best version of yourself. Meh.
But back to that dream and its symbols.
In my case, it appears I'm dealing with self-identity issues (barefoot), but making progress towards my goals (walking), and on a path to growth (soil). I'm in transition regarding my role (shoes) and how I am perceived (clothes) and need to enjoy life (blonde). My ideal, hopes, potential, and youthful part of myself (son) are trying to achieve and protect my goals, even though I've been dealt a lot of hard blows (hockey). Fortunately, there is wisdom and guidance (man) available, though I need to let down my guard and allow my true feelings to show (hug) to find what will make me happy (smile).
Was my dream a sign? Maybe.
But more likely it was a wake-up call, stirring the pot of my answered needs, hoping for some action.
Message received, psyche.
If you need me, I'll be the one making "home improvements."