This Is The Army, Mr. Dreamer

Military buses, unmarked

(Image from 12160)

Money has loomed its head as a frustrating and fretful issue again over the past few days, following taking my dog to the vet and some smaller stuff – nickel-and-dime, really, but a multitude – piling up at the same time. It’s looking as if at least part of the next round of utilities and insurance will be going on the credit card. My spouse refuses to get a job even now that we have older animals needing medical care (she could work, she just doesn’t want to, having told me several times that she thinks her parents and I should support her), so all the financial responsibilities fall on me.

So I’ve been running through other options, but I’ve been coming up short. Second job opportunities are scarce, if I want to keep my full-time work. And technically I have a second job, though it doesn’t pay well. Writing income is at a bare minimum these days. (And admittedly I’m a little stubborn about getting another job to close the gaps when my wife won’t get a first one.) The possibilities seem limited, but every time there’s an emergency it turns into a pit, and I start thinking more seriously about more radical changes.

My dreams last night, though, would seem to indicate that radical changes would be a bad idea.

In the first one, I’d enlisted in the army. This was already done by the time the dream started; I don’t remember all of the reasons I’d done so (putting aside that in waking life, I’m much too old to be enlisting), except that one was definitely financial. (I wouldn’t be the first person I knew who signed up with the military for financial reasons.) In the dream I was at my grandparents’ house – typically a place of peace and shelter in my dreams, as it was in waking life – one last time before they would give me a ride to the bus station.

Except in the dream I was having second thoughts. I wondered what would happen if I just didn’t go, but stayed put instead. So I did. Unlike what I’m sure that decision would cost me in waking life, the dream jumped ahead two years, where I was reading a newspaper article to learn to my surprise that I’d been been charged with a crime in absentia, and raked across the coals in editorials – none of which I’d been aware of. Those things bothered me for a moment, but what I considered to be my freedom in the dream was more important than those consequences.

In the second dream I left my much-loved waking-life job for something that paid better, but in the dream the extra money was so paramount that I wasn’t even sure what job I’d taken. Shortly into the dream I bitterly regretted the move, only then realizing what I’d given up and what a mistake I’d made, but it was too late to go back and change it.

As soon as I woke up I knew that one obvious thing linked these two dreams: I was making radical changes out of financial fears. In the first one, the fear had driven me to do something that would mean giving up any personal autonomy for the next couple of years. (Yes, I do know that in waking life, joining the military is serving something greater than yourself too. But as I said, I’ve known people who enlisted for financial reasons.) In the second dream, the promise of more money against the fears are enough for me to leap away from something I love and towards something almost wholly unknown, without even knowing where I’m going to land.

These dreams aren’t quite as blatantly clear as the last one I wrote about, but the interpretation seems plain: Don’t let my financial fears lead me to jump into any radical change, particularly those with a high risk of making things worse in other ways.

This syncs with my last few months’ worth of meditations, pendulum sessions, and gut instinct too: That at least for the time being, I am right where I’m supposed to be. Maybe this will change in the future, even the near future. But I suspect if all of my spiritual work is pointing towards me staying where I am for now, then if something comes along that’s important enough that I need to make a big change, I’ll know it.

That something, I imagine, would be born out of hope, rather than fear.

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