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The Dream

"The world is as you dream it," John Perkins

As I enter a white-walled classroom, expecting to take an exercise class, I approach a woman in her 40s writing on a flip chart. She looks up, hands me a black marker and says “Here, you’re in charge of this now.”

I hesitate, telling her I have no idea what to do, but she says “It’s easy. Just use this template.”

I look at the flip chart and see that all I need to do is fill in the grid with the information students will need so they know what’s going on in class, and so I accept the role I’ve just been given and complete the grid.

Two days later, I am writing on the flip chart. The grid is gone, and the information I place there is densely arranged, paragraph style.

A different woman, also about 40, approaches me. “You’re doing that all wrong,” she tells me.

“The template has disappeared,” I tell her. “I was just given this job out of the blue.”

“It’s time you learned how to do it. Come with me,” she says and leads me away from what I was doing my best to do.

We enter a large basement like room with a dirt floor, hand-hewn beams holding up the ceiling and what feels to be a building of some sort above. The side walls are rough, earthen dark, with two windows toward the far end, one on each side. There are half dozen people, men and women seated at the table, and the far wall is not a wall at all but wide open to the sky and the hill on which the building sits.

As I stand to the right of the table, close to the door through which the woman and I have entered, I notice a terry cloth rug under my feet. It’s about the size of a large bath towel but 4 times as thick, dense, dark brown-black with a reddish tint, well used but not tattered, substantial, soft but firm.

And then, standing on the rug, I am out into the open air. The freedom of flight and the beauty of the earth and bright blue cumulus cloud clad sky fill me with love. I pass an earth-embedded boulder nearly covered in grass, and I want to continue my journey in this space. But I feel a need to return to the people whose rug and non-existent wall have afforded me this freedom.

I look down to my hands where I see that I am holding an empty bowl, my mother’s.

“I have to be careful not to lose this,” I tell myself.

The rug and I turn back, circling a country mansion as we do so. The structure has seen better days. It too is being reclaimed by earth and vegetation. “What a big house,” I say to no one.

And then it hits me: that I have no idea what country this is or where I am. The recognition is just that—a simple awareness—no anxiety, no dismay.

I stand tall on the rug, happily feeling the sun and wind when I notice my hands no longer hold my mother’s bowl. My hands are free, and I have no regrets for losing it.

Back in the room with the others, I say appreciatively, “You live in a beautiful country. What is it?”

A sandy haired, tan-clad, clean-shaven man replies, “Thank you,” and laughingly asks, “you really don’t know where you are?”

“No,” I say, perfectly content in not knowing but open and curious to learn.

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