The Blessing

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I was talking to one of my best friends the other day and she was telling me that the Universe had sent her a blessing in the form of multiple patients not showing up for their appointments on the same day (she’s a doc too). She was using the time to catch up on some studying for an upcoming board exam she had been stressing about. She then asked me what blessing I had received recently. I was just beginning a 5-day block in a busy ER and that particular day had been rough. I told her I was holding out and would let her know when a blessing had been sent my way. End conversation.

Someone, and I don’t know who it was that propagated this belief, but someone once told me that if you dream you are falling and in your dream, you actually hit the ground, you would really die. Well, I used to think there must be some truth to that because in my dreams I would always wake up a split second before I hit the ground after plummeting from the sky, before being hit by the train, before the car I was driving smashed into the wall, before the snake bit me. You get the picture.

Well, after last night I don’t believe that anymore. I had a dream that I was falling out of the sky, and in my dream I somehow knew I was dreaming and so as the ground got closer and closer I had no fear of what was to come. It was as if my subconscious knew I would be alright, I would wake up. But a funny thing happened. I didn’t wake up. I hit the ground. Just as I came through a hole in the clouds I hit, hard, on a slope of green and brown grass. Then I rolled and I literally bounced up and I started running. Yes, I just kept running…with no effort, a complete feeling of freedom and ease, breathing lightly. Then, as peaceful slumber goes, I slowly floated to the surface of sleep, as if surfacing from a deep ocean dive, and opened my eyes.

It took me a few hours to bring that dream back to my consciousness, and I found it interesting but didn’t grasp the importance of it until later that morning reading a chapter on fear in one of the best books I’ve ever read, The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte. Great chapter, but the gist of it is that fear is an emotion and it doesn’t have any power until we do what it says, until it becomes a behavior, something that then begins to rule our actions. Fear is just an emotion, an important one, but no more important or powerful than our emotions of confidence, anxiety, enthusiasm, doubt, abandonment, pragmatism or love. It’s just part of the gang and it needs, wants to be heard and acknowledged and respected, but we don’t have to do what it says.

In fact we should usually do the opposite of what it is telling us to do. Unless a bear is chasing you and fear is telling you to run – you should probably run. So, no joke, the same morning I woke up after having this dream, I read this chapter on fear while on the plane back home and it all became crystal clear that the Universe was having a major teaching point with me. I had just finished that 5-day block working in the ER in California and it had been unusually difficult – car crashes, heart attacks, and I had a patient die, which I take hard. I was exhausted, to the point of tears and wondering how much longer I was going to subject myself to the exhaustion and stress that I am sure is taking years off my life. But my blessing was now obvious – complete and utter exhaustion. Wait…how…what?

It was what was necessary for me to hear my inner voice. Funny how my ego seems to disappear when I feel I have nothing more I can possibly give, making way for that still, small voice to be finally heard. It was necessary for my subconscious to show me through my dream what happens when you let go of fear. And you know what happens? You bounce. You get up and you keep running. And it’s freeing, oh is it ever freeing! You just keep going, and you look back and ask yourself ”what just happened?” It creates the most awesome self-awareness…that you did it….that you did it…and you’re still going…not just barely breathing, but running with wild abandon.

You didn’t die, that only happens when you let your fear stop you, when you do what it wants you to do, keep being afraid…of dying, of failing, of losing the job, the house, the car, the guy, the girl, the game. You get it? If you let go, and stop clinging to the rocks afraid of drowning in whatever it is your swimming through, the current will take you…and deliver you to exactly where you are supposed to be.

How’s that for a blessing?

– Dr. Martin