Whose stuff is this anyway? | A Dream

by Elouise


The photo above isn’t at all connected to my dream. It is, however, a magnificent view of a tiny corner of stuff the good people at Longwood Gardens take care of so I don’t have to take care of it! Isn’t that wonderful? I think so.

Now here’s the dream.

I’m at a conference, sitting around an oval table with men and a few women in their late 30s and early 40s. D is also at the table. We know we have to leave soon to drive home. It’s a long drive, and I won’t be able to help D with the driving this time.

D is across the table from me, listening. I want a voice in the conversation, but I’m not sure what’s going on. I make a few attempts to be part of the conversation. The young man who seems to be in charge doesn’t acknowledge me or include me in whatever the still-murky agenda is.

D decides he doesn’t need to be at this table. He signals that he’s ready to leave. I’m not yet ready, so he says he’s going back to our room and will wait for me. I haven’t done all my packing yet, and the drive home will be long. It’s getting late in the day.

Still, I can’t seem to come to closure and leave. I haven’t been introduced or recognized. Several women leave; others take their place. They aren’t introduced or recognized by the young man who seems to be in charge. The women keep leaving. Each leaves behind a bag full of stuff I think she might want later on. Did they intend to leave this stuff behind? I’m not sure.

So now I go from vacated seat to vacated seat picking up left-behind bags of other women’s stuff. I sort through each bag, trying to make it neat and tidy. Yet the longer I do this, the more impossible the task becomes. The last bag I pick up is full of a tangled mess of ribbons. I’m at the end of my patience.

Finally I ask myself, “Why am I doing this?”

In the same moment, I wake up from the dream. The first words out of my mouth are, “I don’t have to sort out other peoples’ stuff!” I feel light and free.

I get up thinking about how much I’ve ‘archived’ for other people, just in case. In case of what? In case I need it someday? In case they need it someday? For what? Am I a repository of other people’s stuff, to say nothing of my own?

I love mountains. They’re spectacularly magnificent. But growing mountains of ‘stuff’ left behind, with me as the self-appointed caretaker or archivist are spectacularly deflating.

Last week, after listening to this dream, a friend asked me what’s driving me right now. Good question. So I began a list.

What’s the ever-expanding list about? That’s for another post. However, I guarantee it’s stuff I must stop taking care of. It keeps me from taking care of stuff I must take care of at this time in my life. No one else can do this for me.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 22 February 2016
Photo credit: DAFraser, February 2016
Orchid Display in Longwood Gardens Conservatory