In the first dream, I find myself onstage in a jazz club. The other musicians are taking their places and I am frozen. I don’t belong here. I’m not a jazz musician. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be playing. I look at the only unoccupied instrument, which looks like a keyboard attached to an antique dresser. There is an attached music stand with notes. Thank god, at least I can read music. It’s too dark to read the music. I try to move the instrument into the light. I see that the music is for a marimba. I pray this is a synthesizer. The band begins and I sit there, not knowing the song, not knowing when I should play, until they all stop and look at me. It must be my turn. I touch the keys, but nothing happens. I don’t know how to turn it on. I’m dying on stage. Someone comes and escorts me off. I am replaced by Oscar Peterson. “Well, I could never play like Oscar Peterson anyway,” I murmur to no one in particular.
In the second dream, I drive my sister’s Tesla, park it, and then forget about it. Suddenly, days later, it occurs to me that I should get the car. It’s raining, I can’t find it. I don’t know if I’m on the wrong street, if it’s been towed because of parking rules or it’s been stolen. I stand there, failure streaming down my face with the rain.
I didn’t need Karl Jung to tell me I was having performance anxiety dreams. I had just signed a contract to create an international online course (see below). I had written a kick ass proposal. I had followed up. I had convinced them that the Feldenkrais Method® was awesome. And they had agreed. So now I have to deliver.
When I woke up from these dreams on two consecutive nights, I realized that there’s still a little voice in my head, my own personal devil, who insists on whispering, “You don’t really know what you’re doing! You’re out of your league! You’re not Oscar Peterson. Or Deepak Chopra. Or Marianne WIlliamson. Who would want you in their band?”
There are moments in each of our lives, when opportunity invites us to leap, while fear lurks in the form of danger. Fear of failure, of not being good enough, of crashing and burning, keeps so many brilliant ideas from flowering. I feel myself on that precipice. I can’t know if I’ll be brilliant, or will freeze onstage. I don’t know if I’ll lose my self-esteem (because surely a Tesla, even a borrowed one, is that and more). “Hey Lavinia,” you’re thinking, “What’s up with that? Didn’t you write a book called What Are You Afraid Of?” Gulp. I often tell people I teach what I need to learn. And it seems I need to learn that lesson over and over again. Feldenkrais said, “We move according to our perceived self-image.” That perception is constantly changing, affecting how I also perceive reality. Those dreams, a message from myself (or as Clarissa Pinkola Estes says, “a message from home,”) woke me up to acknowledge that I’m embarking on something big. Whether it’s a new job, a first time sky diving, or getting married, feeling that fear, and knowing you have the tools to support you, will help you take the leap.