Sansaku: Wrestling


I don’t wrestle with every dream that comes along, but I’ve got ahold of this one and won’t let go. I’m looking for a blessing, not an answer.

In the dream, I’m wrestling with a sentence. My writing practice seems to have slipped through the boundary and entered the dream world. I reword the sentence at least five times. “She eats mosquitos and shows me the source of the river.”

The place is an ideal vision and mythically deep. The river flows over and around water-polished rocks that are soft and sculpted. The aspen grove on the far side is lush with wildflowers. There’s a newborn elk calf. She’s nursing. The cow knows we mean no harm.

The woman has no name.   And for all I know, she could have elven blood. Bugs don’t bother her in the least, she eats the mosquitos with love and pleasure. Both sides know what’s happening. It’s clearly a give and take. This connects.

I think back to the dream sentence and why it bugs and bothers me. I know what I need to do.

About this time last year, I wrote a Sansaku about wrestling with a dream. I briefly told the story of Jacob wrestling a blessing from the angel. He wouldn’t let go.

In Greek mythology, if you wrestle with old Proteus and don’t let go as he changes from form to form, you can ask him a question. “What do you want to know?” What’s with the changing from form to form?

I titled that Sansaku, “Something like Gratitude.” That’s what the blessing felt like. “I’ve slowly come to realize our everyday life is the practice and small details look holy and large through the inner eye.”

I want to get up close, it’s like wrestling and holding on. I’ve been re-iterating the sentence in the dream, “She eats mosquitos and shows me the source of the river.”

When I started Sansaku, I took the time to tell a couple of long stories, “Jumping Mouse,” and “Green Eyes.” There’s a reason I wrestled with both of them so long. And there’s a reason I haven’t finished the story about Dow, Dahl, and Em. I’m still learning how to enter.

My favorite places have really strange boundaries and if it’s hard to get in, it’s hard to get out. Good love stories are like that.

Some dreams are dark epiphanies that come as warnings. Be prepared. Mine usually lead me on.

The epiphany comes in the form of open-eyed shock and realization: “How could I have missed it? The wonder of it all.” But it goes beyond words and I keep writing the sentence over and over. I want to get it right. It’s important in the dream.

Everything is holy, everything is sacred, everything is right. It’s the feeling at the source of things. She’s eating mosquitos.

Fall asleep, wake up.

Most artists wrestle with perfection, which is said to be the sworn enemy of art. Just try to be and do your best and see what happens. The artist says, “Bring it on.” It’s just out of reach and they never let go. Hold on. It’s not a win, lose, or draw sort of match.

Meditation wrestles with the mind. I used to think I could control the sneaky beast and trick it to get what I wanted. But I didn’t know exactly what it was I wanted. It turns out there’s a better way to get the desired response.   Hold on and ask for a blessing.

It’s why I wrestle with love.









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