I had a vivid dream once, and it went like this [caution – gory content ahead]:
It’s 2017. I died.
I’m walking through a parade; a throng of people walking in unison to the festive beat along a new-orleans-esque street. A sudden dread welled up through my sternum and permeated every cell of my being. “Run”, it said. “Turn back and run. You are in imminent danger!”
With a heavy heart and bated breath, I turned to walk in the opposite direction – against the rhythm of the masses. The sense of panic intensified and as my eyes swiftly darted from left to right, I knew this night would end in my demise. As if to fulfill such prophesy, I immediately encountered my masked assailant as he took a knife to my throat and slid it open. Blood trickled down my neck and warmed my chest. I screamed to no avail and only managed to collapse into a helpless heap as my life force slowly drained out of me.
Upon waking, and getting over the initial shock, I was confused but mainly curious. Then I went and painted this:
While I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.Leonardo da Vinci
Through the process of painting an embodied image of my dream, it brought to my awareness the parts of me – the beloved defense, the old and loyal friend, the familiar protector – that I had to let go. Or let die. Towards change for the better.