Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Weave Your Web

The night before last, I dreamt of a very large spider.  It was about the size of a golfball, perhaps a bit larger.  It was only the flash of an image and a pinch of dream fear.  But it stuck out to me more than anything else in the dream.  The next morning, as I was slowly waking myself up, I looked at my window blinds right above my head and saw an enormous spider-shaped shadow, almost exactly like in my dream!  I peeked behind the blinds and saw a big spider weaving a magnificent web right outside my bedroom window!  Mind you, it wasn't a golfball-sized spider, but it was it was about the size of the end of my thumb from knuckle to tip.

At first, I felt a twinge of that dream fear trickle through me again as I watched the shadow of it creeping across the blinds.  But then, as I pulled the blinds open and looked closer, I was amazed by how stunningly beautiful and intricate this creature was.  Because there was a pane of glass in-between us, I felt safe to examine the spider from an inch away.  It paused in its webmaking and I saw brown and black aztec patterns on its back.  As I lay in bed and watched it weave, I became more and more aware of its awareness.  Methodically, it pulled the silk from its own body and felt along for the proper place to attach it.  Within 15 minutes the web was complete, and the spider sat in the middle, feeling and claiming its new creation.  After a little while, the spider pulled itself along one thread in the web and hid in the corner of the window, out of sight, waiting for something tasty to run into its trap.

Now, usually I don't analyze my dreams, partially because I can't remember or make sense of them in conscious-land.  But this was too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence.  Spiders have been showing up in my life experience a lot lately.  One night I was driving to pick up a friend, and suddenly I realized that my car was full of spiders!  Little white-bodied ghost spiders crawling all over my dash board and windows!  Ok, maybe not full of spiders, but there were at least 6 of the same kind of spider, and it freaked me out because I didn't know where they were coming from.  I respect spiders and find them interesting, but I do not want them on me.

Anyway, the spider theme stuck out at me and I asked myself what it was about.  What is this spider showing me that I can use?

Well there was a fly in my room at the same time as I watched the spider weave.  I considered opening the window to let it out and into the web.  But then I realized the web might break if I messed with the window.  I thought about the spider's methods of hunting and realized the answer.

Spiders don't go out hunting for flies.  Even though a spider will die if it can't find a fly to eat, it will not go out and hunt down a fly and strangle it with its bare hands and consume it then and there.  The spider uses the resources it has to create something beautiful and nearly invisible.  (If you had no idea what a spider was, and you saw it doing this, you might think it was creating some piece of artwork.  The craftsmanship and care that goes into building a web is impeccable.  Would that everyone applied such technique to the lives they built, this world would see magnificence the likes of which have never existed heretofore.)  That beautiful, invisible creation is then left alone, and the spider waits.  It waits for the perfect moment when what it needs lands in its creation.  It feels the landing, and it rushes forth to take the opportunity.

In my life, I have been so eager to find my way to the fulfillment of my dreams that I have been using a lot of energy to go out and hunt flies.  In this analogy, flies represent money-making opportunities.  Instead of making my web-building the top priority, I have been diffusing my energy by trying to go out and make money in auxiliary ways.  This summer I worked 9 to 4 every day.  I had to commute half an hour each way, so I had to wake up extra early to get there on time.  On top of that I was taking my acting class.  I had no time to pursue acting opportunities, because I was too busy making money in a way that had nothing to do with my dreams.  Yes it was a blessing to have some money to pay off a few debts.  And yes, the job was fun and great for summer.  But by the end of it, I felt so deeply exhausted that I spent two weeks doing nothing but sleeping and resting in every possible way a person can rest.

So last night, my director and I had a chat.  I had wanted to schedule our shoot around an art modeling gig I had scheduled.  I was really hoping to make it work so I could have an extra $40 this week.  But I told him that I was only doing it for the money, and if it was really going to make it a hassle, I would forgo the cash, because the movie was a much more important thing to me.  He agreed to give me my paycheck that night, so either way I was going to be receiving some money.  I was fine with it.

Then this morning, I checked my phone and saw that I had a voicemail message.  It was from my director's professor, offering me a paid acting gig for this weekend!  $50 a day for 2 days!  That's now more than twice as much as I "gave up" by making the acting a priority!

So the point I have been trying to make in my own rambling way is that, as soon as I made my dreams a priority, they came through to support me.  When I decided to focus my energy on weaving my dreamcatcher, my spiderweb, the sustenance landed right in the middle of it.  As soon as I decided that acting was more important than money, the two came to me hand-in-hand.

Now there is a difference between waiting for the opportunities to come after building the web, and just waiting for something to land in your lap without doing any work.  The spider is not entirely passive.  The spider puts a lot of careful work into building the dreamcatcher.  The spider makes sure every thread is in the right place.  But when it is complete, and the structure is sound, the spider gets out of the way and lets the dreamcatcher do its work.  It may not happen instantly, but it will happen if the dreamcatcher is placed well and structured well.

My web has been woven with the resources I have available to me.  The people I have connected with over the last year in my acting class.  The students who have worked on the films I've been in.  And now the professors of those students.  Even (and especially) my dad, and his gracious providence of a car and gas money, food, and a home.  I don't have to worry about these things right now as I build my dream.  I don't even really have to go out and find acting opportunities.  They have been steadily coming to me for the last 2 months.  Only one of the films I have been in this year was one I auditioned for.  The rest of the roles I received were given to me because the people who worked with me when I was just an extra liked me, appreciated my hard work, and knew I would benefit their friends who had more projects to do.

I still do the work.  I still put in the time and travel and work it takes to claim the opportunities.  But the dreamcatcher is snagging up the flies, and all I have to do is take them, wrap them up, and consume them.  All I have to do is show up and be the best I can be.  This is the path to greatness.  I am well on my way!

Thank you.


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