I had a very vivid dream recently that still carries a huge emotional charge for me.  I’ve been doing a lot of self-reflection and review of where things are in my own life. As part of your journey to reclaim your life, you will start to let go of certain things as well: to make room for what serves you better and to accept what you cannot control. Here’s what happened in my recent dream:

I walked up a short hill near the Stanford Quad and saw my family and a number of friends milling about talking excitedly with one another. I smiled and said “Hello!” but no one seemed to hear or see me. I started to feel righteously angry no one even turned to acknowledge me. I mean, it was MY graduation celebration after all!

And then I took a slow, deep breath and felt completely calm & peaceful. They were here for me and were just very excited to be part of this event. There was no reason to be angry. I walked closer to the group and stepped into it as we all started to move towards the center of the Quad.

There were a number of smiling, happy volunteers directing the groups of people in an orderly way to get set up for the group photos for each graduate. Hundreds of people were either moving towards OR away from the photo spot as the volunteers tried to keep the process moving without being pushy. Once again, my family & friends seemed to be just focused on each other with me as a peripheral character. But I merely smiled and squeezed into the back row, put my arms around the two people closest to me and the photographer snapped our photo next.

The volunteers smiled at us and motioned to the right so we could walk towards the dorms to make room for the next family to take their place for a group photo. My family & friends broke into smaller groups, chatting with one another as we headed back to Toyon Hall for a reception dinner.

I found myself walking with my cousin, Melanie, and my mom. At this point, I became more lucid within the dream and knew I was just dreaming. My mom was walking quickly with us while carrying her walking cane. In real life, I knew that kind of walking, with or without a cane, was in the past just like my college graduation. I smiled sadly at her knowing what I was witnessing was really just a dream.

Melanie & my mom started talking about raising boys, how it’s different from raising girls, etc. I slowed down to let them have a bit more time just with each other to compare notes. My mom spoke a bit more loudly over her shoulder to make sure I could hear her, “Well, I have plenty of experience raising a stubborn boy so I can share my tips with you, Melanie!”

I stopped & smiled again at her. No anger & defensiveness, no need to try and correct her, nothing. I truly felt grown-up, authentic & sadly peaceful at that moment. No need to defend myself or who I had become.


As I awoke from the dream, the tears that had started to flow while I was sleeping continued to flow. I did not try to stop them or fix them or pretend them away. The house was quiet while my dog, Keegan, continued to sleep deeply pressed tightly against my leg on top of the covers as per usual.

There were so many emotions & things brought up during the dream. I felt a sense of deep sadness, peace and hope – all sitting together as I reflected on all the personal growth work I’d begun for my new life chapter.

I’ve had to face a number of difficult things over the last few years once I decided to stop blaming everyone & everything for what is or is not in my life right now. At the time of the dream, I had to accept the fact that a happy stroll like that through the Stanford Campus with my mom (and rest of my family all together) walking so quickly & easily on her own, is not to happen again.

I know for so many years, I did not live like who I was or what I did really mattered. When my mom was 1st diagnosed with cancer, I truly wanted to work with her & and help her reclaim her life again in whatever ways she could. (We all did within the family.) It was part of my very strong desire to “pay-it-forward” after finally getting my own act together.

I’ve had to accept the fact that I can reach my hand out to invite some to walk along side me during difficult times. But I don’t control if someone rejects my open hand and decides to walk in a different direction instead. Each of us must walk our own journey while having other amazing teachers & loved ones next to us for part of the path of our journey.

As I prepare to publish this post, my mom is finishing up some time in the hospital before release to a care facility. Everyone in the family realizes that there is likely very little time left. So in real life, just like in my dream, I’m choosing to smile at her in both a sad yet accepting way.

If you’re on a journey to reclaim your life, I hope you can find the small & big ways to practice acceptance with yourself and others. It’s one of the key tips that helps you step forward with less dragging you backwards into the past …

by Sean O’Meara by Sean O'Meara