Archive for the 'work' Category
In Solidarity with Wisconsin Public Workers & Workers Everywhere

General Strike

Long Time Gone

TemperanceLayoff day was surreal.  Our managers told us the day before to be onsite because there would be “communications.”  So we all came in and waited and waited and waited.  We were having a hard time concentrating on work, so we cracked jokes among ourselves in the spirit of gallows humor.  The new “open concept” workstations they have us in now made the waiting a group activity for better or worse.

After lunch they began summoning some of us one by one to the HR Conference Room.  That was the sign you were in trouble – your phone ringing and the words “HR Conference Room” showing on your phone’s caller ID panel.  Sad to work for a company for 10-15 years or more with a good record and then have it end with that phone call.

A woman who sits across from me was one those who got the call.  She’s a single woman in her mid 50s.  She has a mortgage she’s paying by herself.  I know because she had previously told me that she’s been having anxiety attacks about how she’s going to pay her mortgage if she gets laid off.

Hanging up from the call, she announced: “I’ve been summoned.” When she came back from the conference room, she had a maroon folder which she waved at us to indicate she had been laid off.  Then she sat down, put her head on her desk and cried.

After they were done summoning people, giving them maroon folders and sending them home, the director called the rest of us into another conference room to give us the official word on what had happened and to brace us to fill the workflow gaps left by the cuts.  Someone asked if they were done cutting for the foreseeable future or if this was just a temporary reprieve.  He responded that he could only say that they have no plans at this time to cut more people.

“But this is it for 2010, right?” someone said.

The director shook his head and repeated: “I can only say that there are no plans for more cuts at this time.”

He couldn’t even promise a group of ten employees that there would be no further cuts among them for the next five months.  How can so-called middle class Americans live with this kind of ongoing instability?  (I say “so-called” because I think ‘middle class’ is a bogus concept that was used to hoodwink most Americans into thinking that they’re not working class . . . and ultimately it helped to defeat the union movement, much to our detriment.)

More to the point, how can Americans make big life decisions, buy homes, save for retirement and do the things that are supposed to make them middle class — the very same things that fuel the economy?  Clearly the middle class American lifestyle is no longer sustainable.  It’s already an empty shell, but sadly people are still saddled with their middle class mortgages and bills.

And the 50-something-year-old single woman with a mortgage who was laid off — I wish her the best and hate to ask the question, but how likely is it that she’ll get another job of comparable pay and benefits?  The job market is shriveling.  Any job that isn’t nailed down has gone or is going overseas.

For now, my situation is different from hers.  I am married and my husband has a union job with no-layoff clause in his contract.  So I went into work that day with a different mindset.  I was wearing my Thoreau necklace – a silver pendant engraved with the quote: Live the life you have imagined.   I was mentally ready to take the crisis I was dealt and make it an opportunity to live more authentically.

But I did not get laid off.

In the days that have followed, it has become clear that my crisis is indeed at hand, but it’s of another type.  Not the job crisis I was consciously prepared for, but a darker, more fundamental and – for me, at least – scarier one that has been rustling under the surface for a long time now.  On some level I’ve known forever that it would eventually come to head if I continued on the Path.  But when I commenced formal study in the Mysteries over a year ago, I declared:  “I will move forward on the Path, come what may.”  I meant it then, and I mean it now.

So the task for me now is to stand by the vow I made regarding the potential layoff: to face the darkness and redeem it . . . to take the crisis and make it an opportunity to temper and equilibrate my personality and live in a more aligned, authentic manner.

That’s all I’ll say for now.  Sorry for vague personal posting.  I grapple with what I should or should not be posting here.  I don’t want to post fact-laden essays about what’s going on in the world because others do that well.  On the other hand, I don’t want to post narcissistic rambling.  But after all, the blog is called Climbing toward the Light.  Should I not be sharing my journey?  I will try to find a constructive way to share it.  And I will try to do it in my true voice instead of the stilted weirdness that often comes over me here.


Outer Work & Inner Peace

“It has taken years to come to this place in time and space.  Your personality is resisting.  However, your Soul brought you here.”

We got the announcement this week at work – the one where the manager nervously calls everyone into his office and gulps before launching into a rehearsed spiel about the layoffs being made in other groups as we speak (QA virtually wiped out) and about how now the consultants are turning their attention to our group for “reorg” and consolidation — and there WILL be “job impacts” among us in the next 30 days.

No numbers at this time.  Might as well be a number and names drawn from a hat because that’s how firmly based in reality these decisions are.  That’s how much the people making them know.

We co-workers looked at each other in silence.  Although we have been through round after round of company layoffs over the last few years, this was the first time our small group heard the announcement directed at us in particular.  Up until now, the impact on us has been friends lost and crazier working conditions because key people in sister groups were let go and their work was outsourced to offshore vendors who have no clue about our products and customers.

Now it is our turn on the block.

We have been working together for years now.  The core group of us has been together in one capacity or another for over ten years.  We have been through a lot of changes in the company and seen many CEOs and top executives come and go.  This one now – the one who brought in the current crew of consultants to radically “reorg” us yet again – he has been with the company for a few months.  He has very little understanding of the actual business.  He specializes in coming into a company, ‘shaking things up’ and leaving.  He specializes in not dealing with consequences.

He is a former jock and has the blithe unblinking confidence of a dolt.  He sends us a lot of email communiqués using acronyms we never heard of to describe our organization.  He has the facilities guys busy putting up posters and distributing desk drops with slogans and goals that are hard to decipher because of all the unfamiliar acronyms.  He expects us to attend forced social events involving football jerseys and fake beer.  This while the work piles up on our desks because they’ve already laid off too many people for there to be time to spare.

The current CEO was brought in after the previous CEO was let go.  The old one was let go by the next bigger CEO in our company’s convoluted global structure, which is like a contraption Dr. Seuss might have dreamed up in a nightmare.  There is at least one other CEO above the bigger CEO’s head, not counting any of the sideways CEOs and assorted bigwigs with “dotted line” authority over us.

The old local CEO was smarter than this one, but he was meaner.  He liked to summon us randomly by personal invitation to attend lunch with him in small groups.  You were not allowed to decline and woe to those who showed late.  At these lunches, after staring us down for a while to stir up anxiety, he would pontificate about his grand plan for the company, quiz us on matters we did not have access to and then tell us testily that if we wanted to keep our jobs we had better jump to attention and take ownership.

Not literally, of course.  Just work AS IF we had ownership.  AS IF we were making millions like him.

He lasted a little over a year.  He had his own crazy acronyms, posters and desk drops.  All went into the dumpster when the new guy came.

So we – long-time co-workers and in most cases friends – looked at each other in silence while our manager nervously delivered this speech.  There was a curl of a smirk on more than one of our faces.

Not because we don’t need our paychecks and medical coverage.  We do.  Not because we feel invulnerable to the axe.  We don’t.  Just because of the sheer absurdity of our company, the global economy and the leaders of all of the above.

The day had started out with a thought-provoking weekly horoscope from Risa D’Angeles at Night Light News.  She is a fellow Pisces and her esoteric horoscopes are uncanny.  The last line of the current one is quoted at the start of this post.  I was mulling it over at my desk while I worked that morning.

It has taken years to come to this place?

I didn’t feel I was any place yet.  I was feeling more or less like I always feel – like I am trying to get to that place.

So, yes, my personality was resisting.

All my life I’ve longed to do meaningful creative work that serves humanity, in alignment with what I feel within.  This desire has translated into me on a perpetual quest to earn my Right Livelihood.  For a number of reasons too complicated to go into here, what I have done instead is back myself into the corner of a crappy job in a crappy company, so that most of my time is engaged in empty work that is beneath my abilities.

Meanwhile, the contradictions in the world are coming to a head, and we seem to be arriving at a crossroads.  The hour seems to call for heroic works to realize the Brotherhood of Man – not soulless busy work to enrich The Man.

This contradiction has been bothering me for a long time.  But as the morning wore on, I was thinking that I’ve had it backwards by focusing on my outer work as a precondition to my inner peace.

Maybe the most heroic thing any of us can do is to take up the reins of our lives wherever we are now and set out to master ourselves from the inside out – without feeling ground down by external conditions, without feeling like we’re on an amusement park ride that is not amusing.  Maybe the most heroic thing we can do is to go within, face the darkness and redeem it.  If enough of us do it, we redeem the world.

I can’t say I’m not afraid of losing my job within the next few weeks, but I can see it’s time to face this monster head on.

*      *       *

P.S. I have haven’t been posting because I am studying and, to a lesser degree, working on a novel, but for what it’s worth, I do want to clean up this blog and make it a place for emerging thoughts.  Just not exactly sure of the shape of it yet…I hope to get rolling soon.

If anyone reading this is also facing a layoff or is already out of a job, I wish you the strength and vision you need to face this crisis and turn it into an opportunity to become more true to who you are.


7/3/10 UPDATE: After tiptoeing through the month of June, we were told there’s been a delay and now we won’t hear until “mid July” by one account, “after the holiday” by another. We all wish they would just get it over with. If they lay me off, I will use it as an opportunity…part of me hopes they do.

Labor Day Musings on My Alienated Labor


So it’s Labor Day weekend here in the U.S.  Labor Day, of course, is the holiday that was invented to divert the American working class from celebrating May Day with the rest of the world.  Instead of joining in international class solidarity and remembering those who gave their lives in the struggle for basic things like the eight-hour day, we Americans go shopping, lie on the beach and eat mad cow burgers at barbecues.  It’s a big party weekend signifying the end of the summer – and one fleeting workday off from the misery of our jobs.

Right now the biggest obstacle I’m facing on my spiritual journey is my job.  I dread it.  I feel chained and trapped by it – it is feeding on me and dragging me down. 

I won’t belabor why my job sucks.  I will say only that it is as if I am a flute desiring nothing but to play my tune.  But my job uses me as if I am a can opener.  Dump trucks piled high with cans are unloaded in my cube each day and I am expected to have them all opened in a couple hours.  Then I am expected to write reports about how many cans I opened, how many cans I farmed out to the Philippines to open, what categories of cans were opened, how many cans are left to open in each category, what is the rate of all the opening, what is the rate of the reporting on the opening, how many cans do I expect to come in for opening in the future.  In between, I am responding to complaints about the contents of the cans. 

To top off the absurdity, no one wants the cans – open or closed.  The customers are demanding about them because they are paying my company a premium for its services.  But they don’t really want the cans.  They serve no useful purpose in the world. 

Just as using a flute as a can opener day in day out would be damaging to the flute, my job is damaging to me.

When I was a manager, I took work home literally and figuratively.  It took up residence in my head and pushed me out of my life.  Now that I have a scaled down job, I no longer take work home.  I think I am leaving it behind at the end of the workday, but I wake up in the night after a couple hours of sleep to find that my mind is caught in a loop of worry over what I have to do at work.  This is now happening six out of seven days a week.  My only night off is Friday.

So here I am back to square one.  I left my managerial job to reclaim my life.  I got a scaled down job thinking I could keep it in bounds.  For a while it worked, but now it, too, is growing like a weed throughout my mind, choking out my own plantings. 

Some people tell me I should not think twice about work – I should just come in, do what I can without stressing and, if it’s not enough, let management worry about it.  These shoulds join the other shoulds in my head.  The ones from childhood that tell me I should be a good worker and always meet or exceed expectations (even if wildly unreasonable).  All this shoulding gangs up on me, telling me there is something wrong with the way I am and how I feel.

A part of me feels like a failure for not being able to keep my day job in its place, but another part of me will not relent: I am NOT a can opener!  I refuse to spend most of my time and energy opening cans that no one wants or needs.  I don’t want to separate myself from my work.  I want to play my song.  I want my work to be a true expression of me and what I came here to do.  I want to work in alignment with my higher self and the evolution of the planet.

And maybe this is not a matter of dreamy escapist me being unable to settle down and get along in the world.  Maybe this is the truer part of me pushing onward and outward into manifestation.  And maybe if enough of us manage to manifest our truer parts, we will be the change we want to see in the world in sufficient numbers to change the world.  

I’ve been thinking about Kingsley Dennis’s comment on my last post.  He quoted the Persian poet Saadi:  “If you wish to find the Truth, dive into the ocean. But if you prefer security, stay upon the shore.”  Maybe I am trying to dive into the ocean while keeping a toe on the shore with a corporate ‘day job.’  An obvious contradiction – hence my discomfort in the pose.  Something has got to give.  I have to let go.  Somehow.

Out of Sync: More Wage Slavery Angst

contribution.JPGLately the synchronicity stream has me awash in one-offs. I jolt awake at 4:43 and 3:44 and 4:45. My timestamps are 3:33:34 and 4:44:43. My electric toothbrush stops inexplicably at 2:21 minutes while I am still trying to brush. People inadvertently send me emails at exactly 1:10. The best was the QA test I received at work after I finished telling a friend I am always one off lately – the auto-generated title was “Sanity Test 11:10:10.”

I feel off. The perennial contradiction between my job and what I see as my true work in the world has me spiraling down. I hate that I spend most of my time and energy working for The Man. I hate the idea generally, and it only makes it worse that my job is absurd on every level.

It hurts my head to do my job. I don’t know how else to describe it. Work is an energetic river – I guess all activity is – and dipping into this particular river does violence to my mind and spirit.

It’s not that my job entails activities are in themselves difficult – far from it. But they are crude and inane – and far beyond one person in volume.

Ultimately, though, the work is fundamentally non-aligned. You could say that I work for the defenders of those who would put a spigot on air and force us to pay to breathe.

It’s painful to turn to that frequency.

To those of you in the same boat as me, I ask can we agree to stop this? Spending our days working for the wrong team in grossly mismanaged situations, banging our heads into walls, trying to accomplish nonsensical tasks given to us by bosses without a respective clue, doing the work of whole departments because they keep laying people off, driving long, harrowing commutes back to heavily mortgaged homes . . . By the time we’re home, we’re mentally and physically exhausted, but then there many household tasks that every good suburbanite must do. We’re just starting to feel human again when it’s time to go to sleep. Next thing we know, the alarm is ringing and we have to go back.

I don’t want to go back.

There is something else I long to do that I think would be a much more worthwhile contribution, but it doesn’t often pay a living. I’ve been trying to figure out a way, but the health care/health insurance issue is a stumper.

I may not have figured out an alternate route yet, but I do know we are all better than this. Our time, our will, our creative power should not be wasted and misused in this way. This is NOT who we are.

I really liked Charles Eisenstein’s post “Money: A New Beginning” on Reality Sandwich a while back. He captured the absurdity of the artificial scarcity that we are living in. He writes:

For indeed, we live in a world of fundamental abundance, a world where vast quantities of food, energy, and materials go to waste. Half the world starves while the other half wastes enough to feed the first half. In the Third World and our own ghettos, people lack food, shelter, and other basic necessities, but cannot afford to buy them. Other people would love to supply these necessities and do other meaningful work, but cannot because there is no money in it.

When paying work is meaningless at best and destructive at worst and when meaningful work doesn’t pay enough to sustain the worker, the system is obviously unsustainable.

“Contribution” image by my husband, used courtesy of a marriage license.

Wage Slavery & Chrysalis 2012

I tend not to get worked up about conspiracies. I am glad that there are people delving into the shadows and bringing specific instances to light, but my main concern is the open conspiracy that we all live every day. How is it that a small minority has made it so most of the rest of us must sell our labor power to them in order to survive? Or turning it around, how is it that the majority lives in either wage slavery or dire poverty (or both) for the profit and enrichment of the few?

As I see it, the laundry list of what’s wrong with the world we’ve constructed is rooted directly or indirectly in that fundamental violation.

Our labor power – our ability to make and use tools to create things and modify our living conditions – is the very thing that defines our species. Having to sell it to survive alienates us from our essential humanity. Aside from genocide or chattel slavery, I can’t think of a more potent way to hold us down, sap our life energy and block our evolution.

And now the ruling class is baring its teeth as it fortifies its power and profits in a world of accelerating change. It is orchestrating an intensification of brutality, oppression, repression, exploitation around the globe – greasing it all up with FEAR.

But I sense a quickening under the surface as 2012 approaches. Some people are awakening, and in awakening, they are becoming.

In “Old Struggles on a New Earth,” Daniel Pinchbeck offers a constructive way to look at this period and the opportunity in presents:

My view is that “2012″ is useful as a meme if it helps us to catalyze a shift in global culture and consciousness. Rather than fretting about what may or may not happen on that date, we should concentrate on the work that needs to be done now, on an inner as well as outer level.

Neil Kramer also talks about our potential power (and responsibility) in his post Crossing The Rubicon: Breaking The Fake News Trance:

The very act of comprehending the nature of our creative consciousness undermines the Control System by raising the frequency of consciousness out of the manipulation field and into inspired independence. I believe, as others have for millennia, that the outer world is a direct reflection of our own private inner consciousness. When a critical mass of people understand that the game is not a good game anymore, that there is a better way of living and evolving, then the awesome synchronous power of the universe begins to paint a new world into being.

So what if a growing number of us begins to awaken to the idea that this is a game and not a good one — that there is a better way of living and evolving? What if we spread, and constellate? And what if we find ways to bring our evolving consciousness into positive manifestation in the world – to help liberate others as well as ourselves?

We will form the chrysalis of a new world in the belly of the dying beast. We will grow and when we are ready, we will shed the old outer world like a snake shedding its skin.

Dream: Midnight Sun

Last night I dreamt that I was at work – miserable and frustrated – and someone kept stealing my desk. While it was gone, I lay down on a counter and fell asleep. When I woke I felt guilty for dozing, but then I realized that it was pitch black in the office. I turned on the lights and realized it was black as night outside. I looked at the clock and saw it was noon. I went around commenting to everyone on how could it be black as night in the middle of the day.

Then I was asleep in my bed, realizing – with dread – that I would have to wake up for work soon. I got up, got dressed and left the house. I was greeted with a stunningly beautiful sunny day outside. It was unseasonably warm – around 70 degrees. I realized that it was too warm for March and then realized the sun was high overhead, as if it were noon. I checked the clock and it was 2:00 a.m.

Had night and day flip flopped?

No one was out – it was in the middle of the night. It was so amazingly beautiful. It was a secret day just for me and the birds. I was walking a sandy path along a dried up lake, drawing it all in. I was overjoyed with the beauty of the place. I started dancing barefoot in the sand. Then I was dancing in the lake as well, which was mostly a sandy beach.

Right Place: Clicking My Ruby Slippers

We bought a new water fountain for our cat. It must have the scent of someone else’s pet on it because our cat is acting as if a strange and terrifying animal has taken over the house. So he has banished himself to the basement. He is crying down there. He longs to come up. Everything is waiting for him: food, water, comfort, companionship. But he can’t overcome his fear. We have to get rid of the fountain, but until we do, he is living in self-imposed limitation. All because of a fear-based illusion – no strange animal has taken over the house.

Am I like my cat? Am I living in the basement, full of angst over where I am and pining away for my Right Place, when all I need to do is step across the line of my self-imposed limitation?

In Creating the Work You Love: Courage, Commitment, and Career, Rick Jarow talks about how finding our place in the world literally can also mean finding our place figuratively:

A person can become empowered by a place. For many people, the matter of creating artful life work may not be so much a question of finding the right job as it is of finding the right place. If you feel connected to a place and many people report moving into the area on the intuitive strength of knowing that this is where they belong, honor that place. Find a way to develop a relationship with it. The place itself will then produce the work that is needed to keep you there. I cannot emphasize this strongly enough. It is quite mysterious how a place calls a person, and there are stories upon stories of peoples’ fortunes changing when they change location. This does not mean that you must pick up and move somewhere because things are not going well; that would be giving into the scarcity principle in another form. On the other hand, honoring the energies and feelings that a place communicates to us factors into our personal management work. . . .

The question that must be asked along with “What do I want to do?” is “Where should I do it? Where can I integrate into a community of like-minded people who are likely to support the creative expression of my work?” [188]

So maybe we don’t have to have it all worked out before we can go. Maybe going there will enable us to work it out. That feels right to me. Still, there are certain basic considerations we need to have accounted for before we can leave: jobs, health care, medical insurance. And these are the considerations that keep us cycling around looking for a doorway.

But I like Jarow’s notion of “honoring the energies and feelings that a place communicates.” Maybe that is the doorway. Honor those energies in your life wherever you are, and they will expand. And in expanding, they will lead somewhere.

Meanwhile, a friend emailed me today with the very wise and deeply appreciated comment that Maine is actually my place of Love and Freedom and that even if I never get to live there, I am already holding it inside, just let it be . . .

Work is the Curse of the Awakening Class

The February 20 Lunar Eclipse fell in my 6th house – work and health. Storm clouds are gathering there for me now, as they have been gathering for so many of us, with outsourcing, offshoring and inadequate health care coverage being the order of the day.

The morning after the eclipse greeted people at my workplace with a slew of corporate communications announcing the most profitable year in a decade and across-the-board reorganization, meaning – yes, they said it – job cuts.

Thing is, they said the second part as if it is something new. As if we haven’t already had successive rounds of reorganization and layoffs over the last few years. As if we weren’t already cut to the bone — deep into the bone in some areas. In fact, there have been so many layoffs now, they stopped acknowledging it when people go. People are disappearing in ones and twos each week, and you don’t realize it until you happen to go looking for them and find out that they were laid off a month ago.

Then on Friday there was a brief meeting with my boss that brought the storm clouds to me personally. No, I was not laid off. Let’s just say that for more than a year, I’ve been dealing with a bad situation at work. They have been stringing me along with promises to “make things right.” This week the time came for them to show good faith toward doing so, and they reneged. In fact, they acted as if they had never made the promises to begin with, which tells me they may have other plans for my position there – plans I won’t like if they involve me at all.

So I am angry right now, but not overwhelmingly so. In the past, I would have been carried off by my anger. I would have let it drag me down into the drama of the illusion. This time I feel the anger, to be sure, but I am only wading in it. My head is clear.

I have been unhappy in my job for a while. What my company has given me now is a gift because it clarifies where I stand in relation to my job. It keeps me from allowing myself to once again be sucked into their agenda – so that my soul purpose is lost while I scramble to fulfill my company’s goals for me and once again my job takes me out of alignment and crowds me out of my life.

So thank you, bosses. I will not be revisiting that road of gross misalignment. I will not confuse myself into thinking that my employment in your organization has anything to do with my true career, my professional mission, my contribution to the world. I am reminded: my job with you is merely a paycheck, and it may be eliminated at any time on short notice. I will treat it accordingly. I will not be giving it a second thought when the clock returns my time and creative power to me.

Well, duh – right? But I have a long history of being compulsive about work. I want my work in the world to be my mission, my life center, my raison d’etre. My natural desire is to plug into it and pour my creative essence in. Because of the exploitive nature of work under capitalism and the toxicity of the American economy, I inevitably end up doubly abused.

During the eclipse the moon was occulted in my sixth house, signifying upheaval and possibly loss in the work and/or health spheres of my life. My philosophy is not to hold on and wait for the waves of change to slam into you. Instead, I try to review what needs to be changed and then embrace the waves offering up the change as a sacrifice.

So throughout the eclipse, I meditated on surrendering my negative attachments to my job. And yes, surrendering my job itself. I received a vision of a waterfall in a lush forest. I went down to the base of the waterfall and found a tails-up penny in the sandy riverbed there. Then a tiny white crystal emerged and nestled itself between my eyes. Time will tell what role this crystal play in my life, but if it is anything like Falcon and Bear — who came to me during last year’s lunar eclipse – it will be an ally. I am ready for whatever the bosses throw at me.

My one-pointed focus remains and continues to sharpen. Unrecognized, unrewarded and unvalued in the world of late-stage American capitalism, it nevertheless is all that is.


I continue to spin. During the day I carry on reasonably, even feeling somewhat optimistic part of the time. But at night I wake in existential terror.

I know have wasted too much of my life floating – listing in the winds and cross currents. I have been clueless about very simple things such as seeing where I want to go in the distance and making my way there bit by bit. I have seen obstacles as endlessly high and perfectly sheer stone walls. Instead of looking for the chink or the crack, I’ve backed off and tread water, hoping for some kind of deus ex machina. And always I have strived give others what they seem to want, defining my relationships in terms of how the other party sees it instead of how it is for me.

All of my deferring, floating, listing and treading water has led me to this point of contradiction. Everything in serious doubt. Nothing as I wanted. The fundamental expression of my life force is blocked. I am choking.

I know the way through this is to take command of my vessel and steer out of these waters. I just need to figure out how. . . since clearly I missed that day in school.

The Falcon and the Bear

On Wednesday workers in my division were summoned to a mandatory “town hall.” We arrived at the appointed time to find a cold dark empty room. The heat was off. No one had set up the chairs or the mic or the phone for people dialing in. The speaker arrived late and told us what we already guessed . . . there will be layoffs. Basically, any jobs that can be offshored will be offshored. The changes will come in phases over the next couple years. Meanwhile, trouble abounds at home. The future is a molten landscape – I no longer see the way ahead.

That night I dreamt that I was back at my parents’ house. It was night. I opened the front door and a huge falcon came in. It pushed its way past me and I followed it upstairs. It went into my old room and sat on my old bed, turning to look back at me. I remained on the stairs, yelling to the others that a falcon had come into the house and what were we going to do.

I went back downstairs and opened the front door again. This time a huge black bear pushed its way in. For a few frightening moments, it seemed it was chasing me, but it passed me on the stairs and joined the falcon in my old room, closing the door but leaving it slightly ajar.

I had the feeling they wanted me to follow them, but I was afraid. I didn’t know what to do. I went back downstairs and out the front door. I found my cats outside in the bushes, exiled from the house in their fear of the falcon and bear inside.