Sleep has been a real bear lately. Even the drugs that I’ve resorted to haven’t done the trick. So I’m doing the thing I’ve resisted, avoided, neglected, and otherwise tried hard not to do:

I’m looking at my subconscious.

Earlier this week, I pulled a daily affirmation card that said this:

Today, I will identify a situation that binds me to the past and offer it at the feet of the Divine.

Immediately I thought of how Joseph didn’t sleep his first four years, and neither did I, and how incredibly traumatic that was for me. I still have a hard time being close to Joseph at night. It’s hard to sleep in the RV together on camping trips, for instance. And I struggle with intense insomnia almost every night. I have soooo not gotten over this trauma.

I spent that day giving it up to God, over and over again. And that night I had a dream:

A woman got thrown into the back of a garbage truck. At first she thought it was funny, but she soon realized that she was stuck in the garbage and that, no matter how she yelled or banged on the sides, no one could hear her. She realized she was going to die, smothered in all that horrible garbage, unheard and unseen. At one point there was a window and I could see her looking out. Her face was filled with despair and terror, tears running down her cheeks. It was terrible.

The night after that I dreamed that I lived in this horribly hostile world and there was a man stalking me, wanting to rape me. Last night I was at a store and, when I went out, found that wildfire was consuming everything around me. Smoke was everywhere; I couldn’t see and I couldn’t breathe.

Get the feeling I have some work to do?

A dear friend suggested I write for a minimum of 15 minutes before going to bed. I could write anything or everything, but I had to let my subconscious speak. I did this for the first time last night, and I could feel that terrified subconscious sigh a little exhale. I think I’m on the right track.

From a soul perspective, I realize how profoundly Joseph’s autism isn’t just for his growth and expansion; it’s also very much for mine. On Friday mornings some parents gather at Joseph’s school to have coffee and tea. This morning, a few of us got into a discussion about improving the quality of the school lunches. I am waaaay into this, and I said so. They asked me if I could come to a PTA meeting, where we could discuss it with the Principal.

For two years I have wanted to go to the PTA meetings, but they take place right after school and I haven’t known what to do with Joseph. Your typical child could come along and play with other kids quietly in the back, but Joseph is not your typical child. He would need my constant attention — he would be nervous and possibly freaked out. In other words, it wouldn’t work.

These three women are looking at me, waiting for an answer. Perhaps due to this subconscious work, I chose to expose my soft underbelly — my big, shameful secret. I said, “Do you guys know Joseph has autism? It just wouldn’t work to bring him along.”

They all nodded — yes, they knew. I felt the energy change around us — growing, expanding, as our hearts opened more fully to each other. Jenny offered to have her mother, who is experienced with special needs, stay with Joseph so I could attend. And thus my attendance problem was solved.

As I walked toward my car, I could feel my heart happily melting. It was not my big, terrible secret, after all. It was the elephant in the room. The whole darn school must know. If I saw a kid walking toward school flapping his hands, I would know. What the hell have I been thinking these past couple of years? More swimming in that river DeNile, I guess.

Oh, the joy of speaking one’s secrets. Oh, the beauty of making oneself vulnerable. The moment I did, they reached out to help. I am learning so very much.

I am watching and listening more closely now to my dreams and my subconscious. My hope, and my prayer, is that things start to turn around for this woman in the garbage truck, the hostile world, the raging fire. May she start to feel more safe. May she be heard when she asks for help. May she realize that support is right there, just waiting — chomping at the bit, even — to be invited in.