I am running through a deep jungle. Bright blurry shades of green mix with sharpdaggers of sunlight as I frantically leap to dodge the twisted roots in my path. Fear grips my heart, soaking into my bones and saturating my vision until the jungle transforms into a jumble of shifting shadows. I glance behind me into the thickening dark, not yet willing to face the thing that is chasing me and for a moment, I feel a sense of comfort. I am not alone in my escape. I glimpse an elderly Chinese woman running just behind me, her face contorted, her lips frozen in a half-scream.
She motions for me to hide behind a large boulder. I obey and we are side by side, gasping for air and leaning against the smooth coolness of the rock. I realize she is clutching at something. A fine silky red thread is spilling out between her shaking fingers. One end of the string trails away from her heaving frail body and disappears behind the boulder, into the jungle and the thing beyond. The other end of the string snakes its way to back to me and is firmly wrapped around my wrist. I peer down at the worn thread and notice the small indentations, cuts and scars it has left on my skin underneath. Her tired eyes tell me the weight of this thread is heavy, but necessary. She lays her warm hand on mine and smiles.
Her eyes suddenly widen and her smile is gone. The red thread goes taut and her wrist is yanked violently behind her. “Hurry! Run!” she gasps. “It’s coming again.”
I stagger to my feet and we both begin to run, the thread thicker and heavier now. We reach a rushing river with a series of long white tunnels stretching across. I must choose one to safely lead us to the other side. If I choose wrong, the thing will find us merely by following the red string. The old woman grabs me by the shoulders, the weight of her hands pushing down, her fingers digging into my neck. “Don’t go the old way,” she hisses. She points to a clump of leaves next to the river and I see it: A single white tunnel hidden behind the bush, much narrower than the others. A shaft of soft white light glows from inside. “Go on,” the woman’s voice commands. I step toward the tunnel and the red thread stretched between us begins to unravel. I hesitate, panic rising in my throat. “Go on,” the woman whispers. I take another step and the thread breaks, softly slipping away from my wrist. It falls away and vanishes. I open and close my hand. I feel light. I laugh. I am free.
This was a recent dream of mine. It seemed incredibly strange and vivid enough to stay with me into the next morning. I thought, how odd to be dreaming about a red thread and this woman. How did this make any sense? But it kept popping back into my thoughts.
Later that day, I was sitting in my car, taking my mother on errands, the usual daily humdrum, when I turned the radio on. I heard this female artist introducing a song. She said it was about the ancient Chinese belief that all babies are born with a red thread of fate. Some say it connects us with our “soulmate”. And this thread can be twisted, it can be stretched, but it can never break.
Have you ever had things happen which you can’t explain away to coincidence? Signs that someone is trying to tell you something important? Well, this was that something. I had chills when I heard about this thread of fate on the radio, the day after I had that dream.
I think my dream was sparked by a fellow blogger’s post that struck a chord with me, Lisa’s post, The Line Between, on her blog Woman Wielding Words. About how things seem to connect us with looping, repeating, invisible lines, like a web of sorts. Within the collective unconscious and woven into our deepest dreams, I can see this is true.
After my red thread dream, I am beginning to see more clearly and understand the patterns in life we all must face, learn from and resolve. The most painful and raw of our emotions tend to follow us, no matter how hard we try to shake them loose by avoiding them or running away. Our relationships with each other (and with ourselves) are a direct result of how we deal with these innermost fears and demons. Some believe that these deeply ingrained patterns in our relationships can go back into other previous lifetimes. Perhaps they are replayed time and again until we make the decision to choose a different path and therefore finally achieve a positive outcome.
My mother and I have had a tumultuous relationship our entire lives. It seems we keep pushing each others’ buttons until we both grow weary and bitter. Yet, we keep doing it. Why? Can’t I see that things won’t change if I choose this old path? Fear keeps me from trying something new. Our old habits may be destructive, yet we oddly feel they’re comforting. What if I approached my mother in a different way? What if I allowed myself to see things from her perspective and allow those old feelings of bitterness and resentment wash over me and drip away, releasing their grip? What if I broke that red thread that binds us? What if I chose to be free?
Actually, we have no problems
we have opportunities for which we should give thanks…
An error we refuse to correct has many lives.
It takes courage to face one’s own shortcomings
and wisdom to do something about them.