Naked From the Waist Up

BookshelvesOver my lifetime, I have had at least 4 dreams that turned out to have profound significance.  For two of them, it took decades of recurrence before their meanings were manifest.   For the other two, their message was clear as a bell at the get-go.

Tonight, I’m going to share the most recent one.  It came sometime in the fall of 2016.

In the dream, I was on a sales call with my top sales person.  As this was a highly important potential customer, he’d asked me to come along.  We walked in the front door and up to a counter.   Two people were behind it.  The counter was chest high.  I rested my arms on it as my companion made the introductions.

It was then that I noticed a huge and embarrassing problem.  My sales person was dressed in appropriate business attire.  Be me?  His boss?  There I was, perched on the front counter…..without a shirt on my back.  Oh man, was I ever rattled by that sudden realization.  How the hell did this happen?  How am I going to hide my nakedness from the prospect?

But….no one was staring.  That was odd.  Three others in the lobby.  None were casting furtive glances at my naked torso.  Were they just being super polite?

My embarrassment heightened, as I considered the ramifications of ruining this prime opportunity.  My stupid and disrespectful appearance was certain to get me kicked out of the executive’s office.

Shortly, we were escorted into the room where the meeting was to occur.  The head man was not there…yet.  Several of his employees were.  They presented a full array of gender & ethnicity.  All appeared to be young.  In their 20s or early 30s.  The office had the appearance of a crowded library.  All four walls lined with bookcases filled to the brim.  The books were are varied as the people.  Their spines colorful.  Some small.  Some tall.  Most having a classic, antique look about them.

A drafting table and accompanying lamp were pushed up against one set of bookcases.  In front of it, an elevated drafting chair.  It’s occupant was turned to look directly at me and my shirtless body.  The other people were seated behind antique leather-topped desks.  Or standing with an open book in their hand.  Me and my sales person were also seated in elevated drafting chairs.  There was nothing in front of us.  Nothing to block what I was so anxious to hide….me.

We small talked.  I’m usually pretty good at that.  But, there was something in the air.  Part discomfort.  Part anticipation.  And a little bit of electricity.  I could sense it…but couldn’t quite put my finger on what I was feeling.

After talking to one person, I turned towards another.  What the hell!  He doesn’t have a shirt on anymore!  When did he take it off?  Why did he take it off?  No way was I going to ask.  I acted as if I didn’t notice.  After all, everybody else seemed to be pretending not to notice MY toplessness.

I turned around again.  Another person was now naked from the waist up.  This time a young woman.  In the dream I could see that she had taken her shirt off.  But, I didn’t snap to fact that she was bare breasted.  Somehow I didn’t notice that.  Only that her shirt was gone.  More electricity in the air.  A feeling of huge anticipation.  Something important was about to happen.

The door opened.  In walked the boss.  Immediately, I knew exactly who he was….Mark Zuckerberg.   Facebook’s founder.  The electricity evaporated.  The anticipation dissolved.  I was screwed.  Somehow my sales person had landed an appointment with a billionaire and I showed up in my birthday suit, from my belly button up.

Then…. it slowly dawns on me.   He doesn’t seem to notice my nakedness.  He pays no attention to his two employees who are also shirtless.  I look around the room.  What the heck is going on?

Mr. Zuckerberg sits down on the lone remaining drafting chair.  He leans back and rests his elbow on the bookshelf behind him.  He appears casual and comfortable and intensely interested….in something.  I turn my eyes away from him to the opposite corner of the library.  What!!!  Another employee has shed his shirt….with his boss sitting right there in the same room.

I turn my head back to face the dominant figure who is still framed by the colorful & magnificent books behind him.  And there he was….leaning back….elbow resting on the shelf….and….naked from the waist up.  For some reason, his shirt is now gone.  Scanning the room again, no one had anything on above their belt.

Immediately, the beautiful interpretation of my dream burst open.  My nakedness represented being open and vulnerable.  When others took their shirts off, it meant they had recognized that they were in a safe place.  They could now reveal who they really were.  Even the billionaire responded with naked openness.  A blaze of lively and heartfelt conversation spontaneously erupted.

I don’t remember what was shared in that room that day.  What I do know is that the electricity in the air was the wonderful anticipation of the possibility of being who we really were, out in the open, with no fear of  judgment.  Judgment, that we so often conceal our true selves from.

Honesty.  Openness.  Vulnerability.  Empathy.  Authenticity.  I have a new found love for these gorgeous ideals.  Today, I go naked from the waist up, as often as it’s safe.

2 thoughts on “Naked From the Waist Up

  1. Danny Farnsworth here (just posted on a couple of your facebook questions). Your last paragraph sounds like you’ve been reading some Brené Brown. I’m in the middle of her stuff myself. I guess “worth” could be added to the mix. That’s a tough one to believe when you’ve spent your life not believing it. My worth intellectually registers as a sensible thing, but the intellectual understanding of anything is always on the surface. I intellectually understand how a baseball is thrown, but that doesn’t mean I actually know how to throw a baseball.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brene Brown. I keep hearing about her. One of these days, I’ve got to pick up something she’s written. Thanks for your comments…all over the place.


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