Allow me to introduce myself. I am Julia, self-appointed Queen of the Trash Room. This honor is bestowed upon me courtesy of my own idiocy as a result of my willingness to join the board of directors of the condo building where I live. Clearly, we do not have a janitor.
My kingdom includes a 300-square foot trash room with cinder block walls, a concrete floor, and a dumpster, the receptacle for whatever crazy stuff that residents can think of to send down the chute from six floors above. I don’t recommend vacuum cleaners. The result of such folly inevitably creates a horror show that would send a janitor running for his life. Would that we had one but alas, I’m it.
If the dumpster is overloaded the bags bounce onto the floor and heaven help anyone who might be standing in the way. The room itself is the collector of an unimaginable assortment of dumped household belonging—an unholy mix of trash, garbage, and recyclables—fluorescent bulbs, half empty paint cans, discarded electronics, mattresses, broken desk chairs—the possibilities are endless. Happy am I when the room is tidy and clean, empty of assorted litter and junk because then in my world, all is well and God is in her heaven.
It’s bad enough when I have to deal with this garbage for real—but really—do I have to do it in my dreams too?
Last night I had a hideous nightmare in which someone dumped a 60-gallon dirty yellow container down the chute, and rather than using a securely-tied plastic bag to rein in the contents, the expletive-deleted perpetrator had filled the thing with a broken down cardboard carton full of loose trash. Naturally, the container landed upside down and emptied its mountainous load of yukkiness all over the floor, a horror show of epic proportions. The Queen of Trash nearly had a fainting spell at the mere sight of it, not to mention the mind-numbing prospect of having to clean it all up. To make matters worse, the container had a wheel broken off, a sure indicator that it too qualified as trash, providing an even greater puzzle to solve. Is it recyclable? Is it plastic or rubberized? Is rubber recyclable? How am I supposed to get rid of that?
As I stood at the intersection of horrified and enraged, an idea popped into my head. “Hey, wait a minute.” I thought. “Maybe this is just a nightmare, and if so, I don’t have to worry about how to clean it up. Maybe I can just wake up and poof—problem solved! Wouldn’t that just be miraculous?” And with that, my eyes popped open and I woke up with a realization that it was indeed, just a dream. Words cannot possibly begin to describe the mixture of gratitude, relief, and joy that I experienced to discover the unreality of that nasty situation.
This trashy nightmare brings to mind a question that I have pondered many times over my lifetime. What is real? What is illusion? While I sleep, my nighttime dreams become my reality and are as concrete as the floor of that trash room. They are as real as the world seems to be when I am in a so-called waking state. Yet when I am walking around in the daytime with my eyes wide open and think that I am awake, the dreams that I have at night vanish into thin air and quickly fade and are forgotten. Where do the nighttime dreams go? Where do the daytime dreams go? Which one is real?
Perhaps none of it is real. Perhaps it is all only an illusion. Perhaps we are all asleep and dreaming and perhaps one day we will all wake up to a new reality in which we realize that life is nothing more than a dream, a movie projected by our minds based upon what we think, feel, perceive, or believe is real.
In the meantime, perhaps we are all living in the same dream with a common belief in love and fear, good and evil, right and wrong, black and white, beliefs that divide and separate us from one another when in truth we are all one, we are all the same, we all are only here on classroom earth learning how to get along together and to let go of fear and replace it with love. We’re all teachers, we’re all students, we’re all in it together.
Let’s face it—the world we live in today could qualify as a nightmare. I don’t know about you, but I’m going to do my best to turn the nightmare into a happy dream and wake up to the Truth that the only thing that is real is love. Meanwhile, I’m going to practice loving my enemies. It isn’t easy, but the result is surely worth the effort. Care to join me?
Bye for now. See you in my dreams.
Julia, Queen of Trash