The Crowded Dream: Letting Go Of Guilt

The other night, I had a vivid, unsettling dream. A lot of noisy people crowded into a small kitchen at a party. There were pineapple cocktails, loud laughter, bits of cocktail fruit on the floor – a mess.

For some reason, a friend I haven’t seen in years was in the kitchen. She was a gifted painter but her intensity sometimes frightened me. I didn’t want to see her. I didn’t go into the kitchen.

When I woke, a heavy feeling smothered my chest. I hadn’t seen this young friend in over three years because she had an emotional breakdown. I helped her as much as I could, but I eventually detached. I realised I felt guilt. That’s what the uneasy dream was trying to tell me.

Someone, I don’t remember who, said guilt is a useless emotion. A wasted emotion. True, it doesn’t get us anywhere – but it’s a very human emotion. You need to recognise it. You need to understand what it’s telling you.

I do feel guilty about losing touch with that friend. I know that she is doing much better – and I’m happy for her that she has her life back and that she is painting again. That was the emotion I should focus on.

Our friendship took us so far and it helped us both for a time. There was no promise it would be forever.

Still, the feeling of guilt is an interesting one. Write about a time you felt guilty.

by Anthony Ehlers

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