When I was pregnant with our first child, I had a dream one night of a rainstorm that rained drops of meat, rather than rain. Hungry people danced in the streets, grabbing for the falling food and stuffing it into their mouths.

In horror I watched them double over in agony because the meat, unbeknownst to them, was poisoned. I was frantic to stop the children from eating it and I raced around trying to save them, but there were too many children and they were all famished. One by one they collapsed and died.

I woke up sobbing wildly in my husband’s arms, protectively curling my body around the unborn baby in my womb.

I believe it was a prophetic dream I had that night, a dream of warning, as if it were saying “Watch out! What looks like nourishment may be just the opposite!”

I recall this dream and think of the so-called blessings we live with that are questionable as blessings – like our new and brilliant technologies that addict us to them while manipulation and control are hidden in the guts of the machine.

I am also reminded of Alec, a boyfriend who pursued me relentlessly when we were both teenagers. I never understood what drew him to me, because I was no great shakes and very young for my age, and he was a smarty-pants about to go to Harvard. He was an A student who looked quite good on the surface – but he had a hidden bug somewhere. To escape his zealous attentions, I joined a group going to Scotland one summer, not letting him know where I was going. But he found me anyhow, and showed up late one day at the Edinburgh Festival, triumphant, and spirited me away to Princes Park so we could be alone.

It was the last thing I wanted but I followed meekly to the park where he gave me two gifts he had brought for me – one was an antique alto flute he knew I coveted, the other was a small box with a “surprise” inside: an engagement ring!`

“The flute is for you, and the ring is for me,” he said slyly.

He was a competent bully, I must say that for him. He knew I’d be dazzled by that flute, and also knew that Princes Park would close its gates to the public at dusk. He had the whole thing planned out, he told me later. When the announcement came on the loudspeaker for all visitors to leave the Park, he quietly informed me that we would be there until I put his ring on my finger. My mind froze, and then I ran to the gates calling for help but to no avail, and we did indeed get locked in for the night. He waited on the bench, flute in one hand and ring in the other, smiling. It was beyond imagining – I was a helpless prisoner at night in a public park in Edinburgh where nobody, except my American friends, knew of my existence! My group leader would be frantic. I was seventeen, and terrified.

It got cold after dark and we both started laughing – me rather hysterically. When he offered the ring again, I just took it. Then at least I could hug him and stay warm. We were really friends anyhow, weren’t we? That’s when we were discovered by the night watchman making his rounds, who scolded us and let us out, but by then I was engaged to marry Alec.

It took another two years back home before we finally broke up for good.

So I’ve been wondering lately about this conundrum of gift horses, ‘the tempting traps’ that we find ourselves caught in, willy-nilly. “You can have this, but only if you give up that.” Like our indispensible cell phones, for example, with their mixed blessing of information and social media that addictively connect us to everything in the world indiscriminately, and also effectively isolate us from one another in real time; like religion appealing to our longing for Spirit while demanding obedience to systems of power and control that set us against one another; like the “Golden Handcuff” of corporate jobs that provide everything we need – except our personal freedom. The list is endless.

It is nourishment laced with poison pellets hidden in plain sight – but here to teach, says this Pollyanna.

I am one of those fascinated by the British Monarchy – the whole pomp and circumstance of it – so when my daughter was invited to play her viola at Buckingham Palace to demonstrate to an international group of doctors the power of music to heal trauma, I was delighted! God save our gracious Queen!

While she was there, I received a photo of her playing in the Grand Entrance Hall, with all its opulent gold and red-carpeted elegance, with wall-sized portraits of military heroes, swords brandished, from the Empire’s grand history of Colonization. The great “Commonwealth!” Designed to impress – and frighten, I daresay.

But who are these people really, with their fancy clothes and their many castles? Where does their wealth and prestige come from, really? Of course it comes from the subjugated indigenous folks they made their slaves when Brittania ruled the waves. They claimed to be bringing civilization to uncultured savages – the ‘poor pagans’ – even though the natives never asked for it.  And yet we still celebrate The Empire, its right to rule and its glorious ‘bloodline’, and we bow to Highnesses on their golden thrones as if to superior beings with Divine rights.

Who dreamed that one up?

Right now I am keeping my eyes out for the lovely commoners on the arms of the royal brothers, these mixed-blood women winning the hearts of their ‘subjects’ with their big smiles and intelligent eyes. Let’s see what happens.

Things they are changing…

I asked Rebecca if she curtseyed to the Princess, and she laughed, telling me of the doctor who couldn’t remember when he was supposed to bow, so he just kept bobbing up and down until the Princess finally walked away.

My daughter did not curtsey.

There may be a method to all this madness, a goad for us to pay attention and question the social forms we take for granted, refusing, with courage and insight, to go along with what may look like nourishment, but isn’t. It may be what this time of chaos is about as we rush towards a precipice that forces us to open our eyes, or die.

Could it be that we are in a major time of necessary upheaval on the planet, a time when the faster, higher vibrations of “Light” are duking it out with the “Dark” or lower vibrations, to reach a new, more elevated balance of consciousness? Not either-or, but Both. The world is dual, and balance is the key. The fact is that Light and Dark go inexorably together in a continuing cycle – without one, there is not the other. There is a subtle balance to be maintained at all times, even when the balance itself is being raised to a new level of complexity and awareness.

It’s like we’re climbing a mountain to see out from a higher, broader vantage point. It’s written into the universe that we do so, era after era, even as the trail up the mountain gets steeper and harder to climb, with slippery rocks and mud and thorn-bushes hampering our progress.

Our job is to help one another up this slippery slope until everybody gets to the new camping place.

I believe every one of us alive today is here to make this journey – even those baddies we love to hate, who are really just doing their job of helping us all wake up. That’s why I think I, and probably you, too, made the choice to be in the world at this time in history – to make this climb. It’s change, or die. Personally, I’m not willing to waste a minute of this precious life wringing my hands in helpless despair. I’m convinced there are much better ways of using our time here. Though nobody ever said it would be easy.

So what are you doing with your one wild and precious life?

What am I doing?