Catching the Lizard

Last April, when I was in Sydney for a four-day study block, I dreamed of a lizard. I am in the doorway of my room, just on the threshold. I see a lizard running across the floor. I reach down trying to catch it before it disappears under the bed. Then I woke up.

In class, we do an exercise to unfold part of a dream. We are asked to recreate, amplify, and act out the most unknown part of the dream, or the part about which we are most curious. I explore the dream with my partner: the beauty of the lizard which is decorated with a magical jewelled mosaic of many colours, its focus as it runs toward the bed, my urge to catch it.

The lizard is beauty.
You can’t catch it.
It’s the most important thing in the world.

I choose to work with the movement I made in the dream as I bent down and reached out my hand to catch the lizard. I recall that the movement to catch the lizard was made with my right, nondominant hand. As I recreate the movement, I notice a hesitation in me, a fear that the lizard might bite me.

I slow the movement down, and observe that it is incomplete: my arm and hand stop at the point where I awoke from the dream, frozen in time.

With my partner’s guidance, I complete the movement. Eventually, I pick up the magical lizard and place it in my heart. Its colours and patterns are familiar and precious.

You can’t catch the lizard
But you can have it in your heart.

I realise that the lizard from my dream is the beauty that I attempt to capture in my art and my writing, the fleeting moments of transcendence that live in the everyday world. In my art and my writing, I reveal my love, and I am vulnerable. For fear of being bitten, I stop short of claiming this beauty and this love as my own. I cut off my relationship with my work, and with the world, before it is complete. I may send my work out into the world, but it is an orphan, and must make its own way.  

I am the Dream Lizard
scurrying beneath the bed.
Quick! Before she catches me
I have to hide—
Hide my colours
Hide my beauty
I can’t be caught, because
It’s my job to weave these colours, spin this beauty
As I scurry between the cracks in the worlds
Leading you from one world to the next
Following the process
Endlessly creating magic, wonder, beauty.

You can’t catch me.

But I live here
In your heart.

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