Peggy's Gift

What's today's lesson? I asked my inner voice.

Today, live without expectations.

I managed to make it through my senior year at the university with my sanity intact, but barely. My dabbling with mind travel had gotten me obsessed with JoAnn, and now that I had lost her, I was leery of doing any more psychic dabbling. I had almost had a nervous breakdown and was in bad shape. I was still without my soulmate, and now that I had graduated, I felt lost and without direction.

I spent a few more years in Minneapolis looking for the woman from my soulmate experience. I searched the Minneapolis area for her, and came up empty. In July of 1985, I decided to get a fresh start, so I moved to Phoenix, to spend some time in the sun healing.

My first order of business was to join two metaphysical discussion groups, hoping to find my soulmate there. The first group studied the books of Seth, an entity channeled by author Jane Roberts. The second group conversed with a channeled entity called Nect. It was great to finally be able to talk with like-minded people who had experiences similar to mine. I didn't find my soulmate in either of the groups, but I developed close friendships with some wonderful people.

One of my best friends from the discussion groups was Peggy, a petite, powerful woman who was beautiful, talented, intelligent and very independent. She had a slender build and delicate fingers that were capable of masterfully playing the piano, working on cars, or doing any other task that she set out to do. I always thought of Peggy as my sister; in fact, she was a lot like my real sister, Cathy.

Peggy gave me a gift in the form of an unconscious lesson. That is to say, she did not give me this lesson consciously. Perhaps it was not Peggy who gave the lesson, but rather an angel, a spirit guide, or maybe my higher self. The lesson is one of the most important ones of my life.

Nearly four years had passed since my soulmate experience. The lesson began with an ordinary dream on July 11, 1986. I dreamed I was at one of the discussion groups, and we were planning a trip. I was planning to travel alone on this trip. Then something unusual happened. Usually my dreams seem to follow some kind of unconscious script. Somehow the dream had thrown out the script and was no longer following its planned path, and the dream took an unexpected twist.

In the dream, just as we were about to set out on the trip, Peggy walked up to me. She looked deeply into my eyes for a moment, then, still looking into my eyes, she said, "I love you." I knew that she meant it in a romantic way. I responded, "I love you too." She knew I meant it, and we embraced. Somehow our minds merged and became one, so that our thoughts, feelings and emotions were the same. It was not sexual. Our souls simply joined and became one. I had her skill on the piano, and her knowledge of music; she had my knowledge of computers. There were no longer two bodies embracing; there was a single body, the focus of our single consciousness. We were happily one soul.

I woke up from the dream bewildered. I had never been interested in Peggy as a lover. In my mind, she was my sister. Confused, I struggled to figure out why I had this dream and what it meant. In the end, I wrote it off as nonsense from my subconscious, and forgot it.

The next night, I had another dream about Peggy, a dream in which we agreed to share a car ride together. The car went out of control, but we managed to avoid an accident. I awoke, still confused about why I was dreaming about Peggy.

The Peggy dreams continued, and each night they got a little bit more involved. At night, we were talking, playing music for each other, and growing closer. At the time, it seemed as if I were on the verge of a romantic dream-relationship with the dream-Peggy, even though we were just friends in real life. This was baffling, since I had no romantic intentions for Peggy.

I was confused about the dreams and why I was having them. The best solution to problems like this is to examine your beliefs, and that's what I did. I picked apart my beliefs concerning relationships. The first thing I discovered was that several times I had become enamored or infatuated with someone's image (what I saw or perceived), rather than the real person (their soul). I, of all people, should realize that a person's physical body is only a vehicle and is not what's important. Soul transcends race, color, sexual orientation. If everyone would learn to see people as "soul" or "spirit" instead of "body," perhaps there would be no more prejudice or hate crimes.

Sometimes we can be held back by our own limiting beliefs. My inner voice drove this home by guiding me through the following exercise: It said, "Think about your friend Cindy. What do you like most about her?" I thought to myself: I like her because she makes me feel comfortable; I can talk with her and share my feelings with her, and she can share hers with me, and neither of us feels threatened. We're not competing, not engaging each other, not demanding anything, not expecting anything; we're just sharing a mutual experience. We are rejoicing in each other's existence. When I'm with Cindy, I don't have to be anything or anyone: no images to uphold, no reputation to protect, no ego to support. I am perfectly comfortable and content with myself, and I accept her as she is.

My inner voice said, "Now think about your soulmate, as you normally imagine her." When I did that I suddenly felt uncomfortable. I realized something was wrong with my beliefs, so I followed the feeling back to its source. I discovered I had unwittingly placed my soulmate on a pedestal. She was no longer a person; she was an ideal, a goal, an object, a fantasy. Somehow I hadn't left any room for humanity in my beliefs about her. When I realized that, there was a release. I had let go of a very limiting belief. I stopped worshiping my soulmate and started loving her.

Even after these realizations, my lesson was not over. The Peggy dreams continued.

In another dream, Peggy and I were still "just friends," but we lived together in a castle, and were entertaining guests. In another dream, I was working on a computer program when, to my astonishment, the computer started printing messages about Peggy on the screen.

In yet another dream, Peggy asked me if she could walk with me. In another, Peggy asked if she could move in with me. Then I dreamed that Peggy made sexual advances to me. I was shocked. The Peggy dreams culminated with this dream. It was set in the future, several years after the time frame of the others:

I was back in Minnesota. The morning had been cold. I had spent the better part of it helping people get their cars unstuck after a heavy Minnesota snowfall. I was with a group of people, all bustling about the city streets, helping one another. It had started to warm up and the snow was melting, so I went inside to join a party.

Once inside, I noticed there was no music. Not much like a party, I thought, so I went over to the small portable cassette player on the floor. I picked up a nearby tape and looked at it. It had no label and was not rewound. I popped the tape in and pressed the play button. Piano music came over the speakers, followed by the magical voice of Brad Delp:

And, feelin' the way I do

Wouldn't last a mile without you.

When I'm losin' the way

The things that you say

Take me there--my destination

My destination

Is by your side

Right by your side(1)

This was a party-tape I had recorded long ago. There were some light-rock songs and some hard-rock songs. Peggy didn't like hard rock music, so I switched the tape off and pulled it out. Peggy came over to my side. "Who is that? I like that," she asked sweetly. "It's Boston, from their Third Stage album," I replied. She wanted me to stop fooling around with the tapes and join the party. "Why don't you just play that for a while," she said. "Okay," I said, "Let me rewind it first." I rewound the tape and once again pressed play. Heavy metal guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen started playing. I cringed. Peggy hated Malmsteen. Still, this song was pretty tame, so I turned it down and joined the party.

Bob W. and Sabrina were in our livingroom, plus two other couples. All the chairs were occupied in the small livingroom of our small house, so I sat on the floor. There was a moment of intense silence in which everyone felt uncomfortable. Bob W. broke the silence. "So, Bob," he asked, "How do you like living with a pianist?" As friendly as he intended to be, his question made me feel very uncomfortable. I was never at ease talking about my relationships with others. That was a little too personal for my comfort.

Peggy and I had decided to move into this house and had been living together for about a month. Getting along with Peggy wasn't always easy, but it had its moments. We were happy. It was a decision we had made, and we were glad we made it. We had our spats and disagreements, but we loved each other, so we worked things out. The good outweighed the bad tenfold. Still, to say we always got along wouldn't be completely accurate.

It was none of their business, I thought to myself, how well Peggy and I got along. I was in love with Peggy, and I was glad we were living together. This was a party, and it shouldn't be spoiled with heavy talk about relationships. I wanted something cute and funny to say, to satisfy Bob and change the subject at the same time.

How do I like living with a pianist? At last I spoke with a short laugh. "Me? Huh, I can't tell one note from another." I glanced over to Peggy to see her reaction to my statement. A tear formed in her eye and her lip trembled. She stood up sobbing and grabbed her purse. "I'm sorry." Her voice was broken. "Go on without me. I have to go."

Oh no! She must have misunderstood me. Act quickly, I thought. I can't stand to see her leave. I didn't want to hurt her. "Peggy! Wait! I can explain! Please!" Even if she had listened, she would have been too embarrassed by her outburst. "Excuse me," I said to our guests, and walked outside.

"Peggy, let me explain what I meant." She just stood there sobbing. I felt terrible. "I wasn't trying to say that your playing was bad, I only meant to say how bad and untrained my ear is. You know I love your music. Your playing is beautiful. I just felt uncomfortable about Bob's question, and I needed to change the subject."

She looked up at me. There were still tears welling in her eyes, but we looked in each other's eyes and it was a look of understanding. Her eyes turned down. Her voice was still a little weak. "God damn it, anyway," she said with despair in her voice, "Just when you think you've got your life together, some guy comes along and you fall in love, and everything gets all screwed up. I can't think straight anymore. I don't know what to feel anymore. I don't even know what I want anymore."

Peggy looked up once more and quickly kissed me on the lips. We fell into each other's arms and hugged. Neither of us knew where our lives were going, but we knew we were in love, and that was enough. "I still feel bad. I don't want to hurt you. Not now, not ever." I immediately woke up, shocked by the dream.

In a desperate attempt to understand the baffling dreams, I probed deeper into my beliefs concerning relationships. I discovered that my relationship problems all boiled down to one thing: expectations. It was part of the same "image" thing. I was expecting Peggy and everyone else on Earth to act in certain ways and do certain things. When people didn't meet with my expectations, I was disappointed, or I manufactured a "problem" in my mind. We all do it. Most of the time it happens so quickly and so far below the surface that we don't even notice.

Now that I had seen through the problem, it was like a veil was lifted and I could see clearly. As my spiritual sister, I had expected Peggy to act like my sister. The dreams had broken through that veil and blown away my expectations of her.

My expectations had been my limiting factor. I sometimes get frustrated in traffic because I expect drivers to follow certain conventions, and when they don't I get frustrated because they don't do what I want them to do. They were just being themselves, and that wasn't good enough for me!

My inner voice stepped in, saying the following: Congratulations. This is Peggy's gift to you. Although she may not realize it consciously, she agreed to participate and cast those images in your dreams. She agreed to say, "I love you" in that dream, to allow this all to happen, to bring you to this realization. Although she may not realize it consciously, she broke your expectations to enable you to learn this lesson. You were dealing with an ideal, an expectation, an image, a phantom, a fantasy, instead of a person. The same goes for JoAnn and others. There are no "shoulds" with people.

Suddenly I was released from all expectations. It was like a tremendous burden had been lifted from my shoulders. My love shouted out to the universe in joyous splendor. I no longer needed anything from anyone. I was self-sufficient. I didn't need my soulmate. I desired her, yes, but I didn't need her. I cast away my images. What Peggy lies above and beyond my image? How wonderful she is, without my expectations. She is herself, perfectly, wonderfully. Everyone is. I am no longer "stuck" inside the box of my own expectations. Now there is a new reality, one where everyone is unique and exciting. The "unexpected" action of another person is an overlapping of realities, where the edges of two realities touch in an unexplainable intimacy. All life is sharing this kind of intimacy. This knowledge is Peggy's gift.

I felt alive and free inside, like I never had before. Nothing is so serious anymore. Having no expectations, I can give my love away joyously, freely, happily. I have no expectations for anyone to live up to. Now I feel free to do anything or say anything I want. How do I expect people to react? I don't. I want it to be a surprise. That way, nothing they could possibly do can fall short of my expectations. If they place their expectations on me, that's their problem, not mine.

With the realization of Peggy's gift, the Peggy dreams stopped, and my confusion was over. The dreams all had a special purpose. I believe that Peggy, my spiritual sister, was subconsciously influencing, directing, and acting out situations in my dreams for one purpose, to teach me this lesson: Expect nothing. Life will become a wonderment of surprise, and you will never be disappointed or let down.

1. This excerpt is from the song "My Destination" by Boston, written by Tom Scholz c. 1986 Hideaway Hits.