The other night I dreamed that I was watching Meryl Streep while she mourned the death of her lover, Robert Redford, who had died in a plane crash. (No, I hadn’t fall asleep watching Out of Africa.)
In the dream, Meryl goes to the reading of Robert Redford’s will. He leaves to her one item: his pocket knife. She holds it as if she has found the greatest treasure on earth.
What was the pocket knife about? In the dream it seemed to symbolize the need to cut away anything unnecessary so as to live more fully. A pocket knife is incisive, yet it had an almost benign or humane quality about it, much like pruning sheers that pare down in order to spur new growth.
Each of us has a sense of calling, an invitation from within to live truer and bolder. Few of us need to be told what that is. Just a few minutes of honest sharing with a loved one about what we truly desire will easily reveal it, and we will likely hear ourselves saying what we already know.
We know the way forward. What we lack is wholeheartedness. We lack a fierce commitment to what we know resonates with our being because it seems too costly, lonely, scary or unpredictable. We lack a “pocket knife” to prune away anything, even good things, that keep us from coming fully alive.
What is your true north? What keeps calling you? What must you prune away in order to move forward with a whole heart?
Sometimes what we most need is not another epiphany but a pocket knife.