Living the Dream
by Juliette Jones
In January of 1973, I was living in Malibu, California, in a three-story hacienda on Puerco Canyon Road which had once belonged to actor Frank Morgan, best known for his portrayal of the title character in the film The Wizard of Oz. Interestingly, this film is understood by many as representative of a profound dreamlike quest that features experiences far from the ordinary, as though seen through another world. At that time in my life, I was in the employ of a unique, eclectic woman who had purchased the Morgan house for real estate speculation, and among my other duties, assigned me as the house-sitter.
Cantilevered over the side of a mountain, it was a magical place steeped in Hollywood history and TV-star neighbors. The rooms in the main residence were imposing, but the maid’s quarters beneath the first floor felt more inviting––despite the fact that it was adjacent to the cellar which once housed three gigantic wine barrels, along with the rumor of a post-mortem party held for John Barrymore’s body. Purportedly, a number of his friends, including Errol Flynn, toted him from haunt to haunt, toasting his earthly exploits. At least, this was what the previous owner confided to my boss––whether this was true or not, the house radiated an element of the spooky.
As a young person from the Midwest following my dreams in California, I’d been for the most part on my own. The untimely death of my father a few years earlier had ripped a hole in my soul that was filled with both grief and flashes of awesome wonder. It was great fortune to have found such a generous, philanthropic employer, and the events that led me to her doorstep, high above the panoramic pacific coastline, were mythic in their own right.
That period of my life strengthened my reliance on Divine guidance yet left me emotionally troubled. The one pursuit that engaged my enthusiasm was the study and practice of theatre arts. So in 1972, I enrolled in the Theatre Arts department at what was then known as San Fernando Valley State College.
In the beginning, this was a form of therapy––an activity that fueled inspiration and made constructive use of my energies. I had time in my work schedule for educational pursuits, and my boss made it clear she would support me in getting an education in whatever field I desired. She was well-to-do, had no children of her own, and was already supporting a young man who had returned from Vietnam and was going through medical school.
This turn of fortune caused me to evaluate the practical implications of pursuing the art of acting. I loved what I was doing but became torn and rather obsessed by the reality of being offered a path to a more practical professional career. After months of inner struggle, I put the matter to Divine guidance. One cool night, I opened the windows to the beauty of the starry, black sky. The scent of eucalyptus and music of owls filled the room, and between the crisp white sheets in perfect trust, I requested unmistakable guidance then fell into a deep sleep.
Next I saw myself looking down a long, dark hallway in what seemed to be a section of the house above my bedroom. At the far end, a distinctly short man stood illuminated by a bright, cosmically generated spotlight. I couldn’t see who he was, so I ventured closer. The hall seemed to elongate, and paintings appeared on either side of the corridor, overshadowed with glowing display lights. As I passed by each painting, I felt sure I was looking at original works of art by great masters––both old-world and modern––and wondered why such paintings would be hanging in a place that lacked climate control and security.
When I reached the end of the hall, I immediately recognized the man as Edward G. Robinson, and as I stepped next to him in the cosmic spotlight, the lucidity of the dream became more vivid. What a joyful surprise to come face-to-face to face with this great artist. His demeanor, however, was business-like as though he had a job he had to finish. He motioned me to follow him back down the hall where he conducted examination of each painting, one by one, and relating information about the artist, cultural period, style and many other interesting features of the work.
It was one of those dreams that seem to go on forever, and eventually, I was exhausted. “Mr. Robinson,” I muttered, “I wish I had brought pencil and paper. I’ll never remember all of these details.” He replied in a character voice I recognized from some of his film roles, “That’s alright, kid, because I didn’t come here to tell you about this. I came here to tell you that you should be doing this acting thing, see. That’s what I came to tell you.” Then I asked him if this was his true opinion, and he looked at me in a way that conveyed he was slightly perturbed at such an inane question and faded from my sight.
As ordinary conscious awareness began to return, there was a sense of having been far away, and a strange heaviness of body. I sat at the side of the bed for quite a while, not moving, but reviewing the dream. Eventually, I started a pot of coffee and wended my way up a small set of stairs to the street-level porch to pick up the newspaper, thinking that reading might help me to ground myself.
What I read when I flipped it open on the kitchen counter evoked a shock that spread through every cell in my body and precipitated a stunning, shimmering series of realizations. It read: “Edward G. Robinson passes during the night.” I had to sit myself down to let it register––visitations from those who have passed over can and do happen.
If the Door Isn’t Open, the Spirit Cannot Enter.
This begs the question of how we can know anything of this nature. The only place we can know anything at all is in the laboratory of our own being. Of the many types and levels of knowledge and processes of acquisition and discernment, the crown jewel of all knowing is self-realization. It seems to me that an evolution of profound experience comes naturally, in various forms, as we seek to understand who and what we really are in the cosmos and challenge ourselves to live dynamically with what we deem as a meaningful purpose.
This particular dream experience was alchemical in nature and changed me. It opened access to expanded realms of awareness involving powerful synchronicity and transformation. It was an unmistakable sign pointing to an answer to the inquiry of my soul. I got the message loud and clear, and in due course, went on to earn an MFA in acting.
Of course, from that point forward, I read everything I could get my hands on pertaining to the life of Emanuel Goldenberg––a.k.a. Edward G. Robinson. At the time of the dream, I had absolutely no idea that he had been a world-class art connoisseur and collector of paintings who once wrote, “I am not a collector, I am just an innocent bystander who has been taken over by a collection.”
Explore the Extraordinary
Recently I became aware of IANDS (International Association for Near Death Studies) which meets on the first Thursday of the month at Spirit University in Sarasota. IANDS offers education and discussion of near death experience and related topics in a supportive setting. For more information on this group, visit IANDS.org/Groups/Affiliated-Groups/Find-A-Group/233-Near-Death-Experience-Study-Support-Group-Of-Sarasota-1.html. Additionally, the Spirit University offers classes, workshops, seminars and special events featuring presenters on the subject of spiritual discovery and healing. For more information, visit TheSpiritUniversity.com. More details on this will be forthcoming in the Natural Awakenings’ March issue.