Our dreams show that the unconscious mind acts in a poetic way. Dreams “speak” in images – the pictures that come to us in the night. Do we listen to and learn from them as often as we should?
During a rather chaotic – and utterly transformative – time of my life, I had a very vivid and startling dream about throwing and breaking eggs. I wanted to capture the aliveness of my dream while attempting to understand its meaning, evoking the colors, sounds, and textures recalled.
This is my poetic interpretation of the dream:
BREAKING EGGS – by Jean Detjen
She wants to break something
On the unforgiving surface –
Stark, cracked and rutted,
Glistening with yesterday’s rain.
This seems, somehow, a place for endings.
Out of her satchel resting against her core
She reaches for something small and smooth,
An egg just gathered from a neighbor’s gracious coop.
So fragile it appears,
How easily broken.
But some things must die before they bring forth fruit.
And then, of course, the tug of curiosity.
Unsympathetically, she throws it with force
Onto the grey, hard road.
And another, and another, yet another still.
Yet stubborn life holds on,
Herculean shells refusing to give in.
Maddened and confused,
Mists of sweat form above her dry lips.
One egg now left.
Drawing all her energy, she projects it toward
A horizon far ahead, certain of its demise.
Yet curiosity speaks again.
Feet walk quickly to what is now a gloriously large egg,
Yet cracked to reveal a glow from within.
The newly translucent veneer reveals a creature unknown,
One ready to unfold its limbs and spread its wings.
This is life anew.
This is beauty.
Since writing this poem, I have come to realize that there is beauty in brokenness. When we acknowledge inner fears and anxieties as catalysts for transformation, it becomes easier to take risks and break through our binding layers and shells. We all carry a basket of eggs with us throughout life, awaiting rebirth via our attentiveness and nurturing.
So don’t be afraid to let yourself be re-born over and over again in big and small ways. New life awaits each and every day. Break free of your confines and self-imposed limits. Crack open your shell and fly!
“If an egg is broken by outside force, life ends. If broken by inside force, life begins. Great things always begin from inside.” -Jim Kwik, learning expert
Broken Eggs attracted favorable comment when exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1757. One critic noted that the young serving girl had a noble pose worthy of a history painter.
The canvas was painted in Rome, but the principal source may have been a seventeenth-century Dutch work by Frans van Mieris the Elder (State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg), which Greuze would have known from an engraving. The broken eggs symbolize the loss of the girl’s virginity.