As a child did you ever play the game "tag"?

I certainly did. I can still remember the screams and yelps of delight and fright as the sun went down on a hot summer night, sticky arms and legs from sweat, grass-stained knees, tousled near-dreadlocked hair stuck together with watermelon Now and Laters, scuffed bare feet scrambling in a blur to out pace "It." Once tagged by "It" the tables would abruptly turn and, in a flash, the chasee became the chaser . The job of "It" was to tag one of the slower moving kids on my front lawn (my little sisters were prime targets).

And on and on it would go, chasing, being chased... all night long until Mom would scream, "It's getting dark, come inside!"

I don't know who came up with "tag," but I do know that what was once summertime fun for kids has become the stressed-out default modus operandi for adults.

If you think about it, we are all chasing something (or someone) right now, either consciously or unconsciously.

You may be chasing a raise, a job, an acknowledgement, a relationship, a house, a spouse, a vacation, or an opportunity to play in the sandbox with people you deem more desirable than the ones who you're playing with now. Even Buddhist monks are chasing greater degrees of enlightenment.

At the same time, there is something you are trying to outrun, be it loneliness, despair, bankruptcy, an ex-lover who won't stop calling. Even the Budhist monks are seeking to avoid attachment.

There's a reason why dreams of being chased, according to Patricia Garfield, Ph.D., are the most remembered of all dream themes.

According to dream expert Robert Moss, what we are really chasing is our power. But it is our power that is chasing us... and most of us have become elusive prey.

In Joseph Campbell's version of the Hero's Journey, one of the unavoidable stages along our noble path is the "Belly of the Whale." For most people the notion of finding oneself in the Belly of the Whale is, at least, a drag, and at worst, a dark night of the soul.

To me, the Belly of the Whale is a lot like Mercury Retrograde (which we happen to be in, astrologically speaking, until July 20), in that we are forced to sit still and deal with our issues/illusions of power and/or powerlessness. During "retrograde" we can't move forward with the same jet-propelled quantum leaping we're accustomed to, so we're forced to look at our issues of being "It."

But, what if being "It" wasn't so bad? What if "It," as it turns out, is we've been seeking to be all along?

We've all heard about the "It" girl or boy... the person who everyone wants to know because of their je ne sais quoi.

In the "Belly of the Whale" we get the big surprise: We are the ones we've been running from! And the one we've been chasing? Ourselves. In the Belly of the Whale we have the opportunity to discover we are "It," and have been all along connected to all the power in the universe (which happens to be more than most of us need to lead successful, productive, happy lives).

Once we relax into the inky blackness of the Belly of the Whale (I know it's inky black because I've been there... more than once) we find the peace that passes human understanding because we're finally still enough to hear the voice of our own inner wisdom. In fact, in these retrogradian belly of the whale-esque moments is where we can no longer run from our power.

The irony is, however, the moment we start feeling cozy in the belly (just like when we finally surrendered to Mercury Retrograde) is the moment when the whale spits us out... and it's time to get back to the world outside the belly.

Now that you see Mercury Retrograde and the Belly of the Whale isn't so bad, I hope you don't add these to your list of things to chase. In fact, armed with this point of view, next time you see someone running from their own shadow, pass this along.

Tag, you're "It!"

Author's Bio: 

Kelly Sullivan Walden says dreams have a language all their own—and being fluent in that language reveals the wisdom to live the life of your dreams while you’re awake.

Author, certified clinical hypnotherapist, inspirational speaker and founder ofDream-Life Coach Training; Kelly hosts a weekly web-radio show The D-Spot, is featured Dream Expert for Fox News, and recently appeared on the Ricki Lake Show. She has written seven books including the #1 bestseller I Had The Strangest Dream, as well as articles published in Woman’s World, Cosmopolitan,Seventeen, and the Los Angeles Times.

One of Kelly’s dreams came true when she was invited to speak before the United Nations about the Dream Project, a non-profit organization she founded to inspire children all over the world to solve the issues described in the United NationsMillennium Development Goals.

Kelly began her dream research as a curious five-year-old. She and her younger sister shared a room and in morning the girls would wake up excited to discuss what their nighttime adventures might mean in the waking world. Over the years they pouring through dream dictionaries to learn the exciting language of dreams. Kelly eventually studied Carl Jung, Carlos Castaneda and many spiritual and esoteric teachers who took her understanding of dreams to a much deeper level.

Nearly two decades ago Kelly became a certified clinical hypnotherapist and spiritual counselor. This began her professional journey working with her client’s subconscious minds so they might discover themselves—their core beliefs, drives and desires—and discover the hidden resources to heal them from past traumas and experience life with new skills, fresh vision, and deeper knowledge.

Kelly soon realized the impact dreams had in the lives of her clients—but no guidebooks on the market at the time dealt with contemporary symbols or blended dream interpretation with a truly life-affirming approach. Her book I Had the Strangest Dream quickly reached #1 on Amazon’s Best-seller List and has stayed there for over six years. Since then, she’s authored six more books; been guest of over 1,000 media outlets; and traveled the world speaking, teaching and hosting workshops for many thousands of people.

Kelly and her husband Dana and their dogs, Shadow and Lola, are living their dream life amid the animal, trees, and energy of the enchanted Topanga Canyon in California. Kelly is currently in production of a television pilot and is excited to share her latest works It’s All In Your Dreams and Dream Oracle Cards.

“I’ve poured everything I know about dreams into It’s All In Your Dreams and Dream Oracle Cards, reflecting the latest research and current wisdom. I’m thrilled to say this work has already transformed my life and the lives of many others. My dreamwork is not just to inspire you to pay attention to your nighttime dreams, but to give you practical tools to access the phenomenal wisdom of your dreaming mind—the rocket fuel to manifest the life of your dreams!”

~Kelly Sullivan Walden