Dreaming of failure

I’m having weird dreams lately.  Always, I am in school, studying science or nursing and realizing that I am failing the course, that I haven’t bothered to show up for the class or write the exam, that I have utterly utterly failed. I cry in the dreams, but I soon develop a plan B.

It’s starting to get disturbing, as I have had a similar dream several times. In one dream, I vow to start really working on my writing, only to hear myself in the dream really arguing that I haven’t really given it a chance, that I haven’t applied myself.

I wonder if I’m really dreaming about writing, or if there are other things I haven’t done to my fullest ability, if I need to focus on one thing, one thing only, as Thomas Merton says. “We cannot master everything, taste everything, understand everything, drain every experience to its last dregs. But if we have the courage to let almost everything else go, we will probably be able to retain the one thing necessary for us -whatever it may be.” (No man is an island)

The problem as always is determining what that one thing is that is necessary for us. Our lives are so full of distractions, urgent wishes, life calling to us in all its forms. What IS necessary for each of us? And how do we decide what that is? How do we fight off everyday annoyances and focus on what is our heart’s desire?

And, once we find it, how do we escape the fear of attaining it?