How to Know When To Get the Hell Out of There by John Cali

Last week I had a long, vivid dream. When I finally awakened from it I was drenched in sweat, and feeling emotionally drained.

The details are not important, but in the dream I was in a dangerous situation where I felt vulnerable and threatened—and stuck.

Then it dawned on me I was not stuck there—I was free to end the dream. So I decided to just get the hell out of there. I woke up immediately.

I knew such an emotionally charged dream must carry an important message for me. But I didn’t know what it was.

So I asked one of my spirit guides, to explain. He said there was a situation in my life I needed to walk away from—to just get the hell out of there. I had no idea what he meant, and he did not offer to elaborate.

Within about 30 minutes it all became obvious to me. There was a situation, a relationship with someone I’d been working with. It had long felt vaguely uneasy to me. But I had done nothing about it. I just allowed it to drag on and on.

Then the dream message came to me with startling clarity: Get the hell out of there—in this case, the work relationship. So I ended the relationship that morning.


One of the problems we often see with humans is that you live your lives unconsciously.

That is exactly what John was doing in that work relationship. He’d felt a vague sense of uneasiness about it, as he said. But he did not examine the uneasiness, nor did he do anything to rid himself of it.

Now, we’re not picking on John, as he’s normally pretty self-aware. But he wasn’t in this case.

This what we mean by living your lives unconsciously. The solution, obviously, is to stop doing that—and to live your lives with awareness.

Often when you are not living your lives with full awareness you can step into a place where uneasiness, discomfort, and even pain become so familiar they seem normal. Then you get into all kinds of problems.

So we urge you to pay attention to everything happening in your life. That’s awareness.

The best way to be aware, and to develop the habit of awareness, is to be fully present in every moment. Give your full attention to what’s in front of you in the present moment.

Then you will no longer live your lives unconsciously. You will instead live them with full awareness. You will also notice a far greater degree of inner peace when you live in the present moment.

When you do that you will know, as John did, in his words, “when to get the hell out of there.” But he waited until the universe almost literally forced him out of there, in a rather drastic way. He could have done it easily and effortlessly, simply by being more aware.

Related links:
Are You Burying Your Head in the Sand?

Are You Paying Attention To What You’re Paying Attention To?
Do You Ever Take Inventory of Your Life?
Trust: The Gateway To Yourself


Do you pay attention to your dreams? What important messages have they brought you? Do stay stuck in situations you could easily move beyond? Please share your thoughts and comments with us below.

What other subjects would you like us to talk about in these posts? Please email me at:

22 Responses

  1. Kudzu

    This was so interesting! So pertinent.

    And thank you Claire, for the excellent Rumi poem.


  2. Susan

    Thank you, John for this post. Hopefully both you and the other party get what each of you needs from this…

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Susan. I think the other person and I have already gotten what we need from this — at least I know I have. It’s been an interesting dance. But now the music is finished. 🙂

  3. Damian Purdy

    Hello John and Spirit,
    I do not believe I will ever stop being amazed at the events that occur in my life. It is as if you, John, are experiencing events with me, or you have the inside track of my life. Since I have found your site, it seems that you know me better than I know myself. Very recently, I have been having dreams, vivid dreams. I usually do not remember my dreams, although I do know that I have them. They usually drift away quickly. But not lately. There are two that stand out in the last two weeks. One, I woke up strangling my pillow. I know that I have reached my limit with that particular topic in my life. I need to let it go. The second is different. I’ve never had a dream like this one before, and it unnerved me to no end when I woke up. Within an hour after I woke up, I received a phone call from one of my sisters. My other sister was in the hospital. The dream made complete sense after that. All is well now, but I can’t shake this feeling that life will be much different for me in the future. At present, it is a bit scary, but I look forward to it. It is all a learning process.
    I thank you for sharing yours. It has helped me to slow down and be ‘Aware’ more. May the leaves of the forest shade you and everyone.

    • John Cali

      Thanks very much, Damian. I think many of us are realizing our lives are changing dramatically. So we need to just learn to “go with the flow.”


  4. Tom

    Fantastic post John, this advice is key.. thanks so much for sharing!

    Tommy 🙂

  5. Ed Peterson

    Hi John:
    I enjoyed your story because of the synchronicity with what I am coming to understand more fully in my life. Source energy ever flows into us and all is good. We make choices in our daily lives that expand or limit this flow. Choices that expand the flow, feel good to us, while those that do not, restrict the flow.
    All emotions you have are an indication of your alignment within the flow. The better the feeling, the more in the flow you are, while the worse you are feeling, the more out of alignment or restricted the flow becomes. A little out of alignment will create a little discomfort (uneasiness), and the more out of the flow you become, the greater the discomfort. This will continue to grow and progress to the point of dreams, physical ailments and eventually death if left unchecked.
    The key of course, as Chief Joseph explained, is to become aware of how you feel in the moment, and adjust what you are doing/thinking to continually move yourself into a better feeling. Life is good.
    To see this in action, observe animals in the wild. Domestic animals pick up your vibration, so they do not work as purely as wild animals. What you have labelled as instinct is really living purely within the flow of source energy. Animals trust their feelings, their emotions and follow their connections with source, by “going with the flow”. They do not allow even a little bad feeling emotion into their existence, so they live a joyous life.
    You can do choose to do the same in every moment.

  6. Judith Marie Anderson

    WOW! Talk about sharing insight!

    Reading this dream account I realized that for most of my life, whenever I felt threatened in dreams, I would shift to the position of a detached observer and watch things unfold from the ceiling.

    Which was also symbolic of how I was leading my life.

    Similar to so many women in a destructive relationship I knew that I needed out of my marriage, but it took me years to take the necessary action. I had a child with severe health issues and did not know how I would care for him and my other child both physically and financially.

    And, also similar to so many other women in that situation my husband had managed to keep me largely socially isolated with frequent cross country moves to new jobs and a refusal to be civil let alone interact with people outside his work environment, so I had no resources outside myself and was frequently told what a loser I was at home.

    Fortunately, I knew that I was a divine spark of God and that we all have resources within ourselves and I learned to use them.

    Oddly enough, the signal my Guide developed to show me I was on the right path was hearing Dan Fogelberg songs wherever I was, often in grocery stores but even on the day I went to file the paperwork in the lunchroom of the courthouse.

    It took almost three dreadful years to become legally free, the first of which I was forced to stay in the same house with constant verbal abuse and threats and rarely slept so rarely dreamed.

    For a long time afterwards I was start awake in a panic, as my dreams would be of still being married.

    Now I dream of traveling to jungle lodges in the Amazon.

    Perhaps today I will listen to Fogelberg’s Netherlands. Recommended for all seekers.

  7. Claire

    Oh, I just read this :

    The Guest House

    This being human is a guest house.
    Every morning a new arrival.

    A joy, a depression, a meanness,
    some momentary awareness comes
    as an unexpected visitor.

    Welcome and entertain them all!
    Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
    who violently sweep your house
    empty of its furniture,
    still, treat each guest honorably.
    He may be clearing you out
    for some new delight.

    The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
    meet them at the door laughing,
    and invite them in.

    Be grateful for whoever comes,
    because each has been sent
    as a guide from beyond.

    ~ Rumi ~

  8. Cara

    Hi John,

    I really enjoyed this post. I think it can be easy to acclimatise to a way of feeling and consider it “normal” When we view our reality through our now, however painful it may be, it is always empowering. We might not like what we notice initially but thankfully we live in a universe that is abundant with choices, new decisions and one that never gives up on us.

    I can’t imagine Sources saying – “Oh you should have got this the tenth time around, you have run out of choices now” Source always says, Have another go, do it another way. Yes. Yes.

    So we always have new beginnings available and, with practice, with mindfulness, we can listen to the whispers so that the universe doesn’t have to shout.

    Thanks John, I really enjoy reading about how you live your spiritual principles.


  9. Claire

    Hello John,
    I pay very careful attention to my dreams, it’s a great help. In a dream, I was very angry with someone who abused my time and my kindness to assume its own responsibilities. And it’s strange because later when I met him, I didn’t say anything, do anything, and she told me herself that she should have to do it …
    May be the border between the night-dream and the dream of the life doesn’t exist.
    Life may be like a dream too, where sometimes you get stuck, without solution. I try to ask to see more and more open, dreams and feelings, and ideas who are sudden tracks. I feel like that in my life at the moment….
    But there are also external signs, synchronicities … and sometimes somebody speaks about things which give an answer, and we also urge you to pay attention to this in your life. A Zen master in a story repeated: “attention, attention !” 🙂

  10. Shih-Min

    We cheer up for you, John.


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