Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Bed and The Diary


The Dream:
Part 1: I'm a child. I'm in a room with twin beds. My brother is meant to sleep in one; I'm meant to sleep in the other. I get into his bed with him. I think there's something wrong with my doing this, but it isn't clear to me what it is. I know I should cover up the action. Both pillows are on one bed; the other bed is pristine and clearly has not been slept in. Will Mother figure it out? I decide she'll only think I made my bed and my brother didn't.

Part 2: I'm an adult. I'm reading through an old diary that my daughter had left at the house, written on a stenographer's pad. In one part she describes an active and unembarrassed sex life. I'm very surprised that she had such a frank view of sex at such an early age. I feel uncomfortable about this on the one hand, but on the other hand I think that since all has turned out well, perhaps it's okay. In some parts of the diary I notice a different handwriting and wonder if it's that of one of her boyfriends. I feel a certain dread—but also an attraction—toward reading what he wrote.

Interpretation: These dreams further the sorting out of the “mother” theme. The child/mother relationship is central in both. In the first I'm the child; in the next I'm the mother. In both Mother judges my spontaneous relationship to life (sex) and pleasure, and in the dreams these feelings are symbolized by a socially inappropriate relationship. The fact that I am not sure what might be wrong with being in bed with my bother tells me that the dream is pointing to a very early feeling. The dream uncovers (covers play an important role here!) my earliest sexual feelings and the child's dawning awareness of parental disapproval regarding them. The dream tells me that this has colored my feelings about pleasure: some part of me believes it's something to be leery of.

In the second part my child has developed and explored her sexual feelings despite mother's queasiness on the topic. She keeps her diary in a stenographer's notebook, an interesting touch since stenographers write down what others tell them. What proportion of my view of life and sex was created by the society I live in? There is a role reversal in the dream sequence as I go from child to mother: I become the owner of  my own attitudes and mores. A kind of freedom from the influence of the mother of my childhood occurs as the mother in the second part concludes that perhaps it's okay that her child has freely explored sex.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Mother is Tired


The Dream:
I'm in a house like the one I grew up in. My mother is there, as are a lot of family members. There's lots of chaos and activity. Mother and I are happy to be with everyone, but also tired from the strain of entertaining. Trying to keep the house in order with so many people carelessly putting their stuff everywhere has worn us out. When everyone leaves mother and I chat about not wanting to be the mother anymore. We're tired. There's too much to clean up after the party.

Interpretation: The dream was probably triggered by my anxiety over a large home improvement project and my desperate attempt to keep the house and garden in order during the process. I'm not happy with being “mother.” The dream points out that we, my introjected mother and I, see our role mostly in terms of the onerous responsibility to clean up after others. “Mother” generally refers to the entire feminine role of nurturing as well as house keeping, but our fatigue is specifically caused by the chore aspect of the role. The party is fun; the people are loved and respected; it's the dull cleaning up and trying to keep the space under control that's the problem. The dream is telling me to pay more attention to the people and the party and less to keeping order.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Challenging Fight


The Dream: I'm a man on a spaceship shaped like a long and narrow oval. I'm on the deck reestablishing its hexagon shapes; they've been covered with snow.

Even though I'm in outer space I am gliding over a dark sea. I wear no special outer space gear. I realize I've passed an island full of exotic beasts, but I'm so preoccupied with inscribing my hexagons, so narrowly focused, that I'm missing the marvelous sights of this amazing journey. I'm aware of the contradiction of being in space and on the sea; I don't understand it.

Later I'm in the lower portion of the ship when a fire breaks out. Someone's wife, perhaps mine, had left paper plates on deck. I wonder if these might have triggered the blaze. I'm the captain, so I rush upstairs to lead the crew in the effort to extinguish the blaze. We all realize we're fighting for our lives, and this is very energizing and motivating.

Interpretation: This dream was triggered by news about the birth of the cosmos, dark matter (the dark sea), and dark energy. Is my narrow focus causing me to miss the wonders of the universe? Domesticity (the wife's paper plates) create a blaze. Am I angry about its demands? The dream points out that I need a challenge that I feel is crucially important (leading others in a life or death struggle) to be energized and motivated. Yet it is the feminine that releases the captain from his narrow focus, if we assume that the wife's paper plates did indeed create the blaze. He won't be re-instating hexagons when he's fighting for his life. On the other hand, he won't be looking at the marvels of the universe either.

So--is there something that the life and death struggle distracts from? Is it not so important in and of itself, but rather as a way of not seeing something? What about the exotic beasts? In the dream they are something like gargoyles, ugly and fascinating at the same time. Why do gargoyles appeal? They have the undeniable intrigue of something atavistic, something scary that can't hurt us. Something that holds primitive antisocial tendencies, but also symbolically protects us, just as they protected medieval churches.

Interesting to note that it is when I (the captain) go "under" (into the unconscious) that the blaze breaks out.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

On Love


The Dream: I am walking with my friend/lover/soul mate. We stop to sit on the curb by the side of the road. I say, “It's hard to be in a sexual relationship with a good friend.” I think about this for a while. “I'm so afraid!”

I feel the fear. I wonder about the alternative: anonymous sex? He says, “I know.” He lifts me from the curb and enfolds me, gently and lovingly, in his arms.

Interpretation: The sexual relationship represents the vulnerability of giving myself, of being open. This leads to inevitable pain. Right before having the dream I had visited a very ill relative, and I was forcefully reminded of the separation that mortality entails. I saw the relative's spouse in unspeakable pain at her husband's inevitable succumbing to death, as we all must. Strong attachments, as the Buddhists say, are one source of pain in the world. But I don't agree that the solution is not to have them, that seems not only cowardly, but life-denying.

In this dream the stronger part of myself, the male friend/lover, knows what the curbed part doesn't. He lifts her to her feet, and they embrace: a symbolic acceptance of love with both its joys and sorrows. Love is shown to be a totality of communication and involvement, made up of both the spiritual (friendship) and the physical (sex), important here as the grounded, if mortal, part of us.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Guest Dreamer: Raw Inside


The dreamer told me that her divorced daughter's ex-husband has recently remarried. The family became aware of this because the wedding was held at their local church. Lana's friend Jane had been abused as a child. Keeping those waking life facts in mind, I'll react to Lana's dream as if it were my own.

Lana's Dream: In this fragment of a dream, friends are bringing food to a gathering. I've assigned each person to bring the same thing: a filled loaf of bread. Jane and I meet, and we open hers. We're upset to realize that the filling, looking like eggs, is uncooked, raw; it might also contain some fish. Something needs to be fixed. I feel this is my responsibility.

Carla's thoughts: My friend Jane, having been abused as a child, is the symbol of my own injured child: my daughter, who feels wounded by her ex-husband's remarriage. Whether or not having the wedding in our local church was designed to be hurtful, seeing it there opened up something that still feels raw, and I thought there was something fishy about it. The uncooked eggs represent the potential of my daughter's marriage that went unfulfilled, and we are upset that things didn't go as anticipated. As the mother, I feel it's my responsibility to fix things for my injured child.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Did It My Way


The Dream: How many ways can you do a thing? Which one is right? Is there one right way?

Interpretation: This dream wants me to think about a philosophical, or perhaps an existential, problem; it's offering questions rather than answers. Is there one right way to do a thing? Are there many? Does it depend, perhaps, on what I'm doing? Some earlier dreams suggested I abandon a tendency toward rigidity that was inculcated in my childhood. This one gently nudges me in that direction.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Slow Down and Live


In our overstimulated world we sometimes need to be reminded to slow down.
The Dream: I'm on a train, going to visit an old friend. There's a red knitted fabric on my lap. I keep my gaze fixed on it, and I feel that time is passing very slowly. I want to get to my destination, and I'm not enjoying the trip. After a while I realize that I'm so excited about where I'm going, and so impatient to get there, that it's making the trip seem longer than it is. I think that I should have brought something to read to make the time go faster.

Interpretation:  I'm on a train, implying that I'm on a fixed track. What is the meaning of the knitted fabric on my lap? For me, red is the color of life, and the fabric (of life) is a complex of people, events, and interests knitted together. The dream tells me that I need to enjoy the process and not be so intent on achieving the outcome (the destination). It also points out that I tend to distract myself (I should have brought something to read) rather than immersing myself in the experience. If I heed the dream and refocus on the present and the process, rather than on the future and the outcome, I'll start enjoying the trip.