Friday, January 15, 2010

The Tangled Forest

Your dreams work on several different levels at the same time. While a dream might comment on a current problem, it also might—at the same time—hint that this current problem is part of a deeper pattern.

The Dream: I’m with a group of people in a classroom setting. We are about to leave on a field trip to a museum. I get separated from the group. I see a very long queue for a packed bus and look in vain for my classmates. I don’t see any, but nevertheless decide this is the right bus. In desperation not to be left behind I want to squeeze in at the head of the queue, but then notice the inside of the bus has lots of space.

I get on the bus which pulls away before I realize my group is not on the vehicle, and I’m heading I know not where. I pull the bell to get off. I doesn’t “ding” so I keep pulling, feeling the panic of speeding off in the wrong direction. The bus stops in a desolate area. My plan is to cross the street and take the bus back in the other direction. I think I am on a footpath, but soon realize I’m in the middle of traffic. I dodge the on-coming cars and make it to the opposite side of the street where I find myself in a park.

The park is covered in snow, but it is artificial snow. It has a grayish cast and an odd grainy yet slick quality. I rub it between my fingers. It is very cold. I wander through this snow-covered landscape for a while, and then come to a wooded and brambly area where the snow abruptly stops. I don’t think I can get through the tangled forest. I turn around and head back for the road.

Interpretation: I had this dream after taking an art class with an artist whose work and aims were very different from my own. Trying to assimilate what I admired about the artist’s technique while not rejecting my own style created a conflict—and this conflict pointed to a deeper issue that needed to be resolved.
At the time of the dream I was working on a piece using the art instructor’s techniques. Many images in the dream tell me not to follow the “collective” path: that is, the path of engaging in an art based on someone else’s standards, or—by expansion—to live a life based on someone else’s expectations and ideals. In the final dream image, after separating from the group but still going in the wrong direction, I find myself stuck (“park”ed) and facing an insurmountable obstacle. The dream is telling me I got into this position because I wasn’t ready to go look at some old stuff (in the museum).

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