Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Ravages of Time

This is a dream firmly grounded in life, as Clark and I care for an aging parent. In the present we are caring for his mother, but the dream evokes my struggle with my own mother’s debilitation at this stage of her life.

The Dream: Mother is staying with us. She hardly eats and stays in bed all day. She is dying.  I wish she would die and end this agony. For a brief moment she emerges from the bedroom, standing and coherent, settling some issues, in control, making plans: she is her old self. I am surprised and think perhaps there is hope. Then she reverts to her incapacitated self, and I wish she would go back to my brother’s house so I wouldn’t have to face this dreadful situation any longer. I console myself that dying of starvation is painless.

Interpretation: It’s all here—the recognition that my parent is failing; my mixed feelings: wishing she would get better, wishing she would die, wishing she would leave—anything to help me avoid the horror of my own feelings about loss and death. My concern for myself rather than her starves us both—and I try to convince myself that this is painless.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Royal Flush

The Dream: A public toilet: not only is it public in the sense that it is a large facility anyone can use, but also because there are no privacy stalls. Someone has defecated, and the toilet I’m about to use is full of excrement. I’m concerned that adding my contribution will cause an overflow when I flush. There is a supervisory woman who seems to think this is okay. And in fact, when I pull the lever a very small flush clears the entire mess with quiet efficiency. I am relieved.
Interpretation: This dream resolves the last two dreams, The Scream and Much Ado Over Nothing. The first sets the stage for me to confront the pain of dealing with my father’s anger. The second transforms my understanding of that pain and enables me to see that I am strong enough to withstand it. Today’s dream finishes the purge with a graphic image of shit that is a lot easier to get rid of than I had anticipated. And even mother (the supervisory woman) is on board with letting it go.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Much Ado About Nothing

The Dream: A crazy man, older, who looks like a World War II vet, is shooting 2 six guns outside a museum. I run for cover and cower among what look like archeological remains: pillars, columns, large stones, in the area across from the building. A woman holds me; she wears a blue jacket. Partially she holds me out of her own fear; partially to comfort me.

Interpretation: This is my terrified inner child, confronting the angry father of my early childhood. He is in front of a museum, a place where artifacts of the (my) past are stored. Mother and I cower among the old ruins, those ruined times of painful family interactions. Doing the illustration for this dream affected my understanding: what Dad shot off was his mouth. He was irascible, not mean or cruel, and yet he probably scared my gentle and somewhat timid mother as much as he scared me. I laughed when I finished the drawing; the silly image showed me our cringing overreaction to some irate words—which, in the final analysis, represented somebody blowing off some steam. Now that I can look at this anger with an adult perspective I can see there’s no longer reason to be frightened.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Scream

The Dream: I am lying on a bed. I put my head into a long tube and scream. My father comes into the room and asks me if I scream often. “No, I say, “this is the only time I ever screamed.”
“Heart attack,” he says.
“Well,” I say, “you’d better take me to the hospital.”
All dither around. No one seems to grasp the urgency of the situation. Someone asks if I feel any pain, and I say, “Only some tightness in my chest.”

Interpretation: I’ve got my head up my ass (in a long tube). There’s something emotionally painful (attack in the region of the heart) that I’m refusing to see. I need some help (the hospital) in order to get this off my chest.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Night Knight

A dream often seems to say two opposite things at once; perhaps this is part of their integrative function, to make a harmonious whole out of all the disparate ideas, urges, thoughts, needs that go into making us human.

The Dream: I am explaining to someone that unraveling a dream’s meaning is achieved by looking at the dream’s puns or wordplay. As I awaken I’m thinking, “Night Knight.”

Interpretation: My knight in shining armor (rescuer) is the night, bringer of dreams. “Wordplay”  tells me that the night realm (the unconscious) can be the place where my curious child comes out to play. The “knight/night” pun is symbolic: knight (rescuer); night (sleep, time of dreams). The knight’s shining amour implies goodness, a noble mission. And then there’s the flip side of both: the knight is a warrior, a killer; the night can be a fearful time when demons roam.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Connect the Dots

Is it possible to get to the meaning of a dream that seems inexplicable?
The Dream: Like many dreams, this one culminated in something I couldn’t define or grasp.

Interpretation: I discovered the dream’s message when I attempted to illustrate it. The message? Connect the dots. There’s something I’m getting subliminal hints about. The dream is urging me to become more conscious of these, to put them together, and to figure out what's up.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Something I Can’t Get Around

The Dream: I encounter a large, well-proportioned black man on a path. As we try to pass one another we perform a socially awkward dance: we each move in the direction the blocks the other. We do this several times. The man is tall, attractive, middle-aged, athletic, and looks strong. There is no threat in the encounter, only embarrassment that we can’t get around each other.

Interpretation: The dream is telling me that there is something I just can’t get around. I must encounter (and integrate) something that, while not threatening, is very different from the way I see myself; it’s symbolically opposite me in just about every way: height, race, sex. The dream hints that I may be on the way toward accepting this part of myself since I see this “other” as attractive.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Spider in the Garden

The Dream: I find a black widow spider in the garden. It scurries under something. I know I should kill it, but I don’t want to. I think it won’t hurt me if I don’t disturb it, if I leave it alone.

Interpretation: There’s a potentially poisonous emotion or situation I need to deal with, but I’m not ready to. Just as soon as it shows itself (starts to come to consciousness), it hides again (is repressed).  I decide to “leave it alone.”

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Complications of Eradicating Evil

The Dream: Some very evil men can’t be controlled. My husband Clark decides to murder them. Their bodies are placed upright in a public space, as if embedded into a curtain that surrounds a public square. We wait for them to be discovered and to see what sort of public reaction there will be. Clark is convinced he’s done the right thing and has the courage of his certainty. I’m nervous and unsure. Who will back us up? Who will turn us in? Who knows?

Interpretation: This is a dream about something we confront every day as we listen to the news: evil people commit evil deeds; what can I do about it? In the dream my public, active side, represented by my husband (my other half), takes action. My introverted, more reflective, less impulsive side (represented by the dream ego) is not sure the action taken was a good idea. 

A more complicated ethical dilemma arises: we’ve covered up (veiled) our action. By privately making a decision for the group (the public) we risk alienating ourselves from the society we live in. Taking action has left us hanging out, much like our victims.

And then there’s another way to look at the dream: what evil part of myself am I veiling from public view? And isn’t the evil hidden in my breast the most difficult to eradicate? Partially because even I can’t see it: it’s veiled, embedded and enclosed!