Sunday, July 29, 2012

Expecting in the Autumn of My Life

The Dream: An older woman is surprised to find herself pregnant. She has not seen a doctor, but she is sure this is the case: she knows how it feels.

Interpretation: These last three dreams can be looked at as a sequence that tells me I've done enough for the waking life children I have launched into the world. Now it's time for me to have a new baby (a new passion in life).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Crossing My T's and Dotting My I's

The Dream: At a T junction a toddler breaks away from the group she's with and runs into the street. I am closest to the infant so I step into the street holding up my hand to stop the flow of cars. As I go after the baby I feel partially paralyzed: either because I'm concerned that I'll get hit by a car or because I can't move as fast as I think I should. In any case it's fast enough. I pick up the baby, who is safe, and return her to her parents who, I think, should have been watching over her more carefully.

Interpretation: As recent difficult life transitions visit my children in waking life I struggle with feelings of motherly inadequacy. Am I doing enough to save them? Are they okay on their own? The dream says I could have done more (moved faster to avert a looming problem) but it also says I've done enough. The baby is safe.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Diminution of the Mother

I had this dream after my older child moved to her own apartment.
The Dream: My mother is getting breast augmentation surgery. My son and I clutch hands for comfort in our anxiety over mother's operation. I begin to wonder if he is too old (he's about 9) to hold hands with his mother, and I wonder if he will pull away in embarrassment.

Next we are inside the medical facility where we see mother's picture on a video screen. She has turned into a baby and is dressed in a very feminine outfit with a bonnet. Her face, however, is still mother's. She looks cranky. “I don't think mother is going to like this,” I say.

Interpretation: As much as we are happy to see our children achieve and go out on their own, it represents a loss. As I lose the mother role to my child's independence, my mother (me as a mother) wants to have her mother role (breasts) enlarged. I ponder accepting the child's need for independence as I wonder if my dream son will be embarrassed to be holding hands with his mother. By the end of the dream, mother has been reduced to a cranky baby. I apparently haven't accepted my child's new life with good grace quite yet.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Artist Within

One of the most difficult things artists do is to represent conflicting aspects of life simultaneously.
The Dream: I am at Hunky's house, but it doesn't look like her waking life house. It's one story with lots of off-shoots. Art is everywhere. Looking through the window I can see an outside wall, at an angle to the room I'm in, hung with primitive masks of heads painted in earth colors.

There is a very large studio in the back where Hunky is working. I comment on how much I like the way the art is displayed along the outside wall, and she tells me that her son has made the masks. They are hung as if no thought were given to their arrangement or spacing and yet . . . there has been. It's very sophisticated. Hunky says this is where her son hangs his work to dry as he churns it out; it's not a planned arrangement of paintings as in a gallery.

Hunky talks about her process: she puts down shapes and color and then responds to them. She works abstractly; her art is unplanned. She loses herself in the process. I think this must be enjoyable and that I'll have to try it, but then remind myself of the pig's breakfast I get whenever I attempt to work this way.

As Hunky talks about her work she shows me a piece she is starting. It has a large tear-drop shape in red lined with blue on the left side of the paper. Hunky will start with this and then move on. As she talks about her work she begins to look like an obsessed artist: her hair becomes messy, her clothes paint-stained. Clearly the only thing that exists for her is the moment of creation. I contrast this with my meticulous rendering in egg tempera, concluding I must be a lesser artist. Hunky talks about her two lives, or roles: one as a suburban matron responsible for creating a certain sort of living space for the family, and the other as a committed artist. As she talks I see Hunky split into two people, although I realize this isn't possible. Both are working at their very different jobs. One is tidy and organized and on top of the housewife job; the other is messy and focused completely on the art she's creating.

As I awakened I was dreaming about putting a wax finish on Pomona. The top of the painting had a pattern of water, and as I waxed it part of this pattern began to dissolve. I liked the softer effect but I didn't want it to dissolve to the point that it no longer existed.

Interpretation: Hunky's house (my house, where I live) is one story with lots of off-shoots. In other words, my life has a consistent theme that has been expressed in many different ways. Art is everywhere; that tells me it is the ground that nurtures the off-shoots. The primitive masks in earth colors reinforce the idea of art as something primal for me.

While Hunky's (my) studio is very large (the work takes up a lot of my psychic space), it has been relegated to the back of the building. Its location hints that, while the activity may be primal, its status is not. Although I like the work, not only has it been hung outside, with no thought given to its display, but another stand-in artist has appeared: Hunky's son. My inner artist is twice removed.

After showing me how I denigrate what I do, the dream goes on to show me what this inner artist (if not the waking life one) is capable of. First of all, the son artist churns out the work. Apparently he's so creative he doesn't have to give it a thought. Then he hangs it up any old way, and it looks marvelous. His mother tells me about how she works with total absorption.

As Hunky demonstrates her artistic fervor, a basic dilemma emerges, presaged by the teardrop in her painting. The problem? One most women face: how to balance life and work. The conflict is so strong that she (I) splits into two separate people. And then it becomes apparent that the dream has been talking about polarities from the start. Inside, outside; planning, spontaneity; thought, passion; tidy, messy. How do I reconcile these opposites?

The dream tells me to live with them. The pattern might begin to dissolve, and it will look better for it. But the structure will still be visible, only softened (more integrated).

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Two Toilets

The Dream: I have to use the toilet. The first one I find is the height of a baby's highchair. The lid is down, covered with debris from an infant's diaper change. I remove the pieces of trash with distaste and find it's not as disgusting as I had anticipated. I keep expecting to come across a poop-filled diaper but never do.

I abandon this toilet and find myself next to another one, a typical adult model this time, with debris in the bowl. The discards are pharmacy boxes and other bathroom detritus. A box labeled with the drug name Napoxne catches my eye. What does it treat, I wonder? I awaken, saying the name over and over to myself, trying to remember it so I can do a google search in the morning.

Interpretation: I'm looking for some sort of release; there's something I need to let go of. (I need to use the toilet.) The appearance of the baby's highchair tells me that the first thing I must get out of my system dates to my early childhood. That the lid is down tells me that whatever lurks there is unconscious. Although it never reaches the level of consciousness, I symbolically deal with this mental trash by removing and accepting it (it's not as disgusting as I had anticipated). I haven't yet discovered the really shitty event—or possibly there isn't one. (I keep expecting to come across a poop-filled diaper but never do.)

In any case, I'm now ready to take on adult crap and again find the instrument of my release (the toilet) blocked. What's clogging it this time? The dream offers up the drug napoxne. When I searched for the meaning of the term I found a similar word, naproxen, that is a drug used to treat pain. The dream is telling me that my desire to avoid pain is blocking my ability to purge myself of it.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Putting the Pieces Together

The other day I posted a guest dream from Emily called Killing Gophers. She worked on this dream with a projective dream group and has sent me the insights she gained from the process. As you read what she has written you'll get a sense of the rich material your unconscious gives you in dreams as well as the benefits of having a group to work with in exploring them.

Emily: I, as dreamer, retold the dream to the group. The act of retelling rather than reading my written report brought out additional details. These included the acorn woodpecker eating the tail end of the swallowtail butterfly, and the fact that the scene had pastures in it as well as the brown hills with the gopher holes.

When the group looked at the dream, one of the first thoughts was of food: "swallow", "acorn", "meat". Food is used to nourish us, feed us, keep us alive. Poison is the antithesis, so the dream immediately pictures nourishment/poison and poison/natural environment as the contrasting elements. There is also much about things being hidden: the poison hidden in the meat, the gophers hidden in the ground, the hidden claws of the woodpecker, and the hidden thought that the meat is too expensive. The colors came into play: the yellow of the butterfly and red of the acorn woodpecker verses the brown of the land. Another contrast of vibrancy/lifelessness.

The nature of "twinning" arose - when a dream images two of the same things: ie, the two "tails" for "tales". There was the "swallow-tale" butterfly and the woodpecker eating the "tale of the butterfly".

It was noted that although poison was in the dream, it was not harming the dreamer. It was a source of potential harm. Such as what happens when we swallow something that is not healthy. Both the holes and the poison were round, circular elements of the same size, so their weight was equal in the dream. A status quo.

Phil is a fatherly figure (the dreamer gave 3 adjectives for Phil during the clarification phase and fatherly was one of the adjectives, as were compassionate and caring), who is getting overwhelmed by the invasion of the gophers. The dream doesn't actually resolve any issues, but rather leaves the questions for the dreamer to ponder:

What is something costing the dreamer? (high cost of the meat and choice not to mention this cost to the animus Phil)
What is the dreamer getting to the meat of? (the pork chop)
What tale is the dreamer swallowing? (tail of the butterfly, and the acorn woodpecker eating from the tail end of the butterfly)
How is the compassion of the dreamer becoming overwhelming or to much to bear?

Which, in fact, was the outcome of the dream for the dreamer. For, she had swallowed a pretty big family tale while attending a funeral 2 days earlier. The dream imaged the cost to the dreamer of making the decision not to debunk a myth the other family members believed. It pervaded her sense of integrity and wholeness (or self-righteousness), but it did not destroy her. By keeping the myth alive, at least for now, balance of wholeness for both herself and the rest of the family was maintained.

In Tony Crisp's online Dream Dictionary, he states an idiom "One man's meat is another man's poison". Exactly - what was the meat of the tale nourished the family members' memories of the deceased, but it was poisonous to the dreamer.

Finally, at the IASD Conference, it was suggested at one of the workshops to change the title after working the dream. Thus, the new title for this dream is
"The Hidden Tale".

P.S. Plays on names: (but I think you got them all by now!)
Phil - "fill"
Cooper - "coop her"
Tail - "tale"
Gopher - "go for it"
Holes - "wholeness"

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Lizard Mother

The Dream: A lizard-like creature is about to give birth. Her fetus gestates between her clavicle bones. She is aware of her baby and happy and excited. She also knows that once born the baby will have no idea who its mother is. It will live a completely independent life. One of these already hatched creatures walks past, resembling a porcupine. The mother lizard is very maternal and glows with the joy of nurturing life. At the same time she is aware that she cannot protect her offspring once he is born.

The lizard, being a primitive animal, represents something basic and primitive, perhaps a pre-verbal stage of my life. The location of the gestating baby, over the heart, tells me that its job is to protect me emotionally. To sum up: a primitive, undeveloped part of my brain has created something protective. The event that triggered this process is lost. (Once born the baby will have no idea who its mother is.) That it resulted in a prickly creature (the porcupine) tells me that it's a defensive part of me, one that keeps emotions at bay. The dream encourages me to reevaluate my reaction to this ancient (in terms of my life) event, giving me the opportunity to consciously decide whether or not this armor (the porcupine's coat) is doing more harm than good.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Guest Dream: Killing Gophers

Today's guest dream has been contributed by Emily, who often adds insightful comments to my dreams.

Emily's Dream: The overall scenario is the need to kill gophers. As I walk, I come across Phil Cooper, a member of my church, who is getting frustrated with trying to kill the gophers. The gophers made perfect circles in the mounds of brown dirt surrounding Phil. He tells me they have made over 300 holes in his yard! One way to kill gophers is to use raw pork with poison in it.. I only see one or two pieces of this raw pork, and I see that Phil has put perfectly circular cuts of poison in the thickest part of the meat. I know he didn't have to use such an expensive cut of meat, but I don't have the heart to tell him this. The size of the gopher holes and the poison pieces in the meat is the same.

Shift: A woodpecker, perhaps an acorn woodpecker, except larger, is eating bugs off a tree or a wooden side of a building which my husband has sprayed with gopher poison. I worry that bird will get traces of poison in his system by eating the bugs off the area sprayed. Suddenly, the bird reaches out and grabs a swallowtail butterfly which happens to fly by. I'm surprised he was able to do this - it was as if he reached out with arms to catch it, although I don't see anything like arms on him. As I look more closely at the bird, I see is he holding the butterfly somehow, perhaps how an insect would grab something with his forelegs to hold it and eat it. I see that this bird is eating the "meaty" or "body" part of the butterfly. Its yellow wings are drooping to the sides of his body.

Carla's thoughts: In reacting to Emily's dream I'll interpret it as if it were one of my own. There are many possible meanings in this (or any) dream. I'm going to write about the one that jumped out at me.

A slang expression for someone who performs tedious, low level tasks is a “gopher.” I am tired of these sorts of tasks, and I need to get them out of my life (kill them). I have some ambivalence about freeing myself from these unwelcome duties, which fill (Phil) my time and coop (Cooper) me up. The church represents the part of me that feels these imposed tasks are the right and good thing to do; the circles represent my being circumscribed, or contained, in a place where I don't want to be. The mounds of brown earth evoke excrement: I'm tired of being in the middle of all this shit! The poison in the middle of the circles of raw (me)at tell me just how strong my feelings about this situation are, and its expensive price tells me how much this is costing me.

When the dream shifts I, in the form of a bird, am pecking at this inflexible (wooden) problem. It's certainly bugging me, to the point that my attempt to solve it (by pecking away at it) endangers me. Even in my own home (the building my husband has sprayed) there's the threat of more “go for” poison. Then the dream shows me the path of my transformation: As a bird I am a winged creature (symbolic of the soul), and I reach out and ingest yet another creature that represents the soul, a butterfly. By swallowing the swallowtail the dream tells me my personal means of transformation (taking in the spiritual) is important, and it reminds me to nurture my soul.