Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Guest Dreamer: My Next Step

This guest dream from Tyler starts a sequence of shoe dreams. Over the next two weeks there will be 3 guest dreams from two different dreamers featuring this theme.

Tyler's Dream: The first dream I remember was a couple of nights ago - the first time I've remembered a dream in a long time. I remember I was sitting on the ground with one shoe on my right foot and my left foot was bare because there was something sticking out of the top of my foot - not the bottom like it was a root. I remember very vividly seeing nearly all of my bones in my left foot and this stick-like thing protruding from inside my foot. I was trying to pull it out, carefully and slowly so that I didn't make the entry wound larger. After fussing with it for what seemed like an extremely long time, the stick, or object broke in half so that it wasn't sticking out of my foot anymore, but I could still see it lodged inside of my foot. Some reason or another, I had a pair of tweezers or pliers or something like that and I began using it to remove the rest of the object. After what felt like another extremely long length of time, I had removed some pieces of the object and I had given up. I don't remember any of the rest of my surroundings or anything, but there may or may not have been someone who had come by to "check on me" or see if I was okay or something, but they did not rest for long.

Carla's thoughts:
Tyler asked me this question: “Do certain things have different meanings if they are accompanied by other particular things?” The answer is “yes.” When we're looking at a dream it's like looking at a poem or a play. Context is everything! I'll try to demonstrate this by the way I work with Tyler's dream, which I'll write about as if it were my own. So here goes:

I'm at a low point. (I'm sitting on the ground.) I'm wearing one shoe on my right foot. The right side is associated with logic, so this tells me that rationally I'm prepared for the next step I need to take, but what about my left side, the one associated with feelings? Emotionally I feel exposed (my left foot is bare). What's worse, something has me stuck (I can't remove the stick). I approach my problem gingerly—I don't want to make my emotional wound even greater. After all, I'm dealing with a bare bones issue (something at my core). Since the bones of our feet support us, that I'm having problems with them tells me that the central issue of this dream is one of my feeling that I'm not getting adequate emotional support for the next step on my life journey.

A few things tell me that some nascent support is in the wings. First, part of the stick has broken: it isn't as large as it used to be. Second, I use a tool (something that extends my innate ability) to begin to get rid of what 's left. And third, there's the person who comes by to check on me; I see this as my emerging ability to support myself. I haven't completely conquered this problem, but I'm closer to getting on my feet.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

At Last I Count

Another dream in the series that shows some sort of psychic “progress.”  
The Dream: In a contest to place a noose-like rope around a hook that is far above. To get to it I have to climb, and then balance on the knob of a dresser pull. I don't think I can do it. It looks precarious, scary, impossible. A kind and patient person shows me how: in some inexplicable way the feat is related to some sort of artistic achievement. I try, and to my joy I find it feels very secure and easy! I am thrilled and surprised. I go back down, trying to remember which drawer I balanced on and not sure I know how I did it, but very pleased with myself. I think I might have won the competition. I am given a fat business envelope with a glassine window. My name is written in a foreign language, and there is no recognizable last name, but the title, in Italian, of countess follows my name.

Interpretation: I need to win out over something that is choking me (the noose), and to do it I have to stretch myself in a way that I find uncomfortable and scary. An inner guide (the kind and patient person) shows me the way. The artistic achievement is a metaphor for my spiritual path, and the effort that becomes effortless signals a breakthrough. Having succeeded in passing the (con)test I'm given an affirmation (I'm a countess: one who counts) even though it's still difficult for me to understand (it's in a foreign language).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Light at the End of the Tunnel

This dream exemplifies the importance of looking at a sequence of dreams: it answers the previous nightmare.

The Dream: I'm in a tunnel. There is a long line of traffic going slowly in the left lane. I follow along at first, then become impatient, wondering why I don't go around the other cars. I pull to the right and pass the other cars, coming into daylight.

Interpretation: In the previous dream, I was waiting for a train (on a fixed track) in a very black tunnel. It clearly wasn't going to take me where I needed to go. In this dream I'm in the driver's seat, controlling my own vehicle, and getting around an obstacle. Something unconscious (on the left) has been slowing me down; I pull to the right (the obstacle becomes conscious). I get past the block and see the light.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

No Light at the End of the Tunnel

The Dream: Dettie and I are at the underground entrance to a NYC subway. She has a token and goes through the turnstile and down the escalator to the platform. I realize I have no money. I set down my large purse, at the same time noticing a lost-and-found-box containing cash and other items that people have left on the train, open to all with no oversight. I think, after a little ethical quavering, that it's probably okay if I “borrow” some of the money to buy a token. I feel a little guilty, but climb up to the box—it's a bit of a stretch—and help myself to a small amount of cash. In some part of my mind I am surprised that the money hasn't all disappeared.

I take the money to the ticket booths; the one to the left is closed, and the agent in the middle booth ignores me. I'm getting anxious about finding Dettie with all this delay. Then I notice an available agent to the right: I had 't been aware of him. He is a very affable black man and while I don't have enough money for a return, he sells me a one-way token.

As I approach the turnstile I realize my bag is missing. I feel very uneasy about this, thinking about my credit cards and how I should have made a list of them. I try to remember which membership cards were in my purse. This will be a mess to sort out; I hope Clark can help me.

I descend the escalator and my surroundings become darker and darker. When I reach the platform I look for Dettie, but she's nowhere to be seen. I had been counting on her to loan me money for the return trip. The platform is deserted, very dark, and no trains appear to be running. After a while I decide to try a different level, thinking I must be on the wrong track. I turn to go, and things become even darker until it's pitch black. I become frightened and decide to go back up.

I climb a long flight of stairs. At the top is a closed door with a window. The door is locked. I bang and bang on it, yelling “Help!” until I'm afraid my voice will go. A man appears—I see his face silhouetted against the door's window. He has a mustache and looks creepy, like something out of a surrealist's work. I think that if he opens the door it will be to rape me, not to help. I awaken in terror.

Interpretation: Jung warns us that encountering the unconscious is a fearsome project, and this dream verifies it. My friend's name is the key to this dream: “Dettie” evokes both death and debt. As I begin my descent into the underworld of the unconscious I grapple with feeling inadequate: I have no money (worth), but I might be able to retrieve some if I'm willing to take a chance and reach higher. It's interesting that I have an ethical difficulty in giving myself what I need: I don't feel entitled to take it. But even when I do my problems are not over. I have enough money to embark on my journey, but not enough to return. I lose my purse with its membership and credit cards (I'm totally alone; I'll get no credit in the future). I call on my animus to save the situation, but the male figure who appears is another threat, not a savior. I go lower and lower, facing my darkest fears: my vulnerability, my worthlessness and my mortality. My vision is so narrow (tunnel like) that I can't see a way out.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Is Anatomy Destiny?

The Dream: I am at a dance with Clark. Women are wearing décolleté gowns that remind me of Anna's ballgown in The King and I. A man places a wine bottle into the neckline of a woman's dress; I wonder if it will fall out. Soon afterward as I bend forward I notice my nipple protruding from my own low cut gown. Soon my partner and I are having sex, during the dance, fully clothed. He says, “I almost came as I entered,” at the same time that I am thinking, “I won't be able to have an orgasm in this position.”

I'm not in the right place (out in public) or in the right position to achieve the release I'm desiring. I feel exposed (my nipple protrudes). I associate femininity with providing nourishment, but also with something else: what does the wine bottle represent? Dionysian exuberance or numbness? The bottle is in a precarious position where it's been thrust by an unknown male, just as patriarchy thrusts its insistence that women nurture even as we try to dance. The sex, or union, that results in this situation can hardly be satisfactory. The dream tells me that I must have the inner strength to define my own role, to create my own position. It's time to stop wearing the clothes of a previous era.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Through a Glass Darkly

The Dream: I'm wandering through the streets of New York with a partner who seems somewhat--but not quite--like my husband Clark. The sidewalks are interspersed with trees; they remind me of Manhattan's East 60s, near where I once lived. It is early autumn. We are looking for Uncle Steve, and there is something mysterious about the mission. He has relocated and won't tell anyone where he is.

We go into a large old-fashioned apartment building, dimly lit with wide hallways. We know he's here. The door of his apartment is half frosted glass. We knock. He doesn't answer. Clark bangs loudly and assertively on the door. Finally Uncle Steve answers, not by opening the door but by yelling at us. He wants to be left alone.

My uncle's birthday was a few days ago; he died in the early 80s. His death is indeed a relocation. I'm looking for someone to tell me what awaits on the other side of the door. The door's frosted glass tells me, in the obscure and poetic language of the King James Bible, that spiritual truths are glimpsed “through a glass darkly.” In a recent dream class the idea was offered that if you ask your spirit guide the wrong question s/he won't answer, and also that the departed must volunteer for the job. It doesn't appear that Uncle Steve wants this one.

Looking at the dream's more mundane possibilities, my uncle was one of the authoritative adults when I was a child. How many questions does a child have that are left unanswered? Or responded to with anger?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Rescued Baby

The Dream: I'm on an escalator, of the sort that is stacked one on top of the next like a stairwell in a very tall building. I am with my mother. The feeling of the place is something like a combination of a department store and the stairwell of the Brooklyn apartment my mother grew up in.

I am unaware that I have a baby until it jumps across the stair rail, heading for a steep and deadly fall, down so many stories that I can't see the bottom. I think my reaction time will be too slow to save her—but even as I have this thought I've reached out my hand and grabbed her by the legs, bringing her back to safety. She's about 7 inches tall, tiny and more like a doll than a baby. I'm very relieved to have saved her; I holler her name in relief and vexation.

Interpretation: My husband Clark and I have been listening to a philosophy course on “the meaning of life.” The course insists that “spontaneity” is essential to a meaningful life (probably because most philosophers so lack the quality). The dream deals with the age (7) at which my own spontaneity was curtailed by coming up against the requirements of my 2nd grade teacher that I sit down and—more important—shut up. Having lost my battle with the establishment I reformed and by the third grade had become a model student.

The little figure who is ready to jump to her doom (my spontaneous self) is rescued by the part of me who doesn’t think she has it in her (doubts her reaction time will be fast enough). The truly spontaneous part acts even before the thought is finished—so this dream might point to a positive development: that adult spontaneity—strong, purposefully doing the right thing—can rescue the child spontaneity that lacks judgment and foresight. Mother lurks in the background but plays no other role.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Hit in the I

The Dream: I am rushing out of a building on the way to a dental appointment. There are some odd metal boxes, each with a drawer, in the lobby. I leave the building, picking up one of the boxes on my way out. As I'm going down the front steps, a Mexican girl comes running after me. I understand that she has left a book in the box. She is sitting on one of the steps and stretches out her hand to reach the drawer. As I turn, trying to make it easier for her to open the drawer, the corner of the box strikes her in the forehead. I am very sorry and apologize profusely. Here I was, trying to help, but instead I've hurt her.

We chat for a while and she accepts my apology. Then I realize the corner of the box hit her eye, not her forehead. The eye is red but doesn't appear to be damaged other than superficially. I am upset, but after a while I tire of feeling guilty. I begin to wonder if I had been wrong to apologize: would this open me to a lawsuit? “No,” I think. “The girl's too simple for that. Besides, she doesn't know my name.” I rush off for my dental appointment.

Interpretation: The earthier more basic part of me, as represented by the foreign (Mexican) girl wants an education—there's something she needs to know--(the book), and I (the ego) try to help her. In so doing a blow to the eye (I) occurs. So, as parts of the unconscious become educated, as they come to consciousness, difficulties and complexities are created for the conscious ego. I'm having trouble keeping things “in the box.” (The drawer slides out of its container.) The eye (I) is red (angry). I end up discounting this part of myself: she's too simple; she doesn't know who I am. I rush off for an appointment that never takes place.