Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Thief

The Dream:
I see a man entering apartments in an old building that closely resembles an apartment building I once lived in. He has a rectangular device somewhat bigger than a cell phone that he puts up to a locked door, and it opens immediately. I am surprised at how easy this is. I watch him open a couple of apartments this way. Then he comes to the apartment where my friends / family are having a party. As he attempts to enter I grab him, unsure about whether or not I'll be able to overcome him. I yell to the others to “Call 911!” They come to my aid, and we subdue him.

The phrase that came to my mind when I thought about this dream was the “thief of time.” Is the cell phone an “I” phone? Am I unlocking some old doors, and having a difficult time with what I find? The setting is dark and gloomy, the badly lit stairwell and hall of an old tenement something like my mother's Brooklyn apartment and my own apartment on 90th street in Manhattan. The intruder, Time, has gone into these places where family and friends once lived and stolen them, leaving me calling for help. Life goes on; with the help of other friends I subdue this thief, at least for a while.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Guest Dreamer: No Longer Intractable

James is re-evaluating concepts that were inculcated in his youth. His grandparents represent the values he has lived with; as dream figures they now give him “permission” to allow his self-concept  to become more relevant in today's world.
The Dream: I found myself in a rural area, next to river. My great granddad was there. He called me over to look at a tractor he had there. He let me drive it towards a vast area of farmland beyond an iron gate. The gate and the fence it was in, was made from heavy cast iron. Strangely, the tractor had controls on it to make it narrower and shorter, in order to fit through this gate. I tried to operate the controls I thought would do this. Instead, the vehicle broke into two parts. The part I was riding in continued towards the open gate, out of control, and clanged into the top of the gate and came to a halt. Great granddad came and sorted it all out, he wasn't angry, mildly amused maybe.

Next, we are both riding in the tractor, with a ploughing device attached to the front. We were ploughing up rows of various vegetables. I asked him why we were doing this, the vegetables looked perfectly fine and salable to me. He said they were from "old seed" and were no longer any good to him, so he wanted them ploughed up and destroyed, readying the ground for a new planting. Great grandma was there briefly at the end of this section of the dream, asking us if we wanted dinner etc.

Next, we drove the tractor onwards towards a large grand red sandstone building, apparently in the middle of the ploughed field. Inside were lots of different farmers selling and weighing vegetables on large industrial scales. In the large open are of the building were various sealed doors, and no one knew what was in these sealed rooms. I didn't feel this dream was in the present day, 50 years ago maybe.

Carla's thoughts: I'll respond to James' dream as if it were my own. The rural setting, with its river, represents my perception of the natural order of things. In the dream my great grandfather works on two levels: like a father figure in a dream, he is the holder of society's patriarchal expectations with its rules and roles; at the same time, he is a kindly person who loves me. A tractor is a very masculine piece of machinery: it is something I use to do my work in the world. (I'm ploughing through it.) When my grandfather lets me drive he tells me he expects me to perform the masculine role, and he implies that he is sure that I can. Nearby I see the vast field I must plough (a big job ahead of me). The size of the task overwhelms me, and my access to the job is blocked (gated and fenced). The blocks ahead of me are sturdy and inflexible (cast iron), emphasizing the difficulty I have in breaching them. Even so, the tool I'll use to do the job (the tractor: my capability) has an unexpected built-in flexibility that enables me to go forward.

When the dream reveals this flexibility I face an inner conflict. My vehicle, the way I get somewhere, splits in two. I feel out of control and I'm momentarily stopped by the gate. The holder of my inner masculine force, my great grandfather, comes to the rescue. He understands the difficulty, and his acceptance allows me to lighten up on myself, to realize that the world of work is a difficulty that men have faced since time began. Together we begin to destroy old and childish concepts of masculinity I've held without being aware of them, the old seed that no longer serves me. Once we have prepared the ground for its new planting (once I've updated the old, ingrained concepts I've been carrying around) the feminine force rewards me (great grandmother offers us food, sustenance). A vision of plenty appears in the form of many farmers having so much food they need industrial (work, again!) scales to weigh it. My inner masculine and feminine (the part that deals with the world and the part that holds my soul) have a better relationship. The sealed rooms tell me that I have still more hidden potential, capabilities that no one knows. Perhaps a future dream will reveal some of these.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Medieval Fortress

The Dream:
We are walking in NYC. I'm with Clark and one of my daughters. We're in the neighborhood of my old apartment. I say, “Ahh! Second Avenue.” I tell them that the building on the corner has been redone; it was far more modest when I lived around here. Its pitched roof looks Tudor yet the building's simple lines are contemporary. Turning to look at the building I once lived in, I say that it hasn't changed. But it has: it is nothing like what it was. It looks like a blocky medieval fortress with a large courtyard. Its carved stone is ancient, showing clear signs of age. There are several entrances to the building. I see a large formal main entrance up some steps and a less formal one closer to us. My daughter spots one I didn't see, a basement entrance to our right. She pushes on the door; it isn't locked and we enter. I'm surprised access is so unguarded.

When we enter we find a large lounge area, full of people. Do they all live in the building, I wonder—or have some wandered in off the street looking for a place to stay?  It's difficult for me to get around them. Finally I get through and we go up an escalator. All the time I'm surprised by how different this building is to the one I remember living in. I'm separated from Clark and my daughter and go into a room that's full of computer-type devices. As I start to leave the sales manager asks if he can have a little bit of information. I say no.

Interpretation: This long dream seems to be about the complexity of maintaining a consistent sense of self as I go through life. A building (my “self”) is clobbered together from wildly divergent styles:Tudor and contemporary. The building I once lived in is now a medieval fortress made of ancient stone. The self this represents is ancient, made of stone, and shows clear signs of age—I suppose I'll have to admit to being an inflexible old biddy. My unconscious seems to be hinting that this is a fortress that needs to be stormed, or at least entered, and there are several paths that would serve the purpose: going through the basement (becoming more down to earth) would result in my being more open (unguarded).

I am surprised to discover the many parts of myself—all the people that live in this building. Can they all be me? Or have some of them only wandered in for a while? The ego (the sales manager who's looking for information) wants to know more; the unconscious doesn't want to cooperate.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Something Fishy

The Dream: I'm with Clark near the water, along a city seafront. He is paying far too much attention to another woman who, it turns out, is a fish. I am jealous and show it.

Clark has been very involved in caring for his elderly mother. The rational part of me accepts that this is necessary, but the irrational unconscious? Not so much.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Who Has Come Back?

The Dream: I am in a bedroom. I look into a mirror and see a smudge of a little girl I thought had gone. I turn to the left and, standing next to the bed I see the girl, very pretty with blond curls, smiling at me. “Katie!” I say, astonished. I feel both surprised and scared, as if seeing someone who had returned from the dead.

I had been looking back over past “baby” dreams from a year ago. What does this small, childish, nearly gone, hard to see (smudge in the mirror) part of myself represent? The curls remind me of age 7, a time when I was out-spoken, before self-control--or repression, or conformity--took over. I see her in the mirror (she mirrors me; she is me). Am I still afraid of her uncensored reaction to life? Even if I am, I'm glad she isn't dead.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

More Protected Than Necessary

The Dream: I'm in a foreign land. A Chinese woman is in charge: she's the dictator. A group of us sit in an informal semicircle on the ground in front of her. I see that others are expected to show ID cards in the shape of credit cards when she calls on them. They are dispatched according to her wishes. When my turn comes I have my identity card in my hand. I'm ready. I feel proud of myself for this preparedness. When she sees from my card that I'm an American I'm dealt with lightly. She suggests a couple of museums I “should” see.

I have a large bag. I open it and see the two raincoats I had bought earlier for a very good price, this being China. The coats come out, and so does a brown liquid. One of the coats was supposed to be the traditional raincoat tan, and the other, brown. The attempt to dye one brown has not been successful, but neither has it damaged either coat. “What,” I wonder, “am I supposed to do with two identical coats?” I decide to give one to Barbara. It occurs to me that Barbara might not want one of these, she can be very particular at times. Then what? I'm not sure. I go I search of the museums the authority recommended, but there are so many that I don't think I'll be able to locate these particular two. I would like to see them.

Dreams are usually triggered by something from the day or two before the dream, and it's sometimes helpful to figure out what. In this dream, the search for the museums was sparked by a television news segment on Burma that showed very large, deserted public buildings. Getting a pass for being an American echoed a story I'd heard the night before from a Jeopardy contestant who was traveling in a foreign country when he missed the last train of the day and the waiting room closed. He resorted to sleeping in the hallway.  A cop came along and said, “Oh, I thought you were a bum; but I see you're an American.”

For its own reasons, the dream generator put these things together. Why? An inner authority figure (the Chinese dictator) who knows who I am (she's seen my ID card) tells me to look at some old stuff (go to some museums). My protective gear (raincoats) is not what I expected, and I find I have more than I need. It protects me from water signaling that it's there to shield me from emotion--tears, grief. My inner artist (Barbara) is likely to spurn this protection, and that makes me uneasy. I haven't yet brought to consciousness the particular old stuff I'm meant to see—unless it my dawning realization of how many people were good to me, and how irretrievably lost to me they are.