Sunday, June 30, 2013

I'm Stalled

The Dream: Mother and I are in an area of Manhattan that we don't know. We need a toilet, find one, and go in. As I use one of the stalls I realize the one next to me is a shower. I think it's nice, and progressive, that the city provides a place where the indigent can bathe. A woman takes advantage of this, and soon I'm getting sprayed with water coming over the stall divider. This is not pleasant, but I'm temporarily stuck where I am.

When I finish using the toilet I leave the stall in search of my mother. I don't see her, and I wander in circles yelling, “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”

Interpretation: I'm stuck (in a stall) as I try to release some pent up emotion (relieve myself: go to the toilet). The water that splashes me represents unconscious material coming into consciousness, and while it isn't pleasant, I must endure it. The dream emphasizes the importance of this process by pointing out that the shower is for the indigent (someone in need). The little child within me cries for her mother as I get in touch with the well of grief I feel over her death.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A New Blend

The Dream: I am in a Goodwill thrift shop. I see one of mother's tablecloths. In waking life it's a springtime floral, but in the dream I see it as a Xmas pattern. I am excited to buy it. Clark says, “You gave it to Goodwill and now you're buying it back.” I buy the tablecloth as well as a blender with another motif that I think has a Christmas theme, although in waking life it's my nonseasonal china pattern, Castle Garden. I'm very happy about these purchases and excited for Christmas to come so I can use them, aware that I haven't felt this way for years. I'm so pleased with these things that I put them out when I get home, and someone points out that it's spring (or summer), and I have a long time to wait. Nevertheless, I think that once the drudgery of Thanksgiving is over I'll put out these Christmas items and prepare for the season. I look forward to this with happy anticipation.

Interpretation: In this dream I get close to resolving my inner ambivalence toward my mother. Christmas represents a new spiritual birth, and this particular birth blends together (the decorated blender) the things my mother gave me (the floral tablecloth) with my current life (my china pattern: something beautiful but fragile). I embrace this gift of goodwill that I had previously rejected (given away). There's still some drudgery to get through (the feelings of obligation symbolized by Thanksgiving: I must, everlastingly, thank her), but I can look forward to resolving these feelings as time goes on (with the change of the season).

Sunday, June 23, 2013


Everything we see, read, or think about influences our dreams, sometimes uncovering reactions we weren't aware of.
The Dream: We have ordered food from a “deli” that is supposed to be very good and that we think will impress our visitors from NYC. When we go to pick up the food it's in hat boxes. I find this confusing, and I feel uneasy about what we might be getting. I am also concerned that my NY friends will not approve.

Interpretation: This dream was inspired by a book that I'm reading, Christopher Hitchen's memoir, Hitch-22. Reading about someone at the center of every intellectual and political movement of the last 50 years left me feeling marginalized. He and the people he hangs with represent a world I have no entry to, and I feel diminished. In the dream this exclusive elite is represented by a NY deli. What is the food this fancy deli is giving me? It's presented very elegantly in hat boxes, but I really don't know what's inside or what I've bought. And those I'd like to impress don't approve.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A New Passion

The Dream:
John, we discover when we visit, has a new girlfriend. They stand above us as if on a higher level. John is beaming, a wide smile on his face. I've never seen him so happy. He doesn't look like himself, but rather like a young boy.

Interpretation: In waking life John is a failed old man. His wife is about to divorce him. He has no discernible purpose in life and has alienated most people. In the dream his salvation comes from a new love. And, since he and his girlfriend are looking down on us, this new love is on a higher level.

It's always tempting, when recounting a dream, to think the dream is about the person dreamt about. But experience has taught me that the characters in my dreams represent parts of myself, usually parts that I'm out of touch with. The dream is telling me that the old embittered John part of myself can be saved by a new “passion” in life, perhaps a spiritual passion (something on a higher level). Once I find it, I'll be energized and rejuvenated.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Something Grates

The Dream: We have a guest cottage on the property. Three standing grates have been installed to keep people from inadvertently falling into holes. We have some visitors staying in the cottage, and when we drop in to visit we notice they've replaced these decorative black wrought-iron grates with larger ones made of an unattractive gray plastic. This seems presumptuous on another's property and, besides that, I'm not sure they are properly installed.

Interpretation: The standing grates represent three issues, of long standing, that I find irritating (grating), but that I have avoided with a cover up rather than a fix. The guests (something from the outside; for example, distractions) try to fix this by putting covers over the the pits I could fall into. They want to keep me safe, but in the end the dream teaches me that my salvation won't come from the outside: the new “protectors” are unattractive, gray (ambiguous), and not properly installed. When I react to the guests' efforts as being “presumptuous” I acknowledge that this is not the solution. I must take a good look at the holes, figure out what caused them, and fix them properly rather than cover them up.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bald as an Egg

The Dream: I'm attracted to a small, unappealing, no longer young little man. His head is egg-shaped, and he's as bald as an egg. We are close to having sex when I remember that I'm a married woman.

“I've never cheated on my husband,” I say. But at the moment I say it, I'm planning to. Suddenly the mood changes; it's as if this practical consideration has awakened others, and I no longer want to go through with it. He also seems to have lost interest. In fact, he might have lost interest before I did.

Interpretation: In my youth an egg-head was anyone who appeared intelligent. In the dream I'm attracted to the intellect passionately, but it doesn't seem practical, partially due to my age (like the little man, I'm no longer young) and partially due to the fact that intellectual pursuits are innately impractical. In any case, the dream tells me that I see them as inappropriate. By cheating on my husband (animus) I ignore, or attempt to ignore, the practical contingencies of life, but soon discover I'm not really interested in following this path. With this fizzling of passion, the dream points out that I need to ask myself just what it is that I'm "married" to, and whether or not it's time for a new interest.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Experimenting on Myself

The Dream: A woman inside a test tube or beaker.

Interpretation: I'm feeling bottled up, but—at the same time—I'm becoming experimental, ready to try new things.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

What am I Looking For?

The Dream: I see my friend with a drink and want a glass of wine, even though I've just finished one and feel slightly tipsy. I go to the circular bar, in a room that separates the one I'm in from an adjoining theater. From the entry it looks as if I need to circle around to the back to get the bartender's attention, but once I do I realize that's not right: I need to go back to the place where I started. As I get near the bar—my turn is next—an older lady and her daughter shove in front of me. “I'm next,” I tell them. They don't seem offended, but on the other hand while they smile and appear to acquiesce, they push past me and get the bartender's attention.

The bar staff, in stage makeup, leave the bar to join the troupe in the theater. A woman, in particular, is clownishly made up—very white skin, with a little bow mouth. She's dressed like a flapper in pinkish lavender with cheeks and curly hair to match. She's middle-aged or older. The man's style matches hers. They resemble Otto Dix caricatures.

I'm left standing at the deserted bar, still waiting for my drink. On their way out one of bartenders says, “Look at yourself, you're ridiculous.” Then I realize how silly I look, futilely standing at the deserted bar waiting to be waited on.

I leave, in search of –I don't know what. I go into room after room of bunk beds, many of them filled with couples lying together suggestively, no doubt having sex, but discreetly. Some are alone in these bunk beds, all occupied, all jammed close together. People are covered with blankets, yet I have a strong sense that something is going on underneath. I notice one couple: the young woman has long blond braids. I feel intrusive and uncomfortable, and I'm not finding whatever it is I'm looking for.

Interpretation: As the dream begins I look to numb myself: I want a drink even though I'm already tipsy. There's something I want to avoid. If there's a bar that prevents me from seeing what I need to see, there's also a bar to my numbing myself, and in this dream the literal bar is central to the action. Everything conspires to deprive me of my soporific—others press ahead of me, and the bartenders go off duty. As a parting shot they tell me I'm ridiculous (like the Otto Dix characters), and I have to admit they're right.

Having accepted their assessment of what I'm doing, I go in search of the thing I need. I discover people in intimate relationships—all jammed together. I realize that something is going on underneath (in my unconscious) that I've been unaware of. The dream hints that what I've missed, what's going on underneath, is a passionate wish for connection, symbolized here by sexual union.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Missing Stroller

The Dream:
I'm at a theatrical fund raiser. The event hasn't started. I've brought a friend's baby stroller as a donation. I had admired it, and she said she was going to get rid of it, so I offered to bring it to this worthy cause.

The event isn't well organized. I wander about trying to figure out who to give the stroller to. I decide to leave it near a downward spiraling ramp while I make some inquiries. I wonder if someone might run off with it, but reject the idea. Who would take a baby stroller?

Of course when I return, someone has. I am anxious, wondering how I'll explain this to my friend. I look everywhere, hoping the stroller will turn up. It doesn't, and I find out the organization wouldn't have accepted it in any case. Now my dilemma: am I obligated to buy my friend a new stroller? I don't want to, and I rationalize that she was going to junk it anyway—yet I feel replacing it is the right thing to do. I rehearse how I'll break the news to her, shortening the time of my absence, (“I turned my back for a moment and it was gone.”) and neglecting to mention I had entertained the possibility it might be stolen. (“I was shocked to find it gone.”) Despite these adjustments to reality, I can't get over feeling I should replace what I have lost.

Later this friend and I are at the fund raiser. In an inner sanctum the trope performs while we lounge like Romans in what looks like a city storefront. We're lined up perpendicular to the window on mattresses placed directly on the floor. I offer to replace the darn stroller, although I still don't feel I should have to. A big, heavy man is on my right; my friend on my left. At some point the man, about the size and girth of Doc Martin on TV, rolls over onto me in such a way that I fall off my mattress and am directly on the floor, with him partially on top of me. I complain, and he gives me a coupon to his restaurant and leaves. I study this list of freebies carefully, realizing that I can take someone with me--the coupon is a twofer.

Interpretation: This dream highlights a conflict between strolling around (taking it easy) and fulfilling my obligations. In the beginning I try to combine the two by donating my easy-going self (the stroller) to a good cause. In this misguided effort the easy-going self is taken away and, worse, I'm left with the moral dilemma of feeling I have to replace what wasn't wanted in the first place. I try to get around the problem by misrepresenting my responsibility for what happened, but that doesn't work either. When I finally face up to my responsibility by offering to replace what I've lost I'm ready to face one final challenge. A big, heavy (and grumpy—if he's anything like Doc Martin) man pushes me off the soft, comfortable spot (the mattress) and weighs me down. This man, situated to my right, symbolizes all the law and order, rules and must-do's that I've internalized. My complaint is a cry for freedom, and he responds by giving it to me (freebies). That the gift is a twofer tells me that not only can I (the responsible one) be nourished at his restaurant, but I can bring my inner stroller as well.