Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guest Dreamer: Solo Visit

Hunky's dream is about art, which symbolizes her most authentic self.

Hunky's Dream: I’m walking along San Pablo, near Ashby, in Oakland, heading north. There is an obvious entrance way I am curious about, so I enter. In a short distance I am underground. Is this an underground shopping center? I keep walking.

I’m now in a space as big as a football field. Throughout the space are areas where artists work. There are no separations between them--no walls, just spaces that flow into each other but reflect the uniqueness of each artist/craftsman. Sparsely located throughout the space is contemporary-looking work--some pieces small, some pieces large, all of them hold my attention and appreciation. I like being in this open space. I am particularly taken with a large, circular wood construction that the artist uses to produce his work. It is a beautiful piece of sculpture in itself. I’m impressed with the overall beauty of the place I’m in. It’s quiet in here. It’s a little odd that there are no artists in sight but this doesn’t bother me. To be social would interfere with the visual experience I am enjoying.

I walk up an organically shaped ramp to get to the outdoors. There are no right angles on the ramp, all soft curves. I look closely at the surface I am walking on barefoot. Embedded in the ramp material are tiny pieces of metal, copper and silver. They poke at the soles of my feet, but they do not hurt me.

On the rooftop the surface is covered with a material as dark as asphalt. The material must be as soft as sandstone, though, because all of it has been altered in some way. What I’m walking on has been altered by means of scraping away or building up. An undulating attractive surface was created.

A woman (about 60) greets me and offers to show me around. She is the only person I’ve seen since entering from the street. We visit artist’s areas. As it was when I was in the basement, the artists are not here either. At one place, an artist has created unique pieces of furniture, all of which has an animal as part of it. I see a wooden chair with a life-sized cat carved as part of the arm of the chair. The cat is the arm of the chair but it is definitely a cat as well. On the arm of a sofa is a soft animal form made of the same material as the rest of the sofa. These animals are cleverly integrated as part of the furniture. All the animal forms are compatible with, or the same materials as the furniture.

The woman tells me she is an artist but works here for other artists. I notice she is standing on the edge of the surface here on the rooftop. She is standing on the balls of her feet, like a diver who is preparing to do a back dive.

Then she shows me a large unfinished part of a connected rooftop area and tells me that her boss (an artist) wants to expand his area there. I mention that it must be strong to handle the weight. She says it is.

We approach this person who is her boss. He and she exchange pleasantries. Then the woman asks him if she can use his toilet. He doesn’t seem to be willing to allow it. I figure it must be a tricky and difficult task to install plumbing on this rooftop that has such a surface such as this one. But he tells her she can use the toilet.

As I wait, I hear the sounds of expulsion. I’m not embarrassed. The sounds are loud and powerful.

Carla's Thoughts: As usual, I will respond to Hunky's dream as if it were my own; I invite her to add to our understanding of her dream by leaving us her thoughts as well.

My natural curiosity, something I associate with my playful, creative inner child, has led me to an entrance to the underground (my unconscious). That I at first think I might be encountering a shopping center tells me that this area contains things I might buy (accept), or—by the same token—that I might not. But I pass by this initial response, and, as I do, the space opens up. In fact it becomes huge. Here I am given a vision of my artistic possibilities (my potential). I see no artists here because all of them are me, and we never see ourselves. The contemporary work symbolizes the things my psyche is currently working on. The circular construction represents the many facets of myself working together; this construction is me. In a place of beauty and serenity I am at peace with, and can appreciate, who I am.

As I walk up a ramp (go to a higher level by bringing some of this material into consciousness) my world becomes even more expansive: I am outdoors. This is a natural place, both because it is outdoors and because there are no sharp angles. My soul (sole) is poked, prodded, but this is not painful. On the rooftop I encounter a material that represents my life experiences, some dark, but all altered by the sculpting, the scraping and building up, of things I've done. I appreciate my life; it's an undulating (moving, changing like a river) and attractive achievement.

Then I encounter my anima (the 60 year old woman). She shows me forms (the animal / furniture combinations) that point me to the realization that I can be relaxed (as if on a sofa) with my physical self (the animal). Yes, we are physical beings and subject to all the woes of the flesh, including our own deaths, but my soul tells me I will find my own way of putting these apparently opposing forces, the animate and the inanimate, together in a way that will be comfortable. This part of me is on dangerous ground, standing on edge, maybe about to go over—but she doesn't. She shows me the unfinished business I have yet to complete, and she assures me that I can handle it, heavy though the task may be.

The boss, a controlling part of myself that is very demanding and wants to expand his domain, reluctantly allows my soul to express herself. She does so with gusto, and I affirm her action.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Tree of Life

The Dream: An image of a tree that bears many different kinds of fruit, for example, pomegranates, plums, cherries.

Interpretation: As if to compensate for the petrified wood (life turned to stone) of my dream from a few nights ago called "Oblivion", the wood in this tree is teaming with life. The image symbolizes the unfathomable mystery and complexity of life and consciousness, signaling that a healing process is underway.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Can I Nourish the Group?

The Dream: I am with a niece and some of her friends. They begin to talk about what a good cook my niece's mother is. “Don't they think I'm a good cook?” I wonder. I also praise my niece's mother, sincerely, for being very capable and helpful in an unassuming way. I think about my having cooked a meal for the group when we were last together, and I wonder if I made a bit of a fool of myself, offering to cook when someone else had superior skill.

Interpretation: My insecurity about what I have to offer is on display in this dream. In the dream it might have been a mistake, hubris, even to offer to cook. Not only am I concerned about how I will be judged, I'm concerned about having put myself and my inadequacies forward. It's hard to believe that at this stage of life I am still oppressed by feelings of inadequacy—but there it is. Having recognized the feelings, maybe I can start to get past them.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Open Your Eyes

The Dream:
I am in a truck. We are parked near the entrance to a gas station. A man in a red convertible pulls up, trying to enter, but we are blocking his way. As the backseat passenger I say, “Sorry, we can't move.” The driver is doing something outside at the pump. Then I realize I'm in the driver's seat, but I can't open my eyes. The vehicle begins to inch forward, and I'm panicking because I can't open my eyes or control the truck. I plead with Clark, sitting next to me, to help. He doesn't respond. I take my hands and pry open my eyes, with difficulty. I awaken.

Interpretation: The panicked pleading of this dream reminded me of a church service I attended  recently. I was struck by what seemed to me a kind of unctuous begging for some sort of help, for salvation, from the deity. It seemed that the idea behind the service was that if you asked enough times, desperately enough, maybe god would respond. In other words, I'm getting a lot of gas, hot air. So it's probably time for me to convert, to change from a backseat passenger to a driver. The dream tells me to open my eyes and take charge of where I'm going. It's time to find my own answers to the age old questions.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Something's Got A Hold of Me

The Dream:
I was startled awake by this nightmare. Clark and I are in bed, asleep. Our dog, Toffee, comes bounding in and jumps on the bed between us. He clamps his teeth onto my finger and won't let go. I scream again and again for Clark's help; he doesn't respond. Finally, screaming over and over, “Clark, you aren't paying attention to me!” I awaken, feeling very shaken.

Interpretation: On the surface this dream seems to be saying that I feel neglected by my husband, and that could certainly be one of its meanings. But the level of terror I experienced in the dream hints at another meaning. I've been grabbed by the instinctive (my animal, the dog) and it won't relent. The rational (Clark, my animus) ignores the problem.

The dog in the dream, Toffee, died some years ago, and the terror the dream conjures seems consistent with a primal fear such as that of dying. What might have triggered this nightmare? Last night I was reading George Eliot's “Daniel Deronda.” In the book the character Gwendolyn responds with terror to a painting of a dead face and someone fleeing.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Phantom of the Opera


The Dream:
I am with my mother in a subway. We are planning to meet my father and my daughter at a play. The subway we're on is due to make a special stop to accommodate opera goers. We are running a little late, and I'm getting anxious. The subway operator announces that we are going to skip the extra stop, and I'm relieved at this time saver. I had thought our meeting was at 8:30, but mother tells me it's not until 9:00. Again I'm relieved; we have a little more time to make it. 

“Oh, yes,” says my mother derisively, “you and your father will be getting nervous, but your daughter and I won't be concerned.”

Mother is an insulin-dependent diabetic. To add to my anxiety she announces she needs food (to avoid a life-threatening insulin shock). We get off the train and go in search of, but nothing seems right or appropriate. The few food stalls we find have the wrong sort of food.

Apparently we do find a place where, as I continue to worry about being late, an Italian woman serves me a bowl of soup as I sit/lie on a twin-size bed. The soup looks better than I had expected, with lots of julienned strips of vegetables like zucchini. I eat while still in the bed, and spill some. It makes a mark the color and consistency of pomegranate jelly. I point this out to the woman and tell her it can be cleaned up easily; I start scrubbing with pretty good success.

The Italian woman's husband comes in and the woman signals to him that outsiders are present. They speak in Italian. Soon they switch to a combination of English and Italian. Meanwhile I become aware that my mother is incapable of feeding herself. I sit down next to her at a small circular table and feed her.

Even with the best of mothers, and my mother was as good as it is humanly possible to be, some dregs of unhappiness will settle to the bottom of the mother/child relationship. In this dream, years after her death, I look at some of this murky sediment. The first thing that struck me about the dream was my mother's derisive comment. She did have this hateful way of criticizing me occasionally; rather than acknowledging that there might be a reason for my anxiety (or other negative feeling) the message was that I was wrong to feel it. The comparison to my father in the dream reflected a frequent jab as well: comparing me to my father was an indirect and implied rejection. She must have felt that she was the superior one; he was not the one to emulate. Here (on the subway) we see the subterranean conflicts of the mid-century marriage. We're running out of time. I do feel that, especially after my younger brother's death.

Despite Mother's superiority she needs to be taken care of. The diabetes of the dream was real, and it had us all running in circles. She was very brave about it in many, many ways, but the threat of insulin reactions , horrible to behold, was ever present and frequently happened. The need to get access to food could be, and often was, a problem. This created an on-going anxiety: another sort of running out of time.

I eat, forgetting the purpose of the stop for food was mother's need. Am I demonstrating my selfishness? I've certainly been accused of it, directly and indirectly, by Mother. The foreign language being spoken tells me that there is something I don't understand. When the language switches to a combination of English and Italian, I begin to get it, partially: I must feed (take care of) Mother. Now I have to ask myself, "Is what I've come to understand that I do feed mother, or that I should feed mother?" She has been dead for 8 years. Is it appropriate, at this point in my life, that I feed her? Or am I living with an unpleasant burden that I have created for myself by continuing to feed her? Time is running out, and if I want to skip the work (the opera) and get to the “play” I probably need to sort this out.

I Stink

The Dream: We are looking for a recipe for pecan pie. I remember that it is delicious, and that my mother made an excellent version. I look through lots of cookbooks, focusing on one with beautiful pictures rendered in a soft technique, with simple shading of basic shapes. I wonder if this could be computer generated, although it doesn't look it. Then the artist speaks: she tells me she does all her work by hand, the old-fashioned way.

I have retreated upstairs and am lying on a bed with the covers loosely over me. I fart very loudly a couple of times, hoping no one downstairs has heard. Clark comes up a minute or two later and lifts off the covers. “Whew!” he exclaims, and I'm embarrassed.

Interpretation: The day before I had this dream I got an email from an artist acquaintance cataloging her recent accomplishments. Her current gallery show has been well received and she has been reviewed by influential critics. Her success is well-deserved, but that doesn't mitigate my reaction to it: envy combined with a massive feeling of inadequacy. In other words, I stink. My unconscious uses an over the top, humorous image to show me there might be some hyperbole in these feelings.

The “old-fashioned” techniques the dream artist uses refer to the classical but dated art that I prefer and cling to. The pecan pie is something delicious from the past that I'd like to recreate. Who knows? I might yet find the recipe if I keep looking.