Sunday, March 30, 2014

Female Rituals

The Dream: I am at an elegant women's clothing shop, wearing an attractive black dress that I bought there. I tell the saleswoman that while I like this dress, it's too large. She looks for a smaller one, but not finding it comes back with a summery white and blue dress. I think this one will be too small, but I try it on and it fits, except that it's a little constricting in the underarm area. I think I might buy this dress as well as keep the one I had been planning to exchange.

Then I'm in my doctor's office. I'm asked to get my file. Do I remember how to retrieve these old-fashioned files—the ones stored in cabinets? I find I have no trouble and pull out a thick file with my name on it. I want to know what they've written about me. Am I allowed to look? I decide it is my right, and on top it says I'm pregnant. I'm surprised and mention it to the doctor. I tell him that I'm concerned because I've had no symptoms of pregnancy, no fatigue or morning sickness. Does this mean the baby won't be healthy, might not come to term? Then I remember I do have a slight upset stomach, but I'm not sure that qualifies as a sign of a healthy pregnancy.

Interpretation: I had been reading a book by Danica Anderson about the South Slavs and their ancient rituals and religion centered around women and birth. In the dream I perform the contemporary urban female rituals of shopping and going to the doctor. In my dream a potential birth is medicalized, no longer a woman-centered event. As a contemporary woman I go to an office and a doctor for childbirth and put my life story (the file) in the hands of impersonal medical technicians. No wonder one of the dresses I've bought is black and doesn't fit, and the other feels constricting. Can what is born of this situation possibly be healthy and survive?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Guest Dreamer: Hand or Foot?

After reading Who Did I Leave Behind, about the loss of a loved one, Bhilal sent me this dream.

Background: I found my friend, Robbie, that I had searched for for a long time, I found her obituary. I don't know if I'm grieving for my friend , Robbie or celebrating finding her, a combination of both I imagine... but I had to see her picture again and I feel the presence of so many of my friends and relatives that have passed away and it is a warm feeling love and caring...I guess it is not my love or their love because love is not possessed.

The Dream:
Robbie would dream of coats of arms , families etc. because she had been adopted and didn't know her family and craved to belong..I went into a sleep that resulted in my being involved in enslavement. I had to find a password or gesture to release me. I was lost in an oriental commerce system..each window or door had to be stamped or marked paid or they would arrest you and enslave you ... I became a giant but was still lost couldn't find a direction.. the member? of different races of the orientals helped me shrink again and presented me either formed hand images or feet images to select from...a nightmare, a hell between worlds.

Carla's thoughts:
I'll react to Bhilal's dream as if it were my own. She will be the judge of whether or not my thoughts are relevant for her. My dream has put me in a place where something foreign to me (oriental commerce) is controlling me. Since this dream followed my search for my dead friend and came at a time when I was thinking about others I've lost, the foreign thing that confronts me is my helplessness in the face of mortality. Windows and doors enable us to see beyond where we are and to go from one place to another—mine present difficulties. This tells me I haven't come up with my own spiritual truth, something I can see through the window of my soul, that will enable me to pass from the earthly realm (go out the door) comfortably. I am expected to pay for access to my windows and doors; what is demanded of me? If I don't mark each window and door as “paid” I will be arrested (stopped) and enslaved (not able to go where I wish). There is something I need to discover (the password or gesture) that will release me from this horrible situation.

I become a giant (there's more to me than I thought), but I'm not in touch with my entire capacity yet, so I am still lost. The part of myself that I feel no affinity for, the foreign part, shrinks me back down to the size it's comfortable with. I'm given a choice: hands or feet. Hands allow me to “handle” my reality, and feet give me freedom of movement. Being forced to choose creates a nightmare. Perhaps if I can stop myself from running away (feet) and begin to handle (hands) the realities that I find difficult to accept I will no longer be enslaved by my grief.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Who Did I Leave Behind?

The Dream: I'm about to get into a full car. My brother Greg sits in the spot I traditionally sat in as a child, behind my mother. There's no room for me, so I want Greg to scoot over, but instead he gets out of the car, leaving me to sit next to my friend Polly. Greg now appears to be a child, about 5 or 6, and he's happily playing with a spotlessly clean dog with white fluffy fur. I'm having a hard time seeing him and the dog from where I sit so I shift positions to get a better view.

The car pulls away, leaving the two of them, and I begin to realize this was a vision because I am now aware that Greg has died. I say to Polly, “Did you see Greg?”

“Yes,” she says. I get some comfort from realizing that others have seen him as well.

I want to verify this so I ask her what he looked like. “Like you,” she says. “He is small, with sandy-colored hair.”

“How old is he?” I ask. Has she seen him at a different age?

“About 18,” she says.

“No,” I say. “Greg is very tall, and has dark brown hair and dark skin.” I can't think of how to describe his skin color. It isn't olive, but it isn't fair like mine. “He is pale in the winter, but very dark in the summer. His eyes are very dark brown.”

I'm disappointed that we didn't see the same “Greg;” it takes away from the reality of the “event.”

Interpretation: After we die, what's left of us? I'm having a hard time seeing my brother now that he's gone. The divergent images in the minds of two dream characters imply that our “vision” of the departed is so personal that it might have no relationship to reality whatsoever. I look for comfort from my vision; I want “my” Greg to be real. I soon learn that what I see isn't what Polly sees: he differs in every way.

I've pushed Greg out of the car, in a sense. We, the living, have left him behind. He's no longer going where I'm going. His dog companion in the dream, representing my brother's animal (his earthly, physical self), is white (the original color of death) and idealized. Greg seems happy where he is.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Room to Expand

The Dream: I'm in a camper with my husband and some friends. It's very comfortable, but I realize after a while that we have forgotten to put the slide out. Polly is with us, so I get her to check that there's enough room outside. She says there is. I push the button, thinking my friends will be impressed with this wonderful trailer. I am tentative about extending the slide, and I look to reassure myself there is indeed no obstacle for it to run into. Even though there isn't, I still stop short a couple of times. But with encouragment from Clark I finally put it all the way out.

Interpretation: I am a person who finds it difficult to put herself out there. I'm in a comfortable place, but I could do more; maybe I've been sliding. I get a friend to check to see if there is room for this expansion, in other words, for me to grow by pushing myself out into the world. She tells me I can do it, and I think people will be favorably impressed—nevertheless I am tentative: I need reassurance; I keep stopping short. At last my animus kicks in and I am brave enough to extend myself.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Guest Dreamer: A Visit to the Old House

The Dream: I had a dream last night and this is the second time I have had it! I went back to the house where I had lived during my marriage; my ex was still living there. He had completely redone the upstairs, Ultra modern expensive new bathrooms. The whole upstairs had been reconfigured along with a dressing room and walk in  California closet system, very contemporary and very hip. The whole time I am thinking/saying why couldn't he have been willing to make these kinds of improvements earlier?

More info: The dreamer told me that the dream was triggered by the house going on the market. She also said that when she viewed the listing she was “appalled at the pictures and the lack of staging." And she added, "I am thinking of getting braces which probably fed into this!”

Carla's thoughts: The dreamer's observation that a change she is mulling over--getting braces--might have played a part in the dream is insightful, since the dream is about making changes that are improvements. If this were my dream, I would see it as my increasing awareness of the possibilities in the new life ahead after the end of my marriage. The activity of the dream takes place in what once was my house (myself), but now is changed. The changes are upstairs (in my head). The part of the house that has been changed is relevant to the dream's meaning. A bathroom is a very private place, so it connotes intimacy. The water that is found there symbolizes emotion, and the toilet its release. A dressing room is where we clothe ourselves in our persona, the part of us that we show the world. If my husband could have been more giving and “with it,” as he is in the role of designer and expediter of the very hip upstairs renovations in my dream, maybe things would have turned out differently for us. In the dream I regret that he couldn't supply these things—intimacy, emotional support, support for my persona—while we were married.

Having faced my regret that the relationship didn't work out, I can begin to enjoy the freedom its loss has given me. Now I can take charge of my life and change the things I feel should be changed. As the creator of the dream, I am actually the one who changed the upstairs and created this very appealing new space. The dream tells me that I can do it, and that the changes are contemporary improvements, in other words, they are happening right now.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Guest Dreamer: Where Do I Belong?

This dream was contributed by a woman going through a divorce after close to 30 years of marriage.
The Dream: I was jolted awake by a dream, imagine that! I was on a bus and couldn't remember my address. I went through my purse and nothing in it told me where I lived. I looked up what it might mean....loss of direction in life, loss of goals, identity? What do you think?

Interpretation: Dreams are rooted in what's going on in the dreamer's life and tend to be triggered by a waking life event that occurred in the last few days. Naturally you are the most knowledgeable on that topic. Did anything happen recently that created a feeling of not knowing where you belong?

While triggered by a recent event, a dream is also a reaction to your life situation. Dreams come to tell us things we don't consciously know. Let's take a look at some of the details. A bus is a communal conveyance and so can represent our social self, the part that goes along with the direction of the larger group we belong to. When in a bus we aren't driving, but are being driven. Putting myself into your dream, and into your life situation (in terms of your divorce), I see myself losing the aspect of my identity that is socially defined: that of a married woman. The purse I'm looking into would be expected to hold valuables and ID cards, but there is nothing in this bag to tell me where I live--because I no longer live in this particular social identity. The dream came to help me make the transition to a new single identity, and perhaps to make me aware that I do miss the social status of my marriage, even though I'm happy to be out of a draining and unhappy situation.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Difficulty of Approaching a Painting

The Dream: A painter, a gregarious, accomplished man, allows me to help him. First I watch. He is working with white paint only, a viscous oil. He puts his brush into a long and narrow trough, pulling the brush hairs along the edge again and again to adjust the amount of paint. He does this until I become impatient, thinking, “Get on with it!”

When he finishes applying the paint to the canvas, he has somehow managed to model a man's face and body; his strokes are perfect. I get to work on a similar piece that has been assigned to me and soon create flaws that I can't smooth out. I'm unable to mimic his perfection, try as I might. I get some paint in a spot it shouldn't be. I go for some water and a paper towel. Even though I am aware that water isn't a solvent for oil, I hope I can correct the defect before it's too set to remove.

Later there's an easel arrangement I'm expected to use that I don't understand. A platform is supported by four saw-horses near one end. At the other stands the painting. It appears balanced at the moment, but what will happen when I stand on the platform and approach the painting? Clearly the set-up has no stability.

Interpretation: I'm making some mistakes. As I face my own imperfections I try to solve (solvent) something with the wrong solution (water not turpentine). Getting closer to the problem (the painting) will throw me off-balance. The part of me that can handle it, the dream's competent male artist, has spent a very long time preparing, so long that I've lost patience with him. He works only with white, so might not see the black or gray tones (ambiguities) of the situation. Since the situation (set up) has no stability, it looks as if I'll have to address my difficulty, whether or not I'm ready.