The Dream: A dream that featured one of my mother's relatives, her brother's son. In some way I felt I had to prove myself, that I was seen as inferior.
Interpretation: At first I thought this dream was about an envy rooted in an old family rivalry that has refused to die. The older relative in the dream is wealthy and accomplished. My ridiculous and unworthy feeling, considering the ill health he has endured, springs from the poisonous soil of my youth and my poor mother's resentment that her husband was not as successful as this fellow. In the dream I feel inferior to his son who has screwed up in just about every way, and that's interesting because I don't—who could?
When I looked at the image I drew to illustrate the dream, I realized it gave me a different answer. The exotic flowers had their own kind of life force and beauty. The caption asked, “What grows from the poisoned soil?” and answered, “Everything.” The rivalries we have push us forward, compel us to do better, to be more, than we otherwise might. The confusion of our own worthy and unworthy feelings, if we can look at them honestly, makes us more empathetic. Our dark side gives us depth. So what springs from the poisonous soil of our earthly life? The things that make us human, for better and for worse.