Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cast Not the First Stone

The Dream:
I'm in a living room with a long mural that I had painted, made up of several separate pieces the same dimensions as a series of family history embroideries I had made in waking life. My brother and his friend have painted over the mural to shift the color to a different, warm shade of brown. They are pleased with themselves and feel this is an improvement. I am incensed, perhaps even more so because it is a rather nice shade. I yell at them enthusiastically, but it seems they are impervious to my attacks; as people used to say, “They couldn't care less.” I'm as frustrated by their lack of seeing the insult they've perpetrated as I am by what they did. “You have denigrated my work!” I say.

Getting no satisfaction from them, I declare that I will never again come into this room. The next scene, however, finds me in it. My brother is now without his mocking friend. I try again to get him to see the gravity of his sin, and he says, “Now you know how I felt when you . . . . “ I don't remember what he accused me of, but I do remember I had done what he said, and that I, like him, had been unaware of its impact on the other.

The dream was triggered by a falling out between a couple of distant family members, and my realization that their anger and frustration with each other is rooted in their shared past (the family history embroideries).

The dream has an interesting resolution: I go back into the living room (the place where I live) and realize that I have done exactly the same thing that I was angry at my brother for doing. In other words, I've taken on the role that a family member once played: since I do the same thing that my dream brother has done, I am the critic who denigrates my work. I am doing it to myself.

The dream tells me a few important things: First, it's time to lighten up. Second, it is time to learn how to accept a good criticism (the new color is actually an improvement), and third, my family history holds the key to my overly critical thoughts.

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