Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Unconscious Mother

The Dream
: I get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and when I come back my mother is in my place. She is almost diagonally across the bed, with her head at the foot. I try to rouse her to get her into a better position, but she remains more than asleep, almost unconscious. I am concerned that I am unable to move her.

Mother is lodged, inappropriately, at the root (foot of the bed) of my unconscious. While I want to reposition her—I am unable to. The dream tells me that I've got things exactly backward, upside down. And that I've relinquished too much of myself (my proper place).

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Creative Process: Finding the “I”

The Dream: I'm with a group of graphic designers. I see them as very cool, and being accepted is important to me. The “leader” is a small, wiry black man, about the size of a 12-year-old. He's very energetic and charming, and recounts stories by acting out all the parts as he tells them. He also thinks things through very thoroughly. When a project of any sort is mentioned it's apparent he's thought of every angle and is prepared down to the details. “He's the first person I've met who is just like me,” I think, and I'm very attracted to him.

I'm invited on a weekend with him and his two assistants, partially a working weekend, but it's clear I'll be expected to sleep with him. I find this exciting—at first. I hop into the front seat of his small but well made convertible; the windows are up and the roof is down. As we pull away, beginning to go into an urban tunnel passing under another road, we have the appearance of being on a lark, a joy ride. But I start to feel uneasy.

The leader's character changes from charming to peevish. I start to feel uncomfortable about the expectation that I will have sex with him. It occurs to me that this group probably take drugs as a matter of course, and that I will be expected to participate. Suddenly the whole “adventure” sours and becomes a source of anxiety rather than fun.

Interpretation: The “leader” is a trickster figure. He looks like my typical trickster: wiry, energetic, and black, my opposite and yet—“exactly like me” in his approach to things. The dream was inspired by a recent visit to an Alan Ginsberg exhibit that reminded me that the guiding lights of art in my childhood were the rebels who stood against middle class morality, often in self-destructive and adolescent ways. (The “leader” is the size of a 12-year-old.) The dream portrays my discomfort with certain aspects of this art world, the idea that it's a place that demands undisciplined behavior and morals. At the same time, there is something attractive about a life without restrictions. Do I see conformity as my only other option?

A basic conflict has emerged here: creativity and freedom versus the straight and narrow. My experience with the graphic designers helps me  get the picture. As the dream goes forward the creative group attempt to put me in their own kind of straight jacket. Each of the two supposedly antithetical groups demands conformity, each has its “standards” and expectations for the behavior of its members. True freedom exists in neither. A conjunctio (a union, symbolized by having sex) with one of the choices does not take place.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Dreams often try to point out that we are, as Marie-Louise von Franz has said, our own difficulty.
The Dream: I'm at a Rehab center. Most of the attendees are young, and I think, “I'm too old for this.” Some of the rehabilitated leave, through a chute, in enclosed carts. At first I think that these are wheelchair substitutes, but then they get off their little conveyances and walk away. They are children with large heads, figures I've often seen in other dreams.

Interpretation: I think that I'm too old to change, but if I can discover the part of me that's still growing (the child) I might be able to overcome the things that limit me (the things that need rehabilitation: the handicaps a wheelchair symbolizes). Once I go down through the narrow chute (experience such a new way of thinking that it seems like rebirth), I'll be able to walk on my own two feet. The overly large heads and small bodies of the children point out that my capabilities need to catch up with my ideas, and those ideas might be inflated.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

High Anxiety

The Dream: I don't remember the specific dream, but I do remember the feeling: anxiety.

The dream was triggered by attending a presentation given by a friend. While she did a fine job, her work was not well received by the audience. I was on the calendar to give a talk to this same group in a month or so, and no doubt my friend's experience made me uneasy on my own account as well as hers.

Over the years I've found that entering a dream into a journal and then attempting to illustrate the dream, or the feeling that dream has engendered, is a very helpful way to cope with the difficult emotions that are a part of life.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

It Bites the Hand that Feeds It

The Dream: I have a collegial relationship with a cat. We get along. I need to correct her behavior, so I attempt to pick her up by the scruff of her neck. She camps her sharp teeth down on my hand and won't let go. I have a cat dangling from my hand and don't know how to get it to release me.

Interpretation: Symbolically cats are associated with the feminine. People project sweetness, cuddliness, and so forth, onto these animals, but at their base, where they really live, they are hunters and fighters. In today's world the genie is out of the bottle. Docility is over. Obedience is done with. The feminine animal now fights back. The cat is telling me to give my inner woman some freedom or she'll clamp down on me, and it will hurt.