Friday, January 29, 2016

What's Right With Me?

Dreams often point out what is wrong in our lives, but they also can point out what’s right. In a world in which we are often encouraged not to think too well of ourselves, our dreams can let us know it’s okay to celebrate what’s good about us.

The Dream: I’m in a class. There is a beautiful girl sitting next to me. She is young and has curly, light brown hair. She is very petite, but well built. I wonder if she is rich. I know she lives in the city, but I wonder how she lives. Is she part of a rich family or married well? She puts on dark glasses and looks even more glamorous.

Interpretation: This dream seems to be a little gift, some encouragement. Many dream experts tell us that the people who populate our dreams are different aspects of ourselves. So with this dream I can ask, “What part of me is beautiful, self-confident, living in the world she loves, sexy, a little mysterious, well-cared for and full of potential?” Of course I don’t get off Scot free: since I’m in a class the dream is also telling me I still have something to learn.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

D is for Dreams

Here's a little project for those of you who keep a dream journal: make a frontispiece. It's another way to explore your own inner reality. Here's how to go about it.

  • First is the planning stage, although it's pretty minimal here because the aim of this project is to let unconscious ideas come forth, rather than to impose our conscious ideas. So the plan has only two components. 1) We define the format: square, round, rectangular—whatever shape appeals. 2) And then we put something into that space, filling most of it. In the example here, I used the letter D, for dreams, but it's important for you to use whatever appeals to you: it could be the shape of a firetruck, a stone, a pool--whatever.
  • Now play with the object you have put into the space, seeing what it suggests to you. As I played with the letter D a cave emerged, then a couple of creatures I thought of as threshold guardians. Once your concept comes together for you, play with your favorite rendering technique or, even better, try out something new.

Congratulations! You've produced a work that has come straight out of your unconscious, just like a dream. You can take the project a little further by writing a sentence or two about your creation. Here's what I said about mine.
The scary things, partially dead and buried, that emerge from the Unconscious are the source of new life, health, and healing of the spirit.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Sleeping Foreigner

Dreams can serve to nudge us along and attempt to get us back on the right path when we falter. It might seem contradictory, but this dream is issuing a wake-up call.
The Dream: An attractive young woman, someone close to me, is sleeping too much. She resembles the Polish cleaning woman in the PBS mystery Father Brown. I go into her bedroom and try to awaken her with a gentle hug and kiss, as my father would awaken me. She doesn't seem unhappy but doesn't want to get up, either. I'm concerned that all this day-time sleeping might mean she's depressed.

Interpretation: There's a part of myself that feels foreign. There are some family associations here: one of my grandmothers was from Austria Hungary, now in Poland. After her husband died in The Spanish flu epidemic, this brave woman who lived in Brooklyn and spoke little English worked as a cleaning woman to support her three children. She avoided remarriage; having experienced being a step-child in her own youth she didn't want her children to endure the kind of unequal treatment she associated with that situation.

In the dream I experience life from this point of view: as one who is foreign, poorly equipped to cope with the world, and saddled with responsibilities. How did my grandmother respond? She prevailed. How do I respond? I go to sleep. I don't want to engage with a difficult reality. I am comfortable hiding out in bed, happy in my retreat, and wary about confronting my difficulty.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Bear on a Fixed Track

You can learn a lot about your dream by taking the time to look at the words, especially plays on words or double meanings. The following dream is a good example.
The Dream: I have a stuffed bear that navigates the world on a track. I'm with it in the back garden, then watch as it goes through the back door of my house, on its track, and out through the front. It's not capable of locking the doors so I do that. I watch the bear roll down the street and wonder what the neighbors think of it.

I'm planning to rendezvous with my bear at a museum I used to enjoy. To get there I have to scale down what looks like an artifact of the ancient past: a steep, carved palisade. Part of its side begins to detach as I descend. Two things worry me. I don't want to deface this ancient carving, and yet I'm afraid that if I try to fix it, to make it right, I'll lose my footing and fall into the pit.

When I get to the museum it is rundown and in disrepair. Not much is left that is interesting. I'm disappointed; this place is not what it was. There's one bright spot: I recognize a stained glass window that I still like.

Interpretation: To start, let's take a look at the word “bear.” Am I as grumpy as a bear? Is there something I can't bear? Am I feeling discouraged, in the dumps (bearish)? Am I closed-minded, fixed and unswerving in my fixed track? One thing seems obvious, the state of mind this dream is dealing with is rooted in the past. You'll notice the references to the back garden, the back door, the palisade that's an artifact of the past, and the museum, a place that houses old things. And since my bear is stuffed, I'm guessing that what's got me down and grouchy is some stuff from way back.

The dream gives me an opportunity to work through some unresolved past issues. The meeting with my bear takes me to a place where I can look at my old stuff (in the museum) and realize it's not interesting anymore. My fears are unnecessary: I don't lose my footing or fall into the pit along the way. If the carved sides along my descent are disintegrating, I accept that I can't fix them. And there is even a bright spot: I find something to love and cherish, a stained glass window. It lets in a transformed and colorful light.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Pushed into a Pit

Your dream will give you some clues about the origin of the issue it deals with. Can you spot what they are in this dream?
The Dream: A difficult aunt who I remember well from my childhood is in charge of two little girls. I expect that when I find them the girls will be crying, since that the effect Aunt A usually had on people. But no, they seem fine.

I'm at a snobby art event in a magnificent old museum. Several pieces of art that I own, and one or two that I painted, are hung in a very long gallery where a crowd is lined up to enter. Inside, the elaborately carved wooden steps and walls make the exhibit look like a medieval recreation.

I hear some admiration aimed in my direction but am disappointed to realize it's directed toward the pieces I own, not the ones I created. As we wind our way around the attractive labyrinth, a woman gets into an altercation with another and pushes her down, off the steps, into a side pit.

Interpretation: The dream tells me that my issue is rooted way back in childhood with several clues. Not only are there some little girls, there are two of them. There are also two kinds of my art on display: one or two (two yet again) that I painted and some that I own. Two women have an altercation. So this issue probably first surfaced during the pre-verbal part of my life, around the time I was two years old.

The medieval decor puts the issue in the distant past (of my life), and the carved wood evokes a pattern being imposed on a malleable surface. The dream dwells on images—paintings--because the child's self-image is being created at this time.

Aunt A was a childhood difficulty, but probably not the cause of this issue since the two little girls are okay with her. So perhaps some of her traits, shared by my parents, are the core of the problem. Both parents had very high expectations—and of course that is a good thing, overall, but I might have gotten the impression at an early age that I would not be able to achieve what they expected. The self I was in the process of creating (in the dream the images I painted) was not what was liked. What was liked were the images I had bought (the imposed persona).

I wander through this labyrinth of created and imposed selves, the various “pieces” of myself, thinking I'm in an attractive place until an abrupt altercation changes the mood. One “self” pushes another into a pit. One of the selves has been pushed aside. I wonder which one?