Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Being Crushed By A Front End Loader: Post #2



photo courtesy of commonswikimedia.org

A dreamer had a dream that seemed to be prophetic—and ominous--about the USA national election. I advised her to wait until we looked at the dream metaphorically before reaching any conclusions about the dream's meaning. In an unusual twist, her dream had two endings, both of which were presented to her in the dream state.

As she and I worked our way through the symbols, and as she provided metaphoric meanings to each of them, I simply inserted both potential endings into the dream’s revised version. Often, what seems contradictory in objective life becomes no more than part of the dialogue when it is converted to metaphor.

To reveal her metaphoric associations, I would ask her a simple question such as, “Tell me about ‘walking along.’” I would then record her answer.

Tell me about…
* Walking along:  Leisurely going from one spot to the next.
* Enjoying:  Appreciating in a pleasant way.
* Scenery:  My surroundings, but they’re natural. And beautiful. They help relax me and they bring me peace.
* Trees swaying:  Pleasant motion that brings calmness.
* Beautiful flowers:  Like little gems of beauty.
* Soft breezes:  Like the breathe of nature or God.
* Place under construction:  Something new is being built.
* Ground torn up:  Disruption, temporarily unsightly and potential for danger.
* Big machines:  They are gentle giants helping with the building.
* Moving the earth around:  Making changes.
* Changing the landscape:  Things will never look the same again.
* Curious:  Inquisitive, wanting to know more.
* Danger:  The possibility of harm being done to me.
* Detour:  Go around a different route, not as direct, but safer.
* Make big mistake:  An error in judgement that will have consequences.
* Bulldozers and front-end loaders:  Big giants that do constructive things, but because of their size, they may be unaware of anything as small as me. They would never try to harm me, but there could be an accident.
* Construction debris on the ground:  Waste products that are being discarded temporarily, until they can be properly disposed of.
* Trip and fall:  Lose my balance and end up in a prone position of defenselessness.
* Driver:  The one operating the machine; the one in charge.
* Doesn’t see me:  Oblivious of any potential harm.
* Being crushed:  The life is being squashed out of me. I am no more.
* See catastrophe approaching:  I see the possibility of ruin coming at me.

Some initial observations
If you read the list above, you are aware of a beautiful, possibly idyllic scene suddenly changing to catastrophe. But is it about national politics, or is it about the dreamer herself? And is it really so bad? It's a spiritual law that with every death there is a rebirth. Is it possible that something old is being "squeezed out" in order to accommodate something new and better? 

We'll learn more on Friday.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Being Crushed By A Front End Loader

 photo courtesy of heavyconstructionmachinery.com

A dreamer had a dream that seemed to portend doom and gloom. She had this dream about the time of the United States national elections last winter and she was concerned that the dream was prophetic. As ominous as the symbols were--being crushed by the bucket of a front end loader on a construction site--I advised her to wait until we looked at the dream metaphorically before reaching any conclusions about the dream's meaning.

One thing I stated to her even before we did any work: I was nearly 100% positive that this dream was not to be taken literally; she would not lose her life being crushed by heavy equipment. As I have repeated many times on this blog, dreams are rarely to be understood at face value.

An ominous dream
I'm walking along enjoying the scenery. The trees are swaying, there are beautiful flowers and a soft breeze is blowing. I come to a place that is under construction. There's really a lot of work being done and the ground is all torn up. There are big machines moving the earth around and changing the landscape. I am curious about what will be built in this place, but I also know there is some danger being near the heavy equipment, so I decide to take a big detour around the site. But I make a mistake--a really big one--and end up right in the middle of the construction with bulldozers and front end loaders all around. There is some construction debris on the ground, and I am so busy watching out for the equipment that I don't see it. I trip over it and fall, landing on my back. Then, I watch as one of the front end loaders starts toward me. It is obvious that the driver doesn't see me there. Then the dream gets odd, because it's as if there are two endings. In one ending, I watch myself being crushed by the bucket of the front end loader, and that's my death. But in the other ending, I just see the catastrophe approaching and know it's going to happen before it actually does.

Some thoughts
Even before we began working on the dream, I pointed out to the dreamer the significance of two endings: She is being offered a choice. In one option, there would be "the death" of her. In the other option, she was being warned before the death took place, and maybe there was a way to avoid it.

But then I made a peculiar comment: "Maybe you want the death," I suggested. This took her aback. "Not all deaths that we experience within ourselves are bad," I explained. "Sometimes it's good to let old parts of ourselves go." I told her we now needed to analyze the dream and see what it might be about. 

We'll begin the process on Wednesday.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

A Dream About A Flirtation: Concluding Post

photo courtesy of psychologytoday.com

A dreamer had a dream that involved a conflict between her lighthearted self and a more serious side of her. She was baffled about how to resolve her inner clash. (Scroll down to my last posts and you can follow our discussion.)

Resolving internal conflicts
Yesterday, I suggested that internal conflicts are resolved by working toward inner wholeness. As an example, I offered my own internal conflict as a young man. In my profession I am often obliged to sit and work meticulously on details that take a long time. I am well-suited to this kind of work, but there is a part of my personality that becomes impatient and irritable when obliged to concentrate for long stretches on the same tedious task. The conflict between these two facets of my personality was having a negative impact on my work. I needed to find a way to reconcile their differences. I did this by initiating a "dialogue" with myself. It went something like this:

I asked each part of me to acknowledge something good about its rival. The plodder in me acknowledged that its nemesis was a visionary. "You have great ideas and a much broader perspective than me." Yes," says the feisty one, "but you can do exquisite work when given enough time, and I don't have that patience."

"So," I wanted to know, "is there a way that you two can accommodate each other without going into conflict?"

That was simple. The plodder in me would work at some task, and the impatient part of me agreed to leave it alone. But occasionally, the plodder would look at what it had accomplished and be only partially satisfied with the end result. It needed the visionary part of me to come up with a better idea. So it handed the problem to this more unsettled seeker in me--the part of me that was always looking to the horizon for something new and different. Inevitably, there would be a new plan, and since the visionary didn't have the patience to bring the plan to fruition, it was delighted to hand it back to the plodder to see its vision realized.

This probably sounds sophomoric and silly. But something like what I have described needs to take place whenever there is an internal conflict. In the case of the dreamer who had a lighthearted and a serious side that were squabbling with each other, they too needed to see that each part had validity and that neither one had a right to monopolize the dreamer's consciousness. As an example, if the dreamer stopped at a red light in traffic, it was not OK to let her lighthearted, zany self be in control. It was important to be serious and obey the laws in order to avoid a mishap. But while she was sitting there waiting for the light to change, why not entertain herself with lighthearted thoughts? Or more generally, why not use the serious side of herself to create a safe environment so that the lighthearted part of her could express itself unencumbered?

Friday, 14 July 2017

A Dream About A Flirtation: Post #3

 photo courtesy of aquiziam.com

A dreamer had a dream which she understood. It involved a conflict between her lighthearted self and a more serious side of her. Her dilemma was not in her comprehension of the dream message, rather, she was baffled about how to resolve her inner clash.

If you scroll down to my last post, you can read the dream, both in its original version--involving a steamy flirtation with a movie star--and in its metaphoric version which was about a struggle between a part of her that wants to have lighthearted fun and another part that keeps sending her mental messages about, "Get serious and get real." Her comment to me was, "Where do I go from here? I see validity to both points of view. Even in my dream, it was obvious that the sexual foreplay was innocent and not destructive in any way. It was by mutual consent. But I also understand that voice inside of me that says it's time to grow up and be an adult. So I guess my question is: When you're torn this way, what do you do about it?"

How do you resolve conflicted internal dialogue?
The simple answer to that question is that you work toward your own wholeness. By that I mean that you trade your conflicted attitudes for amicable ones. That is, of course, easy to say. But there is a way to go about methodically bringing it about. Here is how I accomplished it in myself.

I have a part of my own personality that loves detail work. When I am coming from this part of myself, I can sit for hours doing the most menial tasks and not be either bored or frustrated. Then, I have another part of my personality that loves the exploration of new ideas. It is happiest when it can be dreaming up schemes or ways to accomplish a task more efficiently or can be exploring an idea or a mechanism that is new. And this second aspect of myself hates to sit and be still while I work ponderously at some kind of repetitive task.

In my younger days, the conflict between these two aspects of my personality would frequently reach a crisis point. The part of me that likes new and exciting ideas would get bored with some tedious process I was involved in completing and nearly demand that I stop and go do something else. But my profession often required me to do chore-like tasks, and the detail part of my personality would become extremely upset because, by jumping up and doing something else, the job at hand wasn't being conscientiously attended to.

Finally one day, I decided to have a "conversation" between the two aspects of my personaality to see if we couldn't all work out a compromise. It turned out to be much easier than I anticipated. The first step was for each part of me acknowledge the value of the other part. "Yes," says the plodder, "you have great ideas and you have vision." "Yes," says the feisty one, "you can do exquisite work when given enough time."

That was the beginning of a constructive internal dialogue that we'll finish tomorrow.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

A Dream About A Flirtation: Post #2



 photo courtesy of postgradproblems.com

Today we’re working with a dreamer who understands her dream, but wants to know how to deal with the message her dream has brought to her. We want to spend more time this week helping her answer that question, so today we’ll combine two of the steps that are part of dream interpretation: We’ll analyze the symbols, and then we’ll reconstruct the dream in its metaphoric version. If you’re new to the blog, scroll down to any number of former posts and you’ll see examples of these two steps explained in more detail.

Today’s post will be longer than is typical.

Tell me about…
* Library:  A place of learning and study.
* After hours:  A quieter time, when most of the activity of the day is over. You can be really contemplative then.
* Solitude:  A sense of inner peace and meditation.
* Zac Efron:  Young, sexy, attractive, a turn on, fun.
* Gorgeous:  Titillating in a physical way. I feel aroused and drawn toward him.
* Coming on to me:  It’s the first step toward physical, sexual interaction. He’s preparing me for intimacy.
* I don’t mind:  I am open to this.
* Teasing and being playful:  It’s an exploration and a testing of limits and boundaries to see if there are any.
* Foreplay:  Activity just before a more intense kind of intimacy. It’s stimulating.
* Steamy:  Intense physical bonding. No holding back.
* Personification of fun:  Pure enjoyment with no sense of reservation or caution.
* Laughing:  Unadulterated pleasure.
* An unknown woman:  She seems severe and a killjoy. She’s an intruder.
* Tells us off:  Admonishes us. Puts us through a guilt trip.
* Zac is married:  Already committed to another to pursue growth and living together.
* Shouldn’t be here:  Does not belong in this place with me.
* Picks up his shirt:  It’s his covering, a form of receding from intimacy, and from me.
* Figure it out:  There is confusion between us and we need more understanding.
* Ruined our fun:  Robbed us of pleasure. Destroyed our exploration of bonding.
* Glares:  She’s angry and judgmental. She wants me to know that.
* Shame on you:  It’s verbal punishment, an admonition.
* Doing the dishes:  Stereotypic female role. It’s like putting me back in my place of submission.

The retold dream
I’m in a place of learning and study inside of myself. It’s a quieter time when most of the activity within me is over and I can be really contemplative. I have a sense of inner peace and meditation. I look up and see a young, sexy, attractive, masculine part of myself. It’s a turn on, fun. This is titillating in a physical way. I feel aroused and drawn toward this part of me. These two parts of me take the first step toward physical, sexual interaction. We’re preparing for intimacy. I am open to this. We’re involved in an exploration and a testing of limits and boundaries to see if there are any. This part of me and I are involved in activity just before a more intense kind of intimacy. It’s stimulating. Intense physical bonding. No holding back. Pure enjoyment with no sense of reservation or caution. Unadulterated pleasure. Suddenly, there is a female part of me that seems severe and a killjoy. This part of me is an intruder. This part of me admonishes us. Puts us through a guilt trip. This feminine part of me says that the masculine part of me is already committed to another to pursue growth and living together. It does not belong in this place with me. The masculine part of me retrieves his covering, a form of receding from intimacy, and from me. There is confusion between us and we need more understanding. We have been robbed of pleasure. Our exploration of bonding is destroyed. This female part of me is angry and judgmental. She wants me to know that through verbal punishment and admonition. This female part of me tells me that I need to be in a stereotypic female role. It wants me back in my place of submission.

More on Friday.

Monday, 10 July 2017

A Dream About A Flirtation

 photo courtesy of howwegettogether.com

"I know what my dream means, and I understand that it is showing me a conflict. But what do I do about the conflict now that I see it? My dream seems to be showing me that I am of two minds about how to deal with my life, and I reply, 'Got the message. Thanks. But now what?' I don't know how to proceed from here."

The above was part of a dialogue I recently had with a dreamer in a dream class, and it is a common dilemma. Dreams tend to elucidate inner conflicts we are experiencing. But not all of them offer solutions; that part is more likely left up to us. That's why working with dreams in groups--like in a class--is so helpful. Everyone has unique insights, and in a conscientious group, everyone will make an effort to be helpful.

This week, we'll use this dreamer's experience to explore what needs to happen after the dream is analyzed and understood.

Here's the dream:
In my dream, I'm in a library after closing hours. I'm enjoying the solitude, but I look around, and there is Zac Efron. Oh my God, he's so gorgeous! And he starts coming on to me. And I don't mind at all. We're teasing each other and being playful. It progresses to a little bit of foreplay and things are getting steamy. He tells me how I am the personification of fun, and that makes me laugh. But then this woman who I don't even know shows up and starts telling us both off. She informs me that Zac is married and he shouldn't be here at all. Zac picks up his shirt and walks off to go and try to figure it all out. So I'm left with this woman who has just ruined our fun. She glares at me, and then she says, "Shame on you, you should be doing the dishes." And that's the end of my dream.

Some initial thoughts
As always, we can't get a clear analysis of the dream without the dreamer's own input. But there is already a theme that is apparent. The whole first part of the dream seems to be about lighthearted bonding between masculine and feminine energy. On the surface, that seems like a good thing. But then, another energy is introduced, one that is heavier and more punitive. Certainly, that much we can take away with us today. There definitely seems to be a conflict expressed, and on Wednesday we'll start working our way through the dream to find out, more specifically, what it is. We may do this a bit quicker, because we mostly want to spend time trying to answer the question, "What do I do after I understand my dream's meaning?"

Saturday, 8 July 2017

A Dream About Prison And Pooping Out Eggs: Concluding Post


photo courtesy of watchdog.org

One of the frustrations of writing a blog limited to about 500 words, is that the resolution of conflicts highlighted by dreams often requires more explaining than space permits. This week’s dream went from an absurd series of images to a metaphoric depiction of a major—if painful—breakthrough in the dreamer’s life. She had been punishing herself for decisions and actions she had taken as a youngster. She had kept her discomfort and her own feelings of inadequacy locked up for years. Now, almost despite herself, she was opening up, and she found this experience frightening.

The dreamer tells her story
You have no idea the kind of controlling mother I had. I don’t think I was so much a kid in her eyes as a doll to be dressed up and used to play-act her own fantasies. Oh my God! If I ever expressed displeasure at her expectations of who I was supposed to be or how I was supposed to act, it was wrath-city. Even as a really little girl I learned never to challenge, and above all, always, always to lock up my own feelings and emotions. Hide them away! Anywhere! It didn’t matter as long as I just towed the line and didn’t get Mommy enraged at me.

I suppose, then, that it’s not a big surprise that have lived my life—I’m in my 60s now—doing the bidding of others. I have spent my adulthood taking all of my cues from others; my own sense of self wasn’t important enough to consider. I have been divorced twice and both times it was from men who, in very different ways, were passive and non-involved. I think this was my way of shielding myself from more wrath, since I was going to do and be whatever my partner demanded of me.

But, of course, I found the passivity of my partners unsatisfying, and in one of my marriages, I went out and had a sexual affair. What a mess!

Now, finally, I have managed to get myself into a loving and supportive relationship, and the support and trust of my husband has allowed me to begin the long journey to a healthier life. And yeah! I find that really scary. My feelings have been locked up for so long, I dread digging around in all that old stuff. I’m terrified by what I will find there. That’s the whole first part of my dream about visiting in the prison and the prisoners not talking to me. It was amazing to me that the dream even confirmed for me that the prisoners hadn’t really done anything wrong. It was like the dream was reassuring me that I was OK, even while I was terrified of what I would find in myself.

But the part about pooping out the lizard eggs. [She laughs.] What a trip! The message was that this stuff is going to come out of me whether I want it to or not. And like that lizard, some of it is going to come alive again. That’s frightening.

This dreamer's in a dream class, and will be supported as she explores her way into her new “self.”

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