A dreamer named Sue had a dream about a butterfly. When we worked through the symbols, there seemed to be two themes running through the imagery. One was a sense of free-spirited independence. It portrayed an image of deliberate separation from the constraints of structured life.
The other theme suggested that she might be receiving a nudge, easing her out of this near-idyllic freedom. There was also a sense of urgency: the part of her initiating the nudge was temporary.
What follows is Sue’s restated dream.
There is a part of me that is soft and pliable. It’s forgiving. I’m in a place within myself that is untamed and unencumbered. It’s free-flowing. My own inner space is lovely for its own sake. There are no agendas or obligations. I’m free-flowing with no restrictions. I have shut out all the external parts of myself in order to be with myself. Then something quietly calls my attention. I feel it on a prominent part of myself that defines how I appear to all the other parts of me. This aspect of myself is light and ethereal. It’s never stationary. It’s single-minded in its quest for its own nourishment. It has to get food to keep itself going. It’s beautiful, but I have the definite sense that it won’t be around for long. It has to make the most of the time available. I take all this in stride even though it’s uncomfortable. But it’s necessary for seeing really close in.
What was the dream telling Sue?
Dreams are snapshots of our inner-most thoughts, motivations and feelings. They are valuable because, if we examine them, we see ourselves in a more objective, somewhat detached way; it is often easier to see conflicts or dilemmas we are facing when they are presented to us from a slight distance.
That was the case with Sue’s dream. As she and I chatted about her dream’s message, she readily identified with her preference for living in an “untamed, unencumbered, free-flowing” manner. She told me that she dislikes being jolted into the turmoil of every-day life and prefers to avoid it.
I asked if she thought the dream was trying to tell her to leave the idyllic space which she likes to occupy. She answered that she didn’t know. So I ventured a suggestion: I said I doubted that her dream was nudging her into some sort of daily, plodding drudgery. But I also suggested that there might be other kinds of constructive growth that she was missing by simply being oblivious to all but the most pleasant input. I pointed out that growth is often accompanied by discomfort. Certainly we all need peace and respite. But we also need to expand and grow within ourselves.
Sue acknowledged that she often delays looking at her innermost self, just because of the effort it takes. I suggested that perhaps the dream was notifying her that the time had come to make the effort. It would pay off.
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