I’ve been working with a dreamer—“Sue”—about a short dream in which a butterfly landed on her nose. (Scroll down to my last posts.) Sue was not accustomed to thinking about metaphors. But I asked her to imagine that she was the butterfly in her dream and to tell me what was on the butterfly’s mind. She was then able to give replies that were full of metaphors, even though she didn’t realize it at the time. She did this without prompts which meant that her thoughts were her own and not influenced by ideas that I may have offered.
Sue’s answer while pretending to be a butterfly’m light and ethereal. I’m never stationary. I’m single-minded in my quest for my own nourishment. I have to get food to keep myself going. I’m beautiful, but I have the definite sense that I won’t be around for long. I have to make the most of the time available to me.
The rest of Sue’s dream symbolsHer response was wonderful—full of what she considered the metaphoric essence of a butterfly. With that encouragement and using that technique, we worked through all of the symbols of her dream:
Grass: Soft and pliable. Forgiving.
Meadow: Untamed and unencumbered. Free-flowing.
Beautiful day: Lovely for its own sake. No agendas or obligations.
Drifting in my thoughts: Free-flowing. No restrictions.
Eyes closed: Shutting out the external world to be with myself.
Vague sensation: Something quietly calls my attention.
Nose: A prominent feature that defines how I appear to others.
Butterfly: (See above.)
No surprise: I took it in stride.
Crossed eyes: Uncomfortable, but necessary for seeing really close in.
Reassembled dreamWith this input, we reassembled the dream in standard fashion, replacing Sue’s symbols with her own guided-imagery descriptions of them. As always, I would insert phrases to remind Sue that all the symbols of her dream were facets of her own psyche:
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 this dream telling Sue? Was it suggesting change or staying the course? We’ll find out tomorrow!
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