I’ve been looking at a waking dream of my wife’s that involved finding ink spots on unexpected surfaces throughout her day. When we isolated the symbols, did the work to discover their metaphoric associations for her and then reconstructed the dream, the following is what emerged.
The reconstructed dream
There is a part of me that is having to clean up after making an unintended mess. I use the part of me that is a handy absorbent. It’s the part of me that soaks up unwanted fluid substances that are difficult to manage if they’re not in a container. But then I notice that the part of me that is the handy absorbent is permanent so no part of me can change its mind. I have been cleaning up what was my sole source of food during my infancy. But now that I’m an adult, this food could either be nutritious or something I am allergic to. I find myself using a device within me that is designed to help me when I want to be especially aware of something. It’s a way to remember what I might forget. This sense of permanency is also on the part of me that protects where my voice comes from. And my voice is what I use to make myself heard and known.
There are clear themes throughout. There is the idea of needing to clean up an “unintended mess” so that her “voice” can be “heard.” Only one person can clarify this further: the dreamer herself. So I asked my wife to comment. Keep in mind that she is speaking familiarly to me.
The dreamer reflects
Well, you know me. This dream is pretty autobiographical. As you know, for years I’ve struggled with asserting myself. My natural tendency is to slip into the background and let someone else who is stronger—or at least gives the impression of being stronger—take charge. It’s an easy thing to let happen. It means I don’t have to take responsibility for outcomes. But it also means that a lot of times, I am unhappy with the way things transpire. We both know that I have been working on that tendency of mine.
I think the phenomenon that has really mobilized me in the past few weeks has been the U. S. election. I’m not talking about a political opinion, here. What bothers me more than anything is the divisiveness in our country. I find that alarming. So I guess that has kicked me into gear. I am trying to find ways to bring people together in constructive dialogue. And in the process, I am finding my voice for real. It’s exciting.
I think the part of the dream about cleaning up the mess can be seen in at least two ways. Certainly, I consider the rancor in our country to be a mess that needs cleaning up. But maybe even more, is my own mess of not taking a stance when things are important.
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