photo courtesy of cryptome.org
A woman in early retirement was perplexed by the message in a dream. She and I discussed it at length.
David: When I look at this dream, I see a definite storyline with themes. I’m just not sure what it’s all about.
Dreamer: Me either, although it’s certainly startling to see it develop into its own form. And I must say, parts of I can identify with.
David: Then, let’s start there. Which part of it do you identify with the most?
Dreamer: It’s the beginning part, where everything seems like it’s in a cloud. The dream also talks about it all being artificial. I can relate to that.
David: In what way?
Dreamer: I think I’m feeling a sense of loss in my life. I retired recently, and I have this sense that I’m flailing around. I feel like I’m useless. I walk around the house and wonder what I’m doing in life.
David: Is there anything else in the dream that you identify with?
Dreamer: I’m not sure I really identify with it, but I am intrigued with the whole imagery of the old telephone and the old way of storing information.
David: What about that? There was the comment about how it was the best communication system you ever had, and then there was the part about it being more personal and—I think you said—humanistic. Does that mean anything to you?
Dreamer: Maybe just that, when I was at work, I was more engaged, and I felt like I had a purpose. The dream also talked about how, in my present mode, things are practical but not natural. And I feel that. What I’m doing works to keep me alive and keep me from starving to death, but I don’t feel like I’m really me.
David: The dream seemed to suggest that an older way of communicating was the best. Is there any way to incorporate that into your retirement? Can you put your skills to use in some kind of retirement activity?
Dreamer: Maybe so.
David: What would you most like to be doing now that you don’t have to work?
Dreamer: I enjoy people.
David: Is there a need for communication skills when working with people? Some skills that, for you, are “old-fashioned, but still the best”?
Dreamer: Oh, yeah. Definitely.
David: If you’re financially OK, could you volunteer?
Dreamer: You know, now that I sit here and think about it, I love our local arboretum.
David: Well, do they need guides? Docents? Teachers? Administrators? I would think there’d be a huge need.
Dreamer: I suspect you’re right about that. (Pensive.) Maybe the real issue is that I’ve felt so lost that I started feeling sorry for myself.
David: If I were you, I wouldn’t be too hard on myself. I think your current experience is pretty common. But I think this dream—now that you were able to stop it from being a nightmare—is pointing you in a good direction.
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