photo courtesy of printmag.com
A woman in early retirement started taking melatonin to help her sleep. In the process, she began remembering her dreams again, something she hadn’t been able to do for years. However, the dreams were nightmares. She made a mental postulate—which she also wrote as a short note to her own, personal “dream master”—requesting that her dreams come to her with gentler imagery. After a few nights, this ploy worked. But her gentle dream, when it came, seemed meaningless. (Scroll down to my last post to read the dream.)
Nevertheless, she and I began going through the interpretation steps. We isolated each of her dream’s symbols, and then I asked her to talk about each one. I prompted her by saying, “Tell me about ____________.” In each case, the blank was filled in with one of her symbols. What I got from her were descriptions of each symbol. Sometimes the descriptions were definitions. In many cases, there was also a personal association, such as her reply to the “landline” symbol.
What I was looking for was the metaphoric meaning of each symbol. So, for example, “Formica” is literally a kitchen countertop material. But if one reads her reply: “a durable, practical, synthetic surface,” this can be understood in any number of ways. A “synthetic surface” can even be an emotional façade. What follows are her replies.
Tell me about…
* Somewhere I can’t identify: It’s like being in a hazy cloud—nowhere definite. Everything’s amorphous.
* Desk or table: A surface that you do work on.
* Modern: Recently made, not historical. It hasn’t been around for long.
* Natural materials: It wasn’t made of organic things—things grown in nature. It was all made of manufactured, artificial substances.
* Formica: A durable, practical, synthetic surface.
* Grey: Kind of an uneventful, nondescript, unexciting color.
* Two items: These are useful work tools, mostly to help with storing information and communicating with others.
* Older model Landline with a phone jack in the wall: They’re not in use so much anymore, but actually, they work the best of any phones I’ve ever had. You can hear more clearly, and they tend to be more reliable for communication than their modern alternatives.
* Old-fashioned rolodex with hand-written cards: It’s where you store contact information for everyone in your circle of acquaintances. There’s also something personal and thoughtful about putting the information in by hand. It’s more time-consuming to do, but it is also less mechanistic and more humanistic.
* Alphabetical order: That just makes it easier to find what you’re looking for.
* A complete fog: It was as if everything except what was of most immediate importance had disappeared.
The first misconception to discard is her concern that this dream is meaningless. If you read her replies above, it becomes clear that there are two or three themes that run through this dream. One theme is about experiencing a kind of haziness and not being sure where she was. Then there is a lot of reference to a work surface (environment?) that is artificial and unexciting. Finally, there is the theme of reliable, humanistic communication.
More on Friday.