photo courtesy of campplacid.org
A dreamer had a dream that was about attending a conference with his girlfriend and submitting a donation for a silent auction. There were conflicts on two fronts: He felt irritation with his girlfriend, and he had nothing to offer for the auction.
He and I talked about the archetypical roles males and females play in dreams. The female—feminine part of us—is the intuitive visionary who comes up with our ideas. The masculine part of us is the great manifestor, the one who brings into reality the ideas that feminine has dreamed up.
When someone dreams that his girlfriend lacks commitment, it might imply that the dreamer, himself, lacks dedication to his own ideas. In this dreamer's own words, he feels “unprepared” to contribute to the “resources” of his “learning.” He’s living in a “majestic and lovely” space that is from his “past.” “In some ways it’s boring” because he has outgrown it.
Now comes the most interesting part of the dream, symbolized by a calendar: Living inside the dreamer is the resource that “is a way to look back and to plan for the future all at the same time.” Clearly, the dreamer has the resources to move beyond his own dilemma. I point this out to him, and what follows is his response.
The dreamer explains
There’s no question that this dream is about me. But the trouble is that I know all that stuff. I know I have no confidence in myself. I know I tend to procrastinate with my plans and then feel badly about it. I know I avoid making plans that I feel are important because part of me is convinced they are not worthwhile.
My problem is that I don’t know what to do to change how I am. And the weird thing is that, deep down, I know some of my ideas are good. It’s just when I go to set them in motion, I clam up and get in my own way.
Here’s an idea: I wonder if an old feeling of inadequacy—one that you have actually outgrown—has developed into a habit? What would happen if you simply worked at replacing your old habit with a new one?
An example: Take one of your ideas that you have absolutely no stake in—something so small and silly that you don’t care about it at all. Something like a better way to organize your trash bins on garbage collection day. (laughter) Put that plan into motion and watch how it works. If you are pleased with the improvement, then I want you to take yourself out to dinner and celebrate.
I know this seems silly, but it’s how you change entrenched patterns. You can’t start with something meaningful; you have to begin with something that doesn’t matter at all. All you’re doing is creating a new habit, and you need to make it as easy on yourself as possible. After the first success, you up the ante just slightly, and you keep creating successes for yourself until you get to the issues that really matter. As you do this, we’re all going to be here to help and be your cheering section!