photo courtesy of theraspberryrabbits.com
In a dream about being scratched by a rabbit the dreamer was conflicted between her love of leisure and her near-obsession with needing to be busy.
I focused her attention on some wording near the end of her dream: “It has injured me. I’m starting to lose my life force. It’s not dangerous yet, but it’s an assault, an invasion.” I suggested to her that, from the dream’s perspective, whatever was causing her inner discord was now starting to have significant consequences to her sense of peace and well-being.
She was quiet for a moment, and then a torrent of words came pouring out.
Dreamer: I don’t know how to do this! I never have. OK, yeah. I know what the dream’s talking about, and I drive myself crazy trying to satisfy the two sides of me. I have a good time just doing nothing and enjoying myself, and that makes me feel guilty. So then I go into overdrive trying to make up for the fact that I wasn’t doing anything, and I end up getting involved in a whole bunch of stuff that I hate.
David: When you say you “do nothing,” what exactly happens? I mean, do you go into a vegetative state? Do you become comatose? Do you fall asleep?
Dreamer: (laughs) Well I’ve been known to fall asleep, for sure. But mostly I like to read, or if the weather’s nice, I’ll sit outside—like in my dream—and just enjoy the air and the beauty of nature.
David: The first thing I have to say is that there’s nothing wrong with that; that can be really constructive. And the second thing I have to suggest is that maybe there’s a way that you could do something similar, and at the same time satisfy the part of you that feels guilty.
Dreamer: What do you mean?
David: Well, how about volunteering at a retirement community and reading to a shut-in? Some elderly people have a limited ability to concentrate for lengthy stretches of time. You could read for a while, and then, if the weather’s nice, you could wheel them outside and just sit with them. I guarantee this kind of service is sorely needed and highly appreciated.
Dreamer: (She was quiet as she process what was apparently a new idea.)
David: I’m not saying to do this all the time, but how about a couple of mornings a week? It’s a way to serve by doing what you love best. It turns a guilty pleasure into a truly constructive contribution to your fellow citizens.
Dreamer: (quietly) Wow!
David: Or you could house sit. Or pet sit. Or volunteer at a children’s hospital with kids in long-term care.
Dreamer: (pensive) Before she died, my grandma got sick, and I used to spend a lot of time chatting with her at her bedside. I enjoyed that.
David: There you go. And here’s what you need to tell the part of you that nags all the time about needing to be productive and useful: There is NOTHING in life that says being productive has to be unpleasant. Decide what you love to do, and turn it into a service.
There will be an eight-week course in dream interpretation starting at the end of September. It will be held in the Springfield/Eugene area of Oregon. Click on the “EVENTS” page for details.