image courtesy of vectortunes.com
This week, I’ve been examining a dream about people taking poison. The dreamer and I have completed the most important interpretation steps, and what we’ve discovered is a nice progression of metaphoric themes. First, the dreamer finds herself (metaphorically) where “everything is real.” She talks about how getting here has involved “little obstacles.” She gets to a “clearing,” but on the other side is an “insurmountable” obstacle. She sees aspects of herself “dying.” She tries to get these aspects—symbolized in her dream by people—to look ahead, but “their attention is on me.”
DAVID: Is it a “good thing” or a “bad thing” that all these people are dying?
DREAMER: Well, it’s pretty upsetting to watch it happening, that’s for sure.
DAVID: OK, but suppose the dream isn’t really about people. Suppose the people in your dream just symbolize qualities or aspects of yourself. Is it sometimes OK to leave certain parts of yourself behind?
DREAMER: I guess so.
DAVID: Usually dreams are about a conflict going on in your life. Tell me what the biggest annoyance is that’s going on.
DREAMER: You mean a big annoyance right now?
DREAMER: Oh brother! It’s all these journals I’ve kept ever since I got out of college.
DAVID: What about them?
DREAMER: I’m trying to decide what to do with them.
DAVID: Can you tell me more?
DREAMER: I was a journalism major and I wrote about my own life for several years—decades, in fact. I kept all of these essays neatly bound in notebooks. They really represent a big chunk of who I am—or at least who I was in those days. I mean, I can pick up any one of the notebooks, open it at random, and find some interesting tidbit about myself that I had forgotten. Doing that can be a real trip—a real walk down memory lane.
DAVID: Are you still in journalism?
DREAMER: No. And that’s the thing.
DAVID: Tell me more.
DREAMER: Well, do I need to keep this stuff or not? I mean, I’ve hauled it around for years and it takes up room and it never seems to have any kind of important connection to what I’m doing. But still, I wonder if I’ll need to use it someday.
DAVID: Why not just put it all in a box and store it in the attic?
DREAMER: That’s the thing. It takes up way more room than that, and it’s really a pain to always be carting it around. I mean, we’re thinking of moving again and just the thought of hauling this stuff to a new location, and finding room for it then we get there. It makes me tired just thinking about it.
DAVID: Let’s take another look at your dream. If your dream were my dream, I’d ask myself if the people who were so willing to die were all the parts of me that it’s time to let go of—all the pieces of me in my journals. Remember, in your dream they don’t mind. And maybe once they’re gone, I can climb over that huge obstacle on the other side of the clearing.
DREAMER: That’s wild!