image courtesy of pestremovalguide.com
We’ve been using a waking dream about ants in a bathroom to explore the concept of the totem. It’s the idea that animals come to us as dream symbols to bring a timely message. We treat the symbols in the same way would would treat any dream symbols. I simply asked the dreamer to “tell me about” each one.
Yesterday, we reassembled the dream in its metaphoric version. What emerged was a message about “automatic negative thoughts” that invade the dreamer when she is doing an inner cleansing. One of the most interesting parts of her dream came right at the end when the dreamer stated, “I do things in the same ordered way I always have; I haven’t made any sudden shifts in my behavior.” I wanted to ask her about that, because maybe that was the problem.
David: So you found yourself inundated with an army of “negative thoughts” when you were trying to do a cleansing. Is that what happened?
Dreamer: Ho boy! Is that ever me! I’m constantly on my own case. I can’t ever seem to give myself a break. Anything I try to do, I start second guessing myself, and pretty soon, I’ve put enough doubt in my own mind to convince myself that I’m going about it all wrong.
David: What do you think you might do about that?
Dreamer: I have no idea. This has been going on so long, and the “negative thoughts” are so powerful, I doubt that I could just stop them from happening.
David: How about this instead: Suppose you allow all those negative thoughts in, but put them in a special compartment inside yourself. Tell them how much you respect them and how valuable they are to you. Reassure them that you’re not rejecting them. But let them know that you also want to explore some ideas for a while. So you’re going to accept the negative thoughts, but you’ll set them aside for the time being until you’ve had a chance to test the other things you are doing.
Dreamer: Wow! What an interesting idea.
David: Do you think it might work?
Dreamer: It’s definitely worth a try. (pensive) Yeah, that might just work.
David: Give it a shot, and don’t expect absolute perfection the first time around. This takes a little bit of practice. But every time you find that you’re putting yourself down about something you are experimenting with, just gently remove the negative thought far enough away so that you can continue.
Dreamer: I love that!
David: OK. Now we have one other thing we have to do.
Dreamer: What’s that?
David: Were the invading ants there to annoy you, or were they there to deliver a really important message?
Dreamer: It was a message.
David: How well did they do?
David: Then you need to thank them in a big way.
Dreamer: How do you do that?
David: Any number of ways, and it’s all in your intention. Write a note, take outside and set fire to it so that it soars into the heavens. Set up a little ant shrine with some dirt and little sticks. Or just mentally acknowledge them. Use your imagination.
Dreamer: Will do!