Dreams are sometimes so clear, so elegant that they take my breath away! Take this little fragment that I caught when the rest of my longer dream got away. I will include my own resistance, which is just like yours, I might add, so you can laugh along with me!
I dream that my mother is in a hospital bed, situated smack in the middle of my home office. I am in the next room which we refer to as the family room, trying to poop on a toddler potty chair. My mother’s helper (not from waking life), an Asian woman, is straightening up in the family room. A woman who I casually know from waking life, who is in her early 40’s, walks through quickly to visit my mother, sees that she is asleep and turns and leaves. I briefly wonder why she wouldn’t leave a note saying she was there.
Minimize The Dream’s Importance: Most dreamers like to write off their dream themes and details saying, “Oh I just saw a movie, or had this conversation, or saw that person” as if that explains the dream’s details and no further meaning can be elicited. I can do this just as well as my clients! But our Dream Maker doesn’t work this way. We see, say, think and experience millions of things in the course of one day, so why “this” detail is used and not “that” indicates that the symbols in our dream are specific and meaningful. “Resistance is futile” so we have to work at getting past this resistance to connect with the dream’s meaning even so.
Too Much Analysis: Sometimes, it’s not the dream analysis that doesn’t resonate, it’s the fact that we jump right in and lead off with too much thinking! Sometimes, we need to let go of what we think we know (what did I need to let go of, with my mother taking up space in my office and me trying to let go in the family room?) and just feel the dream and it’s events. As I reread my dream I had to admit that this scenario took me by surprise. My mother had a brain bleed last summer and a visit to California and frequent long-distance calls are now part of the landscape, but I didn’t think that this situation was filling up so much psychic space in relation to my work, the setting in my dream story. It became clear to me that I had to look at this dream without assumptions about what I thought I knew about my life and my dreams. The “beginners mind” of Zen practice was required. So I paused to feel and be in the dream. When you can’t remember the feelings, you can go back into the dream and feel them from an awake but relaxed place. You can also use your body and emotions to feel and gauge your reactions to different possible meanings. If you feel it, there is energy there and something is waiting to be discovered!
Arguing with myself: I thought about what it felt like to be on a child’s potty chair. It wasn’t a good fit and I was straining. But, I argued with myself, I don’t feel like a little girl in regard to my mother! Well… mostly I don’t. I suppose we are all our parent’s children until they are no longer here….. and of course the topic to potty training came up recently in regard to my grandson! (see Resistance #1) And why did I dream about that woman who I hardly know or see? What happened to me in my 40’s that might also be part of the dream’s message? And the Asian support worker (a foreign part of myself?) was fussing about and why didn’t I really feel embarrassed (just a tad) given what was going on in the potty chair? Back to feeling….
Why Bother to Write it Down? So many resist this one because they A) Are too tired and too rushed in the morning, when most dreams are caught, B) They don’t want someone to find their journal and therefore don’t feel secure and C) They have no one to share it with so why bother? I didn’t write this dream down until a day later. And I only did it then because it was still hanging around! To my rational mind, I thought, ok, that’s a funny little fragment…yawn…. but my psyche had a message to deliver and made sure it kept popping into my head. Unlike people who don’t do dreamwork, I do know enough to not fight this for long, but like potty chair effort, I couldn’t release the dream fragment. Because I generally focus on other people’s dreams in my dream groups, and for entirely selfish reasons, I have trained my husband to work with dreams for my benefit! This is a great thing to do for those who are in a trusting, respectful relationship. If not, friends who share this respect and interest in dreams is also a good choice. Finding or starting a dream group will have the same benefits, multiplied many times over.
The Inner (and outer) Masculine to the Rescue….This tip isn’t “resistance” but some general good advice: give body function dreams to a man or a 10 year old boy to mull over! It was my husband who nailed it. He went from my description of “pooping” to other words for excrement, and finally got to doodoo…”doodie”… And then the light bulb turned on for us both. He said “You are trying to do your duty towards your mother!” Bingo! That resonated. And when it does, you will feel it in your whole body, and it will be so much more than a thought. The other two women in the dream reflect two other sides of me and how I cope with my mother’s health challenges and the main news is that the situation that I thought was taking up space in my working life, isn’t what I thought it was. It’s my mother and her failing health, but also about the MOTHER (achetype) or the Feminine. Exploring this on a deeper level could be about connecting with the Feminine energies and this takes my dream exploration even further. I can reflect on what ideas had I swallowed from my mother, possibly around the time of toilet training that I am now ready to release, as well as the possibility that this mother/daughter/feminine archetype story IS my work and that’s why it is in my office! Is there a mother/daughter story here for others? Probably.
Sometimes our dreams are deeply mysterious and take a lot of unpacking to find the message, but other times they are simple as poop and one’s “duties” in life. Even the smallest fragment, or even a single word is all we need to get us started. As the Talmud says, “A dream uninterpreted is like a letter unopened.” That was one letter that I finally opened and I’m glad I did… and I’m still laughing about it!