March, 2010

7 13 14 24 31

3/7/10 - Title: "Communication Complications"

Scene 1 - I am in a two-story apartment house (a regular house, but broken up into several student rooms or apartments). I am waiting for a meeting with my brother, Pete. I need to take a shower and so close the door between the apartment and the rest of the house. In doing so, I see, down one floor or landing and to my left, an apartment with an open door where there are a couple pretty young women, students at the university. I am naked as I close the door and see them, but I don't think they see me. I am about to get into the shower when I'm surprised to see the door open again. The dog who lives in this house - maybe also in this apartment (which I've borrowed just for an hour or so) - has pushed the door open again and has come in. I decide to take a quick shower anyway. Probably nobody will notice my nakedness in the few minutes it will take. (From my perspective, the shower is just a little to the left of the door out of the apartment.)

Scene 2 - I am with my dog, Puff, and walking with her (on a leash) on the big university campus. The area is open, bright, and spacious. I have some kind of cell phone or I-pod type communication device and at one point am talking with my brother, Pete, about where - somewhere on campus - and when we shall meet. As usual with Pete, this coordination is complicated and with an uncertain outcome most of the time. (It seems that, because of his personality there have to be several different communications - with nothing definite settled after each one - to resolve the matter, instead of our just agreeing, for instance, to meet at the south entrance to the music building at 4 PM.) Meanwhile, Puff and I are continuing to walk around the university. I realize I'll need to do something (assuming the meeting is somewhere inside) with Puff before our meeting, but have not figured out what. Maybe I'll take her back to the borrowed apartment. I also realize I do not know if I have time to take her there before the uncertain (as to exact time and place) meeting with Pete. Some of the attractive young co-eds on campus are taken with my cute dog and she with them.

Scene 3 - I am still trying to communicate with Pete about when/when (meant: when/where) we'll meet, still with Puff on campus, and now am at some kind of outdoor cafe or coffee bar, sitting in an outdoor type metal and plastic chair at one of the eatery's outdoor tables. Young men and women students are going by nearby. A few are near this place too and may be about to get refreshments here. I am talking, as I say, by my communication device from one of the chairs and tables to Pete, and he is conversing with me using his cell phone, again about when and where we'll meet and how I'll get there, and if I have time to take Puff back and leave her at the apartment, when I see Pete, evidently just recently arrived, to my left, at one of the other tables. We are only a few yards apart but still on our communication devices. He had seen me before I had seen him, but kept on talking by phone since this seemed amusing to him. In the dream, it strikes me as funny too. After all my concern about how and where we would meet and when, and what I would do with Puff, all has just been spontaneously resolved.

[Puff, though over 6 years old, is extremely energetic in a puppy-like way and is also very extroverted, emotional, and playful.

Pete, my 48 year old - 18 years younger than I - brother, is a not quite recovering alcoholic who sometimes still drinks alcoholic beverages yet goes to AA meetings each week and has done the 12-step program and has long-distance sponsors he keeps in touch with by phone. He is creative, a sometimes actor, dancer, comedian, and writer, an extrovert, smart, but is quite high-maintenance, and rather unstable, having had numerous romantic relationships, often with much younger women, and multiple jobs or periods of unemployment. In the past, he has had a lot of anger and has blamed most all his difficulties on others, but is actually getting better about that. Lately, he has even been at times appreciating life's moments more, in a Zen-like way, noting that this is typically happening at least a few times daily, despite ongoing problems of all sorts, a big improvement for him. Since his return to Austin, about seven months ago, after several years away, we have been meeting about once a month or so for coffee or a meal or some such, just to chew the fat. In his own way, he has actually been helpful to me as I gradually have been getting more into the Alanon program, since it is similar to the AA program with which he is familiar. Once Tim said he thought of me not just as a big brother but like a positive father-figure, both our relationships with our real father having been not so good.

I did not know anyone else in the dream.

The presence of two co-eds at the apartment house as well as the two floors or stories suggests dawning awareness.

The university campus theme suggests being in a "place" of learning. That this is also a bright, open, and spacious area seems positive. And the "uni" in university likely has to do with unity, or becoming better integrated.

Although dogs are typically male symbols, Puff is female and so may represent positive anima qualities being modeled for me.

The presence of Pete in the dream suggests dealing with the shadow qualities, both positive and negative, that he represents.

I wonder if my repetition of "when/when" (instead of "when/where") is significant, suggesting a "win/win" outcome for the meeting with Pete.

The "apart-ment" house theme may have to do not merely with my center or larger Self but also with alienation or feeling apart from others in external reality and from aspects of my inner self. With this in mind, it may be significant that I describe it as a house that is "broken up" into apartments, i.e. having to do with severed relationships.

My nakedness in scene one suggests a genuineness and lack of pretense or of persona defenses.

I do not think I have nailed the dream's bottom line but believe it is partly about communication issues, alcohol and/or Alanon related issues (particularly as I'm going through the Step 4 inventory now, most recently working on the chapter on anger), better access to the unconscious, emotions, and intuition (the young women as well as the shower being to my left) and spirituality, for a dog (equals god) shows up in each scene.]

3/13/10 - Title: "On the Go"

Scene 1 - Am in a large hilly area, a passenger in a car that Carol is driving. She knows this region well. The road is steep and rough in places, with many forested areas, and has only a treeless, wide, grassy opening forward in others. In reality, this place would be negotiable just with 4-wheel drive, which Carol's vehicle did not have. There are here many beautiful scenes among the hills, valleys, and meadows. Reminds me of the mountains near Taos. Often there are lush areas of trees or luxuriant grassy growth. It must be springtime. After we have already gone a goodly distance, Carol tries one more difficult passage. It is near and then into a fairly wet but scenic meadow. In almost no time, her vehicle gets too bogged down in the mud to go further. Rather exasperated, we get out of the car, consider how stuck it is, and proceed on foot, but not without a few words between us about whether that last attempt had been worth the risk. Carol is no doubt chiding herself about the same thing, but gets angry with me for now saying I would not have tried it.

Scene 2 - Am again in a hilly area, but this time my brother Horace is driving his family van, with his kids (when younger) plus me. These hills are dry, hot, and rocky. At one point, when we are then out walking, I go a little distance away from the others and change into a T-shirt and some bright red or yellow shorts. They are probably red, but remind me of a pair of yellow gym shorts I had years ago. These shorts, though, have an opening in front for peeing, yet with no zipper, just a slit covered by a side flap. I have on no underwear. Some of the kids saw me changing, thought it was funny when I was naked, and got a laugh out of that. The kids included Keith (maybe about 8 years old), but who the others are was not known or remembered from the dream. Then we are driving further, Horace still behind the wheel. We become lost amid the hills and get out of the van in an abandoned, slightly developed area. It's as though there had been a mine or quarry around here. There are a few old, empty buildings. All around us it is still very open and sunny. Holding the cell phone to his left ear, Horace calls a woman. She is familiar with the area and gives him directions. Meanwhile, even while we are lost, he is in a good humor about it, accepting lightheartedly her chiding him for managing to lose our way. He jokes along with her about his skills at navigating. She tells him how to go to the right place from here. We are all just amused, in a good mood, and easygoing about it. It seems clear we shall soon be again on the right track.

[I think of our fellow dream group member, Carol, as many things but, to pick a few: though she tends to put herself down too much and to be insecure about others' opinions of her (however tending toward this much less lately than in the past, I think), she is quite attractive, smart, has a good sense of humor, and is well in touch with her emotions. It is probably also significant that, while I have a hard time being organized enough to manage things properly, Carol is a highly successful consultant and teacher in how to organize one's time, space, and life.

My nephew, Keith, also is really smart and has a great sense of humor. He seems to do everything well that he tries, golf, tennis, schoolwork, dancing, acting, singing, getting along well with everybody, whatever.

Horace is my 4th of 6 brothers and about 15 years younger than me. He is a mixed bag, a great dad, granddad, and husband, a leader in his fundamentalist church, active in extremely right-wing politics, persuasive, so people look to him for advice, a fairly macho kind of guy (who heads a local brokerage office, carries a gun with him practically everywhere and enjoys his motorcycle, his pickup, golf, and his barbeque grill), a pretty good amateur actor and singer, and in the past has tended to dominate or bully to cover for insecurities, though lately he is more mellow, seeming to be relatively relaxed and comfortable within himself.]

3/14/10 - Today in dream group we discussed, among others' recalled dreams, my dream from yesterday, "On the Go." Highlights:

  • It may be good to get a better handle on pending chores or projects by emphasizing the newer ones and those that energize me, perhaps even dropping entirely some that are still hanging on from the past but that do not turn me on or make me feel "with it." Then I can prioritize those that are left and focus on a few top ones.

  • Laughter is a great adaptation to unexpected change or disorientation (feeling lost).

  • Horace is becoming a more positive shadow now that he is mellowing out.

  • Keith is a great younger growth and creative energy shadow, and it is likely no coincidence that his age is about the same as my time in retirement.

  • Eight in the I Ching represents good fortune, but let the person re-examine himself so see that he is upright and firm. There is a need for resolution in authority, without which there will not be correct submission among others subject to him. To me, this suggests strength of character combined with self-confidence as more fruitful ways of winning others' respect than attempting to coerce, manipulate, or co-dependently exact it.

  • The ego is not in a driving or controlling position in either scene. This has its pluses and minuses. The Carol anima seems almost unambiguously positive, and it may well be best to let her have the left or driving position in the vehicle when going into unfamiliar territory.

  • Indeed, she would be a great one to lead in spheres of the intuitive, emotional, and unconscious as well as in getting better on top of things that now feel unmanageable.

  • The Horace shadow is good at some things but still not so hot in others. However, it's great that he knows to call on his own anima for help when he needs it and accepts her sure advice on how to get moving again where he needs to lead us.

  • Nakedness is about being genuine. If there are foibles thus revealed, it is also good to have a lighthearted attitude about them.

  • The shorts are red, which may indicate stop or suppressed or repressed anger, probably the latter here. And yellow can be seen as legitimate fears or a symbol for caution or perhaps cowardice, and in the context the latter might be looked at, particularly in light of the end of scene one, in which the ego is chiding the anima for being too willing to take risks.

  • In fact, the anima meant to lead the ego into the wet bog of previously unfelt or expressed emotions, and it is also not inappropriate that she becomes angry with the ego for his unwillingness to try the last, more difficult growth passage.

  • The old quarry or mine buildings may represent previous growth through investigating the resources within as well as buried demons from one's past.

  • The 4 in "4-wheel drive" suggests manifestation in reality may be needed, but it is not yet present in the current vehicle.

  • Trees and abundant grassy growth suggest life and spirituality.

  • The open, sunny areas suggest an open, sunny disposition as well as the possibility of spirituality and of masculine energy, as does the Horace shadow.

  • One needs to get out and walk in the boggy area! It was just for this that Carol drove us in there. Only in this way can one get over being bogged down by one's blocks, negative emotions, etc.

  • The opening in the shorts for peeing means there is an outlet for self-expression, which is good.

3/24/10 - Title: "Dropping Out"

I am at a large university campus and involved in a number of activities that keep me so busy I have forgotten completely that I am here as an enrolled student, taking several courses. Though I seem isolated from them, many other men and women students are here too. Unlike me at this point, they are going to and from their classes.

Suddenly I remember I am enrolled and should have been all along going to classes and doing homework too! It is well into the semester, but for some of my classes I do not yet even have my books. For others, I have the texts (thick, scientific looking ones) but have not begun reading at all. In all cases, I have not been to class or taken any notes, etc. for days or weeks. It is now well beyond the beginning of the semester. I do not even know where some of my classes are meeting. My record up till this semester had been good, but I see no way I can catch up now.

Feeling anxious, guilty, and ashamed, I go looking inside one of the main university buildings for the administrative office where I can meet someone (the registrar?) to arrange to withdraw from all my present courses, hopefully without penalty or any adverse grades on my record. I find the right office and am about to sit down for a face-to-face meeting with the (male) administrative officer (registrar?) who will decide if I can withdraw rather than just flunking out.

[I do not recognize any of the people in the dream. The admin. officer does remind me somewhat of an Alanon member, a dean of one of the U.T. departments. He is extroverted, smart, a trained counselor, personable, with a sense of humor, a thinker more than a feeling type (Myers-Briggs), but tends to be a little too glib and controlling.

I went to a noon Alanon meeting today, not long after this dream. By coincidence, a woman there whom I had not met before was suffering through a crisis in which her college-age son, who had a good record till then, had been drinking a lot for about the past several days and missing classes during this period, falling badly behind academically, so that neither she nor he could see how he could save his previously good record and prospects. She was trying to deal with whether and how much to try to involve herself in his crisis and life, to assist him in turning things around. Clearly, she was not yet resigned to just dealing with her own grief about it and to letting him take his lumps, in the form of natural consequences and the need (on his own and when he was ready) to get into a program of recovery.

Seeking ways all this may apply to me, I note I do feel I have gotten behind on several regular priorities, including keeping our investment records up-to-date, completing the 4th Step workbook on the schedule I had originally intended (one page a day), etc. Lately, one of my Step 1 Alanon issues seems to be that I never have enough time, even for the projects I really enjoy, such as managing our nest egg and researching for new investments. It feels as though I am very busy with various things but may be kind of spinning my wheels. Then at times I realize that stuff I could really get into for fun, growth, and/or profit, such as meditation, promotion of our nest egg activities (which I'm fairly good at), hanging out with friends or relatives I enjoy, or travels on my own, is being "forgotten," or consistently set aside, so I then must try to either play catch-up or else resign myself to their taking a back seat to new stuff that so far may not feel as rewarding.

Also, I took Vicodin pain medication yesterday after face surgery procedures had kept me at the doctor's office till late afternoon, so I was the last patient to leave after having arrived at 9:30 A.M. The meds not only dulled the pain but also left me feeling sort of "high," and during this time through the evening I was kind of hyper, unusually talkative and spontaneous. I called four fellow Alanon members and had pleasant, if somewhat manic, chats with three of them. But I was not much if at all then attendant to more serious growth/Alanon issues.

I think the "uni" in university has to do with a path of learning leading to unity or integration.

In one of my Alanon and meditation related literature readings late yesterday evening there was mention of three main ways we insulate ourselves from certain realities of existence that the ego does not like (such as death and one's own relative insignificance): to become aggressive and angry toward others and our situations; to become primarily interested in conformity, being good, being nice, and so being accepted, liked, and reinforced by others; or to withdraw and be relatively isolated, at least emotionally if not also physically. None, the author (Charlotte J. Beck) said, get us to the heart of the matter, genuinely experiencing things just as they are in each moment, the only source, she contends, of true meaning and joy in life.

While I'm not currently aware just what they are, other than my deteriorating physical condition (for which I need recurrent doctor or dentist appointments, surgeries, etc.), I think stressors in my life tend to trigger the withdrawal response more than anger or conformity, and certainly more than simply facing things as they are, moment by moment.

Fear and guilt are also typical emotional responses for me.

Concerning the new commitments my male sponsor is asking me to make, initially it feels as though this is putting me more in the hole with respect to stuff I find personally rewarding, but I am willing to give him and this new adjustment the benefit of the doubt, perhaps withdrawing awhile from what I'd prefer to be doing, in order to give the sponsor relationship a good chance to prove itself beneficial as well.

Some of the dream's symbolism may have to do with being well into the Alanon Steps process with my first sponsor, yet needing to start over or sort of play catch-up with my new one.]

3/31/10 - Title: "Alive: Better Than the Best Movie"

At some type spacious, bright center of higher learning (a big university, I think), I am part of a small group of young college friends associated with or part of a theater troupe. Two of them are a young Cate Blanchett and an equally impressive (but not yet well known) young male actor. They turn each other on and are clearly "in love," but as yet are just lusting for each other without having made love. There has just been plenty of heavy petting between them. They still have different residences.

At some point, the man has said something about his sexual attraction to or yearning for Cate, and she replies with a comment about him either being unusually passionate yet inexperienced or having gone a long while without "getting any" (sex). She clearly intends to remedy whichever situation applies.

I wish they were less entranced with each other. Due to their infatuation, we are now not so much (as before) just hanging out and having good times as a bunch of friends together rehearsing our next play, doing classes, homework, etc. Those things are having to play second fiddle to this unconsummated love affair. Yet for me, as one of their close friends, Cate Blanchett, the attractive, creative, funny, brilliant young lover and her handsome, dynamic, and smart boyfriend are even more enthralling to watch in real life than seeing somewhat older versions of her and a co-star in even the best movie acting performances.

[To fill in my associations to Cate Blanchett a bit, she is a British actress with an odd, type of good looks, not traditionally beautiful but with a different attractiveness combined of her animation, somewhat exotic facial appearance, wit, depth, humor, very sharp mind, and a not so disguised volatility. I thought she was great as Elizabeth in the movie of the same title and striking in "The Tolkien Trilogy" movies, among others.

Do not know her boyfriend or any of the others.

I think the dream is about a kind of learning experience, possibly spiritual, since it is at a place of higher learning, but also about at least latent passion, with sexual energy, strong and not much controlled emotions, great attraction and the promise of integration between two key aspects of my feminine and masculine energy. It also apparently is about the relative experience of the anima vs. the animus character, so there is a sense that the Cate anima has things to teach the shadow (perhaps of intuitional or emotional material).

In some way, the dream may be reflecting on life as being partly a play and/or a series of rehearsals, but it is not clear if this is about different roles one assumes in life or simply about life seen as play, i.e. a fun, entertaining, joyful enterprise.

It is doubtless significant that Fran and I have not had sex in quite awhile. She much of the time does not want to be amorous, feeling little interest as menopause has begun. Perhaps for both of us there might be artistic or spiritual ways to sublimate a less expressed libido.

The "uni" in university suggests unity and integration.]

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