May, 2007

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5/1/07 - Title: "?"

I have just woken up and am feeling satisfied that I remember my dream. I am reviewing it mentally before writing it down and meanwhile am stretching my arms up or to the side, Fran having already gotten up from beside me in our bed, so that there's no danger of touching her as I stretch, when I am surprised fully awake by touching Fran with my left hand as I am stretching out my left arm. She too is surprised awake by my touch.

5/3/07 - I met again with the dream group last night. I was once more able to make good contributions to interpreting others' issues. We also discussed my "The Hazing" dream (4/29/07). Highlights:

  • The dream is about bucking the system, spirituality, personal expression, action, nourishment, the possibility of dumping (or eliminating) unnecessary agendas with which I currently clog my time and mind, and relying more on intuition or spontaneity vs. a disciplined, methodical, rational approach to things.

  • The buckets (as in "buck it," or "buck the system"), which are loaded with plenty of healthy food, suggest it is nurturing to buck, resist, or throw over (upend) my careful system of setting daily priorities among all the myriad "need doing" things I come up with, that then as a result order and fill the vast majority of my waking time.

  • These buckets are wooden. This has a couple aspects noted in the DG: First, it represents volitional intention, a wish (I would... ); but, Second, there is also a conditional side to it, implying less commitment to actually doing the intended bucking or overthrowing.

  • That the buckets are made of wood is also reminiscent of the buckets used in the "Fantasia" movie segment, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." And in that segment the sorcerer is depicted as wearing a black gown or robe. The dream was felt to relate to notions of being in training and to esoteric realms or powers within, with concerns over having too much power for my level of understanding and integration, fears of the intuitive vs. rational side, and questions of whether or not to credit spiritual aspects of life.

  • Whether my ego and rational self like it or not, the spiritual side of things was further emphasized in the many black-gowned men standing in a couple or three (dawning awareness and transformation) rows, in a monastic kind of setting.

  • The "smiling sadistically" phrase was felt to be an out of place addition, a misinterpretation by the ego (loath to give up its currently strong hold on the status quo) of the military leaders' facial expressions.

  • The scene is like a place of dramatic presentation, with an open, stage-like area in the front, as well as gradually higher places to stand and watch as one gets farther from the front. The "actors," in this view, are the two (dawning awareness) military men (who arrive from stage left from the audience's point of view) and are there to suggest right action, in this case personal expression (lengthy peeing), consideration (at least) of dumping or eliminating the unnecessary, not spontaneous agendas, upending or throwing over the careful systems of prioritizing my activities, and then, instead, drinking and eating my fill of what is more nurturing, i.e. being relatively intuitive and spontaneous.

  • There is fear (by the ego) of such right action, hence the apparent menace of the military leaders. They may in one interpretation also be, like cops, seeking to sustain or preserve the status quo, at the expense of real inner growth. Based on other, positive interpretations of this dream, their role here is ambigious.

  • All but one small part of the dream reflect my male shadow selves. Thus it is almost all about integration and orientation within the masculine. However, there is some indication of my Frances or anima, feminine self having a role in this overall context, for she complements my more rational, methodical, disciplined side with her highly intelligent, mercurial, intuitive, unpredictable, and spontaneous qualities.

  • There is much here about my relationship with my father as well. He was a lieutenant when I was born, and through most of my life till he died he was, either on active duty or in retirement, a mid-level (similar to "medieval") military officer (a captain, once he had returned from the Second World War, when I was about two, through a lieutenant colonel) whom I often saw as menacing when I was growing up.

  • The dream is also set as in an amphitheater or university lecture hall, and, in the way the people are in organized rows, close together in a classroom-like setting, as well as the use of military imagery, it is similar to the dream from about a week earlier ("Sharing Mindless Drudgery in a Classroom Setting"). In both, the supervision (then distantly, from the bridge, and now more intimately, in the form of the two military leaders, is seen by the ego as sinister, but really could be positive, suggesting the possibility of SUPER vision, by means of the dream group lessons, the dream work itself, or other efforts toward transformation.

  • It is good that there is open space and that this place is (in a) stable, both aspects of my inner self.

  • It is good too that (since the dream description sentences stand alone as useful info in dream interpretation) "the honored men... eat and drink their fill," taking in not only the good sustenance but also the powerful personal expression of the disciplined supervision.

  • While there may be qualms for the ego about giving up the regimentation, order, and perceived simplicity of keeping lists of need doing items that I must follow, and otherwise staying more in a rational, methodical, "doing" approach to existence (despite the limitations of this lifestyle), the rewards of a switch to a more intuitive and spontaneous, "being" approach should outweigh the currently comfortable, "safe," but dysfunctional and relatively boring rut in which I now find myself.

  • Since Frances (not just my anima, but the real Fran as well) and I tend to complement each other and yet work as a team, it is likely that, as and if I become more elastic or less rigid in my orientation, Fran may tend to become less unpredictable and more structured in her own approach, so that we may meet somewhere in the middle on such traits or issues.

  • There is a double meaning to "not refuse," in the dream's last sentence. It is at the same time referring to not avoiding doing something and a declaration that I must not identify, in thought or deed, with garbage or waste.

  • There is nothing wrong with discipline in service of right action. Thus, if I approach dream work, personal expression, growth, or meditation is a disciplined way, the outcome likely will be quite positive. It is, instead, discipline or compulsive rigidity in the service of a system or lifestyle that no longer serves my ends well that is problematic and must now be bucked, eliminated, or thrown over.

5/4/07 - Title: "Too Late to Be a Good Student"

I'm thinking it is high time I actually started attending my university classes, but then realize I do not even know where some of them are meeting. Days have passed, and then weeks, since the semester began, but, not to mention skipping homework and exams, I've not even gone to some of my classes at all. Others were attended only occasionally. It is not as though I were simply sitting around. I've been busy the whole time, doing things each day that needed to be done, but somehow the classes kept being missed. There just was not time for them plus everything else. I'm surprised how much time has passed without going to many classes, and also do not see how I could have done anything differently. The priorities were always elsewhere, as though I have for some time been stressed out, dealing with one emergency after another, just as each gets my attention. I am now so far behind in each course that I cannot catch up. If I were to go to class, it would just be embarrassing. Failure is imminent. I wonder if there is at least still time to drop the courses without penalty. It would feel lousy to be a drop-out, but worse to get all "Fs," ruining my permanent record.

5/6/07 - Title: "Cutting and Sharpness"

I'm in a low-ceilinged factory or warehouse. Either it is night or there are no windows. I've had some difficulties with supervision but have not been cut (let go) from the workforce. Apparently, at least one person thinks I ought to have handled things differently in an industrial process. I go on with moving materials. There are big heavy paper bags filled with pulverized rock, ground crystals, or chemicals (such as fertilizer, fine sand, a deep blue kind of sulfate compound, a ground and powdered crystal, etc.) that need to be hauled on pallets (via industrial lift-truck) or by hand.

Next, there is a scene (as if when I'm on a break) in which I am talking at a lunch table with other workers about industrial cutting processes, and I say: "I got my (left) hand caught in a cutting operation once. We were cutting sheet metal with huge shears and my hand got in the way of one freshly cut side (edge of the metal), which sliced it neater and faster than a straight razor. But industry has much sharper processes and operations. Some stone or cystal (crystal) (obsidian? diamond?) can be flaked, ground, or polished down to an edge of only one atom's thickness, the sharpest think (thing) there is (barring laser and potentially other such artificial devices)." And I think it would almost be an honor to be cut by something so perfect - or in the process of creating such perfectly sharp edges.

5/7/07 - I met again with the Sunday afternoon dream group yesterday. We discussed a couple others' dreams plus my "Cutting and Sharpness" one (5/6/07). Highlights:

  • Themes of this dream include victims and victimizers, super vision, concern over one or more operations, and dawning awareness, but a failure to make the shift necessary for transformation.

  • The dream occurs in a second floor (suggesting dawning awareness) factory or warehouse but, uncharacteristically for such a workplace, it is low-ceilinged, implying very limited upward mobility or prospects. Indeed, although at times in the past, both in reality and in dreams, there have been spaciousness and higher levels of functioning, here my activities are just those of an entry level materials handler, working under rather adverse, dingy, basement-like circumstances, and very much at the mercy of others' judgments about my work .

  • There is a need to deal, in the real world and on a practical level, with my tendonitis situation. I realize that it has not been getting better. At times, in fact, it has seemed to be worse. The traditional medicine options appear to be more of the same treatment, that is so far not working well, or adding cortisone injections to the treatment mix, perhaps along with physical therapy, and having surgery. Some in the group felt that, with either cortisone shots or surgery, there is some risk of permanent organic loss and so of weakness in the area and/or more reduction in function going forward.

  • It was suggested I try, in addition to a go slow approach to traditional medicine, looking into nontraditional approaches. I was given the name of someone who is quite good at helping with such conditions. She would not make things worse and might well help to the extent that neither injections nor surgery would then become necessary. I am of two minds about this. Have I given the so far conservative traditional methods enough chance to work, given that tendonitis takes a notoriously long time to heal and I have inadvertently aggravated it with my yard work and giving Fran massages while still quite symptomatic? On the other hand, so to speak, what, other than a little money, do I have to lose? And since two professionals, of evidently very high intelligence and natural skepticism, are recommending her, maybe I would do well to check out this healer's services.

  • There is reason for optimism in the dream content: references to super vision, crystals, the color blue, and a diamond suggest spirituality, and fertilizer implies nurturing sustenance. There is also in some of the hauling processes use of a lift-truck, which presumable can get things to at least a slightly higher level.

  • Also, the scene in which I am speaking at a table is reminiscent of a famous Salvador Dali painting of "The Last Supper," with me in the role of Jesus speaking to the disciples! The implication is that I am here temporarily, humbly going through the motions in this almost garbage pail level of reality, but that in a few days I may be in heaven!

  • On the other hand (perhaps an unintentionally fitting phrase, in view of my right wrist tendonitis and the fact the Jesus figure is gesturing with the right hand in that Dali painting), such a dramatic image of myself as a Christ figure may demonstrate ways in which I've gotten on the wrong track. Jesus was not only a great teacher and spiritual figure, and seen by some to be even more, but also one of the world's most famous martyrs.

  • And in the dream too, as well as in some of my other dreams, there are aspects that imply domination vs. subservience or humiliation, violence vs. martyrdom, a lifting up vs. a complete casting down, or victimizers vs. victimization. There can in this world be little if any positive way that I and Jesus are one. However, there certainly can be ways in which I relate to existence and others from a victim or martyr's point of view, thereby almost inviting others and situations to further victimize me.

  • Indeed, the DG felt that I may in my dreams show an archetypal level of victimization, a tendency toward subservience and martyrdom in big and little ways. This view is not dispelled by how they see me relate outside of dreaming, with reticence, self-denigration, and an almost automatic comparison of myself unfavorably with others, sort of asking to be related to shabbily by them (for if I think so little of myself, why should they regard me highly either), and so on.

  • The DG said this is revealed too in my assumption that the cutting to be done in the last dream is to be suffered by me, i.e. cutting out of nonessentials, imperfections, etc., or even my idea that it would be almost an honor to be cut by something perfectly sharp (or in the process of creating such sharp edges).

  • One interpretation of "the sharpest think" is genius or brilliance. If it would be an honor to be cut by [someone] brilliantly sharp, then how does that allow for dealing with my brilliant spouse on an equal footing? Would it not be a kind of invitation for her, as previously it was for my highly intelligent but arbitrary and autocratic father, to treat me badly?

  • Meanwhile, since I am not in fact a son of god, giving myself only very menial, entry level, or going-through-the-motions tasks in my dream may be a way of casting myself as some sort of tragically absurd creature, as in the Myth of Sisyphus, forever damned to meaninglessly roll a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down, etc.

  • The bags of sand may imply the weight or burden of all life's trivia with which we nonetheless must deal.

  • The several references to industry or industrial may mean business or the many alternately trivial or significant kinds of "busy-ness," which I still see as dictating the terms of my life, as if I am their servant rather than master.

  • The references to cutting or cutting operation(s) seem (besides the real question of whether I'll have to have one or more operations for my tendonitis) to imply a duality that has arisen, the first that of the victimizer (with which I do not identify, but find multiple examples of around me), cutting with slights or offenses or having the potential power over me to cut (fire) or disrespect me, or actually cause me physical harm (even if well-intentioned, as by a surgeon), etc. In various ways, this duality encourages such "treatment" toward me.

  • The second is that of the victim (with which I, some of my siblings, and my mother do identify). In this role there is no end to the social slights, difficult workplace scenarios, relationship difficulties, well meaning but potentially adverse medical procedures, etc., that may arise and involve me, so long as this role is the one I am playing on the stage of life. Unfortunately, at this point the victim role may be so entrenched as to be only transformed with great difficulty.

  • What is needed is to go back to a more fundamental, deeper, earlier level or stage, one that precedes the origin in my existence of this duality. At that place, there may be many, many options, not just these two. Some of them would almost certainly be more fulfilling, nurturing, and enriching than this particular duality is for me now. But how to achieve that transformation? That is a tough question. For now, it may be best simply to watch, within dawning awareness and with no compulsion to try to get beyond that level, how it is playing out in my ordinary life.

  • Meanwhile, contrary to my expectations, the DG felt the dream is not about either cutting something in myself and my life or about not cutting something. It is, instead, mainly about dawning awareness and the potential later for positive transformation. (A question, before going to bed, for subsequent dreaming might be: "How can I be transformed?")

  • It is about a need for a fresh orientation, a completely new focus. (It might, for instance, include at times a rather light and comic outlook.)

  • It is about an emphasis on being (a mere, but possibly profound, shift in awareness), but not thereby implying any elimination of anything in particular that I am doing.

  • Getting from this current state of things to transformation is not impossible, though it might be as elusive as the answer to a Zen koan.

  • For now, only these may be relied upon as helpful toward that goal: meditation; dream work; and grieving (at least till there is a natural end to grief), over not having had children, over a life lived in a victim-like role, over all the illusions of what might have been (and so what was "lost"), over the grass being hypothetically greener on the other side of the fence, over the absoluteness and certainly of death, and perhaps over the ultimate meaninglessness of one's to and fro prancing upon the stage of existence.

5/9/07 - Title: "Worth the Risks"

A vague sense of having bought a house on a lot of land with a stream running through, trying to first be sure it was a good buy, and then afterward having drenching rains, leaving standing water in many places on the property, and minor flooding but without permanent damage.

5/10/07 - Before the last dream, I asked this question: "What is the next step toward a positive transformation?"

As discussed in the DG last night, the short dream ("Worth the Risks") actually had several answers:

  • First, the next step is to be sure to say (it was a) goodbye (good buy).

  • Afterward, there may be wrenching grief, much sadness, and depression(s) (where water is standing).

  • But there will be no permanent damage.

  • It will be necessary to say "goodbye" to the extremes (stream) of black and white, predictability, "good" control vs. only the misery, sadness, anger, frustration, fear, uncertainty, or anxiety of doing without much control or reliability.

  • The new integration (or house) of self will not be on a dependably dry lot with a certain stream of consciousness. I'll have to simply take things as they come, whether arid and with a dry stream bed, flowing placidly with gentle stream water, snakes, or other fauna and flora, or inundated by the unconscious, in flood, and with much intense negative or positive emotion.

  • In one person's interpretation the vagueness of the dream was also significant, indicating a limbo state, more consistent with intuition than the completeness and apparent safety of the "rational" and controlling ego.

  • If I am happy vs. unhappy in relations with my wife, I tend to feel way too good and complacent about our marriage, on the one hand, or way too bad on the other, so that, in the latter instance, I then wonder if it is right to keep living with such pain, and figure Fran and I should get a divorce, and with this overall prospect I become very depressed.

  • But this would not actually be best, either in reality or in the dream world as metaphor (with Fran standing for my anima). At such times, that type reaction is an example of an "ex-dream" (extreme) (ex-stream). It is part of what must be given up, in the next step toward positive transformation, though giving up the myth of that kind of "control" (and being able mentally or really to just say: "Well, then we should separate!") will itself be quite depressing.

  • Saying "goodbye" to the relative certainly and security of the ego's well controlled outlook and attitude is scary and uncomfortable, but it can be positively transformative and is worth the risks.

  • I can now ask for a new dream or set of dreams to answer how to take the next step(s) toward positive transformation.

5/11/07 - Title: "The Next Step(s)"

On retiring for the night, I asked this question, in hope of receiving one or more answers in the night's dreaming: "How do I take the next step, to say 'Goodbye' and have a positive transformation?" These are the dreams remembered on awakening:

1. I see a single adult figure standing before me, wearing a very dark gray or a black cowl (a monk's cloak). He or she is a few feet away and facing to my right. I cannot see the face.

[In thinking about it afterward, I assume the figure was either a monk or the Angel of Death. If the latter, it figures that the meaning might be that the next step is that my ego must die. Of course, another interpretation is that all of me is dying or will be dying soon. I hope this is not the meaning! If only the ego must die, perhaps it is significant that the figure was facing to the right(?). On the other hand, maybe there is absolutely nothing sinister (Latin for left?) here, and the sole message is that I'm to adopt a more monastic, meditative, or prayerful lifestyle.]

2. It is night, and I am a student in a college or university. All about me, things are going on frenetically, independent of me or my will. For instance, there are many other students hurrying in different directions, as if to and from classes. I have the sense I should now or soon be meeting with my mentor or advisor, a wise and kindly father figure, but do not know exactly where I am, what time it is, or just where and when I am to meet him. I wander the large, mostly dark building and (on) the first floor, which may be the only floor, hoping I'll remember more about the meeting, or else will simply happen to run into (chance upon) him or realize where I'm supposed to go.

[I think this may be about dream work and/or meditation. I'm also expecting to leave for a long vacation trip alone this summer, if my wrist is enough improved, perhaps in July, and I have deliberately not done any planning. In fact, I have only a vague sense that I'll drive heading north or northwest, but think I might wait till the last minute to decide where to go, or else decide on a day-to-day basis once actually on the road. Or maybe instead I could, as Janet (from the dream group) says men do not, "ask the right question," after which in theory I'd see no need to make the trip!]

3. I'm taking a load of clothes to the Laundromat for washing.

5/12/07 - Title: "Intimate Greetings Amid Dangerous Campus Parking"

On retiring, I again asked this question: "How do I take the next step, to say 'Goodbye' and have a positive transformation?" These are the latest dreams remembered on awakening:

It is late at night. There is a full moon. Or there are lights [Austin's moon lights?] in the campus parking area, bright enough that it is as though this (there) is a full moon. There is danger from a bomber. On the one hand, people may assume, because I'm out and alone so late, that I am the bomber. On the other, there is danger I may be one of the bomber's victims. The bomber has been causing seemingly random nightly car bomb explosions in the vast campus parking areas. I have my own (forgotten) other reasons for being out despite the dangers. In many of the parking areas, the cars are all sedans parked in multiple rows, side by side, so close together it is not possible to get in or out of any one of them except at a row's end, because there is no room between them to open even one car door. All those close together car parking areas are completely empty of people, trees, grass, etc. But there are one or more less severely protected or regimented parking areas, for people who must at times go or come late at night. Here one also finds the cars to be close together but only as in almost full regular parking lots, with still a few feet on either side between cars or pickups, and the vehicles are not of a uniform type (as in the packed right together parking lot). There are also trees, grassy areas, and curbs here and there is (in) this more normal parking lot. I have been lying on the ground, so as not to be seen, as others (perhaps security police) are driving in the area, the lights of their vehicles very bright. (I do not recall why I had to not be noticed.) They leave, and then I get up and proceed (whether going to or from my car is not clear). A young woman [like an even younger Janet, whom I'd describe as: an exceptionally intelligent, wise, courageous, engaged, and genuine (opposite of phony) facilitator, who despite a few hang-ups, in my view, comes close to being a fully realized person], as yet unaware of me, is going out to her car while I'm also in the area. I don't wish to startle her or for her to think me the bomber, so, as though unaware of her, I just walk normally while going to my own car. It turns out that our cars are parked only a short distance from each other, so that we draw closer together. We are both intent on our own private purposes, which are neither social nor romantic, but both separately aware of the double danger, of being perceived as being the bomber or that this other person could in fact be the bomber. Somehow, I feel that she is not the bomber and that she can tell I am not the bomber either. We both seem to decide it would be best to acknowledge the other person, not to just pertend (pretend) not to notice one another. And so, more or less at the same time, as we are nearing each other and our cars, we each smile warmly, ware (wave), and say "Hi!" [In such isolation, general paranoia, and with even the potential for explosion] it is a refreshingly friendly moment of mutual trust.

Title: "Pushing Our Buttons on an Odd Elevator Ride"

The doors open and I step onto an elevator from a high floor (a high level of a multi-story building). I notice a couple unusual things about it (the elevator). First, when I step onto the elevator car, it responds to my weight by slowly sinking, instead of staying balanced in place as it would on a regular elevator. It goes down about two feet while the elevator doors are closing again, but by then it is too late to simply step back and get off the elevator. Second, it is truncated, shorter from front to back than a regular cube-shaped or square-floored elevator (as though the elevator had been going forward, in one of those Einstein thought experiments, at approaching the speed of light, so it had become foreshortened. It is now only 2-3 feet deep from front to back, leaving just barely enough room for Christine and a couple others (who were already on the elevator when I got on) plus myself. When it started slowly going down as I got on, somebody already on said "That's not good!" But then this (slowly going down) stopped once we were a couple feet below the initial floor level. All four of us were briefly relieved that the slow sinking had stopped and were considering our situation when there was a jolt, and then the elevator began to rapidly plummet. Christine said "Oh boy, here we go!" I thought it was an exclamation out of fear, but she sounded thrilled or excited. Someone else, me I think, said "Hit the Emergency Button!" I saw the panel of buttons but could not tell which was the Emergency one, so all of them were rapidly punched. However, the elevator continued to fall, so fast now it was as if we were weightless. I was wondering how the building could have been so high that we would not have hit bottom by now when the elevator finally seemed to react to the buttons having been pushed, and our vertical motion ceased. But we did not stop. Instead, it was as though we now were in a horizontal "twilight zone," not in any one space and time but as if on a continuum of all space-time. It co-existed with the regular physical realm but was not really part of it. Yet we were also still in our oddly shaped (shortened front to back) elevator. But the buttons panel now stretched right to left for at least several feet, more like a band of buttons than a rectangular panel. It was so long, we might not even be able to reach and push the far left and right buttons anymore.

5/13/07 - Title: "Washed by Waves of a Vast Unconscious"

As if from a great height, I observe several widely distant (from each other) islands in an immense sea and understand that each island is a dream of a still sleeping dreamer.

5/15/07 - Title: "Enough Already!"

I want to buy a snack, but my smallest bill is for a $billion, and the shop cashier says he does not carry that much change.

[I think this may be a dream about sufficiency, being satisfied with what we have rather than feeling we must keep getting more and more (more money, another graduate degree, a new job, a child or children, bigger and better house[s], etc.) when we already have plenty to live comfortably and have rewarding, interesting days. It could also be about being in the market for a lot of change ("that much change"), but frustrated when it is not readily available. Or perhaps the dream is suggesting lowered expectations: "that much change" may be too much to hope or ask for.]

5/16/07 - Title: "Countdown to a Northwest Passage"

I'm looking at a flat monthly desk calendar and am filling in key info. on each of about 10-15 days, counting down to something significant. I leave a small horizontal line, for checking off that something has been done for (next to) each countdown day. It seems it has to do with my (deceased) father as well as with a change for me.

[The only significant events known to be upcoming in the next few weeks or months are: 1. A visit with relatives, including my mom, over Memorial Weekend and attending my niece, Virginia's, high school graduation then; 2. Pet-sitting her dog, Homer, at Janet's, 5/30-6/3; and 3. Possibly leaving on a long solo driving vacation, starting in early July, toward an as yet undecided destination, likely somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. A new rite of passage? Back in 1960, when he got out of the Air Force, Dad had insisted on resettling the family in TX, instead of coastal Oregon as we had previously planned. My last major solo driving trip had been a sort of independence venture, in 1965 (when I was 21 - I'm now 63, i.e. 3 times 21). Although I made it to San Francisco ("down and out" in Berkeley and Frisco) and remained in the Bay Area for roughly three years of the peak "Hippie" period, on the journey I had lost my car after some adventures.]

5/17/07 - Title: "A Hard Lesson for the Puss in the Road"

From the side of the road, I see someone using his purple or maroon car to slowly and deliberately run over a cat that had been lying sunning itself in the intersection. I do not react at once and, sure enough, he drives over the cat. Then he gets out of the car and goes back to see what he "accomplished." It appears that, on his first attempt, he somehow missed hitting the cat's body or head. However, one of its ears is pinned and flattened beneath a tire. The man looks like he's going to get back into his car to drive over the cat again and "finish the job," but by then I am angrily rushing forward (on foot, apparently to try to stop him and/or save the cat).

[By coincidence, this evening, after having had the above dream this morning, for the first time I happened to see a car commercial on television in which a cartoon representing poor fuel efficiency is shown looking cat-like in a road, with a new model car shown running over it more than once, evidently to demonstrate that the vehicle clearly beats (destroys) the fuel inefficiencies of the past.]

5/18/07 - Title: "Killer-Healer in a Combat Zone"

I'm an armed (army?) medic in a combat area or in war games (the exact situation constantly changing) and am having trouble keeping up with the challenges of avoiding being hit myself, killing (or "killing" in a war game) the enemy (who are already here at close quarters), getting sufficient medical supplies, and delivering medical aid to my own unit. The setting is dark, basement- or warehouse-like, and very congested. Part of the roof is missing, blasted away or just open normally to the sky, from which both new medical and other supplies and fresh enemy attackers descend. The enemy are human replicants (replicates) or are robot-like in their relentlessness, or else they are from my unit, and it is another war game.

At one point, I overhear some of my own unit carping about the lameness of my efforts. I make some defensive comments about maybe they ought to wait and see the final outcome and that, in case they hadn't noticed, I've been kind of busy here, but they just seem impatient and disgusted, figuring I ought to resign if I cannot do any better than this.

In another scene, it seems I have resigned and then am alone but still in the area, listening to the war games continuing without me.

Then I'm in a scene in which I'm a medic again and yet fending off a war game enemy, having no actual weapon but pretending to shoot with my right hand, the way we used to do as children, making a "Tchh! Tchh!" sound that was supposed to be the bullets being fired and "killing" the enemy, who would then either cheat and ignore the fact they'd been shot dead, as they kept fighting, or else cooperatively die. For the moment, I'm killing and not yet being killed. I am using high pallet-loads of supplies to hide behind for protection and to ambush the individual war game enemy fighters who keep arriving.

In a final scene, I'm pushing a cart of medical supplies across a border and military check-point. The sentry is a woman who tells me I'm not on her list of acceptable people to be admitted. I explain what I thought was obvious, that I'm bringing needed medical supplies, and then she looks more closely at my cart and me and declares that my loose shift or tarp of a uniform covering is in the wrong position (like a blanket turned the wrong way on a bed), so the words that explain my role or function are not readable. She shows me how the khaki-colored canvas tarp should be oriented, so the label or legend is now horizontal, readily readable, and apparent on the right side of the cart, and lets me through.

[The effectiveness of both my role as aggressive or defensive fighter (or in war game lessons to learn to be a better fighter) and my role as healer or facilitator of greater healing (or in lessons to learn to be a better healer/healing facilitator) are each undermined by the inherent inner ironic conflict between these two quite opposing orientations. My very personal situation is compromised: the conflicts, my stance as a fighter, somewhat chaotic circumstances in which I often find myself, and congested agendas or excessive "busy-ness" are limiting my own healing (as by keeping me from sufficient rest, meditation, a more nutritious diet, and plenty of therapeutic exercise). "my own unit" may be the body, to which I am having trouble delivering sufficient medical supplies and medical aid. The female sentry (or anima) at the checkpoint is at once regulating what is permitted in and facilitating the receipt of proper medical or other healing supplies and services. It may be significant that my (injured) right hand must serve in lieu of an appropriate weapon (?). Tension over avoiding using my right upper extremity for actual combat, as has been often my suppressed inclination for it at times in the past, may have contributed to tendonitis susceptibility there.]

5/20/07 - Title: "At a Loss"

1. There's been a death, apparently in a traffic accident, someone close to me. I'm going through the motions of getting some memento for loved ones at the funeral home, deciding, though, that this time I want to do it right and get something of quality. I'm thinking of something framed and in gold, silver, or both, or maybe platinum, perhaps a good photo I'd taken of the deceased, matted, and in an elegant frame. I am disappointed at the high-priced kitsch, like someone could buy at Wal-Mart, I find at the shop near the funeral home. The sales lady is speaking in carefully solemn tones to a small group of clearly depressed, grieving mourners about their having a sale there now on these sterling frames and other items (at obviously inflated prices) for just a little longer and that afterward, of course, they'll have to be more "properly" priced. It's such an obvious con, and yet the other mourners seem taken in or else too stunned by grief to be cautious. Without thinking, I blurt out a few sarcastic, cynical comments, making it clear I think all that's on offer here is high-priced trash. But then, realizing I've offended not just the saleslady but the well dressed mourners (all male, for some reason) as well, I quickly apologize, say I'm upset over a recent death myself, declare I'll do better in future, shake hands with one of the mourners, and leave.

2. I'm with my nephew, Jim, and one other person, a woman (Fran?). There's been a big change for him as well. [It's as though both of us have lost someone close, but at this point that loss does not seem to bother us. Rather, it just means that for each of us things will be different.] Then he and I are sort of hanging out (the woman off doing something else), but it's apparent that he's just biding his time pending an imminent departure. I have arrived on the scene a little late. Some major decisions have already been made. We have a sort of alternately easy or uneasy, shallow relationship of humor, banter, or wit, but no real intimacy. [We've shared some horror together, the illness and death of his dad from brain cancer. But neither of us ever wants to "go there." We're not sure we could handle it. I yearn for a genuine, deeper intimacy with the boy (now a young man) but that does not seem possible.] Then it's time for Jim and the woman to go. I search hurriedly for something in my (our?) disordered house to give him. Not to worry, he says. It's been taken care of. And they leave. I'm left alone in the house and feeling utterly alone, that I've missed too many chances. There may not be any more. What to do with myself in this messy old place?

5/21/07 - In the DG yesterday, we discussed my 5/20 dreams, "At a Loss." Highlights:

  • The dreams are about the loss or death of one of my ego selves (at least as of the time of the dream), seeking to memorialize the "life" of this ego (which had served me well but was no longer helpful), and now starting over without it.

  • The archetypal theme of renewal that frames the dreams is represented by "Scrooge," after he had been visited by the three ghosts, and his life was transformed, and by Silas Marner, after he discovered and took in the little orphaned girl, and his life was transformed as well.

  • The ego that died had tried to do everything right, avoid any chinks in its armor, and keep everything under such tight control that there was almost no way for joy, meaning, or real life to get in.

  • But it had protected me from some abuse and had gotten me, for better or worse, to where I am today. Now, it's done enough. There's nothing more it needs to do. So it can "die," and no harm is done.

  • That both the Jim dream self (shadow) leaves and the woman (anima) goes with him is positive. In the context of these dreams, neither adds much that is significantly beneficial, and they might even have been a net negative if they had remained.

  • Interestingly, assuming the woman is Frances, both the woman and Jim are extremely talented, creative, and intelligent, but also they are both atheists and neither, in the dreams if not in reality, is now very engaged with me. These relationships seem fairly shallow.

  • The dreams would have been more upbeat if the anima were more integrated with me. Although prior dreams have had significant indications of such intimate engagement with the anima, here, she is only a vague, undefined character, more involved or associated with Jim than with me. It is almost as though there needs to be a hot affair with a new wench to result in fresh, lively engagement with the anima (though this is not recommended in real life)!

  • Other qualities of Frances, assuming she is the woman, include that she is happy (yes!), has a good sense of humor (right on!), is very competent (alright!), and is genuine (super!). Yet she is also at times somewhat abrasive, arrogant, and impatient.

  • Other qualities of Jim include that he can be amusing (good), is driven to give his all to whatever is his current involvement (whether a romantic relationship, a creative project, academics, teaching or performing dance, etc.), and that he can make friends fairly easily (a trait he also shares with Frances). However, he is somewhat impulsive and aimless, perhaps too easily giving up on goals or opportunities. He is troubled, introspective, and easily stressed out (sounds familiar!).

  • There is the sense that Jim has already received all that I have to give him, so there is no need to do anything more to commemorate either the current or past relationship. Thus, the suggestion of giving a gift, in both dreams is a way of memorializing or showing respect for what had been there, while also acknowledging that, both with the death of the outdated ego and the end of the interaction with Jim, it is now essentially over and done with.

  • In several of the dreams discussed that night, there were references to death or acknowledging a loss, as well as to a newly uncomfortable ego status, in my case due to the unfamiliarity of operating without the protections but severe constrictions of my old ego.

  • There has been some relaxation of the rules and demands of my agenda or deadlines. Yet they may have served a useful function if only in the demise of my old ego, once it clearly could no longer cope with its own limitations and compulsive imperatives.

  • The memorial gift representing the old ego would have been a good photo, capturing its essence and framing it in a high quality frame to signify how precious and valuable it had been, even as I am accepting that it is to be no more.

  • As in a previous dream, there is emphasis on assuring a good buy (goodbye), saying farewell to the old ego.

  • The other male mourners are my shadow figures, like me grieving over the old ego loss and the need to make a fresh start, but the situation is completely positive.

  • There is a polarity between my atheistic or materialistic stance, on the one hand, limited exclusively to the known universe of accepted laws and forces this side of death, and my spiritual quest or a search for "the miraculous," on the other, whether that quest may be fulfilled in this life alone or in the hereafter or in ways I cannot now imagine, or, indeed, cannot be fulfilled but that at least enlivens my existence during the journey.

  • Many of the things I like best, that I engage in with spontaneous enrichment, like long walks with our dog, going into inspiring, awesome natural settings (beaches, forests, mountains, etc.), meditation, dream work, even seeing intuitively beneath the surface (or more approximately into the essence) of another person or situation, are related to the quest for the miraculous or to fulfilling my spiritual bent. There is no point denying myself these rewarding pleasures simply because a constricted, "nothing but," logical, rational, or even cynical view of things would hold that there can be nothing else than this or this, and that then, meaninglessly, we die completely.

  • Perhaps there is room for both outlooks. At least there is in the dream work, and so, potentially, there is in a still higher level of awareness as well.

  • It is still a time of grieving. The growth in and out of dream work may still derive, as before, from meditation, further dream work, and getting in touch with my inner "places" of deepest sadness.

  • There has been a big change in me, per the dream. This too is to be acknowledged.

  • I have arrived a little "late," i.e. part of me has died.

  • Jim was 8 years old when his father, my brother, died. One of the DG members, feeling this might be significant to the dream's message, asked what was going on in my life at age 8. I said with a smile I was welcoming a new (indeed she would be my first of several) sibling, my sister Alice, with whom I would have a great relationship for the next several years till time to leave home as I went off to college. I had wanted to be her hero. By this I meant in part that I would be a buffer between her and the intense pressures and tensions of our not so perfect parents. Also, I made major (fun) efforts to have a good time with her, playing lots and lots of games with her, reading her stories, teaching her things, trying to give her an appreciation of music and nature, later writing long letters once I lived away, etc.

  • Along with my old ego's being very constricting, it was quite controlling. Hopefully, the new ego(s) will grasp things more loosely, with flexibility, more disposed to bend than break.

  • There has been deep, even suicidal depression. Yes.

  • Janet, who is one of the DG leaders and is exceptionally insightful, was emphatic that, although to some in the dream groups I may have given the appearance of being a typical, somewhat obtuse older male, in fact I am very sensitive and intuitive, with a good connection with my own feminine side, which she has witnessed time and again in the course of the dream work, in my interactions with others over the last several months.

  • There will be more chances!

  • There is no need to do anything particular in "this messy old place."

  • Yet, if I feel so inclined, there may be a cleansing, a spring cleaning, a completely fresh beginning. And there is now the possibility of just such transformation as both Ebenezer and Silas experienced.

5/23/07 - Title: "A Transforming Speech"

I'm on a large naval vessel, on one of the decks a little below the main deck. Seamen and seawomen are assembled at attention for review by a visiting senior officer, as well as by our own ship's senior officers accompanying him. All of us are wearing khaki dress uniforms. It is understood that the most senior officer (perhaps a high ranking admiral) is not pleased with us and is fixing to prepare a highly negative review (report). This would be unfair. He does not even know us or understand our record. And it would ruin our ability to carry out our mission, not to mention destroying several individual careers, if he makes the expected negative report. A young seawoman steps forward from among the front ranks and asks permission to speak. It is given, but the ship's senior officers are worried about what she may say. She could seal the coffin lid on their fate and assure a highly negative report. But instead she says something to this effect: "Sir (addressing the most senior, visiting officer), it does not matter for me, because I have already decided to leave the service, and this will be my last tour of duty (a decision that comes as a surprise to the others assembled or reviewing), but you should know that this is the very finest ship's company with whom it has been my pride and pleasure to serve. I shall miss everyone greatly and could not have asks (asked) for a finer group of people to share a ship with." The senior officer as well as the ship's officers are impressed and moved by her speech. Her fellow seamen and seawomen are particularly moved, for they suspect she made the decision to leave the service just now, impulsively and on the spot, sacrificing the rest of her naval career to be able to make a difference with the top brass. But it does have the desired effect. She is publicly interviewed by the senior officers. Her answers are all concise, respectful, and consistent with the short message she had already delivered. The most senior officer learns more about the ship's company and what makes it a great working team. He will now definitely write a favorable report. The officers also make comments in support of the young seawoman's being encouraged to stay in the service after all and even being given more responsibilities, a promotion, and an award for valar (valor), to be pinned and worn on her (left) chest. Everyone is feeling relieved or in a celebratory mood. Some are inclined, as soon as the assembly is dismissed, to live (lift) the young woman up and carry her aloft on their shoulders or hands above everyone else, because she is a hero (heroine). [I'd not be surprised if later the celebration becomes a bacchanalia, in which everyone discards her or his uniform and the seawomen milk all the semen of all the seamen on board.]

5/24/07 - Last night in the DG, it was apparent that some, or at least one person in the leadership of the dream group, did not like the cockiness (or perhaps arrogance) in my latest dream, "A Transforming Speech." She reacted by saying it was a celebration of my manhood, while simultaneously she was making very emasculating comments!

She also exaggerated her interpretation of the dream's meaning, perhaps projecting her views about a brother's "inadequacy," yet making no acknowledgement of how she was letting personal feelings or issues affect her comments about my dream.

The DG leader claims that because of my not dealing with an alleged, unspecified "Frances issue" (which supposedly overarching issue, however, had not been evident in my dreams before, and the DG had never shown me such a large connection in the past) and maintaining a negative view of my own self-worth, I had also been demonstrating a "lack of manhood" until the most recent dream. This seemed a stretch to me, and she did not do much at all to explain herself, just putting the accusation out there as if it were above scrutiny.

I grant that everyone is entitled to a few bad days and errors, myself included and this DG leader included, but found the attack - for that was what it felt like - she launched last night unwarranted and infuriating.

So, all in all, the discussion, brief though it was, of the dream or of my alleged past or present deficiencies, was not at all satisfactory and probably did not make for much progress along the road of self-discovery or fulfillment, ostensible purposes of our having dream group meetings. It was much more like a 1960s style encounter group, one led by a rogue and unprofessional facilitator. But, to be fair, this was the first time I have had such an adverse reaction to any of my dream group meetings. One out of 30 or so is not too bad!

I feel misunderstood and rotten at the moment. I think maybe it would be better to drop out of a group that can cause such pain and in which there appears to be arbitrariness shown by the leadership. However, that would be an overreaction too.

I'm reminded of the ways meditation masters have of shaking up their disciples who can at times be dismayed, and in terrific pain and sadness, from an apparently angry rebuff by the spiritual mentor. Sometimes such shocks have the effect of moving them along by great leaps into higher states of awareness. Perhaps, unpleasant as things seem at the moment, I ought to give the DG process the benefit of the doubt.

Anyway, having ventilated a bit, here are the few highlights grasped from my 5/23 dream interpretation, those that managed to get through the storm of confusion or ill feeling I had during and after last night's meeting:

  • In general, there were several references in the dream that apparently are to my wife, including to seawoman, seawomen, or seal, which may be other terms for mermaids, or also to Pisces women, which Frances is.

  • My view (developed when there was little or no integration with the anima or my feminine side, indeed when her presence was ignored, and so she was effectively silenced) and review of the entire ship's company (all my various aspects or selves, including especially Frances and me, i.e. and the ego self with which I identify), like that of the senior, visiting officer in the dream, has been very negative, ascribing almost total inadequacy to the entire metaphorical ship and its company, myself certainly included.

  • However, here comes forward (and with new permission to speak!) the positive presence, speech, and interview of my own personal mermaid or anima, speaking to me her truth from the oceanic unconscious, from intuition, and from the emotional heart center. And she emphatically corrects the record, indicating that, contrary to all appearances or reviews by those who do not really know us or understand our record, in fact this is a great ship in which to serve, and the ship's company among the finest crews, working together as a great team!

  • This new point of view and information is so convincing, and it is presented so movingly, respectfully, concisely, and consistently under interview questioning (doubting?) that the officer is won over to her outlook.

  • The result is that there is a transformation! The negative view is shifted to a very positive one. For this success despite some assumed risk, my anima is a true hero or heroine.

  • She is rightly rewarded with an award to pin in the traditional heart center location, one that signifies our successfully combined yin/yang or male/female integrated dyad .

  • She is rightly elevated and recognized by all for her heroic and vital contribution to the entire ship's company, the larger Self or company of selves.

  • She, that is my anima, is also given more responsibility and promoted, no longer to be ignored as in the past.

  • The result of this transformed, newly positive review and report is to also metaphorically acknowledge the importance to the entire ship's company of my masculinity, which the provision of the seamen's semen to all the Pisces women represents. And the implied copulations symbolize a quite healthy integration. No wonder there is so much good feeling and celebration!

  • Re the "seawoman," "seawomen," or "seal," my Pisces woman, Frances, and the young woman who steps forward from the assembly on a lower deck, these sea-maids or mermaids represent emissaries from the unconscious (symbolized by the sea, which in turn is womb like and a source of great, unfathomable wisdom, as well as being at once creative and destructive energy, or emotions). Mermaids are said in myths to be highly musical, as Fran is, to speak from the collective unconscious, to have predictive and supernatural gifts, to have voices that are sweet and persuasive (sufficient to transform the views of crusty old sea officers), and they are symbolic in themselves of seduction, transformation, and the supremacy of the heart. They are, then, powerful allies, and formidable foes.

    5/27/07 - Have remembered no dreams since the 5/23 one I last reported to the dream group (on 5/23), which resulted in my being attacked by one of the DG leaders. Am still feeling bummed out or subdued following that incident. In the last 10-11 months, I had let down a lot of defenses as I related dreams of more intimate truths about myself, invited to do so by a DG intent on good participation and self-disclosure, but then folks have taken advantage of the resulting increase in vulnerability.

    Perhaps they thought I am tougher than I really am, or at least than I think I am. But it just feels as though the particular leader in question felt free to give vent to her negative mood and jump on me with both feet, because - Who knows why really? - she was pissed about the 5/23 dream, did not like how I had expressed it, it was that time of the month for her, things were going on in her life that made her feel cranky, or... ? Since another dream group leader had also thought my pattern of reactions suggests the victim archetype, seeing and even "encouraging" victimizers under every stone (how I had adapted since early childhood to repeated abuse from my dad), the view both have of me seems pretty bleak, belying the official interpretation of the 5/23 dream that, as a result of various positive factors, I have "regained" my manhood. For whatever reasons, none of the other DG members challenged the leaders' denigrating assessments, thus seeming to tacitly accept them, enhancing the sense of public exposure and humiliation. Perhaps this ought really to be looked on as a compliment, in that the others think I can "take it."

    Anyway, I expect they would say I'm being too sensitive. Meanwhile, though, am still feeling pretty depressed.

    Have decided, however, to assume all this will resolve before too long and, as I am going to sleep, to ask a new dream question: "What is the next step toward becoming whole?"

    5/29/07 - Title: "Despite Pills, Intense Pee Pressure"

    I am really needing to pee. I figure it is because I forgot to take my (prostate) medication. [Then I wake up and realize I had not forgotten to take it, that I'd just been dreaming when I thought I'd forgotten it.]

    5/30/07 - Title: "Lying Dream"

    I'm lying in bed and realize it is 7:30 AM (time to get up). [But when I glance at the clock, it is actually 7:15. I lie back down and sleep a few more minutes.]

    5/31/07 - I met with one of the dream group leaders at Janet's last night. As she did not have a dream and others did not show up, we discussed a few of my recent dreams. Highlights:

    • Regarding the dream about really needing to pee because I had forgotten to take my prostate medication, this refers on the surface, of course, to just what it sounds like. But, from a Jungian metaphorical standpoint, it could mean I have a strong need for self-expression because I have not taken in my life the kinds of pro-state, i.e. most favorable to my overall integration, wholeness, strength, and health, decisions or prescriptions or treatments. The message is to now utilize both pro-state prescriptions, such as dream work, meditation, and grieving, and a greater emphasis on personal expression, as through writing, art, etc.

    • Regarding the one about a transforming speech and the anima character receiving an award to put on her chest (heart center), there was a misunderstanding if this dream was seen as anything but positive, highlighting healthy change in me, my relationship with Fran, and integration with my feminine side.

    • Concerning the "lying dream," about it being already 7:30 (when it was really still only 7:15) this could be an emphasis on my having already gotten the then significant change when I was half past 7, i.e. 7½ years old, when my sister, Alice, was born, ending my lonely status as an only child in a tense dysfunctional family trio.

    • Concerning my "Northwest Passage" dream, the overall theme here is of potential transformation associated with a second major driving trip rite of passage, at the age of 63 (i.e. 3 x 21), just as my solo trip from Austin to San Francisco, in 1965 (when I was 21) was the first.

    • The Northwest Passage, historically, was a quest for a new route, hopefully a shorter or more direct one, from Europe to India and the wealth of the mystical East. There may be a similar meaning here for me.

    • But, since the first such rite of passage trip did not turn out so well, in that afterward I felt wounded by the experience and ultimately returned to Austin without having completed the intended independence and success goals, this new such solo trip may be seen as a second chance to get it right, but hopefully with more going for me at the outset, a relationship to return to, more funds, a better car, more maturity, better insight into myself, etc.

    • The (age) "63 version" is more a pilgrimage, while the "21 version" was more a "you bet your life" adventure.

    • The "flat" monthly calendar and the "horizon-tal" lines suggest flatness of affect vs. the potential and metaphorical forest, mountains, and waves of a more heartfelt engagement. Thus, my emotions may not yet be committed to the trip, though it seems, from my description of the yearning I have to live in or at least spend time in the Pacific Northwest, to actually be fraught with strong feeling for me.

    • This may all the more be the case since both my father and the spouse I chose initially were committed to our mutual plan for going to Oregon (or likely elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest) but then, when it came time to act on that commitment, each unilaterally decided we would instead go to or remain in Austin, festering wounds that felt like betrayals of trust.

    • The choice, then, would be to also make a unilateral decision myself, leaving for the Pacific Northwest and staying there, or else to come to terms with decisions by others felt to have been unfairly one-sided.

    • The 10-15 horizontal lines remind of the I Ching hexagrams. Six weak (or broken) hexagram lines contain 12 short horizontal lines, which of course is between 10 and 15, and signify: "Natural Response (The Receptive)," with emphasis on:
      • getting in tune with one's own nature
      • needing friends and helpers to accomplish one's aims
      • attainment of goals by not acting independently
      • allowing others to take the initiative
      • meditating
      • seeing the world with an open mind
      • gaining greater inner strength and personal power by holding to one's vision
      • enduring
      • difficulty ahead, requiring caution
      • maintaining a low profile, either with others or by the strictest of solitude
      • the certainty that significant change is imminent

    • Apart from the business of the upcoming trip, there is "key info" to be filled in, i.e. perhaps through dream work or meditation.

    • The DG leader, Christine, recommends reading:
      • books on dreams by Jeremy Taylor;
      • Animals in Translation (by an autistic author who understands brain functioning without our frontal lobe filters);
      • Alice Miller's Drama of the Gifted Child;
      • Jungian Dream Interpretation by James Hall.

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