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July, 2008

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7/3/08 - Title: "Difficult First Day Back on the Job"

I've been away for awhile and now am returning to my job (as a disability claims case examiner or manager in a bright supermarket setting). The impression is that I have been ill but am now mostly recovered and needing to get back into the work world fray. I find that the work methods have dramatically changed. The hardest work is stacked in pending case categories in one supermarket aile (aisle). A claims examiner is to go to an aisle and take one of the oldest pending cases to work on next. The whole operation is competitive, so it behooves one to take at least some of the hardest cases, not just always do the easiest ones.

But I am really out of it, unfamiliar with the latest rules and case management guidance. I am also feeling mentally confused, overwhelmed, and disoriented. And I am very tired, with low energy. I want to quickly stop in the snacks aisle and grab and eat a couple handfuls of junk food, to hopefully begin to feel more "with it."

An old colleague of mine, Liz, who has stayed with disability case management through all the ups and downs since she started, about 1984, realizes I am going to have a hard time getting into the work groove again and offers to help if I need tips or someone to consult about the cases. Most everything is computerized now. On a computer screen, she shows me one case that looks ideal for me to sink my teeth into. It is hard but not terribly so.

However, when I go to the aisle where it should be, I cannot find it. Someone else must have gotten it, or it had been filed wrong. There are both aisles of cases as well as ones of regular supermarket food items. The aisles at the front are for checkout, as usual.

Arrayed frequently for easy viewing are little digital readout monitors showing quick, fast changing messages in shorthand code, for key lessons or guidance on the current case management rules or best practices. These look like computer passwords, each a series of letters and numbers that are displayed for but a few seconds, then are quickly replaced by each of up to ten total such messages. I do not know the meanings of any of them.

I am feeling anxious, frustrated, and confused. I doubt I shall be able to adjust to the work again.

[Liz is smart, a devoted mom and now grandma, creative, personable, gay, well organized, an extrovert, gets along well with most everyone, a Liberal Democratic, and has proved able to adjust well to the numerous political and bureaucratic winds of change that have swept through disability case management in the past 2-3 decades.]

Title: "Sharps"

I have bought a pair of long, sharp scissors of high quality and have put them away in a drawer. A 3-4 year old child somehow has gotten hold of them and is playing with them. No harm has yet come of it, but Fran takes them away from him, gives them to me, and suggests I had better put them in a safer place.

7/4/08 - Title: "Tunnel of Hate"

I'm a worm fighter in a blood red throat-like tunnel of flesh. We are trying to stop large worm creatures. They are large by the standards of most earthworms, but small compared with a human, whom they endeavor to eat from the inside out, one bloody strip of torn-loose flesh at a time. They have evolved this way, though they used to be human themselves. They are most efficient, vicious killers and then consumers of human flesh. Several together can strip a person from inside in minutes, almost in seconds. There is little that can stop them. Even though adapted and trained, I am no match for them, go (though) I can slow their progress and sometimes allow a human to get through this region with somewhat less than lethal wounds.

There is a sequence of bloody frenzied feeding vs. fighting, in which I kill or at least maim several worm creatures, but several also strip off much of the flesh of this current human's throat tunnel.

One of my commanders, a veteran of numerous prior campaigns, remembers that there was one terrific fighter in the opposition, a worm creature of such talent and superb fighting and eating tactics that he was known as "The General." It turns out he was my brother, Allen. He and several of our other brothers, such as my brother Ralph, practiced and participated in war games against one another each summer. These wild Lord Of The Flies type summer sessions one day led to the real thing. Allen has somehow survived to this day, though he is now retired from his notoriously outstanding wormy specialty: killing frenzies.

7/5/08 - Title: "Not to Be Taken Lightly - A Crack in the Wall"

Mom and Fran are talking. Fran mentions the threat from my brother, Horace, who keeps a lot of guns and to her seems trigger-happy. She suggests people stay away from him, for who knows when he will think these are the final days (or the prophesied end time)? Then he would start shooting those he regards as not as worthy as he, his wife, and their kids to go to Heaven, thus hastening these less elect into their hellish just desserts.

Mom sort of laughingly dismisses Fran's comments about Horace and says: "I don't have THAT worry, but there are some serious issues, for instance: a crack in the wall."

7/6/08 - Title: "Unnatural Relations" or "Wicker Weirdness"

I'm talking at our mutual workplace with the wife of another worker. We are in an old center or building. I had been trying to explain I just wanted to be her friend and to see her frequently in this way. Though evidently with some unspoken reservations, she agreed with this type relationship, and even with meeting me regularly for friendly one-on-one chats at lunch time. I sensed some awkwardness in her manner. We agreed to meet next for lunch at 1:00 the same day, then went our separate ways. Only after I had driven away from our meeting, did I realize it was already almost 1:00. I drove back and was arranging chairs for our first regular lunch meeting. Then I noticed, first, that her husband was sitting nearby, and might wonder why she and I were having a one-on-one get-together instead of her being with him, and, second, that she was already there too, having a spontaneous friendly chat there with a woman in another part of the lunch area. In both cases, it seemed, if she were to now suddenly come over and join me for an exclusive conversation, where at a small table I had arranged us a couple chairs, it would be awkward and raise questions. The chairs I had gotten together were old fashioned (early 20th Century, I think) straw, wicker, or cane wheelchairs. I was trying to put another, regular chair into one of the wicker wheelchairs, as one might fit a booster chair onto another one. Then I talk with the woman after she sees me waiting there. She looks impatient and annoyed, as though she really did not after all want to join me, as we had earlier agreed (though I may have sort of pressured her into it), for the first (or any?) of our regular lunch meetings.

7/8/08 - Title: "Close Encounters with Swamp Thangs"

I am with my nephew, Charley (who is younger than in reality, probably about eight) and a still younger nephew (either Jim or Keith, probably the latter, when about 5-6). I am showing the others in a small swampy area that we must be careful before playing or even walking in there because there might be poisonous snakes. Charley sees a possible snake I had not noticed. It is mostly under the clear water's surface but, sure enough, by using a long stick, I am able to tease it out into the open. However, it turns out not to be a poisonous one. Much closer is a far larger one, 5-6 feet long and as big around as a man's arm. It is venomous. We back off to a safe distance and hurl some big sticks or pieces of old lumber at it to try to kill it, but they miss or do not connect directly. I decide we better do something else about it. To my surprise and alarm, Charley then does (goes) right into the water, grabs the big snake by its tail, then picks its whole body up. I am sure he will be struck.

Later, however, he is just fine, but he had put the snake back. I am annoyed with him, because, thanks to his messing with it, the big snake has gone into deep water where it can no longer be seen and dealt with. I decide it is not safe now for us to play in the swamp.

Title: "Not Too Late"

I am visiting in a large posh professional building, waiting on or looking for someone.

Then I am riding in a large truck with a couple of men who work at the building. One is driving from just left of the cab (which encloses just the front passenger seats) and not paying attention to a conversation inside the cab between me and the other one.

That man laments that he never tried to get a Ph.D. He now feels his career as a lawyer is not as rewarding as he would wish.

I point out that many people who have Ph.D.s are also not leading such rewarding lives. On the other hand, many without Ph.D.s are more meaningfully engaged, both in their work and through volunteer activities.

Though he does not answer my encouragement, he gives the impression he remains skeptical and dissatisfied, still feeling it is too late for him due to bad early choices.

7/9/08 - Title: "But Thou Shalt Not Eat of That Tree"

I am younger, maybe in my 30s, and have been away from my work group. Some are really glad to see me and I them. We grin joyfully and have huge crushing long bear hugs.

One man I hug this way is a middle-aged (40s?) English or Scottish fellow, muscular and strong, known for acting out with decisive spontaneity, yet with typically good results from such impulsive behavior. Earlier he knew my mom well. She has sung his praises to me.

Several of my coworkers offer me membership in their garden fresh salad club, a new tradition since I was here before. I agree. Each day, one of the club members makes a big tossed salad full of healthful veggie ingredients for the salad club as a whole. Then for lunch they share the salad and visit, chatting and eating together in a kind of roundtable party.

My first day back, it falls to me to make the salad. But I am surprised and dismayed to see that the main ingredient is to be a beautiful, if a little old, potted tree (with a 3-4 inch thick trunk, the tree's total height about 8 feet) that sits in one corner of the lunch area. It has thick Magnolia-like leaves (6-7 inches long), some turning red or yellow but most still green, and a thick canopy, shaped like a large umbrella held aloft, deeply concave below and convex above, the whole offering a nice little area of shade underneath.

"There must be a mistake," I think. "This should not be turned into lunch." I look for someone I can ask, to be sure I really am to chop it up for salad.

7/10/08 - Yesterday, the DG discussed, along with others, my 7/9/08 dream, "But Thou Shalt Not Eat of That Tree." Highlights:

  • The ego is bothered that he is to cut up a beautiful tree and make it into a healthy salad for himself and the other aspects of inner self to share and eat together, but this is his tree of life and of knowledge, a representation of his feminine side, and by eating it, in Jungian dream terms, he will be taking it in or integrating it into the awareness and wholeness of his larger self.

  • The group was emphatic that it is a good thing, that I should indeed cut up and consume this well described and symbolic tree. I can also own the qualities of the tree: beautiful, a little old, offering shade or protection, like an umbrella, to those in a little space around and below it, symbolic of both life (being) and knowledge (insight or intuition). Its trunk, being 3-4 inches thick, suggests transformation blending into manifestation in reality. It is 8 feet tall, as I was 8 or nearly so, when my sister, Alice, came along, ending my time as a lonely and depressed only child (in an unhappy, dysfunctional family, with parents who were abusive or sought to win my allegiance to their separate points of view at the expense of a good relationship with the other parent).

  • 8 in the I Ching represents good fortune, but with the advice to examine oneself to assure one is firm and unremitting in virtue and will. The subject is union between different members and classes, which will have success if undertaken rightly and soon, but, if not so undertaken, there will be weakness and an opportunity lost.

  • The tree's beautiful "canopy" reminds of the book, Can of Peas, that blends together issues, themes, and personalities of friends and family with forgiveness, grace, and gentleness.

  • The tree's 6-7 inch leaves remind of the years since I retired, a period of new growth and adjustments. Most of the leaves are still healthily green, but a few are turning autumnal colors, red and yellow, suggesting respectively spirituality vs. anger and the sun, energy, earth, rootedness, equanimity vs. caution. The red and yellow leaves also suggest concerns associated with the autumn of one's life, wrestling with concerns over the meaning and significance of one's existence and the possible imminence of death.

  • The image of preparing and sharing, eating, and digesting a healthy (word) salad with a "roundtable" circle of friends is a positive, nurturing way of looking at dream group meetings.

  • The tree suggests too oneness with nature, solidity, earthiness, rootedness (even if the roots are confined in a large pot). It is a particularly special tree in that it has grown out naturally and healthily despite the confinement or restrictions of its (childhood - family tree - early) roots.

  • Mom is smart, engaged with others, a leading aerobics exercise teacher (even at nearly 86 years of age), too often seeing herself as a victim, extroverted, nurturing, a good homemaker, having a major problem with alcohol drinking (potted), and the main glue that holds her family of 8 kids and numerous grandkids, in-laws, etc. together. (One DG member quipped that she would like to know what my mom drinks, joking with the idea this [potted-ness] is keeping her fit and actively involved with living.)

  • She is thus a generally quite positive though somewhat flawed anima figure, or feminine side, for me to have. And it is significant that this new Mom anima, who represents right feeling for me, is (in contrast to the attitudes of my real mom) singing the praises of a very positive shadow figure whose qualities of strength, masculinity, natural friendliness, spontaneity, muscularity, confidence, decisiveness, and acting out impulsively, yet with typically good results, would be good for me to emulate and own, as I am too often overly cautious, indecisive, and lacking in confidence and spontaneity.

  • The bear hugs may represent integration as well as passion or emotion.

  • The word and idea "whole" is reiterated or implied, indicating an holistic approach to integration and good health.

  • "Can of peas" (from canopy) may also represent a can of worms (of suppressed or repressed issues or emotions?) I do not wish to open, just as I (as the stodgy and conservative - if it kills me - ego) do not want to eat of the tree, which might lead to greater life, knowledge, insight, or intuition.

  • At the end of the dream I am looking for approval, needing validation before I would go ahead and chop up the tree to make it into our salad for today. But the DG gives this validation and further encouragement to take more a leadership role, sharing of my life and knowledge and offering my metaphorical shade, both among other selves within as well as around the DG or in other opportunities in the outer world.

  • Deeply concave below implies an intense focus within, while convex above suggests also a keen focus on the outer realms of being and experience too, or even on concerns of the Highest Self (metaphorically above).

Title: "If You Want Something Done Quickly, Do It Yourself"

Our nice frosted and cut class living room table lamp has a short or poor connection in its switch, so to turn it on or off we plug it in or unplug it from the wall. As I am over by the wall outlet looking for this wire and plug, I notice that for some reason there (they) are now fit through or inside and around a roughly 10x10x10-inch cardboard box (with partially closed top flaps) and that there is a little smoke coming from inside it, near where the wire and box are close together. As I am trying to figure out just what about the wire plus box arrangement is overheating and how to quickly and safely get them apart, I suddenly see flames, where I had first seen smoke, rising from somewhere inside the box/wire. I yell to Fran to hurry and bring me some water, intending to pour it over the flames before they spread into a major fire. But she instead asks me what I want and, when I repeat my urgent request for some water, she answers with another question, wanting to know why I want it. I see the fire spreading and have to back away, wondering if it is now too late for me to run get some water myself, since Frances still has not gotten it.

7/11/08 - Title: "Gathering Near an Empty Reservoir"

There is a vast open outside area, starkly beautiful and with a great reservoir, now empty. It is fall or some other cold time, but not wintry. There is a covered array of things (like food or communion items, or snacks prepared ahead and covered, pending... ?) on the ground. A child is involved. People are gathering, some from a great distance. The mood is at once exhilarated and somber.

Title: "Death and Sex"

There has been an unexpected death. People are very upset. Things are not the way they would have expected. I try to help out, but the spirits of the people will not be appeased. They swoop about the inner realm in anger and dismay. I see and hear them, their spirits, in disembodied violet or purple streaming and moaning around an otherwise black and white scene. I urge one family, most directly affected, to let us have the proper service, apologizing that I cannot make things as they should be. Perhaps we can deal with the hurt feelings or anger later in a less formal setting. Though upset, they agree, but their spirits are still so wrought up that singly or in pairs all of them leave before it is over. I see the mother, alone, devastated by grief, in memorial service clothes, on her knees in an alley, leaning against the wall of an old brick building, inconsolable. I do not know what to do. Should I go to her, try to comfort her, embrace her? She seems to glow in the dim light, as if her spirit has made her incandescent, which also makes her seem nude. I am turned on by her large and shapely breasts, her beautiful body.

7/12/08 - Title: "Leaving on Vacation"

I am younger, maybe in my early- to mid-30s, and about to leave on vacation. It is cold outside and may snow. One of my co-workers is talking about the cold in a way that I realize he did not wear heavy enough outer garments to work today and lacks a proper coat for comfortably getting home. We are in a downtown area of a major city. This is where we work, out of a big downtown building. I have started to leave but, thinking of what my colleague was saying, I go back, pull a big old ratty but fluffily thick light blue coat out of my duffel bag (that I leave in a storage area at the downtown building, as if in lieu of a locker) and then take it to the man worried about the weather and, smiling, say something like: "If you still have it when I return, I'd like it back." He is grateful.

Later, I am walking in the city, apparently on the way home and to start my vacation. It is still downtown (reminds me of an area I liked in Washington, D.C., in the 1970s). Several tourists are around, on foot. They are excited about being here and trying new things, seeing neat places, tasting good restaurant fare, etc., and they ask me for directions and where there is a good place to eat. I help them with directions and suggest they go to a favorite restaurant of mine, only about half a mile from here, within easy walking. But I cannot remember the name of the place to tell them. It is quite frustrating. It is a foreign sounding name, I do recall that. I hope they'll at least follow my directions. They may find it without knowing the name. It really is a great, yet quiet Indian dining experience, a joy to find in the midst of a western metropolis.

[For awhile when in my thirties, I worked in Virginia and then South Carolina. During that period and for awhile afterward, I had several good friends in the southeast US, was a strict vegetarian, and was involved in a tradition of intense meditation. During that time too, I went to Washington D.C. a few times for gatherings among others in the meditation path. On one of these trips, I first came across and dined at an excellent all vegetarian Indian restaurant. I cannot remember its name either, though it was not foreign sounding, something like The Green Basil.]

7/13/08 - Title: "Meaningful Meeting"

I am with my nieces, my brother Ron's daughters, Jane and Esther. Jane and I are sitting next to each other in a restaurant booth, she on my right. Esther is to her right, so we are three-abreast. Jane is really opening up, more so than ever before since she became a tall good looking young woman, older appearing than her actual mid-teen years. Though Esther is there as well, we do not really talk much this time. I am quite aware of how special it is that I am really talking with Jane and especially that she is chatting so much with me.

7/14/08 - I have had some discussion with the leader of the DG I meet with on Sundays about my role there. She sees me as having DG leader potential, though I myself have little confidence about taking on that position. Yet she gives me great feedback about my contributions in DG, and I am impressed with her comments. I know in my head that she is correct that I have much to offer in this way, but in my gut I am as yet still feeling very, very unsure of myself and tend to put myself down rather than give myself pats on the back.

Yesterday at the dream group I facilitated in the regular leader's absence. I was a little uncomfortable doing this, but only one other DG member showed up, and the discussion went well. I think he got good from it and felt the meeting had been worthwhile. He also helped with the interpretation of my 7/12/08 dream, "Starting My Vacation." Highlights:

  • "Younger" may refer to a "Jung-er" dream content or approach, as well as to transformation (30s = 3s x 10) and reflection of my "age" in years since beginning a fairly conscientious meditation program.

  • Since I tend to be "a real Boy Scout," almost always prepared, or way overly prepared, indeed planning my life and personality around considering and being ready for most contingencies, the idea of starting a vacation may refer, by comparison, to beginning (at least for awhile) to be more easygoing, taking-things-as-they-come, and tending to live in the moment.

  • A "real Boy Scout" can mean an upstanding role model, an idealist, someone heroic, of high moral standing and values, someone genuinely trying to leave things better than he or she found them. On the other hand, these days a person is often ironically disparaged as being "a real Boy Scout," meaning a "goody two-shoes" or someone too "good" to be real.

  • And/or, since I have, since retiring, been tending in dreams to think of other things besides paid employment as work, particularly recently seeing dream related activities as meaningful in the way regular work often is, the vacation may be from such an emphasis, as I have had the past couple years, on attending dream group meetings whenever I can, keeping track of all the interpretations, etc. If so, this may be because I have recently had major reservations about some of the DG members, leaders, and dynamics.

  • The references to cold could be as an adjective, i.e. the opposite of having a warm personality, or, more likely, could just indicate the beginning of the vacation, for I always prefer my vacations to be in cold places or weather, finding hot weather conditions (such as we typically have in TX) rather unpleasant, not at all like being on a holiday.

  • In fact, my aversion to the heat and preference for the lower temperatures is such that, for almost any activities (except perhaps swimming), the experiences are greatly enhanced when they occur under cool or cold conditions, but are greatly diminished when I feel warm or hot. This is one major reason for my having set my sights on our moving far north after retirement, and for my disappointment when, despite our earlier plans, Fran decided instead she wanted us to remain in hot, hot Austin.

  • There is an alternative view of things, one in which to an extent I could create my own "cold conditions" wherever I am. There are, of course, in the developed world things like air-conditioning or showers, plus spring-fed swimming holes, ice cold drinks or foods, etc. And one may stay indoors during the worst heat of the day. But beyond this, there may be the much more powerful cooling effects of a "mental winter," which potentially may be employed under most livable circumstances, through trance inductions, redirecting of the mental focus, etc. In short, with insight meditation and similar techniques, one can make oneself more comfortable and find life more enjoyable.

  • If one is not so distressed that it warrants a radical life change, perhaps moving, for instance, to a more northerly clime, even if one's spouse would not be going, then the question becomes: will one be perpetually upset that this and that, or thousands of other conditions, are not precisely as one would wish or have expected?

  • The other DG member pointed out that one can either find joy and meaning in, on the one hand, nothing, nowhere, and at no time or, on the other hand, in this very place and time, now and here. If we are the type to always be thinking the grass is ever greener over there, and not adequate at all where we are, or that things would be so ideal if only... but until then making ourselves miserable and boring others with our oft restated dissatisfactions, perhaps augmented in our restlessness by, say, an unhappy childhood, or one or another different unfortunate matter (excuse), etc., then we are doomed to being neurotic the rest of our wasted lives. The alternative, though, speaks for itself as far more functional.

  • The tourists in the dream are all women, about four of them, suggesting manifestation of the dream message in reality.

  • They are my anima figures, who indicate an emotional shift to a new right (correct) way of feeling. Thus it is significant that they are excited about being here and "trying new things, seeing neat places, tasting good restaurant fare, etc."

  • The other worker, who did not prepare well for the colder weather and is grateful for the loan of my old light blue coat, is my shadow figure. Clearly he is not burdened by a Boy Scout mentality but instead must live more in the moment and impulsively. He is perhaps the grasshopper to my ant, but as a result may enjoy life more, whereas I, as the ego, tend to see most of existence as a chore or work and to easily tire myself out or burn myself out doing all these responsible things. There is little true joy in my way of living. No wonder one of my personas (outer garments) is somewhat blue (depressed).

  • In the dream, I am very much a facilitator, taking care of others' needs: I loan one fellow my extra coat; I give the women tourists good directions and tell them the way to an excellent restaurant experience. However, till now at least, there is not much sign I am facilitating meeting my own needs and wishes, what would really bring ME joy.

  • Perhaps the vacation is imminent so that I can rectify this, show myself a good, enJOYable time, and nurture myself with nutritious new fare, likely not so much in terms of changing where I live or adding new trips or even new volunteer work I might do, or any of a host of other "programs" I might create for self-improvement or "retirement enhancement," and any or all of the other ways I keep spinning my wheels, but instead a holiday from so much judging of others, myself, or my situation, from feeling that I must alter my circumstances significantly before I can be calm, have a meaningful life, or accept simple contentment with That Which Is.

  • We talked also about what might be a vacation for me in terms of doing things, as opposed, just above, to looking at new ways of being. It turns out there are quite a number of things I like doing more than the usual daily grind of chores, etc. For instance, I get a lot out of meditation, especially when I can do it as a reward or "accent," instead of necessarily a mandated activity.

  • I also like most aspects of the process of investing and managing our retirement nest egg.

  • I like chess, going to good movies, museums, photography (taking and appreciating high quality pictures), and cool places (literally and figuratively).

  • And I enjoy social interactions in structured settings with others of varying ages (volunteer work, seeing friends and relatives, book or meditation groups, etc.), especially including kids.

  • There is significant frustration (in this case, over not recalling the foreign sounding name of a favorite restaurant).

  • But there is the possibility the tourists (animas) will find joy (have my earlier great Indian dining experience within the unlikely setting of a western metropolis).

  • Therefore, the dream sets up a problem, frustration in current circumstances, and its potential solution, joy to be found within those same circumstances. Generalizing, and taking into account the right feeling suggested by the animas, the lesson appears to be that both hell and heaven are at my disposal, and (to at least some extent) the choice is up to me.

  • Things are as they are. As such, they are reliable and, in a way, "perfect." Since they are this way and this is reality, how could they be any different? Shall I deal with them then by not ever adjusting, always wanting for them to be another way, and feeling frustrated when they continue to be just as they are?

  • Or shall I take up the animas' challenge and appreciate the joy and excitement to be discovered in this already perfect existence?

7/16/08 - Title: "A Rich Man and His Son"

I am an uncle to a young black kid (who must be about 13), but mainly am just an observer in this dream. The boy's father is an ordinary guy, in the sense that he leads a normal life, but he is played in this dream scene by Denzel Washington. Denzel does the role very well, and in a quite understated way for such an over the top dramatic actor. They have a small, simply furnished house. He wears a suit, overcoat, and hat in 1950s style. His character has pretty normal kinds of issues or problems. He is dealing with them manfully, as best he can, not blaming everybody but himself for them. He is not perfect and makes mistakes. Even though a lot of fellows around the kid's age might be into asserting their independence by mouthing off to their fathers and showing them disrespect in other ways, this youth really admires his dad and loves him, warts and all, and relates to him well, as if he were his hero, only wishing he had more one-on-one time with him. The Denzel character is kind of absorbed or preoccupied with some of his own issues, such as race related underemployment and having trouble taking care of the family budget, and, while appreciating it, he sort of takes his relationship with the son for granted, but still the kid loves just being with him and studying him in whatever he does, wanting to be just like him.

7/18/08 - Title: "Surprise Ending"

Frances and I have gone to our banker for some advice on financial matters. (He seems to be a banker, tax attorney, personal finance adviser, and CPA rolled into one.) He reminds me of a certain self-righteous sounding, southern, right-wing, former Republican Senator (whose name I have forgotten). His office is small and so is cramped with the three of us there.

Fran does not say much of anything as she stands behind me, but has an air of impatience and cynicism.

I ask the banker about some matter related to my deceased father's financial records or business. The answer, to whatever my question is, is something like " '83 (how old Dad was when he died) or '84, it really makes no difference."

I then ask him to cash a check I have received. It is for an amount between $3000 and $4000 (I think it was something like $3793.) It was given to me several months ago by an old man (older than me, perhaps in his 80s) or his son, on the old man's behalf, after he had died. It is payment for help with some investment guidance he had needed and that I had given him about a year ago.

The old man's son had not really approved of his father going to me for advice with investments, particularly as his dad was quite frail by then and had some mental deficits. However, he wanted to pay the debt properly and so had sent the check along to me.

The payee part of the check had been left blank. I had printed on the check in pencil a reminder to myself to wait on filling that in till getting advice from the banker on just how to make it out. So, I asked him. The banker spoke with a rich (strong) southern accent and in such a mumbling way that I had to ask him three times to repeat himself before I could understand his short reply (which I now don't remember).

He let me use one of his pencil erasers to erase the penciled message on the check, about not filling in the payee info till later. While I was sitting at his desk to do this, he briefly stepped out of his little office.

Then he reappeared, just as I was about to use a pen to fill in the payee line and was asking if it mattered if I printed it or wrote it out (cursive).

He then said they could not cash the check. I objected, but he said: "The decision has been taken." Presumably he had consulted his boss while out of the office. He gave the impression that they could not have anything to do with a check for which the payee had never been filled in till I got there. He acted as if he wondered if I had maybe scammed the vulnerable old man out of the check amount.

I was surprised, angry, and embarrassed at both his refusal to cash it and his suspicions. I knew it was a legitimate check and for genuine services, just not yet filled in completely.

7/23/08 - Title: "Dazed and Confused"

I go into a large building at a university and ask some questions. I seem disoriented. Next, I find my way to another building and ask some questions of a young, pretty, competent, and helpful receptionist/administrator there. I get some resolution of a matter or business I needed to tend to.

I get up to leave but am now feeling even more disoriented. I tell the young woman of my difficulty and ask her where I am. I say I know I am on the University of Texas but cannot remember just where. I ask: "What is this place (meaning the building)?" She looks at me a bit oddly, as if she thinks I might be pulling her leg. Another woman comes into her office area, apparently needing some help from the receptionist/administrator too. As I am getting my stuff (keys, etc.) together and putting it into large pockets on the left and right sides of my trousers, she rolls her eyes slightly at the other woman, as if to say "What's this guy's problem?" But she tells me the name of the building. It sounds something like Blanton but is not that. I explain my mental fog by saying I have not gotten enough sleep lately.

My pockets filled, I look around at where I have been there, trying to recall what is missing. Then I remember, but do not see it. I ask the receptionist if she might have seen my book, the Bhagavad-Gita.

She points out where I had left it, on a little writing desk, the kind that at supermarkets gives people a place to sign their credit card receipts or write checks. It is just in front of her desk, as though folks are often making out checks (or using credit cards) in transactions with her. I thank her.

I am surprised by the book's appearance, for it is a well used little hardback and relatively thick, though I had remembered my copy being a thin paperback, old though it had hardly been opened. I am still feeling rather disoriented and confused as I pick up my book, wondering where to go next and how to find my way as I turn to leave.

[Last night, I had been trying to remember a part of the Bhagavad-Gita in which I believe Krishna is telling Arjuna, the great but reluctant warrior, he must loose his arrows (his doing energy?) dutifully, but without attachment to the results, whether they seem good or ill in ordinary terms, instead offering them up to the gods and trusting in their discretion about the outcomes.]

Title: "The Morning of My 4th Wedding Day"

I am in a huge old house. There are at least 3-4 stories or floors. I am here to get married to a lovely lady in her 30s or 40s (and I am also younger), a woman with dark hair and light or fair skin who is a little shorter than me.

The wedding had first been scheduled for roughly 3-4 days earlier, but has been put off at least 3 times for various reasons not having anything to do with me or my bride.

I get up early today, before it is fully light outside. I wonder if today, finally, will be our wedding day. No guarantees, but I sense this is the day and am quite pleased. I am also filled with a sense of mystery, of expectation, as if each moment is special or blessed, almost as if I were on a mild drug high. Most everyone else (and all in the wedding party are here) is still asleep.

I notice that one lady, the hostess (I think), the woman whose house this is, is up too, and I am hoping to have a quiet, private talk with her. She has seen that I am up and seems to have the same idea.

There are great staircases here, maybe 20 feet wide, as well as smaller, narrow ones, and some areas that are so filled with sleepers that it is hard to get about, being careful in my steps not to step on anyone. The hostess is in a second floor area, maybe a kitchen, that I reach by going down one floor, across an open area, and then up a small staircase.

7/24/08 - Title: "Breaking Up Is Hard to Do"

I am in a quite large old multi-storied house with a number of other people. A very attractive younger woman who no longer much cares for her husband has responded to my flirtations and, on occasion when we can steal a few private minutes away from others, she and I make out with passionate petting. As yet, though, we have not had complete intercourse. I get really turned on by these trysts. Fran and I are married as well, but she is no longer interested in sex.

There is also some business about moving large containers of foodstuffs and other necessities. They will be needed, as though we are in some type local or national emergency and these supplies will be vital in getting us or others through the rough times. The woman I want to have a full-blown affair with is married to a large man who is efficient at manually hauling these containers where they are needed. He and the woman have a couple kids. I realize it will not do to be screwing their mother and trying to get her to leave their father, but do not want to break things off with her. I simply want to keep enjoying our exciting sexual encounters.

Meanwhile, though, Fran and I must carry on our own less family-like household in which there are no kids and little of sex or passion.

Frances and I have a big van for our own transportation needs plus hauling a quantity of the emergency foodstuffs, which the woman's husband has loaded up in the back to such an extent that it is riding much lower in the rear than the front. We had parked the van near our small, second floor residence. As we are returning to it in the evening, we see that the parking place must be very marshy, swampy, or boggy, not solid ground at all, for the van is now sinking into a bog, the heavy rear end first. Indeed, already it is so far down that the rear wheels have disappeared into the bog.

In another scene, the other woman and I are really turning each other on in what turns out to be our final time together. We are all but having sex and are clinging to each other face to face, only a little sheer clothing keeping us from complete intercourse. But the woman is telling me this must be our last meeting. She does not feel right about what we are doing, saying it is not fair to her husband or to my wife. Besides, he now suspects us of infidelity. Rather than have his suspicions confirmed, that would make her feel terrible, we must break it off. I realize she is right, but still am indulging in our last few moments of excruciatingly near climax sexual tension pleasure.

Title: "What Will Pete Do Next!?"

I am driving my car with Frances in the passenger seat, and am leaving our house (a different place than our real one), a two-story one if counting the basement (and in another neighborhood than where we actually live). She and I are talking about Pete. I ask if she saw what he had just done. She says not, so I tell her.

He has been staying at our place and had run out from it and up to a sweet young thing he saw going by and had said or done something that caused her to be alarmed. Even after she had gotten in her car and was trying to quickly leave, he had run along next to her till the vehicle got up to speed and outpaced him. Then he must have been concerned and had run off somewhere.

About then, as I am telling Fran about the incident and we are driving from the house, I see the woman Pete had accosted. She is out of her car again and using her cell phone. She is looking right at our car, apparently calling in my license number to the police.

I wonder what exactly Pete had done, but have no doubt the police will arrest me and take me in for questioning, perhaps holding me till there is a line-up and then hopefully she will not pick me from it. But maybe the police will believe Fran that I was in the house with her and so have an alibi and that we do not know where Pete has run off to. I wonder how long I might have to spend in jail before this is resolved.

Meanwhile, Fran and I have gotten to our driving destination, but no longer feel like doing anything except just returning home and trying to resolve the police matter without a lot of trouble for us.

Title: "Another Washed Out Waterfront Property"

I am driving a very small white car with my mom and, I think, one other person as well. I believe it is my sister, Alice. I am aware there has been some kind of local disaster involving some flooding. Mom does not tell me why, but she has me stop in front of a little white frame house on the edge of a lake.

Two or three children are playing on an asphalt apron that serves as a parking area in front of the place. I'm careful to avoid hitting the kids and so have slowed down quite a bit. The oldest of the children, a girl maybe about 10-12, points and shows me where to park right next to the lake. The lakeshore here is actually closer to the road than the front of the house. Thus, at least the back of the house must be submerged in the lake waters. As we get out, the kids are coming up, interested in who has come to visit and why. We go in. Mom still has not explained why we have stopped here. With us and the kids, there are now inside the house about three guests, three kids, and the three older adults who live here.

I begin to realize Mom must have known these other adults years and years ago, and maybe they knew me and Alice then too. They look vaguely familiar, the way much older adults sometimes do to kids at a family reunion, though the kids cannot remember just when they might have met them, how or if they are related, or what are their names. Typically the older folks will make a big deal about how much the youngsters have changed, saying things like: "Oh! Is this little Phillip? Are you Alice!? Well, praise the Lard. Look, Aunt Mildred, what the cat dragged in!"

Similarly, this time the host adults are making much of Mom's arrival and of me and Alice, as Mom's long ago last seen offspring. I have still no idea who the other adults might be. I feel embarrassed and ill-at-ease that the they might expect me to know them.

Instead, soon ignoring me and Alice, they get started talking to Mom of their terrible misfortunes since last we saw them. These evidently involve both physical declines and damage to their home. Some physical alteration is dramatically obvious in the case of an older man who has had major surgery on his face and head, both so misshapen as a result that it looks as though his jaw and forehead have been pulled forward and his deeply inset eyes consequently recessed farther back. Besides this, though it is not immediately apparent as we look around the inside at the front of the place - where we have seen it so far - they say the house has been so damaged in recent flooding that it has now been condemned, and there is nothing to be done. They will all just have to move, but as yet they had no other place to go.

Yesterday, the DG discussed, along with others, my 7/23/08 dream, "Dazed and Confused." Highlights:

  • One DG member projected his belief that being dazed and confused was just an ego defense to maintain one's addiction to control or to hold at bay awareness of conflict, whereas in my experience, from counseling as well as support or transactional analysis groups, being disoriented in this way instead represents a rare openness, the presence of one or more chinks in the ego's usually heavy defenses.

  • Another DG member saw several references in the dream to drug highs or related indications of being "on" something, as if addicted to "uppers," or whatever. Ironically, I am now less into addictions than usual, having stopped drinking alcohol and coffee (my addiction of choice for the past few decades) a few weeks ago, due to the possibility that acid reflux was behind my excess throat mucus, and so ceasing most anything that might aggravate GERD.

  • Nonetheless, I do agree with there being references in the dream to some types of "intoxication," for instance: I see university life as a separate, set apart, microcosm, a less challenging kind of setting or existence than the non-academic "real world." As such, one's whole time there may seem relatively on a higher or more special level compared with "coming down" after getting one's degree(s), and so then needing to deal with a variety of more responsible and often less fun or interesting issues. The title of the dream itself suggests how one might be on a drug.

  • The receptionist/administrator is one of two animas, suggesting dawning awareness, but at the end there are three of us briefly in the office, suggesting transformation.

  • The receptionist/administrator's office, and she herself, are where to go for more orientation. Yet while there I or my ego, the dreamer, become(s) disoriented right after receiving her orientation. I ascribe this in the dream to not getting enough sleep. Presumably, there is a relationship, for without the lessons of the dreams (obtained when having enough sleep) I may be more disoriented, less in contact with my inner reality and so as a result dazed and confused. Indeed, in reality I had not slept much and had not remembered any dreams for several days before this one.

  • The payment for the new instructions, guidance, or orientation from the receptionist/administrator anima involves the loss of some energy (which also suggests a possible sexual component to this dream relationship), in that here one gives her money in the form of a check, or signs a credit card receipt, to complete the transaction with her.

  • I fill my left and right pockets (yin and yang pockets, personal space, intuition, insight, emotions, reason, etc.) with my stuff, including my keys (suggesting I have the keys needed to unlock inner resources).

  • But I forget at first my book, the Bhagavad-Gita, a thick, well used copy that my anima points out to me when I ask if she might have seen it.

  • The anima is helpful, competent, and young. She suggests to me right feeling in the forms of being helpful and competent (clearly) and having a young (Jung) orientation. And, as indicated, she also particularly points out to me the Bhagavad-Gita in a surprisingly (to me) well used form, implying that, though I may have forgotten it, this book is important to me and worth spending more time with to become well used to its message.

  • In fact, my anima has trouble believing me when I say I am disoriented, perhaps because till then she has seen me on some level doing just fine. Perhaps my ego masks more competence and good orientation than I am aware of having.

  • The group felt there was significance in the Bhagavad-Gita and believed that the main issues of that work may mirror some of my own current dilemmas. In this view, the great warrior Arjuna would be my shadow figure in the dream, wrestling with whether or not to loose his arrows in the coming conflict or battle (of life), knowing that in doing so he might do great harm. Krishna, an incarnation of god, counsels him that: 1. This world is not what it seems, being more illusory than real; 2. What he as a mortal (ego) deems to be helpful or harmful, good or bad, is only from his limited point of view, but god or the gods (or one's higher power) have their own ways of judging these things, and theirs is the better perspective; 3. So one must do one's duty, fulfill one's obligations, and go about the activities or actions of life and so "loose the arrows" (one's "doing energy"), unrestrained by worries about whether or not it will turn out well or ill, leaving concern for the results to the gods (or a higher power). In other words, one is to do one's best in adjusting to and going through this realm, but not be attached, turning over the outcome to God or one's higher power, meanwhile being unconcerned with the fruits of one's actions. Inaction or simply laying down one's arms is not an option. He must be involved in truly living and doing, yet in a detached way. In Carlos Castaneda's terms, he must be courageous like a warrior, involved in a path with heart, yet without regard for the twists and turns or just where and how that path may take him.

  • The group recommended I reread and study the Bhagavad-Gita till it is quite familiar.

  • Meanwhile, other details of the dream interpretation include that the setting is a place of higher learning, suggesting perhaps dream work as well as a spiritual quest.

  • I find the receptionist/administrator pretty, implying potential integration.

  • The presence of a little writing desk suggests self-expression. It may be significant that the anima points out my missing book to be on the little writing desk. Perhaps I am not only to study this book or similar philosophies but also to do related writing. More likely, it is a recognition that in my journal keeping I am already doing such writing in a small way.

7/25/08 - Title: "Women are Better Than Men at Multi-Tasking"

I am a guest (and soon to be house-sitter) in a family's small home. I may also be a reporter doing a story on them. The wife, mother, and hostess is busy with a hundred other things, from feeding a baby to getting herself ready to leave (on vacation?) with the rest of the family, to tending to her other child or children, to packing, to getting her stuff organized, so that she leaves things in good order, to tending to a small dog, to being interviewed or questioned by me, to dressing, etc. Though in a hurry, she is not at all harried, just doing all that is needed at once, or at least several at a time, one set after another till done, with no wasted effort or time. Throughout, she remains calm, pleasant, focused, efficient, nurturing, and helpful.

The house, though, seems in total disarray, with hundreds or thousands of small personal items of the woman or her children strewn about, at least several inches thick (high), around the house so they cover every surface. Yet, when needed, in fractions of seconds she can retrieve whatever item(s) she wants from the apparent chaos.

She has been telling and showing me, while she gets ready and does other things, what I'll need to know while she's gone. I've been trying to take notes, writing apparently on the back of a white paper gift bag or grocery bag. I have most of what I need written there in 3 small paragraphs or sentences, each corresponding to items I'll need when she is on vacation. But one thing among these items is missing.

It is the key. I shall insert it into a keyhole in a small panel, turn it, and so both unlock, open, and turn on or off a machine and/or an overall system in the house and/or a security system there. The key is also an information storage and transmission device, such as one can use to move or store info from one computer to the other, etc.

Since she is still so busy, I have looked for the key on my own through everything among the hundreds or thousands of items where she suggested, on her bed and elsewhere, without success.

Others in the family, more half-heartedly, have briefly looked for it too. We have all given up. To find this one little item amid the vast disarray seems hopeless. Then, having completed the last of a set of her multi-tasks, the woman comes over, reaches down once into the seemingly chaotic mass of strewn about items, pulls out the multi-purpose key, and hands it to me.

Almost as quickly, within just a few minutes in any case, she also puts everything away, leaving the house clean and in orderly, shipshape condition as she and the others are departing, and leaving me to look after things here alone while they are away.

7/26/08 - Title: "No Country for Old Men"

A corrupt sadistic bastard and his two assistants have taken three prisoners, and I am one of them. He knows I am innocent of all but being in the wrong place and time, but now he has me outside in the heat and the dirt inside a big heavy box enclosed on all sides except for dirt on the bottom and bars in the front. He has decided, with gleeful anticipation, to make me an example and, as part of the "War On Terrorism," is looking forward to torturing me during his kangaroo court interrogation. I am determined not to break or to confess to something I did not do, but know he can break me physically and possibly kill me. I am angry, stubborn, and scared.

7/28/08 - Yesterday, the DG discussed, along with others, my 7/24/08 dream, "Another Washed Out Waterfront Property" Highlights:

  • I seem to have a lot of resistance to the way the dream was interpreted within the DG this time, which probably says something in itself. There was, for instance, a great deal of emphasis by the DG leader on seeing the dream in terms of what kind of "shoes" it was laying out for me for the path ahead. The notion here was that the dream maker always puts out for us dreams that are like freshly cobbled shoes that perfectly fit our current situation for that day in the path through life. So, I was invited to look at the dream in terms of this daily portion of that path and what shoes it suggested I would need to negotiate that day's travels. For some reason, I developed a total block re this concept. It seemed to me obscure as a Zen koan. The best I could come up with was an imaginary set of amphibious fins, that I could walk with on land and yet swim with in the water, helping me to be equally comfortable in both environments.

  • So resistant, or at least negatively emotional, was I that I left the meeting feeling resentful not only about the insistence I look at the dream in terms of metaphorical shoes but also because, yet again, the DG leader chose to cast my dream in terms of an oedipal complex (or at least a description of my relationship with my mother and in opposition to my father that mirrors the clinical description of this complex), her second favorite way of putting me in my place (from my point of view), the first being her insistence that Frances is bad for me and that I merely adjust to her putting me down, and in others ways trying to bully her way into dominance in our marriage, because of having taken on the archetype of the victim, since I am unconsciously forever recapitulating the inferior position I had while growing up, in relation to a dominant, bullying father. As almost all of Sonya's interpretations are from one or both of these points of view, with variations from them simply in terms of other instances in which I am putting myself into an inferior position in yet additional ways (for instance vis--vis other DG members), and yet I do not see a way to gain from her oft repeated "insight" on these matters, I am increasingly feeling I may have gotten most of the good I am going to from this DG, and that it is time to move on to a more positive, uplifting kind of group experience, perhaps adding more volunteer work or a second meditation group. Even if Sonya is correct about my tendency to choose a victim role, the repetition of that would not seem to be as helpful or practical as how, in a particular victim-like situation, to turn things around.

  • I also have problems with her frequent assertion of how this or that of my dreams indicates certain threats to my "soul." I am as resistant to this concept as I am to packaging my dreams in terms of her shoes metaphor. It is no doubt partly because of my defensive ego that I am stubborn on this point, but if there is indeed a "soul," which I doubt, by definition it must be a form that persists beyond the temporal and finite. If there is any of me that continues beyond this life, how can it be threatened by the merely transient dreams I am having or even the also temporary circumstances in which I find myself in life? Of course, she is pleased too that her shoes metaphor includes soles, which she interprets as puns for souls. By such associational "logic," then, it is natural that an inappropriate pair of "shoes" (i.e. a bad dream, that shows my situation to be a risky one in terms of dealing with negative feelings or integrating diverse inner aspects) indicates jeopardy to my soul.

  • I have similar reservations when she herself, or others in the DG with her encouragement, go on at length about past lives, negative archetypes that persist from earlier existences, astrology, predictions of our species' future based on how the planets and stars are lining up, correlations she sees between the I Ching, Jungian psychology, chromosome and DNA analyses, or astrophysics and cosmology in support of her views and assumed authority for teaching what and as she does. She also talks of how she and God are on intimate terms and that He not only often converses with her but also takes an active moment to moment part in manipulating her body, adjusting things (such as her heart function) for her overall benefit. With all that already in her corner, it is distressing that at times she resorts to the pettiness of talking in negative ways behind their backs about other DG members to bolster an argument on this or that point she is attempting to make. Thus, in my critical moods I see her as just like any petulant, willful, deluded old lady, not so special at all.

  • I suppose my own pique with her is the more marked because I had kind of put her on a pedestal at first. Now it is hard for me to accept her small idiosyncrasies as what they are, simply the proof that she is not a god or goddess but just rather human like the rest of us. And no doubt I am finding it easier to resist the DG leader and feel resentful of her than to accept the painful realities she and others were showing me from my dreams. There may also be some jealousy of how certain other DG members are treated, often with light humor, indulgence, and much encouragement, rather than the negative focus I seem so frequently to receive.

  • Anyway, I digress far a-field of the dream. Back to it, then, it was suggested by the DG that the title has much more emotional content than the description of the dream itself, the latter being more like Hemingway prose, leached of most feeling, and it is therefore effective more as understatement.

  • The animas, my mom, and my sister, Alice, have certain qualities which I can own or resist. My mom, for example, is a lush (at least late in the evenings, most nights), dependent on her booze to keep her numb to depression, loneliness, a feeling that she is a martyr, bitter about how others have done her wrong. Yet she is a good facilitator and very engaged with others and the community.

  • My sister is hypochondriacal, narcissistic, "new age," and also sees herself as a victim of circumstances or of her childhood in a dysfunctional family. In her case, the damage was felt to have been disabling, so that the list of things she does not "do," because they are too emotionally overwhelming, is longer than what she is able to accomplish and far larger than necessary given her actual capacities. However, she is also good at relating with most people, thorough and conscientious in her hobbies (like giving psychic readings or teaching French lessons to select, intimate groups), and resourceful in adapting to difficult situations, even if many of them are sort of her own creations, though like most of us she does not take responsibility for this.

  • Her age in the dream being 10-12 may be suggestive of my own state. Ten represents unity. But 12, in the I Ching, stands for the Phi hexagram, or an end to good understanding between people (which seems to be borne out by this commentary on the DG and my feelings!), a cessation of greatness, the beginning of pettiness in its place, the demise of growth, with now decay's processes setting in. Perhaps these are poles of a spectrum, integrated vs. disintegrated.

  • About 10-12 years ago, my father having recently died, my mom felt it necessary to give up the marvelous, nearly 200 acre, river front property she and Dad had owned on the outskirts of Waco, and so sold it at a loss and bought a far smaller, though more practical for her, place in town and moved there. She continues to reside there currently. Thus, the period represented one of downsizing. Similarly, at work I was going through a difficult time 10-12 years ago, the quotas being ever increased, while I had felt burned out already by then, years before in fact. I took an opportunity to downsize vocationally, then, shifting to a less challenging caseload in a way that maintained my pay level, and began a several year slog toward the early retirement finish line, my heart no longer in the career.

7/29/08 - Continuing with yesterday's recording of the 7/27/08 analysis of my "Another Washed Out Waterfront Property" dream:

  • The now Neanderthal-looking older male host may be a variation on my actual father, who, as with this man, I saw as terribly damaged (emotionally), his personality awfully misshapen. Like him, this dream shadow is, to the extent he is Neanderthal-like, strong, spontaneous, often uninhibited, and masculine. However, rather unlike my father, the Neanderthal men were, I believe, less into abstract thought or verbalizations, more into simply doing things, more genuinely, freely, and strongly expressing and feeling their emotions or living in the moment, and probably much less self-absorbed. So, in some ways this shadow is attractive, in others his qualities repel.

  • The lake, so recently in flood, likely represents the unconscious and emotions, especially negative ones, lately stirred up by a variety of stimuli.

  • The damaged house, now at least half submerged in the expanded lake (like the van, in another recent dream, is submerged or bogged down in strong, unexpressed feelings), may be the self (or what Sonya calls my "soul") threatened by the current state of my inadequately felt or expressed and intense stored up emotions. This calls to mind the IEMG group drug experiments in the 1960s, that I participated in four times, with Ritalin injections plus a breathed in mixture of oxygen and carbon dioxide, resulting in overwhelming "trips" into both hells and heavens (mostly Hades type experiences in my case). I stopped taking part in these because they were so frightening and painful, but even at the time thought I might have to go through 100 or more such "trips" to finally get through, and "ventilate" (by awareness of it) all the horrible pent-up hate and fear I had inside.

  • The white car and house may reflect that my life is largely bleached of the color of strong emotions. As with most men, I have the idea it is not OK to express strong feeling. I therefore do without expressing most all feeling instead.

  • There are three groups of three in the dream, which represents a strong potential for positive transformation.

  • Both the head of the house (shadow figure) and the house itself are severely damaged, the house so much so that it has been condemned and the residents now have no other place to go. Where can one go if the self is too damaged or misshapen to be habitable? This is but one dream, but if the situation were not corrected, there might be implications for survival and/or sanity.

  • There are three children, which represents positive shadow and anima growth energy.

  • The phrase "10-12 points" may signify 10-12 points of wholeness.

  • The words "asphalt apron" is an interesting mix of male and female ideas.

  • I "have slowed down quite a bit." This may reflect that in real life I am so preoccupied with physical concerns (acid reflux, excess mucus, etc.) that many of my other activities are now on the back burner, and I am able to enjoy or do much less in an average day than before about six months ago.

  • As is also often the case in reality, I have trouble remembering who people are, putting names to peoples' faces and relationships with me.

Title: "The 1.8 Million Solution"

A fellow has bought for $1.8 million an elegant, highly attractive piece of property. Somehow this gives him the right not to work further but instead to do the volunteer activities he prefers. Thus he fulfills himself by both serving others and devotedly doing what he enjoys. All are winners in the arrangement.

[1.8 million is roughly the sum total, if counting our monetary and medical retirement benefits and other income (i.e. from Fran's music gigs she likes) as if they were the conservatively invested principal amounts (required to generate the monthly annuity checks plus paid medical premiums) and adding this sum to our actual real estate, cash equivalents, bonds, and stocks assets.

Also, 18 years ago my brother, Ralph, died of a brain tumor. From that point on it was apparent, more so anyway than previously, that one ought to make the most of and really appreciate what life one has.]

7/30/08 - Title: "It's Not Just the Winning But the Competition"

I had taken an exam, apparently for an extensive course (perhaps in history), but the woman instructor comes to me and another student afterward and says something had gone wrong, so the results could not be used.

She proposed that the other student and myself take a new exam. This time it will be individualized, a more global assessment. I gather we are to see which of the two of us is the better student by each writing an essay on what we had learned.

Then I can see our answers. They have been typed out on separate, single-spaced pages. His is well written and touches on so many good points that it is at least half again the length of mine, which is about a half page long.

I say to the instructor: "My hat's off to the competition!" I add something like: "That was the most comprehensive exam I have ever had."

Our instructor says that although the other student had the better answer, mine had been good as well, so that while he may have gotten an A+, my own grade would be at least a B+ and showed good understanding of the course material.

7/31/08 - Yesterday, the DG discussed, along with others, my 7/30/08 dream, "It's Not Just the Winning But the Competition." Highlights:

  • The history is likely my own or my family history, possibly also the history of the DGs in which I have been involved for the last couple years.

  • The more global assessment may be a holistic approach to dream interpretation, such as we do in Jungian dream analysis. It is also very individualized, since it focuses on a particular person's unique dreams and just what they mean for her or him.

  • The extensive course may the last two years of dream work, including keeping a dream journal, noticing my dreams in detail and their interpretations, participating in over 100 dream group meetings, etc.

  • The first exam may have been my being sort of "groomed" along with some others to be a dream group facilitator by the Sunday DG leader and then given opportunities to sort of co-lead while she was there, and (earlier this month) also having a chance to lead completely on my own, though fortunately only one other person showed up. Although Sonya, the DG leader, may feel that I am ready to lead dream groups, I do not. And I get the impression that most of the other DG members are also not ready to have me filling that role. For one thing, I still have a great deal of very emotional issues to deal with myself, and these may get in the way of helping others with their dreams in a fairly unbiased and objective way. I do not convey that I have confidence in myself, so naturally others are less likely to have confidence in me. I also have less experience with dream work than several other DG members, some of whom have either resented the leader's putting me forward as ready to temporarily lead a group, when they have not had such elevation, or else have not cared for some of my interpretations. For yet another reason, a number of my suggested interpretations in the past several months have been far off the mark or were delivered in an insensitive way.

  • The results of the first exam cannot be used, in this view, because, even if the leader feels I have "passed," i.e. learned how to lead the group, if I and other DG members do not, the teacher assessment alone is not really relevant, or at least not sufficient. Besides, she and I have quite different philosophies or faiths, and she is free to give hers as if part of the in DG analyses, since it is her group, while some of mine would contradict hers. For instance, her emphases on souls and what is good for the soul or harmful or threatening to it are ones to which I cannot usually relate, and though she knows I do not share her beliefs along these lines, she often still interprets my dreams as is most natural for her, in terms of my soul. I do not even think it likely that there is a personal God or any conscious existence beyond the death of the central nervous system. I agree that the ego is but a small part of our being and that the source of dreams is as awesome as higher dimensions, incomprehensible at the normal level of our experience. I also agree that there is fantastically great mystery to That Which Is. But to believe in a personal divinity or in past lives giving extra meaning to our dramas, as she does, is too far to leap for me. So if or as I interpret others' dreams the way she does, I feel at times like a phony or else that I am parroting what I have heard instead of giving my own sincere interpretation. I am heartened, though, that Janet, who was the best leader of the other DG and a student of Sonya's for about 9-10 years, has had some similar doubts about God, etc. So evidently it is possible to be a good dream group facilitator and analyst without giving up one's skepticism. But I am definitely not in her (Janet's) league and doubt she would have put me in charge of a DG at the present stage of my development in this fascinating hobby.

  • The second exam, which I did pass with a B+, is at once more comprehensive and yet not as challenging. It is perhaps not truly a test of my ability to lead, only of my understanding of the course, in other words of the basics of dream work as a participant.

  • Arguably, the shadow figure in this dream, however, is more ready for either role, leadership or participant, for he gets an A+. And since this was the most "comprehensive" exam I had ever had and he did so well on it that my hat is off to him as the competition (as though I feel it has been a contest between him and me, though that may not have actually been what the instructor had in mind), then the shadow's mastery of the material shows he has much better comprehension than I do (as the ego).

  • The instructor may be Sonya, the Sunday DG leader, though this is not spelled out. Or it could be Janet, the former best leader of the other group, who has now moved out of state. Or maybe a composite of the two of them.

  • They are both brilliant. Of Sonya, I would say that she is motherly, amazingly insightful and intuitive, a great facilitator, and yet a little defensive and needing to protect herself from too much interpersonal friction.

  • Of Janet, who seems a little like a daughter might to me, I feel she the most kind, giving, conscientious person I have met and at times shows even greater insight and skill, in my view, into others' dreams and how to work with all kinds of people in dream analysis and group facilitating than her mentor, Sonya, has. In contrast to me, few if any ever question her right and authority to lead and to interpret dreams, and yet she usually does it with grace and humor and an emphasis on finding a positive spin to put on things. As with Sonya, Janet has personal issues and vulnerabilites that just make her seem the more attractive for how she simply is and for all she has accomplished, the more so because she is ever willing to work on these when she sees them.

  • The title of this dream is perhaps not as well chosen as it could be, for what I meant was that it is not so much the winning as the process that is important. If I am correct that the dream is at least partly about dream groups, I do feel at times that there is a great deal of competition there for dominance. To some, like Janet and Sonya, the authority to lead comes naturally and is based on their obvious expertise and their facilitating personalities. To others, it seems more of a struggle that their egos are involved in, to the extent that, for some, feelings of inferiority come into play, as is the case with me, while there are those too who use bullying, "scapegoating," bickering, or manipulative tactics to try and assure their being at least for a little while the top dogs in rather unruly packs of amateurs, ever struggling for supremacy. Under their influence, the dream groups can seem little better than dysfunctional families.

  • In my view, expressed in the title, it is the entire process of Jungian dream interpretation that is worthwhile and of benefit, often synchronously so for more than one member of the group and more than one dream at a time, whereas "winning" the interpretation process, in terms of being able to best "nail" the analysis and in competition with others, who also wish to show their competence at this talent, is only important as it motivates folks to offer their best guesses about how the dream might be analyzed.

  • But my shadow is not into competing at all. He is simply taking the second exam, as suggested by the instructor. In doing so, he is able to show he has really mastered the material. One might say he has acquired master's degree level proficiency in the subject and likely can be either a dream group leader or participant, as suits the circumstances at the time. He clearly does not have ego issues that get in the way of this competence, as I, the ego, obviously do! I note that I had assumed the instructor was seeking to show which was the better student, and so at once saw it as a contest, though in retrospect neither the instructor nor the shadow in any way supports that view.

  • I see that the word "half" is used twice in the dream. It could be a stretch, but I choose to think part of the dream message is that, as with two halves, there is a whole unity available to be made here if one were open to it. At the very least, one can say that the glass is not just half empty but also half full.

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