August, 20062 9 11 12 13 14 22 24 28 29 30 31
8/9/06 - Title: "Stuck"
Last night I had this dream: Just a vague impression that I am still in the same old house after all this time, with no real prospect of leaving.
Insights from the dream group about this dream included that:
8/11/06 - Title: "Maternal Affairs"
I'm at a kind of flop-house or half-way house, a place where a bunch of street people of interesting and/or unsavory character hang out on a more or less temporary but recurrent basis, and it is also as though some of these folks, and I among them, stop in here frequently and get beverages, a little food, conversation, etc. [It's sort of like, in a more wholesome setting, I used to hang out in the early '60s at the Wesley Foundation (Methodist Student Center), on the Drag adjacent the UT campus, a just casual drop-in (or out) transitional place, where one could go to study, watch plays, discuss philosophy, serve or consume tea, coffee, sodas, juice, and light snacks, meet people, play ping-pong, pray or worship alone or with others, talk literature, religion, politics, or whatever, pick up dates occasionally, etc. Anyway, the dream flop-house/social club is a lot more seedy than that, though.] I have the impression I've been here many times before but don't really know anyone, at least not well. Most folks here are in transition and may be gone for several days or months (or forever) by tomorrow. For some reason, one of the staff people there, a guy who is all relaxed about everything, as though he has seen it all, and maybe done it all too, and nothing phases him anymore, is gesturing nonchalantly toward a handful of people who happen to be nearby (but I get the feeling it could have been any of the folks who drop in, on just about any evening - for some reason, though, these are all men - however, at times women are there as well and had been earlier... ). And he introduces them, these men, by simply saying "They... (pregnant pause) go to bed with your mom."
As Frances said, on reading the dream, it sounds like a funny, polite, white guy's version of a major insult ("Yo' momma!"). She must be a pretty spry old lady who gets (sleeps) around a lot! Am also reminded of the Oedipus complex notion of killing one's father and sleeping with his mother. I think of a possible title for this dream: Maternal Affairs, perhaps a play on Internal Affairs (or both matters of the heart or other inner organs and security type investigations) and Mom's business or financial dealings (with which I may be involved as her executor and administrator of her estate).
Interestingly, Mom is rather "easy" when it comes to taking investment advice, often simply following whatever impulse and suggestion, from whatever source, has come to her most recently, rather than having a system or personal discipline about how she selects things to buy or sell. Her "performance" suffers greatly as a result. She has seen her overall nest egg decline over a third since Dad died and she took over managing it.
"Pregnant pause" is an interesting phrase here. I was an only child for nearly eight years, but then Mom had more success staying pregnant and keeping fetuses to term. Between 1951-1961, I acquired seven siblings.
I like the idea of the worldly fellow (on the staff of the social club/all-night cafe/flop-house and) who knows it all and perhaps has done it all himself and is just completely relaxed about everything and can nonchalantly, in a quite non-confrontational manner, impart here and there a bit of stunning info. This animus is a good one, I think, to have as a friend.
I believe there certainly are aspects of my personality that are unsavory and transitional. Also it is true now that in some ways I am very much in transition, as indicated in the prior diary dreams.
The anima in the dream would seem to be the character of my mother. In that sense, it would be a good thing if I were one of those sleeping with her, signifying more integration. On the other hand, that idea seems completely sleazy and off-putting to me (to my ego self?), as does my actual mother in some ways: when I was growing up she at times would not worry about her own nudity, parading about (in my or the other children's presence) with little or nothing on. And to this day I am embarrassed by certain of her behaviors, like drinking to excess, being garrulous and whiney and judgmental, occasionally getting so tipsy she wobbles when she walks, spends more time asleep in others' company than alert, slurs her words, and does not even close the bathroom door when she uses the toilet. (Are these too aspects of myself of which I am suspicious or ashamed? I note instances in which I have indeed felt afterward I had verbally gone on about things when silence would have been better or have said completely the wrong thing, have done embarrassing, socially graceless things, or have been confused or distracted and left a bathroom door slightly ajar, etc.)
I feel, though, that there are some key aspects of the dream's significance I am missing. I wish it were one I could take to the group, but I shall miss the next meeting, due to my monthly literature group meeting then as well.
8/12/06 - Title: "In the Company of Strangers"
I'm once more stopped, in my trip, at a motel, coffee house, half-way house or some such establishment (with other temporary patrons who, like me, are on journeys).
8/13/06 - Title: "An Unusual Gift"
There's a man in a hospital room with a baby, clearly his child. It seems to be an infant, indeed a newborn, yet I act as if it is a toddler, old enough for toys. After handing the man our "toy," wrapped merely in a garbage bag, for his child to play with, I say "If he doesn't like it, just throw it away." Then he says, taking the gift/bag, "Thank you (not yet realizing what it is)!" I add: "My wife and I had a baby too..." "Oh, congratulations!" he interrupts. "But it died," I continue. "So he (referring to the man's child) can have this to play with if he wants, or you might just toss it," I conclude. The man thinks this gift I've handed him is a toy I would have given my baby had it lived, but actually it is my deceased baby. He'll realize this soon after we depart, when he looks inside the bag.)
Frances and I leave without further conversation and walk down a long series of hospital hallways, past many rooms. Suddenly, I realize the significance of what we have done and stop.
"Oh no! What was I thinking!?" I say, more to myself than to Fran, who clearly does not care one way or the other and just wants to leave. "It was a human being! There'll need to be an investigation," I add. (And meanwhile I'm aware too that I really need to go to the bathroom. If I'm about to be arrested or investigated, it could be hours before I get to finally pee!)
"Don't worry," Fran says (coldly, clinically), "I have all the papers," as though just having the right documents will be sufficient, after giving away, either as a present or as garbage, one's dead baby.
"We'll have to go back," I say. "By now, the police have probably been called, the hospital authorities at least."
And then, only to myself, I thought, with great sadness (finally "getting it" not just intellectually but emotionally), "There will have to be a funeral and burial service. Our baby has died!"
Our baby gift, in its garbage bag wrapping, looked like a large dead fetus, but its flesh was all gray [as the real, formaldehyde-soaked specimens in my UT comparative anatomy lab had been]. It had an abnormally large head and no apparent neck, as though the fetus' development had not gotten too far along before being born or aborted. Yet it was about as large as if it had been kept to term. [It is as though Fran and I have suffered at least temporary insanity, due to having had a dead baby. Frances thinks this one very funny, reminding her of the horrible surprises left, under the tree for children in Christmas Land, by the "Nightmare Before Christmas" denizens of Halloween Land, who never quite understood the intent of the 12/25 holiday. Going to the bathroom, per the dream group, refers to a desire for expression. But in this case it also definitely meant I needed to pee, which urgent need was also uppermost on my waking consciousness.]
8/14/06 - Title: "Narrow Escape"
At first, I'm trying to sleep, but there are large black bears about. There is a wall, inside which I would have been safe from the bears, but for some reason I was not in there, and so I am in a rather makeshift shelter near but outside the wall. A bear comes during the night and damages the shelter. I am very frightened but survive. I hide in thick vegetation. It is like (or actually) bamboo, the stalks so grown in together that there is hardly room for me to squeeze in among them, but they do afford some protection, as I can hide there and fit in more easily than a bear could get in and at me. I wonder how others may be faring with dangerous bears about. [I have never seen brown bears, or grizzlies, in the wild, not even, disappointingly, in Yellowstone, but Fran and I have seen black bears in the wild in CO. The dream group interprets bears in dreams as a female aspect and as emotions. Particularly as in prior segments the dream group had noted I need better integration with my anima or emotions, it might have been better had the dream bear bitten me, or even killed me, as the ego self.]
Title: "Security in Numbers"
I'm in a mixed-race (several of us being "White" and several "Black"), diverse ages (very young to old) refugee group of about 25 people (some in families, others here just as lone individuals, and I am in the latter category), apparently all in a tent (about 300 square feet in size), and we are going around the circle and taking a vote on whether: a. To continue as refugees together, knowing there are bears and other destructive forces about; or b. To turn ourselves in to the authorities and get protection inside the wall, but with the loss of freedom implied by being in that place of sanctuary; or c. For some of us to stay with the group and some turn themselves in. I am quite impressed that, as we go around, everyone firmly, though often anxiously, chooses, come what may, for us to both stay together and outside the protective establishment. Someone remarks on the situation being similar to that in 1984 or Brave New World, but many of the young people in this group don't know these or other classic stories. [In my literature group, several times people in their twenties or thirties have expressed a lack of knowledge of authors with whom I had assumed any educated person, and these are all intelligent, well educated folks, would have been familiar, such as Malamud, Bellow, Faulkner, Melville, etc. But, of course, not everyone has a liberal arts education, and a lot of younger folks now have had many other means to entertainment than books throughout their lives. My dream group is mixed-race, but we are not of greatly diverse ages, having no children among us, except that everyone carries about, within him or her, a still living childhood. The wall may be the facade we hide behind to protect our individual egos. If so, it is encouraging that in the dream all aspects of the dreamer choose to remain outside the wall. In terms of the goal of integration, it is also heartening that we all decide to stay together. There still, of course, is the dichotomy between the group and the bears, so the extent of integration possible is as yet limited. When we are all really together, even the "lions and tigers and bears," this may cease being for the dreamer a rather nightmarish set of scenarios.]
8/22/06 - Title: "Almost a Revelation from the Ghost of Christmas Future"
At night, I'm alone amid old tombstones of a small cemetery park. There's enough natural light to read the inscriptions [though I wake up before actually reading any of them].
8/24/06 - Last night I discussed the just above dream segment as well as the dead baby (8/13/06) one with my dream group. As usual, the insights gained were more and different than I had anticipated from analyzing the dreams myself. Here are the highlights:
Last night, I had these additional dreams (presumably in response to my having asked, as I was going to sleep, for a dream or dreams showing me what is the next step that is needed to resolve issues presented in earlier dreams:
Title: "Charity Begins At Home"
I am being told by some behind-the-scenes dream authority "a gift you have to give, forgiveness." [I note that the gift/give idea is repeated three times in that short dream, including the "give" in forgiveness. Thus, quite an emphasis on giving! Also, that the dream may be interpreted as saying there is a gift I must give, forgiveness, i.e. as though it is for my own good that I have to do this. Or it could also mean, and probably does, that I have available this gift of forgiveness, so the stress is not on something I ought to do, but on a really selfless thing to do for others. And one could debate how one forgives so as not to make a big deal about it with the person who is being forgiven, since a big deal implies there really was a lot of stuff that was there to be forgiven, but noting that big deal aspect of it, in a way, is forgiveness with reservations. So, ideally, it needs to be unreserved forgiveness, so natural that one has practically forgotten afterward both the act of forgiving and what there was to forgive, or at least as though one is at the same time acknowledging that there is much in oneself to forgive too, so certainly one is not forgiving from any morally superior stance. Another thing that can be said is that chief among those to be forgiven, perhaps, is myself. But also those closest to me, like my wife, siblings, mom, and dad, even though a couple of these are deceased. It reminds me of the 12-step program, in which one seeks to make amends to all one has wronged, except here it also involves a letting go of the grudges one has held, often for many years. Thus, nobody owes me anything more as a result of some assumed wrongs done to me by them ever before. At the same time, it is as though I would then have no more excuses for still acting or feeling aggrieved. The seemingly simple dream is therefore providing a formula for transforming one's life into one of giving and of no longer grieving over or feeling aggrieved by what has been done to (or denied) me. Of course, that is far easier said than done. A cynical response, "Get real (!)," occurs to me too. For, realistically, more than a small dream will likely be required before I can transform my life in this fashion. I am no saint, and the dream calls for a saintly prescription. It is equivalent to Jesus' advice that when someone strikes you on one cheek, you ought to simply turn the other. Unfortunately, in the true world there are plenty (including even spouses, brothers, parents, etc.) who will reward such meekness with further negative behaviors at the expense of the other person. Perhaps, though, short of becoming a holy being, there may yet be room in my repertoire for a more forgiving and tolerant attitude, both toward my own foibles and those of others, particularly when the alternative may be remaining less functional.]
As suggested earlier, in response to the dead baby dream, group members had suggested that the segment's live baby (to whom I was giving the garbage bag "toy") shows that I have already gone beyond the death of my baby (which symbolized giving up on having children of my own and/or a special relationship with a niece or nephew and/or the loss or end of a special project in which I had placed great hopes) and that transformation is in the process of occurring. They offered that I might seek from the dream maker what in my life this new baby is as well as what is/are my next steps(s). I believe in recent dreaming, as well as thinking about it afterward, I have been trying out various options (more meditation, mentoring a school child, Big Brothers Big Sisters, more vacations, vacations by myself, pediatric volunteer work, story time volunteering, etc.) as if they may each be the next step(s) or answers to what has lately been most troubling me, in each case as if it IS the answer, though perhaps the dream material or things suggested by it are really just presenting possible answers. In any case, that's how I'm viewing the following brief dream segment.
The baby is a book.[While I would love to have the "next step" or resolution be as straightforward as my writing a "great American novel" or some other creative tomb, I actually feel no special pull toward this and so question the accuracy of a simple interpretation of that dream segment, especially as it would be dependent on something outside myself, namely anybody else caring more than a whit about anything I might write. One need only look at the meager number of hits on my journal site to see that is not valid! Other possibilities that occur to me in thinking about the dream: maybe it is writing generally, though, again, this does not actually feel right. Unfortunately, none of my speculations about the segment seem correct, but I suppose considering them can do no harm. Perhaps one's "baby" in this context is anything he or she has created, that he loves, that he has put his heart to, that fully engages him, that he has really given himself to, that thus has him in it. Or maybe, it is just one's own inner, most natural, creative self, that needs protection and play but is like one's heart and soul, from which all good and truly motivating in our lives derives. On the other hand, maybe it would be best to actually give the dream maker the benefit here and act as though the idea of making a book itself is just what was meant, and that this IS "my baby." (But then, what the hell do I write about?)]
Title: "Don't Go There"
There is time before... (some highly anticipated, formal event, as at a convention), and so I suggest to my nephew, Jim, that we take a walk, and I lead him to a beautiful ravine, carved out of the rock by many, many years of flashflood erosions. A peculiarity of this ravine is that instead of being horizontal, parallel with the rest of the ground surface, it is cut into a vertical formation, as though by succeeding great waterfalls, though no stream exists there now, leaving the stones and colors of the ravine easily in view. Apparently what rocks remain are so imbedded in the vertical array that they do not just fall down due to gravity. Nonetheless, the image is all the more vivid for its appearing to somewhat defy natural laws. Anyway, I start to lead Jim up this canyon, but he just laughs, in his usual way of reacting to something ridiculous, and then says: "Tell me you are not taking me down (up) this place, when there's a real gully-washer of a storm coming." Sure enough, the sky is ominously darkening, and we are beginning to hear the thunderous crashes of approaching lightning strikes that likely will precede a huge downpour, leaving us quite vulnerable if in (on) the vertical ravine when that deluge has caused a new creek or river to begin cascading over the lip of the falls above us.
8/28/06 - Title: "No Worries"
Someone is apologizing effusively to me for having forgotten something, apparently expecting I'll be quite distressed about the lapse, but I make light of the oversight and just say "Oh, that's alright."
8/29/06 - Title: "Judge Not Lest You Be Judged"
There is pervasive corruption. It is in Washington, in many foreign places, and here locally. I too am up to my neck in it.
8/30/06 - In the dream group tonight, we discussed the 8/24 and 8/29 dreams recorded above. The other members felt they were tied together and had these thoughts:
8/31/06 - Title: "Ill Prepared and Poorly Defended."
I'm with my brothers, or at least some of them, including especially Horace, at a massive and old fortress of a family home. It is night, or perhaps slightly before nightfall. We are, or imminently about to be, under attack and will have no choice but to defend ourselves and this place just as things are, though it is apparent to Horace and me that the entire edifice is terribly vulnerable to fire. "We'll need to explain why we were so unprepared," Horace says to me (or vice versa). "If we survive, there will indeed be a lot to account for," the other says. "For now, we'll have our hands full just dealing with the enemy [seen as effective as the Japanese were against US forces in the various late 1941 Pacific attacks]." While the enemy has already come within range, and our defense begins, several of our [World War II type] fighter planes are taking off from ground level at improvised runways between huge, tall pillars that support part of the family mansion, the rest built deep into a hill. A few planes, still barely above the ground, begin to take off right next to me. At least one just misses hitting me. I am relieved to have survived the close call, but also think I should have been on one of the planes myself. Too late now, Horace and I must do whatever there is time and opportunity for, either on the ground or within the great building above. The attackers will have explosives, machine-guns, and mortars, I think, but at best Horace and I have rifles and shotguns to use against them.