August, 2011

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8/2/11 - Title: "Get ready to Rumble"

I am in my parents' large home and in an upstairs room, probably my room. I wake up and hear (or else simply begin for the first time in awhile to notice) my parents talking downstairs, in the living room, I think. I am much younger, maybe in my teens, no more than in my twenties (if the former, I am still living at home, but, if the latter, I must be here on a visit).

My mother is speaking in subdued tones, evidently trying to sooth and reason with Dad, get him to calm down. He is working himself into a nearly lunatic tirade.

My dad shouts, nastily and sarcastically: "Well, if he..." (referring to me, apparently) "...went up to his room 'just for a minute,' why isn't he back down here again now!?" (Implied in his accusatory question is: "What is he doing up there all this time? Can't he stand being with his own parents!? Can't he face his father!?") I am only now aware of any of this or of his growing tension and had evidently been asleep in my room, not realizing I was expected to present myself to Dad.

There is a pause in his comments while he evidently is listening to something my mom is saying in subdued tones. She seems to be trying to keep the peace. Dad will have none of it. He resumes his booming rant, obviously intending that I and anyone within a hundred yards can hear): "If he is not down here in LESS than one more minute... (which is all I hear before I wake up in reality, though the rest goes unstated, a threat clearly suggested, such as: "I'll make sure he knows whose house this is and has reason to at least fear his father, if not respect or love him!")

I get up, leave the room, and start to head downstairs, ready to face the music. I am a little anxious but also extremely angry, prepared to give as well as I get from this nearly insane tyrant. If he wants a showdown, he'll have one!

[My father when I was growing up was insistent on almost total control in "his" house, was highly judgmental, and was prone to wrathful tirades, though he paid lip service to, and apparently thought himself to be, a very rational, objective, analytical type person. In some ways in fact he was quite logical, methodical, and unaffected by emotions, yet he also indulged in many tirades as well.

My mother was anxious, tended to play the martyr role (and had in fact been sexually and emotionally abused her early teens), argumentative, yet with my dad often also played the role of peacemaker, interceding as much as she dared on her kids' behalf if he seemed about to flip-out. Nonetheless, once he was fully into his negativity and she was faced with such extreme outbursts of anger, she almost always backed down and gave in to him.

The dream presents a fairly accurate setting and scene, as I remember such things, from my teenage or young adult years. At the same time, it is obviously my dream, and so each of the characters are versions of me. There is my ego, shocked and anxious due to what I see as a completely unfair attitude of judgment, threat, sarcasm, nastiness, and accusation from my shadow represented by the father. And there is my argumentative, victimized, try-not-to-make-many-waves but instead to smooth things over, nurturing, peacekeeping anima represented by my mother. It seems to be a classic "No-Exit" trio.]

8/3/11 - Title: "New Hire"

I have just arrived in a new area, a foreign and/or small-town setting in which I shall apparently be working as a new-hire counselor with military installation personnel and their dependents. While glad to have the job, I am at first feeling overwhelmed by the steep learning curve. Little in my background prepares me for this level of responsibility. I am left with an orientation and minimal instructions by my new (male) boss, just before he and others of the administrative staff leave the area for the weekend. I am still trying to meet key people and remember their names when they pull out in a 2½ ton military truck (a "deuce and a half").

I look up the employment application file they had on me before I was hired and realize that they simply went by the generic term "counselor" plus the fact I had indicated availability for multiple locations. The people who hired me must have thought a counselor has a PhD and/or lots of experience and had not checked further into it. Now (just as a medical corpsman must quickly become the "doc" in combat settings) I have to quickly learn on-the-job all I need to know to be competent at my new duties. Meanwhile, I'll need to "wing it." I don't know if I can cope, but will try.

I assume one aspect of my responsibilities will be working with alcohol and drug abuse clients and that family violence will also be a significant factor here. I figure too I'll need to set up therapy or support groups.

First, I must work out where I am to bunk at night, etc. A man tells me I have a bedroom area set aside for me in a rooming house where he and a few others stay. I go over there and put some of my stuff away. Not much is remembered, but evidently I briefly get acquainted.

Then I am at an institutional type setting, a hospital or ward for mental patients. A middle-aged, overweight man, apparently schizophrenic or otherwise kind of out of it, is standing alone in a wide, brightly lit hall that has well anchored metal tables, as if this is a patient activity or dining area. I say something to him, but he is unresponsive or I don't understand what he says. He walks away, evidently bothered by or suspicious of me.

8/6/11 - Title: "Near Miss"

I am driving on a highway that has at least two lanes in my direction. Suddenly someone in a convertible or sports car (with the top down) lurches into my lane from the left, cutting me off. The vehicle is right in front of me. I slam on my brakes and somehow barely miss hitting the reckless driver's car. (Then I wake up, my heart racing as if this had really happened.)

8/9/11 - Title: "Night Terrors"

My wife, Fran, was in bed in the master bedroom, and I was sleeping, as usual, on the sofa in the living room (where the configuration of pillows is better for my acid reflux than can be easily managed in a shared sleeping arrangement in the bedroom). I thought I was awake. I heard her make a sound like a sudden, terrified intake of breath, as though she had just had and awakened from a nightmare or maybe thought she was having a heart attack. I must then have immediately awakened, for I was thinking I had not dreamed this but really heard it, and I asked, concerned, if she were OK. Getting no answer, I got up, turned on the kitchen light, so I could see into the bedroom, and, seeing that she was awake, evidently having just woken up, again asked her if she were alright. She said there was no problem. I told her what I had experienced. She did not think it had really happened. I must have dreamed it.

[It is still a little hard to accept that I was dreaming. There seemed to be no transition at all from sleeping to wakefulness, and the sound I heard, evidently from the bedroom, had been so unmistakably that of someone reacting to or in horror, terror.

However, this clearly had not been my wife's experience, so a dream it must have been. As such, it suggests a sudden realization of something horrible or terrifying by my anima, the female energy aspect of my whole self. In Jungian interpretation, a man's anima is there to show right feeling by example or counter-example. So, apparently the message is to consider, own, or feel my unacknowledged terror, of which I am in fact generally not yet aware and awake.]

8/19/11 - Title: "A Visit to Celebration City"

Scene 1 - I am on a trip and in a small town, watching and recording (in a journal/travelogue) my experiences. This town has had some recent trauma from which its citizens/residents have been recovering. They have a peculiarity in that they have a special ceremony when they close down the public aspects of the town and turn out the lights each day, a charming ritual that kind of brings the town residents together, celebrates having had another day, and is a joyful thing to note and watch for travelers/tourists.

Another Scene - I meet and talk with the owner of an inn/restaurant/bakery, her place big and old, dark, and made of great old timbers, the lighting inside at night or early mornings just bright enough for functioning, and here she serves fabulously delicious food. She tells me that many of the townspeople did not survive the natural disaster, a flood or tornado - probably a flood, I think - or lost their places and could not afford to replace them and so moved on elsewhere. She herself came close to closing down for good, but eventually made a successful go of it again, and she is one of the main ones who decided to start the daily end-of-day celebration and began lighting strings of lights near or at the center of town to show they had made it through another day.

Another Scene - I am staying in some big old, heavy-timbered place and then am also eating at one of a row of seats at a counter here, or at least am waiting to eat, and decide to write in my journal.

Arnold is sitting in the seat next to me, or one over, with a space or stool between us, and is rather impatiently awaiting his food. I try to engage him in conversation, but realize he is only partly attending to what I say, that he is also both concerned about his delayed food order, and whether to remind the waitress about it, and hearing voices inside his mind that he must try to ignore, but which are telling him negative things.

We do start a conversation, though, and seem to be relating well. The subject comes up about a bowl or plate for the food. I tell him about having learned in school that some people in Europe hundreds of years ago - in Medieval times - at least among the nobility had stew or other concoctions on "bowls" or "plates" made of thick bread and would eat everything, contents as well as the bread, which, by the end of the meal, would be softer after having soaked up much of the liquidy food.

He agreed and said something like he wished he had some such efficient arrangement now, still concerned about his food's delay.

I went back to writing in my journal, but part of it was about him, and I realized that, as he was on my left and I am left-handed and so was writing on my left, he could read what I said and might be all the more bothered about it because of his paranoia. I tried covering what I was writing with my left arm and hand as I was writing, but this seemed too obvious. Instead, I got up, taking my notebook or tablet with me, and went to the bathroom, returning and sitting a little farther to his right, so hopefully he could not as easily see what I was writing.

We chatted a bit awkwardly on my return, about something mundane and superficial, but I was appreciating that we could talk normally despite a gulf of distrust that remained between us.

[Arnold is good at administrative matters, brilliant, able to quickly cite references for the points he wants to make, but is also very into rules and control, quite private about his life between leaving his birth family and coming to Alanon, and feels ill at ease in large groups, not wanting to eat in large restaurants due to this. He has been a difficult person with whom to deal in our newcomers Alanon group, often trying to use administrative maneuvers to insist on having his way, doing so in a manner that has disrupted the friendliness of our group and led to several people leaving the group and not returning. Nobody wants to mess with him, but, with some misgivings, I did challenge him at our last Group Conscience (business) meeting, when it became clear he was personally attacking another member, trying to exclude her for personal reasons.]

8/22/11 - Title: "Transformational Awareness of Feelings"

I am near three snakes, all very venomous. They have accidentally been released or gotten out of their containers and now are on the floor or furniture of my apartment. One, in particular, an albino, as big around as my arm, is quite aggressive and deadly. When I notice it, this snake is on the floor, only two to two and a half feet from my trousered right leg, a similar distance from my right hand and arm as I am tensed, so as not to move an inch, half-standing and half-crouched, immobile in the hope the snake will not react to my movement a moment before, that is, before I had seen it there. No such luck. It strikes, leaping upward at the same time. However, it misses! Reprieve. As though angered by its failure at first, though, the snake then makes a mighty, accurate, and successful leap and strike at my neck, a strike and poisonous bite which I know at once is fatal. (Very anxious, I then wake up.)

[In the past, poisonous snake bites in my dreams have represented a kind of revenge of my shadow material, passion or strong emotion that is usually suppressed or repressed.]

8/23/11 - Title: "The Lazarus Effect"

Scene 1 - Two or three instances of some person or an animal being clearly dead, so it seemed, then, inexplicably, coming to life again, but was this real? In one case, it was a fish on a beach, partially eaten away by maggots, but its head was there as yet, a "face" made by an eye socket and open mouth as the fish body lay on its side, the fish oriented with the "face" on the left of the remains of the body. Yet it then begins to move again, as though its gills still are attempting to function, its mouth to close, etc. I am uncertain if this movement is really a still barely alive or restored fish's or if the writhing mass of maggots somehow is just giving the impression of organized movement.

In another instance, a man in a hospital bed (and he was mostly facing left) began to move again and to talk a little, weakly. It was surprising, alarming, since it had seemed certain he had died, so that I wondered if something alien might be in him now making it appear he were alive again, that his body was the host of something sinister and dangerous, or if it instead were really him and all efforts should be made to assist him, help him get reoriented, see what could be done to make sure he recovered more fully.

There was then a question about how to relate to the man. We "knew" he had died but was now alive again, but evidently he did not realize he had been dead. Should we tell him? Was there a way to tell if this were really him and not a sort of parasite being, a body snatcher?

Another scene - There is a large complex of industrial buildings, trains or train tracks, different work shifts, many people who work here, and their onsite residences.

Another scene - I am new to the job and to this overall complex of buildings/residences. I pursue a young woman, wanting to see her, talk with her about something, and I go through 2-3 long, partly dark hallways in long residential buildings, and through dark intervening walkways between the buildings, to reach the door to her place. I knock or ring the bell. She opens the door, but nothing else is remembered.

Another scene - In a casual area where several people are gathered, like a cafeteria and at mealtime or on a break, I have made some comments to an influential woman about how this new, big, supposedly service company (like Google, but with an industrial scale or setting) ought to be run better, so it could be more genuinely user-friendly and responsive to customers' needs. Now, to my surprise, I have been given a role in how it is run, like being put on its board of directors. I have a briefcase, get on an elevator, and will then be going down a hall to a meeting room where I shall be assuming these new duties for the first time.

[The overall impression of this dream, taking all the scenes together, is of some anxiety, a sense that things are not just what they seem, that one cannot count on things being stable, uncertainty that I can cope with the changes, what I am called on to do or be, yet at least mild excitement that at any moment the unexpected may intervene in unanticipated ways, so things are at least far from dull.]

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