October, 2006

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10/2/06 - Title: "Happiest with [a] Violent Nature"

We're outside at night, close to and in sight of the ocean. Just a little over from us, the surf is churning, repeatedly booming and exploding into white water higher than our heads. I'm telling Helen Kazantzakis [with whom I work as a volunteer at the library --- smart, energetic, competent, extroverted, upbeat, a take charge lady but very personable, with a good sense of humor and physically attractive], who appears to agree with me, that I never really got into fishing, that I've gone fishing just a couple times and during the experiences kept wishing I were somewhere else or doing something else or that, instead of the waters just being placid, they were in flood. I mentioned that I could spend endless hours along the beach by the surf, and the stormier it was, the more intense the breakers, the better. [I get a charge or a thrill from much of the (inappropriately named) Pacific coastline akin to an intense spiritual experience. This thrill seems only to be intensified when conditions are dark, gloomy, cold, or farther north. I used to live several years in the San Francisco Bay Area and a couple years in WA State. They were vital years, in the sense of really being deeply into feelings and first impressions, but some of the emotions were out of control, with pervasive, sometimes suicidal depressions, extreme loneliness, or great rages. I was once for several days on a locked mental ward after one of these episodes.]

10/4/06 - Title: "No Real Communication Here"

I'm talking with a woman. [She's middle-aged, intelligent, attractive, fashionably dressed (the dream's in color), with just a little make-up - and I don't know her, but she reminds me of Karen, Susan's brother, David's, friend and paramour, except somewhat older, perhaps 10 years, and perhaps more intellectual(?), though I've only met Karen once, and it's hard to judge. This lady, though, by contrast with Karen, seems a lady of few words, taciturn, but not unfamiliar with words and able to concisely, with no flowery language, get her point across. She says one significant sentence, but I can't recall it.]

10/6/06 - Title: "Waiting for My [e] Mission"

"You know [one woman is saying to another, about different types of men and women] not everyone needs all that blood, sweat, and tears to communicate with someone in a very complete, not to mention passionate way. Words are not even needed at all for that kind of communication, and you can really say a lot when two people are talking that way." [The impression is she wants to get it on with a pilot who's waiting to fly a mission. - Hmm, maybe more Freudian this time.]

Earlier [in seemingly the same dream] I'm in my flight suit and almost ready to go on my first bombing mission [apparently as the pilot of a B-29]. I'm very excited and yet worried about all that could go wrong. And I've been away from my unit for awhile. If I have a successful mission, all will be fine. But it is not time yet. Our briefing is coming up in awhile. Meanwhile, I ask an old buddy where I can buy a snack. I'm really hungry, and once I leave for the briefing and mission, it will be many hours before I can eat again. He directs me over to a little truck snack outlet, the kind that drives to different work locations and then the side is opened to reveal lots of snacks and to serve and sell them, where I can get what I need. I choose a warm, chocolate chip muffin and start to pay about 50¢ for it, but someone says my money's not good there, that the food is free to pilots and others about to do some real fighting. Several ground troops are there and getting fed too. It's a friendly, camaraderie situation. To get their respect and be liked more, I tell the others I'm about to fly my first mission, that I haven't been briefed, but the word is we're going to bomb Laos or Cambodia. They are impressed.

10/11/06 - Title: "Not Quite Everything Forgotten"

[Third dream in a row that seemed very interesting, but for which I could not recall why it was intriguing.] Being from a huge country, and it changing in major [but forgotten] ways. [Rather superficially (merely immediate associations to the literal dream content, the symbolic meanings not yet understood), the US and its territories encompass probably the most vast "empire" in the world, from Key West to the farthest off of the Aleutians, from Maine's barrier islands to the most remote of the Hawaiian atolls, at least 1000 miles out from Hawaii, from the northernmost Arctic reaches of Alaska to the southernmost of the Virgin Islands, from Lake Superior to the Rio Grande, and from the Atlantic to the mid-Pacific and beyond. Our population, now at over 300 million, is the 3rd greatest in the world, after only China and India, and, thanks to legal and illegal immigration, our numbers are growing significantly, perhaps to reach half a billion in my lifetime, though in countries like Russia and China the population is, on average, aging and in decline, which will likely have major repercussions for their economies in the next few decades. For better or worse, the US is militarily and economically the most powerful state in the world, and, though it probably has already seen its best days, willy-nilly, it will exert a tremendous global influence for good and ill in the coming years.]

Unfortunately for my too fragile ego, the dream group did not think much of my interpretive comments about the above dream, considering all those words to be obfuscation. Instead, they said dealing with the dream itself is best (rather than all these dry facts that have little if anything to do with the emotional content of the dream), and they indicated the dream simply means that I still have significant work yet to do on some major issues involving grieving or suppressed anger, that I'm worried whether the repercussions will be good or ill, but that I have already been undergoing big changes. They were reassuring that the group is there for me, so I won't get in over my head. The main thing I have to "do" now is the same as they have suggested before: notice my feelings and then stay with them, whether they are pleasant or unpleasant. They also noted that getting more into feelings is a good thing, better than being detached or dissociated from them. Interestingly, there was also comment on how in English it is very easy to stay at a non-emotional level, whereas in other languages, Spanish for instance, one is immersed in feelings merely by speaking or writing. A bilingual member of the group commented on how difficult it is for her to express her moods in English, whereas in Spanish there are multiple words and concepts for things about which one is passionate.

In an e-mail later, responding to my note saying I would miss the next meeting due to a prior commitment, the dream group's founder said, though I am reticent, my suggestions in the group about others' dreams are usually quite appropriate, concisely and accurately getting to the gist of their dreams' material. This was encouraging!

10/20/06 - Title: "Alone with Grief"

I'm in a big, bright church sanctuary. Something has just greatly upset my nephew, Jim, and he has left the front and gone back toward the rear of and to the right of the hall, so that he is now sitting by himself in an extra aisle chair near a back exit. I can see that he is upset and has been crying. I'm standing or sitting off to the right as well, amid strangers, about halfway between the front and back. I'm concerned about him and would go be with him, but think I had better ask. I look to the front where my brother, Ralph, Jim's father, alive again, is standing with several others participating in whatever is the cause of this gathering. He too has seen that Jim is upset. I make eye contact with him and, with a glance, ask if it is OK for me to go be with Jim. But Ralph gives a discrete shake of his head, "No," which I understand to mean that Jim must deal with this, whatever is the matter, by himself.

[The thing upsetting Jim may be his dad's death. There is at once the sense that Jim was to be getting married here and yet that this might be a funeral for Ralph, who is nonetheless here as a ghostly presence more real than my own.

I think the actual Jim has dealt with anger and intense grief, over losing his much loved Dad in 1990 (when he was 8), and being left alone with a very neurotic mother with whom he has never really bonded, by staying busy and avoiding much if any introspection.

Today his focus is on his dance partner girlfriend, work as an award winning dancer and dance teacher, chess, humor, or a variety of creative projects in NYC, where he recently completed a related masters degree at Juilliard.

I think my own strong inclination in dealing with grief is to try and give comfort rather than simply letting myself or others deeply feel it. It is unusual for me to check first to see if this - giving comfort to make someone feel better, rather than just letting them be - is appropriate and, finding that it is not, let the grief just happen instead.

Ralph and I had a classic love-hate relationship. We both understood/cared about each other, and yet at times were competitive and got on each other's nerves, more than was the case with any of my other siblings. I never admired Ralph so much as when he was for nearly a year dying of an inoperable brain tumor. His courage, humor, attempts to overcome negativity that might have come between himself and others, and his spiritual intensity, in spite of so many horribly ego threatening and terrifying things that were happening to him, seemed heroic to me.]

10/23/06 - Title: "My Rescue from the Silver Bullet Killer Bees"

I'd been going a long way on foot when I dislodged part of a bee colony in a cube of fallen rock and/or in the ground. The bees reacted at once, angrily flying out and attacking. I got a glimpse at two or three. [They were amazingly fast. They were not merely metallic to look at but were themselves mercury-colored or silver metal. They were little flying, colonial, bullet-shaped (except with both ends flat, like stages of tiny rockets) robot bees. When they would sting, which two did at once, it felt like being shot in the back. They were capable of stealing or taking the form of or altering or replacing the parts they would hit.] I was falling from the first stings/shots. I knew I'd be altered/replaced/stung/shot by more bees in the next few moments. I thought I was done for. Then a female advisor voice told me I could call the members of the dream group in an emergency. I at once yelled "HELP!" the sound impossibly loud, a shout heard round the world. [I understood that this magic call could be heard telepathically.] Immediately, Christine appeared, and she was smiling her amused-concerned-ironic-curious-wow-isn't-this-interesting-it's-going-to-be-alright smile, as if to say: "Well, what do we have here!?" [And I woke up. The real Christine, of course, would probably have said I should have let the robot bees kill me and then see what happened. Maybe the bees were connected to being/existence. If so, though, I don't understand how.]

10/24/06 - Title: "Stuck" or "Woe is Me!"

"What a miserable play! What a miserable part!" I said, in great regret and frustration [apparently about my life; yet, a moment later, I recalled reading a paragraph about a young man (who would later become a meditation master) whose parents had just been killed in an auto accident, who realized he had two choices, to stay bitter and neurotic about why this had happened or to really apply himself to meditation - not that I see myself as meditation master material, but there must surely be alternatives to spending the rest of my life neurotic, bitter, and miserable!].

10/29/06 - Title: "But I'm Not Even Jewish!" or "Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It..."

I'm at university and yet have been skipping classes left and right, then dropping courses, though I still have 2-3 of them left. I hope to maintain these, if only getting barely by. I shall definitely have to play catch-up with them just to achieve a passing grade and do not know where I'll find the time. I apply for some job and then for another. Someone I know suggests I go see so and so (?). I do. He seems to be big in literary scholarship and, surprisingly, agrees to take me on. The "job" is the most intensive, disciplined academic program I've ever had. There are two older, distinguished, brilliant, scholarly supervisors, one the fellow who has "hired" me and the other a more immediate one than the first, yet both taking a keen interest. Wondering how the hell I'm going to do my remaining coursework and this job, I have my first meeting with the immediate supervisor (while the other supervisor is there, sort of making little suggestions from the background). It's a typical academic setting office: even for the dept. heads, the conditions suggest insufficient funds, too long since a renovation, and little or cramped space, though it is adequately functional. The new-to-me (immediate) supervisor (1) sits down with me at a circular table, the other supervisor (2) still standing and kind of hovering. "Now," Super. 1 says, and all his comments are very emphatic or emotional, "how much of Hebe have you already read?" referring, I think, to a quite thick, scholarly work, of literary history and criticism, by an author named "Hebe." "Well, not any yet," I confess. He seems exasperated by this answer, as though he's been misled about my progress and potential. But Super. 2 makes some (inaudible to me) comment and then Super 2 (1) rejoins the conversation or interview with me. "Well I WANT you to read LOTS of Hebe by next time," as though this job is to be a self-study (self-directed study) course, and he'll next meet with me for it the following week, as though he's my professor and Super 2 my advisor. Super 1 continues: "How much CAN you read by then?" and now I see the Hebe textbook before me, almost as thick and large as an unabridged dictionary, and with some nervousness, not answering his question, I point out I'm still also taking some regular courses. He seems to take this in but to be totally impatient with my response and then, most emphatically, he says, brooking no dispute, I MUST [pointing to about an inch and a half thickness of Hebe erudition, any single page of which seems beyond my intellectual powers, but what is being assigned is more like about 200 large pages], "read ALL of this Hebe by next time." Willy-nilly, my "job" has begun, and I shall have to measure up while also doing my regular stuff. I am feeling excited and yet overwhelmed, inspired, even thrilled, but utterly unsure I'm able to do all this, and so frightened. I recall a simple maxim from many years ago: "The only work we have to do is on ourselves."

10/31/06 - Title: "Insufficiency and Looming Disaster?"

I'm a caregiver for and friend to Christine, who has become disabled due to progressive illness. She is less than usually cheerful, often showing exasperation. The medical and activities of daily living provisions are not being adequately made available, despite numerous efforts on my part and urgings by Christine that more be done. There is a dry, rocky, bright, sunny, but empty (of vegetation, animals, or people [besides us]) ravine. Christine and I reside in it, disregarding possibilities for a flood. In order to get the supplies needed for her health care and ADLs, I must walk a long way around or climb out of and later back into the ravine, generally at least 2-3 times a day. Things as basic as bandages, changes of bedding or clothes, clean feeding tubes, or easily administered shunts, ought to be, but are not, readily available at the medical supply outlet above the ravine. Instead, there is a disorderly madhouse of congested vehicular and pedestrian traffic in, out, and all around the vicinity of the outlet. When I make firm attempts to get the essential supplies, I never locate them in any abundance or order. Rather, I find one or two of the things that are needed, and they are found only in a helter-skelter, random fashion, as with a feeding tube on the floor where people have been simply walking over and on it, with complete disregard for what they are doing. As, again and again, I return not quite empty-handed but without most of the things that are needed, Christine, no longer able to attend to such matters independently, becomes increasingly frustrated, angry, anxious, and even desperate. I do not know what else to do.

At the dream group meeting last week, folks had the following responses to the three recent dreams in which there was concern in one way or another over "parts:"

  • The dreams involving such issues as damage to, theft of, or alteration of body parts simply reflect everyone's natural, primary caution about health (no indication why this has taken on special significance in my dreams of late, nor any notice given of the coincidence of a nightmare about an Asian doctor stealing body parts and the announcement a few weeks later by BBC that China has been and is routinely harvesting political prisoners' body parts, for medical use in others who needed them, and executing the prisoners for that purpose).

  • The dream about "a miserable part" reflects regret or concern over not having lived in as relevant, fulfilling a way as might have been preferred and also is typical, consistent with a time of reflection or a minor mid-life crisis. It corresponds to a reassessing of one's priorities and values which is well to do from time to time if there is to be real growth. It should not be taken as a real judgment about the worth or lack of it of one's entire time on Earth, but merely a momentary view of things, subject to change with further information or examination or under the influence of differing variables.

The group offered these responses to the dream about being stung by "silver bullet robot killer bees:"

  • Overall, it was dealing with being itself and so was an existential or Taoist dream.

  • At present the bees, which can represent angry emotion, perhaps real or threatened anger from a female or females (since bee colonies are matriarchal), either in the real world or in the form of my own female persona or anima, are depicted as mechanical, or with mechanical reactions, and as such they are still somewhat under control, whereas life offers actual or dream bees that are even more unpredictable and chaotic seeming in their genuine reactions, which we may interpret as either positive or negative but which clearly we are subject to rather than their normally being amenable to much if any actual control, limitation, or manipulation as to their actual reactions. (Yet beekeepers can successfully work with their natural reactions, so they need not be simply chaotic and destructive.)

  • The bees can also represent sweetness, organization, structure, and complexity in the dreamer.

  • The favorable attributes of the named anima in the dream, Christine, "smiling her amused-concerned-ironic-curious-wow-isn't-this-interesting-it's-going-to-be-alright smile, " are positive aspects of my own inner resources or selves.

  • The dream too is about be-longing, a yearning to be more connected with or a part of a larger group or society.

  • The cube of rock from which the bees come is symbolic of positive transformation.

  • The silver suggests positive reflection.

  • The silver bullet aspect is healthy in more than one way: it is the symbol of "The Lone Ranger," who went about transforming bad situations into good; it is also slang for a special kind of cure, almost miraculous problem resolution, or medical breakthrough treatment when, otherwise, all hope might have been forfeit.

All in all, then, the dream was seen as quite positive, though the group did agree with my immediate assessment after waking up, that it would have been best to let the other bees sting me, even at the cost of the ego's dying, since the new ego would likely have been more integrated and stronger than the present, more fragile and limited one.

In general, on my own, even though I have received some encouraging feedback on my interpretations and contributions in the dream group, I have come to the conclusion that it is usually better to avoid either verbal bullshit or speaking mainly to impress others with what I have to say in the dream group (or anywhere?), limiting responses instead to genuine, open comments with as little ego involvement as possible. If in doubt, I shall seek to just keep silent until a response from me is asked for. I shall also be less inclined to read dreams to the group unless sure there is plenty of time for them. The others should not have the impression that I always have a dream to discuss. Dreams that I do take and present at the beginning should be ones for which I have significant concerns after already meditating upon and wrestling with them myself.

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