October, 2007

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10/2/07 - Title: "From Plain Places May Come Magic"

I am looking from a little higher vantage point at a small town or a neighborhood in a city (Omaha?). I see many roofs of small plain boxy city dwellings or business buildings and the multiple criss-cross of perpendicular streets that create small square blocks in this section of town or city. I say, or someone next to me says, something like "Does this look like the kind of place (somebody - name not remembered) would have called home?" It seems we (myself and at least one other person) have traveled here (to a mid-west, nondescript neighborhood, perhaps in Nebraska or Kansas) to try to better understand the background and personality of a person who has died or otherwise is no longer in the picture, but whom we knew well at one time.

[Just before going to sleep and having this dream, I had been reading The Magician's Assistant, by Ann Patchett. As part of its plot, a mother and a sister from the mid-west go to Los Angeles to learn more about their son/brother, a quite talented and successful magician and rug dealer, Parcival, a gay man whose death from an aneurysm begins the book. They had not seen him in more than a generation. And a woman who deeply loved him, his partner, assistant, and eventually wife, the book's wonderful protagonist, is invited to go from Los Angeles to his family's mid-west town, partly to learn more about his background, early life, and relatives. Themes of the book include loss, loneliness, estrangement, forgiveness, love, a redemption that becomes possible even after death, and vivid, healing, magical dreams that impart beautiful lessons.]

10/4/07 - Title: "Trading Up - In the Market for a Better Place"

I'm looking at possible houses to buy, in lieu of where I am now. I want one I can afford but that is more attractive than where I live. One interesting choice would be a place I have found in a hilly Austin suburb. People are still living there, a husband, wife, and their two kids, I think. They are surprised to see me in their house one day, checking things out. But they seem OK with it once they realize I might buy it from them. This is a very nice house, a definite cut above my present place. It would cost a bundle except for having a couple drawbacks. First, it is so close to the neighbors that their roofs almost get in the way of the place. In fact, the back neighbors' roof extends over and a little above part of this house roof. Second, the place is on a steep incline, the back being higher, the front lower. This affects both inside and outside the house, but more the outside since inside the one-story is actually split level. There are two or three levels, the different elevations separated and accessible by 3-4 steps between each of them. Despite this accommodation to the incline, the floor is not completely level. It is hard to keep one's balance. One must always walk carefully. Even with its problems, the house is almost, but not quite, too much for me to afford. At least for now, it seems I'll be living alone here. I hope it will go up in value and that later I'll be able to trade up again.

10/5/07 - On 10/3, the Wednesday night DG discussed, among others, my "From Plain Places May Come Magic" (10/2/07) dream. Highlights:

  • The themes of the dream, like those of the book, The Magician's Assistant, from which it partly derives, include loss, loneliness, estrangement, forgiveness, redemption, love, and magical dreams that impart lessons.

  • There is, in addition, the strong suggestion that I delve into my own, perhaps partly forgotten, childhood, from when my sister, Mom, and I (Dad and Ralph in the picture at that time too, but now deceased) were living on the outskirts of Omaha, NE.

  • This was about a 20-21 month period, from late spring, 1951, to about March, 1953.

  • I was nearly 8 to about 10 years old then, and Mom would have been around 29-31. Dad would have been about 40-41. My first brother, Ralph, was born in September, 1952, and was only a few months old when we moved from Omaha, NE, to San Antonio, TX. Alice, my sister, was only a few weeks or months old (born April, 1951) when we had moved to Omaha from Falls Church, VA, and was almost 2 when we left (in the winter of 1953) Omaha.

  • The references, in my associations to the dream, to a gay man and to things forgotten from childhood, called to mind an incident I have forgotten but that my mom had later told me about from a few years earlier, when I was 4 and we lived in Falls Church because Dad was working at the Pentagon. Mom took in boarders (one at a time), for a little extra money. At this time, Dave was living with us, about age 5. Mom said when she had us bathing together one day, she discovered Dave had his penis partly in my mouth. She says Dave had asked me to put my mouth around the end of his penis. She apparently overreacted, terminated the boarding arrangement for Dave, and several times thereafter gave me the benefit of her opinion that this innocent childhood incident might indicate I am homosexual!

  • There have never been any subsequent "gay" episodes in my life, and the others in the DG say they surely do not see this one at age four constituting evidence of homosexuality.

  • I half-joked that, in view of lifelong difficulties, as a heterosexual male, with intimacy, it would almost be a relief to discover that all this time I had actually been gay, as this would provide a great "excuse" for relationship troubles, like: "Hey, what can you expect, considering that I'm actually gay!?"

  • Christine pointed out that when there are unstable residence conditions in the few years just before puberty, i.e. moving around between around ages 6-12, as is common for "military brats" and as I had between Falls Church, Omaha, San Antonio, and Tacoma in that period, male children often do not develop normal bonds of intimacy with other males, such as are then frequently demonstrated in group sports like basketball and football. This deficit, in turn, may engender more generalized intimacy challenges. Yet it has less if anything to do with being gay or straight, or even an introvert or an extrovert, so much as having been emotionally isolated and insulated due to the dislocations from one's neighborhood in this key developmental period.

  • In fact, when I first went to a small, rural school in our outskirts-of-Omaha suburb a few months after we moved there from Falls Church, several playground bullies ganged up on me, as the new kid, and thoroughly beat me up. I never thereafter had enthusiasm for group sports. But it's unclear I would have wanted to be a jock anyway. I was much more a geek.

  • There is a little perspective indicated in the dream ("a little higher vantage point").

  • I am something of a square: stodgy, well grounded, reliable, but also tending to be resistant to new insights, views, or change.

  • This Omaha time was when I acquired my first baby brother, Ralph.

  • There are small (psychological) blocks in my current makeup. At least this is better than the huge, park-like blocks of dreams I had several months ago.

  • There is a pair of us, a shadow self and myself, seeking to understand our Omaha childhood self, who is no longer in the picture.

I wrote to my sister, summarizing the dream, and asked if she might possibly recall anything from that time, though I doubted it, since she was so young then. She replied that all she could remember was a lot of snow or a blizzard. However, she added that part of the importance of "Omaha" in the dream could be that it represents "Om," like a sound heard or chanted during some types of meditation, plus "Aha!" as in the discovery of a new insight, a mini-awakening, or even enlightenment. She concluded that the dream had to do with moments of contemplation, oneness, inspiration, or greater awareness than usual.

And I talked with Mom about that period too. This led to our both recalling things about Omaha or our lives there, including:

  • She and I both learned to swim at the Y the summer ('52) Dad was in the Philippines. The course was cheap, and there was also free childcare provided (for Alice).

  • There was a tornado scare, probably that same summer, and after a warning Mom grabbed Alice, and I grabbed Ralph (and Mom also grabbed a half-carton of milk) and we went to the basement to wait it out. I recall first seeing a tornado in the sky in the distance. Although the tornado did not affect us directly, high winds in the area knocked over many trees. Mom was terribly frantic and frightened while we waited. The sky darkened and the wind roared, as we could see and hear through small, ground level windows near the ceiling of the basement. Later that summer there was in fact a devastating tornado that hit Waco, TX, Mom's home town, doing terrible destruction and killing two distant cousins of hers. (In fact, that became a morality tale often retold, for the boys had been warned not to go downtown to a gambling joint, but they went anyway and died there when the storm hit.)

  • There was a big blizzard around Thanksgiving of our first year there, or at least a few days before that holiday. There were, the next morning, huge drifts gleaming in the cold and sun, some up to our roof. School was closed, but Dad tried to drive to work, eventually getting out of the snow-clogged driveway and as far as the first hill, where he lost control of the car and plowed into a snowbank. He tried and tried to get it out but was unsuccessful and so walked home. He had to stay there 3 days before being able to get the car clear and return to work again.

  • Meanwhile Mom, who could not go shopping to get traditional turkey dinner fixings, opened a can of salmon, sculpted it into the shape of a tiny turkey, and baked it. Everyone got at least a couple or three bites of salmon "turkey."

  • Carl Taft, a boy a little older than me and a next door neighbor, befriended me, and we used to do a lot of fun things together. Mom felt all the Tafts were great neighbors!

  • The house there cost about $35,000 (or less) and when Dad was away in the Philippines and Mom had to sell it herself, it was at a time of weakness in local real estate. Even better new homes were going for the same as my folks had paid for their place. She had to accept an offer $4000-$5000 lower than the initial purchase price. Once the intervening mortgage payments were factored in, it was a great loss, and Dad blamed her for it, saying repeatedly that he would never have taken a loss on it.

  • At that place, not for the first time, but one of several, I was put in an isolated part of the house, quite separate from everyone else. It was not my choice, except as Dad would manipulatively put it to me, that if I were a baby or a sissy, I maybe could have a room near the others, shared with my sister. So, of course, I kept my private spaces.

  • But there, in the basement in this case, odd noises, perhaps from the furnace system, often made one imagine in the near total darkness that someone were stealthily walking down the stairs or moving things about on the concrete floor. The scariest thing was the notion that cardboard boxes (moving cartons) were independently scooting themselves about down there.

    And once I had a horrible nightmare, from which I did not fully awaken for quite awhile, in which an invisible demon or Death was swinging a huge sword or scythe relentlessly across the bottom of the basement stairs and would kill me if I ever tried to leave and go back up into the rest of the house.

  • When my Mama Rose (Dad's mother) came to visit to help out after my brother Ralph was born, she stayed in another bed near mine there in the basement and had trouble sleeping too, complaining to my parents that it sounded like someone or some thing were moving around on the stairs or the basement floor.

  • When Dad was away overseas, during and after World War II, I had slept in Mom's room (first in Tampa, FL, and later in San Antonio, TX), and there was a nightlight. Whether due to his jealousy, genuine concern for my manliness, or simply out of a need to prove he was the dominant one and in control, once Dad returned, when I was about 2½ to 3, such an arrangement came to an abrupt end, and I was made to sleep in a separate room, completely in the dark, and with the door closed. Mom reports that my night terrors began then and persisted for most of the time through my early teens about a decade later, as, time after time I would be given the honor of a private place, well away from others in the family. The last of these isolated parts of the house I would be privileged to enjoy was half an attic at a "haunted house" we lived in for awhile. The other half of the attic, across a flimsy partition, was supposed to house the resident ghost (of the old lady who used to own the property).

  • Such petrified nights were perhaps the more ominous due to some other early childhood experiences:
    1. "Blue Baby" syndrome in infancy, episodes when I would lose consciousness if excited or upset, due to insufficient blood and oxygen to the brain, a result of early congestive heart failure.
    2. While Dad was around and still smoking, I had major bronchitis or bronchial asthma problems, with significant trouble breathing.
    3. When I was 3, I witnessed Dad killing a man in a car-pedestrian accident as we were driving across country.
    4. When I was 5, I was sleeping in my step-great grandmother's room with her when she died, and I discovered her corpse in the morning, also then finding the "body" of my mother in the hallway, though it turned out she had just fainted after also seeing her step-grandmother's condition.

  • My father was, throughout, psychologically abusive. But when I was young, he also was physically abusing, many (or at least several) times beating me till I had major bruising, applying highly caustic, concentrated, burning iodine to essentially my whole naked body when I had poison ivy, pulling my loose teeth himself with pliers, etc. He told himself and me that such treatment was needed to make me a man.

  • He was similarly abusive in both ways to all my siblings. With my sister, Alice, when she was less than 2 years old there were such incidents as his forcing her to eat a bite of beets she didn't want, by repeatedly yelling at her and then several times forcing it into her mouth, finally reaching far back into her gagging throat to shove it on down, so far back her gagging finally did not bring it back up. Later, when she was an early teen he repeated this procedure with her when insisting she finish everything on her plate, including some obnoxious, gooey gristle. No wonder she became a vegan later!

  • It was in Omaha too that a jealous Alice, still not yet 2, after Ralph was born would throw toys at him in his crib and then had even strung him up with a handy Venetian blind cord. He was turning blue and would have died if my mother hadn't chanced into the room in time.

  • Omaha had and probably still has huge, smelly stockyards.

  • It was and is the home of my favorite investor, Warren Buffett.

  • Omaha is where, when 6 months pregnant with Ralph, Mom fell down the basement steps.

  • It's where I had my first and last (very ill) experiences smoking (and inhaling the smoke of) cigarettes.

  • When we moved from there to San Antonio, Mom had only been driving a few years and never in a blizzard, but one was starting as we were heading out. The moving truck driver's wife volunteered to go with us and did a lot of the driving in the more hazardous road conditions.

  • When we had just arrived in Omaha (when I was almost 8) and were still staying for an extended period in a motel, since our new house was not yet ready, Mom, Alice, and I got the mumps. Dad was smug, saying he'd had it already as a child and so would not get it. Then he came down with a major mumps-like swelling too. But he insisted that in his case it was not mumps but simply an infection of a salivary gland. This seems a "distinction without a difference." Mumps often involve swelling of the salivary glands. Whatever he called it, he had a rather bad time with his case of it.

  • Not only in Omaha, but everywhere we lived, from when Dad came back from Japan after World War II, when I was 2-3 years old, till at least my late teens, when I began heatedly arguing with him over this, Dad would use any slight excuse to belittle everything about me, how I talked, how I walked, my attitudes, my general appearance, my beliefs, etc. He treated me as a personal scapegoat for all his own neuroses.

  • Still, all this I am writing about Dad is not in any way to excuse my own difficulties or my less than ideal nature. There comes a time, and it is certainly long past in my life, when one must take full responsibility for oneself. These are just interesting anecdotes that may help me understand myself, the setting that helped shape me, and the issues with which I have needed to deal.

10/8/07 - Title: "Anxious to Matter and Belong, Feeling Rejected and Redundant"

I have had a complicated period of working at a job I did not really care for much, but that I at least believed I had been doing relatively well. Now the company has been taken over by new ownership. These bosses, I learn later, have let me go.

I suspected I might not be needed by the new company, but in the confusion of its being downsized, it has failed to officially notify me, so I do not know for sure that I'm no longer wanted. I attempt to go to work at the new, inner city headquarters location, first taking the long trip to this place on a combination train and walking-in-the-rain commute.

I am met there by a frowning, puzzled stare from what would have been my new supervisor. He asks me what I'm doing there, saying I've been canned.

I am not too surprised but am still angry, sad, anxious, and embarrassed. I mumble something about having been given no notice till now, and leave, being stared at on my way out by several other workers, in a big open office bay, who had not lost their jobs and must be thinking how glad they are not to be me.

Back out in the pouring rain, I need to go on the long trip back home, but am worriedly wondering what I should do now about other work, figuring I'm not likely to get a good reference from the yahoos that just fired me. They clearly lack appreciation for the services I had been providing.

10/9/07 - In a DG meeting on 10/7, we talked, among others, about my "Trading Up - In the Market for a Better Place" dream. Highlights:

  • The themes here include anger, adjusting to one's aloneness while surrounded by others (existentially and spiritually, all our journeys ultimately being made alone), childishly not accepting that things simply are as they are (but instead wishing for a "grass is always greener" solution to frustration of unrealistic expectations), balance problems, intimacy issues, yet being now in a better place, and optimism that in the future I'll be in even a better place.

  • Life has plenty of ups and downs, but where there are hills there are at least more opportunities for the ups than on a flat surface. The setting here recognizes this in the hilliness of the landscape. (If in doubt whether or not a more hilly part of the landscape is of relative value, just look at Westlake, Austin's hilly western suburb, and the average price of homes there vs. in the flatter parts of the metropolis.)

  • Others' metaphorical roofs can set limits on us if we accept them as superior to our own. One may come to cordial arrangements with others, in ways that recognize and respect their boundaries, but without adopting them ourselves.

  • Currently, there is the sense that marriage involves compromises and roommate issues with which it is difficult to deal, and in this way there is a question if the cost to me is worth the investment.

  • This also involves a feeling of resentment over having to walk carefully (as if walking on eggshells) to limit friction between me and my spouse.

  • Yet, the bottom line is that, even if the cost is seen at times as high and almost more than I can afford, nonetheless, there is sufficient value here, and also there is anticipation of increasing value in future, so the marriage is certainly worthwhile.

  • In the dream metaphor, if this peculiar house and cramped lot are in some ways like Fran's and my marriage, there may be benefits from having others' so closely involved as the neighbors are in this dream. It is like having dream group members pressing beyond my comfortable personal space or privacy limits, but then my "having" to live with that too when they provide good advice on dealing with my relationship issues.

  • In a sense, I am already in my desired better place. Thus, the erstwhile residents of the new abode are there too for the time being and surprised when they find me (already) there, but OK with it when they realize I'm there to get the place from them.

  • In the literal (or real) world, a house and lot like that in the dream would probably not be a good deal and not go up in value, but this dream house is actually better than the place where I had been before and could be the precursor to yet a better place later on.

  • The place is on a steep incline. This is good! The opposite would be if it were on a steep decline, as in a "declining neighborhood." It is thus the case in my new lot (in life) that when one walks forward he or she is automatically moving up.

  • There is just one main story here, but my story has at least two or three split-levels, each a little higher as one moves forward inside. There is here a sense of being split, not well integrated, yet also of a sanguine interior arrangement in which the inner levels are tied to one another with the 3-4 steps of transformation or manifesting reality. The 2 in 2-3 levels also suggests dawning awareness or better perspective.

  • The neighborhood is similar to or the same as one in an earlier dream, in which I was younger and living with my (actual) physical therapist. In the absence of as much intimacy lately as in years past, due to the declining importance of sex in my and my wife's relationship, as well as my tendonitis, which has brought to a halt our frequent and reciprocal giving and receiving of long massages, there may be at the fantasy level some transference of intimacy and contact needs to the physical therapist. (However, if that were a factor, it would be much less so now, as my appointments for PT have been reduced from about 8-10 sessions monthly to only about one a month or less.)

  • The current residents of the better place I'm in and checking out (intending to buy and own it - or take it into myself), a couple and their two kids, are OK: they are not dysfunctional but rather healthy shadow, anima, or younger self figures.

  • The drawbacks of the new place, as perceived by the ego, that it is hemmed in by close neighbors (who may in fact become real neighbors, i.e. new neighborly people in my life) and on a steep incline, requiring effort to maintain balance and move upward, are in fact positive aspects, helping to make it a definite cut above my old place.

  • Were it not for these "drawbacks," the place (and perhaps by implication my primary relationship) would actually cost a bundle, far too expensive, not a good investment of my time, energy, and resources.

  • Even if I were in an absolutely ideal relationship, there would be a private journey to be made, one that, in some senses, cannot be shared with any others. Thus, "I'll be living alone here."

  • There is still the question of whether I am paying too much for my main relationship, in which Frances and I "play house," if it is too much of a struggle or "high-maintenance." Yet there is the potential for its value and benefits going up, yielding long-term dividends, perhaps bringing in greater social or intimacy currencies over time. That potential comes from the relationship itself, simply and purely, for it has room for improvement, from greater intimacy and trust, in a variety of ways. But it also comes from the possibility of my own growth (or Fran's), for partly it is a high maintenance marriage due to my not having yet more significantly dealt with my own demons, without which my buttons keep getting pushed in more incidental ways, and that just feels high maintenance.

  • There is a big question of the need for better balance here.

  • Significant personal balance issues: how much of yin vs. yang, of feminine vs. masculine, of being vs. doing, of submissiveness vs. dominance, of insecurity vs. confidence, of passive vs. active?

  • I have a passionate heart. The powerful feelings described, even if at times of loneliness, anger, sadness, and yearning to be in a better place, are signs of being on a path with heart, one on which there may also be love, redemption, forgiveness, and acceptance.

  • Overall, this is a positive dream and quite upbeat compared with the desolate, absolutely lonely and estranged one, "Trapped," lost in an industrial wasteland, that I had last taken to the Sunday dream group.

10/11/07 - At the DG meeting last night, we discussed, among others, my 9/25/07 dream, "Un-doctored But Still a Fine Resumé." Highlights:

  • The dream has two main levels, medical and emotional. On the medical level, it is indicating that, with some further doctoring, there will be the ability to resume normal activities. At present (and at the time of the dream), I am bothered by both tendonitis and ear dysfunction.

  • The DG suggests giving non-traditional medicine a try for the tendonitis difficulties, certainly before further cortisone shots (which can have negative side-effects) or surgery (which can relieve the pain but might leave one permanently with diminished function). The physical therapist also indicates more conservative approaches in lieu of surgery.

  • The DG recommends a particular acupuncturist who comes with an excellent reputation. (Interestingly, the owner of Fran's and my favorite Chinese restaurant is also strongly urging I give acupuncture a try.)

  • As the ear problem has been ongoing for awhile despite conservative home remedies, it may be best to have it medically checked out, to be certain there is not something else needed or to take care of it if there is. There is also a possible new cancer lesion on my nose. And I'm due soon for my annual physical and flu shot.

  • The ego is on its high horse, reacting to what Mom, who in the dream context is there to provide nurturing or healing, says about needing "a little doctoring." But the ego is almost always wrong. So, in fact, chances are further doctoring is warranted.

  • Similarly, the ego has been putting off medical attention to the ear problem, much as men often resist asking someone for directions when they are lost. But why not let a professional confirm all is being done that needs to be? As it is, I'm only able to hear well with one ear now.

  • There is a deficiency of "pH": i.e. not a physician or a Ph.D. Might low "pH" be a current medical factor? There have been some diarrhea and other digestive difficulties that may be related. Also, mild symptoms have been associated with self-administered iontophoresis for my tendonitis. These "action patches" use mild battery applications of a weak cortisone medication and run partly with the body's own pH system.

  • Speaking of ego matters, two members of the DG indicated that, when I am helping folks interpret their dreams, I sometimes come across as judgmental in the way I phrase things or in my tone of voice.

  • Further on the emotional or personal level, it is noted that the dream context is a reunion and that Marsha is my bride or fiancé. Thus, there is the possibility of integration with a very positive anima self, Marsha, who represents perfect feeling.

  • Marsha's only fault is that, in her real world counterpart, she rejected me and married somebody else. The implication here is that she rejected my ego identity but that, as a current anima, she would go for the qualities of the U.S. Army captain, who is thus a shadow figure.

  • There is indication this is occurring, since the dream is about union and she is my bride. It would mean I am taking on the qualities the captain had (which my ego self then lacked), qualities that might include calm assertiveness, confidence, maturity, and more genuine regard for her needs.

  • One DG member felt it was significant that my mom is described as "meant-to-sound liberal but really prejudiced," much as I sometimes come across as accusatory when seeking to "help" others in the dream group. She thought I might have used the phrase "meant-to-sound-loving" and thought the omission of "loving" was relevant. Indeed, I usually have not thought of Mom as particularly loving, so this meant to be nurturing part of myself may be lacking in that respect as well.

  • There are two anima in the dream, and they stand in relation to each other as ends of a spectrum or polar opposites. Their pairing represents dawning awareness. Whereas the Marsha anima seems ideal, the Mom one seems dysfunctional.

  • The positive qualities of the dream characters, including the (shadow) captain, are attributes to be cultivated, owned, and appreciated. The negative ones are to be avoided and resisted.

  • One DG member suggested that, after my relationship with Marsha and other attractive love interests in my youth had ended badly, I may have defensively insulated myself from hope of ever having such happy unions, and that my anima had, as it were, gone into hibernation, but that now there was a good chance of a reintegration with a "perfect feeling" anima and attaining the completeness that had been missing.

  • This could or would have healthy effects on my actual marriage as well.

  • The implication of the dream and its associations would seem to be that my life would have been on track and wonderful, from college on, if only Marsha had not skipped town and married someone else. If only life were so simple! Makes a dramatic story, but in reality if folks get married young they inevitably meet each other's shadows before too long, bump heads in major ways, and seldom if ever live totally happily ever after. Besides I think I still had many other big issues to deal with.

10/13/07 - Title: "At the Mercy of (My) Violent Passions"

My new place has a nice view from above of a natural setting, with lush greenery and big pecan trees in back. I'm in an apartment on the second floor. There is no 1st floor. All the apartments are just elevated for some reason. Mine is the one on the left end of several. They are all in a row, raised off the ground, accessed in the front by a wooden stairway and all linked in back by a balcony boardwalk that runs along behind the row of apartments, giving access to all through their back screen doors. It is summer and evening. There is a private front door that is easy to lock, but in back at my place, and presumably the others too, there is just a screen door, unlocked, off a small kitchen. One can easily and casually go out onto or in from the balcony boardwalk through this door. As I am inside and looking about my place for the first time, having just come in from the front, I see a couple, two of my neighbors apparently, right by my back screen door. They are preoccupied with each other but are just a few feet from me there. I sense at once that they are aggressive and have no respect for other people's privacy or boundaries and would just come into my place if they felt like it, so I dodge (dart) out of sight into the corner of (formed by) the back wall of my place and the wall between the hall and the kitchen. I intend to hide there, out of view from the boardwalk momentarily, while the couple goes by, since I definitely do not want to have any encounter with them now and am appalled at how little genuine privacy there is in my new place. But, quick as I spotted them, saw them as a threat to my privacy or even my life, and darted for cover, I also realized they were nude. From my hiding corner, I can no longer see them but can hear them all too well, still just feet away outside my screen door. The sounds they are now making are animal. They are frenzied and could be extreme sexual excitement and intercourse or extreme violence, perhaps the man is trying to rape or subdue and kill the woman, or they are fighting, each wrestling with all her or his might. I cannot tell. I only know if I show myself or interfere they would likely invade my place and perhaps kill me. They may momentarily enter my place anyway. I am in a nightmare dilemma, whether to intervene, which, if they are in fact just having passionate sex, would be an invasion of their privacy as well as embarrassing for all of us, or to try to stop a rape or killing but put myself at risk as well. I wake up.

[On waking, I was feeling about the dream shock and anger that my privacy was so limited now, completely exposed to the aggressive whims of others who do not respect personal boundaries or privacy, alarmed that I would have had no better way of dealing with the situation than to hide and pretend I were not there, and fearful, like a vulnerable, impressionable child, in the face of such extremely passionate, and perhaps violent, sex or fighting.]

10/14/07 - Title: "Disoriented and Stressed Out with Too Many Deadlines to Even Enjoy Our Dead Time"

I am involved in a rigorous and timed military test, like those experienced at the end of army basic training, but far more ritualized and detailed. I barely succeed in passing it, completing all the memorized procedures and moves, in the right order and before the deadline. Then there is some down time (dead time), and an Asian American (Vietnamese American?) fellow soldier and I, along with one or two other male soldiers go for some commercially available hot oriental food to share for our lunch. We must be back by a strict deadline or we'll be in trouble, but the Oriental owner of a take-out eatery either does not understand or pretends not to know even what our translator is saying, gets things mixed up, and delays us. When we finally get our hot food, we discover there is no place close by where we can eat. Someone directs us to a distant field where picnicking is sort of permitted, that is, people can get away with quickly eating there. However, the chance is great we won't be able to get there, scarf down our food, and get back before we would be late and in big trouble with our unit leaders. We cannot agree among the 3-4 of us what to do, some being for hurrying over to the distant area, even if late getting back, others for just eating on the run and jogging back to the military training area where very shortly we'll be expected to be.

10/17/07 - Title: "One Is the Loneliest Number"

I am sitting naked and doing something else, reading perhaps, while alone in my apartment, plenty of sunlight visible through a large picture window in the front wall, while holding a large "hardon" with my right hand. At first I am unconsciously doing this with my right hand without noticing it, as my hand points and lifts the "hardon" toward my lips. Then I realize how close it is and I kiss it, the tip of my penis just inside my lips. I think it would feel really good to give myself a blow job, but then wake up.

[Upon awakening, I find I am lying in bed with a terrific "hardon," but it is definitely not so huge I could have managed the feat in the dream! Fran and I are side by side, having taken an afternoon nap together. I briefly think of having sex with her, but then remember that the last several times we had tried it she had not gotten interested or aroused even after much foreplay, a far cry from our newlywed days when, several times a week, sex came easily and delightfully for both of us at the same time.]

10/20/07 - Title: "Not in the Driver's Seat"

I'm in the passenger seat of Fran's car. She is driving. We are about to leave a parking lot. There are lots of other cars there, most still parked. A large vehicle, perhaps a truck, turns into the lot, obscuring our view, and Fran properly stops and waits for the view to clear before proceeding, but then continues. The way out of the lot goes past a side access (on our left, ahead) to the exit lane, and as we approach it, there is a little uncertainty who has the right of way. Either our car or a big old style (late 50s or early 60s) sedan, driven by a man coming in from the left by this side way, might get there first. I see that the other car is not slowing and is almost at the lane we are on. Fran is apparently heedless of the other car and also not slowing down. I yell "Watch out!" She ignores me and continues on, which means that if the other driver does not sharply apply his brakes his large car will impact our car in a side collision. Fran proceeds normally, assuming the right of way and that other drivers will just have to adjust to her. Indeed, no collision occurs, so the other driver must have applied his brakes just in time. I feel foolish for having yelled the warning, frustrated at being ignored, and angry and depressed not to have been driving. Then the potential incident she did not recognize might have been avoided or, in any case, I would not be at the mercy of Fran's driving decisions.

10/22/07 - In my DG yesterday, we discussed my "Not in the Driver's Seat" dream. Highlights:

  • Themes include: going with the flow rather than imposing control or limits on experience; not engaging dysfunctional communications; the possibility of change even after years of entrenched negative attitudes or behaviors; the reality that one is all aspects of the dream, in this case ego, shadow, and anima; the possibility that (once again) ego is wrong in its (my) assessment of the situation; the fact that I have some characteristics I "blame" on the anima; a polarity between the more emotional, spontaneous, intuitive and the more controlled and rational; etc.

  • The ego often applies values and judgments to a situation that may not benefit from these interpretations. In this case, it is worth noting that actually no accident occurred, so there may not really have been an imminent collision, just as there need not be one between me and Frances, in our real life relationship.

  • It is positive that all three aspects of self (ego, anima, and shadow) are moving out of a parking lot (a place where one is parked, rather than being engaged in or growing with life).

  • There need not be a conflict between the feeling aspect and thinking or rational aspect. There can be a middle way that incorporates both.

  • The heedless, ignoring of conditions traits of the anima may include an unacknowledged tendency toward resentment of perceived wrongs done to me, with a self-righteous sense of my being a martyr.

  • There is the shadow option, a powerful, calm presence that is in the driver's seat, progresses normally, adapts naturally to circumstances, and is neither in competition with the independent driving of the anima nor threatened by it.

  • Whatever one can do to be both more aware of all aspects of one's inner and outer environments and relatively more relaxed and confident is ultimately healing, positive, and worthwhile.

  • There are already ways the anima and I, as well as Fran and I, are cooperative instead of being involved in a win-lose, dominant-submissive, top dog-underdog, aggressor-victim, or abuser-martyr type interaction. These healthy dynamics and opportunities can be cultivated and expanded.

  • It is, even if a collision were imminent (but for a defensive driver response by the shadow figure), good that at least such a collision would have been at right angles, far better, for instance, than a terribly destructive head-on crash. Ideally, there could be a merging together, as from relative positions and routes only perhaps 30 degrees apart that gradually coalesce.

  • Sometimes, just as the anima is doing, one must proceed by the seat of one's pants, so to speak, spontaneously driving on through life going with the flow as best one can to quickly assess things moment to moment, with all life's incoming variables, information, and uncertainties, living in the here and now, "winging it."

Title: "A New Dream Job"

Part of my job, a newly assigned task, is to interview and do research with a woman who works in a multi-story (at least 6 floors) building. There are no sharp edges or corners here, only pleasingly rounded surfaces. The areas are spacious, artistic, lavishly furnished, decorated in light blues and tans blended tastefully with polished mahogany and other variations of dark and light browns.

I easily become lost on one of the upper floors (4th or 5th), but am not alarmed. Simply wandering about is fascinating.

I have asked directions of an intelligent, lushly attractive woman (about in her forties) in a mid-level work area. Our first brief exchange conveys such nonverbal intimacy I am delighted to find my way back to her later and realize it is she I am to interview or with whom I'll be doing my research project.

Her position here is similar to a reference librarian, one with limitless resources at her disposal. The info is experiential, direct, not just book learning and of all kinds, scientific, spiritual, carnal, artistic, historical, literary, personal, etc.

I am delighted that my task will mean involvement with this lady. Her office is open, formed by walls. They only incompletely come together here. Her office space overlooks a vast cylindrical central court area. One can see down it to levels far below as well as up to levels far above.

10/24/07 (AM) - Title: "(On Life's Stage) We (Dis)Play Many Parts - Final Interview with the Old Lady"

(In one scene) there is a huge dark cube of a multi-story building in which I live and work.

On one floor inside, there are large containers on display of multiple (preserved body) parts in clear liquid (as if in a medical museum). The light for these comes both up from below as well as down from above each of the big transparent upright cylindrical glass jars (a really cool looking effect which I've only seen before for gem and mineral exhibits). Everywhere else around the displayed parts is relatively dark. The specimens are diverse, everything from dead human heads to individual internal organs (brains, hearts, lungs, livers, and so on), plus feet, hands, navels, whole babies, long strings of nerves, etc., each specimen in its own display jar.

(In another scene) after many (forgotten) scenes and adventures, there is a crone of a little old lady I must be sure to see (meet with) before I leave (a place where I have been for some time).

10/24/07 (PM) - Title: "?"

A lava lamp.

10/25/07 - Title: "Scary George"

A tall thin young man with blue eyes, named George (new to me), suddenly shows up, standing in front of me. He evidently has come to see me about something. I am surprised and, more than that, am immediately very fearful. Even though we have not yet exchanged two words, I sense an imminent and intense threat in the situation.

[The situation has a nightmarish quality, and I wake up very distressed, but not knowing why I am so strangely frightened.]

10/26/07 - Highlights of a discussion on 10/24, at the DG meeting, of the series of dreams I had on 10/22 through 10/24 ("A New Dream Job," "We Play Many Parts," and the brief "lava lamp" image):

  • The sets of dream scenes are linked: on both dates there are multi-story buildings; also, there are three sets of images involving a roughly cylindrical shape, with viewing possible to the top and bottom or with internal light allowing top to bottom internal viewing; the focus of viewing is from the largest scale to the small, such that, in the dream job, there is the possibility of seeing to the very top levels, so vast as to blend with space or to seem spiritual, and with the help of the anima one can here also access all possible information, not merely as in books, but directly, experientially, while in the medical museum type dream one is viewing the individual physical parts as well as considering the various parts one plays in life, yet in the lava lamp image the focus is very tight, right on me, my marriage relationship, or my chakras; there are interviews involving different animas, a voluptuous, smart lady in her 40s, "the old lady (or my wife [also pretty sexy at times, in her 40s for the time being, and definitely smart])," and possible others.

  • Still, it is possible to interpret some of the dreaming from a Freudian point of view: clearly there is a sexual connection between me and the anima; we have a "brief exchange (an exchange involving our briefs or underwear? intercourse?);" the info includes the carnal experience; her office (orifice?) is open; "They only incompletely come together (orgasm is less than fully satisfactory, since they do not come completely together); and the cylindrical space or container in each of three dream segments is phallic.

  • Nonetheless, the dreams have more depth, meaning, and significance from a Jungian viewpoint, starting with my having been given an important new task or job, which is to have inter-views and re-searches involving integration with the younger of the anima figures and, with her help, exploration of all the levels and all the (limitless) experiential information accessible here, everything from the personal to the spiritual, from the carnal to the scientific, etc.

  • The multi-storied buildings indicate I have many stories to live or tell but also that there are multiple levels in the building or house of my being or Self, "at least 6 floors," which correspond with the 6 (or 7, depending on one's school of Indian thought on the topic) chakras.

  • The younger of the animas is in her 40s, which may stand for 10 x 4, greatly emphasizing the 4, standing for "manifestation of reality."

  • I find the exploration, even if lost, of the 4th and/or 5th floors fascinating, the one representing the heart or emotions, the other the intellect, reason, or the mind, which may seem in conflict but actually are just different aspects of my self to be researched or expressed , as are all the multiple rooms in these multi-storied buildings.

  • The interior of the dream job dream building is the essence of yin or the feminine aspect. It does not even have any hard edges or corners, only pleasingly rounded surfaces. And at its mid-level hub is a very feminine anima. Yet there is here a balance of yin and yang. There is a yang-like cylindrical court or core to the vast feminine design building, penetrating right through all its levels.

  • There is intimacy greater than in most waking state experiences.

  • The inner core cylinders allow for great inner sight or insight, and fittingly the display jars and the lava lamp have an inner light.

  • This may be described as my light, that is, with which I am lit from within, or, for want of a better term, a spiritual energy or light.

  • There are also indications of new light on and energy in my relationship with Fran.

  • The dream job sequence is more spiritual and integrative. The many displayed parts sequence is more in the physical realm.

  • For months, I have wondered what my "job" in retirement is. I now have one answer. It is to investigate all these inter- or inner views or to re-search all these levels and realms of experience. It is to manifest the reality of my own inner light. It is to explore the heart and the mind regions and beyond. Not a small task, but, as in the dream, perhaps a delightful and fascinating one.

  • Meanwhile, there may be a need for further meeting(s) or engagement or interaction with "the old lady," i.e. Frances.

  • This sequence of dreams is seen by the DG as very positive!

10/28/07 - Title: "Balls of Light - Exercise, Discipline, Affection"

There is some type school, and an outside plus an inside, with different conditions and rules for how one acts in each. It is important to know (and practice to follow) the rules. Then one can have insight. And when seeing in this way, one can see that everyone is lit from within. From a distance, if looking at a group of people, their bodies disappear, replaced by still or bobbing balls of light.

[On waking up, I recalled "The Dog Whisperer," Cesar Milan, saying in one of his DVDs that for men the order must be the same as for dogs, exercise with discipline, then affection. So, it seemed this may translate to seeking insight. There needs to be disciplined practice, not just having fun.

On the other hand, maybe all that is a bit too grand. Perhaps the dream is simply telling me my balls are too heavy (with sperm), that it's time to exercise a bit of the old affectionate "in-out" and lighten them up! After all, schools are places where there are (inter)courses. Significantly, I woke up with an erection. And during sex, one's balls are sometimes still but often tend to bob.]

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