October, 2010

2 3 7 10 15

10/2/10 - Title: "Plant and Animal Husbandry"

Scene 1 - It is during the day and sunny. I am tending rows of a garden or farm. The several rows of green and tall plants are growing bountifully, with lots of good food to be harvested now. One row is different. Its growth is stunted, only about 3-4 feet high, not green but having multiple other colors, as in stained glass, such as dark wine-colored shades of red and violet or dark yellows or browns, reminding me of floating kelp fronds and of pitcher plants, organic in appearance overall, though made of glass, some of it broken, with sharp, cutting edges. In working with the plants of this row I get cut, bleed, and feel a lot of pain with almost any touch I try to make.

Scene 2 - Something about cats. They meow a lot and at times want attention and petting, while at others they are "snarly" and independent, apt to bite and scratch. (Yet they are the same cats either way, both aspects making up their complex natures.)

[I see the cats as representatives of my anima or female side. I had asked, as I was going to sleep, for a dream clarifying my relationship with my Alanon woman sponsor (so designated since I also have a man sponsor), who seems lately to want to spend less time with me, unavailable about half the time that she had been there for chats or meetings before and wanting our communications to be shorter. Yet she has not come out and said any of this directly. Instead, she simply is not there when I call and fails to return calls and, rather than our having relaxed conversations as we used to, with her often sharing from her experience, she is now apt to say something like "Are you done?" after I have been speaking for awhile about what was on my mind when I had called. Since the correct answer to that is "Yes," as one does not feel inclined to linger on a friendly conversation afterward, our chats are now definitely shorter. I did not know, then, if she is burned out on our sponsor-sponsi relationship, just feeling under stress about something else, bugged about something, or if I have misinterpreted a coincidental series of isolated incidents, assuming they are a trend that I need to accommodate in one way or another. From this dream, I interpret that she, as a "cat," is not really burned out on our relationship, but wants more space to be independent and herself, sometimes needing greater distance, though at other times she may wish for more closeness.

In fact, it is not just with my woman sponsor in Alanon that such issues of closeness vs. distance come up, among the women with whom I interact. There are similar issues with Fran, my mom, leaders of a couple special interest groups I am in, etc.

Re the garden rows, I cannot avoid noting the term "rows," and need to acknowledge concern over various emotional issues now going on or looming. My mom is making some changes in her will that may well cause greater friction or even a major rift between some in the family and others. In addition, my mother-in-law, with whom I do not have a great relationship, is due to arrive here in a couple weeks and will be staying for about 22 days, about three times longer than ever before. I was not consulted about this, am not pleased, and think I shall have to be very careful not to have some rows with her and/or with Fran between now and when that experience is at an end. At least some of those potential rows may well produce pain, there could be an edge to peoples' voices at times, and there might be some metaphorical bloodletting in the process. On the other hand, the dream seems to be saying as well that some of the rows, the majority in fact, may be quite healthy and nurturing (!), suggesting that a genuine expression of anger at times can be constructive. This appears balanced by the message of the second scene, that one can let things be and just go with the flow. If the situation calls for it, one might be more affectionate, but if the other persons prefer for now more independence, one can just let them have their space. "No biggy."

The 3-4 suggests transformation vs. manifestation in reality.

The title just came to me as sort of fitting here. Husbandry has to do with the care and feeding of certain things in a nurturing way. Sometimes it produces healthy results. At others, it may result in unfortunate or painful outcomes. This is true for a husband's efforts in a husband-wife relationship as well, and the sponsor-sponsi relationship in this case is vaguely like that of a couple. The relationship between me as her husband and Fran is also partly at the heart of the less than invited or fully welcome visit by my mother-in-law.

Another interpretation of the bountifully growing plants ready to be harvested is that there is much growth which has already occurred, as through my dream and meditation work as well as involvement in Alanon, and that this is there to be acknowledged.]

10/3/10 - In discussing yesterday's "Plant and Animal Husbandry" dream with others today in dream group, the following points were made:

  • There are sides of me that tend toward dysfunctional drama, which can involve painful rows or disputes.

  • These are best avoided, both in the inner realm and the real world.

  • On the other hand, some rows involve a very healthy expression of genuine, righteous anger. As such, they are productive, even nurturing.

  • One can get the picture (pitcher) of a very attractive but also injurious scene, setting, or scenario without having to fall for its appeal and actually try to get close to it. There is no call for me to fix or tend any of that. It is already dead - or not really living - anyway, so why bother risking any fresh bloodletting for what cannot heal or help?

  • Kelp is appealing but if one is swimming through a kelp forest, it can also get tangled around you and, along with the wave action, tend to pull you into a metaphorical region of destructive feelings.

  • It is good that one is more attracted to the healthy rows, full of green growth and with its produce ready for harvesting. This is symbolic and confirming of the progress already made and now bearing fruit.

  • There may be some whining or complaining going on, which is better ignored than taken seriously.

  • By tending to the row full of organic looking multi-colored glass, symbolic of the negative dramas in life, one is inviting harm to no good purpose. It is fraught with risk but has no nutritional or nurturing value. Do not make an ass of yourself.

  • Cats are not all "snarly," but some felines, as with some females, are like that at least some of the time. It is best then to give them more space. They may be interested in genuine intimacy again later.

  • With prickly plants, dead and broken things that can cut, animals that bite or scratch, and spouses (or any other partners in one-on-one relationships) who are apt to strike out at us or use our attempts to get close against us, it is best to simply look but not touch, unless well protected.

  • There are plenty of places to go to enjoy one's time of harvest of the good things in life and lots of creatures that will enjoy our friendly, affectionate interactions. So when it is practical to do so, attend to these, and avoid the rest.

  • If one does not get hooked into or entangled by the negative drama, the whole dynamic between 2-3 (or more) people may change. Either it will become more neutral or even positive overall, or the person or people are going to get hooked may be different than at first it might have seemed. This may be a good time to be less available.

10/7/10 - Title: "Almost a Nuclear Response"

I am much younger than my present age, maybe in my early teens or even a bit younger. An adult gentleman (Carl Fox, I think) is saying something in answer to a question of mine. He says: "Let me tell you why we are not going to bomb the hell out of a major city." As the dreamer, I have the impression we (the U.S.) are still, in righteous response to a major attack, going to bomb them (whoever the enemy are), just not in so overwhelming a way - as I had thought we should at first - that it would be like dropping hydrogen bombs on one of their major cities. And then Carl proceeds to tell me about the wisdom for our side of restraint, even when maybe the enemy does not deserve it. I have the impression the enemy is a middle eastern country, maybe Iran, but am not at all sure of that.

[Carl Fox was a large figure in my late teens, while I was a student at U.T. in Austin, the executive director and Methodist pastor of the Wesley Foundation, the Methodist student organization for U.T. students. He was my landlord for awhile, a father-substitute, a warm, caring, smart, counselor, and administrator type guy with an engineering background and experience in the navy but who later became a religious leader. As an elected member of the Wesley Foundation Steering Committee for a couple years, I worked closely with him, practically lived at the WF (and did live in a room in a house behind, owned by the WF) and satisfied many of my social needs there, plus helping with plays there, getting outside speakers and entertainers to come, helping with a "Listening Ear" coffee house, etc. (I got Pete Seeger there for an evening of folk music and teaching, a popular event.) There was a time I wanted nothing so much as to be like Carl Fox, but I was then going through too many crises, a rift with my father, dropping out, thinking of killing myself, departing for CA to "find myself," etc.

I assume the very huge bombing response (that is now not going to happen) involves a great amount of anger it will feel right to unleash, as a result of something that may soon occur, but assume too that, instead, my counselor-like and father-figure-like Carl shadow will successfully argue for my restraint. I think Carl may also be a conception of my higher power. As with another somewhat similar recent dream, it seems likely the bombs considered might be dropped from a higher plane, even a spiritual plane.]

10/10/10 - Title: "Missions Impossible?"

Scene One - (?) A jumbled mix of images and relationships. One involved looking after a house for someone else, or at least staying in her place, and watching, powerless to do anything in time, as her car, which was suspended in a wall half-in and half-out of her house, suddenly dipped down at the front end (that was half-out), and then all of the car fell out, smashing into the ground outside her house and so getting damaged too badly to still be able to drive without needing extensive repairs first. I felt terrible, as though I were responsible.

Scene Two - Later. The same scene was repeated, only this time I knew to watch carefully for the possibility of her car starting to dip down at the front part, that was extended outside the wall, so I might try to do something before it fell out and down once again. However, even as I watched, it did start to dip down. I was watching, but, once again there was physically nothing I could do to prevent its falling out and being badly damaged so that she could not use it.

Scene Three - Though still dreaming, I remember puzzling over the meaning of the first two scenes. I had at first been feeling very depressed, as though I were responsible, even though I could not have prevented what happened. Then I "got it," feeling relieved, and realized the dreams meant it was really hard - maybe, but not necessarily, impossible ("Mission Impossible?") - to be both strong/manly and a "sensitive nineties kind of guy." So I ought not to feel so badly when things did not work out.

[I have stayed in the house of my friend, Janet, before, house sitting and looking after her dog while she was away, and this house reminded me of hers. Janet is brilliant, an extrovert, both very analytical and intuitive, quite into dreams, and possessed of a good sense of humor. She may be too independent to find the right man for a permanent relationship. The rewards from her friendships and work may have to be - and may be - enough.

The association with her place in the dream to her dog (=god?) - who was quite loving, people-oriented, and strong - also makes me think of my relationship with my higher power (HP). Am currently working on Alanon Step 7, turning my shortcomings over to a HP. In the dream, somehow the dog (HP) is both strong and loving (sensitive)! Perhaps the key to resolving an apparent mission impossible is then to turn shortcomings (in this case not being or feeling manly enough) over to one's HP.

Maybe, as in the dream, I am expecting of myself a mission impossible, feeling responsible for things not at all under my control, like helping resolve my perception of Janet's dilemma, to be both strong and sensitive (or both traditionally masculine and feminine), which quandary may make it harder for her to get through life, her means of doing so impossibly suspended and then needing repairs.

The implied anima in the dream (from being in Janet's house) has all these neat qualities, that she is there to model for me. But she also has a dilemma similar to mine, how to be at once very strong and very sensitive, possibly a "Mission Impossible," at least in the absence of her (now deceased) dog (HP?).]

10/15/10 - Title: "A Time for Play and a Time for Discipline"

Scene One - It is very late at night or very early morning and very dark outside where I am. It is also raining. I am lying on my back and soaked. As a joke, I call out to my brother, Pete, who is younger, a teenager, I am outside of but near my brother Horace's place, and Pete has been in there with Horace and others, possibly my brothers, Horace (should have typed "Ron") and/or Allen. When I call in fun, I hear Horace telling Pete he has a call. Pete thinks it means he has a phone call back at his house and, moments later and to my amusement, he goes jogging off down the wet path between Horace's and Pete's place, to take his "call" at home.

I miss being included in the activities at Horace's place. He does neat things with his sons or some of my brothers, like coaching them in competitive games, encouraging their early morning jogs as a team, etc. He thus builds a sense of belonging, manliness, and camaraderie among the males included in these ventures.

It is as though Horace realizes he has forgotten to include one of my other brothers in these exertions, and that they deserved equal care, attention, and inclusion. So, he begins morning jogs with him (Ron?) as part of his morning fitness routines too. I realize I could join in with them as well and plan to do so.

Scene Two - We (Fran, Puff and I) are outside. It is dark and very wet after heavy rains. Fran is telling Puff to jump over a natural barrier to my left, about 3 feet high, and go back home (to our house), but somehow the dog just feels egged on and races around wildly, ignoring Fran's telling her to go home. I speak to Puff sharply. She looks at me and starts to play some more, testing me, but I speak to her sharply again, and she obeys, leaping over the wet barrier and heading home.

[Pete is my youngest brother, 18 years my junior, and has even joked a couple times that I am more his dad than his dad was. I have been both big brother and a father figure for him. He is a recovering alcoholic. He tends to have unstable relationships, work history, and residences, to inflate his own abilities, and to blame others for things going wrong in his life, but is getting better about these things since getting into AA a few years ago. He has not though been sober the whole time, tending to excuse more moderate drinking, saying it was mainly important to cut back on drinking than to cut it out completely.

Horace is my brother who has five kids and has been a great father, though in his birth family he tends to be arrogant, pushy, blaming of others, and rationalizing of rudeness, even threats, toward others. He is quite smart, very religious, right wing, loves shooting and taking his handgun virtually everywhere and letting people know he is ready whenever and wherever to use it. He loves as well his motorcycle, and likes being ostentatious about anything else, like cigars or big dogs, etc., that he regards as manly symbols. He is also Mom's financial consultant and in this role has received thousands of dollars a year from her, but she has little to show for it. He has received many tens of thousands in loans from her or from her and dad, and not that much of this has been paid back. His wife told me in confidence that he is an alcoholic, but this was a surprise, and if true it has not been obvious to me. On the other hand, he is an average to good amateur actor, a singer, has been a little league soccer coach, does tons of neat stuff with his kids or grandkids, has a modestly successful business, etc.

Ron is my brother about 11 years younger than me. He is manic-depressive, a recovering alcoholic and pot user with now about 15 years of sobriety. He has four kids and has not been that great a dad. He has a good relationship with his youngest, and is now enjoying occasional visits with a grandchild, but in general has had too many personal issues to have a good interaction with his children. Has had at least 4 marriages or common law marriages but is living alone now and has been for a few years. He tends to eat too much and probably is about 80-100 pounds overweight. He is on disability (due to manic-depression) from the Post Office but works full-time as a semi-successful salesman, just making sure he does not make enough to threaten his disability income. While bombastic, with lots of loud yelling and emotional abuse of kids and partners when angry in the past, most the time now he is an OK person to deal with, more mellow and reasonable than some of my other brothers. He has a cool, fun-loving streak and can often play heartily with young nieces and nephews, to their great delight.

Allen is about 13 years younger than me and has been in a meditation group since he was an early teen. Though an excellent engineer with a responsible position of over 30 years (except not able or wiling to save or invest, so retirement looks to be not in the cards) with a defense contractor, he is rather passive, easily manipulated by his Black and Hispanic wife from Ecuador, met through the internet when they did not speak each other's languages but learned they loved each other word by word through convenient Microsoft translator software. He is definitely the breadwinner in the family, though, as she is just a net drain financially, spending many thousands of dollars a year on frivolous things. He is also the better caregiver for their two cute kids, a girl about 7 and a boy about 5, but does not know how to deal well with his son's temper or acting out, so the kid's teachers have had parent-teacher conferences about how the lad's folks need to show him some ground rules at home and let him know he cannot always have his way. However, the boy sees that his mom is not in any way checked by his dad and so figures he should not be either.

Fran is extremely bright, more a thinker than a feeler, tends to do what she likes and on her own terms, has many friends and acquaintances, and is interesting, funny, easygoing, and happy.

Puff is very extroverted, emotional, and playful. She is not a well behaved animal, but has responded more to my attempts to show her some discipline than to Fran's.

I think, since I am involved in Alanon's Step 7 these days and have had higher power dreams about my dog in the past, that once again Puff is here partly a representative for god ("dog" backwards). Here she is also perhaps one of my animas, showing by example right feeling or attitude: playful, extroverted, and more into her emotions than I tend to be. It is interesting that she leaps over a natural barrier about 3 feet high. This suggests some obstacle being overcome as well as transformation. I do not yet understand the significance of the other anima in the dream, Fran, telling her what to do, which she ignores, but that she at least the second time does what I say to her firmly, but suspect the dream is here saying something about firmness or masculinity.

The Fran anima may also be there to show right feeling or attitude, in this case being more into what I enjoy, being less engaged (in a co-dependent way) in our relationship, more into thinking and independence, more traditionally masculine.

In the dream's first scene, there is a split between me as simply a wet observer, lying alone in the wet and dark, immersed or soaked in feelings, and my active, engaged brothers who have some kind of fellowship, camaraderie, and shared male bonding via common physical activity. I envy them this fellowship together and wish I shared that with them.

While the end of that scene is positive in that regard, it merely shows an intention rather than a convincing demonstration of my joining in their band. Nonetheless, there is a feeling from the scene of a lot of coming together and being together with my family in a way I have not felt before, as though being simply "one of the guys" was now a more real possibility than earlier.

It may be significant that this past Tuesday I started being a reading "coach" or mentor with three second grade boys, that we are encouraged to think of ourselves as a team - "The Bobcats," a name the boys chose - and that this will be a weekly ongoing involvement for me through early May.]

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