Monday, September 28, 2015

Dream interpretation - Learn to love that cobra!

One of the most powerful strategies when working with a scary dream is to confront the monster in it.  Today’s dreamer does so and gets dramatic results, even if she doesn’t recognize them at first.

Dear Carolyn,

By way of background I’ll tell you that I just attended a workshop in which we took personality assessments to learn aboutourselves.  I tested as a sort of unassuming, unassertive type who prefers to make herself invisible.  It’s true.  I keep the real me a secret, rarely sharing or letting people get to know me.  I have always told myself that I don’t matter, at least not as much as other people.  That’s how I usually think, but I’m working on it, trying to value myself more.  

After the workshop I had this dream:  I had a cobra in a small white bucket with a lid on it.  I decided to give it some water and when I did, it began to grow, fast!  It became giant instantly!  It was huge, a monster!  It began to chase me and was determined to get me. 

I was afraid, terrified, and so began to climb a tree to get away from it; but I knew I could never be high enough to elude it.  Sure enough, it rose up next to me in the top of the tree.  I began to plead with it, “Please don’t eat me!”  It shrank back down into the bucket.  Then I felt bad that it was there in such an unhealthy place, so tightly contained.  I knew I couldn’t give it to anyone else since it was so dangerous.  I felt responsible for making it more comfortable and I thought maybe a larger container would be a good idea.


Chased by a Cobra

Dear Chased,

As indicated by the background you provided, your dream likely is characterizing a part of you identified at the workshop you attended.  The quiet, unassuming part of you countered by a cobra in a bucket.  With only a small encouragement – the water you offer – that part of you rises up and takes on the quality of a monster unleashed.  Your terror and flight suggest that you are afraid of your own power.  You beg it not to consume you.  This most likely addresses your waking fear that if you assert yourself, you might be taken over by a dangerous, angry, powerful part of yourself that you don’t know how to control.

An important take-away from your dream is that when you speak to the snake, it responds immediately.  It tames itself and returns to the confines of its bucket.  You are in control, Dear Dreamer, even when exploring unfamiliar aspects of your personality.  

As your dream ends, you begin thinking of how you can make that cobra, that powerful, assertive part of yourself, more comfortable.  Give it some more room.  Allow it to expand into a larger, healthier container – one you can grow into and be comfortable with.
Sweet Dreams to You!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Teacher fails himself

When a dreamer must pass a test, or endure a review of his performance, his own harsh attitude toward himself comes through.  He seems to believe that he has done nothing that he should have.  But, his dream directs him to ‘write a page from his favorite book.’  That would be an excellent ‘take away’ from today’s dream about a life review.

Dear Carolyn,

I have begun to accept that I am now in the lastphase of my life.  I was forced out of a career I loved – teaching – by budget cuts in my school district and “early retirement.”  It has taken me quite a long time, several years, to come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t really ready to leave.  I felt rejected and angry.  But now, I’m over it and trying to look forward.  I am sending you the anxious dream I just had this morning.  It brings back bad memories.

I’m a teacher and it’s the last day of school.  I am totally unprepared!  The report cards are sitting on my desk, not even started on.  I have barely taught them any math at all!  I wonder if they even know the times tables and wonder if I can teach them basic skills and even double-digit multiplication quickly.  I decide  to do a spelling lesson on “ou” – though, thought, through etc.  I tell the kids that they will have to write a page about their favorite book.  I am embarrassed because next year’s teacher will know immediately that I haven’t taught them anything.


Old Teacher

Dear Teacher,

Your dream is set perfectly since you were a teacher – one who evaluates others’ progress.  And, you are now at the moment in life where it is natural to look back and assess yourself – write your own report card.

Somehow, though, you find yourself “totally unprepared” to complete your own report card.  Perhaps this moment has come on you suddenly, even though you have had several years to prepare yourself.  Your anger may have delayed a normal reflection on a phase of life that has ended.  Your anxious dream suggests that you may not have thought through to the point where you now find yourself, and beyond.  It finds you a bit frantically casting about for what you have accomplished.

You are quite hard on yourself, Dear Dreamer, based on what you assume others will think of you – that you haven’t taught – or learned – anything.  This simply isn’t so.  Take a tip from your own directions to your dream students:  Write a page about your favorite memories.  That is to say, begin to make notes of your best times in the classroom, your most rewarding moments with students, your favorite recollections from the rewarding career that you loved.  Then tuck them away on a bookshelf as you look ahead to the rest of your life.  If you regress to your bitter feelings, pull out that book and read it again.

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Keep the faith!

Most dreams depict the dreamer’s personal circumstances metaphorically.  But sometimes, they just tell it like it is.  Today’s dreamer is presented with a pretty direct likeness of how he’s feeling along with a take-away message that is right on point.  He needs only to recognize his strengths.

Dear Carolyn,

I am a young writer, trying to get a break into the successful, published world.  I know I’m good, but it’s very hard to make any headway.  I’ve had a few things accepted and published – some wins – which is encouraging, but I also feel discouraged a lot of the time.  It seems like there is too much to do that doesn’t have anything to do with writing.  I don’t even know some of the stuff I should be doing!  And I don’t have a lot of money and I’m not sure who to trust.

In my dream, it’s two of my idols (I’m also a boxing fan):  Sugar Ray Leonard challenges Evander Holyfield to a fight.  Holyfield doesn’t want to fight him, but Leonard keeps on taunting him.  They are in the ring.  Maybe I am Sugar Ray Leonard – I am seeing all this from the corner of the ring behind SRL – like him, I’m small and out of my weight class, but feisty and determined to have a fight. 

Finally, Holyfield says OK, and hits Leonard in the face.  It is immediately clear that I am out of my weight class and over my head.  Holyfield hits Leonard a second and third time.  Leonard is helpless, beaten, pulverized in moments.  But he does not give up.  He will not give up.

Is this dream telling me to hang up my writing gloves?


Sugar Ray

Dear Sugar Ray,

You might think that your dream shows you out of your weight class and picking a fight you can only lose.  But look again at these two fighters whom you idolize – both are winners and both represent parts of you. 

You first take the role of Sugar Ray Leonard who was noteworthy at least in part because he did keep fighting.  Remember, he retired more than once and came back to fight and win again and again.  He fought in multiple weight classes and was successful.  He fought when others thought he should not.  You mentioned you don’t know who to trust – Sugar Ray trusted his instincts and persisted even when the going was rough.  Tap into this determination in yourself!

Your dream choses Evander Holyfield to represent your other positive traits.  You are aware that he was nicknamed “The Real Deal” because of his multiple talents in the ring and solid character, just like you in the writing arena.

As you know, these two never actually fought each other.  In your dream, they represent two parts of yourself.  You win either way!  Have faith in your strong suits, Dear Dreamer, and keep writing.  Now is not the time to hang up your gloves.

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Dearly Departed in our dreams

Dreams of loved ones who have passed away are often reported near to the event of their passing, sometimes repeatedly and sometimes, even years later.  Like all dreams, these ‘visitation’ dreams may have multiple meanings for the dreamer.  They also present the question as to whether we can accept them literally.  Today’s dreamer offers a poignant example of these emotional and typically comforting dreams.

Dear Carolyn,

I am a Christian and I believe what the Bible tells me.  I always try to be a good person because I want to go to Heaven when I die.  I have been living with my uncle for quite a while.  I have been on hard times and he was the only family I had left!  Then, a couple of months ago, he got sick and sicker and died all of a sudden.  I have been so worried about him because even though he was raised to believe in God, he didn’t always do the right thing.  He was as good as he could be to me, but he wasn’t very nice to different people.  After crying about this so much and worrying all the time about what happened to him after he died, I had this dream:

I am sleeping on my uncle’s couch, like always.  Suddenly, he comes into the room with me!  I know that he’s dead, but there he is as big as life!  Anyway, he walked right past me with a big smile on his face.  I sat up and watched him go toward the back of the house where he went through the kitchen and out the back door, but instead of the back yard, it was all sky, blue sky! 

It felt so real and I woke up crying tears of joy!  It looked like my uncle is happy and OK and that he went out the back door to Heaven!  Can it really be true what I think it means?



 Dear Relieved,

You are among the legions of dreamers who have had just such dreams as yours – dreams of a deceased loved one who appears in a dream and ‘seems so real.’  Dreamers report that these dreams have a quality of truth different from normal, surreal dreams.  Even though the dreamer wants to believe that the dearly departed actually did appear in the dream, it’s almost too good to be true.

Dreams such as yours can be understood in many ways, as can all dreams.  We could talk about your uncle as a representative part of yourself, for example.  However, given your state of mind, Dear Dreamer, and your deep concern over your uncle’s next life, it seems clear that this dream arrived to comfort you.  In spite of his questionable choices in waking life, in your dream your uncle lives with a smile on his face, just as you have hoped he could. 

Indeed, he found a back door to Heaven!

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Old houses indicate old states of mind

Dreams of houses often reflect the dreamer’s state of mind.  The home is where s/he lives mentally or emotionally when it comes to a particular aspect of waking life.  Today’s dreamer returns with some longing for her residence of many years to find a new perspective on her memories.

Dear Carolyn,

While I was on vacation I had two dreams set in my old house, the home I lived in for 38 years and moved from two years ago.  I was so proud of that home ~ so many memories and so much personal growth!  Transitions, change can be so hard.  I have some nostalgia for our life before the move.  Here is what I remember of the dreams:

I am showing the home to a couple, both of whom are former clients.  He is a member of a spiritual group, Sufi; she is a lute musician.  I was their massage therapist.  So, we are outside the master bedroom which had a beautiful garden with azaleas and rhododendron.  The bushes are small and rounded and I make some excuse that they need help and the new owners have given me permission to be here and I will do the maintenance.  Then as we go into house and I am going to show them around, the wife gets a gleeful, playful look in her eyes and says,"First I'm going to use the bathroom!!!"  End.  

The other fragment of a dream took place in the guest bedroom that looked as it did right before we moved, empty.  I did my yoga practice in this clean empty room.


Home Sick

Dear Home Sick,

In your dream you return to the home you were most proud of with a spiritual and artistic couple, those parts of yourself that flourished there.  By way of excusing the diminished state of the flowering plants there, you say that the new owners have given you permission to hang around and do the maintenance on those plants.  

The setting and your actions may indicate that you are working to maintain some of the past beauty and ambiance of that home in your current circumstance.  It also suggests that perhaps all things were not so big and healthy as you thought they were.  In retrospect, some things may seem empty, as did the guest room where you worked before.  The shock of this feeling sets the tone for your look back.

The sequence in which the new resident is going to the restroom before she looks around may speak to a need for you to ‘eliminate’ some negative emotions or memories before maintaining the plants that seem stunted and need help. 

Regarding her apparent glee in your dream ~ her happy anticipation of going to the restroom before you begin your maintenance of the gardens:  What a relief it can be to leave some "stuff" behind!  In fact, Dear Dreamer, to truly cultivate the beautiful memories and ambiance of that residence, you must leave that stuff behind!

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Weight loss dream pulls no punches

Our dreams are directly responsive to our waking thoughts and dilemmas.  We can “incubate” a dream on a particular issue using a formal set of procedures.  But often the incubation is taking place by virtue of our regular habits of thinking.  Today’s dreamer presents a case in point.

Dear Carolyn,

Every day I think about my weight problem.  The problem is that I am stuck and can’t seem to lose a single pound without regaining it.  I swear I watch what I eat and I walk a couple of times a week.  I’m not expecting miracles, but nothing happens in spite of what I do.  Last night I dreamed about it:

I am in a large restaurant.  Maybe there are 400 or 500 people seated at tables.  It is a raucous scene in that they are all waiting for their meals or eating their meals and talking loudly.  I enter and the restaurant is a few steps down so I have a clear view of the entire seating area.  I have to find my own place to sit and have a meal.  A waitress has directed me to do this.  I see a single seat here and there.  I approach a table with a family.  It has an empty seat and they invite to sit down and join them.  But I know I should not sit and eat. 

In another restaurant scene, again I am looking for a seat in a place that is full.  But ultimately the restaurant begins to thin out and I do find a seat and sit down to have my meal.  But before I can get started a nerdy young man sits down uninvited and says he wants to interview me as I am the expert.  This makes me laugh.  I say wait what am I an expert in?  He says “dieting.”


Counting Calories

Dear Counting,

Agreed.  Your Dreaming Self is most likely responding to your regular and repeated waking thoughts about your weight and dieting.  And, the second part of the dream states plainly that you are an expert in dieting, indicating that you already know what you need to know to achieve your goals.  Then your dream presents a blunt self-assessment:

You find yourself overlooking a large, full restaurant.  Consider this a view of your own body.  It’s full, yet you are looking for a place fit in another meal.  Dear Dreamer, do you continue eating when you are already full or there is little space for more food?  The 400 or 500 people in the restaurant may be a reference to the number of calories appropriate to any meal.  Filling up every empty space works against you.

Finally, in your dream you say, “I know I should notsit and eat.”  Time for honesty with yourself Dear Dreamer.  Are you truly and consistently following the tried and true methods for weight loss, or are you more like the people in your dream – waiting for your next meal, eating a meal while talking loudly about dieting? 

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Sometimes sex in a dream is sex!

Medication can affect our dreams.  In the case of today’s dreamer, her new medication has changed her thinking about an important aspect of her life – her sexuality.  Her new state of mind shows up in her dreams.

Dear Carolyn,

Two things are going on with me that might have influenced my dream:  First, I feel that my semi-retirement is only semi-rewarding.  So I've been thinking about taking on some volunteer work with young people.  I think that's where the child rescue comes into the dream.

Also, I recently started taking estrogen and it's has brought my libido back – at age 70!  In the dream I had very strong sexual feelings regarding the actor Scott.  Although I do find Scott attractive and sexy I only know him from TV shows.  

Here’s the dream:  In my dream I didn't have or even want to have sex with Scott Bakula; he was kind of an unemployed bum living in a somewhat ratty hotel.  But I found out that he engaged in rampant promiscuity.  He slept with100 women in one day!  I saw a TV movie in which he portrayed a gay man.  It showed him in steamy gay love scenes.

An important part of my dream, though, is having saved the life of a young child.  Because he was wearing a strange costume he could not walk.  The 3-year-old was dressed to look like a toy game board piece (flat on the bottom).

I was outside a hotel when the tide came rapidly rushing within a couple feet of the front door.  The child didn't move and I grabbed him and got him safely inside.  

I'm looking forward to your interpretation of my peculiar dream.


New Life at 70

Dear New Life,

You’re right – the waking life changes you're experiencing from your new prescription of estrogen are showing up in your dreams. 

The resurgence of your sexuality is portrayed in a couple of ways in your dream:  First in your attraction to Scott Bakula.  Your dreaming self has chosen him as an object for you to focus this new energy on – someone whom you find sexy and attractive in your waking life. 

Dreams of gay/lesbian love/sex may have to do with self-love.  And since Scott appears as poor and even homeless (living in a ratty hotel) your dream may be reflecting neglect in the arena of self-love contrasted with the new rush of interest ~ the large numbers of women he's having sex with, the promiscuity, and the flooding waters.

Secondly, the rescue of the child may well be tied to the volunteer work you're considering; and it may also speak to rescuing or saving a childlike playful part of yourself from the onslaught of emotions portrayed by the rising tides.  It will be for you to say, Dear Dreamer, if in the past your sex life was “flat on the bottom.”  Maybe you felt bound and unable to move, or controlled like a game piece.  Not any more!

Sweet Dreams to You!