Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Sing along for harmony in the workplace

Some dreamers report music as a primary component of their dreams.  This can be soothing, uplifting, even educational.  Today’s dreamer provides a lovely example.

Dear Carolyn,

I work with a several people who are antagonistictoward each other at almost every turn.  I abhor  their jealousies and pettiness, and to my dismay, I sometimes find myself joining in.  We do get the work done, but it always feels like a struggle.  I could not see all the people in this dream, but I’m pretty sure my colleagues were there with my friends and some family members:

I dreamed we were in a small outdoor area formed by cut rocks.  We sat in three sections on stone benches.  Overhead were white trellises with green vines hanging down.

Someone was trying to organize us and was frustrated.  I call out, "What about singing a round?  Acoustics in this place would be amazing."

Then everyone looks to me to organize the group’s singing.  I ask if anyone knows ‘kumbaya.’  The remainder of the dream has me organizing the group into three sections according to the natural divisions in our setting. 

Then I teach the song.  Verse one – Am I praying Lord?  Verse two – Am I singing Lord?  Verse three – Am I laughing Lord?  In teaching, I sing each verse and the group sings it over and over.  The harmony and the resonance are beautiful.

Toward the end I realize the lyrics should not be questions: not – Am I praying Lord, but – I am praying Lord, and so on.


Wishful Dreaming

Dear Wishful,

The setting of your dream depicts the hard and entrenched positions of those you deal with at work and perhaps even among some of your friends and family members.  What could be more unmoving than cut rocks and stone benches?  The trellises overhead with the vines denoting connectedness allude to the higher mind needed to overcome the ingrained attitudes around you.

Your dream places you in the role of peace keeper,or perhaps more accurately, peace maker.  When others are frustrated at trying to organize the discordant groups, you know just what to do and how to do it.  While some are now cynical about the naively optimistic views of the world evoked by the song, the fact that all three factions in your dream chime in to make harmony in such a beautiful resonant way speaks to the possibilities for common ground among them.

You say that in spite of yourself, you sometimes give in to the negative spirit surrounding you.  This likely comes at the times when, like the part of you in the dream that is frustrated, you give up.  Since you can’t beat ‘em, you join ‘em.

If things are to improve, you must be a leader in this regard.  Take the higher ground, Dear Dreamer.  Show your co-workers how it’s done, through gratitude, laughter and even song.  Soon you and those around you will no longer question but affirm their blessings.

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Fairy tales can come true

Some of us cannot accept our own good fortune.  No matter the face value of those people and circumstances of our lives, we continue to question, unable to enjoy our own happy luck.  In cases like these, our dreams will sometimes help us pinch ourselves and realize that our waking life prosperity is real.  Today’s dreamer receives a beautiful wake up call. 

Dear Carolyn,

I am almost 40 years old and sometimes I feel as if I have spent my whole life looking for a perfection that does not exist.  In retrospect, I see that I may have passed up opportunities and relationships that might have been wonderful.  But based on my pride and high standards, I wouldn’t “settle.”  I guess I believed the fairy tales! 

I’m sure I offended people who cared for me and wasted more than one chance for happiness.  Even now, I find myself on the verge of pushing away a man who seems lovely, but I am distrustful.  It is hard for me to relax and accept him.  He seems to have a lot going for him and he is pursuing me.  But what if he is not what he seems to be?  The risk of pain scares me!  Then I had this dream:

The cottage is perfect!  It has everything I’ve been looking for -- late thirties storybook charm with built-in cabinets, inlaid wooden floor in the living room, a funky chandelier in the dining room, a kitchen window overlooking a heavenly garden, two bedrooms for me and the cat.  And -- it’s affordable!  The deal is sealed and the landlady departs.  I gingerly creep around, visualizing where I will put my furniture and artwork, scarcely believing my good fortune.  Surely she will come back and say it was all a mistake, but she doesn’t!  Then I notice another door.  I cautiously open it, expecting some Twilight Zone horror, but it’s a delightful third bedroom.  I’m overwhelmed with happiness.


Always Skeptical

Dear Skeptical,

It is no coincidence that the beautiful new home you have found in your dream is a “late thirties” charmer.  That most likely is a reference to the new man you are considering, assuming that he, like you, is nearly 40 years old.  Like him, the cottage has everything you have been looking for “built in” and “inlaid.”  Maybe that funky chandelier in the dining room refers to a lovable quirk you have observed in him – perhaps his outlook on life – the way he sheds light on things. 

However, your old doubtful self just cannot believe that you could actually “settle” into such perfect surroundings.  You have to creep around gingerly, expecting to find a horror behind the next door. 

But guess what, Dear Dreamer?  It’s all good!  Your dream assures you that this time, there are no unpleasant surprises.  Do not spoil a good thing with your negative expectations.  This just might be your storybook relationship.  Try to relax and enjoy it!

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Not all babies are the same

Today, two versions of dreams including images of infants offer insights into this powerful metaphor.  Note the similarities between them as the babies evoke inspiration and creation of something fresh and new.  Also note how each dreamer’s interaction with the infant in her dreams illustrates markedly different meanings.

Dear Carolyn,

I always dream of a beautiful baby girl, like an infant.  I like to have the baby laughing and I carry her.  This baby appears in my dreams from the beginning of this year.  Sometimes I am pregnant; then I dreamed again it was born, a baby, an infant.  Then last night I dreamed again of a baby.  Maybe she’s growing because she’s beautiful.  Last night she was 4 months old.

Hope you can tell me what’s the meaning of that. 

Signed, Loving Babies

Dear Carolyn,

I dreamed that a neighbor entrusted me to look after her baby for the afternoon.  I’m holding the infant in my arms as we make our way down a crowded urban sidewalk, possibly New York City.  There’s so much noisy commotion and bustling activity that I get distracted and lose my focus now and then.  I look down and there’s no baby.  I panic.  Oh, I left it on the ledge over there.  We’re okay now.  I walk along and then remember to check on the baby and discover it’s a cat instead.  I’m shaken, but think -- my memory isn’t so great; I guess the cat’s welfare is my job now.  On we go, lost in the chaotic city scene for a few minutes.  I look and it’s a baby again.  Is the baby okay?  How will I find my way back to the mother?  Then I realize -- all that remains in my hand is a small speck of flesh!  Unspeakable shame and guilt engulf me.


Bad Babysitter

Dear Loving Babies and Bad Babysitter,

Babies in our dreams often signify new beginnings, anew life or a fresh start of some sort.  In both your cases this is most likely the case.  For Loving Babies, the dream seems to suggest that you are carrying a secret, a happy sense of anticipation of something new and wonderful.  Perhaps you have been nurturing a new idea that is progressing within you as your dream suggests by the stages of growth of your ‘brainchild.’ 

You don’t offer details from your waking life, but perhaps now is the time to unveil your ideas and bring them to fruition.  Glad tidings for you, Dear Dreamer!

In contrast, Bad Babysitter, you appear to have taken on someone else’s concept and agreed to carry it through distracting and hectic circumstances.  Your lack of commitment to the obligation shows as you misplace the baby and at times even fail to recognize it.  In the end, when there is barely a speck remaining of the original thought, the guilt and shame that engulf you must be endured.  Confess to your true lack of interest in what was not your ‘baby’ from the start.

Sweet Dreams to You Both!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Do it right, or don't do it

Accounts from ancient cultures include stressful, recurring dreams of being unprepared for work or for a test at school.  Even then, people from all stations in life put off preparing for what they knew they had to do!  Today’s dreamer has his own version of such a dream with a twist.  It may be about more than procrastination.

Dear Carolyn,

I have had versions of this dream over the years and I figure it is probably about my stupid habit of procrastinating.  At this late point in my adult life, it seems really dumb to put things off, but I still do.  No matter how I chastise myself, it remains a problem.  In this newest version of the dream, I felt extremely upset at myself for postponing again:

I’m not sure but I might be just a tad late for the arts and crafts show.  I signed up and paid for a booth months ago and I’m fairly certain this is the right weekend.  The scene opens in a lovely park strewn with crafts people and artists hawking their wares among the oak trees.  Wait, they all seem to be set up and busy already.  How can that be?  What time is it?  Damn, it’s almost four in the afternoon and it ends at five.  How did I screw up so badly?  I wish I knew which space was mine but the park is huge and I don’t see anyone to ask.  My car is loaded with my stuff and equipment but where did I park?


Delaying Dave

Dear Dave,

You are among the throngs of people seized withstress and remorse due to procrastination.  As you say, you chastise yourself to no avail and continue to delay.  Your own frustration at yourself feeds the urgency and upset of this latest version of your ongoing pattern of behavior.

Your dream speaks to the newest angle on your habit of putting things off – the fact that you have arrived at “this late point” in your adult life.  Maybe you thought that by now, you would have outgrown the routine. 

It’s important to note that you have paid for a space in this lovely setting among your peers and colleagues.  You have also loaded your car with all the appropriate supplies.  You have prepared and paid your dues.  Give yourself credit for this.  But also take note of your lackadaisical attitude after that initial push:  You say maybe you are a “tad” late; and you are “fairly certain” you arrived on the right weekend.  This suggests that you must check your commitment.  Do you sign up for things impulsively – perhaps things you feel you ‘should’ do – only to have your interest wane in the meanwhile?

Perhaps it is late – even late in life – you have only one hour until the show closes.  But it is not too late.  There is no value in berating yourself, Dear Dreamer.  Instead, pull yourself together and do the things you want to do – or let go of the things about which you truly do not care.

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Dream interpretation - Get some relief!

Dreams fraught with bodily sensation and/or focus on the body may be speaking directly to a physical necessity to which the Dreamer must attend.  But even these dreams most likely have another layer (at least!) of meaning that will direct the Dreamer toward personal growth.

Dear Carolyn,

Sometimes a “soccer mom’s” life can be hectic.  My dream reminds me of the frantic quality of my “typical” days.  I sacrifice for my family because I know the kids will be grown and gone in the blink of an eye.  It is a little embarrassing to write about, but here’s my dream:

OMG!  If I don’t find a bathroom quick my bladder will burst, right here in a huge department store!  I pass through the jewelry, cosmetics and sportswear departments, looking frantically for a restroom sign.  Of course I don’t think to ask a clerk; I just keep lurching through throngs of shoppers, wild-eyed with mounting misery.  Off in the distance I spy “Women’s Room” and make a beeline.  I dash in and yes, there are plenty of available stalls, but -- no doors!  I can’t stay, I must find privacy!  I hurtle in agony through menswear, appliances and shoes and there it is – at last!  A lone toilet, all for me!  But wait, it’s right in the middle of the store!  I can’t do it.

What in the world is this about?!


Frantic for the Loo

Dear Frantic,

Any time we dream that our physical bodies need attention; it is advisable to pay them that attention.  Now that doesn’t mean you should just get up and go to the bathroom and dismiss this dream with a flush.  However, there could well be that literal component to your dream. 

While you are doing your best for your family and clearly have placed duty above self, on the metaphorical level, you dream suggests that you are desperate for some relief.  That play on words contrasts the idea of relieving one’s self in the rest room with the anxiety you may be feeling not so far below the surface.  Your dream suggests you need some relief, some privacy, s “Women’s Room,” but it’s off in the distance, probably when your children become independent.

You say that “of course” you do not think to ask for help, but just continue to lurch “through throngs of shoppers, wild-eyed with mounting misery.”  Your dream suggests that none of the “departments” you search through so frantically seem to offer the kind of support you need.  But “of course” without asking your family members, other soccer moms, or community organizations for help, how can you know for sure?

It seems then that your sense of duty and sacrifice has left you without any privacy or a moment’s relief.  Do you thrive on projecting the image of a devoted and harried parent?  Take care of yourself too Dear Dreamer, so you do not burn out before your kids are grown and gone.

Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Polish your diamonds

Dreams of loss are common.  Often the key to such a dream’s meaning lies in the symbolism of what is lost.  For today’s dreamer, the loss of diamonds from her engagement ring is frightening, but less so when the metaphor of “engagement” is understood.

Dear Carolyn,

I have a normal life.  My husband and I are happy and our kids are fine.  Work is always a struggle but after months of turmoil there, it's back to normal.  Not fixed, but back to normal. 

I think I get tired of the routine.  I feel I spend a lot of time just going through the motions.  I go and go.  In the middle of all this, I had a dream that I am having problems processing.  The dream was very business-like, matter of fact:

I lost all the diamonds in my engagement ring.  They just cascaded out, but I was able to pick them up and place them back in. 

I felt that picking up the diamonds was just something that had to be done.  Everything has its place – that sort of thing.  So, there was no panic when they fell out.  I really didn’t even seem worried about gathering them up and putting them back in place.  But I woke up feeling a little sad.


Diamonds - Lost and Found

Dear Diamonds,

Dreams like this can be distressing, can't they?  We attach so much meaning to our wedding/engagement rings!  It’s natural to jump to a conclusion that your marriage is in trouble.  But in this case, your dream may speak less about your marriage than it does about your detachment from your “normal” life. 

It might be helpful to think of the play on words with "engagement."  This is likely a reference to another kind of engagement.  Have you observed yourself to be not unhappy, but "disengaged" from your involvement in the aspects of your waking life?  Work, husband, kids' school or activities? 

The tone of your description suggests that this is true.  You tell us how you “go and go,” how you’ve tired of your routine and how you merely go through the motions of your life. 

Your dream reflects this sort of resignation by showing you have lost the "diamonds" of engagement which are, of course, caring, passion, enthusiasm, curiosity, interest and joy.  They are all within reach, but no extra concern or effort is expended on your part.  Just as you describe your work as “not fixed, but back to normal,” that is how you proceed – returning to a “normal” routine that is uninspiring. 

Your dream comes to you in the interest of your health and wellness, Dear Dreamer.  It suggests that you take a more careful look at each diamond in your life rather than putting them back into place with a “ho hum.”  Polish each one with some enthusiasm.  You have much for which to be thankful.  Express your gratitude for the sparkling gifts that make up your days.

 Sweet Dreams to You!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Dream Interpretation - Go ahead and cross that bridge

Watch your dreams for bridges and overpasses.  These will often signal a transition point in your waking life.  Thus, if the bridge from here to there – from the old to the new, or the familiar to the unknown – is fraught with fear, just know that staying where you are in life, i.e. avoiding the transition, may be safer, but it may be stifling as well.

Dear Carolyn,

I dreamed (again!) that I’m in San Francisco and it’s time to go home.  Sometimes in this dream I live down the Peninsula in Redwood City or Palo Alto, so the route is over land; other times my home is in the East Bay and I will have to cross a bridge to get there.  

I’m in my car pondering which direction to take.  I’m morbidly aware of my longstanding bouts with panic attacks while driving over bridges and overpasses, so the decision is critical.  It is of the utmost importance that I steer clear of the terror I’ve experienced so many times in the past.  I must stay level-headed and plot a route free of bridges and from the nightmarish anxiety I so desperately want to avoid even if it means a 25 mile detour.  Aha, I see the best way just ahead.  

I summon my courage and start driving.  But within seconds I realize the error of my ways.  Looming in front of me is a towering overpass leading to a bridge with no way out.  The tension wakes me up in a shivering sweat.



Dear G,

Gephyrophobia – the fear of bridges or of crossing them – can be debilitating, especially if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, a place with an impressive array of long, tall, daunting bridges.  Some bridges in the United States are so notorious for striking fear in motorists that local governments have arranged driving assistance programs for drivers who ask to be chauffeured across.  

Some people use distractions such as reading license plates backward or listening for words on the radio starting with the letter ‘A,’ for example, to engage their brains in other activities as they coax themselves across an intimidating overpass.

Regarding your dream, while it may reflect your literal fears, it likely also reflects a similarly paralyzing state of mind that prevents you from transitioning from your well-worn and limiting routine into a newer, fresher way of life. 

Make a note of when this dream recurs and you will soon see that it pops up when you are going to great lengths – taking a 25 mile detour – to avoid a task to which you have assigned immense stature.  You would rather do almost anything than cross that bridge when you come to it.  Your dream suggests you have assigned so much power and importance to the change that it terrifies you.  A more rational approach is called for.

Better to break that transition into baby steps that you can take to build your confidence, Dear Dreamer.  Otherwise, you’ll do a lot of driving and but get nowhere.

Sweet Dreams to You!