Was it only by dreaming or writing that I could find out what I thought? --Joan Didion
Recently, it was the dream of the red-jacketed man following me in a dark, no-clear-exit- alleyway, and my only weapon a cutting board to shield myself or wallop with, which woke me. More recently, it was visitors in my house; people I did not know, but did not fear, busily chopping and cooking with my food in my kitchen. They appeared in the dreamspace around 3:30 AM( that time seemed important) as I was working late in my office and noticed soft chatter and the sounds of a refrigerator and cupboards opening and closing coming from the other side of the house. When I went to see what all the commotion was about, they stopped what they were doing but did not run or hide. I asked them how long they’d been there, and one of them, a young man, said, “Oh, we’ve been here since last February.
My only thought before I woke up was: “How could I not have noticed their presence in my house before now?
There’s another quote by another famous person whose name I can’t remember that says something to the effect that people who insist on telling their dreams are among the “terrors of the breakfast table”.
It’s Dreamtable II--and forgive me if I’m being a terror! I have friends and teachers who work regularly and quite consciously with their dreams. Fortunately, they wouldn’t agree with the curmudgeon who’d have us believe our dream telling is a giant irritant to a morning’s peace, but his grumpy voice is obviously in my ear as I write this or I wouldn’t give him so much space. I wish my dream teachers/friends were with me now, as I try to figure out what these two recent dreams might be asking me to pay attention to.
If I get quiet, if I can recall what I saw in the dreams (the images) and the sensations I had as I experienced the dream (feelings), if I can re-integrate the whole of the what- was- happening- between- the –words- spoken, the sonic/emotional qualities of those dreams, I might be able to interpret for myself.
The more obvious questions that arise for me are “Who is following me? And who has moved in to my house without my knowing it?” Another follows: “What’s with all the cooking/kitchen imagery, defending myself with a cutting board…people cooking with my tools, my food?”
My spontaneous answers to these questions are: “Beth, just pay attention. You will be able to see who is following you and with what good or ill intent if you just stay awake. The red jacket makes them visible. Your intuition will inform you of their intentions. You have protection enough if you need it. Be alert!”
The other is one in a series of invitations I’ve had most of my adult life which is to examine the boundaries I set around the care and feeding of others, often, though not always, at my own expense. Clearly, it’s time again for me to re-visit my old patterns and make adjustments on behalf of my own healthy boundaries and well-being. "Stay hospitable", I hear a voice in my head whispering. "Know when it’s time to ask your guests to leave. Too much of a good thing leaves the larder empty without much to offer on the next visit".
So that’s cutting to the chase. I won’t spend more time analyzing today. But I thank Joan Didion for asking the question about dreaming and writing. Both seem to help me find out what I’m thinking.
Let me ask this question though: what are your dreams telling you these days? What is your writing telling you? What space are you making in your life, your head, your heart, to pay attention to the wisdom—practical or otherwise- you already possess to make the small or large adjustments you need for perspective and possibly a bit of balance?
BLR --for the Poplar Grove Muse