Sunday, April 26, 2015
My black dog's first plane trip
I took my black dog walking stick on his first plane trip on Saturday. Waiting for our connection at Baltimore airport, we pause for refreshments and are immediately invited to play dream ambassadors.
"What do you do?" asks a lady who strikes up conversation when she notices the black dog.
. "I teach people how to dream." "Oh my God I need to sign up for that. I've been having all these bad dreams."
I reassure her that dreams are not on our case, they are on our side. I explain how to go back inside a scary dream to confront the challenge and resolve it on its own ground.
Now my black dog deserves a beer. I scan the draft selections. They have an IPA on tap called Flying Dog Snake Dog. How perfect is that?
The lady pays for her wine and leaves, but rushes back a few minutes later, saying, "I want to know all about you and which of your books to read."
She makes eye contact with my black dog and tells me her family got a black dog for her brother in law because he was depressed. They called the dog Søren Kierkegaard because he was a cross between a Great Dane and a black lab. I observe that this is a doubly appropriate name since Kierkegaard was not only a Dane but a somewhat depressing philosopher He compared life's joys to the momentary thrill experienced by insects who die at the moment of fertilization. Happily, Kierkegaard the dog is apparently a cheery fellow.
Now the lady tells me her "bad" dream from last night. In it she cut open her husband's skull and hacked his brain to pieces, trying to understand how he thinks. She woke up feeling terrible.
."If it were my dream", I say gently, "I would compare what my dream self was doing with the behavior of my waking self. Do I pick at my husband in a way that leads to pain and conflict. I need to understand him better, but the dream is telling me I need to go about that in a subtler and more effective way. Maybe the dream is showing me how he feels about some of our interactions."
She blushes and nods.
I talk about how to go back inside a dream to try to work things through. And how -, when she feels the time is right and can do this with humor - recounting the dream to the husband could actually help them to establish better communications.
Now she is off to her gate, with my books The Three 'Only" Things and Conscious Dreaming on her immediate to-buy list.
When I join the line for departure at my own gate, I find my neighbor is a cat named Magnolia, going to California in her crate. The conversation with the humans around me immediately turns to the character of cats and dogs as life companions and therapeuts. My black dog is pleased.