Sunday, August 7, 2016

In praise of dream fragments: Case of the Red Blob

Many of us in our society are undergoing a prolonged dream drought. Losing connection with night dreams is a serious malady of soul, in the eyes of indigenous elders. If you have lost your dreams, it may be because you have lost a vital part of your soul, the part that is the dreamer.
      Still, when I hear someone say, "I don't dream," I decline to despair. I remind them that all they are saying is, "I don't remember." If they insist that they have no dreams, I encourage them to consider carefully whether this is entirely correct. Maybe they recall a dream from many years ago, say from early childhood. This could be a portal for very rewarding exploration, It could even put someone who has lost their dreams back in contact with the child dreamer in their soul.
      Before you bind yourself to the statement that you don’t remember your dreams, think carefully about whether you are telling yourself and others the truth. Even the most dream-deprived among us often retain something from the night, a wisp, a fragment, a word, a sense of color, a snatch of song. I have found it can be remarkably productive to play with the tiniest leftover from an otherwise lost banquet. This can even break a dream drought.
      Take the case of the red blob. A woman who attended a week-long retreat with me that began with morning dream sharing and creative writing and storytelling from dreams became more and more frustrated as the week went along. She was in a very difficult life passage; she had recently lost her job and had a host of other worries. Here she was at a retreat where people were having fun with their dreams, and she had none to share.
     She had been suffering from a very protracted dream drought, she told us, and by day three, though attempting my homeplay assignments in dream incubation (asking for dreams) she still had none to share.
     “Are you sure?” I challenged her. “I bet, if you think about it, you have something from last night.”
      She shook her head.
      I encouraged her to think again. “Okay,” she almost spat, “I got a blob. Just a blob. How do you like that?”
     “A blob? I think that’s very interesting. What color was it?”
     “Like a blob of red paint? Like house paint?”
     “Like oil paint.”
     “What comes to mind when you picture a blob of red oil paint?”
      She thought for a moment, then her mouth opened wide. “My mother’s palette.” Memory started streaming through. She was suddenly back in a scene from childhood. Her mother was a professional artist. The dreamer (as she was now becoming) was about nine years old, and something terrible had happened, and she was desperate for her mother’s love and attention. But when she burst through the door of her mother’s studio, weeping, her mother yelled at her to get out, reminding the little girl that she was under strict instructions never to disturb her mother when she was working.
      We were at a place of deep emotion, and potentially deep healing. From the vague memory of a blob, we had come to the place where the soul of the dreamer and the energy and imagination of a lovely young girl could be reclaimed, and a frightened nine-year-old could be supported and counseled in her own time of need, since as active dreamers we can reach across time.

1 comment:

Eugene Wilde said...

I had a dream a few days ago. Of an uncle i havent seen in a long time. He was really fit as opposed to being a bit overweight the last time i saw him and i believe he still might be overweight. We hugged incredibly and he took out red nail polish. For me this was strange hah. And told me 'you forgot how to use this let me show you' and painted with it with light strokes on the black t shirt that he was wearing.