I dream and last week I dreamt that I was supposed to give a talk that day about a Tom Hanks movie that was similar to the movie “Big” in that he was a child trapped in the body of an adult but it wasn’t “Big” and I couldn’t remember the name or details about the movie and I was giving this presentation in a few hours and I was very mad at myself that I hadn’t prepared better and then I woke up and I was VERY RELIEVED that the dream was not true.
My husband Michael dreams and very recently he had a dream where somebody spilled lots of “chicken juice” on the floor and he was trying to clean it up and the cats were nearby and he was afraid that they would lick it and get poisoned by bacteria and people including his old girlfriend kept walking through the chicken juice and spreading it all around and he woke up feeling VERY RELIEVED that the dream was not true.
I dream and last night I dreamt that I was at a party with Pete Buttigieg and my sister and I wanted to leave because I was very tired but people decided that before you left you had to go around to everybody there and have some sort of ritualized and elaborate goodbye and I wasn’t really paying attention to the details because I was so tired but the first person I said goodbye to was Tom Hanks and he helped me through the first goodbye, which included fist bumps and saying something that authentically captured and reflected your interactions with them during the evening and then I tried to say goodbye to a group of three people but they were distracted and I didn’t feel like interrupting them so I snuck out and went home and then I woke up and forgot about the dream until a few minutes ago.
Obviously, sometimes people are going to say things you obviously don’t want to hear.
Yesterday, somebody in therapy was obviously perturbed about people expressing unsolicited and often indirect opinions about what they obviously thought she should do.
Obviously, we made a list of how she could reply.
Obviously, having a list of possible replies to upsetting comments can help reduce stress.
Obviously, I like to take photos and share them with my readers.
What’s obvious about those photos, to you?
Obviously, my handwriting is difficult to read, so it might not be obvious that we talked, wrote, and drew about dreams in a therapy group yesterday. Obviously, it would be helpful if I typed what I wrote.
When I was a child, I had a dream I didn’t want to wake up from. It was so beautiful and soothing and cool. Magical land with lots of colors — pastels. (I was) walking or riding down a road. Not like nature, not “normal” but safe and sweet and lovely. Trees and structures …
I was never able to dream that again.
However, many years later I was at Disney World on a ride about imagination and one of the parts of the ride looked like my dream.
Yesterday, I was asked to facilitate a group for staff, in addition to my usual Tuesday “Coping and Healing” group. As usual, I was honored to provide a safe-enough space for people to express themselves and to connect with others in a healing way.
In both of the groups, people discussed the tragic events in the news. In one of the groups, the members decided to share and comment on each other’s recent dreams. Whenever I work with dreams in a group, I encourage people to respond to other people’s dreams with “If it were my dream, it might mean ….” People’s dreams included sacrifice, animals, losing a baby, wandering in an enormous house, being chased, and communicating with dead relatives. I mentioned that I’d recently dreamed that I was friends with Stephen Colbert.
If it were your dream, what might those dreams mean to you? What dreams have you been having lately?
I snapped only four photos yesterday, two consciously and the other two unconsciously.
Aaron’s pre-school teacher, Alyssa, said that when the kids at school were asked what they were thankful for, some said, “my parents,” or “my toys,” or “my house,” or “my kitty.” Aaron said, “I’m thankful for numbers, because I can count with them.”
When I was looking for that early Aaron story, I found this much earlier one, which I do not fear to share with you, here:
Aaron and Dada were telling stories at bedtime. Aaron told a story where Aaron was having a dream about a dinosaur and his Dada told him that dinosaurs really weren’t there. Then Aaron told another story about a dinosaur who was having a dream about Aaron and who woke up scared from his dream, and the Daddy Dinosaur told the dinosaur to not be afraid, because no Aarons were really there.
As a psychotherapist, I often encourage people (especially those who have encountered frightening things in their lives) to think about how safe they are, in the moment. People — when they take a breath and observe all the realities of their senses — often find that the present moment is actually safer than they are thinking and feeling.
I fear it is sometimes difficult to take one’s own advice. That is, I have been fearing some not-really-dangerous things lately, including:
running out of storage space,
interpersonal miscommunication, and
Also, I fear, I have NOT been scared of some news-worthy dangers, including:
Ebola (and other diseases),
financial scams, and
I fear that sort of thing happens, when I stop listening to the news. (When I stop listening to the news, I definitely feel safer.)
If you fear generalizations about human beings, beware of the next sentence.
Being vigilant about danger can help us survive, so it makes sense for our minds to be fear-focused (although we might get confused about what we should be fearing, which can be scary).
This time of the year, there’s plenty to fear, all around:
Do any of those things scare you? Do any of them help you feel safer?
If any of them did scare you, what else might help you feel safer, in the moment?
Last night, I had a dream. Do you fear dreams? I do not fear other people’s dreams; indeed, I welcome them into individual and group therapy. However, I may fear my own dreams (which may be why I sometimes fear going to sleep).
My dream last night was not scary, although there was a moment in the dream where I was afraid of something.
I fear I am not being clear or detailed enough, right now, about my dream. Here it is:
I was outside, talking to people who were standing and walking around in some sort of public gathering place. At times, I was having conversations with individuals — some of whom seemed to be in charge of things. At other times, I would address many people at the same time, as though I was imparting some wisdom. At one point, I had a revelation. I thought, “in order to help bring about helpful growth in people and in society, I just need to make very small changes, like these: (1) changing one letter in certain words and (2) increasing numbers I use, just by making them one larger. That’s all I need to do and … I can do that!” As I had this epiphany, I could see things very clearly and I heard a person standing near me describe their own sense of deja vu. I thought, “This is all telling me that I am having a true and helpful thought.” I felt happy, safe, and joyful.
Then, I had my moment of doubt and fear, as I thought: “If I tell people this, will they think I am too self-important? Will they think I am delusional?”
When I woke up after that dream, I felt good. I wasn’t sure I was going share that dream with anyone but, I suppose, I am now telling it — in a way — to the world.
As I was writing the dream down for this post, here were my associations to that dream:
I work with people individually and in groups. That was happening in the dream.
When I act like an expert, I fear that I will be seen as wrong and/or as seeing myself as too important. That was happening in the dream.
I do believe that creating small changes can lead to bigger and important change. That was happening in the dream.
In my work, I invite people to tell their stories differently, as a way of creating more self-esteem and moving towards life goals. That is my association to changing one letter in a word, in the dream.
In my blog, I increase the number in the title by one, every day.
Those are my associations with that dream. When I work in therapy with other people’s dreams, I ask this question:
If that were your dream, what might it mean?
I hope you feel safe enough here to respond to that question, or to share any dreams of your own.
Here is ONE MORE three-year-old Aaron story, about change:
Aaron, Mama, and Dada were driving by a restaurant which was all boarded up with wood. When they were talking about how the restaurant was being changed, Aaron said, “Yes, that restaurant is changing. It’s changing into a …. tree!”
Is there any fear about how I might end this post? The endings, here, are almost always gratitude.
Thanks to everybody who helped make this post possible and to you — of course! — for any fears, safety, or anything in-between, that you bring here today.