Friday, March 12, 2010

The Evolution of Meaning in a Dream

"What does it mean?" is probably the most frequently asked question about dreams. My experience is that a dream's meaning evolves and materializes as I pay attention, as I ponder it for days, weeks or sometimes, years. Meaning dawns in my thoughts, feelings and in the sychronistic events of my waking life, but what I experience is not just intellectual understanding. I experience something like a door opening for me, a gift being given me, an opportunity to act in waking life for my own healing and pleasure, perhaps in a new and exciting direction.

In my previous post, I shared with you the image of a woman hugging a child from a recent dream, but I didn't share the dream. This is it; it's titled: Caring for The Little Girl.

Jim and I find a little girl, 3 or 4 years old, who'd been abandoned in her crib with a puppy; she's blond, blue eyed, very sweet. We have to go home because Jim needs to get up early for a gig. I insist on taking her home. We get little footie pajamas and some clothes from the room she's in. Holding her, I realize she's running a fever. I put the pajamas on her. She'll sleep with me and Jim will sleep in the guest room (with the puppy).

I often take action to honor my dream by painting it. I'm not a visual artist professionally, but since I was a small child, I've loved to draw . Perhaps you did, too? Sketching and painting my dream images or scenarios gives free expression to that little girl who once loved to draw things. I unplug my superego/critic and just let myself flow with whatever I happen to do on the paper. I hold the dream in my mind's eye and let something come out on the paper, no judgements, no over-corrections. I can always just throw it away, so no pressure.

The drawing in this post is the second one I painted from the dream. I'm always surprised, and usually delighted by what I actually get on paper, but every once in a while, I experience a visual Gestalt from the unintentional appearance of a figure I draw in this flow state.

In this picture, it's the "ghost" that appears behind the child's crib. When I first drew that figure, I was going for the baby's face. It came out the face of an older, heavy woman, wearing a not very pleasant expression. I abandoned trying to transform the face to a baby's and started again next to it. Happy, if still bewildered, with the overall sketch, I began painting it in watercolors. My charcoal pencil lines remained distinct on everything but that odd figure I drew that wasn't in the actual dream. When I painted over her, her lines blurred and flowed into the paint. She became a ghost. I know I'll be dialoguing with this figure as I explore the dream further.

This dream is equivalent to about three good therapy sessions for me. I'll be exploring it for a while longer, I'm sure; it's got good juju. The real energy and understanding of the dream began to flow after doing these drawings. I hope my sharing this with you gives you a sense of what I mean by the process of understanding a dream, the evolution of it's meaning.

Your comments and questions are welcome.

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