the man in the gray-flannel mirror

fork road - November 20, 2014d

In a recent dream, I refuse to identify with a man…

As result, I can not give what I have to give.

In the dream…

I’m at a large, active conference center.  I’m scheduled to do a presentation before a group.

A man corrals me in a hallway.  He’s a rather plain-looking middle-aged guy in a dull gray suit.

He wants my advice—my guidance.  He says he thinks I can help him because I’ve already gone through what he’s going through.

But as I see it, this man and I have little in common.  I’d like to get away from him, but he keeps me hemmed in.

That gray-suited man represents something I’ve run from my entire adult life: a stable, middle-class existence…

So then, how can we share a major life passage?

Well, on one level, we are indeed quite different.  But on another level—a basic level—perhaps our experiences do parallel…

I should be flattered really—he thinks I have some knowledge to impart.  He’s saying: I need your help.  Ironically, I willing to talk to a large group, but not to a lone individual.

I don’t think this dream speaks to my present, but to a possible future.  It’s a warning.  I’ll try to remember.  In any case, according to this dream, when the situation does arise, I won’t escape so easily.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
poems of our dream life

Posted in Uncategorized, dreams, dreaming, psychology, self-help, Jung, symbolism, cartoon | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

the ever-present past

woolly bully - November 11, 2014d

Dreams tell us the truths we ignore while awake…

Consider the documentary The Act of Killing

At the beginning of the film, an Indonesian man by name of Anwar demonstrates how he killed hundreds of ethnic Chinese during the genocide of 1965…

Anwar and his cohorts were never condemned for their actions.  In fact, they’re still treated as heroes by the government.  During a television interview, Anwar boasts of his accomplishments.

Now a grandpa, he seems to have a good life—except for his bad dreams…dreams that bring him to question actions performed decades ago.

There’s a film within this film: at different points, Anwar and his associates reenact torture scenes…

In these scenarios, he plays various roles: torturer, passive observer, and victim.  He even reenacts his nightmares.  He tells a dream ghost, “I thought I killed you.”

If this were a Hollywood film, Anwar would achieve catharsis through these scenarios.  He might even confront the families of his victims…

But he isn’t a a character; he’s a real human being—which means that he’s filled with contradictions and complexities.  In one reenactment, he energetically stabs a teddy bear to death—it’s meant to represent a baby*…

Though Anwar does indeed show remorse for his past actions…

…he may also be capable of killing again.

I say: he’s lucky to have nightmares that dredge up what festers in his depths.

(* This scene can only be found on the Director’s Cut version of the film.)

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

Posted in cartoon, dreaming, dreams, Jung, psychology, self-help, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

separately together

spider note 446 - October 20, 2014d

A wonderful dream…and yet it’s a little frustrating…

In the dream…

By happy chance, I’ve come upon a free jazz concert in the French Quarter of New Orleans…

Some great players are preparing to perform—including the entire Marsalis family.

I’ve got to tell someone!  I imagine what I’d say to a friend.

So why does this dream frustrate me?  For one thing, I wish it had continued!  And I wish it was clearer.

Perhaps it wasn’t clearer because I had a conversation going on in my head…

Okay, point taken.  But another element also bothers me…

The musicians do not sit as one big ensemble…

No, they’re contained in small sections—about four musicians to a section.  Though these sections are combined into two long rows, canvas walls separate the groups of musicians.

Maybe that separation symbolizes a problem…

On the other hand, maybe it’s a truth of our creative work: anything we create is its own separate living entity…

…and yet connects with the rest of our work to make one big jazz band.

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

Posted in cartoon, dreaming, dreams, Jung, psychology, self-help, symbolism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

down from the clouds

bungee reverse - October 10, 2014d
 

One of the most disturbing dream sequences in movie history…

…shows a man stuck in a traffic jam.

I’m talking about the opening scene of Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2.

As the man, played by Marcello Mastroianni, waits in traffic, a fog or smoke begins to leak from his dashboard…

He pushes frantically against the windows, trying to force his way out as this vapor fills the car interior.

The motorists in nearby vehicles are either oblivious to his plight or else gaze at him with emotionless boredom.

Then suddenly, our protagonist is free—he stands up through the sunroof, then smiles as his car moves into the rushing wind…

In the next instant, he’s floats upwards towards the clouds, towards the sun…

…but then discovers he’s not yet free—there’s a rope looped around one ankle.  A man on the beach below tugs on the other end.

Again, Marcello tries to extricate himself.  But the man keeps pulling on the rope until our hero crashes into the sea.

When I revisited this movie recently, I thought to myself, “Yeah, I’ve had days like that…

“Or a life like that!”

I’ve felt trapped, I’ve felt like I’m suffocating…

…then suddenly I’m floating free, I’m in the clouds…

…until someone or something yanks me back down…

…then I may land in deep waters.

In the film dream, Marcello/Fellini is like a modern-day Icarus—he rises too close to the sun.  He hasn’t yet found a way to balance his high-flown inspiration with the earthy concerns that demand his attention…

Though I’m aware of this hazard, it’s good to be reminded again.  I feel less alone after seeing my own dilemma mirrored in this film.

Did scene come from an actual dream?  I don’t know.  But unlike most movie dreams, it looks and feels real enough to me.  So, yes, in that sense, it’s a real dream.  It’s Fellini’s dream.

As often happens with dream sharing, someone’s very personal dream actually speaks to my own life…

….I would even say: to our life.
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: poems of meditation

Posted in cartoon, dreaming, dreams, Jung, mythology, psychology, self-help, symbolism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

song for a dreamer

holy trinity - September 26, 2014d
 

When Jimi Hendrix gives you a tune in a dream, it’s probably best to listen…

Duane Allman listened, and from his dream, he wrote the guitar instrumental “Little Martha”.

In the dream…

Jimi Hendrix shows Allman how to play the melody, using a sink faucet as a guitar fretboard in a Holiday Inn bathroom.

“Little Martha” is the final track on the album Eat a Peach, recorded just before Duane Allman’s death.  The song is played over the loudspeakers after every Allman Brothers concert to honor his memory.

A friend of mine also received a tune in a dream.  A small man sang to her as he rode up and down in a hot-air balloon.

She lost the song as soon as she awoke—just as I’ve lost a few creative ideas upon awakening…

But I don’t mourn these losses—no, I remind myself that such ideas come from the same place as my waking ideas: from the unconscious.  So the information is still with me…

Yes, creative ideas sometimes arrive in dreams, but we’re much more likely to be hit with inspiration while wide awake.

That said, I’m always open to whatever I might receive in a dream…

In fact, I once followed a dream message relating to my creative work…

…a message indicating I should use my ink pen on the novel I was writing, instead using it for cartooning.
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
hot off the e-press: listening to silence

Posted in artwork, dreaming, dreams, Jung, Michael Patton, psychology, self-help, symbolism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

no holes in this mix

blend mix - September 11, 2014d
 

Often, our dreams show us falling short…

But this recent dream shows me filling up…

In the dream…

I’m putting all sorts of food into a large electric blender.

It’s nearly full, but still, I’m stuffing.

The day before this dream, I’d been bemoaning my “Swiss cheese education”…

Throughout my adult life, I’ve tried educate myself.  But like Swiss cheese, my curriculum had plenty of holes…

I wish I’d taken a more focused, more systematic approach.

However, this dream tells me not to think in terms of what I may lack…

…but instead, to consider all I’ve gathered together.

Though the dream doesn’t indicate what exactly is going into the blender, I sense that it’s all nutritious.  Not junk.

But as with most positive message dreams, this one also presents a potential problem: I’ve got to realize when enough is enough.
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
myth steps

Posted in dreaming, dreams, Jung, Michael Patton, psychology, self-help, symbolism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

beautiful destruction

comet on course - August 28, 2014d
 

Does this dream foretell disaster?

In the dream…

A meteor bursts apart in the night sky…

Glowing red pieces trail streams of white light as they shower down through the darkness…

A beautiful display—like a firework exploding.

How could such a beautiful image be negative?

Well, the meteor is falling; it does disintegrate.  Maybe this dream warns of a fall—a destruction.

Of course, not all destructions are bad.  A bird has to break the egg in order to hatch.

However, the little bird sacrifices only its shell.  The meteor sacrifices its whole self.

But isn’t “sacrifice” a key human value?  The meteor breaks open and the result is a wonderful show…

With that in mind, I can only see this dream as positive.

Though know the dream refers to my own life, I don’t think its message is exclusive…

I believe it tells of a condition of our life here on this Earth.
 

© 2014, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

Posted in artwork, dreaming, dreams, Jung, Michael Patton, psychology, self-help, symbolism, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment