states of mind

tale of two kansases - June 11, 2015d

“We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

I find a certain irony in that famous line from the Wizard of Oz…

…because Dorothy never actually left Kansas.  Oz exists in her mind.

That’s not to say it isn’t real.  Oz is as real as any dream.  Oz is a real expression of Dorothy’s waking life…

Her traveling companions in Oz can all be found on her Kansas farm.  As is typical with dreams, the Oz dream reveals these people for who they truly are.

But how can the land of Oz represent Kansas, when Oz dazzles and Kansas exists in plain black and white?

I believe our exciting, scary, wonderful dreams show us what we’re actually experiencing, as we go through our mundane days…

I may be in Kansas.  But I’m also in Oz.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

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

may you be with the force

shadow is you - May 9, 2015d

There are greater forces at work, according to my dreams…

That is: forces greater than my conscious will.

Consider this dream from several years ago…

I’m in a car with my girlfriend at night.

We’re parked. Some large dark figures—like henchmen—are in the car with us.

They have both of us wrapped up in their powerful arms.

Though I’m not held tightly, if I try to move, I meet with immediate resistance.  My anxiety jumps.

The dream message was so obvious that I missed it at first.  Or else, I didn’t want to see…

I was ready to be done with that relationship.  But I—or rather, we—couldn’t break free…

…at least, not until the situation had run its course.

Those dark figures represent the unconscious.  The unconscious is that part of me that knows what I need to do, where I need to be.  The unconscious can subvert my best-laid plans.  The conscious mind conceives, the unconscious decides.

Am I saying we’re powerless against the unconscious?

I’m saying I’m powerless if I try to fight it.  I have power, as long as I work in tandem with the power within me.

If I listen to my intuition, to my dreams, and accept the information and act on it, I will be working in tandem.

I don’t state these ideas as fact.  I state them as beliefs.  But dreams, such as the one above, suggest they’re true.

The dream said I was with that woman for a reason.  The next step would have been to discover the reason.  In what way did I need to change?  If I’d have answered that question, I could have consciously worked toward making the change—I could’ve expedited the process.

But no, I didn’t look to another dream for guidance.  I kicked and squirmed against the powerful force that held me.

And today?  Have I learned to listen?  To work in tandem?

Well, yeah, sort of…It’s always a work-in-progress.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

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

the rare exception

child waves - April 26, 2015d

Kids swimming like dolphins!

And yet, there might be a problem…

Consider the dream:

I’m standing at the edge of an indoor Olympic-size pool…

Children swim laps down the length of the pool in marked lanes.  They move up and down in the water with the grace of dolphins.

Ever so often, one breaks the surface on her upward arc.  But for the most part, they remain under the water—the cold, cold water.

Oddly enough, they swim fully-clothed.  Nicely attired.  One little boy wears a suit coat and a tie.  Their clothes are soaked!

The kids don’t seem the least bit bothered by the cold or the clothes.  Their flowing motions are beautiful.  So perhaps there’s no problem in this dream…

Aren’t they building muscle by swimming those laps?  Aren’t they developing lung power by staying underwater?…

They’re able to become strong in this protected, structured environment.

Yes, but shouldn’t they be wearing swimsuits?

Perhaps, they’re not ready yet to reveal so much of who they are.  For the time being, they must play a certain acceptable role.

Usually, I see a dream as a mirror.  Each element of a dream is an aspect of my self.

But maybe this dream is the rare exception to that rule.

I often worry about the children of our society.  They’re beset by so much at such an early age…

This dream helps to allay some of my worries.  This dream shows a whole “school” of kids strengthening themselves.

Unlike many, they have the benefit of protection.  They have structure…

And so, they’ll be prepared when they must deal with the cold waters of the outside world.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

Posted in dreams | Leave a comment

both mine and not mine

tooth baby - April 7, 2015d

When I suddenly remembered having seen my bright shiny teeth in the mirror…

I knew it must have been a dream.

Because I don’t have bright shiny teeth…

I have the teeth of someone who drinks three big mugs of coffee every day.

That’s all I recall of the dream—just my pearly whites in the mirror.  I’m still not exactly sure what they represent.  I guess I’m seeing what I present to the world…

Anyway, since the message is obviously a positive one, I probably won’t go any deeper into this dream…

As I see it, I should focus on dreams that present me with a problem.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

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

devil or angel?

demon underneath - March 24, 2015d

“If my devils are to leave me, I am afraid my angels will take flight as well.”

With those words, the great poet Rainer Maria Rilke rejected psychoanalysis.

That rejection has had a long echo. It gets repeated a lot these days. So I think it’s worth examining…

I agree with Rilke to a degree: our angels and devils are indeed connected. To me, they’re different sides of the same coin.

As my dreams have shown me, every negative aspect or energy has its positive side. And every positive aspect has its negative.

From my dreams I’ve also learned that those demons can’t be destroyed. So I must deal with them. I must find the angel twin of a demon and flip to that side.

And try to stay there.

And try to flip back when I fail…

…which is often.

Perhaps Rilke believed that, without his pain, without his suffering, he wouldn’t be driven to such heights of creativity…

To those who fear the same, I say: don’t worry, no matter how much you change, I think there’ll always be enough pain, enough conflict…

…if not within yourself, then out there, in the world: enough suffering, enough injustice, enough cruelty to drive you to respond.

As for myself, I know my dreams will likely show me devils ’til the day I die…

But by dealing with them, I’ll gain ever more peace for myself…

…and in that way, create just a little more peace in this world.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
myth steps: the blog

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

no kidding

his royal lowness - March 10, 2015d

Dreams often seem so obscure…

At least, at first glance.

At second glance, they may seem painfully obvious.

I’m thinking of a dream, from years ago…

In the dream…

It’s night.  I’m sitting behind the steering wheel of my car…

But the wheel is so big—I can barely see over it.  How can I drive without wrecking the car?

As I recall, I didn’t get this dream at first…

But I maybe I missed message because I couldn’t yet accept its truth…

It’s not that the steering wheel was any larger—I was smaller.  Child-size!

According to this dream…

…if I start thinking and acting in an immature way…

I won’t be able to guide myself.

I’ll be a hazard—not just to myself, but also to others.


…whenever, I’m feeling confused about what to do…

…whenever my life feels out of control…

…the solution may be this simple: stop being such a baby.

(For more on immaturity, see the post for January 19, 2015.)

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
finding Beauty: the book

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