my inner Johnny Cash

guitars yin yang - October 5, 2015d

Am I the Man in the Black?

Consider this recent dream:

I see a silhouette of Johnny Cash a short distance away.

It has a shiny silvery surface, which reflects my own image.

Waking, I immediately got the basic message…

The late Johnny Cash, the one known as the “Man in Black”, is a mirror to me.  In his image and story, I can find an aspect or aspects of myself.

That’s not to say I’m a country music star who praises Jesus.  Dreams usually use symbols in a much more subtle way.

Some neuroscientists might say I dreamt about Cash only because I’d seen a documentary on his life the night before.  To them, my dream image has no symbolic value.  No hidden meaning.  Johnny Cash was part of the bric-a-brac recently shoved into my memory bank.  So it was only natural that he’d pop into a dream…

Even the fact that I’d seen his image on a mirror-like surface could be explained away, I suppose.  After all, I see reflections on shiny surfaces throughout the day.  My dreaming mind could have combined two memories, randomly.

Whatever the truth may be, I’ve learned quite a bit about myself by thinking of my dreams as symbolic pictures, symbolic stories.  So, for that reason, I’m not going to throw my Cash dream on the junk pile…

I’m going to try to see the Johnny Cash within me.

I’m guessing I’ll find something positive and something negative in that symbol…

But I’ll try not to be too proud of the positive, nor too disappointed with the negative…

As I see it, any aspect has both a positive and negative expression.  Every positive aspect has a negative on its flip side—so I also contain that potential.

Likewise, every negative aspect has a positive side.  By becoming aware of that negative, I can flip it to the positive…

And so my Johnny Cash dream isn’t going on the junk pile.

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

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I remember to remember

going going gone - September 27, 2015d

I broke the record.  I have a new personal best.

I’ve remembered and recorded a dream for twenty-five straight nights.  My previous record was nineteen, set two years ago.

But to be honest, before the streak, my dream recall had been poor to middling.  The change came when I resolved to catch those dreams that slipped away so easily.  I’d put in a little more effort.

Now, when I first wake, I stop my mind before it starts running around like a waltzing mouse.  In the stillness, maybe there’ll be a lingering wisp of a dream.  Maybe that wisp will lead me to something more substantial…

But if not, I still have the wisp, and even from that thin thread, I might learn plenty.

Or perhaps that wisp was the entire dream.  Some of my recent dreams either have vague imagery or no imagery at all.  Perhaps I forgot the pictures.  But who says a dream must always be seen?

Okay, so I’m more resolved.  But there’s another factor involved in my current streak.  I’m getting a little more sleep these nights.  The longest period of REM (dream) sleep occurs at the end of our sleep cycle.  So, if I only sleep five hours, instead of seven, I cut off a good chunk of my dream time.

I’d like to end with quote from a baseball great who knew a few streaks of his own…

…a man whose logic was that of a crazy, beautiful dream:

“If I didn’t wake up, I’d still be sleeping.”
              — Yogi Berra

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
Open All Night: the book

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the politician in my shadow

head off politics - September 6, 2015d

During the last presidential election, I was shocked and disturbed to find a certain candidate in my dreams…

Mitt Romney.

In my waking life, I’d totally rejected the man.

But maybe in rejecting him, I was actually rejecting part of myself.  After all, if he was in a dream, he must represent some aspect of my shadow.

Unfortunately, my memory of the dream was vague.  I only recalled seeing Romney’s image.  But in the past, I’ve learned a lot from just a little, so I decided to explore…

What did I know about the man?  In what way or ways did he mirror my own thoughts and behaviors?

In short order, something clicked.  I remembered Romney saying, “Things aren’t really that bad.”

He was referring to certain conditions in the U.S.  If Romney actually believed that statement, he must be in denial.

But perhaps so was I.

Hadn’t I told myself much the same, in regards to my own life situation?

Ironically, I actually felt relieved to discover that hard truth.  After all, I’d become aware of my denial.  I’d faced facts.

Besides that, I now knew my inner Romney wasn’t really a major aspect.  I took comfort with that thought.

During the current U.S. presidential campaign, we’re likely to find candidates in our dreams—politicians we may despise.

I think it’s wise to ask, “Do I hate that guy so much because he represents some part of myself that I don’t like?…

“That I don’t want to see?”

Yes, the candidate probably mirrors some aspect of your shadow.

But rest assured, there’s much else in your shadow, besides that political clown.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
searching for the new mythology

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hallway of mystery

pink doors blue border - August 16, 2015d

A recent dream has me pondering a path not taken…

In the dream…

The work day has ended.  I’m walking home through downtown Seattle in the late afternoon sun.

I’ve gone this way before.  But it’s been awhile.  So I’m not absolutely certain of the route.

I take a short-cut through a big office building.  I open a door and find a long hallway.  The hall has a row of metal doors down either side. One pink metal door after another.  How odd, I think to myself.

I close the entrance door and go on.  This walk is taking longer than I expected.  So I have a little anxiety.  Even so, I know I’ll eventually arrive home.

“Seattle” has become a recurring symbol in my dreams.  Unfortunately, I still don’t know what it represents.  In any case, there seems to be a progression in my series of Seattle dreams…

In previous dreams, I’ve just arrived in Seattle and am trying to get my bearings.

According to this latest dream, I’ve settled in.  So, my initial problem has been solved.

Which means, it’s time for a new problem.

But it’s not a big problem: I trying to go home.  I know how to get there.  It’s just taking a little longer than I expected.

But what about the hallway?  I wanted to be on my way, so I didn’t explore.

But was that the only reason I hesitated?  The hallway did seem a little strange.  Maybe I preferred to stick to the familiar.

Okay, but there’s nothing wrong in going home and relaxing.  Didn’t a wise man once say, “Home is where the heart is”?

Yes, but isn’t my life supposed to be about discovery?  Exploration?  Looking into the unknown?  Learning?  Isn’t that the decision I made, many years ago?

There’s a time to rest and there’s a time to explore.  It’s the end of my workday, so perhaps it’s time to rest…

On the other hand, a chance refused is often a chance forever lost.  I may not find my way back to that hallway.

So, okay, I’ve decided I should not close the door on that entrance.  Now, the question is: how does this scenario express itself in my waking life?

After much thought…

…I still don’t know.  Perhaps the situation has not yet arrived.  Maybe this dream is giving me fair warning.


In any case, I haven’t forgotten the basic lesson of the dream.  I’m a little more aware now.  So maybe when new opportunities present themselves, I’ll pause to consider, before I hurry away.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
listening to silence: the book

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journey of a lifetime

desert well question - July 22, 2015d

I’m in a desert…

…according to this recent dream:

I’m standing in a broad expanse of desert sand, without a tree or a sprig of grass in sight.

Suddenly, I drop down through a sink hole.

Now, I’m in an underground chamber.  A number of tunnels branch from this room.

Where I should go?  How can I get out?  I’m scared.  I feel trapped.

While pondering this dream, I realized I shouldn’t feel trapped…

After all, I had many choices—too many for comfort.  One of those tunnels could lead to an oasis.  But which one?  Maybe they all lead home.  I just need to commit…

On the other hand, I might walk on and on and on, without ever finding anything.

Well, in any case, it’s an adventure.  Isn’t that what I want in life?  Yes, it’s scary predicament, but also exciting.

Does the desert of this dream represent a desert within?  Perhaps.  However, I do often bemoan the desert of my culture.

Whatever the case may be, I’ve gone within—I’ve gone below—into the unconscious.  Maybe I’ve found a labyrinth.  If so, through trial and error, I can work my way to the core.

Like so many other dreams, this dream tells me: our ordinary lives are so much more than we know.

© 2015, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry

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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

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