resurrecting the bear

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By connecting one dream to another, I can see how I’m progressing on a problem…

Take these three dreams for example:

In the first dream…

I’m alone in my house in the middle of the night.

The knob to a side door twists ever so slowly, this way and that, as if someone wants inside.

I wait, but no one tries to push open the door.

I look out the front window.  A white car is parked sideways in the driveway.

I open the front door a bit, then close it.  I don’t know what to do.

When I first considered this dream, I realized…

  • Any dream character represents something within me.  So this dream says I feel threatened by some unknown inner aspect.
  • But it won’t force a confrontation.  It’s up to me to open.  If I remain closed, I’m trapped.

Okay, so I need to bring that aspect into awareness.  Ah, but that presents a quandary: how can I realize it, when I don’t know what it is?

I wasn’t able to answer that question.  So I was surprised to discover, a few weeks later, that I’d made progress on the problem.  According to a second dream.

In the dream…

I’m on vacation.  I’ve just returned to my hotel suite, after a walk in a nearby forest park.

I sense the presence of ghouls in the darkness beyond the front room.

I want to be strong—I want to confront those ghosts.  I decide to search them out and begin to move slowly through the rooms…

I come to a door.  I know those malevolent spirit-beings lurk on the other side.

I try to open the door, but the demons pull against my pull.  When I exert more force, the beings match my strength.

Realizing I can’t beat them, I try to push the door shut.

But again, the beings resist my efforts.  I can’t go forward or back.

This dream, like the first, had a strong impact.  My initial thoughts went something like this…

  • The situation doesn’t seem fair. I’m willing to go beyond my fear. And yet, the door won’t open!
  • Perhaps the answer is: the opening can’t be forced. It can’t happen abruptly–nor should it. I need to time to accept what I find. On the other hand, having begun to open, I can’t shut myself back down. Actually, this “unfair” situation is good for me.

No, this second dream doesn’t match the first in detail.  But both dreams are about opening to the unseen.  So I think the connection is clear and valid…

However, connections are not always so obvious…

Consider the third dream…

A polar bear follows me as I go about my apartment.

I stop to do little chores, here and there–all the while, trying to ignore the bear.

Finally it takes my hand–gently–in its mouth and I’m forced to stop.

So how does this dream connect to the others?  I didn’t see it until much later.  In the first dream, the car in the driveway is white–as is the polar bear.  That white represents active male energy.  Positive male energy.

But what about the second dream?  No bear, no white in that dream.  Just dark ghosts behind the door.

Well, as long as I kept that polar bear energy locked away, it was dead.  Like a ghost: dead yet still alive.

The third dream tells me: I’ve allowed the door to open, and in so doing, resurrected a powerful aspect.  When kept in the shadow, it’s a negative force.  But in the light, it’s positive.  Potentially beneficial.

But positive power can also be scary.

I don’t want to deal with it, but having let it out, I have little choice.

If I try to pull away, that strong-but-gentle energy could destroy me.

Nearly four years have passed since I received this sequence of dreams.  So have I made progress on this problem?  I’m not sure.  As far as I know, I haven’t received a fourth dream.

But I’m sure the subject will come up again.  It wasn’t a dilemma of the moment–it wasn’t a temporary conflict.  I’ll probably be dealing with this issue, in one way or another, ’til the day I die.

But I shouldn’t feel alone.  I believe we’re all dealing with this dilemma–to some degree at least.  It’s a human dilemma: both individual and collective.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
Searching for my Best Beliefs: a poetry book

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get it in gear

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Where I live, you need a car….

So this dream was nearly a nightmare:

I turn the key to start my car, but nothing happens.  It’s dead.

Dreams often show us such problems—and without presenting the solution.  That’s for us to discover in our waking hours…

However, in this case, something unusual happened.  The answer to the problem came in a second dream, a couple of hours later…

I realize that the gear shift for my car isn’t quite in “park”.  That’s why it won’t start!  I just need to move the automatic shift a bit.

Once again, my dream world throws a surprise at me.  Nonetheless, this question remains:

How do I apply that information to my waking life?

The car is me.  So I’m trying to start myself.  But I can’t because I’m not aligned.  I’m not in “park”.  I’m not engaged—I’m not fully engaged with the present moment.

It’s a paradox: I must park myself, my thoughts, before I can start.

That feels right…so now I’m working to accomplish the task.  It seemed so easy in the dream.  But maybe I’m making it harder than it needs to be.  In any case, I shouldn’t be discouraged.  After all, the dream tells me: a major overhaul is not required.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
my poetry spoken

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feeling is knowing, seeing is understanding

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According to a recent dream, I’m seeing Fonda and feeling the fight.

In the dream…

I’m staring at the actor Peter Fonda.  He stands right in front of me.  We stare at each other.

Then I’m looking skyward, to the clouds.  I can feel a mass of men struggling, fighting against one another just a few feet away.  The closest comparison would be a rugby scrum, except in this case, it’s every man for himself.

I get a feeling of intense, maddened, brutish male-energy from the fight.

When I was in my early twenties, a therapist said Henry Fonda would be the one to play me in a movie.  That’s because he was always so sincere in his roles.

But according to this dream, a better choice might be his son.

Like his father, Peter Fonda projects sincerity as an actor.  Likewise, his characters are often idealistic.  But they’re also darker, angrier, more rebellious.

In the dream, I’m facing Fonda.  So I’m not afraid to look at this personal aspect…

Nor do I run from the fight—though it disturbs me.  I choose not to watch, because I don’t think I can stop those guys.  Instead, I’ve decided to direct my attention to higher things.

However, those fellows are all a part of me.  So I can end the fight.  But I must do more than feel it.  I’ve got to look at it.  I need to examine it in order to understand it.  Feeling is important, but I must also use my intellect.

If I can resolve the battle, I can free up all that powerful energy.  Then I can channel it in constructive ways.

And if I don’t resolve it, my rebellion will be driven by my own inner conflict—not by my idealism.

Recently, I worried that I was thinking too much and not feeling enough.  Once again, a dream has come to correct a waking belief.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry: a blog

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nothing to brag about

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump claims that he only sleeps between ninety minutes to four hours each night…

I wouldn’t brag, Mr. Trump.  In fact, if I was your advisor, I’d say: sleep, Donald, sleep—if you want to attract swing voters.

Consider some of the consequences of chronic sleep deprivation, as reported in the book Counting Sheep, by Paul Martin…

“Sleep-deprived people, like drunks, lose their social inhibitions and behave in inappropriate ways; they are prone to outbursts of childish humour, which others around them do not always find hilarious.”

I don’t know how much sleep his opponent logs.  But during this grueling campaign, Hillary Clinton is likely keeping late nights and early mornings.  That could have contributed to her bout of pneumonia.  Sleep deprivation, says Martin, “can also impair our physical health and make us more vulnerable to disease.”

Of course, each individual has different sleep requirements.  Perhaps Trump would function no better with a full eight hours rest each night.  But if he’s sleeping less so he can do more, I’d tell him to reconsider.  Martin writes…

“…sleep-deprived people are bad at making decisions and communicating those decisions to others.  Their judgment is impaired, they are easily distracted, they respond poorly to unexpected information, they lack flexibility, they persist with inappropriate solutions to problems and they are prone to making foolish risks.”

(Counting Sheep: the science and pleasures of sleep and dreams, by Paul Martin, was published by Thomas Dunne Books.  An entertaining and informative read.)

sky rope poetry: a blog

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listening to the politician within

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Though I’ve followed the campaign closely for the last year, none of the top presidential contenders have been in my dreams.

However, in the past, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama have put in appearances.  To be honest, I wasn’t so happy to see Bush.  Nonetheless, I was willing to listen to the dream and learn.

As I recall, he was simply standing at the bottom of a staircase as I descended.  He didn’t do or say anything, so maybe that means I’m not actually expressing this aspect in the world.  Nonetheless, I want to know my inner George W.  I believe every aspect has its positive side.  If I don’t know and express that side, I may be blindsided by its negative.

With that in mind, I’d say to any Trump supporter who dreams of Hillary: get to know your inner Clinton.  Likewise, to any Hillary supporter who dreams of Trump, I’d say: get to know your inner Donald…

And before either supporter could punch me, I’d add: remember, it’s just one inner aspect among many.  And by becoming aware of it, you can rule that aspect, instead of having it rule you.

If I hate a politician for being a two-faced sneak…

…though he may indeed be a two-faced sneak…

…I may be projecting my own two-faced sneakiness onto him.  So, I need to ask myself if what I hate about him is actually something I secretly hate about myself.  I can’t change the candidate’s sneakiness, but I can change my own.

If I don’t ask that question, he may very well visit me in a dream.

Of course, whenever a public figure appears in a dream, I need to do more than consider my personal opinion regarding him.  I need to look at his actions in the scene.  What’s happening in the dream and how do I feel about it?

For example…

…in the dream involving Barack Obama…

…our president is enjoying a slow dance with the First Lady, at a party celebrating the end of a successful campaign.  A lovely sight—that was my feeling in the dream.  I didn’t go farther into it, because I didn’t see a problem.  Nothing to be fixed.  So why worry?

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
the sky rope poetry blog

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not half empty

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I welcome the sight of a large pot of stew!

The image came to me, just before waking, two days after I’d actually cooked such a pot.*

The ingredients I’d used were quite ordinary: potatoes, carrots, ground beef, onions, diced tomatoes, a little Italian seasoning, and a few other items.

Common fare, but tasty.  Nutritious too.  And I have plenty left over for future meals.

With that in mind, perhaps the image symbolizes something I’ve cooked up…

…something concocted from the mundane stuff of this life.  A creative project, perhaps.  Or a number of projects.  I could serve up many bowls from that big mix.

Or maybe the pot of stew symbolizes life itself—the common stew of this life gives me much nourishment.  The pot is a little less than half-full.  So perhaps I’m just past the midpoint of my life.

I think both answers are valid, in part…

The image says: you’re both the cook and the one having the meal.  Nice to know that I’m feeding myself well.

(* Technically, it’s not a dream, but a hypnopompic image.  Nonetheless, it can be interpreted as if it’s dream.)

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
sky rope poetry

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meeting the flower

magnolia open 2 bb - July 1, 2016d

Today, while looking at my magnolia tree, I suddenly remembered a dream of a white flower…

In that recent dream…

I’m at a party in a pleasant upstairs apartment.

While thinking of someone I’m supposed to meet, I look out a window and see a flower on a tree.  It resembles a magnolia flower…

But unlike the typical magnolia blossom, it has thin pink veins running vertically up the white petals.  Though I can see directly into the cupped flower, its depths are slightly in shadow.

Thinking of that dream image, I recalled how I once picked three magnolia flowers for my mother when I was young…

To my surprise and disappointment, they wilted within the day.  Vibrant and strong on the tree, those flowers don’t last long once plucked.

The dream tells me: appreciate the flower—its beauty, its depth.  Drink from its cup, if you wish.  But be wise before you pick…

Otherwise, you may destroy that which you wish to possess.

© 2016, Michael R. Patton
finding Beauty: the book

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