let sleeping paperclips lie

Sometimes it’s best to let sleeping paperclips lie…

…according to a recent dream.

In the dream…

On the concrete pavement near my feet, I spot two paperclips.

I try to pick one of them up.  But it keeps moving away from my hand—as if pushed by a puff of air.

Finally, I catch it.  But when I check my palm, I find a curled scorpion.  I quickly toss the creature to the ground.

After pondering that dream scenario…

…I still don’t know what or who the paperclips are supposed to represent.

Nonetheless, I’ve learned much from this dream…

I persist not because I want the clip, but merely because it’s elusive.

I’m not an aggressive man.  However, when I commit to a task, I usually keep at it.  An admirable quality…until persistence becomes stubbornness…

Blinded by my stubborn mindset, I don’t realize the obvious: the paperclip flees out of fear.

It only becomes a scorpion as a last resort—it’s merely trying to protect itself.

Ironically, because I was afraid of being hurt by the scorpion/clip, I may have hurt it.

At the end of the dream, I reach for the second clip.  It doesn’t try to “run away” and remains a clip when in my palm…

However, I do spot a tiny creature crawling around its loops.  I can’t see it clearly, but think it might be a scorpion.  Deciding not to take a chance, I toss this paperclip down as well.

Another mistake, as I see it now: even if that bitty bug was a scorpion, it would be too small to do any serious damage.

Besides, I can’t avoid all the little scorpions in this life.  After all, isn’t there a bit of scorpion in everyone (myself included)?

This dream doesn’t seem to mirror any situation in my present life…

But maybe there’s a match with events in my past.  In any case, I need to remain aware of these truths in the future.  Maybe we can’t avoid being hurt and sometimes hurting other…but we can limit the damage.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
sky rope: a poetry blog

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getting the message

A recent dream shows I’m making progress on a problem…

In the dream…

I’m ascending, floor by floor, through a large modern shopping mall…

At each floor, I walk through a hallway behind the stores until I’ve made a complete circle.

About halfway up, I call my mother.  She says she will meet me at the mall.

So, I must stop and wait.  I stand inside a fast-food cafe.  A number of older couples do a slow dance.  A man in a cowboy outfit comes up and shakes my hand—he knows my mother.

When I woke from this dream, the problem seemed clear enough:

I was making good progress…

…until I decided to call my mother.

While alive, my mother was a worry-wart.  So perhaps I was letting fear impede my growth.

That interpretation seemed to fit…

…until I remembered a similar dream from a few years ago…

In that dream, I’m walking through a long, curving hallway.  The blank white walls seem quite bland.  At one point, I open a door and find a mall filled with bright shops and much activity.  But I close the door and travel on.

When I looked into that dream, I realized I should’ve stopped and gone inside the mall—

—as I actually did do in this latest dream.  It’s ironic: by stopping, I’m making progress—I’m changing a behavior that limits my enjoyment of life.

Yes, my mother was a worry-wart.  But that’s not all she was.  She also liked to window shop—and take her time while doing so.  According to this dream, I’m activating that part of myself: the part that wants to see and feel and hear and taste the world…

Nothing wrong in trying to reach the top of the mall.  I need not abandon that goal.

But if that’s my sole focus, I’ll lose so much.

I know I’m not done with this issue.  By watching my dreams, I’ll be able to see how I’m progressing.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
sky rope: a poetry blog

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Russia rushing at me

A recent dream tells me to wake up…

In the dream…

I’ve just arrived in a busy Russian city, via an underground train.

I wander around downtown, then enter the lobby of a church.

Suddenly I realize I left my small backpack on the train.  I know I probably won’t get it back—I’ve probably lost my passport.  I’m shocked.  What can I do?

I peek into the main area of the church.  Some men pass by, carrying what might be a small casket—or some type of tabernacle.

I head back to the street.  I don’t even know where I can stay.

This dream—this calm nightmare—is clearly saying: pay attention!

While on the train, I could let my attention drift.  Ironically, though I’ve been in a passive position, I’ve actually made much progress.  While stationary, I have traversed great distances.

The dream uses a pun: I’ve been “in training”.

But unfortunately, though I knew the journey would eventually end, I didn’t prepare for the change.  I’m not ready for this new environment of activity.  So it seems to come at me in a rush.  Another pun: Russia is rushing at me.

Because I’m in a daze, I lose my passport—some sense of identity.  And so, this new place feels even more foreign and uncertain.

I hurt myself in another way as well…

I don’t try to make contact with anyone.  Thus, the feeling of being disconnected from my surroundings is heightened.  I’m still too much inside myself.

So how does this scenario apply to my waking life?  It doesn’t.  At least, not yet.  I think the dream is a warning.

I still have questions about this scenario.  I may never know if that box was a casket or a tabernacle—or a combination of both.  But that’s okay—I’ve already gathered a very important message from my Russia dream.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
sky rope: a poetry blog

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forward back


A recent dream has me considering the cost of being human…

In the dream…

A breakfast at a pleasant restaurant has just ended.  Several friends and acquaintances are in the process of leaving…

I look at “D’s” table—she forgot to tip.  She was always so cheap!  I tell my friend “W” and we laugh.

Then we go to the counter to settle the bill.  I’m surprised at the cost.  I have enough room on my credit card—but not by much.

W and I must decide what to do next.  My future is a question mark.  I realize W should return to her job.  I can’t ask her to go with me when I don’t know where I’m going.

I have to tell her.  The parting will be sad for both of us.

The man behind the counter gives me a pouch filled with his collection of souvenir coins—mock pennies of various sizes.  Jokingly, I ask if I can pay with these.

So much stuff in this dream!  I knew it’d be quite a chore to dig into it all.  I couldn’t connect a bit of it to my waking life.

In any case, I felt pleased about this positive aspect: I was willing to be decisive in an emotionally difficult situation.

But I wasn’t pleased with this negative: I was hard-pressed to pay for that breakfast.

What was the dream telling me?

A cost had turned out to be more than expected.  I felt lacking in resources.

I could put the cost on hold—but only for so long.  I’m nearly over my limit.

Now I see a possible connection to my waking life:

Lately, I’ve been telling myself: I don’t want to look back right now.  I want to look ahead.  Yes, much of much importance has happened in my not-so-distant past.  But I can deal with all that later.

Difficult experiences obviously have a psychic cost for us.  But according to this dream: so does the fun stuff.  Maybe the message is: I must look back on both and try to come to terms with what has happened…

…whether I feel like it or not.  Ironically, the recipient of this payment would be me.

I’m not completely sold on this interpretation.  Nor should I be—until I delve deeper into the dream…

…and I will.  I need to know the truth.  I must see what accounts need to be settled and then settle those accounts—because I want to move on.

© 2017, Michael R. Patton
Open All Night: a poetry book

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resurrecting the bear


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


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


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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