I woke up early this morning at the end of a really interesting dream….
Joseph Campbell, the bliss-meister himself, based his work on the psychological theories of Carl Jung. And Carl Jung was a big advocate of interpreting your life symbolically and of dream analysis. Therefore, it seems valuable to me, as we search for our bliss, to see what our subconscious might be telling us through our dreams.
So let me tell you about this dream I just had. It was a doozy…
In the dream, I was at some kind of conference/workshop for some organization. However, I wasn’t making it to any of the sessions because I kept getting distracted by other people who needed my assistance. At some point, I bought a nice wooden cutting
board. However, I realized that I had left my conference bag in the bathroom, when I was escorting someone there who felt sick. I put the cutting board down on a counter and went to retrieve my bag. When I got back, the counter was filled with stuff by people I knew who were preparing food, but my board was missing. I tried to search through all their stuff to find it, but no one cared or was concerned about my missing board.
I finally decided someone had stolen my board and I was mad and frustrated about the
entire conference and decided to leave. However, the place was crowded with people and I was having a hard time getting through the space. Suddenly, my real, but now-deceased, grandmother showed up and told me she could take me out through a short cut. She was old and frail so I held onto her arm as she took me through these caverns that required us to climb upwards. The path was not smooth, but it was empty of other people, so we could pick our way carefully through the glowing rocks (they reminded me of the pink Himalayan salt crystal lamps we have).
As we went, my grandmother listened to me rant about what a bad experience I had at the conference and how the organization didn’t care about me and so I was going to quit it. She was sympathetic, but counseled me, “Never give up on something because you’ve had a bad experience and you are mad. When you are calm and decide something isn’t right for you anymore, that’s one thing. But you shouldn’t quit when you are in the midst of anger and frustration.”
We got to the top, and my grandmother presented me with two choices. I could emerge through the curtains at the big stage at the auditorium where everyone had gathered and would see me. Or I could take another path that led directly outside. I didn’t want to appear before the crowds, and so decided to take the second path. I found a pillow, sat down on it, and started to slide down the exit ramp.
I picked up speed, rounded gentle curves, and found myself transported. At that moment, I felt free and exhilarated. I forgot about my stolen board, my uncaring friends, my anger at the organization. I was simply full of childlike glee.
I got to the end of the path safely, and found myself outside. I got up and started off towards my next adventure. And then I woke up.
So I spent some time meditating over the symbolic meaning of the dream. This is what I came up with.
I’m a teacher, and this has been a pretty intense week of getting “back to school” after having a fun holiday break. But I’ve found myself juggling my ongoing issue of not having enough time for everything. I think the cutting board represented my domestic chores, which I let slide over the holidays. So now I’m trying to get back on top of that, plus get my classes prepared and taught, plus get back to my volunteer work, plus get back to the classes I need to take, plus and plus and plus…I’m sure you get the picture.
But this dream reminds me that everything in my life is a choice. I really am free to do or not to do any of those aspects that are making me feel overwhelmed right now. And when I come from choice, it just makes me feel better. I may not be feeling the bliss as I work through this week’s responsibilities, but at least I’m not feeling pressure, “have to,” and resentment. My life. My choice. My freedom.
So, good advice, grandma.
That part escaped me for a bit.
Why was it my grandmother who showed up in the dream? We lived far away from both of my grandmothers, so I wasn’t particularly close to either of them. This one, my paternal grandmother, was very nice, but wasn’t a figure of particular comfort or wisdom to me. So was she merely a symbol that my ancestors are still looking out for me, even though they are no longer around in the physical plane? Was it significant that it was my paternal grandmother, representing both masculine and feminine energies?
Then I had to laugh. For I remembered my grandmother’s first name.