Veronica's Garden

I originally started this blog to promote my novel, Post Rock Limestone Caryatids. Now I write essays and poetry about everything, including the Flint Hills, healing, parenting, etc. WARNING: emotional content, sometimes intense. Read at own risk of feeling.

Tag: dreamwork

How Many Share This Dream?

Dreams of Lots of Rooms is getting hits. Is this dream sparked by the holidays? The impending change of year? Do we dream more when the nights are longer? Could it be true what some are saying, that we are in the midst of deep change, evolving from what we were into something as yet unimagined, undefined? Are these rooms the various facets of the gem of the individual, different faces we try on for size, show the world, and see reflected back in the mirror of dreaming?

My New Year resolution was to manifest a room. It hasn’t happened. I still hold hope, that it will be soon, soon.

Have you had the roomy dream? What do you make of it? What rooms do you explore in your dreams? How can we manifest our dreams into waking reality?

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Photo by Zoltan Zelenyak

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The Shadow Saboteur’s Magic Wand

I dreamt I took the kids to a birthday party, and, because I had no pockets, I set my phone and journal on a table while I went about the party. When it was time to leave, the table had already been taken down and put away. I tried to find the hostess to ask her if anyone had seen my things, but I couldn’t find her. Eventually I looked through some things, then went to a basement room where there were rows of stacks of things. I searched through countless items, none of which was mine.

Now, this shadow saboteur bit is getting tiresome. (See my previous posts on the saboteur.) On the face, this dream might seem to be about seeking that which is unattainable, but you can tell that in fact these things are attainable, only the saboteur is preventing them from being mine. I could find lots of things, but it was as if someone were looking over my shoulder, someone who knew all my secrets and weaknesses, who knew just what feature of a thing would eliminate it from the category of mine, someone who held the magic wand, not the one that generates matter in being, but the one that specifies its nature, so that as soon as I have a phone in my hand (My phone is red. Or is it sparkly green?), this one is black. I find a checkbook I wasn’t even looking for, with the right cover, the right style of checks, a winning lottery ticket tucked inside, but the name on the checks is someone else’s. I find a journal, and not only has it no cover at all, but the pages are filled with unfamiliar handwriting.

In the end, I did find the phone, because it rang, and it turned out it had been tucked safely in my cleavage all along. Did the saboteur relent? Or somehow slip up? What do I do with this?

Engaging the Saboteur

Here we go again, another of those periods in which the quotidian consumes the totality of my mental capacity, leaving no space for the flowerings of thoughts that blossom here in Veronica’s Garden. (And isn’t that the kind of thing Veronica would say? But it’s I, Rachel, writing today.) I’ve been night and day running over and over in my mind a complex of intractable problems which I share with others, but which, it appears, I am the one to fix. Which raises the question, if I am the one to get us out of this deep hole, might I have been able to prevent us from being in it in the first place? I didn’t think so at the time, and I was assured that others would take care of it. But things happen.

This is the interesting part. Things happen. Why do they happen? Who makes them happen? Or are we helpless victims of meaningless series of unpredictable events? I wrote in another post about the saboteur archetype, the shadow part of the self who does for one what one cannot or will not do for oneself. The saboteur sees her/himself as a protector, but one whose method is destruction, burning bridges, a scorched earth policy. In my previous post, I had asked my higher self for assistance in reining in the saboteur, to prevent her from following through on fleeting thoughts to which I did not wish to give power. It didn’t turn out terrifically well. This time, I took a different approach. I called together all the shadows I know, the waif girl, the witch, the black man and his young son, and others whose faces I don’t know. We stood in a circle and I took their hands. I asked them if we could be friends. Could we work together? It would be for the benefit of us all, our energies streamlined and in concert rather than shooting off in all directions, many opposing one another. Let’s be friends.

That night I dreamt of a weathered building, sort of a large shack or perhaps a decrepit barn. It was surrounded by golden grass, in a flat land with mountains in the distance. There were no nearby signs of civilization. There were a group of people who shared this space, hosted by my friend V, a vivacious and charismatic redhead, one with a talent for making the most dreary space into a warm and welcoming home. Later someone else lived there, but the circle of friends remained. At one point it was known that They were coming. You know Them, the authority, the enforcers of rules, the arbitrary, faceless power which is always to be feared and reviled. We were rebel outcasts, and if They were coming, it was bad. One of the young men, attractive and shirtless, whose unpredictable rebelliousness stood out even in this crowd, decided to torch the building. Not waiting for the trouble to begin, I left. Outside there was a single tree, with low-hanging branches that made a hidden place to watch the violence. I stroked the soft head of a cat who joined me, and when my younger daughter crept up beside me, I shielded her eyes to protect her from seeing anything fearful.

Apparently befriending the shadows isn’t going to be that easy.

 

Where to from here? I suppose I’ll continue plodding along, pretending to do that of which I believe myself to be incapable, chewing Rescue Remedy gum, staring blankly at projects I was formerly committed to, but now have nothing to give to them. Might be a while before I do much blogging.

Meanwhile, who are your shadows? Do you talk to them? Do they talk to you? What do they do in your life? I’d love to hear about them.

Dreams of lots of rooms

For many years I’ve dreamt of houses, of looking at a house I might purchase (even when I knew I had no money), living in a new house, discovering new rooms in a house I was about to move out of. Most often it’s dilapidated and cluttered with junk, but as I wander from room to room, I find great potential, and am enthusiastic and hopeful that I will get this place cleaned up, fixed up, and enjoy the wondrous pleasure of having so many rooms that I can choose what I want to do in each. This one will be my sewing room. Here I’ll sit and drink tea and read. This room with its trough sink and windows all along the wall would be ideal for starting seedlings and keeping the garden tools. Across the hall will be where the kids study.

I grew up in a house where there were more rooms than people, but, inexplicably, I never felt I could find space or privacy. The house never seemed big enough. I sometimes went into the attic to hide away and read. That was the biggest residence I’ve ever lived in (unless you count college dormitories, and the dorm-like coop I lived in in Madison, Wisconsin). Every place I’ve lived had a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom or two, perhaps a dining room. Every room was designated to an obvious purpose, and to use it for another was always a sacrifice of some kind. There was also a loft for a while, which, naturally, had no rooms at all. At that place I set up a tent of sorts, to carve a massage room out of my designated space. But always, I had the dream. Always I would wake from it and wonder, will I ever have that place, the one with so many rooms I get to decide what I want to do in every one?

I don’t mean to imply that it is something I, or anyone, particularly deserves. I’m well aware that most people in the world have smaller homes than we have here in the US, that in many places, the sizeable room I hated sharing with my sister would have been occupied by a large and grateful family. I do believe that dreams, especially those with repeated themes, can be a guide to a person’s highest purposes. The key, however, may not be to recreate the dream physically, but rather to find what actions and choices lead a person into the ineffable feelings present in the dream. While the physical conditions are more often than not simply impossible, the feelings are always present within us, sometimes waiting to be awakened, when the moment is right.

About eight years ago, we bought a motel. The house on the property was bigger than anyplace Kevin and I had ever shared, with good-sized rooms and a big kitchen. But, it didn’t take long for things to get cluttered, and Rowan was born before the end of the first year, followed two years later by Kiran. As with all our Chicago apartments, we ended up habitually putting excess stuff in an unofficially designated room, which becomes too full of stuff to use. Then I cleaned out my parents’ house (remember that one that was never big enough?), and moved a lot of stuff into the motel rooms that hadn’t been renovated yet. Our house no longer seems big, or to have enough rooms.

A few months ago I woke from that dream, and thought, will I ever have that house, with so many rooms? Shouldn’t I already have the key to whatever that dream means? Where is it? Then I thought, I own a motel. There is no shortage of rooms.

We have all these rooms, and more. Room 1 is at the far right.

I made it my goal for the year to clear enough stuff to make a room for myself. It won’t be all those rooms of the mansion of my dreams, but it will be my space, and big enough to do the things I want more of in my life, to keep some crafting supplies, set up my sewing machine, and to have a good desk for writing. Motel room 1 has no shower (can’t be rented), and it’s full of stuff. That’s my job for the year.

But New Year’s resolutions rarely make it through the end of February, the cruelest month. Dar Williams was spot on when she wrote that song. “The night is long and cold and scary/ Will we live through February?” Besides my getting overwhelmed with massages, writing, being the art lady at school, and being a mom, feeding and clothing everyone every day; the motel business screeches to a standstill, the checks begin bouncing, bills come in faster than I can keep track of. I actively manage my serotonin level. My Clearing and Creating My Space Journal has been on the shelf for weeks.

But the dream comes back, reminding me not to give up. This morning I woke from a dream of exploring all those rooms, finding so much stuff left by the previous owner. A surprising amount of it appeared useful or even valuable, if not to me, then to someone who would like to buy it. It was collected by someone with a neurotic attachment to material things, who then left it for me to deal with. This is raw material for me to transform, alchemically, into what serves my current purposes.

Witches, Nightmares, Memes, and Dreamwork

I wanted a picture of cuddling with Rowan, but could only find this one of my Mom, Leona Creager, my sister Melora, and myself. Sometimes when I see this picture, for a split second I think I’m Rowan.

Rowan dreamt of a witch, trying to get all the children. She told me while we were cuddling in bed in the morning. I told her, if she dreams of the witch again, to ask her what she wants. Rowan said she can’t talk to the witch because, if she stops trying to get away, the witch will get her. I had to tell her about a witch dream I had years ago.

A witch was chasing me for a long time, over many places. I knew she would kill me if she caught me. I ran and ran and when I was trapped, in a dirty, windowless, basement room, I fought for my life. It was violent and brutal. I beat her with all my strength, but she kept getting back up. Finally I woke, exhausted. I reviewed the horrible dream I’d had, trying to remember all the details. What did the witch look like? She was little, a girl, and she had brown hair and brown eyes. In fact, she looked like me.

“You were fighting yourself!” Rowan was smiling, enjoying the discovery.

“Yes, that’s why I couldn’t kill her. I was afraid of my magical self, afraid to be powerful.” I went on to tell her how I’d had so many years of nightmares, and about the box of journals I still have, filled with page after page of terrifying, violent dreams, recorded in minute detail. Rowan has nightmares, too, though she often has joyful dreams as well. I told her how there was a time when all my dreams were about running for my life, then I decided to start fighting back, then I decided to find other means than violence to do what I have to do.

It wasn’t until I was well into A Course In Miracles that I stopped having nightmares, so I had to tell her about that. “A Course In Miracles teaches that God is love. You know that, though, right?”

“Of course!”

“And God is eternal, which means there can be no limit on God. Right?”

“Yes.”

“So there can’t be anything that’s not God, because that would mean that there’s a line, God is here, but not there, so there can’t be that. Right?”

“Mama, are you God?”

“Yes, and so are you. Can God be hurt?”

“If I can’t be hurt, then why did it hurt when I got a scratch?”

It gets tricky in here. The best I could tell her is that we have a bigger self, one that is one with God and all the universe, and that, by comparison, the hurts of the little self are insignificant. But the big self can’t be hurt, so we are safe as long as we identify with the big self. A Course In Miracles teaches that there is nothing to fear. When I came to understand this, I stopped having nightmares.

Rowan thought for a moment, then said, “Okay, let’s get up now.”

I don’t expect Rowan to grasp all this easily or instantly, and I don’t want to take away what is hers to learn on her own. I hope, though, that these things I tell her will help when she needs them.

There’s something else that this conversation brought to my attention. We got up and went into the living room, where Kiran was watching a tv show about some kids who were trying to protect their computer world against their eternal villain, a hacker. We are inundated with stories, images, and rhetoric about the evil villain or the criminal who is Other and must be vanquished. These memes lie. The scary bad figure of your dreams is part of you. He or she is not the villain of children’s television shows, who must be disempowered; nor the criminal on the cop show whose very existence threatens everyone’s safety until he or she is either locked up or put to death. Sure, there are probably exceptions, but you’ll never really know if you are one of them until you take a risk. The answer is not to run, or fight, not to separate yourself from what you fear, but to open to every self that you are. Talk to yourself. Make friends with yourself. If you can’t be friends, make alliances to serve your mutual interests, because they can’t be that disparate, if you are one person, can they? Take a risk and see what happens if you let the intruder in, turn around and face your pursuer, listen to the demands of your attacker. You might be surprised at what you learn about yourself.

Sometimes you even receive a gift –but I’ll save that thought for another post.

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