I’ve been having some vivid and gnarly dreams. Some psychologists say that dreams don’t mean anything; that they are just the result of our brains cleaning themselves at night. How very boring! In a recent interview with Tami Simon (see below), Dr James Hollis, Jungian psychoanalyst and the author of sixteen books, points out that if we live to 80 years old we have spent 6 years dreaming!
“Respect your dreams. Nature doesn’t waste energy. It’s seeking to communicate to us in some way which, if we pay attention, may begin to heal some of the splits that we all carry.” .James Hollis, Ph.D
Surely the brain can clean itself without wasting the effort of remembering what our third-grade teacher looked like… and why is she riding that elephant?
So I am going to work with the premise that dreams mean something and they are worthy of my attention.
So here’s my latest cinematic dream… “I was working again for my old boss. It was Xmas eve and they were holding a Hay House event. We didn’t have anything to do with Hay House at that company but we did occasionally host events, so it’s not completely unbelievable. (Hay House is a very well known publisher of esoteric and self-help books, etc, founded by Louise Hay when she was in her late 60s)
So while everyone was enjoying the event, I was working in the back room. This is very true to what actually happened when I worked there and in keeping with my acute Cinderella complex. While I was working hard and feeling a little bitter, as always, my boss came in and asked if I could put up a Christmas tree for the event – midway through it. This also wasn’t overly unusual because they were always scrambling and disorganised. I was scruffy and dirty from working in the warehouse (which was always the case in that job) but I was a good girl and helped her, but felt self-conscious going out among the crowd enjoying the event…
This dream was vivid, Technicolor, real! I could smell the dust in the warehouse!
Dr Hollis says we can learn to understand and use the symbols in our dreams but symbol dictionaries can be used only as a basic guide only as each person will have a different relationship with the archetypes and images seen. Someone who doesn’t understand my relationship with that particular boss won’t interpret the information the way I would. Plus having this dream right now means something completely different than it would have a few years ago or while I still worked there.
So what was this dream telling me? I worked for an art company but Hay House is a publisher. (Interestingly, Hay House has a sister company called Balboa Press. It has a pretty bad reputation as a vanity press targeting naive writers but Hay House itself is a pretty legit powerhouse in the self-help and spiritual publishing scene.) I was an artist, now I’m focusing on writing so the combination of that job and publishing is interesting. I wrote the post (linked above) about all the ways I let myself down and sabotaged my success in that job, a job that was as close to my Dream Job as you could wish for. The dream and the previous post help me begin to see how I am sabotaging my writing career and any hopes of post-Dream Job art making. I’ve been working on my shadow stuff and letting go of what no longer serves. This Cinderella bullshit no longer serves. It never did!
This is how our dreams can be useful! I might be completely delusional but I think anything that empowers us to be better, bigger, bolder, can’t be bad. Oh, except cocaine, but you know what I mean.